Showing posts with label entertainment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label entertainment. Show all posts

Attending the Frozen 2 Red Carpet Premiere

Alright, somebody is really going to need to pinch me because I'm still in a fog wrapping my head around the fact that I was able to attend the Hollywood Premiere of Disney's Frozen 2 as part of The Geekly Retreat.  Seriously, y'all. . .as both a self-proclaimed DisNerd and blogger, this experience is one that will take a long time to top.  Let's start from the beginning and walk you through the night!

Prepping a Red Carpet Look

Deciding what to wear to the premiere was more stressful than I thought.  Never having been to an event like this before, I leaned heavily on the advice of my friends who had experienced a red carpet and after party before.  Blending comfort with style can sometimes be tricky, but I was able to find something that was truly me and also paid tribute to Frozen 2.  I'm definitely more of a short dress girl so I opted for a short dress with capped sleeves.  Since warm colors are more my thing, I went with a navy blue dress that had a bit of shimmer at the top - like the glitter you may expect from our favorite ice queen.  I paired the look with a silver bag and silver shoes to contrast the dark dress and trigger thoughts of snow and ice.  When I went shoe shopping, my youngest insisted that I buy the most shimmering pair of shoes they had - and I happily obligied!  I also added a snowflake broach to the dress which had extra special meaning.  The pin belonged to my grandmother who passed away nearly 5 years ago.  We were incredibly close in a number of ways, but especially in our love for Disney!  Grammie was with my on my first visit to Walt Disney World Resort in 1989 and I have vivid memories of singing, dancing, and acting out scenes from our favorite Disney films when I would spend time at her house. Having her with me on the red carpet meant a lot to me!

Walking the Red Carpet

The red carpet experience is every bit as insanely amazing as it looks on TV.  Lights, cameras, and celebrities are all around and there's a bunch of staff who are keeping the chaos as organized as possible.  We were behind where the stars walked the carpet so no one asked me who I was wearing (haha!), but I was able to watch all of that happening.  There were also plenty of photo opportunities along the carpet celebrating the premiere.  As you would expect the theming was spot on - from the colors, to the characters, to the fall leaves along the way. . .everywhere you looked it was Frozen fever!  I had my red carpet buddy, fellow Mid-Atlantic Mom-On-The-Go Rachel from Pretty in Baby Food, and we took turns snapping pictures of one another along the way.

After finishing our time on the carpet, we headed inside the Dolby Theater. . .yup, the same one that is used to host the Oscars.  I can't be sure, but I may have sat in a seat where Chris Hemsworth has sat.  Just that thought makes me a little happy!  I had an incredible seat - orchestra right, row C.  That's every bit as close as it sounds being just 3 rows from the stage.  I would have taken pictures inside the theater to share this incredible building, but phones go into a locked pouch during premiere events to keep anyone from sharing any part of the film early.  Prior to the movie starting, the live stream of the red carpet is playing for those inside to watch.

Before the movie started, the talented cast and crew took the stage for introductions.  Familiar Frozen talents like Indina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff were joined by new cast members for this film including Sterling Brown, Jason Ritter, and Evan Rachel Wood.  Everyone on stage was simply glowing as they celebrated their big night!  When the cast was taking their seats, one of my friends gave Sterling Brown a "We love you!" shout out and he commented back "I love you too!"

The After Party

Once the movie ended, we headed upstairs to The Ray Dolby Ballroom for the after party.  What a whirlwind experience!! Before even entering the ballroom, you can tell this event is all about families and fun.  There were areas for photos outside the ballroom, a dance video game, and. . .get this. . .McDonald's Happy Meals!  The family friendly food continued inside with hot dogs and mac and cheese joining more sophisticated winter squash lasagna and carrots on the buffet.  Over at the dessert station, frozen themed cupcakes, cookies, and treats delighted both kids and adults!

Speaking of kids, it was clear from the start that Disney's Frozen 2 Premiere had kids and families in mind.  There were so many games and fun activities around the ballroom - very different than what I expected in a Hollywood After Party but also WAY more fun for the kid in me!  Throughout the evening they had charades at the Build-A-Bear table, build your own Olaf with Lego, cartoon drawing instruction, and much, much more.  One of my highlights of the night - hanging with Olaf.  I mean, I've met the snowman at Walt Disney World before, but being able to congratulate him on his big night in person was a pretty cool experience.

One of the highlights of the evening though was having a chance to say "hi" and celebrate this fabulous film with some of the talented actors that lend their voice talents to the cast.  First off, I had met up with Josh Gad, voice of Olaf in both the original Frozen and Frozen 2.  He couldn't have been nicer in person and carries just as big of warm smile as his character in the movie.  Later on, I ran into Sterling K. Brown as well.  You probably recognize him most for his lovable character Randall in This is Us, but you will also fall just as quickly in love with his character, Lieutenant Mattias in Frozen 2 and he is a wonderful addition to the Frozen 2 family.  As the night was winding down, I also had a chance to chat with Jason Ritter who voices another new character, Ryder, in Frozen 2.  I LOVED him as Mr. Cyr in the television series, Parenthood, and he was wonderful to talk with.  He shared his excitement about being part of this film and had a smile that echoed that feeling!

