Reviews

A Dog’s Purpose – Review

a dog's purpose

a dog's purposeIf you are a dog owner, I am sure you have, at one point or another, had the  thought, “I wonder what my dog is thinking right now.” Amblin Entertainment’s newest movie, ‘A Dog’s Purpose,’ sets out to give us that answer by sharing a dog’s perspective on the world they live in. This movie will get you to experience some of the many different emotions a dog could go through –  happiness, laughter and sadness. Dogs are known as ‘man’s best friend’ and generally make people happy. What could be better than a movie completely dedicated to our furry best friends? Because I am a dog lover, I knew I would need to see this movie. 

‘A Dog’s Purpose’ follows one dog’s journey through many different lives. Yes – you read that right. MANY different lives. During one of his lives, a puppy meets a young boy named Ethan (Bryce Gheisar). They form a friendship that cannot be broken. Ethan names his new pup Bailey, and they end up doing everything together. Through Bailey’s many lives, he wonders a lot about why he is ‘here’ and what his ‘purpose’ is. For every new owner he has, he learns another lesson about the importance of love and laughter. 

While I truly believe that ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ was adorable and had a few important messages behind it, I do feel as though the story line was a bit scattered.  I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will not be going into too much detail. At some points during the film, I felt unsure of what I was supposed to be feeling. Bottom line, this movie was really sweet and could teach about the important things in life. I laughed, I smiled and I cried a whole lot! 

‘A Dog’s Life’ is rated PG for “thematic elements and some peril.” I would say be cautious when thinking of bringing your little ones. The movie does touch on a few themes that you may not be comfortable with younger children seeing. Worth noting (and a potential SPOILER – you have been warned), the film depicts the reincarnation of Bailey many times –  which brings up the point that the movie does hint at the dog’s passing each time.

a dog's purpose‘A Dog’s Purpose’ is a beautiful movie that can make you cry and laugh all at the same time! The many different dogs and puppies were great and there is no shortage of cuteness in this movie. I would recommend this movie for any dog lovers. “A Dog’s Purpose’ is such an important reminder of why we should take care of our furry family members and why they are our best friends! 

Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, Juliet Rylance, Luke Kirby, Peggy Lipton, Pooch Hall and Dennis Quaid.

A Dog’s Purpose is produced by Gavin Polone (Zombieland, TV’s Gilmore Girls). The film from Amblin Entertainment and Walden Media is executive produced by Alan Blomquist, Mark Sourian and Lauren Pfeiffer, and it will be distributed by Universal Pictures.

SPLIT – Movie Review

Split

Split

Chances are, if you are reading this review,  you are like me and love watching a good thriller! You know – the one that gives you goosebumps and you just can not look away; a thriller that makes your heart almost pump right out of your chest. That was exactly what I felt while watching M. Night Shyamalan’s newest release, SPLIT. There are many moments of suspense, some terrifying scenes and even a few laughs. This movie had me on the edge of my seat during some scenes and hiding my face for others!

SPLIT begins with three teenage girls, Casey, Claire and Marcia, being kidnapped by Kevin (James McAvoy), a man with DID (dissociative identity disorder). Kevin has 23 different personalities (alters) that live in his mind. The girls soon learn that they were kidnapped by one of these “alters” and they start to meet a few different ones. With the help of a quick thinking Casey (Anya Taylor Joy), they start to slowly figure out what has happened. Now they have to find a way to escape and maybe one of the alters can help them.

In my opinion, this movie was well  put together. M. Night Shyamalan amazes me as a writer, director and producer. I tend to think about the truth behind movies. SPLIT is about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which was more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Many people in the world deal with this disorder. SPLIT was thought provoking and eye opening as to what a person with this disorder may have been through and go through daily.

James McAvoy (Kevin) blew me away with his ability to portray so many different personalities for his role. His many transformations on screen were unbelievable.  I really feel like he put his all into this role and it pays off. Betty Buckley (Dr. Fletcher) also does a beautiful job in her role as Kevin’s therapist. You can feel every emotion with her throughout the movie and you can tell she is very passionate about helping Kevin and his alters. Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey) was such a refreshing addition to this movie. Taylor-Joy is great at keeping your attention and knowing how to convey her feelings without ever saying a word. You really just follow her character every time she’s on screen.

