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Movie Review: Best and Most Beautiful Things

 

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I am a big fan of documentaries. I know some people cringe at the thought of having to watch one, but I personally enjoy them. I think they are a wonderful way to learn about new things. I’m all for continuing to educate yourself – even if it’s through film.

Now showing in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles is the film Best and Most Beautiful Things. It opened in New York on December 2nd and will be shown in Los Angeles starting on December 9th. It will be available on DVD on January 3, 2017 on Amazon, just in case you don’t live in the Los Angeles or New York (city) area.

Best and Most Beautiful Things is the documentary about a 20 year old woman named Michelle Smith. Michelle lives in rural Maine with her mother Julie. Her parents are divorced and her brothers live with her father. She does see her father on a regular basis.

Michelle is legally blind. She can see things if they are right up to her face, but she is still considered blind. In addition, Michelle was also diagnosed as having Asperger’s. Asperger’s is on the autism spectrum. It’s a higher functioning form of autism.

Michelle graduated from a school for the blind, the same school Helen Keller graduated from.

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Michelle has big dreams but she feels limited by her disabilities. She’s having a hard time finding a job and she feels very isolated, often spending her entire day in her room with her doll collection.

This film explores her family background (she had a younger brother who passed away), her complex relationship with her mother (infidelities caused her parents to divorce) and her desire to fit in. She also wants to be able to live life to it’s fullest and not let her disabilities hold her back.

The film is shot over a few years in her life – from when she graduates from school to her attempt to move out to Los Angeles to become a voice actor.

There were some aspects of the film I could have done without – like how Michelle explores her sexuality, especially because it’s not in a traditional way.

It’s an interesting look into the life of someone who just wants to fit in. In a way I felt sorry for Michelle and her situation but at the same time I applauded her determination to not let her disabilities define who she is or set her back. Even when she’s scared she still found the courage to try and “break the mold.”

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It’s an interesting look at her life. There are a few times that I wished they changed the focus of the film (I’d focus more on her relationship with her boyfriend instead of the kinky stuff she’s into), but overall it was an interesting portrait of this remarkable young lady.

I received a screener and there were no bonus features. There wouldn’t be in the theater. Perhaps there might be when the DVD comes out next month.

FYI… the title comes from a quote from Helen Keller…

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.

For more information about this film please visit the official website, BestandMostBeautifulThings.com. You can also find the film on social media. All of their links are found at the top of the website.

Below is the trailer for your enjoyment.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Movie Review: Pete’s Dragon

 

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Now available on Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, Disney Anywhere and Digital HD is the life action Disney film, Pete’s Dragon. 

I have been a long time fan of Disney films, ever since I was a young girl. One of my all time favorites is the film Pete’s Dragon. I wanted to have my own Elliot (dragon) as a kid. Who wouldn’t want a best friend that was a dragon? LOL.

I was excited when I heard that Disney was making a live action version of a beloved film. Many of the live action films have turned out pretty amazing. I am similarly excited to see Beauty and the Best next year.

I wanted to see Pete’s Dragon in the theater but we missed out on the opportunity. I was thrilled to receive a copy of the film to review.

Pete’s Dragon stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, and Robert Redford.

A young boy named Pete is driving through the Pacific Northwest with his parents when they get into an accident. His parents are killed and Pete is all alone. He almost succumb to a pack of wolves if it wasn’t for a dragon named Elliot that comes to his rescue.

Elliot takes Pete under his care. He acts as Pete’s parent figure.

Elliot and Pete live a quiet, happy existence in the woods. Pete is a bit of a wild child, having been raised in the woods with no human contact. Regardless of that fact, Pete is still a sweet boy.

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No one has ever seen Elliot, except an old man in town, Mr. Meacham (Redford), is the only one who has supposedly seen the dragon when he was younger. The rest of the townspeople see Elliot as a myth.

Pete and Elliot come across lumberjacks tearing down the forest. They go to investigate. Pete is seen by a young girl named Natalie (Laurence), who is at the site because her father is the foreman. Natalie chases after Pete (after all, what is a young boy doing in the forest?). During the chase Pete is accidentally knocked unconscious.

The site foreman, Jack (Bentley) and his girlfriend Grace (Dallas Howard) take the boy to the hospital. Once he recovers they bring him home to stay with them until they can figure out who Pete really is.

In the meantime, Elliot has no idea what happened to Pete and is very worried about him. He visits the lumberjack camp and it accidentally seen by Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban).

Knowing that a dragon lives in the forest, Gavin creates a hunting party to go into the wood and capture the beast. Meanwhile, Elliot venture into town to find Pete. Elliot is relieved to find Pete and that he is OK. He then retreats back into the forest. Unbeknownst to Elliot, the hunting party is still after him.

