Movie Review by Kristin: Disney’s Live Action ALADDIN

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Hello there, movie lovers!

In light of the newly released Live Action and Signature Collection versions of Disney’s ALADDIN on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray this week, I wanted to repost my review of the Live Action version! I was lucky enough to catch a screening of it here in Miami and, I have to say, it was much better than I expected!

Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve always loved Aladdin. The original movie was one of my favorites & I loooooooved the game on Sega. Collecting apples, leaping onto wooden stairs and hopping from stone to stone to avoid lava in the Cave of Wonders. This movie has all of that, which brings back a strong sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love that??

With that being said, let me get to the cast. There were some strong feelings going around when the cast was announced. Not necessarily from myself, but the only actor involved that I really knew of was Will Smith, who was cast as Genie. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) were unknown to me, but now I can’t wait to see what they do next! The three of them carried the film, along with some scene stealers by Abu, Aladdin’s infamous pet monkey. The chemistry between Massoud’s Aladdin and Scott’s Princess Jasmine was evident from the beginning. Some of the iconic scenes from the original were recreated here, further enhancing that nostalgia!

Personally, I loved the cast. The only one I thought could have been a bit stronger was the role of Jafar. The actor in this movie has a soft voice that doesn’t seem to carry much power when he’s on screen. This isn’t to take away from his work as an actor, I just don’t know that he was entirely right for this particular role. Jafar always had this menacing presence in the original, and I just didn’t necessarily feel that here.

I loooooved the singing and dancing! They changed things up some, allowing Smith to sort of modernize the role of Genie a bit. Some of his songs have more of a little rap vibe as opposed to regular singing & it worked! My only “complaint,” if you can call it that, was that in some of the dance numbers, it seemed like the timing was sped up a little. It looked like it was in fast mode when I think it would’ve been nicer to see it in real time.

One thing I want to mention again is the modernization in this one in comparison to the original. Aside from Genie’s contribution, we also see a stronger female presence when it comes to Princess Jasmine’s role. This version includes a new song, “Speechless,” that touches on how she’s supposed to be seen and not heard, but she refuses to remain speechless. It’s an important message, especially for little girls, that I’m glad they included & Naomi Scott performs the song beautifully.

Admittedly, I had another idea for who should have played Aladdin, and, as I mentioned before, I had no idea who Mena Massoud was. After watching this, my mind has been changed & I think Massoud played the role of Aladdin way better than I expected! He was charming and really seemed to embody the character we all know and love.

I definitely recommend checking this out when you can! It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it brings back a little piece of our childhood we didn’t know we needed!

 

ALADDIN | Official Channels

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | #Aladdin

 

 

 

Tour Review | JONAS BROTHERS: HAPPINESS BEGINS TOUR 2019 | American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL – 8/7/19

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First things first . . . HOLY SHIT the Jonas Brothers still know how to put on an incredible show. The whole thing was high energy from the moment they took the stage!!

I just want to give a little backstory to my attending this show. 10 years ago, I took my niece to her first concert here in South Florida. She was 5 and she was decked out in a Jonas Brothers t-shirt, Jonas Brothers press-on nails and Jonas Brothers sandals. You guessed correctly, her first concert ever (at 5 because I’m the coolest aunt ever) was the Jonas Brothers. When the guys announced that they were getting back together, I knew I was going to have to sell a kidney to get tickets for the niece to see them again, almost exactly 10 years later! & that’s what I did (minus the selling of my kidney on the black market lol).

I also want to state that the marketing team for the Jonas Brothers deserve a raise! Their cryptic posts leading up to the show had fans going nuts trying to figure out the set list and what surprises would be coming next. The intrigue for all things Jonas has been heavy for months now and that is extremely good for the brand. 😉

The show started at about 7:45 with Jordan McGraw, who played a pretty short set. Bebe Rexha came out next and played her hits, which got the crowd pumped up even more for the guys.

While the crew was setting up the main stage, the crowd started SCREAMING and everyone was turned towards the back of the arena. The Jonas fam all walked in and grabbed seats in the VIP Section, but you would’ve thought the guys had walked out! It was really nice to see a packed arena mostly comprised of young girls all cheering for the guy’s wives, daughters, family and friends rather than hating on them for changing their relationship status haha. Kevin’s daughters must’ve thought it was the coolest thing ever!

