Coco

From the opening Disney title screen to the end, Disney/Pixar’s Coco had me running the gauntlet of emotions. The movie opened with a mariachi rendition of the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” and I was immediately hooked, and the movie held J and I all the way through the message telling people to learn more about Dia de Los Muertos.

Coco follows Miguel Rivera (voiced by the talented Anthony Gonzales) as he embarks on a journey to become a famous musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. The catch to this tale is that Miguel’s family of shoe makers are not very fond of music or musicians. Miguel’s family wants him to continue the family legacy as a shoe maker, and his abuela tells him that his family will show him how when they visit from the land of the dead on Dia de los Muertos. How will Miguel live his dreams? I guess you’ll have to get your tickets and find out.

Coco is a beautiful film directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina that Disney/Pixar fans of all ages will love. The design of the land of the dead is beautiful and the music (composed by Michael Giacchino) was excellent. The casting department did such an amazing job with this cast. With Benjamin Bratt, Gael García Bernal, Edward James Olmos, Cheech Marin, Jaime Camil, Renee Victor, Alanna Ubach, John Ratzenberger (it is a Pixar), and more, this almost fully Latino cast brought the metaphorical house down. That being said my favorite voice actor had to be Ana Ofelia Murguía. The way she voiced her character brought a lot of emotions up in me. Mainly because she reminded me of my abuela who suffered from Alzheimer’s.

The story is fantastic, and is one that people of all ages will love. Coco felt like home. There were so many comparisons I was making between the film and my own life. Many of the characters in Coco that reminded me of my own family, especially Miguel’s chancla throwing abuela. The family shoe business reminded me of my grandma’s breakfast burrito/tamale delivery business. Seeing Miguel’s abuela’s tamales reminded me of all the hours that my brothers and I spent tying little strands of husk around tamales that would be devoured in seconds. Hearing Miguel’s abuela say, “you’ll feel better after you eat,” brought back even more memories.

Even though Coco has heavy themes surrounding family, I feel that the biggest theme is about remembering. With the track “Remember Me” being everyone in the town’s favorite song and with the movie focusing so much on the land of the dead, it’s hard not to notice it. It can feel like the theme is being hammered into your brain, but I feel like this is a theme that needs to do that every now and then.

Do not forget that this is a Pixar film, and that usually means you will need a Costco size box of tissues to make it all the way through Coco. There are so many happy and sad moments in Coco that I can’t really explain without spoiling the film, so I’ll just say that you need to be prepared to cry.

While there is Spanish dropped here and there, you don’t need to know the language to fully enjoy Coco as context will help you understand. I loved that the writers sprinkled Spanish in the script. I felt like it made some of the scenes pop more than if they just used the English equivalent. While the movie is based around traditions of Dia de los Muertos, Coco is not an educational film. It is meant to get people who may not know the customs interested, hence the disclaimer at the end of the credits.

My one negative comment actually has nothing to do with Coco, but with the Olaf short film in front of Coco. It was way too long and it seemed like Disney put it in front of Coco to get the white audience interested in seeing Coco. Just don’t leave after the Olaf feature. Stay for Coco. I promise that you will enjoy it.

Coco is Rated PG for thematic elements. Coco was written by Matthew Aldrich and Adrian Molina, and was directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.

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“Spoiler-Free” Justice League Review

DC fans rejoice, the team up movie we’ve been waiting for has finally come. Well, rejoice might be a strong word. It’s no secret that I am not s Zac Snyder fan. I think his movies have an interesting look, but the editing is always choppy and the movies tend to be longer than they need to be. While Justice League suffers from some of the same choppiness as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, one of things the movie doesn’t suffer from is its length. At just under 2 hours, Justice League is a movie you can sit through without worrying about having to take a few bathroom breaks throughout. Justice League has some pacing issues, but I felt that the story was more solid than anything Snyder did with Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.

The cast was great. I was worried that the studio would make Flash a darker character in order to fit him more into this cinematic universe that DC and Warner Bros have created. Luckily, they chose to have a closer to comic version of Barry Allen. Ezra Miller did a fantastic job as the scarlet speedster. Batfleck did a great job and still holds his spot close to the top of my favorite Batman portrayals. Ray Fisher was a good choice for the cinematic version of Cyborg, I was hoping for more of a Khary Payton “Teen Titans” Cyborg, but that would not have fit this universe. Gal Gadot did a fantastic job reprising her role as Wonder Woman, although I wish Patty Jenkins would have directed Gal Gadot’s scenes. Then there was Aquaman. What can I say about Jason Momoa’s Aquaman? It was a fresh take on the King of Atlantis, and I loved it! Because of Momoa’s performance, I have a new found respect for Aquaman.

I think all that I can say without getting into spoiler territory is that Justice League is a good movie that people should see in theaters at least one time. If you were a fan of Snyder’s previous DC films, you will love Justice League. For everyone else, I think that Justice League is enjoyable. If you are thinking about taking your kids, just know that there are scenes that might scare the young ones. There are also long scenes that might bore younger children. If your kids were able to sit through Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, they should be able to sit through and enjoy Justice League.

