Family & Kids Movie Reviews: Family Movie Night!

ONWARD Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 37 minutes

Go on an exciting adventure with teenage elf brothers as they find an opportunity to spend just one more day with their late father and set out on an incredible quest aboard Barley’s unique van, Guinevere.  Watch as they cast magic spells, decipher cryptic maps, forge impossible obstacles and find unimaginable discoveries.

The Storyline

On the youngest son’s 16th birthday, their mother gives the boys a special gift – one that contains magic. Come to find out, this magic staff becomes activated – but only partially! During the spell, the boys bring back their father… but only his bottom half! Yes, it is as weird as it sounds! A good chunk of the movie is two elf boys running around with a pair of pants and shoes (haha!)

Naturally, the boys and their (partial) dad go on the quest of their lifetimes. Of course there are tons of twists and turns and the boys have to bond more than they have in the past. In the end, you see a new brotherly love like never before! In typical Disney/Pixar fashion, you will go through a wave of emotions and absolutely love this movie!

What Did We Think

If you are looking for a super cute movie to see… I highly recommend Onward! The movie starts out with the introduction of magical creatures that you learn have deviated from using their magical powers by using new technology. (Sounds a little like our society in terms of too much technology, huh?!) Then, we meet a mother and her two sons who seem like a pretty normal family. Unfortunately, the boys lost their father and they were too young to really remember him.

 

WENDY Review

RATING: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 1 hours 52 minutes

This classic story of Peter Pan is wildly reimagined in this ragtag epic from Benh Zeitlin, director of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD.  Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.

The Storyline

After seeing a friend disappear on a train as a young girl, Wendy’s wild imagination fills in the blanks to where her friend went and the adventures he went on. Little did she know she would one day join him in his adventures in saving the magic of being young.

What Did We Think

I’m a big Disney fan, so sometimes it’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re constantly comparing it to the original. With that being said, I thought it was an enjoyable twist on the classic tale of Peter Pan. It tied in parts of the original Peter Pan while still holding its own as a new, separate movie. Although it starts off a bit slow, it quickly fills with adventure and surprises. It was so fun to watch the characters develop through the movie into the characters from Peter Pan that we know and love. The movie was such a great reminder to never forget to be spontaneous and wild sometimes.

 

THE WAY BACK Review

RATING: R

RUNNING TIME: 1 hours 48 minutes

Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) once had a life filled with promise. In high school, he was a basketball phenom with a full university scholarship, when suddenly, for reasons unknown, he walked away from the game, forfeiting his future. Now years later, Jack is spiraling down, triggered by an unspeakable loss, and drowning in the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life.

 

The Storyline

This story is about Jack Cunningham who was a basketball star at his high school. He should’ve had a great basketball career but he blew it. After some personal tragedy he turned to alcohol. But he gets a chance to coach the basketball team from his old high school and he seems to be turning his life around. The team does really well but Jack faces another tragedy. He again turns to alcohol and loses his job with the team. But as the movie ends he has a chance at rebuilding his life.

What Did We Think

We thought it was a beautiful story and we love stories about redemption! Ben Affleck does a great job in this one. Some parts of it are really hard to watch because they are sad but there are lots of moments of joy and some genuine laughs. If you like stories about come back’s you would like this movie. There is a lot of foul language so I wouldn’t take anybody to young.

EMMA Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 12 minutes

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this delicious new film adaptation of EMMA. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.

Storyline

Emma Woodhouse is a well meaning but selfish girl in 1800s England who loves to meddle in her friends love lives while blatantly ignoring her own.  Her meddling has mixed results and make her question everything she thought she knew.  Emma must handle her miscues and try to right her wrongs all while discovering her own love was there all along.

What Did We Think

I loved this movie.  I love Jane Austen so I was partial before I ever got there, but I loved it.  The subtle humor throughout kept the story line moving and engaging.  Anya Taylor-Joy is brilliant as Emma.  She plays the part with subtle naivety and grace.  Bill Nighy was my favorite in his role as Emma’s curmudgeon of a father.  He basically hates everything and everyone except his daughter.  While the romances are the focus of the movie, the friendships throughout were my favorite part.  Watching Emma try to correct her missteps with her friends and checking her ego in order to do so is a valuable lesson in any time period.  The movie ties everything up in a neat bow at the end and left me smiling and satisfied. 

Call of The Wild Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes

A few months back, my husband heard about the remake of The Call of the Wild – one of his favorite books growing up. He decided to read it to our kiddos as their nightly bedtime story and they fell in love with the characters in the story.

