Category Archives: Movies

Disney Movies Star Wars

Star Wars Movie order including Rogue One

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Star Wars movie viewing order… from a certain point of view.

As many Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray today. A great first effort into the tales not involving a Skywalker and friends, it gives us a look into the bigger Star Wars universe, a universe many of us have played out in our minds with our beloved Kenner action figures.

However, being the first “standalone” film, the question is where it fits in the logical story order, and would it be a good film to introduce someone to Star Wars. For me and many or my friends, the Machete Order (link) is the new gold standard for watching the movies. For those unfamiliar, Machete starts with episode IV (Star Wars: A New Hope), followed by episode V (The Empire Strikes Back), II (Attack of the Clones), III (Revenge of the Sith), VI (Return of the Jedi), VII (The Force Awakens), etc. with episode I (The Phantom Menace) being able to be viewed at any point, or not at all. This viewing order makes the best sense, preserving the famous twist from episode V, while giving the plot points of the prequels a little more weight.

To fans, it’s simple: Rogue One belongs just before episode IV. The movie leads right into the opening scene of the 1977 classic and they tie together beautifully. It is also good enough to bring in new fans to what many of us loved when we first saw a Star Wars movie. But how about the non-Star Wars fan, or someone who has never seen the films before? I asked my buddy, Robert, that very question as he just introduce his friend, Lyra (name changed to protect the innocent), to the saga in the last couple weeks. This is what he found out.

First movie: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story

“First 30 minutes I found to be very confusing” says Lyra, echoing a critique even Star Wars heavies like Rob and myself have. “[But] the next hour and a half were very entertaining, and I knew what they were trying to do. It was very good and deeper than I imagined.” Mission accomplished, Rogue…Rogue one. But dat last scene, tho! “Then the last 2 minutes happened and I was as confused, or more confused than at the beginning.” Lyra had witnessed something Star Wars fans had been clamoring for since the announcement of the prequels, SPOILER ALERT, Vader goes Vader. Now to a non-fan whose first run is this movie, it seems to come out of nowhere. But after discussing it with Rob, that’s a good thing. “The confusion had her intrigued. She didn’t know who this guy was, why he was going crazy, and what the deal was with the ‘light sword’. From that point on she wanted to see more.” And there is no better feeling than hooking in someone new. Onto the classics:

Second movie: Episode IV – Star Wars: A New Hope

“WOW, this is much more layered than I thought it would be. Good characters too. I liked it. You were right, it’s more fantasy than sci-fi.” Yes Lyra, the original brought people in with amazing characters and lore that you can easily lose yourself in.

Third movie: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

“No. I am your father!” Lyra slowly turned her head with eyes wide open and mouth falling ajar. “WHAT!?” That was the general reaction when many people saw it for the first time, in the most critically acclaimed film in the series. “This is so much deeper and layered than I ever thought it could be. And ‘I Love you, I know’ was hilarious!”

Fourth movie: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

“I like this. I hope they get together.” Interesting. As the first “flashback” episode in the Machete Order, it gives insight into who Anakin Skywalker is and who he becomes. Trust me, it works this way. “What’s with all the hands and arms being chopped off?” Don’t worry, it’s a Star Wars thing.

Fifth movie: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

“More Hands being cut off!! I think that was my favorite so far! I really knew what was going on and could follow it very easily. But it is DARK! And Luke and Leia are twins!? WOW! I LOVE Yoda!” Yes, this is considered the best of the prequels and a favorite amongst many of the more recent fans. This is also where many of the older fans expected to see the badass Vader that we ending up seeing in Rogue One. Better late than never I guess.

Sixth movie: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

“This is by far my least favorite of ALL!! Jabba is disgusting. This whole thing is horrible!” Usually intergalactic gangsters get more respect. But once the first act was done Lyra liked that the movie got back on the Skywalker track. “Ok so I am liking this MUCH better since they left Jabba.” The struggle with Luke and his father, temptation from the Emperor, and the ultimate redemption won Lyra over. “WOW, so I started off hating it but I think now it’s the best one!”

Seventh movie: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

“I’m a little confused with the new characters but I really want to know who Rey is!” Lyra enjoyed it but has many questions, and like the rest of us is anxiously awaiting the future episodes.