Pete is settling in with Jack, Grace and Jack’s daughter Natalie, but he still longs to be back with Elliot in the forest. Not fully believing that Elliot is real, they take Pete back to the forest to meet him. Unfortunately Gavin and his posse are also in the forest, spot Elliot and tranquilize him. They have finally captured the beast.

What will become of Elliot now? Will Pete be able to rescue the dragon who once saved his life? To find out you need to pick up a copy of the film Pete’s Dragon. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

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This is not a total remake of the original film. It has similarities, of course, but it’s not a remake. This Elliot is more realistic looking and they don’t break out in song and dance.

The cinematography is breathtaking (I want to live in that forest!). Plus the animation used to create Elliot is flawless. He looks so realistic, right down to the strands of fur.

I love this movie. Dare I even say that I like it MORE than the original?

This is heartwarming film for the whole family to enjoy. But be forewarned – you’ll need tissues to wipe your tears (happy tears of course).

Of course there are bonus features to check out. I have to admit that the night we watched the film we didn’t get a chance to watch the bonus features (we were exhausted from a long day). I do plan on watching them in the very near future.

Here is a brief synopsis of the bonus features provided by the studio.

BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • Notes to Self: A Director’s Diary – Director David Lowery narrates the personal diary he kept through the filming of “Pete’s Dragon” in this intimate and fascinating look at the movie’s making.
  • Making Magic – Discover fun facts about what went into designing this spectacular, lovable dragon.
  • “Disappearing” Moments – The director shares a montage of the film’s “lost” scenes.
  • Welcome to New Zealand – Experience the wonders of New Zealand and learn why it’s a magical place to visit … and to make a movie.
  • Audio Commentary – Gain an insider perspective from director David Lowery, co-writer Toby Halbrooks and actors Oakes Fegley and Oona Laurence.
  • Music Videos “Nobody Knows” by The Lumineers and “Something Wild” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  • Bloopers

DVD:

  • Making Magic

The film is rated PG and has a run time of 103 minutes.

If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit it’s official website. In addition you can also check out the film on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Below are some fun free printables you can save and print out to enjoy with your family. Simply click on the photo.

Have you seen Pete’s Dragon? If so, what did you think about it? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Movie Review: A Doggone Christmas

 

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This time of year I enjoy watching holiday related movies and television shows. There are some I watch faithfully every holiday season, like It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and Jingle All the Way to name a few. In addition to the films we watch every year, we are also open to watching other holiday related entertainment.

Did you know the film’s A Christmas Story and Elf didn’t exactly do well in theaters? These days they are a holiday staple. In fact, channels show the film’s in marathon airings.

I like to give all holiday film’s a chance. You never know when the next holiday classic might come about.

I was recently given the opportunity to review a holiday film, A Doggone Christmas. This film was made for home viewing (it was not shown in theaters).

The film stars Dominique Swain (“Alpha Dog,” “Magik”), Rib Hillis (“General Hospital”), Lauren Parkinson (“Avengers Grimm”), Paul Logan (“Sniper: Special Ops”) and child stars Jolie Ledford, Walker Mintz, Jonathan Tysor, Jayden Hedden and Dilan Patton.

I have not heard of any of these actors before, but that’s OK.

The star of the film is “Just Jesse the Jack” Russell Terrier. Apparently he’s a social media super star. He’s been seen on David Letterman and by millions online. I think I’ve seen him in another film, but for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the film.

In “A Doggone Christmas”, Jesse plays an amazing pup with telepathic abilities who has escaped a government facility and run straight into the loving arms of two young brothers. But the Washington brass won’t give up their secret weapon that easily, and with a no-nonsense special forces agent hot on the trail, the boys and their school buddies must hide the charming canine from helicopters and drones—and their mom and dad, who’ve forbidden them to have a pet. Can these unexpected heroic kids, armed with only their wits, their bikes, and a strong bond with this special dog save the day?

I’m on the fence about this being a Christmas movie. I mean, there are elements of Christmas, but I would not classify this as a Christmas film. Some people think Die Hard is a Christmas film (like my husband), but I don’t. I guess these things are all a matter of opinion. For me there just wasn’t enough Christmassy things to make me consider this a Christmas movie. It’s more so a movie about a special dog and children who are trying to protect him for the “evil scientists” and government officials.

The kids in this film are super cute. They did a wonderful job. I suspect this might be the first film for most – if not all – of them. For “newbies” I applaud them. They did a good job.

The adult actors on the other hand were a bit too “cheesy.” This is meant to be a silly film to begin with. They made this film to be entertaining, not to win an Oscar.

Jesse the dog is super cute. He stole all the scenes he was in. He’s just too cute. I also happen to really like Jack Russell terriers. Our dog is part Rat Terrier. I like Terrier breeds.