When I found out I could see a sneak peak of the movie, I was all about it! If you haven’t read the book (or if it has been awhile since you’ve read it) there are some mature pieces to the story and I wasn’t quite sure how they would be portrayed in the movie.

The Storyline

The movie starts off with you learning about Buck, a loveable and wild spirited dog that lives with a loving family. Well, one day Buck decides to make a big mess of their family picnic and earns himself a night in timeout on the porch. During this time out, he is stolen by thieves who sell him to a dog sled team in Alaska.

You watch Buck transform from a follower to a leader of the dog team. One day, his team is purchased by a terrible man who is out to make a fortune and doesn’t care for the dogs as they need to be cared for. In steps Buck’s new owner – played by Harrison Ford! – that is having a bit of a crisis after some family issues. Buck helps his new owner make some important life changes and in return, Buck is brought back to the wild and forms his own pack.

What did we think:

Overall, I felt this was a fantastic remake of a great story.

During the movie, you see many sides of Buck from the loveable family dog to a dog sled follower turned leader back to a family dog. It is such a cute movie – despite some sad moments – and I can’t wait to show my kids this movie! While there were some major differences from the book, as there usually are with remakes, it was pretty close to the book – without giving away too many spoilers!

 

AXEL by Cirque du Soleil Review (Live Show)

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours (including 20 minute intermission)

Axel packs many exciting and exuberant stunts like most Circque Du Soleil shows. It features stunts not only on the ice but acrobats in many forms.

The show is a journey itself, taking you through Axel’s imaginative mind while he discovers love, as well as his destiny.

The Storyline

Axel is about a teenage boy passionate for graphic arts and rock music. His graphic drawings come to life in this Cirque Du Soleil show. Axel becomes enthralled by his imagination and drawings where he explores his feelings for the girl of his dreams. Together they go on a journey with plans to defeat the evil villian and retrieve what he has stolen.

What did we think:

This was my first Cirque Du Soleil show and it was as impressive as they say. I was on the edge of my seat mesmerized by the skating, stunts, music and lighting. They do a wonderful job combining all of those things to make for a fun show.

The show starts out a little slow but picks up quickly as they add stunts into the mix. I was truly blown away by the performers. I really enjoyed the air acrobats but also glad to see the musicians truly involved in the show and caught myself missing some of the acts because I loved watching them play. It made for a great date night but would also be fun for older children.

If you need plans for the weekend, I highly recommend seeing them before the show leaves town.


The Song of Names Movie Review

RATING: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 53 minutes

The Song of Names (based on a novel) is set between a more modern day and the past and gets a little tricky with all of the flashbacks.

The Storyline

The movie starts in the past with one of the boys (a Polish musician) fails to show for a large audience where he is to perform and his friend not knowing where he has disappeared to. You find out later that the boy from Poland has been sent to live with the other boy and his family so he can better himself in terms of his musical abilities and to be safer.

All of this is happening in London during WWII and the Polish boy’s family was in danger. Throughout the movie, you follow the boy (now a grown man) as he attempts to track down his friend and find out what happened to him.

What Did We Think?

This movie has a lot of interesting pieces to it – music, mystery, and drama. Honestly, for me, it was a little dry and I lost interest towards the middle. But my husband seemed to really enjoy it because he really likes history and found the storyline interesting because of the WWII aspect.

In the end, you find out some interesting information about the boys and what happened on that night the Polish music prodigy disappeared.

Cast of The Song of Names:

Clive Owen, Tim Roth, Catherine McCormack, Jonah Hauer-King & more. 


The Gentlemen Movie Review

RATING: R

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 22 minutes

If you’re in the market for a good film for your next date night or parent’s night out – you might be considering Matthew McConaughey’s newest release, “The Gentlemen”, which hits theaters nationwide on Friday, January 24th.

In the midst of award season, you might be wondering if this is a movie that’s worth going out to see…

The Storyline

The movie, which hosts an incredible cast including Hugh Grant and Colin Farrell, shares the story about a powerful drug lord in London who is looking to sell his empire and get out of the business. He and his wife are a power couple surrounded by a network of rich and powerful associates in their area. The story follows his journey in dealing with corrupt a private detective looking to make an extra buck no matter the cost, rivaling gangsters who are out to take control of his empire, and other interesting cast members along the way.

It’s almost impossible to share anything about the movie without giving anything away. Going into the screening, I wondered how everything would unfold. The storyline does a great job at keeping you guessing while taking you on a ride that is both fun and engaging throughout the film.