SPLIT is rated PG-13 for “disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.”  I will say that the trailer made this movie seem more terrifying than it actually turned out to be. But that does not mean it was not scary at moments or that you shouldn’t be cautious with bringing your teenagers. This was less of the normal “scary movie” type and more disturbing because it has such a truth and realness to it. It’s definitely not a movie for young children, but its a great movie for the adult crowd that enjoys psychological thrillers.

M. Night Shyamalan’s SPLIT peaked my interest from the very beginning. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say with certainty that I will be seeing it again. The cast really makes this movie worth seeing.  I would highly recommend SPLIT. When you do see it, get ready for some twists and turns and an ending you would never think of! SPLIT is in theaters now.

Writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan returns to the captivating grip of The Sixth SenseUnbreakable and Signs with Split, an original film that delves into the mysterious recesses of one man’s fractured, gifted mind.  Following last year’s breakout hit The Visit, Shyamalan reunites with producer Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series, The Gift) for the thriller being hailed as “Shyamalan’s most terrifying film to date.”

 

Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities—each with unique physical attributes—to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still submerged who is set to materialize and dominate all the others.  Compelled to abduct three teenage girls led by the willful, observant Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch), Kevin reaches a war for survival among all of those contained within him—as well as everyone around him—as the walls between his compartments shatter apart.

 

For the film The Guardian calls “a masterful blend of Hitchcock and horror,” Shyamalan and Blum reassemble their core team from The Visit, the No. 1-grossing horror film of 2015.  Their fellow collaborators on Split include producer Marc Bienstock and executive producers Ashwin Rajan and Steven Schneider.

‘Sing’ – Don’t Let Fear Stop You: A Review

illumination's SING

illumination's SINGAmerican Idol – the animal edition.

If you asked me to sum up Illumination’s newest animated venture, SING, that is exactly what comes to mind. But I know what you are thinking – how many talking animal movies can one see in the course of a year? And American Idol – that was so done many seasons ago. How can this movie be any good at all? Give it a chance….

Without giving away any spoilers, the characters of SING will warm your heart and be a welcome treat for your whole family this holiday season. All too much we are exposed to movies that bring doom and gloom or excessive violence, inappropriate scenarios or too much innuendo. SING is devoid of all that.

Instead, SING brings this message:

Don’t let fear stop you from doing what you love.

SING does not promise to be the next blockbuster hit. But for a holiday movie, this is a welcome treat that will have everyone leaving the theater feeling good with a message that resonates. SING focuses on people coming together, for a common good, and bettering all involved.  To quote Buster Moon, “You know what’s great about hitting rock bottom, there’s only one way left to go, and that’s up!”

Wondering if the kids will like SING? Here is my 9 year old’s opinion:

Sing is about a koala,Buster,who has a theater that is hitting hard times. So Buster decides to put on a singing competition. I love the movie setup and how the theater is modeled after an old,rustic,crumbling theater you might pass on a road trip. The movie animation is so detailed. The animation seemed like it was filmed in a real place. The characters are: Buster Moon, a koala; Mike, a mouse; Mrs.Crawl,an iguana; Miss Nana Noodleman, a sheep; Rosita, a pig;  Ash, a porcupine; Johnny, a gorilla;  Eddie Noodleman,a sheep;  Meena an elephant;  and finally, Gunter, a very funny pig.

My favorite character was Meena who is a shy elephant who has a very pretty singing voice. She is my favorite character because she faces her fears just before the movie and is a good animal who will do anything to help make the show  go on. Meena is very kind and is very helpful someone who a parent would want there kid to be like.

The whole movie is just amazing,and has some heartwarming family parts, something the whole family will enjoy. 

Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016.


 

Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season. 

With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.

 

The event film stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly. 

 

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. 

 

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

 

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving. 

 

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy. Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception. Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016.

SING SATURDAY – Learn How to See SING for FREE Thanksgiving Weekend!

illumination's SING

ILLUMINATION ENTERTAINMENT, UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND AMC THEATRES®ANNOUNCE THANKSGIVING WEEKEND’S FREE “SING SATURDAY”

First 200 Moviegoers in Line at 200 AMC Theatres Nationwide Can Enjoy Biggest Advance-Screening Program in Universal’s History

Sing Saturday” Launches Event Film Starring Oscar® Winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, as Well as Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Tori Kelly

illumination-sing

Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres today announced a Thanksgiving weekend event for audiences of all ages: “Sing Saturday,” a celebration of free screenings of the new event film from Illumination at 200 AMC Theatres nationwide, on November 26.  From the creators of Despicable Me, Sing—in which Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon lead an all-star cast—arrives nationwide on December 21, 2016.