Overall I thought the film was cute and entertaining. Adult might roll their eyes a lot throughout the film because there are some really silly scenes and the adult actors are not all that great (the kids are better if you ask me). None the less, this would be a fun Family Movie Night film. I would watch it again if I saw it on television.

I think this film is best suited for little ones. Teens and ‘tweens might think it’s just too juvenile for them.

Doggone Christmas is distributed by Vision Films. Look for the film where ever movie are sold.

Below is the trailer for your enjoyment.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: The Wild Life

 

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Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD is the animated feature film, The Wild Life. 

The film is from the producers that brought audiences Shaun the Sheep Movie, Paddington and A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures.

Normally I would list some of the voice talents, but I have honestly never heard of any of the actor’s who lend their voices to this family friendly film.

In a remote island in the middle of the ocean is an island. The only inhabitants on the island are a variety of creatures such as a Macaw (bird), a Tapir (a anteater looking creature), a goat, a Chameleon and a hodge podge of other creatures. They all live in harmony on their beautiful island.

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Mak, the Macaw, is restless and feels like there is more beyond their island paradise. He keep dreaming of the great big world that he’d like to explore.

One day something – or should I say someone – washes up on shore. It’s a human man and his dog, along with a pair of nasty cats in tow. Think Robinson Crusoe (loosely adapted from the classic tale).

The creatures don’t know that he is a human. They have never seen one before. They just see him as a new creature. It also proves to Mak that there is life beyond their island.

The island creatures are not too keen on their new arrivals and try and thwart everything he does to help his situation.

One day Mak is rescued from the clutches of the two cats that arrived on the island with Crusoe, Mel and May. Mel and May are very mean and dislike Crusoe and all the island inhabitants.

Crusoe takes a liking to Mak and renames him Tuesday. The other island creature see that Crusoe is no harm to them and help him to build a shelter until he can figure out a way to get off the island.

Mel and Mary want to take over the island. In their attempt to do so they kill Crusoe’s dog, Aynsley (unintentionally). His death depresses Crusoe, but he eventually finds comfort in Mak and the other creatures on the island.

Will Crusoe find a way off the island? Will Mel and May succeed in taking over the island? To find out you need to pick up a copy of The Wild Life. Look for it where ever movie are sold.

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This is a cute, animated film. The animals were adorable (some were so ugly they were cute). They were all likable characters – including Crusoe. The cats on the other hand were just ugly and mean. As a cat lover (we have five cats) it was hard for me to dislike a cat. LOL!

The animation in this film was beautifully done.

I liked the story line too. It had references to Robinson Crusoe, but it was not a remake of the classic.

I could have done without the dog dying (we also have a dog). If I had to change anything in the film it would have been that part.

There are bonus features worth checking out too.

BLU-RAY / DVD/ DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • “A Wild World: Making The Wild Life” Featurette
  • “Meet the Characters” Featurette
  • “Tips for Your Trip” Featurette
  • The Wild Life Musical Adventure

I also enjoy watching features that show you what went on in the making of a film, so I always make sure to watch those types of features. I think it gives you a better understanding of the film. Tips For Your Trip was also fun to watch.

You can check out the film’s Facebook page for more information.

Below is the film’s trailer for your entertainment.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

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Creating memorable moments during the holiday season


*This post was brought to you by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

I cannot believe that it’s already the holiday season. It feels like only yesterday we were hanging out at the beach. Now we’re prepping for the holidays and making up holiday shopping lists.

Our kids are teenagers now, so the holidays have a new “feel” to them (it was more fun when they still believed in Santa).

Instead of spending money on clothing and other things they want/need, we are thinking about spending most of our holiday budget on taking the kids out to dinner in New York City, catching the holiday show at Radio City Music Hall then swinging by the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center before heading home. Our kids are on board with the idea too. I think we all feel the same way at this point – it’s all about spending quality time with one another.

Even having a family movie night at home (which we do often) is special to us. It’s nice to still be able to snuggle on the couch with our teens and enjoy a movie together complete with hot chocolate (with extra marshmallows) and popcorn. Maybe even a freshly baked treat.

One movie we plan on watching is the new version of the classic Disney film Pete’s Dragon. I am a huge fan of the original (I even have an Elliot on my desk). I can’t wait to see the new film.

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Pete’s Dragon might be targeted towards younger children, but parents and teens can enjoy this wonderful family film about friendship, love, family, courage and perseverance. I have a feeling it might be a bit of a tear-jerker, so I plan on having plenty of tissues on hand. Pete’s Dragon is a magical adventure, which makes it the perfect family film to watch and enjoy during the season where most of us choose to still believe in magic.

I love this time of year. I have so many wonderful memories centered around the holidays. I may be forty-something, but when it comes to the holidays, I feel like a little kid again.