What Did We Think?

It’s the kind of quirky that made audiences fall in love with “The Kingsmen” with a similar style of combined humor and action. From start to finish, the movie will bring you on twists and turns that will keep you engaged and wanting more. Overall, it’s a great fun option for your next night out with friends. Fair warning, there is a good amount of violence throughout the film so it’s not recommended for children.

Cast of The Gentlemen:

Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunna, Michelle Dockery


The Rise of Skywalker Movie Review

RATING: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 22 minutes

I had the opportunity to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker earlier this week, the final film in the Star Wars saga and the last movie that is part of the new trilogy.

Plain and simple, this movie is packed with action. There’s no shortage of action sequences, which leaves a little left to be desired as far as the story is concerned.

The Storyline

What’s left of the Resistance is left to try and take down The First Order, led by Kylo Ren and the return of Emperor Palpatine.

Led by Jedi-in-training Rey, Finn and Poe, the Resistance is outmanned and on the run, looking for a device that will take them to a secret Sith planet where Palpatine has been creating a massive army to take over the galaxy for good.

As Rey continues to grow in her use of the Force, she must try and fight off urges from Kylo Ren and the dark side of the force.

What Did We Think?

I left the theater entertained but also a little disappointed. As a huge fan of the Star Wars universe, my expectations were high for the final film. The first thing that must be said is they tried to jam too much into the 2-hour, 20-minute runtime. For a while it just feels like we’re hopping around from planet-to-planet on a new mission, chasing a different band of First Order bad guys.

Speaking of bad guys, without going into too much detail or to risk spoiling anything for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, the return of Palpatine is somewhat confusing and at times kind of strange. He’s an iconic character but it almost felt like a rushed decision to bring him back without a good enough story behind why.

But there was plenty to like. The Rey-Kylo story has been at the crux of this final trilogy and, as it was in Episodes VII and VIII, I though it was handled quite well. Their relationship and the conclusion of that storyline felt very satisfying.

As I mentioned before the action and fight scenes are fun to watch. While I would argue there are maybe a few too many, they are well done. There are definitely a handful of fan service moments throughout the film, but I tend to eat that stuff up. Give me plenty of Chewbacca, C-3P0 and R2-D2, and I’ll be happy.

Overall, I was entertained and enjoyed good chunks of the movie. Some of decisions that were made I found to be a bit baffling. I think for some it might be hard to look past those decisions, but I believe most people will leave the theater thinking that was a very solid conclusion to the Star Wars saga.

Cast of The Rise of Skywalker:

Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher


Little Women Movie Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 14 minutes

For those of us who grew up reading and loving the book Little Women, or enjoying at least one or two of the movie adaptations–the one with Wynona Ryder is my favorite, you might be rolling your eyes and saying “this again?’  But let me tell you, the latest adaptation of Little Women is definitely worth seeing. 

The Storyline

This movie catches all the elements that make this classic story great, the female dynamic and competition in a house full of sisters, the unrivaled love that you feel for your siblings, the spirit of generosity and giving the March family is built on, and of course the heartbreak and loss that life can sometimes bring.  

What Do We Think?

What I loved most about this new movie (and I loved a lot of things) was the comedy that was woven in throughout.  Meryl Streep is brilliant as Aunt March, saying the most blunt and terrible things in a way that makes the whole theater laugh out loud. 

And Jo March is spirited and spunky without being overly so.  In my favorite scene she has a comical and empowering conversation with a book editor about payment and copyrights that was all about girl power.  

For those of you who might be new to Little Women, the story follows the 4 March sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth as they grow up after the Civil War.  The girls are very different, but their love for each other is unyielding.  They battle gender roles and poverty and their own jealousy throughout their coming of age.  This movie has a little bit of everything, love, family, loss, and history.  

The movie is fantastic.  Its heartwarming and spunky and warm without being sugary or cutesy. 


Spies In Disguise Movie Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 42 minutes

This weekend, I took one of my kiddos to see Spies In Disguise and he thought it was SO funny! If you’ve seen the previews, you’ll know this movie has some big name actors and it is definitely worth seeing in theater! There were a lot of awesome theatrics and hilarious movie lines that had the whole audience laughing!

The Storyline

Spies In Disguise is about a big time spy named Lance Sterling (voice of Will Smith.) Lance is known for always doing his own thing and miraculously everything always works out despite making people mad at times for not following directions. One day, Lance is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and suddenly has to pair up with an unlikely side kick, Walter.