The Floater: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Rob hasn’t shown Lyra this one yet. Mainly because in the grand scheme the movie has little impact on the overall story. It’s a nice intro to some of the characters, but the timeline difference between this and episode II makes anything that happened inconsequential. If anything, The Phantom Menace could be the first real Star Wars standalone movie.

So, there you have it. A new fan’s point of view on seeing the greatest saga of all time. Lyra did mention to Rob that she would like to marathon watch the movies, and Rob is considering trying a different order. Experiment with chronological order, release date, or even watching the trilogies separately. Find what works for you. And if you haven’t seen it on digital download yet, get the DVD or Blu-Ray as Rogue One may very well be your favorite Star Wars movie yet.

Haven’t seen Rogue One yet? Lucky you it comes out on DVD today and here’s one of the trailers.

Disney Movies

Why I was disenchanted with Beauty and the Beast

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“A tale as old as time”

A tale of a girl who falls in love with a beast after learning to love beyond appearances. I was VERY VERY excited for this live action movie. As a true Disney fan, I was counting down the days. And last night I had the chance to screen it. And my initial reaction, was blah. Why? Is not a horrible movie. As with all Disney movies it was done beautifully, but to me it lacked more than it gave.

The GOOD: This movie is a visual masterpiece. From the cinematography to the visual effects, there is beauty in every image. The colors, the animation of the characters, the costumes, it was pure perfection. I have no doubt there will probably be a few Oscar nominations for this remake. I think the most talked about issue of the movie, the inclusion of a gay character (Le’Fou) is also a positive thing. Why I didn’t mind the gay character? It is Disney’s way to move forward with changing times. And to those who argue that there is no space for gay characters in a Disney movie? You need to take a seat. Yes, this is a Disney movie. But if your concern is about a guy giving another guy googly eyes and not of the other topics in the movie, you have a problem. The scenes in question  are not obvious to a kid and unless you are absolutely looking for the scenes you will miss them. Plus, I appreciated the diverse cast.

There are new songs and a few new scenes which go a bit more in-depth into the story of the main characters. And for all those concerned about the violence in the movie, is really not that dark as earlier reviews say. If your child has seen the likes of Jurassic Park or even the Jungle Book, the scariest scene with the wolves is absolutely nothing.

The BAD: There is really nothing new. Except for an explanation of the moms death, the story is exactly like its animated origins. Let me explain. This is not Disney’s first live action remake, so yes, I was expecting something different and exciting. With Cinderella and Jungle Book, Disney was able to give us something new while staying true to the original, but with Beauty and the Beast there was nothing new. Which takes away from reliving the experience.

Yes, there were new scenes but not enough. Not even 1/3 of the movie is different from the original, so there was no surprise, except the new songs. One of the new songs in particular, was completely unnecessary and I really wish Disney had cut that scene out. It made the movie feel more like a Broadway play than anything else.

The characters felt disconnected. Compared to their originals, who really brought life to the characters, this time around, they fell short. Although I absolutely love Emma Thompson, there’s no way her character was even close to Angela Landsbury performance in the original. The same can be said for Gaston and even the Beast.

Overall: I had really high expectations of this movie. From the trailers and earlier reviews I was hoping to be AMAZED. I expected to feel like I did after Cinderella and I didn’t. Is it a terrible movie? Not at all. It’s still entertaining and visually stimulating. There is something to be said about the amount of trailers and the fact that there’s no new story or byline that innovates or elevates the story. If you are an original Beauty and the Beast fan, you will love it. If you’ve never seen the original, you will love it. If you are like me, who enjoyed the original and was really hoping to be blown away by the live action then not so much.

I didn’t bring my kids, as I really don’t think is a kid friendly movie. Not because the gay character or the scary wolves, just in general the real topic and story of Beauty and the Beast is a bit intense for 6, 5 and 3 yr old. Yes, they saw the original, but being animated really makes it more kids friendly than its live action counterpart. Did it amaze me? Not at all. I was completely disenchanted with it. I was hoping for so much more and I was left wondering what the amazement of everyone else was. And you all know my love for Disney and everything they do, but with this movie I feel they missed the mark.

