Posted in Movie Corner

The House with a Clock in its Walls (Movie Review)

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My daughter and I saw this movie with a friend and her daughter, right after it came to theaters. Our verdict? We were hooked the entire time. It was a jumbled mix of creepy mild horror (see my age recommendations below), magical high jinks, and laugh-out-loud humor.

This movie is a Universal and Amblin Entertainment effort and stars Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. It has elements of Goosebumps and Harry Potter, with a sprinkling of Matilda. It is rated PG and according to Parent Previews, has five lines with mild profanity (somehow I missed three of them). Otherwise, I call it a clean family movie, as long as the children watching it can handle the darker side of the movie.

Because of the mild horror, I definitely do not recommend this movie for any child under the age of ten, and even then, parents should consider their child’s sensitivity to a dark evil villain. It’s the villain’s creepy backstory (told through flashbacks) and eventual reappearance which make the movie edge-of-seat scary for children and some adults (for me, this is as scary as I like to get). My friend’s daughter is ten and she sat next to me during the movie. She hid her face in her jacket a couple of times, and came away claiming the return of the villain scared her the most. Luckily, she did not suffer from nightmares afterwards.

The basic plot line is that a ten-year old boy named Lewis is sent to live with his unconventional uncle Jonathon after his parents pass away, and soon discovers that both his uncle and his uncle’s house are hiding secrets. Lewis also meets his uncle’s neighbor and best friend, Florence. Much of the humor comes from the biting, friendly banter between Jonathon (Jack Black) and Florence (Cate Blanchett). I have to say that I found their performances to be great fits for their characters.

If you are a fan of Jack Black and Goosebumps, you will enjoy this movie. I personally found it worth seeing and would add it to my movie collection. Plus, it’s perfect for the Halloween season. ūüôā

 

 

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Posted in Movie Corner

Christopher Robin (Movie Review)

Over the weekend my husband and I saw the movie Christopher Robin on a date night. We both enjoyed this movie and thought the story line, acting, and voices were great. I would recommend this movie to older kids (maybe 8 and up), teens, and adults. It’s clean and rated PG for action. I’m sure it’s fine for younger children who enjoy live action movies and are okay with Winnie the Pooh and his friends being live stuffed animals. If they like Paddington, I’m sure they’ll like this Winnie the Pooh.

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This movie stars a favorite actor of mine, Ewen McGregor, as Christopher Robin, and the voice of Eeyore was easy to recognize as Brad Garrett from the tv show, Everybody Loves Raymond. I thought he did a fine job voicing Eeyore.

We did not find this movie “dark” even though it was a bit serious. We thought this movie was filled with heart and we enjoyed the humor. The story begins with a young Christopher Robin saying goodbye to his Hundred Acre Wood friends just before he goes off to boarding school. Fast forward and we see Christopher Robin with a wife and sweet daughter. He’s the typical father juggling his job and family life.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. Christopher Robin still needs Winnie the Pooh and Winnie the Pooh still needs Christopher Robin. When the two reconnect there is some fun humor as little mishaps occur.

♥ As Winnie the Pooh fans, we found this movie to be delightful. ♥

 

 

 

Posted in Movie Corner

Peter Rabbit (Movie Review)

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I was so excited to see this movie, having grown up with the wonderful stories of Beatrix Potter. My sons, ages 25 and 15, accompanied me, and we were all laughing aloud all the way through. I found this movie to be highly entertaining, fast-paced, funny for both kids and adults alike, and simply delightful. It was family friendly and well done.

Peter Rabbit teams up with his sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, and their cousin, Benjamin Bunny, to give Mr. McGregor plenty of high jinks to combat as they battle over the McGregor garden. What I loved was the addition of McGregor’s neighbor, Bea. You can guess who she represents. There were also appearances made by other story book characters such as Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Mrs. Tiggy Winkle.

The only negative I can see about this movie is the “food allergy scene”. This was a fighting scene where the rabbits launched a blackberry into McGregor’s mouth, knowing he is allergic. He then has a reaction and has to give himself a shot. I can understand why some parents are unhappy with this scene. If I had younger children I would use this as a point of discussion.

On another note, though a bit related, I have never seen the movie, Miss Potter. If any of my readers have seen it, I’d love to hear what you thought of that movie.

‚ô• Now I want to pull out my Beatrix Potter books and read them to Marcus. I am sheepish to admit he did not grow up on them quite as much, although I know I’ve read him my well-worn copy of, Ginger and Pickles, which is my favorite Beatrix Potter story. What is your favorite? ‚ô•

Posted in Movie Corner

Cars 3 (Movie Review)

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Over the weekend, we saw the movie Cars 3 as a family. Our verdict? This movie is delightful, funny (my college kids were laughing all the way through), and the story line is a natural fit to the original plot. My oldest daughter (22) declared this her favorite Cars movie of the trio. We will definitely be adding this movie to our home collection.

In Cars 3, all of our favorite characters from Radiator Springs return, although Doc Hudson has passed away. He lives on in the memories of his friends, especially Lightning McQueen. In fact, we learn more about Doc’s past and meet some of his old racing buddies. This was my favorite aspect of the movie as it really gave it heart. Lightning maintains a true respect for his mentor and that is endearing. He has not forgotten the valuable lessons Hudson taught him.

