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Archives for : Family

Movie Review: “The Fabelmans” Brings out Michelle Williams Best Performance Yet

We already knew that Steven Spielberg hadn’t lost his touch after his remarkable remake of “West Side Story”. But in his newest drama, “The Fabelmans”, he pulls from his own personal experience as he digs at the family roots that helped shape him into the iconic filmmaker.

If I am being completely honest, as a little kid, the only director I knew of was Spielberg. His films are such a huge part of my upbringing. I don’t think I even understood completely what a director did until I put a face to the creator of “E.T.” and “Jaws”. As we all know, he has an amazing resume of monumental films. So, to get a chance to peep into what started his craft and an insight into his family, is a true honor.

In “The Fabelmans”, we follow Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) from a young boy through college as he navigates family drama while chasing his dream of making movies. Without giving too much away, the biggest drama stems from Sammy’s mother, Mitzi (Michelle Williams). She’s naturally the more melodramatic member of the family. She’s an artist/pianist who encourages Sammy to embrace his creativity. Her children adore her free-spirited, performative behavior, while also admiring their father’s (Paul Dano) intelligence. They actually come off as the perfect family, until Sammy takes a closer look through his lens and sees flaws in his parents’ marriage. This and other trials and tribulations will prove to mold Sammy into a stronger man and help him find solace in his films.

The story is told through fantastic performances by the entire cast.  The standout is LaBelle, who I expect we will be seeing plenty more of after such an authentic and vulnerable portrayal of the young director. And easily one of the best performances of the year, Williams as Mitzi. Your feelings about her may be conflicting at first, but by the end, she’s the one you won’t be able to stop thinking about. Such a layered character we have the pleasure of diving into. Mitzi is a loving, and at times erratic mother whose behavior is “unique”. However, she’s absolutely mesmerizing. Williams deserves an obvious nomination, if not a win for this role.

Now, I may sound like a broken record with this one negative, but the film could have been about 30 minutes shorter and been just as effective. However, the characters are engaging enough to distract you from the runtime.

“The Fabelmans” serves as an ode to the power of filmmaking. Movies have the ability to make people feel what you want them to, and through that you can ignite emotions of laughter, fear, joy, love, and so much more. Spielberg was gifting us with his movie-magic, while also using his art as a therapeutic escape. “The Fabelmans” is a rare gem for movie buffs and an enjoyable film for the whole family.

Rating: A-

CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE Interview w/ Elizabeth Hurley

I got a chance to chat with the wonderful Elizabeth Hurley for her new holiday film, “Christmas in Paradise”. We discussed her favorite childhood Christmas movie, what kind of emotions Christmas stirs up for her, where she would escape to during a difficult time, and so much more! “Christmas in Paradise” opens in select theaters Friday, November 11th and on Digital, on Demand, Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, November 15th.

Film Synopsis: Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”), Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers franchise), and Billy Ray Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) star in this charming tropical tale guaranteed to heat up your holidays. Three quirky sisters chase their estranged dad (Grammer) down to his beachside pad in the Caribbean and enjoy a little fun in the sun. But why did he disappear to the islands? Only Joanna (Hurley) knows for sure, and she’s sworn to secrecy! Love, laughter, and songs by Cyrus make this a Christmas to remember.

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GABBY FROM DREAMWORKS ANIMATION’S GABBY’S DOLLHOUSE TO VISIT WALMART STORES ACROSS AMERICA

WHAT: DreamWorks Animation’s hit Netflix series Gabby’s Dollhouse, will set off on a cross country journey to meet her fans at Walmart stores across the country on the Bakey with CakeyTour. Each free in-store event will include a meet & greet and photo opportunity with the Gabby costume character, an interactive prize wheel with promotional prizes, giveaways and a toy display that includes Gabby’s Purrfect Dollhouse, a Walmart Top Holiday Toy List winner and more.

WHO: The Gabby costume character

WHERE/WHEN:

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

2:00 – 4:00 PM CT – Walmart in Mesquite (200 US-80 E, Mesquite, TX 75149)

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

12:00 – 2:00 PM CT – Walmart in McKinney (2041 Redbud Blvd, McKinney, TX 75069)

4:00 – 6:00 PM CT – Walmart in Plano (1700 Dallas Pkwy, Plano, TX 75093)

Thursday, November 17, 2022

10:00 AM – 12:00 PM CT – Walmart in Lancaster (150 I-35E, Lancaster, TX 75146)

3:00 – 5:00 PM CT – Walmart in Fort Worth (8401 Anderson Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76120)

About Walmart

From our humble beginnings as a small discount retailer in Rogers, Ark., Walmart has opened thousands of stores in the U.S. and expanded internationally. Through innovation, we’re creating a seamless experience to let customers shop anytime and anywhere online and in stores. We are creating opportunities and bringing value to customers and communities around the globe. Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and eCommerce websites. We employ 2.3 million associates around the world — nearly 1.6 million in the U.S. alone.

