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Archives for : kids

“Summertime” Interview w/ Carlos Lopez Estrada & Kelly Marie Tran

“Summertime” is set during a hot summer day in Los Angeles. The lives of 25 young adults intertwine as they share their stories and passion through powerful spoken word. I spoke with director, Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting” & “Raya and the Last Dragon”) and executive producer, Kelly Marie Tran (“Raya and the Last Dragon” & “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) to talk about the film.

“Summertime” opens in theaters July 16, 2021.

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Movie Review: “Black Widow”

We have anxiously been waiting for the release of “Black Widow” and it’s finally here! The film is set after the events of “Civil War”. Natasha Romanoff unites with her former “family” and seeks vengeance on the man who turned her into a controlled assassin. Find out my thoughts on the film in video below.

“Black Widow” opens in theaters and is available on Disney + Premier Access on July 9, 2021.

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Jurassic World: The Exhibition

Jurassic World: The Exhibition is coming June 18 to Grandscape in the Colony, the 20,000 square-foot immersive experience based upon the 25 year old family favorite cinematic blockbuster.

Guests will walk through the world-famous “Jurassic World” gates, encounter life-sized dinosaurs, and explore richly themed environments. Then, they will have an up close look at a Velociraptor, stand under a towering Brachiosaurus, and encounter the most fearsome of them all, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex. You’ll have the unique opportunity to imagine what it would have been like to walk among these breathtaking creatures and even interact with new baby dinosaurs, including “Bumpy” from the popular animated Netflix original series, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.

The Jurassic World franchise has been entertaining generations of fans around the world with thrilling and awe-inspiring stories and characters for more than 25 years – from films and TV series, to video games and toys, to live action experiences and rides at Universal theme parks. Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure will welcome the new Jurassic World VelociCoaster on June 10th, creating a new species of roller coaster where guests will feel the rush of the hunt as they race alongside these nimble predators, twisting and soaring above the land and water. At Universal Studios Hollywood, guests experiencing Jurassic World – The Ride will come face-to-face with an all-new, extraordinarily realistic dinosaur – the Indominus Rex, injecting intense new thrills, excitement and intrigue into an already dynamic ride.

To celebrate the Exhibition launch, fans will get an exclusive opportunity when playing Jurassic World Alive – thepopular location-based ARmobile game. Starting on June 18, players who visit the Exhibition in Dallas and open the game on their devices can locate an exclusive JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBITION incubator, which are capsules that contain valuable resources, as an in-game reward. Players with AR-enabled devices can then snap a picture or take a video of a dinosaur using the game’s AR feature and post to their social media channels using the #JurassicWorldAlive hashtag.

JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBITION will be at Grandscape from June 18 through September 5. Tickets start at $29.50 for adults (16 years +) and $19.50 for youth (3- 15 years). Children two-years-old and younger are free with an accompanying parent. VIP packages are available, as well as special pricing for Senior citizens and military.

During the exhibit’s run, the operation and management teams will continue to implement enhanced health and safety procedures for the operation of JURASSIC WORLD: THE EXHIBITION. All Exhibition activities will be in accordance with CDC guidelines. Visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/covid19 for the latest guidelines.

Movie Review: “A Quiet Place Part II” & “Cruella”

This week I review the highly anticipated sequel, “A Quiet Place Part 2” and Disney’s newest live action movie, “Cruella”. Followed by a preview of Universal Pictures’ “Spirit Untamed”. See which films are worth visiting the theaters.

“A Quiet Place Part 2” opens in theaters May 28, 2021

“Cruella” opens in theaters on Disney Plus Premier Access May 28, 2021

“Spirit Untamed” opens in theaters June 4, 2021

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Movie Review: “Here Today” -An Unexpected Friendship


Billy Crystal is a legend. He’s quite possibly the best Oscar host, and starred in a number of hilarious comedies. So, when you hear he directed, wrote, and stared in the new comedy, “Here Today”, you go in with high expectations. 

“Here Today” features Crystal as Charlie Berns, a nearly retired comedy writer who is part of the staff for the Saturday Night Live style variety show called “This Just In”. The majority of the writers are young and see Charlie as a dated comic. But he proves in many ways his seasoned talents are still useful. One day he goes to lunch with Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish), a woman who has won a meal with the writer from a silent auction. After a dramatic allergic reaction to seafood, the two form an unlikely bond. As their friendship grows, Emma discovers Charlie has been hiding his health problems from his loved ones. He is suffering from dementia and is getting lost in his memories.