Tickets for “Sing Saturday” screenings are available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 200 moviegoers in line at participating AMC Theatres on Saturday, November 26 (10 a.m. local time).  Audiences are encouraged to bring their family and friends of all ages and experience the film Variety calls “a game changer.”  Moviegoers must be in line to receive a ticket for the screening.

“We are so proud that ‘Sing Saturday’ marks the biggest advance-screening program in the history of Universal Pictures and are honored to join AMC as we kick off the holiday season with Illumination’s gift for moviegoers of every generation,” said Nick Carpou, President of Distribution, Universal.

“For the past several years, Sing has been a labor of love for everyone at Illumination, as well as the tireless performers who have poured their hearts into this movie,” said Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination.  “We know audiences of all ages will embrace the heart and the humor of this extraordinary film and can’t wait for movielovers to experience Sing over Thanksgiving weekend, throughout the holiday season and beyond.”

“For AMC movie-loving audiences of all ages who have cooked through Thanksgiving Thursday and shopped through Black Friday, AMC is thrilled to offer a holiday-entertainment treat with Sing Saturday,” said Elizabeth Frank, EVP and Chief Content and Programming Officer, AMC Theatres.

For more information and a list of AMC Theatres participating in “Sing Saturday,” please visit www.SingSaturday.com.

New Character Posters for Illumination’s SING

illumination's SING

illumination-singIllumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season.

illuminations-sing taron egerton as johnny illuminations-sing tori kelly as meena illuminations-sing seth macfarlane as mike

With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.

The event film stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

illuminations-sing reese witherspoon as rosita illuminations-sing nick kroll as gunter illuinations-sing scarlett johansson as ash

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

illuminations-sing-matthew mcconaughy as buster moonEach arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy. Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception. Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016. www.singmovie.com

Be sure to download the Sing color sheet!

sing color sheet

 

Jem and the Holograms: Movie Review

Earlier this week, the Princess Rockstar and I were invited to preview the new Universal movie, Jem and the Holograms! Princess Rockstar had seen the previews and was excited, although she had no idea who Jem or the Holograms were. Yes, call it a parenting fail, if you must.

jem and the hologramsJem and the Holograms is a loose remake of an ’80’s cartoon series that featured music, holograms, make-up and the obligatory bad guy. And yes, all of that is included in the remake, just not in the way that a real Jem fan may be expecting. The movie is aimed at the tween crowd, relying heavily on social media and self imagery. There is a LOT of social media use in this film, almost to the point of overuse. “Trending on Twitter” could  have been a phrase that trended on twitter, it was used that much. People of all ages relied on Instagram as a way to leave messages for Jem on how she had helped them cope with depression or needing to stand up for themselves. The main message one can take from this movie is that you should use your gifts to inspire. Feel confident in yourself and be the best YOU you can be.

If you are a real Jem fan, expecting a real-life adventure from the series you remember, this may not be the movie for you. If you are looking for a tweeny movie, with colorful make-up and hair with a lot of tween-catchy music, then this is a refreshing movie to see. I will say that Molly Ringwald was great and I wish that her screen presence was larger.

Princess Rockstar offered her expert 8-year-old opinion on this movie.

“I liked the movie. It was really cool she became a rock star. When Synergy worked, I thought she was cool! She had a lot of data, like the GPS stuff and the adventure she took the girls on. The movie even had Instagram pictures and videos. I really, really liked the music. The music is fun – it makes you want to jump up and dance! I don’t know anything about the Misfits.”

And there is your spoiler, folks! Once the credits roll, DO NOT LEAVE!!! For me, this was one of the highlights if the movie. Jem and the Holograms is in theaters now! Are you planning on seeing it? Tell me what you thought!

As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a one-in-a-million journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.  In Universal Pictures’ Jem and the Holograms, four aspiring musicians will take the world by storm when they see that the key to creating your own destiny lies in finding your own voice.

Directed by Jon M. Chu (Step Up series, G.I. Joe: Retaliation), the musical adventure stars Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Aurora Perrineau, Hayley Kiyoko, Ryan Guzman, Molly Ringwald and Juliette Lewis.  Jem and the Holograms, based on the iconic Hasbro animated TV series, is written by Ryan Landels and produced by Chu, Jason Blum for Blumhouse Productions, Scooter Braun for SB Projects, Bennett Schneir, and Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis of Hasbro Studios.