Anyway, the guys came on at about 9:30pm and it was absolutely insane. They had the perfect mix of old hits sprinkled with new songs off of their Happiness Begins album. There was a mini stage set up in the back of the arena, in the VIP section, so every seat in the arena was a good one. Whether you were in the back sections or the front, you got a chance to see the guys just a little bit closer than you would with just a regular end-stage setup. The music was loud, the vocals were on-point and the whole production was very well thought out and put together. You can tell that a lot of preparation went into this tour and everything was executed perfectly. My only wish is that is was being filmed! Who knows, with all the surprises they’ve had for everyone lately, maybe it was. The show ended at about 11:20pm.

At one point towards the end of the show, the guys brought out Sebastian Yatra, Natti Natasha and surprised everyone by bringing out Daddy Yankee for a special performance of “Runaway”. Between special guests, confetti canons, pyro, fireworks and those silly inflatable dancing creatures, the show was just a party from start to finish. Even outside of the arena was decorated with balloons and made it feel like a party despite the heat and humidity haha. There were also little photo op areas throughout the hallways of the arena.

I also want to point out that I’ve been to A LOT of concerts, and this one might be at the top as far as high-energy is concerned. I mean that sincerely. The crowd was jumping and screaming and singing the words back to the guys the entire time and all I kept thinking about was their documentary, where Kevin asked if anyone would care that they were getting the band back together. After seeing the first show of the Happiness Begins Tour last night here in Miami, I hope that question has been answered for him and erased any doubts they might’ve had.  It’s obvious that the fans are here to stay!

I HIGHLY recommend checking this show out if you get the chance. The tickets are a big pricey, but they’re honestly worth it. A huge congratulations goes out to the guys on the success of their first show back and well wishes for the rest of the tour!

 

Check out the set list for our show below:

We are the Jonas Brothers (video intro)
Rollercoaster
S.O.S.
Cool
Only Human
Strangers
That’s Just the Way We Roll
Fly With Me
Used to Be
Hesitate
Can’t Have You
Jealous
Cake by the Ocean
Comeback
When You Look Me in the Eyes
I Believe
Mandy / Paranoid / Got Me Going Crazy / Play My Music (medley)
Hold On / World War III / Tonight (medley)
Runaway (with Sebastian Yatra, Daddy Yankee and Natti Natasha)
Lovebug
Year 3000

ENCORE

Burnin’ Up
Sucker

Movie Review by Kristin: FIVE FEET APART

Wowwwwwww. I finally got a chance to see FIVE FEET APART last night, and my only regret is that I didn’t see it sooner!

SYNOPSIS: Seventeen-year-old Stella spends most of her time in the hospital as a cystic fibrosis patient. Her life is full of routines, boundaries and self-control — all of which get put to the test when she meets Will, an impossibly charming teen who has the same illness. There’s an instant flirtation, though restrictions dictate that they must maintain a safe distance between them. As their connection intensifies, so does the temptation to throw the rules out the window and embrace that attraction.

Let me start by saying that the cast in FIVE FEET APART was amazing. The story focuses on Stella (Haley Lu Richardson), Will (Cole Sprouse) and Poe (Moises Arias), all of which have Cystic Fibrosis. Their performances throughout this movie were absolutely incredible. You have the besties who can’t console each other as other besties would. You have the lovebirds who can’t touch each other or be any closer than six (five) feet apart. It’s heartbreaking & their performances really convey those feelings to the viewer. Even the supporting cast was great!

It should come as no shock that Justin Baldoni put together such an amazing film. Have you seen his proposal video???? I’m linking that HERE because it’s epic in every sense of the word lol. FIVE FEET APART was beautifully shot and you can tell he sprinkled some of that Baldoni magic on it!

Admittedly, this story looked similar to other young adult movies that involve an illness, so I was expecting the same outcome. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the differences though! I laughed, I cried, I cried and I cried some more. This movie was beautiful and tragic at the same time, in the best way possible.