About DreamWorks Animation’s GABBY’S DOLLHOUSE

Since the debut of DreamWorks Animation’s hit series Gabby’s Dollhouse, kids around the world have been having one big sprinkle party with their new friend Gabby and all her kitty friends. Created and executive produced by celebrated storytellers Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey, Gabby’s Dollhouse is a mixed media preschool series that unboxes a surprise before jumping into a fantastical animated world full of adorable cat characters that live inside Gabby’s dollhouse. Rooted in growth mindset, Gabby’s activity-based episodes encourage flexible thinking and learning from your mistakes. The popular series has inspired many expansions including a successful toy line, publishing, original music, a top-rated app and a growing YouTube channel garnering millions of weekly views. Any adventure can unfold when we play in Gabby’s Dollhouse, now streaming on Netflix.

THE GOOD NURSE Interview w/ Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, & Tobias Lindholm

“The Good Nurse” follows a compassionate nurse, Amy Loughren (played by Jessica Chastain), who befriends an unsuspecting serial killer, Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne). Through friendship she is able to do what no one else seemed to have the courage to, and helps the police take him down. It’s a chilling story with Brillant performances by Chastain and Redmayne.

I had the chance to speak with Jessica Chastain, Eddie Redmayne, and director, Tobias Lindholm about an act of kindness that impacted them, what comforts them during hard times, and more!

Watch the interview and the film when it opens in select theaters on October 19, 2022, and streams on Netflix on October 26, 20222.

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‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE by Cirque du Soleil

THE ACCLAIMED HOLIDAY THEATRICAL

“TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE…” BY CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Will Run at Texas Trust CU Theatre in Grand Prairie

November 25 – December 11, 2022

Tickets Go On Sale Friday, August 26 at 10 a.m. at AXS.com

Dallas, TX (August 23, 2022) – The acclaimed family holiday theatrical – “‘Twas the Night Before…” by Cirque du Soleil – is making its Dallas debut at the Texas C. U. Theater fromFriday, November 25 – Sunday, December 11, 2022. The production will run for 25 performances.

Tickets start at $44 and will go on sale Friday, August 26th at 10 a.m. at AXS.com. Group tickets of 10 or more will be available at texasgrouptickets.com, via email at christina@texasgrouptickets.com or by calling (281) 367-9717 beginning August 26 at 10 a.m.

“‘Twas the Night Before…,” Cirque du Soleil’s exhilarating spin on the beloved Christmas tale, is about the wonders of sharing and friendship. The production marks Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever Christmas show and is a flurry of Christmas cheer – rip-roaring fun with hugely lovable characters that will introduce audiences to the magic of Cirque du Soleil.

Performance Schedule:

Friday, Nov. 25              7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 26          1 p.m., 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 27            12 noon, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 30     7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 1           7:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 2                7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3            1 p.m., 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4              12 noon, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 7       7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 8           7:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9                7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10          1 p.m., 4 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 11            12 noon, 3 p.m. & 6 p.m.

“Adopting Audrey” Interview w/ Jena Malone

Based on a true story, “Adopting Audrey” is about a young woman puts herself up for adoption and forms a bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family. I got a chance to speak with the star and executive producer of the film, Jena Malone. We discussed the film, the importance of how you act around your child, what YouTube videos comfort her, and much more.

“Adopting Audrey” opens in theaters and is available OnDemand August 26, 2022.

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THE BAD GUYS – FREE Virtual Activity Kit

THE BAD GUYS is in theaters Friday, April 22, 2022. To celebrate, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks has created a FREE downloadable virtual activity kit!

Link to virtual activity kit:
TheBadGuys_ActivityPack_Complete.pdf (dreamworks.com)

Nobody has ever failed so hard at trying to be good as The Bad Guys.

In the new action comedy from DreamWorks Animation, based on the New York Times best-selling book series, a crackerjack criminal crew of animal outlaws are about to attempt their most challenging con yet—becoming model citizens. 

Never have there been five friends as infamous as The Bad Guys—dashing pickpocket Mr. Wolf (Academy Award® winner Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), seen-it-all safecracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron, GLOW), chill master-of-disguise Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson, Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), short-fused “muscle” Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos, In the Heights) and sharp-tongued expert hacker Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina, Crazy Rich Asians), aka “Webs.” 

But when, after years of countless heists and being the world’s most-wanted villains, the gang is finally caught, Mr. Wolf brokers a deal (that he has no intention of keeping) to save them all from prison: The Bad Guys will go good. 