We closed down the after party, literally staying until the lights were back on full force in the ballroom as I wanted to soak in every last minute of this magical evening.  There were truly too many pictures and moments to share from the evening, so check out the YouTube video above for a quick recap of the night!

About Frozen 2

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In “Frozen 2,” she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.

Looking for more Frozen 2 fun?  Check out this trailer preview post including FREE downloads of activities for the whole family to enjoy!  And you can find my review posted now to find out what questions you'll have answered during this sequel!

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Playing with Fire Movie Review

Playing with Fire is blazing into theaters this weekend and you won't want to miss this hot new film if you're a family with young kids like mine.  I had the opportunity to screen this film on the Paramount Studios lot in California as one of the many incredible experiences at The Geekly Retreat.  Coincidentally, my husband took my two children to see the film back home in Maryland the same night which works out well when comparing my thoughts with those of my family.  As Superintendent Jake Carson would say, "where's my ready crew??"  Let's go!

First of all, this film is definitely for families to enjoy together.  Your little ones will find a lot to laugh at in this film, especially in the first half of the film.  There is a ton of physical humor that always entertains kids - tripping over fire hoses, crashing into ceilings, spicy peppers, and riding an out of control fire hose. . .just to name a few.  And then there's, quite literally, a lot of potty humor.  What kid doesn't like a good poop joke?  In fact, the initial reaction quote that my husband texted me from my four year old was that he "laughed his butt off."  Both the adults and the kids throughout the film deliver funny moment after funny moment.  I see a lot of my boys in Christian Convery's character - mischievous, funny, and sassy but ultimately having a heart of gold!

For those of you wondering, this film isn't just for kids.  I'll admit, that as an adult, I found the first half of the film to be a little TOO corny for my tastes - but it's all the stuff my kids would love to watch.  You'll also find John Leguizamo's faux quotes funny and they are sprinkled throughout the film.  But it's not all jokes. The movie does get more depth as the story develops, allowing adults to connect more with the characters and the plot.  Without spoiling the movie for those of you planning to see it, hang with it until the camping scene and then it will take a turn to a movie that's still kid-friendly while tugging at your emotional heartstrings.  Almost every character is going through a story of loss that has impacted or is impacting their life and you find yourself being drawn into their struggles to define who they really are as the movie progresses.  Be warned, you'll wish Keegan-Michael Key was sitting next to you with a tissue as the film reaches it conclusion.  Following a formula that has been successful for other wrestlers turned actors, John Cena delivers a character that is the perfect blend of corny humor for the kids and hunky hero for the adults.

Overall, if you have young kids in your family, you should definitely plan to head to theaters and catch this film.  Kids will love the humor while parents will enjoy the touching story of learning to let your guard down as several characters change their perspectives on love and life during the movie.  This isn't likely going to be a film that your tweens and teens would enjoy, but young kids will be rolling in the aisles - just ask mine!

About Playing with Fire

When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet – babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids – much like fires –are wild and unpredictable.

Playing with Fire opens everywhere November 8th!  Grab your ready crew and go see it now!  Be sure to follow Playing with Fire on social media too at #PlayingwithFireMovie.

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Maleficent Mistress of Evil Movie Review

Images from Walt Disney Studios
Hello, Beastie.  If you thought meeting your in-laws was tough, just wait until you get a load of what happens in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil!  But, I'm jumping ahead.  Remember when Disney's Maleficent originally ended we found that it was Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) herself that had delivered true love's kiss to wake the sleeping Aurora (Elle Fanning) - not some dashing prince like we had all been led to believe.  Maleficent and Aurora were all set to live "happily ever after" with Aurora being named the new Queen of the Moors.  But, she still has her eyes on that dashing young prince and at the beginning of Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson) drops to one knee and pops the question to young Aurora who eagerly accepts.  There's just one problem - they have to tell their parents.

Prince Philip's dad is excited about the new union as he sees it like the young star-crossed lovers - a union of not only two people, but of two kingdoms.  However, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) is fearful of the Moors and distrusts Maleficent.  Maleficent is also less than thrilled at the idea of this marriage, but reluctantly agrees to dinner with the royal family of Ulstead to celebrate the engagement and attempt peace between the two.  The night turns uncomfortable quickly as Queen Ingrith and Maleficent trade barbs with each other, despite attempts by the King, Prince Phillip, and Aurora to move back to small talk.  Maleficent is finally pushed to her breaking point and goes, well, "Maleficent" on everyone - which confirms the fears that the kingdom held.  When tragedy befalls the King, Aurora even begins to question whether Maleficent can be trusted.  Heartbroken by this, Maleficent leaves the castle in Ulstead and, through her own unfortunate turn of events, discovers she is not as alone in this world as she thought.

When the day of Aurora and Phillip's wedding arrives, Aurora begins to put pieces together that something seems amiss around the castle.  Will Phillip and Aurora find their happily ever after or will the differences between their families lead to a war that will tear them apart??

Overall, I enjoyed this film much more than the original.  I enjoy both Maleficent films for the fact that they tell a classic Disney story from a totally different perspective, but I feel like all of the characters develop more depth in this second chapter of Maleficent.  However, it's a bit darker and more violent than the first so this may not be totally appropriate for your young kids, even with the PG rating.  I went alone to see the movie, and while there wasn't anything terribly objectionable for my 7 year old, I don't think he would be "into" the story much and the fighting scenes definitely push my boundary to the edge of what I would say is OK as a mom.