Emma takes it upon herself to look after Charlie. Seeing that he has a strained relationship with his two children (played by Penn Badgley and Laura Benanti), one of which blames him for their mother’s death. At times, the film toys with the idea of Emma and Charlie as something more than friends. Luckily, this is not a romantic comedy, and any suggestion of these two being intimate is absolutely cringe-worthy. The film shines when they are strictly platonic. It’s heartwarming to see two lonely people finding comfort and safety in each other.

“Here Today” tells a sweet story, and there was a lot of potential for an even better film from this premise. Unfortunately, for a movie that is labeled a “comedy”, there weren’t a whole lot of laughs.  or starters, the scenes where Crystal forgets something are incredibly sad; including a moment where Charlie can’t take his memorized route to work. That is almost unbearable to watch. The sketch show within the film, “This Just In”, is unbearable in a different way. The jokes are corny and painful. We can thank Haddish for the comic relief. Her delivery is naturally funny. It seems Crystal intended for her to rise as the comedic star.

Everyone can empathize with Charlie; and if you know anyone with dementia, you’ll recognize the truths behind this awful disease. But somehow balancing Charlie’s issues with humorless TV gags throws off the tone and takes away from what could have been a compelling story. Though it’s hard not to find some enjoyment in “Here Today”, Crystal and Haddish are a delightful pair. But as whole, something just doesn’t quite click.

Rating: 2.5/5

“Here Today” opens in theaters May 7, 2021

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“Spirit Untamed” Downloadable Virtual Kit

SPIRIT UNTAMED is in theaters Friday, June 4. To celebrate, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks has created a downloadable virtual activity kit!

Link to virtual activity kit: https://wetransfer.com/downloads/55dccb7221236e99f2dade1bfbe0d59520210506203222/07ad23

An epic adventure about a headstrong girl longing for a place to belong who discovers a kindred spirit when her life intersects with a wild horse, Spirit Untamed is the next chapter in the beloved story from DreamWorks Animation. 

Lucky Prescott (Isabela Merced, Dora and the Lost City of Gold) never really knew her late mother, Milagro Navarro (Eiza González, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw), a fearless horse-riding stunt performer from Miradero, a small town on the edge of the wide-open frontier. 

Like her mother, Lucky isn’t exactly a fan of rules and restrictions, which has caused her Aunt Cora (Academy Award® winner Julianne Moore) no small amount of worry. Lucky has grown up in an East Coast city under Cora’s watchful eye, but when Lucky presses her own luck with one too many risky escapades, Cora picks up stakes and moves them both back with Lucky’s father, Jim (Oscar® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal), in Miradero.

Lucky is decidedly unimpressed with the sleepy little town. She has a change of heart when she meets Spirit, a wild Mustang who shares her independent streak, and befriends two local horseback riders, Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace, Captain Marvel) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin, Little). Pru’s father, stable owner Al Granger (Emmy winner Andre Braugher, Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine), is the best friend of Lucky’s father. 

When a heartless horse wrangler (Emmy nominee Walton Goggins, FX’s Justified) and his team plan to capture Spirit and his herd and auction them off to a life of captivity and hard labor, Lucky enlists her new friends and bravely embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse who has given her freedom and a sense of purpose, and has helped Lucky discover a connection to her mother’s legacy and to her Mexican heritage that she never expected. 

Spirit Untamed is the next chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s beloved franchise that began with the 2002 Oscar-nominated film Spirit: Stallion of Cimarron and includes an Emmy-winning TV series. The film is directed by Elaine Bogan (Netflix and DreamWorks Animation Television’s Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia) and is produced by Karen Foster (co-producer, How to Train Your Dragon). The film’s co-director is Ennio Torresan (head of story, The Boss Baby), and the film’s score is by composer Amie Doherty (Amazon’s Undone, DreamWorks Animation’s Marooned).

Genre: Animated Adventure

Cast: Isabela Merced, Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marsai Martin, Mckenna Grace, Walton Goggins, Andre Braugher and Eiza González

Director: Elaine Bogan

Producer: Karen Foster

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Movie Review: The Mitchells vs. The Machines is Heartfelt Entertaining Journey

The movies of 2021 have had a slow start. Aside from “Raya and the Last Dragon”, there’s not a whole lot of stand outs. But Netflix’s new animated, action-comedy, “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is easily one of the best films of the year.

Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson) has felt like an outcast during most her teen years. She spends a lot of her free time making funny, unique videos of her brother Aaron (Michael Rianda) and their dog. Though she has a loving family, she has yet to find “her people” that share her similar artistic interests. Her dad, Rick (Danny McBride), especially seems confused by Katie’s “art” and worries making videos won’t be a profitable way to make a living. This doubt is part of the reason why Katie and her father always butt heads, and no longer have the bond they once shared when she was a little a girl.

As luck would have it, Katie gets accepted to her dream film school. She’s already clicking with her future classmates, and can’t wait to fly off to orientation. But her father has another idea in mind. In order to rebuild their relationship, he cancels Katie’s flight; and plans a surprise road trip for the whole family to spend one last hurrah before they drop Katie off to college. An already bumpy ride turns into a disaster when the newest service of AI robots- known as the PAL go haywire, and all humans are under attack by the robot mercenaries. And somehow, the only people that can now save the world are the Mitchells!

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” has a lot of shining parts. Directors/Writers Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe have created a film that is original, clever, funny, touching, and an absolute blast. This is a movie that both kids and adults will connect with and enjoy. Yes, though Katie and her dad have had their arguments, the entire family has drifted by burying themselves in their phones and electronics. Katie’s mom, Linda (Maya Rudolph), is obsessed with other families’ online personas; admiring a life she wished she had. And her brother is obsessed with everything dinosaurs. Rick is the only one in the family who hates technology, and enjoys more of the outdoors. It’s enough to make you think twice before pulling out your phones when you’re spending time with your family.

I know Danny McBride is funny, but this is hands down his best role. He is hilarious and endearing. He’s the parent that we either have or we hope to be. His desire to rebuild his relationship with his daughter is incredibly moving. And his character is only elevated by his on screen wife. Rudolph plays a badass mom who might have some insecurities but she loves her children and will stop at nothing to protect them. Of course, the star of the film, Abbi Jacobson is fantastic. She’s a character you empathize with and root for.

A good number of laughs in the film can be credited to Olivia Coleman who does the voices for the digital villain PAL AI system. She’s snarky, yet serious. The very idea of her character is terrifying, but seeing such a villainess in the form of a phone is extremely comical.

The film never veers off course. From the start you’re immediately engaged by this quirky family, and quickly taken on an exciting adventure. Take in all the gorgeous animation scenery, and enjoy every thrilling stop. “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is wild and fun ride everyone should take! 

Rating: 5/5

www.netflix.com/TheMitchellsVsTheMachines

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Kilburn Live and Hasbro Team Up to Bring NERF Challenge to Dallas

Kilburn Live and Hasbro Team Up to Bring NERF Challenge to Dallas For the Ultimate Adrenaline-Pumping Active Play Experience at Centennial Hall at Fair Park This Summer

Dallas, TX (April 20, 2021) – Today, Kilburn Live, a global live entertainment company, and HASBRO, Inc., a global play and entertainment company, announced they are bringing their groundbreaking, live entertainment experience NERF Challenge to Dallas starting May 28 at Centennial Hall at Fair Park. After a highly successful debut in Los Angeles in 2019, Kilburn Live anticipates Dallas to be eager to show why everything is bigger (and more competitive) in the Lone Star State. 

“We are thrilled to bring this amazing experience to Dallas, and it feels like a natural fit to kick-off our 2021 tour in this great city,” said Mark Manuel, CEO at Kilburn Live. “It has been a tough year, and we know that now, more than ever, people just want to get back out there and start playing again, especially by this Summer. And if it is play they are looking for, nothing compares to NERF Challenge. It is 90,000 square feet of active, competitive play in a variety of sports, blaster play, obstacle courses, carnival games, and insane one-of-a-kind activations, like our human wrecking bowl.  And with our giant leaderboard keeping track of everyone’s scores, we are sure to ignite that competitive Texas spirit.”

Housed in the massive Centennial Hall, NERF Challenge offers guests the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the ultimate heart-pumping, action-packed, competitive sports experience. Whether you are an adrenaline-seeker, competitor, or simply a NERF fan, NERF Challenge offers kids and enthusiasts the opportunity to be among the first to get hands-on with the latest in cutting-edge NERF technology.

“We’re excited to partner once again with Kilburn Live to bring this interactive experience to Dallas and around the country,” said Matthew Proulx, Vice President, Location Based Entertainment at Hasbro. “We know that people are ready to get out and play, and NERF’s cutting-edge play-centered technology will get pulses racing and brains working double time.”