Walter is a socially awkward scientist that most people ignore – unless his gadgets are wrecking havoc (which is pretty common!)

Lance reaches out to Walter to help him clear his name but in order to do so, he wants to become invisible. Unfortunately, Walter hasn’t been able to come up with a potion for that just yet and ends up turning Lance into a pigeon!

A good majority of the movie is spent with Lance as a pigeon and Walter sharing lots of pigeon facts about why being a pigeon is going to help them track down the bad guys and clear Lance’s name from the crime!

What Do We Think?

These two unlikely partners make a great team in the end and end up saving the world in an unlikely way…

While this seems like a weird combination of spy pairing and pigeon-ness, you are bound to leave the theater with a smile on your face and a happy heart!


Cats! Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours

The Cats movie brings to life the musical Cats, which centers around a group of cats who must make a choice about which cat will be returning to a new life. 

There is lots of singing, dancing and big names in the film. 

What Did We Think?

I thought the CGI cinematography was beautifully done. The choreography was executed with precision and all the musical numbers were entertaining, including Jennifer Hudson’s solo of “Memories”.

 

While, visually the movie was pleasing, I found the plot and individual character story lines a bit confusing to follow. However, the undertone of empathy, compassion, sense of belonging and value of life all transcend from cat to human audience. 

Cast of Cats:

Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift all made this tribe of Cats! worth the hype! 


Bombshell Movie Review

RATING: R

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 48 minutes

This movie follows real-life events that happened at Fox News. It is a different kind of thriller, but definitely worth a watch!

The Storyline:

The story follows 3 female Fox News anchors and their journey in the male-dominated TV industry. There are allegations of sexual misconduct and varying opinions on how to handle the situation. It is definitely a glimpse into the world we live in today from a unique perspective. 

What Did We Think?

I really enjoyed this film. I felt the narrative was heavier on the side of Megyn Kelly and would’ve preferred to understand more of Gretchen Carlsons perspective.

It really pulls back the curtain of how rampant sexual harassment has occurred in male dominated industries for years, if not decades and how the shame and paranoia of retaliation is what bought the silence of all victims. 

Cast of Bombshell:

Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow 


Movie Review for “A Hidden Life”

RATING: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 54 minutes

I had the opportunity to see A Hidden Life this week with a friend. This movie is a great reminder that so many heroes in history have gone unrecognized.

Our history books talk of many names, but sometimes changing the world is a result of the fight of more than just those big names. As much as love the main idea of this movie, it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

The Storyline:

“A Hidden Life” shares the story of a man (Franz Jägerstätter) who resisted against joining the Nazis and the effects it had on him and his family. Franz and his family are from a small town in the mountains of Austria. Franz attends basic training, but after being sent home for a short period, is called back to help in the war. After refusing to help and follow the requests of the Nazis, Franz is placed in jail and eventually receives his final sentence.

Meanwhile, his wife (Franzika), mother and three children are holding the household together and the farm work continued. They also end up dealing with disappointment from locals in their town.

The story ends with Franz and Franzika both deciding if fate is worth standing up for what they believe in.

What did we think?

I have always been a fan of movies based on real events. To see life through the eyes of another- things that others have endured, fought for and how they have changed the world- is always interesting to me. Unfortunately, this three-hour movie definitely felt like a three-hour movie. It moved slow and was very drawn out. The flow of the movie is a bit choppy at times, quickly jumping from one scene to the next, but this method of filmmaking is described as “poetic” by other reviewers. To each their own. Despite the main idea of the movie being a very positive one (unknown heroes fighting for what they believe in), I felt a bit uninterested at times. If you’re looking for a uplifting movie with a happy ending- this is not it.

Cast of A Hidden Life:  

August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Bruno Ganz


Jumanji: The Next Level Review

RATING: PG-13

RUNNING TIME: 2 hour 3 minutes

I had the pleasure of having a mini date night earlier with week with my husband to see the new Jumanji movie – Jumanji: The Next Level. If you are looking for a funny date night movie, I highly recommend this one!

This movie could also be a fun night out with the kids, too (it is rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language.)

If you haven’t seen the first Jumanji, I would recommend seeing it as this is a sequel and it will be a lot less confusing if you know some of the background with the characters.

The Storyline:

Jumanji: The Next Level brings back the same characters as before: Martha, Fridge, Bethany and Spencer as well as some new faces like Spencer’s grandpa and his grandpa’s old business partner, Milo. One surprising fact about them getting back into the game is that they don’t all end up with the same game character as they did in the last movie.