Angelina Jolie once again nails the part of Maleficent - perfectly complex as the "villain" you can't help but love.  I think though Michelle Pfeiffer rivals Jolie on camera though as a dynamic force that you won't soon forget.  They both deliver perfectly timed one liners during the "meet the parents" dinner scene which adds more wit to Maleficent 2 that was missing a bit in the first.  This movie is all about strong females as they wrestle with the battle of good versus evil inside of them.  Even Aurora steps out of her comfort zone as the pretty young princess to stand up for her beliefs - whatever the cost.  If you enjoyed to original Maleficent, you will certainly want to check out how the story continues!

Want more Maleficent?  Check out the family press kit which includes coloring pages, games, and activities that you can download here!  And don't forget to follow #Maleficent2 on social media!


Downton Abbey - 3 Characters I Love in the Film

Downton Abbey hit theaters in late September and fans of the PBS series couldn't have been more excited!  As someone who recently binged the series in preparation for seeing the film, I easily fell in love with the characters and storylines over the six seasons and was also excited to see what happened next in the Crawley family.  If you didn't catch Downton Abbey as a TV series, here's a quick recap of what you need to know:

Now that you're all caught up, let's look forward.  The Downton Abbey film begins with the Crawley family getting exciting news that they will host the King and Queen for an exciting evening.  While the Crawley's are busy planning their gowns and parties, the staff downstairs can't wait to have the honor of preparing the house and serving the royals.  However, if we've learned one thing along the way in Downton Abbey, things rarely go as planned.  What follows next is a series of events - some funny, some sad, but all filled with the drama we've come to know and love - as the time arrives for the royal visit.

Throughout the film, fans will be thrilled to reconnect with some of their favorite characters.  For me, three characters really stood out to me during the movie and I fell even more in love with them on this next adventure.

Barrow - Oh, Barrow.  You started out as the member of the house staff that everyone loved to hate, but by the end of the series had turned some hearts and minds - even that of Carson.  In the film, we find Barrow glowing in his new role as butler for Downton Abbey.  However, the royal visit means big changes for him.  I loved Barrow's character in the movie because I felt like he finally had a confident backbone.  He wasn't the mean spirited man from early seasons, even when opportunities present themselves for him to be, but instead we see him standing up for himself and his beliefs.  Your heart will break for him in a few scenes - one in particular - but it seems at the end that we find Barrow happier and more self-assured than ever before.

Tom - I have to admit, I had a little crush on Tom throughout the series.  To go from the Irish, rebel driver to son-in-law to the powerful Lord Grantham, is an incredible change of life.  Throughout it all, Tom carries himself with grace and courage as life seems to throw him curveball after curveball.  By the end of the series, we find him embracing his role in the Crawley family.  But in the film, that loyalty is tested.  To no one's surprise, Tom continues to be the stand-up, brave man that we all expect and my soft spot for him continued to grow.  I was thrilled to see a potential love interest for him as well and not-so-secretly hope that they make another film if for no other reason then to give me more Tom Branson!

Mary - Mary has proved time and time again that you don't mess with a Crawley woman.  While she's sometimes described as cold and calculating, we see Mary soften up at the end of the series as she once again opens her heart to love after the tragic loss of her first husband, Matthew.  In the film, we continue to see Mary grow in her role as the woman behind Downton Abbey.  Her sheer strength and presence both intimidates her enemies and builds confidence in her allies.  It's lovely to see her relationship with her sister, Edith, continue to grow.  It seems that Mary has finally learned that you can have a heart and be a powerful woman in a time when not everyone thought that was possible, except the Dowager Countess, who we know is never wrong!

So let's end this with the one character I didn't love in the film.  I'm preparing for the stone throwing to commence on this one. . .it was the Dowager Countess.  Throughout the series I LOVED her.  She was witty, smart, calculating, and had perfectly timed "zingers" that stops everyone in their tracks.  So what changed in the film?  For me, I felt her quips were a bit forced.  There were some scenes where she pulls out multiple one-liners in quick succession.  She's good, but no one is that good.  When you have too much of a good thing, it doesn't seem natural and, in my opinion, it just felt a little off.


Should you go see Downton Abbey?  If you were a fan of the show like me, I think you will enjoy the film.  There is nothing over-the-top amazing from my perspective, but it's a well-done 2-hour episode that moves the characters on to the next parts of their lives.  If you have never seen the show, you can still enjoy the movie but probably won't find yourself as invested in the lives and stories of the characters.

Ticket Giveaway - Escape to Margaritaville

I'm back with another fabulous ticket giveaway to an opening night show at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.  This time, I'm offering you a chance to win a pair of opening night tickets to see Jimmy Buffett's Escape to Margaritaville.  Before I share with you how to win these fantastic tickets, let's learn a little more about the show!