I still encourage everyone to go and see it and come to your own conclusions, like I mentioned before, it’s still a beautiful movie and does justice to its original script.

Here is one of the official trailers for the movie.

Disclosure: I was invited by The Moms to a special screening of Beauty and the Beast. A lot of people have warned me against posting negative reviews about Disney movies and such since I would love nothing more than to work with them. But, I have to be honest with my audience and myself. I can’t say something was absolutely amazing and blew me away when it didn’t. I have to speak the truth about how I felt about this movie and this was it.

Español Movies

Bad MOMS con The Moms

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¿Cuantas de ustedes se consideran malas madres? Pues yo me identifico como mala madre todos los días. Ya sea cuando no le preparo comida completamente orgánica o cuando no llevo a los nenes al parque. Pues gracias a Dios, llego la película mas esperada del año para todas las madres como yo! Bad Moms es una comedia que definitivamente describe y celebra a todas las madres de hoy en día.

La comedia sigue la vida de 3 madres que terminan conectadas por diferentes situaciones. Las actrices Mila Kunis, Kriten Bell y Kathryn Hahn desempeñan los papeles de los personajes principales de esta historia. La comedia también cuenta con la actuación de Cristina Applegate y Jada Pinkett-Smith.

No quisiera dañar la historia pero no te da un break, literalmente la película es un festival de risas y chistes que cualquier mamá puede entender. Pero les puedo contar que la semana pasada tuvimos el placer de tener una sesión de preguntas con Mila Kunis y Kathryn Hahn. Nos hablaron de lo que propone la película y el mensaje. No solo es que seamos malas madres, como insinúa el título, si no que nos dediquemos tiempo para nosotras. Que tenemos que ser un poco egoístas y que dejemos de juzgarnos las unas a las otras.

Foto Cortesía de The Moms

Foto cortesía de The Moms

Ahora la película tiene de todo un poco. Lo más que me gustó es que al final las actrices contaron un poco de sus historias con sus propias madres. Aunque es una comedia, está llena de emoción.

Habla de todo: los problemas en los matrimonios y el divorcio. Las madres que trabajan en casa y las que trabajan en la calle. Las madres que están súper envueltas en las cosas de la escuela y las que no. Creo que eso es lo mejor de toda la película, no excluye a nadie.

Como consejo, cuando salí de verla tenía unas ganas de irme de fiesta con mis amigas pero a la misma vez quería ir a abrazar a mis hijos con todas las fuerzas de mi alma. Así que les recomiendo planear la salida bien para tener tiempo extra para disfrutar de una noche de ser una “BAD MOM”.

Gracias a The Moms por otro evento fantástico.

Movies

Captain Fantastic- Best Film this Year

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No doubt this movie will be nominated for a few Oscars. Probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. Not going to lie, it was a roller coaster of emotions. I cried, I laughed, I cringed, I thought, I felt.

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The movie starts Viggo Mortensen and is the story of Ben and his six- yes, you read that right, six kids. Ben and his wife decide to remove their kids from society and live in the woods. The kids have superb intelligence, as they read and are home schooled by their father. They also have amazing physical endurance.

The opening scene is by far the most gruesome scene, and I will not spoil it for you, but if you don’t like to see animals die, close your eyes. After opening scenes, we learn that the kids mother has been gone for 3 months but we don’t find out until later. The story of Captain Fantastic follows the family as they struggle to stay together and fight the outside society.

It’s hard to discuss this movie without giving anything away. I will say the story touches on mental illness and how it can gravely affect a family. It also speaks to parents as we struggle to decide what is best for our own kids. I was in no way, expecting to have the reaction I had to the movie. It really did put so many questions in my head about parenting and existing and just living.

After the movie screening we had a Q & A with Viggo. I was so very impressed. This man has a huge passion and this movie not only proved how good of an actor he is but also how smart he is. Honestly our hosts The Moms, Melissa and Denise, noticed how he was speaking and one of them said he should run for office.

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I know I give a lot of great reviews to movies. I love movies. But this one, seriously, the best movie. The acting was beyond superb and the story is unique and relevant to any parent at the same time. This is an independent film which makes it even more special, because what they accomplished was nothing short of extraordinary.

Here’s the trailer for the movie. Please go see it!

