Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

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Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is a movie released by Disney back in 2007. It stars Natalie Portman (Molly Mahoney), Dustin Hoffman (Mr. Emporium), and Jason Bateman (Henry Weston aka “The Mutant”).

This is a delightful little movie that puts a little bit of fantasy in the regular everyday world. It is safe for the whole family to watch and one that will entertain adults just as much as littles. I remember really liking it when it came out, and having watched it again a few times over the last month, I can affirm that it holds up remarkably well with age.

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Although a comedy, there is real emotion and development throughout the film. I am grieving the loss of a family member and this film deals with death in a positive way. Watching it on repeat lately has been a cathartic experience.

Mr Magorium’s story was reaching its final chapter. That’s okay — all stories, even the ones we love, must eventually come to an end … and when they do, it’s only an opportunity for another story to begin.

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It is also a coming of age story, featuring Molly Mahoney. I completely relate to her feeling stuck right now!

I definitely recommend this movie for the family!!

You can watch the trailer here.

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xx

Incredibles 2 (2018)

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Incredibles 2 takes place immediately after the conclusion of the first movie. Jack Jack is still a small baby, and his family is not yet aware of his powers, although the audience certainly is!

This book highlights the struggles the kids face in adapting to their dual identities as “normal kids” in school and supers. In addition, all supers are still illegal and fighting back to regain their place in society and embraces their powers.

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I was not a fan of Incredibles 2. It definitely is not a movie that I would watch again. For a company like Pixar that had 14 years to put together a blockbuster sequel to their hit first film, I really felt let down.

The movie is meant for kids admittedly. But in my opinion, Pixar and Disney usually aim at making films that can appeal to the whole family. Parents are generally roped into watching movies with their kids, and certainly it is the adult taking the family to the movie theatre.

Now, the film generally received positive reviews from the critics and has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award so my opinion seems to be an uncommon one. But I would not recommend this movie.

I felt it was overly predictable, even for a children’s film. It lives in the shadow of the original, and all the other superhero movies that have emerged in the past decade. Another example of the sequel failing to live up to the original.

You can watch the trailer here.

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Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Well, I haven’t been feeling well this week at all but unfortunately I had to work through it. Normally I am working about 70 hours a week so the fact that Monday was the Family Day holiday … so thankful! I firmly believe there should be at least one holiday long weekend every single month.

This weekend I took the opportunity to enjoy a few nights in, some hanging out with room-mate and others with my family, and I brought out the old movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971).

I haven’t seen it since I was a little kid. I totally forgot this movie even existed, although it had some pretty big names in it in its day. If you aren’t familiar with the story, here are the important deets (copied and pasted from wikipedia):

“Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 British-American musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is based upon the books The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) by English children’s author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.”

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“The film is frequently compared with Mary Poppins (1964), since it combines live action and animation and is partially set in the streets of London. It also features numerous cast members from Mary Poppins, particularly Tomlinson. This movie is great for all ages.

During The Blitz, the three Rawlins children, Charlie, Carrie, and Paul are evacuated from London to the remote village of Pepperinge Eye. They are placed in the reluctant care of Miss Eglantine Price, a reclusive woman who agrees to the arrangement temporarily. The children attempt to run back to London, but change their minds after observing Miss Price attempting to fly on a broomstick. Miss Price reveals she is learning witchcraft through a correspondence school with hopes of using her spells in the British war effort, and offers the children a transportation spell in exchange for their silence. Miss Price casts the spell on a knob that the youngest child, Paul, has removed from the bed in the children’s shared bedroom, and she adds that only Paul can work the spell.”

Well, you know trouble is going to ensue from that, now don’t you?!!

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I was a little nervous that rewatching a movie I had loved as a child would tarnish its image in my mind, but the charm remains. All the tunes in this musical are very catchy. A bit like Mary Poppins, I feel as though Bedknobs and Broomsticks will never age too much to be enjoyable, although it would be neat if they remade it with updated special effects and animation.

Any of the scenes with the bagpipes or military songs are my favourites!

It seems like the movie is available for free from a couple of youtube accounts (which I have no association with). Try these links: First Try     Second Try

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xx

 

Tomorrowland – film review

Tomorrowland (2014) is a futuristic movie about a second dimension that is inter-layed over Earth. The people who live there are the brightest and most optimistic from our planet, and are selected by highly advanced robots mandated to seek them out.

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From imdb:

Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

Trailer

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Tomorrowland’s magic stems from the enthusiasm of the young teenage protagonist and the wonder of the technology of the future. It was inspiring to see such a clean city full of life, to witness the jetpacks and trackless sky-trains and space travel.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see very much of that. In “present day”, the city of Tomorrowland is collapsing and seems nearly empty except for robots and security personnel. The residents of Tomorrowland know that our world is collapsing and despair and depression seem the dominant attitudes among them. Many of the former wonder-kid inventors have been expelled from the city, including the character played by George Clooney.

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What I didn’t like about this movie is that it didn’t live up to the fabulous potential of such an imaginative idea. The writing was sub-par and sort of unravelled half way through. It felt like someone got lazy, like they came up with a great idea and then didn’t have the motivation to see it through.

It is established that Tomorrowland will continue on unimpeded even though our world is ending, but everyone seems to have left it anyway. There are a few robots here and there and the city’s ruler and his minions. That’s it. Most of the city is in a state of disrepair. There is never any explanation given except for “they built something they shouldn’t have”.

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Athena: “They built something they shouldn’t have. And I think you can fix it”.

But that isn’t entirely true. And even if it is, their world isn’t being destroyed by this invention, ours is.