Welcome to Margaritaville, where people come to get away from it all — and stay to find something they never expected. With a book by Emmy Award winner Greg Garcia (“My Name is Earl,” “Raising Hope”) and Emmy Award nominee Mike O’Malley (“Survivors Remorse,” “Shameless”) ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE is the musical comedy featuring both original songs and your most-loved Jimmy Buffett classics, including “Fins,” “Volcano,” “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and many more. USA Today calls it “A little slice of paradise!” and Entertainment Weekly raves, “It will knock your flip-flops off!” So don’t let the party start without you.  Recommended for ages 13 and up. Run time: Approximately 2 hours, 25 minutes, includes intermission.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put my flip flops on, grab a cheeseburger in paradise, and find my lost shaker of salt to head to the National Theatre and catch this fun show!  To find out more about the show at the National Theatre, click here

So how can you win, it's easy!  Simply head over to my Instagram page (be sure you're following me @dsnyrunrgrl!), like the post with the giveaway, and comment "Take Me to Margaritaville."  You can earn extra entries for tagging friends!  The entry period for this giveaway ends Thursday, 10/3 at noon and a winner will be announced that night!  The winner will receive 2 opening night tickets for the show on Wednesday, October 9th at 7:30.

Good luck!!!  You can also find out more about the show by following @BuffettMusical on social media and @NatTheatreDC on Twitter and Instagram.  

Frozen 2 - New Trailer and FREE Family Activities

Photo from Walt Disney Studios
I watched the new Frozen 2 trailer and I just can't "let it go!" The royal sisters of Arendelle make a return to the big screen in November 2019 to tell the next chapter and add some backstory all at one time in this upcoming release from Walt Disney Studios.

Let's recap what we know from our original film.  Frozen introduced us to Princesses Anna and Elsa who tragically lost their parents in a boating accident at sea.  During Elsa's coronation as the new Queen of Arendelle, a secret that she has been fighting to keep hidden for many years is revealed - she has magical powers that freeze items she touches.  During her coronation ball, Elsa becomes upset and the whole kingdom witnesses her powers in action.  Scared of what this means for her, her sister, and the future of Arendelle, Elsa retreats into the woods and plans to live a life outside of town.  Anna's deep love of her sister sends her looking for her - venturing into the frozen woodlands, where she meets Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and a magical snowman, Olaf.  Together, they find Elsa, but she refuses to return to Arendelle worried that she'll just bring destruction and misery to the kingdom.  During their argument, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna with an ice blast to the heart and Anna leaves to return to Arendelle.  Unbeknownst to everyone, Anna's plan to rescue her sister has led Prince Hans' officers to capture Elsa and bring her back.  Prince Hans has aspirations of taking over the kingdom and doesn't care who he hurts to get what he wants!  When Anna returns to the castle hurt and fighting for her life, Hans turns his back on her and then goes after Elsa who has escaped from prison.  Anna, knowing her sister is in danger, uses her last bit of strength to save her sister's life.  In the end, we find that it is love that melts a frozen heart and Arendelle is restored to it's un-frozen state with Queen Elsa once again reigning over her people and Hans being exiled from the kingdom.

The latest trailer for Frozen 2 definitely sheds more light on the story that's about to come to life on the big screen - just like our favorite snowman comes to life with Elsa's magic!  Let's take a look. . .

So what does it all mean?  It looks like we'll find out more about the origin of Elsa's powers as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf journey into the Enchanted Woods.  I'm sure the journey will be an emotional one as we also have more interaction with Anna and Elsa's parents then just a fleeting glimpse of them that we saw in the original.  The kingdom of Arendelle appears to be in jeopardy with crazy weather (blowing leaves??) leaving the people wondering how their queen will save them yet again.  The bond between these sisters also seems to grow even stronger.  In the trailer, Elsa tells Anna "you can't follow me into fire" to which Anna replies "then don't run into fire."  As Olaf points out, mortal danger seems to follow this group of heroes wherever they go and I plan to be here for every minute of their next adventure.  

Can't wait to share the magic with your family?  You can download these FREE printable family activities for the whole family to enjoy!  And don't forget to follow #Frozen2 on social media for all the latest buzz.

Ticket Giveaway - The New One

I'm excited to share yet another fabulous giveaway, this time for 2 opening night tickets on September 25th at 7:30 to see The New One at the National Theater in Washington, DC!  This show is direct from Broadway and is getting rave reviews as a wonderfully entertaining and comedic night out.  Find out more about the show here:

He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called THE NEW ONE “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Do not miss THE NEW ONE. Some people say it’s his best one. (It was John Mulaney. Also Vogue.) Run time: Approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes, no intermission. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Children under the age of four are not permitted to attend the show.

Sounds fun, right?  So how do you win tickets??  It's simple!  This giveaway is exclusively through my Facebook Page,  You get one entry each for:
  • Liking the post about this giveaway
  • Commenting on the post about this giveaway
  • Each friend you tag in a comment on this Facebook post
  • Sharing this post!
In order to be eligible to win, you must "Like" my Facebook page as well.  The entry period will be open Wednesday, 9/18 until 10PM on Thursday, 9/19.  I'll go LIVE Friday evening on Facebook to draw a winner.  Good luck and I look forward to seeing what lucky follower gets to have an amazing night out! 

Thanks to Allied Global Marketing for the opportunity to host this giveaway!

I'm Going! - The Geekly Retreat 2019

Whether we have heard that "a dream is wish your heart makes" or "dream big princess," I've always believed that anything is possible.  And this past week, I had some very exciting news land in my inbox!  Proving that dreams really do come true, I'm happy to share that I've been invited to attend the first ever Geekly Retreat.

