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Movie Review: “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a Musical Delight

Image result for mamma mia 2 poster

The whole Mamma Mia gang is back! But this time we’re looking back to see how it all started.

Ten years ago the first “Mamma Mia!” introduced us to Donna (Meryl Streep) and her daughter Sophie (Amanda Seyfried). At the time, Sophie was engaged to her then fiancée Sky (Dominic Cooper), and wanted to know her father was so that he could attend the wedding. Given that there were three possible candidates, she invited all three of her mother’s past lovers, Sam, Harry, and Bill (Pierce Brosnon, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding. After meeting the three men, they fall in love with Sophie and they all commit to being her father.

Now in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Sophie is pregnant and this sparks a stroll down memory lane. Flashbacks allow us to see when her mother met her fathers, and how it eventually led to her birth. Right after college, young Donna (Lily James) decides to take a European trip. Along the way she runs into a much younger Harry (Hugh Skinner), Bill (Josh Dylan), and Sam (Jeremy Irvine). All three newcomers do a fantastic job and leave lasting impressions.

But it’s Lily James who steals the show with her striking beauty and incredible voice. Who knew this girl could sing!? James’ energy and charisma leaps off the screen. However, she’s not the only one with popping vocals. Amanda Seyfried continues to sing with voice of a Disney Princess, and her on screen Grandma played by the one and only, Cher, brings down the whole house with her powerful vocals.

The only thing more stunning than the music was the setting in Greece. The crystal blue waters and landscape is eye candy to even someone who doesn’t care about what else is going on.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is a film that moves quickly. Since we are given brief moments in about a song length capacity with each man Donna meets, the film never lags. Although, I would not have minded seeing a longer storyline between young Donna and Sam. James’ and Irvine’s romantic chemistry makes us realize why the two characters immediately fall for each other again in the first film.

Though the plot is corny and the random bursts into song can be cheesy at times, it just doesn’t matter. Take “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for what it is; and that’s a fun, toe-tapping musical that everyone can enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” opens in theaters July 20.

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Concert Review: ‘Jason Mraz’ Mesmerizes At The Winspear Opera House

Jason Mraz continues to let his voice do all the work.  Not relying on flashy lights, crazy props, or even choreography to distract from his hauntingly gifted vocals.


Have you had a bad day?  Or maybe you just think life sucks in general?  If that’s the case, it might be time to alter your negative perspective and start looking on the bright side of things.  Jason Mraz performed his latest uplifting album, YES!, in a packed opera house filled with audiences who were entranced by every word spoken and every lyric sung.  Mraz is probably one of the most genuinely grateful and happy artist out there, and he makes sure to spread that positive aura.

This is my third Jason Mraz concert. And I will tell you that, besides the incredible music, the best thing about his live performances is his banter in-between songs.  He is quick-witted, funny, and a smart story teller.  He understands how to be philosophical without being preachy.

Mraz introduced his opening band, thanked his audience for their support and choosing to spend a night with him instead of in their beds.

Mraz’s opening act/partners, Raining Jane, were the perfect addition to his special, stripped down, instrumental show.  After Raining Jane sang three of their own songs, Mraz joined them on stage for a magical collaboration.  These girls were no background singers.  In fact, they stood by Mraz’s side during the entire show.  Raining Jane gave Mraz the unique flair he was hoping for in order to keep each concert tour fresh.  The band only heightened the Grammy winner’s voice, by actually letting us clearly hear all his beautiful lyrics.

Though the show primarily featured songs from YES!, including the hit single, “Love Someone,” Mraz also played many old favorites, including “Remedy” and “I’m Yours.”

I love going to concerts, and seeing a singer that can get me dancing up out of my seat is of course great.  But, watching an artist truly hold an audience for nearly 2 ½ hours solely on their voice is the reason I love listening to live music.  Jason Mraz never disappoints, and this latest performance at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House is hands down Mraz’s best concert tour yet.

Back to School! Top 5 Teachers from Film

School starts back up this Monday, and I’m sure a lot teachers and students are dreading the early mornings and the long hours of class.  So in hopes of making people a little less upset that summer break is over,  I thought I’d pick my top 5 favorite teachers from film, and remind ourselves how much EVERY teacher can impact our lives.

5. Dewey Finn- School of Rock

“I have been touched by your kids… and I’m pretty sure that I’ve touched them.”

Low on cash; Dewey Finn poses as his brother so that he may substitute teach at a very posh school.  He ends up teaching his students about classic rock and roll, and turning them into his own miniature rock band.  If there is one thing I love, it’s someone who’s excited about what they do.  Dewey isn’t the best academic teacher.  But when it comes to teaching these students about music, he instills a passion in them that they never knew they had.

4. Sharon Norbury- Mean Girls

“You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it ok for guys to call you sluts and whores.”

Tina Fey played the sympathetic math teacher in the popular teen comedy, Mean Girls. Not only is Ms. Norbury unintentionally hilarious, but she also tries to help pull Cady (Lindsay Lohan) away from the vicious Plastics and gear her into the Mathletes.  And of course, who could forget how she led all the female students in a giant confession and apology to one another, pleading with them to quit hating on each other.

3. Jaime Escalante- Stand and Deliver

“It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just they don’t know anything.”

Based on a true story, Stand and Deliver portrays a rebellious math teacher who transforms his seemingly hopeless, uninterested students into the top-scorers in the state. Their achievement is so astonishing that the school board accused the Latino students of cheating. Proof, that if you have enough faith in your students and don’t give up on them, they can accomplish anything.

2. Miss Honey- Matilda

“I can’t abandon my children. And if I couldn’t teach, I’d have nothing at all.”

She’s the unbelievably sweet teacher we wish we had as a kid.  Miss Honey bonds with Matilda (Mara Wilson) over their troubled childhoods and eventually adopts Matilda as her own.  As if Matilda wasn’t lucky enough already with her magical powers and finally escaping from her grotesque family, she gets to split a piece of what I can only imagine taste like heaven, chocolates with Miss Honey every night.

1. John Keating- Dead Poets Society

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

In a school of young men who have their lives laid out for them, one teacher dares to define the system with his unorthodox methods of teaching.  The late, great Robin Williams gave an incredibly touching performance as a teacher who inspires the lives of his prep school students.  His lessons are active, they’re lively, and he motivates his students to explore their true callings.  He taught his kids that there is more out there than just the jobs their parents have on hold for them.  They can become writers, actors, or whatever their creativity guides them to do.  If there were ever a film that made me want to teach, it was and still is Dead Poets Society.