Kilburn Live and Hasbro have created the ultimate gamified live experience featuring NERF’s iconic blasters and sports products designed to test a player’s speed, agility, concentration, and accuracy. Must-try NERF Challenge experiences include:

  • Dodge Blast – Partner up and storm a fortified position held by your friends using NERF blasters to score points on stationary targets, all while avoiding a barrage of darts.
  • Wrecking Bowling – Try your hand at bowling, NERF style! Strap in and become a human wrecking ball with a single purpose: scoring the elusive strike!
  • Try-athlon Ninja Style Circuit Course – The ultimate test of speed and agility, this soft play obstacle course is designed to put your athletic prowess to the test.
  • Bernoulli Baseball – The ultimate test of eye-hand coordination as you attempt to score a line drive hit on a floating, moving ball. 
  • Vortex Throw – Climb to the top of the leaderboards by rapidly firing NERF footballs at a giant dartboard-like target.
  • Colossal Foosball – In this super-sized version of the classic game, you and your friends can step onto the field and compete in a larger-than-life game of Foosball.

The NERF Challenge will kick off on May 28 in Dallas and run through August 8. Presale tickets will be available on April 21, with general ticketing opening to the public on April 23. For more information about the NERF Challenge experience and to purchase tickets, visit www.nerfchallenge.com or @nerfchallenge on Facebookand Instagram.  

Kilburn Live and The NERF Challenge teams will be strictly following state and city-mandated Covid-19 protocols to ensure safety of all of our guests. Furthermore, Kilburn has adopted best-in-class cleaning and sanitizing protocols for all of its events. 

Movie Review: “Voyagers” Gets Lost in Space

Neil Burger’s new sci-fi thriller, “Voyagers” fails to make any significant impact.

The start of the film explains how earth is growing hotter. Drought and disease have caused severe damage to the population. Scientists are looking for a new planet that can support human life, and they find one in 2063. They decide to send a group bioengineered teens into space in order to populate the new world that is hundreds of light years away. The trip will take them 86 years. Meaning their future grandkids will be the ones carrying out the end of the mission. The only adult on board is Richard (Colin Ferrell), who leads and counsels the kids as if they were his own. To prevent chaos and create order, the teens are given a “blue drink” that has essentially been drugging them, and inhibits them from feeling, really, anything. Two of the voyagers, Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and Zac (Fionn Whitehead), figure this out. Zac angrily stops taking the substance, then all hell breaks loose.

Suddenly, the movie turns into “Lord of the Flies” IN SPACE. It becomes so predictable and wild, that you just want to skip to the end. It’s not that the storyline is boring. In fact, at times it can be engaging; but it offers nothing new. The beginning makes you think this familiar tale will have a refreshing spin. But when it’s over, you’re left wondering if this really needed to be a movie?

Story wise, “Voyagers” is nothing special. But perhaps, the purpose was to showcase the talented, young actors. However, most of their impressive diverse cast were merely background noise. The film primarily focuses on Sheridan, Whitehead and Lily-Rose Depp, who plays Sela. Depp and Sheridan play off each other well and have great chemistry, but the film never dives too deep with its characters. We get to know everyone at a surface level, except for maybe Zac whose villain-like qualities gradually grow, the more jealous he gets of Christopher.

“Voyagers” is well shot. The cinematography by Enrique Chediak is beautiful. The music by Trevor Gureckis compliments the tone of the film, and provides the right amount of suspense.

Burger’s script is not bad, either, it just feels derivative. It’s disappointing when the premise of the film allowed for so much more. I mostly wish we explored the other world. The concept is realistic, and it would have been interesting to learn more about why they chose to create new life on this particular planet. Instead, “Voyagers” chooses to focus on the characters resenting their isolation, and their lack of “feeling”. They want to take advantage of getting to experience pain and all sorts of pleasure. This raises the question of whether or not they prefer a wild-life of “freedom”, or to go back to their routine, monotonous life that serves a greater purpose; one they won’t be alive to see come to fruition.

“Voyagers” may still be worth the watch for purely entertainment purposes. It’s plays out like a teen drama you’d watch on the CW. So if that’s your cup of tea, then this film is right up your alley. Otherwise, keep your expectations low, and be prepared for a rushed and underwhelming ending.

Rating: 2/5

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Movie Review: “Raya and the Last Dragon”

“Raya and the Last Dragon” follows a warrior named Raya, whose on a mission to find the last dragon and save her world from the monsters that destroyed it. Watch the video below to see my full review of the movie.

“Raya and the Last Dragon” opens in theaters March 5 and available on Disney Plus Premier Access.

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