So, what's the Geekly Retreat?  This is an incredible opportunity that was organized by the talented ladies over at The Geekly Show.  These women have joined forces to become a powerhouse group of bloggers and influencers when it comes to entertainment news.  They have put together a retreat that is allowing several lucky bloggers to join them on an adventure in California that will include networking, writing workshops, and some pretty incredible entertainment opportunities!

My blogging journey began almost 6 years ago (can that possibly be right?!?) and I never thought it would take me this far.  I began sharing as Adventures of a Disney Loving Mom in 2014 where I really created this space as purely a spot to share Disney vacation planning information and reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions at Disney Parks locations.  The first big boost for my blog was in 2015 when I was invited to a Disney Social Media Moms On-The-Road Celebration in New York City.  It was here that I heard from social media experts and met with a number of likeminded men and women who helped me see a bigger future for myself.  I decided to re-brand my blog as Running on Pixie Dust as my content began expanding to more than just Disney vacations which has brought me to where I am today - sharing all of my favorite details related to family, travel, fitness, and Disney!  Of course, entertainment content is a part of what I share and I look forward to learning more at this retreat to grow that area of my coverage even more!

And, now, here we are!  I am so humbled and honored to have been invited to this retreat and still find that I'm pinching myself waiting to wake up from this dream.  Just as incredible as the itinerary is the list of bloggers attending.  I've had the pleasure of meeting several of them in person, and have been excitedly following many others for years.  In fact, one of my fellow founders of the Mid-Atlantic Moms-On-The-Go Community is also attending!  Take a minute to meet Rachel over at Pretty in Baby Food!

I started blogging around 3 years ago. As a new mom, I needed a creative outlet, and I also wanted to help other parents who were just like me. It may surprise you but I started out writing about cloth diapers. Haha! As my blog grew, and I grew as a blogger, I branched out into more topics such as lifestyle, travel, and entertainment. Through the years my blog has expanded and now I am apart of the Mid-Atlantic Mom's and also an entertainment writer for Geek For E. My goal as a writer is still to help parents whether that be through travel and movie reviews or just talking about life. One day I hope to be invited to a Disney Social Media Moms On-The-Road Celebration as Kristi has and to continue to work with amazing brands as I have been. I am so humbled and excited about this Geekly Retreat opportunity, and I hope you will follow along with me over on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

I hope that you are as excited to follow our adventures as we are to grow, learn, and network with other amazing entertainment bloggers in California this November! Make sure you are following @thegeeklyshow and #thegeeklyretreat for all of the latest buzz!

What's New in Disney Movie News! - July 8th

Y'all the last few days have been enough to make any Disney movie fan's head spin.  It seems like there is trending, top news every day!  So let's break it down in case you've missed any of the hype.

The Lion King (Releasing July 19, 2019) - We are fast approaching the opening of this live action remake of the 1994 classic and I can certainly feel the love tonight!  This looks like a great film and features the voice talents of Seth Rogen, Donald Glover, and Beyonce - among many others.  I'll be attending an advanced screening of the film at the Air and Space Museum in DC on Wednesday, 7/10 and then will have the chance to interview some of the cast the following week!  That's right, I'll be interviewing Young Simba, JD McCrary, and Young Nala, Shahadi Wright Joseph.  I can't wait to share all of the excitement with you!  For now, grab a peek at the trailer before you join the stampede to see it in theaters!

Walt Disney Studios: Disney’s “The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau (“The Jungle Book”), journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.


Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Releasing October 18, 2019) - So a new trailer just dropped today for this sequel to the 2014 Maleficent.  I have to say, Maleficent is my favorite Disney villain and I was a big fan of the original.  I enjoyed the fact that Disney did a live-action spin-off instead of sticking to the usual remake option.  It's really cool to hear the story of Sleeping Beauty from the villain's side.  If you haven't yet seen Maleficent, do it and get ready to catch up with Aurora, Maleficent and the rest of the humans and fairies in the kingdom!

Walt Disney Studios: The years have been kind to Maleficent and Aurora. Their relationship, born of heartbreak, revenge and ultimately love, has flourished. Yet the hatred between man and the fairies still exists. Aurora’s impending marriage to Prince Phillip is cause for celebration in the kingdom of Ulstead and the neighboring Moors, as the wedding serves to unite the two worlds. When an unexpected encounter introduces a powerful new alliance, Maleficent and Aurora are pulled apart to opposing sides in a Great War, testing their loyalties and causing them to question whether they can truly be family.


Mulan (Releasing March 27, 2020) - Disney has a habit of releasing movies on my birthday weekend every year. . .they can keep that streak up.  Mulan will release the day before my birthday and the first teaser trailer was released Sunday during halftime of the Women's World Cup final.  The movie seems like it will be a little more "serious" than the cartoon (I don't know if that's the right word, but it's all I can come up with now). There's no sign of Mushu in the trailer the fan favorite songs weren't featured.  What does this mean for the film?  It's yet to be seen!  I was not a big fan of the original Mulan, and I can already tell I'm going to like this more.  The scenery and costumes look stunning.  What do you think?

Walt Disney Studios: When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father.  Masquerading as a man, Hua Jun, she is tested every step of the way and must harness her inner-strength and embrace her true potential. It is an epic journey that will transform her into an honored warrior and earn her the respect of a grateful nation. . .and a proud father. 


