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

 

 

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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.

Movie Review by Kristin: IRREPLACEABLE YOU

IMG_1668Holy crap.

I admit that I can be a bit emotional at times during shows like This Is Us and movies like Love, Simon. None, however, have made me ugly cry quite like this one.

SYNOPSIS: Recently engaged couple Abbie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Sam (Michiel Huisman) find their dreams for the future shattered when she receives a terminal-cancer diagnosis. Abbie copes with the news by attending a support group, and by trying to plan the details of Sam’s life after she’s gone — which includes finding him a new partner.

IRREPLACEABLE YOU is a bit predictable in the sense that the main characters, Abbie and Sam, discover her diagnosis so early in the film, but the way it’s handled is heartbreaking and lovely all at the same time. I also feel like it was a bit sugar-coated because we never saw Abbie get extremely sick the way that we know cancer can play out — but I’m kind of thankful for that. We know what’s happening, we don’t necessarily have to witness every detail. In that respect, I also think it’s very telling that you’re able to be so emotionally invested in this couple despite not seeing the very worst of this horrible disease. It says a lot about the actors in each scene.

The performances by Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michiel Huisman were very sweet and raw. You really felt the love they had for each other, which made the outcome even more beautiful and heartbreaking. With that being said, even though the ending is predictable, watching it play out in such a way had me hooked. It was also fun to see Christopher Walken play a friend to Abbie throughout the film and, ultimately, being the person who made her look at her life differently.

My only complaint is that we didn’t get enough scenes with Kate McKinnon in them! Aside from that, this was a great little movie. One of the moments that really got me was when Abbie tells Sam that she thought planning his future would hurt less than her accepting that she won’t be around to see it. UGHHHHHHH. If you like the odd concoction of sad, romantic and funny movies, I definitely recommend this one.

Side note: I absolutely loved Sam’s dimples in the movie, and I was absolutely SHOOK to discover that he played Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones! Yes, the one that hooked up with Khaleesi and got dumped! Funny what a pair of glasses and a shave could do!

Movie Review by Kristin: TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

IMG_1526Happy Monday, everyone!

This weekend I had a moment to sit down and watch the highly anticipated TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE on Netflix, and I am SO glad I did.

SYNOPSIS: Lara Jean Covey writes letters to all of her past loves, the letters are meant for her eyes only. Until one day when all the love letters are sent out to her previous loves. Her life is soon thrown into chaos when her foregoing loves confront her one by one.

What an adorable teen romantic comedy! I have to hand it to Netflix because they have not let me down with their Originals lately. I will admit that I had not read the book by Jenny Han prior to watching the film, so I had nothing to compare it to, but wow!

The cast was fantastic, the story was so cute and relatable, and it really tugged at your feelings while watching it. You felt for Lara Jean when her letters got out — the anxiety of someone knowing your personal feelings when you weren’t expecting them to and feeling like you don’t know how to stop what’s happening. I saw so much of myself in Lara Jean even though I’m in my 30’s, so I think it’s really a film that anyone can enjoy.

So many of us have had that experience where we’re not quite sure how to express our feelings towards someone we’re afraid of being rejected by. You’ve had that box hidden in the back of your closet with unsent letters containing your most private feelings at some point in your life. I know I have, and if those had ever been sent out, you’d probably find me in a cave somewhere hibernating until it blew over. No lie! That’s probably what made Condor’s portrayal of Lara Jean so likable is that even though she was mortified, she took control of the situation and didn’t back down.

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I know that with book-to-film adaptations, readers already have a preconceived idea of what the characters would look like and are often disappointed with the outcome. However, in this case, the majority of the readers (& viewers) seem to think Lana Condor was the perfect Lara Jean and Noah Centineo was the perfect Peter Kavinsky. So kudos to the casting crew in addition to the phenomenal performances from the cast!

This is definitely a modern day John Hughes film if I ever saw one. I honestly can’t come up with any complaints. In order to provide a little insight from a younger perspective, my niece, who is 14, also saw it with her friends and absolutely loved it.