Under the tutelage of their mentor Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade, Paddington 2), an arrogant (but adorable!) guinea pig, The Bad Guys set out to fool the world that they’ve been transformed. Along the way, though, Mr. Wolf begins to suspect that doing good for real may give him what he’s always secretly longed for: acceptance. So when a new villain threatens the city, can Mr. Wolf persuade the rest of the gang to become … The Good Guys? 

The film co-stars Zazie Beetz (Joker), Lilly Singh (Bad Moms) and Emmy winner Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). 

Based on the blockbuster Scholastic book series by Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys is directed by Pierre Perifel (animator, the Kung Fu Panda films), making his feature-directing debut. The film is produced by Damon Ross (development executive Trolls, The Boss Baby, co-producer Nacho Libre) and Rebecca Huntley (associate producer, The Boss Baby). The executive producers are Aaron Blabey, Etan Cohen and Patrick Hughes.

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Movie Review: “Sing 2” is an Upbeat Musical Blast

Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures’ “Sing 2” may still play a familiar tune, but this time around, they crank up the music and add a few new beats to the story.

In the first film, koala bear, Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) was on the brink of having his theater shutdown until an open casting call (American Idol style) brought in various animals who were hiding their musical gift. The theater was saved! The group created a bond and a re-occurring sold out show in their small town.

The theme in “Sing” was about following your dreams and taking chances. Well, in “Sing 2”, these beloved characters are faced with the question of whether or not they are worthy of something greater.

After a talent scout dog, Suki (Chelsea Peretti), attends Buster’s reimagined “Alice in Wonderland” show; she tells him, he and his cast don’t have what it takes to make it in the big city. But that won’t stop an ambitious Buster. He gathers his crew to Redshore City (essentially Las Vegas), and they manage to sneak their way into an audition with the head of Crystal Entertainment, an intimidating white wolf named Jimmy Crystal (Bobby Cannavale). They surprisingly impress Jimmy with their spur of the moment sci-fi musical idea and mislead him to believe they know the reclusive rock legend Clay Calloway (U2’s Bono). Jimmy allows them to move forward with the show, but during rehearsals everyone seems to be facing their own obstacles. Housewife pig, Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) has to find the courage to take on the highflying stunts that come with her lead role. Rugged gorilla, Johnny (Taron Egerton) must stand up to a bullying dance teacher and prove he’s got the moves. And shy elephant, Meena (Tori Kelly) has to pull off an on-stage romance while managing her crush in real-life.

Director/writer Garth Jennings returns to make a sequel that doesn’t veer too far off from what we enjoyed about the first film, which was lovable characters performing sing-along dance numbers. “Sing 2” has a little more depth behind the melody.

As someone who is still trying to follow her dreams, this story struck a chord with me. When following any challenging career path, one of your greatest fears is that you will come to find out “you’re not good enough”. It was interesting to watch how everyone navigates this insecure thought in the movie.

One of the most endearing things about these films is the heart of its characters. Through their internal struggles they have formed a supportive friendship, and even though Buster is the most fame hungry of them all; his care for them comes first.

And U2 fans can rejoice in the moments whenever Bono is on screen. He makes a great addition to the cast and might even move audiences to tears during a heartwarming duet.

Sadly, I can’t say there’s much suspense or originality in “Sing 2”. It’s incredibly predictable. However, I don’t care! The film is much better than its predecessor. No, it won’t be able to compete with the more complex animated films this year like “Mitchell’s vs. The Machines” or “Encanto”, but it is just as fun. With so much crazy continuously going on in the world, “Sing 2” is the musical distraction the whole family can dance to.

Rating: B

Movie Review: “The Green Knight” and “Paper Spiders”

David Lowery is an Irving High School alum who has gone on to make critically acclaimed films like “Pete’s Dragon” and “A Ghost Story”. His new movie, “The Green Knight,” is a Medieval, fantasy re-telling of Sir Gawain based on the 14th century Arthurian poem. Watch the video below to find out my thoughts on the movie, along with a review of the independent film, “Paper Spiders”, starring Lili Taylor (“The Conjuring”).

“The Green Knight” opens in theaters July 30, 2021 and “Paper Spiders” is available to rent on various VOD platforms.

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Never Have I Ever Season 2 Interview w/ Cast

Mindy Kaling’s hit Netflix, comedy series is back! Season 2 of “Never Have I Ever” offers more laughs and romance than the first. The show is inspired by Kailing’s own childhood. It follows the complicated life of a modern-day first generation Indian American teenager. I spoke with the cast of the show to discuss whose voice would calm them down when feeling stressed, characters they saw themselves in when growing up and more.

“Never Have I Ever” season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.

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