The Little Mermaid (Coming ?????) - Disney is just now releasing casting information for this film that is in the works and it's already making controversial headlines.  Social media lit up when it was announced that Halle Bailey will be Ariel.  Halle is a talented singer and actress, but because of the color of her skin, some people took to social media to voice their outrage and #NotMyAriel began trending.  My heart broke for this young girl when I saw this happening.  Imagine working incredibly hard to be at the top of your game, find out you get to play the role of a Disney princess in what will surely be a blockbuster film, and then see the ugly side of social media tear you down.  I have to say that I'm excited to see her portrayal of Ariel and applaud Disney for making a casting choice that will allow more young girls to see themselves as Ariel too.  The Little Mermaid is one of the first movies I remember seeing as a little girl and I can't wait to see it on the big screen again!

And if you think this is busy, just wait for the end of summer to heat up as I'm sure will get new details about Frozen 2 releasing in November and Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker releasing in December.  Walt Disney Studios is certainly on fire and doesn't show any signs of slowing down!  Which movies are you most excited to see??

Toy Story 4: New Toys, New Stories. . .Same Fun?

Photo Credits: Walt Disney Studios
Toy Story is one of my favorite movie franchises in entertainment - not just in the wonderful world of Disney / Pixar.  So when I first heard of Toy Story 4 in the making I ran through a number of emotions.  I was first excited at the idea of another adventure for Woody and Buzz, but then found myself questioning why they were making another movie when Toy Story 3 seemed to have the perfect ending.  As the time for release drew nearer, I followed some of my favorite bloggers who had the privilege to attend the press junket and see advanced screenings of the movie.  As they shared excitement around the film, I was literally ready to burst when June 21st came and it was time to load the family in the minivan and head to the movies.  But was it everything I wanted it to be?  Before I answer, let's take a look at what we knew from Walt Disney Studios ahead of the release.

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy. But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”), Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.

I'm just going to say it, I wanted to love this one more than I did, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy parts of it.  It was awesome to see Bo back in action and more independent than you can imagine.  Proving that you don't need a kid in order to have a purpose, Bo Peep is a woman on a mission and knows how to get the job done.  I though Ducky and Bunny were hysterical and great additions.  Duke Caboom is another welcome face in the Toy Story family and the saying "Yes we Canada!" has already become a catch phrase in our house just hours after the film.  Forky was an acquired taste.  I wasn't keen on the character in the first part of the film, but he had grown on my by the end.  

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios
On the flip side, Gabby Gabby and her dummies terrified me.  After seeing Child's Play as a kid, I've always had a weird phobia about creepy dolls and these just fed into that.  Without spoiling the story, let's just say I wasn't keen on the Gabby Gabby storyline - particularly her interaction with Woody.  I also missed the connection between Woody and Buzz in this movie.  I didn't feel like they worked together as much in this one - and maybe that's part of the point of the film, but I loved that pair and wish they shared more of this adventure together.  And then there's the ending.  I've got mixed feelings on it.  There is part of me that is happy for Woody, but I also didn't see this coming and was a little surprised to see things wrap up this way.  While Toy Story 3 still has me crying at the end every single time, I felt extremely satisfied with how that ended, and I can't say the same here.

Overall, as a Toy Story fan, I'm glad I saw the movie, but I would honestly rank it as my least favorite of the Toy Story franchise - with Toy Story 3 being my favorite, followed by Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and now Toy Story 4.  My seven year old also asked a few times throughout the movie how much longer it was going to be - maybe it's just because he ran out of candy, but he didn't seem very engaged.  

So I'm anxious to hear your thoughts on the film! Share them in the comments below - I know my opinion is in the minority in the Disney universe right now and welcome the feedback on where you disagree with me.  In the meantime, don't forget that you can download FREE family activities here to enjoy and follow Toy Story 4 on social media.  To the movie theaters and beyond!


4 Things to Do Before Your See Toy Story 4!

That's right, the toys are almost back in town and the "BUZZ" around the movie is huge!  If you haven't been following #ToyStory4 on social media, you have been missing out on a lot of excitement this weekend.  The press junket met at the Walt Disney World Resort for a super advanced screening of the film and a chance to interview the stars - Tim Allen, Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves, and many, many more.  Let's just say that I've been looking forward to this film since it was announced, and now I'm even more excited.  I mean, check out this trailer!

Did you see that Bo Peep is back and cooler than ever?!? But for those of us that didn't get to hang with Woody, Buzz, and friends this past weekend, we have a few fun things we can do in the days ahead before the movie is released.  Whether you are a 2 or 102, you're always a kid at heart and these activities have the whole family in mind!

1. Build a Forky - So Forky is just one of the new characters from Toy Story 4.  When word of this new character was released, there was a big question - is he even a toy???  Well, if you have little ones like me, we all know that even an empty toilet paper roll can become the coolest toy around so I have no doubt that Forky is going to be a hip addition to the toy crew.  One of the best things about Forky parents - you can make him instead of shelling out money at Target to make one!  Check out this cool tutorial from Patty over at A Mother's Random Thoughts and have fun making this craft with your kids!  Maybe you can even bring Forky to see the movie with you!