If you’re into rom-coms, I highly recommend checking this out on Netflix when you can. If (and when) you do, let me know what you thought! I’ll just be in my little corner reading the book now.

Movie Review by Kristin: THE SONG

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Hey there, movie lovers!

On my lunch break at work the other day, I decided to check out this movie on Hulu. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it starred Alan Powell, who I really enjoyed on this last season of Quantico. You might also recognize him as one of the former members of Christian band, Anthem Lights.

I quickly realized that this was a Christian-themed movie, which actually tied in really well with the storyline. I’m not a religious person, but I think the balance played well for viewers who are and for viewers–like me–who aren’t. With that being said, I can’t offer my opinion on how well it actually ties in with the story of King Solomon, so my opinion is solely based on the movie itself.

SYNOPSIS: An aspiring singer-songwriter’s life and marriage suffer when the song he writes for his wife propels him to stardom.

There is a heavy voice-over reciting the story of King Solomon (I only know this because I googled it lol) that I felt sort of overpowered certain scenes. Jed (Alan Powell) provides the voice-over and while his voice is great for voice-overs, I just was not grasping it in its entirety. I was more focused on what was happening in the scene.

The storyline is one that we’ve seen fairly often. An up-and-coming musician finds his muse, hits it big, gets wrapped up in the fame, ruins certain aspects of his life and then seeks redemption. However, Alan Powell does such a great job at playing the love-sick husband and the douchebag musician that his performance almost gives the story a fresh spin. The other performances were surprisingly good as well.

It wasn’t my favorite film I’ve ever seen, but it was definitely worth the hour and 56 minutes of watching it. I’m a sucker for films that include a live performance aspect, so I might be biased in saying that I did really enjoy this one.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Movie Review by Kristin: BRAVEN

I finally logged into my PrimeVideo app and saw that BRAVEN was featured. I’ve been wanting to check it out and now was my chance! Naturally, I couldn’t turn away because Jason Momoa. Am I right?

SYNOPSIS: A logger and his father head to their hunting cabin, hoping for a quiet weekend. Instead, they find themselves in a kill-or-be-killed stand for survival when they encounter a gang of ruthless drug traffickers.

This was a great movie. Jason Momoa is a beast as Joe Braven. It sucks that he’s sort of type casted into these tough guy roles, but the tough guy role was coupled with the family man role in this one & he balanced them perfectly.

Throughout the film, you feel this sense of urgency for the protagonists. Joe is trying to protect his daughter and his father, who is suffering from dementia. He’s trying to do the right thing for one person & it may not be the right thing for the other. It had me tense the whole time.

I would recommend checking this out. There were beautiful images shown during the opening credits that made me google where Braven was filmed lol. Google’s answer was Newfoundland, Canada (thanks, Google). The storyline was interesting and I think it was executed very well.

Check it out & let me know what you thought!

Review: BELIEVER – A Documentary From Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons) on HBO

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I had the chance to sit down and watch BELIEVER on HBO this weekend and it was so good!

SYNOPSIS: Believer follows Mormon Dan Reynolds, frontman for the Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons, as he takes on a new mission to explore how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.

Dan Reynolds (Imagine Dragons) grew up in the Mormon faith alongside his family and friends in Utah. The Mormon doctrine believes that homosexuality is a sin, and they’ve even been known to remove allies from their church. There have been some amendments to their policies over the years, but the astounding number of suicides among teenagers in the Mormon community is still rising.

This prompted Dan to team up with Tyler Glenn (Neon Trees lead singer & fellow Mormon) to look for ways to bring awareness to these situations within the Mormon community. They formed the LoveLoud Festival and this documentary follows their journey in getting the festival organized. One of my favorite parts in the documentary is when Dan’s wife, Aja, is explaining to their young daughter what it means to be gay/transgender. I explained it to my niece the exact same way when she was around the same age and I don’t regret it one bit. Because I did that when she was young, my niece has always been inclusive towards all human beings. Seeing a similar experience documented with their adorable daughter was very special.