SPOILER ALERT: After it was over, my mother said, “I really liked this movie. I’m so glad neither of them died.” My response was that I’m not sure which would be worse, having someone die and not be able to touch them or to have someone right in front of you and not be able to touch them. Obviously, I’d rather not have someone die, but can you imagine the torture of being able to see that person you love standing right across from you and never being able to feel their touch? Bleh!

Cole Sprouse, Haley Lu Richardson and Moises Arias were phenomenal. You truly felt their pain, their guilt, their love and their friendship. It was an interesting look into Cystic Fibrosis that most people, including myself, were unaware of.

I highly recommend watching this movie with a box of tissues (or two) and then watch it again and again! ♥️

 

FIVE FEET APART | Official Channels

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | #FiveFeetApart

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: ALADDIN

aladdin_4c_payoff_one_sheet_27x40_cmykGood morning, movie lovers! Happy Hump Day!

Last night I was able to catch a screening of Disney’s live-action ALADDIN here in Miami and, I have to say, it was much better than I expected!

Leading up to this Friday’s release, I feel like the movie hasn’t had a lot of promotion. Everywhere I look there are promos for this Summer’s release of The Lion King, but barely anything for ALADDIN. I’m hoping that word of mouth will do the movie some good!

Let me preface my review by saying that I’ve always loved Aladdin. The original movie was one of my favorites & I loooooooved the game on Sega. Collecting apples, leaping onto wooden stairs and hopping from stone to stone to avoid lava in the Cave of Wonders. This movie has all of that, which brings back a strong sense of nostalgia. Who doesn’t love that??

With that being said, let me get to the cast. There were some strong feelings going around when the cast was announced. Not necessarily from myself, but the only actor involved that I really knew of was Will Smith, who was cast as Genie. Mena Massoud (Aladdin) and Naomi Scott (Princess Jasmine) were unknown to me, but now I can’t wait to see what they do next! The three of them carried the film, along with some scene stealers by Abu, Aladdin’s infamous pet monkey. The chemistry between Massoud’s Aladdin and Scott’s Princess Jasmine was evident from the beginning. Some of the iconic scenes from the original were recreated here, further enhancing that nostalgia!

Personally, I loved the cast. The only one I thought could have been a bit stronger was the role of Jafar. The actor in this movie has a soft voice that doesn’t seem to carry much power when he’s on screen. This isn’t to take away from his work as an actor, I just don’t know that he was entirely right for this particular role. Jafar always had this menacing presence in the original, and I just didn’t necessarily feel that here.

I loooooved the singing and dancing! They changed things up some, allowing Smith to sort of modernize the role of Genie a bit. Some of his songs have more of a little rap vibe as opposed to regular singing & it worked! My only “complaint,” if you can call it that, was that in some of the dance numbers, it seemed like the timing was sped up a little. It looked like it was in fast mode when I think it would’ve been nicer to see it in real time.

One thing I want to mention again is the modernization in this one in comparison to the original. Aside from Genie’s contribution, we also see a stronger female presence when it comes to Princess Jasmine’s role. This version includes a new song, “Speechless,” that touches on how she’s supposed to be seen and not heard, but she refuses to remain speechless. It’s an important message, especially for little girls, that I’m glad they included & Naomi Scott performs the song beautifully.

Admittedly, I had another idea for who should have played Aladdin, and, as I mentioned before, I had no idea who Mena Massoud was. After watching this, my mind has been changed & I think Massoud played the role of Aladdin way better than I expected! He was charming and really seemed to embody the character we all know and love.

I definitely recommend checking this out when you can! It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it brings back a little piece of our childhood we didn’t know we needed!

 

ALADDIN | Official Channels

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | #Aladdin

 

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: THE LAST SUMMER

Happy Hump Day, movie lovers!

I was able to check out Netflix’s newest rom-com, THE LAST SUMMER this week and, I have to say, I enjoyed it!

SYNOPSIS: Teens from a Chicago high school grapple with their dreams, relationships and identities in a transformative summer before they leave for college. 