2. Visit the Toy Story 4 Summer Road Trip - That's right! Toy Story 4 fun is hitting the road and those of us in the Mid-Atlantic have a few opportunities to join the fun.  The Toy Story 4 Summer Roadtrip is traveling coast-to-coast hitting cities such as Los Angeles, Miami, Denver, Dallas, and Philadelphia.  If you live in the DC / Maryland area, the Road Trip will make it's stop at Silver Spring, MD on Thursday, June 13.  It's open to the public from 10AM - 2PM and can be found in Downtown Silver Spring at 900 Ellsworth Drive.  The Toy Story 4 Summer Road Trip features photo ops, film-themed prizes, carnival games and a lot more family-friendly fun! Keep up on all the fun by following #ToyStory4 #SummerRoadTrip and #GoRVing on social media.
Media Image for Toy Story 4 Summer Road Trip

3. Have a Toy Story Marathon - The Toy Story franchise has been around for a long time and it may have been a while since you've checked in on your favorite toys.  Setting up a Toy Story movie marathon is the perfect way to relive the entire adventure from the beginning.  Looking for fun ways to theme the evening?  Try ordering pizza for the family just like Andy visits his favorite hangout Pizza Planet in the original Toy Story.  While you're watching, you can have your kids color and complete some of these FREE downloadable activities.  And don't forget to cap the night off with a super cool dessert.  How about trying this Forky cupcakes that are from Desert Chica over on Pinterest?

4. Disneybound as Toy Story Characters - Anyone who follows me know I love a good Disneybound!  If you're unfamiliar with the term, it's where you take regular everyday clothes, and turn them into something pixie dusted by dressing "inspired" by your favorite character.  Challenge yourself to see if you can pull off some Toy Story inspired Disneybound looks or, better yet, gain some inspiration from my Pinterest board and see if you can get the whole family Disneybounding for your viewing of Toy Story 4 when it opens in theaters.

If this doesn't get you even more pumped up about the release of Toy Story 4, I'm not sure what will! These movies have been some of my favorites featuring heartwarming moments, laugh out loud memories, and, yes, lots of tears (here's looking at you Toy Story 3).  While I haven't seen the film yet, I've heard from many that the ending of this one is the emotional powerhouse we've now come to expect from Toy Story films and that fans are walking away giving these toys two thumbs up!  Toy Story 4 opens everywhere June 21.  Don't forget to follow the social media channels below for the latest updates and information regarding the film!


Avengers: Endgame - Can a Marvel Novice Join the Endgame?

Every great story comes to end and Marvel fans have waited over 20 films to get this one.  If you haven't heard the hype surrounding Avengers Endgame, you were probably destroyed by Thanos last year because this movie is pretty much all the entertainment world has talked about for a while now.


As my regular readers and friends are aware, I'm new to the Marvel universe.  Prior to October, I had only seen part of Avengers: Infinity War and that was it.  With all of the excitement surrounding Endgame brewing in my Disney circles, I decided to give Marvel a try.  Using the suggestion of my friend Patty, I made an attempt to watch all the Marvel movies prior to Endgame. (Check out her list of the order to watch all the Marvel films prior to Endgame)  I got through three by Christmas.  I wouldn't want to see how Bruce would feel about that. . .


I enjoyed the movies, but my husband was not a fan and my kids are too little to really get into them so I was trying to sneak them in when no one else was around.  Recognizing that I probably wasn't going to get through all of them, I changed my game plan and decided I would try just to watch the previous three Avengers movies to see what I could pick up before Endgame released.  I also made it to see Captain Marvel in March - you can catch my spoiler-free review here if you missed that one!

Prior to Endgame, here are the Marvel movies I actually watched:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • The Avengers 
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Captain Marvel
So can a newbie to the Marvel universe enjoy Endgame?  

Absolutely.  The movie is incredibly well done and you don't have to be an expert in these films to appreciate that.  My husband went to see the movie with me and he only made it through Iron Man 2 on my list above.  He also really enjoyed the film.  I would definitely recommend watching at least the 3 previous Avengers movies before Endgame in order for the storyline to make sense.  While the film picks up immediately following Thanos' famous "snap" at the end of Infinity War, the main action actually takes place five years in the future as all of The Avengers (and the world) learn to adapt to life after half of all living creatures have been destroyed.  With the little background knowledge I had acquired from previous films, I was able to answer a lot of questions my husband threw my way during the film, but not all of them.

Without spoiling the plot or the ending, I'll say this.  I'm glad I had seen Captain America and Iron Man to understand their background stories.  I wish I had seen one of the Thor movies to tell me more about this Asgardian hero and Ant-Man as Scott Lang does play a pretty significant part in this movie.  You'll also notice I have not seen any of the Guardians of the Galaxy films.  While I know enough about the characters from Infinity War to put pieces together, I really didn't know anything about their backstories and there were probably important plot lines for them that were being played out too that completely went over my head.  I think with careful attention in the three previous Avengers films, you can grab enough info about many of the other characters to not be lost, but I know I didn't "get" everything the same way my deeply devoted Marvel friends did in the Endgame.  What this movie definitely did was inspire me to want to go back and play "catch-up" on the previous films.