It’s an interesting documentary, to say the least. With the help of Tyler, Aja, and several people who are a part of the Mormon community, they shed light on the things that need to change, and continue to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community.

I recommend watching it, without a doubt. As an ally to the LGBTQ community myself, I think it’s important to see how shunning a person due to their sexual orientation/preference can cause so much harm to that individual and their family. If we want to keep our brothers and sisters safe, we need to be inclusive and supportive. This documentary does a fantastic job of that.

 

I’ll leave you with this incredible tweet from Dan Reynolds via Twitter:

THE ORIGINALS | S5E2 | “One Wrong Turn On Bourbon” Review [Podcast]

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Heyyyyyy…I know we’re a bit late in getting these out to ya’ll, but better late than never, right? One of us was busy taking care of two sick kiddies and it wasn’t me! So here is the first of three catch-up reviews!

Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ThisIsKristin_ and @mikethemovieguy) and Instagram! You can tweet us or comment on Insta and we just might read your comments on air next week.

SYNOPSIS: When a mysterious disappearance brings Klaus back to New Orleans, Hope looks forward to the prospect of seeing her father again. However, when the dark magic that had been keeping them apart begins to manifest in dangerous ways across the city, Vincent turns to Ivy for guidance about what it may mean. Elsewhere, Marcel returns to New Orleans amidst increased tensions between the supernatural factions, while Freya makes a decision about her future with Keelin. Finally, Roman’s surprise visit to the Mikaelson compound forces Hope to reveal some dark truths about her family.

Send us your thoughts, favorite moments and fan theories and we’ll try to answer you On Air!

Tune in to The CW on Wednesday nights at 9/8c for more of the 5th and final season of The Originals!

THE ORIGINALS | S5E1 | “Where You Left Your Heart” Review [Podcast]

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Hey there, vamp fans!

Welcome back to another season recapping The Originals! Unfortunately, this is the last season for the show, but I’m sure we have a heck of a season ahead of us.

Check out the podcast below and let us know what you thought of the premiere episode!

Also, make sure to follow us on Twitter (@ThisIsKristin_ and @mikethemovieguy) and Instagram! You can tweet us or comment on Insta and we just might read your comments on air next week.

SYNOPSIS: Desperate to see her father Klaus after seven years, Hope resorts to drastic measures to bring her father back to New Orleans. Hayley attempts to minimize the fallout from Hope’s actions, but not before news of what she’s done ripples through the city. Meanwhile, Freya’s guilt over not being able to reunite her family gets in the way of her happiness with Keelin, while Rebekah struggles with her inability to fully commit to Marcel. Finally, struggling without Elijah by his side, Klaus’ murderous rampage throughout Europe leads to an unexpected encounter with Caroline Forbes.

Special shout out to our friends over on Twitter this week:

@theoriginalsaaf, @fairlyliterary, @_inthenova, @mrlsmith21, @jkimmay5, @the7thmatrix, @nerdette, @toomuchtelly, @hailqueenebony

Send us your thoughts, favorite moments and fan theories and we’ll try to answer you On Air!

Tune in to The CW on Wednesday nights at 9/8c for more of the 5th and final season of The Originals!

STARS ON ICE 2018 Tour Review | #StarsOnIce #Review

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Ice skating fascinated me at an early age. I remember stopping whatever I was doing so I could sit down to watch it with my mom whenever it was on. Scott Hamilton’s back flips were always my favorite. When I was about 11, my cousin had a birthday party at the Miami Ice Arena (which no longer exists). I was so excited to get out there and glide gracefully across the ice like Michelle Kwan, Tara Lipinski and Kristi Yamaguchi. Sadly, that did not happen. As soon as I put one skate on the ice it all went downhill & I spent the entire birthday party, by myself, holding onto the wall as I attempted to make my way around the rink. It was a complete disaster. I also recall overhearing my aunt telling someone that paying for me to attend the party was a complete waste of money. Luckily, I’ve since learned how to “skate”–if just making your way around the rink without falling or holding onto the wall is considered skating.