This makes it pretty funny when the players are trying out their new bodies and learning their new skills. (Spoiler alert: The Rock is played by Spencer’s grandpa and it is pretty funny watching him pretend to be an old man!)

The movie starts out with finding out that Spencer kept the Jumanji video game pieces and has attempted to repair the game in his basement. When his friends can’t find him, they look in the basement and enter the game to save him.

The game is pretty similar to the last movie – trying to find a new stone and having to defeat different obstacles along the way. This allows the players to test out their new characters in different environments… from a dessert being chased on ostriches to a town filled with bad guys to an open cliff-like area with rickety moving bridges and more.

What did we think?

Despite the sad-ish ending, I think you’ll really enjoy this movie! It is full of action and comedy and the cast is great! They say sequels aren’t as good as the original movie… but my husband and I couldn’t decide which one was better!

Cast of Jumaji: The Next Level

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas…


Richard Jewell Review

RATING: R

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 9 minutes

Clint Eastwood’s newest film follows the true life story of the bombing of Centennial Park in Atlanta, GA during the 1996 Olympics and the would be hero turned bombing suspect, Richard Jewell.

The Storyline: 

Jewell is a simple man with a dream of becoming a police officer but is mostly an outcast among his peers. Jewell lands a job working security for the concert sound booth in Centennial Park, where he discovers a suspicious back pack and sends off a high alert. When the backpack  is confirmed as a pipe bomb and subsequently detonates, Richard is hailed a hero by the community and national media.

 

When the FBI initiates their investigation, Jewell is considered a person of interest due to his involvement but is quickly categorized a suspect when pieces of Jewells past come back to haunt him. The media craze quickly ensues and Richard and his mother’s sheltered world is turned upside down and inside out. 

 

Richard Jewell is a poignant film that drives home the old adage of “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Cast of Richard Jewell:

Olivia Wilde, Paul Walter Hauser, Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates and Jon Hamm.


21 Bridges Movie Review

RATING: R

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 31 minutes

If you love cop thrillers, 21 Bridges is your kind of movie. 

Even when I thought I had things figured out, the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat throughout most of the movie. 21 Bridges is also full of chase scenes, if that’s your kind of thing-  in the car, in the subways and on foot.

It’s an action packed thriller that’s sure to keep your attention- despite a few cliche things here and there. 

The Storyline:

Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman) has found himself with just a short amount of time to catch two cop-killers.

He decides to close all 21 bridges in Manhattan in hopes to trap and capture them. The movie follows Davis and his narcotics partner,  Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller),as has they chase the two killers and discover a much deeper conspiracy. 

What did we think?

Overall a good movie if action packed cops and robber thrillers are your thing.  The movie doesn’t go too deep into any background stories, but is fast-paced and kept us entertained.  The acting by Boseman and Miller was solid.

Although I wouldn’t put it on my list of favorite movies, it’s entertaining and definitely worth seeing with a friend or a date. 

Cast of 21 Bridges:  

Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, J.K. Simmons, Stephan James, Taylor Kitsch


Frozen 2 Movie Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 43 minutes

When the first installment in the “Frozen” series was released, audiences across the globe were captivated by its charm and progressive plot line.

Frozen promotes a love between two sisters ahead of the traditional love stories we’ve come to know in classic Disney films over the years. So, naturally when plans for the sequel were released, moviegoers became excited to see what Disney had in store for us next.

But does the movie live up to the expectations?

The Storyline

Picking up not long after the first film left off, “Frozen 2” drops us back into the lives of our beloved friends Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf. Life in the kingdom of Arendelle is every bit as beautiful as you’d expect it to be (and the animated scenery brings it to life in a truly magical way).

Everyone seems happy and carefree. Except for Elsa, who hears a distant voice that calls to her and leaves her longing to do more with her life…and her gifts.

The movie follows Elsa’s journey in discovering who the voice belongs to, the purpose of the call and how answering it will change the future of Arendelle (and its neighboring Indingenous people) forever.

More so, the movie further empowers young girls to be strong, capable, and to do the right thing…even when it’s difficult.

What Did We Think?

What I loved best in watching this movie was perhaps the message that it sends to our children.

As Anna and Elsa navigate their way through the story line, audiences learn about the dark history of Arendelle. Anna and Elsa are both left with choices to make that will impact not only their kingdom but also the neighboring indigenous population nearby.

Left with the difficult choice and unsure of what that means for the future of all the people, the movie teaches us a valuable lesson on integrity and righting the wrongs of the past.