Thank you to The Moms for another great screening and to Viggo Mortensen for taking the time to talk to us moms about this film.

Movies

Thanks to The Moms for giving me some much needed MOM TIME

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I love The Moms. They are a network of amazing moms and bloggers led by 2 super women. They host events and if it wasn’t for their events I have no idea if my blogging would have gone this far. They have hosted a couple of events that I have fallen behind on writing but still wanted to mention them because the movies we screened were awesome and just as a plain thank you for the nice mom alone time I’ve gotten to enjoy.

The first event was The Meddler. It was the screening of the Susan Sarandon movie. In the movie she is a mom, who’s a little bit too involved. Through the movie she learns to let go a little bit and start living her life instead of her daughter’s life. We also had a time to chat with Susan who was a delight. She was funny and made it to the event even though she had a bad foot.

This event was sponsored by Kmart and Peter Pan Peanut Butter. We got to check out the new clothes from Kmart and I was super impressed, the colors and styles look very trendy and the prices are beyond affordable. We also got to check out the new value box, where you get different items for $20. The first box I received had a pair of jeans, flats and earrings. Peter Pan Peanut Butter had delicious treats including peanut butter balls. This is the type of movie I will be enjoying for a while and I could probably watch it a bunch of times because I can see me being that mom in the future!

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The second movie was Mother’s Day. This was a funny movie, it was perfect for Mother’s Day. The movie is about how different moms celebrate Mother’s Day. We had a laugh and a special chat with Garry Marshall and Kate Hudson. I loved when I asked her about her mom and which was her favorite movie from her moms work and she said Overboard, because it’s how her parents met. The sponsor for this event was Serta and they had a whole bed setup, that I NEED STAT in my house. Those mattresses were so soft but firm. I don’t even know how to explain it, except I WANT IT.

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The third movie was Love and Friendship. This movie starting Kate Beckinsale is beyond funny. I have never read Jane Austin so I wasn’t familiar with her work, which the movie is based on. The movie, a period piece (my favorite) is hilarious. It’s the story about a woman who just basically gets away with everything in order to get what she wants. She’s kind of evil but kind of justified. I don’t know how to explain it but yeah it was really really funny. I loved that the humor wasn’t lost in the costumes. We also had the opportunity to interview Kate Beckinsale who is a real stunning beauty. Like this woman is really gorgeous and she was talking about everything from being a mom to her work and how to balance it all out. She was very down to earth and just funny.

The event was also sponsored by Peter Pan Peanut Butter, who was promoting their new line of creamy but crunchy peanut butter. My favorite is the honey. It’s so delicious and you can pair it with anything.

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The last movie was Flower Shop Mystery:  Mum’s the Word. This movie was a bit different from the other two, not only is a Hallmark movie is also a different story. I was looking forward to his movie a lot but in all honesty it was a bit overreacted, which is expected from a tv movie and although the story was good (I love a good mystery murder case), it didn’t grab my attention. Brook Shields is the lead and to me she was too much for this movie. I did love her chemistry with her partner in the movie. It is clear there was a connection there.

This event was sponsored by KidBox. This is a new subscription box geared towards kids in mind. They pick the outfits and when they arrive home, they only keep the ones they like. All the clothes are brand name. The box is styled for each individual kid. With subscriptions boxes being all the rage these days this is sure to be a hit. After the movie Brook Shields came in for a Q&A. She is also a delight. She was just one of those happy people who makes you instantly happy out of just seeing her.

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So thank you Denise, Melissa and the rest of The Moms team. I definitely appreciate these mom mornings all to myself and can’t wait for the next event.

Movies

A day of birds! Angry Bird Movie & the Bronx Zoo

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The Angry Birds movie opened this weekend and it was a hit. We got to check it out last Saturday thanks to Kidz Vuz. I have to admit I was a little skeptical because I myself don’t really care for the game, but my kids LOVE the game so I had no choice but to be a good mom and sacrifice my Saturday for them. I was so surprised. The movie was actually pretty funny and perfect for all age groups. There was some questions on how they would adapt the game to a movie, and what story they were going to use. The story they used made sense and it definitely showed the game in a different light.