SOI_USA2018_13x19_BradieMy love and appreciation for ice skating was renewed during the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Watching Mirai Nagasu become the first U.S. woman to land the triple axel in the Olympics; Maia & Alex Shibutani (#ShibSibs) winning the bronze medal in ice dancing; Team USA winning the bronze in the team event; Nathan Chen’s redemption after a devastating short program to land SIX quads in his long program, and watching Adam Rippon’s flawless routines and hilarious interviews while welcoming him into our hearts was an experience I got to share with my mom and it reignited that flame for the sport.

So, needless to say, when I saw that Stars On Ice would be making its way down to South Florida, I just had to buy tickets–especially considering the fact that my birthday was the day after the show. It’s like the stars aligned!

The tour kicked off in Ft. Myers on April 6th, with a follow-up show in Orlando April 7th that was filmed for television (check your local listings for Saturday, April 14th). Skaters included Olympic Bronze Medalists Maia & Alex Shibutani and members of America’s Olympic Bronze Medal-winning team Nathan Chen, Adam Rippon, Mirai Nagasu, Bradie Tennell and Madison Hubbell & Zachary Donohue. Plus Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis & Charlie White, World Silver Medalist Ashley Wagner and U.S. Champions Jason Brown and Karen Chen.

1323356447_STARSONICEStarBNWREL[1]Our show was in Ft. Lauderdale/Sunrise, Florida on April 8th and it was nothing short of amazing. The lights reflecting off of the ice were mesmerizing, and the outfits sparkled like hundreds of tiny diamonds. (The only thing missing was Adam singing Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” but I digress.)

The show opened with a group number to P!nk’s “Raise Your Glass,” followed by individual performances from each skater. There were also mini performances sprinkled throughout the entire show with 3-6 skaters at a time. Adam joined the ShibSibs for one song; Zachary, Madison, Meryl, Charlie, Nathan & Ashley combined forces to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”; a beautiful performance featuring Ashley, Karen, Bradie and Madison; there was a girls only number, and an energetic boys only number to Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still.” You can also expect a brief 20-minute intermission in the middle of the show that returns with more individual performances and a group number that closes the show. Some of the other songs you can expect to hear during the show are “Remedy” by Adele and “Let Me Think About It” by Ida Corr (Adam Rippon), “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake (Jason Brown), “Elastic Heart” by Sia (Meryl & Charlie), “Never Enough” by Loren Allred (Karen Chen), “This Is Me” by The Greatest Showman Cast (Bradie Tennell), “Nemesis” by Benjamin Clementine (Nathan Chen), plus songs from P!nk (Ashley Wagner), Wicked on Broadway (Mirai Nagasu), Hamilton on Broadway and more.

Sadly, I missed Nathan Chen’s quad in person because workers at the BB&T Center kept walking down to stop people from recording videos on their phones and were blocking my view, BUT I know it happened because everyone went nuts. The atmosphere was amazing and it was nice to see people of all ages and backgrounds in one room–just don’t try to record video because it does distract from other’s experiences. There’s a strict policy against flash photography and video recording, so just don’t.

Since our show took place the day before my birthday, I splurged a bit and bought Meet & Greet tickets for my niece and I. When we finally made our way to the room where it was taking place, the skaters were all seated at tables waiting to sign their lives away. You have the opportunity to speak with each skater, have them sign autographs and take photos. It wasn’t like other “meet & greets” where someone is standing there rushing you through the process. You actually got to meet them, which was nice. Everyone was so kind. Taking into consideration the fact that they’d just completed their third show of the weekend and had to wait until the meet & greet was over so they could eat, I was surprised at the level of kindness they all had for everyone.