Keep your eyes peeled, there are quite a few easter eggs that will make all the DC fans smile from ear to ear. Be prepared to sit through the credits because you get a mid credit and an end credit scene that you do not want to miss. Because of the choppiness of film, I would say Justice League sits at a “B-” from me. There were scenes that I personally thought could have been shorter and some that even seemed unnecessary.

Let me know what you think about Justice League. Comment here or on any of our social media pages.

Justice League is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

You’ll Float Too, an IT Movie Review

The IT miniseries came out at the beginning of the “go go 90s”. In those days, parents were less strict about what their movies their kids watched or what video games they played. Kids gathered at parks and schools to have unsupervised play with their friends until the street lamps lit the sky. I was about 6 the first time I saw IT and I remember it putting the fear of clowns in my heart.

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©NewLineCinema/WarnerBrosTelevision

In my opinion, the reboot almost left me with the same feelings as the 1990 original. Of course, minor changes were made to the story. The childhood scenes take place in the late 80s instead of the 60s, Mike is not the historian of the Losers Club, and some scenes were more graphic and disturbing than it’s 90s counterpart. With that being said, none of those changes made the movie unwatchable for me and most of them actually made sense for the story. With said changes, we actually get to see a little more of the characters’ backstories.

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©NewLineCinema

From the moment I watched the first trailers for the reboot, I was stand offish toward Pennywise. In my opinion, he is supposed to be a clown that kids wouldn’t inherently be afraid of, he should be a clown that kids would warm up to until the moment he struck. This Pennywise, however, would be terrifying for a young child to happen upon and most children would run the other direction if they saw him. And then there was his voice. I thought his voice came across as too creepy for a clown trying to lure children to their doom. This took me out of the story for a brief moment, but I was able to push those thoughts aside so I could enjoy the film.

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©NewLineCinema

As I had mentioned earlier, there were scenes that were more graphic and disturbing than they probably needed to be. The town bullies did such a great job at bullying the Losers Club that it made any scenes with the bullies almost too uncomfortable to watch. It made me feel sick to my stomach, and if I hadn’t been in the center of the theater, I probably would have stepped outside for those scenes. So if you are triggered in anyway by scenes of kids being bullied, you have been warned.

Before this gets too long or starts getting into the spoiler territory, I just have to say that the movie had everything that a great horror movie should have. There were some great scares, but there was also a lot of humor to cut the tension brought on by the scares. I think that the kids did a wonderful job with their characters. After pushing aside my early critics of Pennywise, I came to enjoy the performance by Bill Skarsgård. There were some questionable edits that brought my rating of the movie down a little, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to not like the film. I would say that the majority of movie goers will probably like IT and a few will have something negative to say about it. So, I would recommend that you head down to the theater and get your tickets today!

(NOTE TO PARENTS)

This is an “R” rated horror film. There will be blood, gore, uncomfortableness, and sexual references. I would recommend not taking your young children to see this film. Seeing as the main cast is teenagers, my suggestion would be not to take anyone under the age of 13 to see IT. We had a few 6-10 year olds in the theater (one wearing a 90s Pennywise shirt) with their families, and it looked like they left the theater within the first 10 minutes. So if you are going to terrorize your young ones with this film, save your money for their tickets and wait to show them IT until it comes out on Blu-Ray.

IT has a runtime of 2 hours 15 minutes and is Rated “R” for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language.

The LEGO Batman Review

If you are a fan of Batman, or The LEGO Movie then you will absolutely love The LEGO Batman Movie!! The LEGO Batman Movie is definitely a movie that entire families will enjoy together. The jokes are solid, the main storyline tugs at the heart strings, and the voice acting was on point. Be prepared to get your geek on because there are so many non-Batman LEGO cameos that you might feel like you are watching a LEGO Dimensions movie.  The one thing I will say is that I think The LEGO Batman Movie could have been a little shorter. It is 1hr 45min but they could have taken out a few jokes to get it down to the 1hr 30min mark. I am going to leave this review short and sweet so I don’t spoil anything for you readers. We give the LEGO Batman movie 4 1/2 LEGO figures and recommend that everyone with or without children go see this movie. You will not regret seeing it!!

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“Rouge One: A Star Wars Story” Review

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Directed by Gareth Edwards; Written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy; Story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta; Based on Characters and Situations created by George Lucas; Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk, Ben Mendelsohn ; Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi action and violence; Running time 133 minutes

Rogue One was the first Star Wars movie that I had to skip out on opening night because I made a scheduling error and told my wife that she could plan her work Christmas party on the same night. However, I was lucky enough to see it twice, for free, the next day with the first screening being with my wife and her amazing coworkers and without J. It was kind of nice not seeing my first screening of Rogue One without J because I’m usually checking on him to see how he’s taking in the movie and I usually end up missing some things. It also gave me the chance to catch as many Easter Eggs as I could so I could share those with him when we saw it together, which was an hour after my first screening.