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The movie focuses on Red’s life and his anger problems. Through dealing with his anger he meets Bomb (black angry bird) and Chuck (yellow angry bird). I like that the movie talks about the negative aspects of being angry all the time, but also sheds a light on the fact that sometimes, under the right circumstances, it’s ok to be angry. The movie also touches on friendship and how the “villain” became the hero.


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After the movie, we were chartered up to the Bronx Zoo to have lunch with a special bird friend and then experience Birds in Flight. This exhibition at the zoo will be every weekend until mid June and it’s super cool. Kids get to see birds fly freely and even land on some visitors. Some of the birds we got to see where red tail hawk, vulture, owl and parrots. My favorite had to be the hawk and the vulture. Seeing them fly outside of a cage and so close was spectacular. The kids loved the parrots, they were colorful and very vocal.

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I think the Angry Birds movie is perfect for the whole family. I know this will probably be a regular in our house once it comes out on DVD. And we’re already planning a follow-up tree to see the birds one more time at the zoo before the exhibition closes.

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Thanks to Kidz Vuz for inviting us to participate in such a fun day. All opinions and picture are my own. 

Movies

Mother’s Day Movie Review!

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What a Mother’s Day weekend we just had. This year I really didn’t post much on Mother’s Day. I like to be against the crowd, but in all seriousness Mother’s Day should be everyday! So, since we’re still celebrating, as we celebrate everyday, you still have time to surprise your mom, your sister, your wife, your daughter and take her to see the new Mother’s Day Movie.

This movie is so cute. First off lets talk about the cast! Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Aniston & Jason Sudeikis definitely belong in this story. They each give the characters their own life in their own unique way. And what is a good cast without a good director? Gary Marshall, who is a Hollywood royalty, again did an excellent job with this movie. The story follows each one of these individuals and their problems and how a Mother’s Day holiday changes their story.

I think every mom can identify with one of the characters. Sometimes we feel guilty about focusing on our career like Julia Robert’s character Miranda, who ends up facing her biggest fear in the movie. Although not all of us live that life, we can relate to the feelings of guilt. My favorite has to be Bradley. I think his story is so great for our times. We hardly see the role of single dads and the struggles they go through (especially if they have daughters), so I think giving him a main role was perfect. The story of Sandy is a story that is very relatable, the divorced mom whose ex-husband remarried. And the story of Kate Hudson, who explores the disconnects within the families.

The movie is cute, funny, and very relatable, but I didn’t expect anything else from Mr. Marshall who has directed great movies including Pretty Woman. If you haven’t seen the film yet, it opened this weekend and you still have time to see it. To find your theater times check out Fandango!

 

Thank you to Lindt Chocolates, Fandango and Stroller in the City. 

Disney Movies

The Jungle Book

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Disney has been running on all cylinders lately and their latest attempt at a winner is Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book. This is Disney’s fourth Jungle Book movie, with the 1967 animated version, the 1994 live action adaptation, and the 2003 Jungle Book 2. This is also the best version of The Jungle Book that retells the Rudyard Kipling’s classic.

When Disney came out with the first trailer I was cautiously excited to see this movie. The visuals looked good and the cast sounded fantastic, but the daunting task of telling the story with all animals seem liked a lot for anyone. Even with today’s CGI technology, I have seen a lot of less than convincing visual effects where CGI is heavily depended on. And an entire movie of CGI and motion capture could be unwatchable if things don’t work out as planned.

My fears were trounced within the first five minutes of the film. The CGI looks spectacular. I could not tell that these animals are not highly trained stunt animals or mothing capture. They seem so real, move so naturally, and interact so organically that it feels you are a bug in the middle of the jungle witnessing everything in person. I was so impressed I had to find out how this process was done. Jon Favreau and company approached this as an animated movie, working on the CGI and making sure the animals look as realistic and fluid as possible, even when talking. Neel Sethi (who played Mowgli wonderfully) then filmed his scenes on a green screen soundstage. That’s right, no filming on location. The final product is so seamless that the only thing the viewer can do is get lost in the story.