I was happy to see that Lightning also retained the humility he had painfully gained by the end of the first movie. He was still appreciative of his sponsors, his fans, his friends and his career. He was a good sport in both his wins and his losses. He is now friends with some of his competition and they engage in playful comradery. I think Lightning McQueen makes a good role model!

I won’t dive too much into the plot. In a way, it has a similar feel to Toy Story 3, from Andy’s point of view. Lightning has to face something we all do at one point or another- getting older and accepting natural change. This is where much of the humor comes in, and now that I’m being a bit philosophical, let me point out that humor can be a remarkable tool for us humans when we take advantage of it. Humor can actually help us through our personal trials by dialing down the rough edges of reality (or a perceived reality) and replacing it with a softer lining of hope, an attitude that “all is not lost”. Even amid the unexpected twists and curveballs life throws at us, there is still much to relish and enjoy. Plus, learning to laugh at ourselves keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously!

‚ô• The kids will see plenty of Mater and I think they will like Lightning’s new trainer, Cruz Ramirez. And that’s all I’m going to say! Let me know if you saw this movie and if you liked it as much was we did. Thanks for reading!¬†‚ô•

 

Posted in Movie Corner

A Dog’s Purpose (Movie Review)

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My youngest college daughter is home for the weekend since Monday is a holiday. Yay! As a family we saw, A Dog’s Purpose, Saturday¬†afternoon. This is a drama about a sweet dog who reincarnates several times. In each life he is a different dog with a different owner, but the main story¬†centers around a boy named, Ethan, who adores his dog, Bailey, as much as Bailey adores him.¬†We get to watch Ethan grow up, we see his home life, meet his grandparents on their farm, and just after he goes off to college, the story changes with¬†a reincarnation.

This movie is rated PG and is family appropriate, although I would recommend it more for older children as there are some dramatic scenes (a house fire, a water rescue, and some brief violence), and of course Bailey dies several times (usually from old age, but once from a bleeding wound). If you do take a younger child to see this, you might want to explain beforehand how the dog will live, then die, then live again as a new dog. Otherwise you might be explaining it to a confused child in the middle of the movie (as one mom did in the row behind us).

This was a heartwarming, tender movie. Keep that in mind if you are like me and¬†can’t help getting a bit emotional watching an animal die (even knowing it’s not the end). Let me know if you see this movie and what you thought of it. I know it got mixed reviews, but¬†my family enjoyed it.¬†Ethan’s character is likable, Bailey is of course, everything you’d expect from a¬†loyal pet, and the ending is satisfying.

‚ô• Oh, and the best part for me was hearing more than one child leave the theater saying, “Bailey, Bailey, Bailey, Bailey!”¬†‚ô•

Posted in Movie Corner

Hidden Figures (Movie Review)

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Last night I saw this movie with my husband on a date night. It was such a great movie that we want our kids to go see it, especially our youngest son who has a mind for math and science. This is the true story of three amazing African-American women who made a huge impact on U.S. history through their brilliant work at¬†NASA during a time when we were struggling in the Space Race. These women were spunky, highly intelligent and¬†courageous. They¬†faced the challenges of racial segregation, and stood tall, much like Rosa Parks. I think this would be an excellent movie to watch as a family, followed by a discussion about life in the 60’s, the Space Race, and the importance of mathematics! This movie was clean, except for a little language (what stood out to me was Kevin Costner’s character taking the Lord’s name in vain).

I found this link for kids about the Space Race if you want to check it out.

Posted in Movie Corner

4 Movie Reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any movie reviews. These are the most recent ones we have seen as a family. I can recommend them all.

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Shortly after it came to theaters, we saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I can think of all sorts of words to describe this movie:¬†magical, thrilling, adventurous, humorous, dramatic,¬†intense… Harry Potter fans will love this movie (at least my Harry Potter fans loved this movie). I do think younger children might find some parts scary, so keep that in mind. It had some dark parts, similar to the Harry Potter movies.

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Moana was everything you’d expect in a Disney movie. It was absolutely delightful. This is a movie worth seeing and adding to your Disney collection. Moana is a strong character and Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson, is awesome. The rooster was hilarious! This movie shares the Polynesian culture with us. Another Disney hit.

If you are unfamiliar with the Piano Gal, you are missing out! Here she plays three songs from Moana. Enjoy her talent!

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I’ve learned a new word: anthropomorphic. It means “human characteristics to non-human beings”. ¬†Sing, like Zootopia, features anthropomorphic characters. They are animals who live in a human-like world and have human-like problems. The¬†story line felt rushed to my kids (they would’ve liked more of a background on each character), but the soundtrack was enjoyable and the characters likable.

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And just this past weekend, we saw the movie, Monster Trucks. This is a Nickelodeon film (teamed up with other productions of course). I’d say this movie¬†could¬†be a hit with¬†tweens and young teens, but my family enjoyed it for its clean, fun action. It reminded me of the movie, The Water Horse, although in a lighter sense.¬†There could’ve been more story and character development, but Creech (the undiscovered sea creature) was lovable and there was plenty of action. The idea of a creature powering a truck will surely delight boys of all ages.