If I had to choose one word to describe Rogue One it would be superb. The story was amazing, the actors were fantastic, and K2SO almost took the top spot for my favorite droid. Rogue One had something for everyone. I believe that even if you’ve never seen a Star Wars movie, that you would enjoy Rogue One. The action sequences were on par with any other Star Wars film (minus the lightsabers), the comedic timing of K2SO was mesmerizing (Thank you Alan Tudyk), and the drama was pulling away at my heart strings the entire time.

There have been a few articles telling parents not to take their younger kids to see Rogue One. While I get that this is one of the franchise’s “darker” films, it is still a Star Wars movie. If your kids know the difference between fantasy and reality, and have seen all of the other Star Wars movies, then they should be able to sit through Rogue One. J (5) saw it with me last night and he absolutely loved the movie. He was catching Easter Eggs like a pro, and was squeezing my hand in excitement throughout most of the movie.  That being said, you know your kids better than I or any other person writing about Rogue One would, so the final say is up to you.

Something that I would recommend that fans of the Saga do, that was recommended to me by Bryan Young from the Full of Sith Podcast, is watch A New Hope one more time before seeing Rogue One. You will never be able to watch it again without having Rogue One on your mind. As a matter of fact, I am watching it right now as I write this and all I am thinking about is Rogue One. I am really looking forward to the next time I watch A New Hope with J.

If you can’t tell, we absolutely loved Rogue One and would recommend that every man, woman, child, droid, and Jawa see it. You will leave the theater forever changed, and it is worth it. I have some spoilery things to say, but I will leave that for private messages and Facebook groups. If you’ve seen the movie and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on our Facebook page or Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought and if you caught the same Easter Eggs as I did.

We hope you have a great holiday season and May the Force be With You. 

YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE Review

If you are as big a fan of YO-KAI WATCH as J, you were probably over the moon when the announcement for YO-KAI WATCH 2 and YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE (in select theaters October 15, 2016) came out. J has been wanting to play the game, but is unable to because his DS is broken. However, he jumped at the chance to watch and review the movie, that has tie-ins to the new game.

YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE is an action packed, adventure filled, heart string tugging animated feature that fans of the series and games will love. Join Nate, Jibanyan, Whisper and some new friends as they take on The Wicked and try to save the world! YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE had J at the edge of seat and laughing for almost the entire 95 minute run time.

As a casual watcher of the YO-KAI WATCH series, I really enjoyed the movie. I thought that there were some amazing lessons for kids about bravery, friendship, and hard work. YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE is something that I really think kids can enjoy with their parents.

I asked J some questions about YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE, and here’s what he had to say;

Me: What do you think of YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE?

J: I think it was so awesome!! I’ve never seen so much YO-KAI action!! 

Me: What was your favorite thing about YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE?

J: It was really funny and just really cool!!

Me: Do you think everyone will like YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE?

J: Yes!!

Me: Is there anything you want people to know about YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE?

J: Be prepared to dance during the credits!! 

If your kids are fans of the show, I would highly recommend that you buy tickets to the Fathom Events premier of YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE. As a plus, attendees will have a chance to receive a special YO-KAI WATCH medal (while supplies last) that will work with Hasbro’s new YO-KAI WATCH Model Zero toy, and the QR code can be scanned for a special reward in the YO-KAI WATCH 2 video game. Click here to find a theater near you and to purchase your tickets today!!

YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE will be released on October 15, 2016 as a one day only Fathom Events screening. It is rated NR (suitable for families), and has a 1 hr and 35 min run time. YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE  was made by ELEVEN ARTS & Level-5 abby.

*Disclaimer: We were provided an advanced screener for YO-KAI WATCH: THE MOVIE*

Finding Dory Review

J and I were lucky enough to go to an early screening of Finding Dory thanks to our friends at X96. We were so excited that we watched Finding Nemo before we went to the theater.

Just like all other Disney/Pixar features, Finding Dory starts with a short. Piper is the short that kicks off Finding Dory. Piper is a story about overcoming fear and never giving up. Piper is a little sandpiper bird who must learn how to fend for herself now that she is too big for her mama to feed her.

Finding Dory takes us on an adventure. We get to see Dory’s origin story up to her meeting Marlin in Finding Nemo. From there we are taken to a year later where Dory is living right next to Nemo and Marlin. Throughout the movie, things are happening to unlock memories of Dory’s family. Dory, Marlin, and Nemo set out on a journey to reconnect Dory with the family that she lost and forgot. Finding Dory introduces a lot of fun and helpful characters, J’s favorite is Hank the octopus. Like Piper, Finding Dory shares a message that “you can do anything you put your mind to,” and gives you a new way to solve problems by asking yourself “What Would Dory Do?”

Parents beware, there are some loud suspenseful parts of the movie that may frighten younger children. So, sit close and be prepared for arm squeezing throughout the movie. Other than that, this is a perfect movie to take the kids, grandkids, nephews, and nieces to. The IMAX 3D is pretty interesting if you get a good center seat. If you can’t get a good center seat, standard 2D will be more than enough for Finding Dory.

Do yourself a favor this weekend and go see Piper and Finding Dory.