Stars On Ice is a show I highly recommend to people of all ages. The music was great, the atmosphere was so positive, and the skating was phenomenal. The entire event is put together so well. Meet and greet tickets are sold out for the remaining shows on the tour, but the show itself is well worth the money. You’re guaranteed to be in awe of the grace, beauty and talent of these skaters on and off the ice.

You can find more information regarding skaters, tickets and merch by visiting the Stars On Ice official site HERE.

You can also click HERE to help Adam Rippon on his quest to raise funds for GLAAD‘s youth program.

 

 

Movie Review by Kristin: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN | #GreatestShowman @GreatestShowman

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Ladies and gentlemen, I finally got to see The Greatest Showman last night!

There’s a new movie theater that I’ve been wanting to check out and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. After work, we headed down there, grabbed a flatbread pizza and lounged in our extra comfy recliner seats. This may not come as a surprise, but I am a sucker for musicals and I’ve been so excited to watch this one–especially because one of my favorite dancers, Shannon Holtzapffel aka The Tattooed Man aka Prince Constantine is in it. But, you know, life happens and I ended up seeing it super late.

SYNOPSIS: “The Greatest Showman” is a bold and original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and the sense of wonder we feel when dreams come to life. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a mesmerizing spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

In any case, I really enjoyed it! The soundtrack was absolutely phenomenal and now I’m extra salty that I wasn’t able to be a part of the sing-along viewings they had recently. The movie had a great message about embracing what makes you different, and also to remain true to yourself rather than conforming to society’s idea of perfection just to fit in. I think, in this day and age, these are extremely important messages to convey to younger generations. Bullying is at an all-time high, so it’s important to teach children to be accepting of those who seem different and to be satisfied with themselves despite their own differences. Those messages were never lost throughout the one hour and forty-five minute showtime.

The singing and dancing were fantastic, the cast was great and, while the special effects could have been a bit better, I thought this was a solid musical that everyone should go out and see. Hugh Jackman was the perfect person to play P.T. Barnum. He’s energetic, he’s theatrical and he has a great voice. Fans of Wolverine might be surprised to see him in this kind of role, but most of us knew he got his start doing musicals. Zac Efron and Zendaya were also great, but that was already expected. What wasn’t expected was how good Michelle Williams was playing Barnum’s wife, Charity Barnum. I know she’s a great actress, but she was exceptionally good in this role. Keala Settle plays the role of the “bearded lady” and WOW! She has a powerhouse voice that cuts through every song she’s a part of. This is definitely not the last we’ve heard of her.

I’ve seen some mixed reviews for the film because some thought it was too cheesy. Let’s be honest with ourselves . . . name one musical that hasn’t been cheesy. I’ll wait. I think cheesiness is part of their charm and you’re kidding yourself if you expect otherwise. Go into this one with an open mind and the willingness to have a whole soundtrack stuck in your head for days because that is what will most definitely happen.

Most importantly, show this to your children. Let them dream. Let them be different. Embrace their differences and teach them to be accepting of others. They’re our future, after all.

Movie Review by Kristin: SKY | #skymovie #moviereview

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Happy Saturday, everyone!

I was finally able to catch SKY on Netflix yesterday and it was pretty interesting. It was definitely an indie/low budget film with very minimal dialogue and kind of left me wanting more. I hate to say that because it wasn’t necessarily due to the performances, but there was a lot missing for me, personally.

Here’s what it was about:

SYNOPSIS: Romy (Diane Kruger) is on holiday in the USA with her French husband, Richard (Gilles Lellouche). But the journey quickly turns into a settling of old scores for this worn out couple. After an ultimate fight, Romy decides to break free. She cuts off her ties to a stable and secure life that has become alienating and escapes to the unknown where she meets Diego (Norman Reedus).

