Movie Review by Kristin: Disney’s Live Action ALADDIN

aladdin_4c_payoff_one_sheet_27x40_cmyk

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

 

 

 

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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: 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!

Movie Review by Kristin: A STAR IS BORN | Starring Bradley Cooper & Lady Gaga

IMG_2249Happy Saturday, movie lovers!

I just got back from an early morning showing of A STAR IS BORN and I am absolutely blown away. It was even better than I expected and seeing it in Dolby (thanks, AMC) made it even more incredible.

In case you were unaware of the plot:

SYNOPSIS: A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Let me start by saying that I listened to the soundtrack for A STAR IS BORN yesterday while I was at work and was pleasantly surprised by the vocals on Bradley Cooper! The music itself was fantastic, but his vocals really proved how versatile and talented he truly is. The tracks with him and Lady Gaga made me want a full album of just them singing with each other. It was really that good! With that being said, here is my warning for those of you that decide to listen to the soundtrack before watching the movie:

YOU WILL KNOW THE ENDING.

IMG_2250Between each track is a dialogue track pulled straight from the movie. As I was listening to each track, I could almost feel the tone of their relationship changing. Once it got to the last three tracks, I called my co-worker and asked if the soundtrack just ruined the ending of the movie for me lol. Update: It did. However, with that being said, nothing could prepare you for the incredible performances given by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in this movie.

Consider the fact that this was her first (major) acting role and this was his first time actually singing and “becoming” a musician. They were both kind of walking in the other’s shoes and did so perfectly. I’m convinced that Bradley Cooper, not only as an actor/performer, but as a filmmaker is an absolute genius. This was his directorial debut and he nailed it, in my opinion. The shots were beautiful & there were moments where there was no dialogue, but you knew exactly what they were saying just by looking at each other. The trust between him and Lady Gaga as actors was evident throughout the whole thing. You felt what the characters were feeling. You were invested in their relationship and you rooted for them to succeed. Even the performances by the supporting cast was great. Ally’s friend Ramon (Anthony Ramos) didn’t get much air time, but played a pivotal role in her life and the relationship with Jack. Bobby (Sam Elliott) was great as Jack’s brother and really played a part in breaking my heart throughout the movie.

I love movies and I love music, so any time that they can be combined into one incredible piece of art — I’m there for it. There was no exception here and I am highly recommending it to anyone reading this review. It’s gritty, it’s important, it’s beautiful, it’s tragic. Bradley Cooper allowed the movie to breathe without us feeling like they were shoving dialogue and a fake story down our throats. It felt real and I might need convincing that there isn’t an actual Jack Maine & Ally out there on tour together right now lol. Side Note: Can Sam Elliott lend his voice to a meditating app or something? Let’s make that happen, people!

The only “complaint” I can muster is that there are a few scenes in the trailer (see below) that don’t appear in the movie and I wish they had, but here’s to hoping for an extended version once it’s released on Blu-ray.

So go out and see it now that it’s in theaters! Let me know your thoughts when you do. Do you think this will be Oscar-nominated? I actually think it could be and it honestly couldn’t be more deserving. Great job by all!

In theaters now!

A STAR IS BORN | Official Channels

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | #AStarIsBorn

Movie Review by Kristin: THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY

IMG_1667Good morning, everyone!

I was browsing the available content on Netflix this weekend and stumbled upon this cute little movie, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY.

SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of World War II, a writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

I’ve been so impressed with the quality content Netflix has included in their library lately. I’m a sucker for movies and a sucker for books, so this one was a no-brainer for me. The cast was great and the storyline was interesting. The story is set in the 1940’s and follows the characters retelling their experiences of Nazi Occupied Guernsey to London author, Juliet Ashton. While she intends to write an article about the society and their experiences, she finds and values their friendship even more. She begins to reevaluate what she wants for her own life and helps the group find some sort of peace once they open up about the loss of a friend.

The scenery in the film was absolutely lovely and we get a glimpse of England (for those of us who have never had the pleasure of visiting). The performances were great in this. Surprisingly, Kate Winslet was slated to portray Juliet Ashton, but she dropped out of the project before filming began. Honestly, as much as I love Kate Winslet as an actress and human being, I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role other than Lily James. She really embraced the role and gave such an endearing performance.

THE GUERNSEY LITERARY & POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY does run a bit long — it sits at 124 minutes. It does include some drama, some comedy, a few flashbacks and the recipe for an old-fashioned romance, so it’s not difficult to hold your interest (in my opinion).

This is truly a beautiful story of love, friendship and the sadness of friends lost.