In many ways, Tomorrowland feels like the technological version of Neverland. You don’t have to grow up there. Emotionally, “creationally”, or even physically. I wish that the wonders of that world – what surely drew in audiences from the trailer, especially adults – had been explored further.

Unfortunately, between the lazy producing and writing, the movie fell far from expectations. It is supremely disappointing to see a fairly original idea fall flat, especially from a powerhouse like Disney.

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Minions

I know it’s been out for awhile, but I just went to see Minions today. I took my four year old niece and had a special little afternoon.

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I haven’t seen her much lately between my new job and her family’s vacation, so I was glad to make a couple hours free. From her reaction, I will definitely need to be doing it more often ❤

Minions was ok…. the humour definitely saved it. I was laughing my way through but don't think that I would be too eager to sit down and watch it again. It is certainly more of a kids' movie, rather than one parents enjoy just as much.

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If you haven’t taken your little one to watch Minions yet, I would recommend it. My niece had already seen it when it first was released with her parents, but she sat enraptured the whole time, laughing and worrying as the scene called for, and said she still really enjoyed it. Any movie that can keep a four year old hopped up on sugar still and quiet for 90 minutes gets a passing grade from me.

This is just cute.

This is just cute.

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Age of Adaline – a review

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Last week a friend who really wanted to see The Age of Adaline dragged me out to our little two screen local movie theatre. We had pop and chocolate and popcorn and the best seats in the house. It was a wonderful break from stress and worrying!

This movie reminded me of a modern twist of the Disney movie Tuck Everlasting, which was itself based on a classic children’s book, with reversed gender roles. Adaline (played by the elegant Blake Lively) was the young woman who didn’t age. At 108 years old, she still appeared to be 29.

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To protect herself, she has made a rule that she never stays in one place longer than a decade before moving on and most importantly, she never falls in love. She broke that rule once and it devastated both parties. But now it is the modern-day and she falls in love with a new man who is determined to not let her run away.

I wouldn't be trying to run away from Ellis. I think Michiel would have made a fantastic choice as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

I wouldn’t be trying to run away from Ellis.
I think Michiel would have made a fantastic choice as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

The Age of Adaline is a romantic movie and plays out very well on-screen. It was sweet, and elegant. I really liked how they explained her sudden stop in aging in a scientific fashion, rather than trying to add the mystical into a film otherwise grounded in reality. The beginning and end of the film mirrored each other as well, a style of production that I am currently in love with.

I thought that all the actors (especially Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman and Harrison Ford) did a really good job with this film. It was beautifully acted. My only complaint was that I did find it to be very predictable. Nothing surprised me. That said, knowing what was coming didn’t ruin the movie at all and as I said, it is very similar to Tuck Everlasting so the story felt familiar as it played out.

Harrison Ford had some of the best acting of his career in this film! I just wanted to hug the poor guy

Harrison Ford had some of the best acting of his career in this film! I just wanted to hug the poor guy

If you are looking for a romantic, soft film, this is the one for you.

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xx

Into the woods – a review

I watched Into the Woods a little while ago and have been meaning to review it ever since. Problem is, every time I go to start, I get that song stuck in my head! It’s almost annoyingly catchy.

Disney did a decent job of adapting a very adult musical into a movie for older children and adults to enjoy together.  The first half was excellent, catchy, fast-paced and Johnny Depp did a credible job as the Wolf.  I wasn’t thrilled with his appointment to the role, but it worked out in the end.

Where the trouble started, was the second act, which fell to pieces. This is an example of watering down great content to fit the length of a film, and most pointedly, to pacify all the parents bringing young kids to a movie that was never written for a PG audience.

From themes of pedophilia between the Wolf and Red, to cheating between spouses to murder, it would have been better for Disney to keep true to the musical and slap at 14A rating on that film.  Instead, it tried to make a PG version that would appeal to everyone and it didn’t quite work, despite the many accomplishments of the actors.

While I did enjoy Into the Woods, I noticed a lot of reviews online and social media, mainly from fans of the original musical who resented the adaptations in the second half (I concur), and parents of young kids who didn’t realize that this particular Disney movie was based on the darker Grimms’ fairy-tales, rather than the G-rated Disney version.  To the latter, I say do your research.  Maybe the trailer should have been a little darker, to convey that message more clearly, but I had never heard of the musical before the film came out and I knew it wasn’t meant for young children.  I wouldn’t take a child to something either, if I had no idea what it was about.  Disney has been moving away from the old school G-rated family films that it was synonymous with in the past.  Those are still their bread and butter, but Disney owns and produces the Lucasfilms (Star Wars) and Marvel productions too, which are clearly marketed towards adults, even if their ratings are not child-averse.

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As to the failures of the adaptation, well, that is always hit and miss.  One of the most common sayings in the movie business, is that, the movie is never as good as the book. Well, in this case, we would have to change that to the movie is never as good as the musical.

Spoiler Alert

The weakest points in the film were due to Disney making the film more child-friendly. I didn’t like the portrayal of the witch (I’m shocked to say) or the changes to her story-line. In particular, re-writing Rapunzel’s ending, from a tragic death to a happily ever after with her Prince, effectively destroyed the entire meaning behind the story and necessitated the removal or alterations of several songs, which no longer made sense. Rapunzel and Prince disappear from the rest of the movie, as does Jack’s mother, because God forbid we see someone die on-screen.  The Baker’s Wife also falls behind a rock, insinuating she fell off a cliff.  I would have much preferred an Alice-style fall a la The Last of the Mohicans.

Up until the wedding scene, I was giving the film five golden stars.  Unfortunately, from that point on the movie lacked focus, meaning and depth, dropping it down to three and a half.  A good effort, and enjoyable … but still, I wish Disney had had more conviction to make a twenty-first century fairy-tale for grown-ups

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xx