Now, I love Norman Reedus on The Walking Dead, and I’ve seen Diane Kruger in a few projects, but I don’t feel like they were really able to shine in this one. Not because of their respective performances, per say, but because we didn’t even get Norman Reedus until midway through the movie. I also didn’t understand why Lou Diamond Phillips played such a tiny role in this movie. We literally say him for a split second, which was odd. As I mentioned, there was very minimal dialogue, so I don’t feel like we were really on the ride with the characters. The relationship between Romy (aka Rabbit) and Diego was obvious in some parts, but I was curious to know how much time had passed since they’d met. The majority of their “relationship” seems to happen off-screen, which was disappointing.

For the first half of the movie, we see Romy dealing with her abusive husband and then trying to find her own way after finding the courage to leave him. Then she meets Diego in Las Vegas and their whole time together is like, “Hey, I want you around,” and then five minutes later it was like, “Ok, I don’t want a relationship. Go away.” I understand the reason for the push and pull, but I would’ve liked to see more of the sweeter moments between them (i.e. more dialogue).

Aside from that, it wasn’t a bad movie. It was just very slow-moving. If you’re a fan of indie movies and enjoy the slow drama, then you just might be a fan of this one.

Movie Review by Kristin | WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY | #whathappenedtomonday #moviereview

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Ho. Ly. Shit. Balls. This movie was CRAZY!!!

SYNOPSIS: Living outside the law in a world where families are limited to one child due to overpopulation, a set of identical septuplets face off against brutal government forces when their sister goes missing.

WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY stars Noomi Rapace, Glenn Close and Willem Dafoe, with Rapace playing the role of all seven siblings–Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, who all take on the persona of Karen Settman while out in public on their respective day.

This movie had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. At times it reminded me a bit of Divergent or The Hunger Games because of the dystopian setting, but it definitely stood on its own two feet. Noomi Rapace is absolutely incredible. She really tackled the personalities of all seven sisters, along with the identity they all had to uphold as Karen Settman. It was full of action from beginning to end.

I’m not sure what kind of promotion was available for this particular movie because I hadn’t heard anything about it up until this week, but it’s definitely one that should be talked about. My mouth dropped so many times during the 2 hours of insanity–which is a sign of a great movie. I would absolutely recommend it!

 

Movie Review by Kristin: IT | #ITMovie @ITMovieOfficial

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Goooooood morning!!!

It’s actually a GREAT morning because I was able to sleep after watching IT last night with the family! I don’t know why I agreed to watch that movie at night, but I did. I was tense the entire time and then took the most nerve-wracking shower I’ve ever taken in my life because I was certain that Pennywise was standing outside my shower curtain. Did I mention that I am NOT a horror movie person . . . AT ALL?!

SYNOPSIS: When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

Let me start by saying: 1) I do not like clowns. In no way, shape or form do I think a grown adult should be dressing up like that and entertaining children. lol. It’s just creepy in general. 2) As I already mentioned, I am not a horror movie fan, I don’t enjoy being scared, and I totally had to fall asleep last night watching FRIENDS on Netflix so I wouldn’t keep thinking about Pennywise the damn Dancing Clown!!

With that being said . . . the movie was actually better than I expected. I kept getting mad at the typical person walking into the basement instead of out of the house, but I digress. The majority of the cast were minors and I thought they all did a fantastic job! The script was great and they delivered the foul-mouthed lines perfectly. Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Eddie had to be one of my favorites. The other members of the self-proclaimed  “Losers” group alongside Jack Dylan Grazer were Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard (Mike on Stranger Things), Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs and Wyatt Oleff.

From watching the trailers, you would think that the sole purpose of the movie is for the kids to defeat Pennywise, but I like the little plot twist. It’s more about their fears than it is of Pennywise himself. He represents the respective fear for each of the kids, and I thought that was pretty interesting. It taught me two things: 1) Don’t let anyone know what your fear is and then maybe it won’t try to kill you, and 2) It you ever have to face your biggest fear, make sure you have the kids of Derry on your side.

Aside from being so incredible tense throughout the movie, I thought it was really good. The cast was phenomenal, the plot was interesting and the only complaint I really have is not being able to understand Pennywise a lot of the time because he constantly drooled and slurred his words. But, then again, I probably didn’t want to hear what he had to say anyway! So check it out and, as always, let me know what you thought!