It also shows us, once again, the powerful bond of family and the importance of surrounding yourself with loved ones in life. It’s a beautiful movie that will be loved and cherished by many for years to come.

Don’t go in expecting the movie to be exactly like the first. I think it would be difficult to replicate the magic that we all experienced when “Frozen” came out…

Understanding that, the second movie has its own unique storyline, beautiful imagery, and sound track that are every bit as wonderful as you’d expect from a Disney film. Overall, “Frozen 2” is a win and I highly recommend taking the kids to enjoy it when it comes out.

Cast of Frozen: 

Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Idina Menzel


Playing with Fire Movie Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 35 minutes

This weekend I had the pleasure watching a sneak peek of Playing with Fire.

This movie, staring John Cena, is everything you think it will be – funny, tear-jerking, and absolutely adorable! If you havn’t seen the previews for the movie yet, I’ll give you a little synopsis of what you’re in for!

The Storyline

John Cena (Jake Carson) plays a superintendent to a squad of fire jumpers (NOT fire fighters!) He was raised by his father (who was also a fire jumper in the same depot) and knows nothing but fighting fires and being a tough guy. The depot is home to handful of men that basically live/work together so they are super close – like a family.

These fire jumpers are exactly what you think they are – men jumping out of helicopters and rescuing those in need while fighting fires. This, of course, is a super challenging career in itself but during one rescue mission, the men find three children in a burning cabin that they have to rescue.

What the men don’t know is that these three kids are going to change their lives forever!

What Did We Think?

The movie frequently compares children and fires saying they are both wild and unpredictable. As a mom of five, this couldn’t be more true!

The children completely turn the lives of these fire jumpers upside down with their shenanigans and constant humor – I promise you’ll laugh throughout the entire movie! (The diaper changing scene was a personal fave!)

If you’re looking for a fun movie for the kiddos (or yourself!) this is definitely one you should consider!

Cast of Playing with Fire:

John Cena, Brianna Hildebrand, Judy Greer, Keegan-Michael Key


Toy Story 4 Movie Review

RATING: G

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour 21 minutes

If you don’t have anything else planned with the family this summer, then definitely plan to see Toy Story 4!

I was lucky enough to screen Toy Story 4 this week and the only thing that was missing was ushers passing  out boxes of tissue for everyone watching.

The Storyline

From the beginning of this installment, my emotions were already on edge! The classic opening song, “you’ve got a friend in me” quickly recaps the emotional highs and lows of the previous films, instantly making you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

The entire Toy Story crew is back with a few new friends and they are even funnier than before! Come along with Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep  and a super special new friend, Forky as they venture on one wild road trip in this newest film!

What Did We Think?

Toy Story 4 will have you laughing, crying and thinking back to a time when you were younger and how much you loved your toys. This movie is definitely a great summer movie choice for everyone so make sure you add a trip to see this on your calendar!

Toy Story Cast:

Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn


Aladdin Movie Review

RATING: PG

RUNNING TIME: 2 hours 8 minutes

Let me start off by saying that I have loved the original cartoon movie Aladdin since I was a little girl. I went into this movie with excitement, knowing that my childhood favorite was being brought to life in a live action film.

Let me say it did not disappoint!

The Aladdin Storyline

The film follows a very similar plot line to the original Disney favorite. The movie flows are well driven by familiar songs and lovable characters. In addition, they blended in some music from the Broadway musical of Aladdin. It was a nice addition to the film and gave it a new voice and a comedic aspect.

Leading actors Naomi Scott (Jasmin), Will Smith (Genie) and Mena Messoud (Aladdin) did a fantastic job filling the shoes for their individual roles. You can clearly see how much work was put into bringing the film to the big screen. They were engaging and mesmerizing.

The role of Jasmin was filled with a girl power message and she set the stage as a positive and caring role model for other girls. Aladdin and the Genie were a great pair that drove the storyline as they conquered obstacle after obstacle.

How is the New Aladdin?

I am definitely impressed with how the film turned out.

The only critique that I might add, would be that the conflict with Jafar was abbreviated and wasn’t the big battle that I remember. It seemed to end a bit abruptly. Nevertheless, the movie is nothing to shake your head about. I observed kids in awe of the magic happenings and parents seemed to be just as engaged in the film.

At the end of the movie kids were dancing in the aisle! If you have the opportunity to see this movie, I definitely would. I will be adding it to my home movie collection – I may even purchase the soundtrack too!

Cast of Aladdin:

Will Smith, Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Nasim Pedrad, Navid Negahban

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