I can’t even look at candy canes or a box of crayons without my mind instantly being transported back to my youth. Candy canes remind me of all those time Santa Claus would ride on the back of a firetruck and drive up and down the streets in my neighborhood handing them out to all the children. Crayons remind me of my Christmas stocking. Santa always brought me a new box of crayons and coloring books. I have always loved to color, and still do.

When we decorate for the holidays there are plenty of special decorations that hold a lifetime full of memories.

My desk is decorated with decorations from my childhood, like the ones my mom kept in the formal living room (the kind of decorations children shouldn’t touch). I also have a little Elf, which is the very first Christmas gift I ever purchased. I gave it to my mom. My sister helped me to afford it (I didn’t have enough money to buy it).

Some of the decorations from the formal living room that the kids (me!) were not allowed to touch or play with I now have and display them for my kids to see and enjoy.

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My Desk (circa 2010). The elf my sister helped me to buy is on the middle shelf near the photo.

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The nativity set my mom set out year after year.

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My desk (circa 2010). The ornaments on the middle shelf are all from my childhood and belonged to my parents. They bring back such wonderful memories.

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Some of the decorations from the formal living room that the kids (me!) were not allowed to touch or play with. I have them now and display them for my kids to see and enjoy.

As a mom, I have tried to make the holiday season equally as special and memorable for my kids. It warms my heart when we go through the decorations, and my kid will recall a special memory that they are reminded of when they look at them. One day I hope to pass those decorations on to them to share with our future grandchildren.

A fun thing that we do each year is giving our kids a new ornament. Some are personalized, some are not. That tradition started with my mom. It’s a tradition I passed on to our kids.

When I was young, my mom used to buy me a new ornament each year for our family Christmas tree. Some are personalized (and dated). Others she let me pick out myself.

Her logic was that by the time I moved out, I would have plenty of ornaments to decorate my own tree. That is exactly what I did when my husband and I got married. Our first Christmas tree was decorated with all those ornaments my mom gave me over the years.

One year, my mom was in the hospital for the holiday. So as not to break with tradition my uncle bought me a new ornament that year. I still know exactly which one it was and every year I hang it on my tree I remember when my uncle presented it to me.

My uncle gave me this ornament when my mom was in the hospital during Christmas time. It has to be about 40 year old by now.

My uncle gave me this ornament when my mom was in the hospital during Christmas time. It has to be about 40 year old by now.

I think many people have lost track of what the real meaning of the holiday season is. It’s not about buying the latest and greatest blow-up decoration for your home (to compete with the neighbors), or buying the “must have” toys of the season. The holiday season is about spending time with family and friends and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Pete’s Dragon is available on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere.  I can’t wait for family movie night!

In addition, Disney Movie Rewards has a special promotion going on when you purchase the film through DMR. In addition to the film you can also purchase the ‘Elliot Gets Lost’ children’s book from the film at an exclusive price ($9.99).

If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit the official webpage, Disney.com/PetesDragon.  You can also check out the film on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The official movie hashtag is #PetesDragon.

Have you seen Pete’s Dragon? If so, what did you think about the film?

What do the holidays mean to you? Do you have special memories and family traditions?

My family - they are what makes the holidays special.

My family – they are what makes the holidays special.

Kimberly

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Get ready to Sing – in theaters December 21, 2016 (giveaway ends 12/10/16)

 

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Get your singing voice ready for a new animated feature film called Sing. Sing is coming to theaters on December 21, 2016. 

The film features the voice talents of Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. Sing also stars the voice talents of Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

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.

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.

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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. www.SingMovie.com

I can’t believe the film has 65 songs in it. Of course it’s not the full version of the songs, but none the less, it will be fun to listen to them and try to remember the song titles and the artists who sang them. It would be like playing the game “Name That Tune.”

Below is the film’s trailer. It also includes a special message from Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

 

I think the film is about not letting fear stand in the way of something that you love. I think that is an important message for people – young and old – to take to heart.

To learn more about the film you can check out the Official Website. You can also “like” the film on Facebook and follow the film on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. You can also check out the official hashtag #SingMovie.

You can order your tickets today on Fandango. I use Fandango all the time to buy movie tickets. It saves so much time and I like being able to pick out our seats ahead of time (the reserved seating feature might not be available in all theaters).

You can also download some FREE movie themed activity sheet and coloring pages at  www.SingMovie.com/Printables.

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I have a special Sing giveaway for a lucky winner, courtesy of Universal Pictures. The prize package includes;

  • $25 Fandango gift card to see the film in theaters with your family
  • Stationary Set & Pencil with Topper

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on December 10, 2016. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package and if you plan on seeing the film.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I will be receiving the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There is no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own. Prizes and samples provided by Universal Pictures. 

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