On top of the technical achievements, the story is very good. You believe why things are the way they are and understand the motivation for characters like Shere Khan and Bagherra. Mowgli’s journey shows his animal side as well as his human side, and his relationship with the rest of the kingdom. Bill Murray is perfect as Baloo, Idris Elba gave Khan a rationality to Khan’s anger, and Christopher Walken singing as King Louie is just excellent. Kaa’s presence seems a bit forced but it does not take away from the movie. Pacing is great. The movie flows nicely and there is something to see throughout the hour and forty-five minutes. There are some dark scenes and animal violence, but Gavin, who is five, enjoyed the whole movie without being disturbed. There are scenes with things like bones and fire, although no blood. Some younger or more sensitive kids might be a little scared, but nothing too bad.

If you are a fan of the Jungle Book, or just want to see a great movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat, then get out there a see this movie. Better yet, see it in 3D. Your family will love it.

 

Movies

The Danish Girl Review!

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Transgender issues have been the most prominent in recent years since more Hollywood stars are coming out, like Chaz Bono and more recently Caitlyn Jenner. I have to admit I wasn’t very knowledgeable of the issues in the community so when the invitation from The Moms came for a screening of The Danish Girl, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to learn and educate myself on transgender issues.

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First an foremost the story of The Danish Girl is based based on the story of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Both artists married to each other, the movie follows the journey of how Lili (Eddie Redmayne) let his desire to be a woman out and how his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) supports him. The movie depicts not only the struggle of the men trying to become a woman but also of a wife loosing her husband.

The movie is remarkable because it is a touching story but because the acting is beyond superb (I think Oscar could be knocking on Redmayne door again). The movie is definitely entertaining and eye-opening. Everything Lili had to go through to finally be her true self is just nothing short of amazing. It really demonstrate her determination. Although Lili’s story is the main plot of the movie, I was more interested and moved by Gerda and her own story/struggle. She encouraged Lili to be herself, but then found herself needing her husband the man. I feel that she sacrificed so much for her love to Lili that she forgot about herself in the process.

After we screened the movie, we had the opportunity to have a Q & A session with Alicia. I was so impressed with her acting and seeing her in real life was definitely a highlight. She was poised and walked us through what it took for her to get the role and make sure the story was told in a beautiful way. She also talked about her involvement with the community and how the money has impacted her own life.

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This was really a good movie. I see it winning some awards in the future. Even if you are not interested in the issues depicted in the movie, the movie is still incredibly acted and entertaining. I would definitely recommend seeing it!

Thanks to The Moms for the invitation. 

Disney Movies

The Good Dinosaur & The MOMS

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If you haven’t seen The Good Dinosaur I urge you to get your stuff now and go see it. I had the pleasure of checking out the movie thanks to The Moms and JCPenny, who launched a Good Dinosaur clothing line under Okie Dokie.

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Let me start by saying that I had no interest in seeing the movie, except for the fact that is a Disney movie and I love Disney. So as a fan, I HAD to go see it. And the kids REALLY, REALLY wanted to see it. It really worked out that The Moms hosted the event, providing the perfect opportunity to see it.

I laughed I CRIED, I absolutely LOVED IT. Not only is the story touching and adventurous (think modern Lion King), the graphics and scenery are beyond stunning and feels very real. The story follows Arlo- a dinosaur on his quest home. He gets lost after a storm, but with the help of a new friend Spot. They go through a journey of family lost and found and danger and fun. The story also shows the development of the “dinosaurs” versus humans if the asteroid hadn’t hit Earth. Basically the dinosaurs are the superiors species, learning to farm and survive, while the humans are the “animals”.

At the end both Arlo and Spot find their families and there is a sort of happy ending. All of my kids loved it and enjoyed the WHOLE movie. I do have to mention that the movie, like every single Disney movie has some dark moments. There is death, so if your child is sensitive to the topic then is best to skip or explain before hand.

Now on to the fashion The Okie Dokie Good Dinosaur line is so cute! The fabrics are soft and it’s sports wear. T-shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts are perfect for my boys. The line is supposed to be gender neutral, but my I do like some pink in my life and really wish they would add more color to the line. It’s mostly dark blue and grays. Other than that, the Spot sweat shirt has been washed multiple times as it gets used the most right now.

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Go see it! Really. It definitely is in my top 10 Disney movies of ALL TIME. And I liked it better than Inside Out (mostly because I don’t like Bing Bong- don’t hate me!).

Thanks to The Moms for the invitation.