 

Movie Review by Kristin: ALLIED | @AlliedMovie #AlliedMovie

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What’s up, movie lovers?

I had some time yesterday to sit down and watch a movie, so I decided to indulge my Brad Pitt-loving self and watch ALLIED on Amazon Prime. It wasn’t my favorite Brad Pitt movie of all time, but the performances were fantastic!

The movie stars Brad Pitt as Max Vatan and Marion Cotillard as Marianne Beauséjour.

SYNOPSIS: In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.

Ok, so here’s what I thought . . .

The first part of the movie had a fair amount of action, but, I admit, I was hoping for a little more. Max and Marion are posing as husband and wife in order to infiltrate and, later, assassinate a German ambassador. I just felt like there was this huge buildup towards the assassination and then maybe 5 minutes where they actually put the plan into action. Personally, I was more interested in finding out who these people were and why they were put together for this particular mission. I don’t necessarily feel like we ever got that answer where Marianne was concerned though. Even the relationship between Marianne and Max felt contrived as opposed to being able to see them gradually fall in love. When Max asked her to come with him to London, I thought it was still part of a mission rather than genuine affection for her. Sure, there was some sexual tension between them in the first part of the movie, but it just didn’t feel like enough for the relationship to continue on elsewhere. I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t, but maybe that was intentional.

The cinematography here was great also. You really felt like you were in the scene with the characters. One of the craziest scenes was a birth scene where nurses rush the patient out in the street during a bomb raid to deliver her baby. With ash floating around them and fire in the sky, the baby was born surrounded by clapping nurses. It was rather unrealistic, but beautifully shot!

Overall, I’m glad I caught this though. The performances by Pitt and Cotillard were fantastic, but I’m a bit biased where Brad Pitt is concerned (don’t judge me). My jaw dropped at least twice throughout the film, which is always a great thing! I would recommend watching this at least once because it definitely held my interest throughout.

I was able to watch ALLIED for free as part of my Amazon Prime membership, but it’s also available on iTunes, DVD and Blu-ray now! Check it out and let me know your thoughts!

Movie Review by Kristin: THOR: RAGNAROK | #ThorRagnarok #thor @thorofficial

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Helloooooooo, movie lovers!!

I got to see a 3-D screening of THOR: RAGNAROK last night here in Miami, and I have to say . . . this might just take the top spot for me! It’s definitely the most entertaining of the Thor movies.

Now, I might be a bit biased because I love me some Chris Hemsworth, but this movie had the perfect balance of action and comedy that I felt set it apart from the others. I don’t remember the other films being consistently funny throughout the entire two hours, but this one had everyone laughing (in a good way) for a lot of it. The interactions between Thor and Hulk were some of the best moments for me. I also loved the female presence in this one. Cate Blanchett as Hela aka the Goddess of Death, and Tessa Thompson were such bad asses in this movie and it’s nice to see women being represented as such in a genre geared towards boys and men. Women enjoy these characters and films too, so it’s nice to see them being included and represented as strong, powerful beings that can kick ass with the best of them!

The cast was fantastic, and there were even a few surprise appearances thrown in that made it even better. I’m about to throw in a spoiler alert regarding those appearances, so if you don’t want to know, skip through to the synopsis.

SPOILER ALERT: Doctor Strange played a small part in the film, Matt Damon goes uncredited but plays an actor imitating Loki.

 

SYNOPSIS: Imprisoned, the mighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

This is definitely my favorite Thor movie. If you’re contemplating whether or not to see it in 3-D, I say do it! I wear glasses all of the time, so it’s a bit of a hassle having to put those 3-D glasses on top of my own and it distorts the picture just a bit BUT the effects were great and it was still a cool experience. Whether it’s 3-D or not, I strongly suggest seeing this one in the theater. Check it out for yourself and let me know your thoughts on this comedic direction!

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