Let’s start off with the cast. This cast was a mix of well-known actors (KJ Apa as Griffin, Maia Mitchell as Phoebe and Tyler Posey as Ricky) and relatively unknowns. Some of the characters were a bit over the top, and I’m not sure if that was due to a lack of experience or if that’s just how the characters were made to be. Either way, the majority of the cast fit really well together in their own little storylines. They’re never all together in one scene, which contributes to making this movie a bit more relatable for some people. In high school, you’re not always in this huge group of people that always gets along. Sometimes you’re alone or with one friend or with that person you have heart eyes for.

Each set of storylines were interesting to watch play out. Whether you’re recently graduating from high school or you graduated long ago, we all remember that crossroads moment when you realize everything is about to change. The characters in THE LAST SUMMER are all facing that familiar crossroad, so it brings back a sense of nostalgia for the viewer. Relationship troubles, applying to colleges, not getting into the college you had your eyes set on, figuring out where you’re headed and what mistakes you’ve made along the way . . . all of that plays out in this movie.

There’s not much action and it may not be my favorite movie ever, but it’s definitely worth a watch. The cast is great, the setting makes you want to pack your bags and head to Chicago, and it’s just a feel good movie that brings you back to that special time when you truly discover that life is at your fingertips.

Check it out for yourself, now on Netflix, and let me know what you thought!

Movie Review by Kristin: Netflix’s BRAIN ON FIRE

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Holy shish kabobs!

I saw the trailer for BRAIN ON FIRE on Netflix a while ago, and I finally had a chance to sit down and watch it this week.

For the most part it was pretty slow-moving, but seeing as this movie was based on the real life story of Susannah Cahalan, it was also pretty terrifying.

SYNOPSIS: Susannah Cahalan is a promising writer at the New York Post. She’s young, she’s happy and she’s living her best life in NYC. When she begins exhibiting unexplained erratic & violent behavior, her parents & doctors race the clock to correctly diagnose her condition and to bring Susannah back.

The first half of the movie, as I mentioned, was pretty slow-moving. This is no action movie, but it’s the telling of the real Susannah Cahalan’s experience with a rare condition called anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. So, the slowness is just us watching a normal day in Susannah’s life before experiencing any symptoms. Once she begins experiencing symptoms, it’s a downhill battle because no one knows exactly what’s causing her behavior and none of her doctors know what her diagnosis is just yet.

It was interesting to watch the movie and watch this person go through something as terrifying as basically being trapped inside of your own body, and then to read the facts about how many people go through this unknowingly.

If you want to watch the movie for yourself, you can catch it on Netflix now, and you can also read the memoir by the real Susannah Cahalan, also titled Brain on Fire.

 

Movie Review by Kristin: THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES | Starring Kurt Russell

IMG_5238Good morning, everyone!

I’m hoping that everyone is feeling the Christmas spirit – what with Christmas only being less than a week away and all. I’ve just been cookie-baking and Christmas shopping and feeling the onset of my anxiety when I think about what I’ve spent and what I’ll eventually have to pay back lol. I did find some time to sit down and watch THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES on Netflix this weekend and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised!

SYNOPSIS: The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about. 

Kurt Russell is THE perfect Santa Claus. He’s the coolest version I’ve ever seen in a movie, that’s for sure. What other Santa have YOU seen that wears a red leather coat? I’d also seen that the people who handled the special effects in the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Home Alone also handled the special effects in this one, so I went into it with pretty high expectations. With that being said, I thought they did a fantastic job. I remember thinking to myself that this is the perfect Christmas movie for kids to see because not only was Santa relatable and very human-like, but it was everything that I think a child might try to envision. For example, how does Santa carry around gifts for so many children in one little bag on his sleigh? This movie brings that idea to life and allows children to see what the inside of that bag might look like.

While I, myself, became salty that a fictional character was taking all of the credit for my hard work in buying gifts for my niece when she was younger, I still found myself enjoying this movie very much. It had the corniness that all Christmas movies have, but it also had adventure and a coolness about it. It brings imagination to life in a new way. I’ve seen a few people say that this movie is safe for children 10+ to watch, but I also have friends who have watched this with their younger children & they loved it. It’s an edgy twist on the idea of Santa and I highly recommend checking it out! If you’re not 100% sure if you should watch it with your young ones, perhaps you should watch it yourself first. Either way, curl up on the couch with some popcorn and hot cocoa and enjoy the swag that Kurt Russell brings to the character!