Regardless of your background knowledge of the Marvel characters, this movie will leave you feeling all the feels.  I found many moments that had me (and the entire theater) laughing out loud.  The humor in the film actually struck me more than I expected. While there were funny moments in previous Avengers films, this one takes the cake in my humble opinion.  I also did sob like a baby during one particular scene - no spoilers though people! 

So let's wrap it up with a quick summary:
  • If you haven't seen ANY Avengers movies previously (aka: my husband) - You'll enjoy the movie for what it is.  There's enough of the previous plot recapped for you in the film to follow along, but you will feel a lot of holes.  The sheer cinematic perfection in this film is enough for movie fans, even if they aren't Marvel fans, to enjoy.  If you have any interest in seeing it, don't let the fact that you haven't been schooled in the past scare you away.
  • If you've ONLY seen the Avengers movies previously (aka: me. . .for the most part) - You'll feel "in the know" with most of the movie and the plot lines that you don't get, you probably won't even realize you're not getting because you don't know they exist.  There will be enough of an emotional attachment to the characters to feel the weight and the emotion of the Endgame.  
  • If you're a DIEHARD Avengers fan (aka: my friends who saw it with us) - You're in for one BIG finish and emotional rollercoaster.  While my husband's biggest complaint with the film was that he thought they could have told the story in way less time, those of you who are Marvel experts will most likely disagree.  The Russo brothers could have told THIS story in less time, but to wrap up everything they did from previous story lines, you need the whole film.
If you're looking for spoiler-free reviews from some die hard Marvel fans, check out the list below.  These lucky ladies got to stroll the red carpet in Los Angeles for the Endgame premiere and share their fangirl perspectives below!

I can't wait to hear what all of you think of Avengers: Endgame! As I'm finishing this post, it's already passed the $1 Billion mark before opening weekend is even concluded. . .I think the people have spoken!

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Waddle on in to Disneynature's Penguins

Disneynature released it's newest film, Penguins, last week and my boys and I spent our final day of Spring Break and celebrated Earth Day by heading to the theater to check it out.  I have a small confession to make. . .I haven't seen any other Disneynature films before.  I know, I know - pausing for reaction.  This one appealed to me more so than others though.  Maybe it's because I've always had a soft spot for penguins? Maybe it's the fact that Brody and Caleb are at ages to get more out of these movies? Maybe it's the fact that Walt Disney Studios has been on fire lately and I knew it would be awesome?  Whatever the reason, we used the last of the movie gift cards the boys received for their birthday, loaded in the car, and headed to an IMAX theater near Baltimore to check it out.

With this being my first Disneynature film, I really wasn't sure what to expect - more documentary or more story?  I was pleasantly surprised to find it a nice combination of both.  The movie tells the story of Steve, a young Adelie penguin in Antartica who is coming of age.  Like most young adult penguins, he's ready to settle down, find love, and raise a family.  But just like in the human world, this isn't as easy as it seems.  We follow Steve as he battles brutal conditions, builds a nest, cares for his family, and protects his children from fierce predators.  While Ed Helms narrates and adds a voice to our main character Steve to tell his story, there is plenty of opportunity for viewers to learn about life for penguins living in Antartica.  In addition to the conditions that they face from powerful winds to icy waters, you'll also be introduced to other species that inhabit the area near them including elephant seals, leopard seals, and killer whales.  There's even several song selections throughout the movie to aid in telling the story including "I Can't Fight this Feeling Anymore" by REO Speedwagon when Steve meets his mate for the first time.  You'll be happy to find several moments of lightheartedness and humor throughout Steve's adventures as well as more touching and trying moments with his family.

When I was heading into the movie, I was wondering if it was going to hold the attention of two very active boys.  I'm happy to report that they both enjoyed it and the film held their attention - despite it being heavily educational!  The length of the movie definitely helps in this area.  With a run time of just over an hour, the movie doesn't have a minute of downtime.  The fact that the life of Adelie penguins is told as a year in the life of Steve also helps young children hold interest.  At 7, Brody in particular asked a lot of questions about the predators and laughed out loud at some of the silly moments in the movie - like the penguins belly sliding down the ice!  Stick around for the credits after the film to see some behind-the-scenes footage from the production crew.  This was also the first Disneynature film to be released in IMAX and that really is the way to see it.  There was so much stunning detail that you truly feel like you are immersed in the world of penguins.
Photo: Walt Disney Studios

Overall, I'm really happy we chose to spend a part of the Earth Day checking out this movie.  Penguins may have been the first Disneynature film that I saw, but it certainly won't be the last.  And you can feel good about seeing these films knowing that part of ticket sales from opening week are donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network to help protect these precious penguins you really do grow to love.  Before or after you see Penguins, parents and educators alike will want to check out this link - full of fun printable family activities and an educator's guide all for FREE!

Enjoy the film and follow all the #Penguins fun on social media!

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Why Fly When You Can Soar? A Dumbo Movie Review

Dumbo soared into theaters everywhere on March 29th and soared into my heart when I went with my family to view it that weekend.  In all honesty, I was unsure as to whether or not I'd really like the new Tim Burton version of this Disney classic.  I was not a fan of Tim Burton's adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - it's just not my style.  However, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film and I'm happy to report that the same sentiment was shared by my husband and two boys - ages 4 and 7 - as well.  Here's what Walt Disney Studios shared about Dumbo:

From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure DUMBO expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.

So how does this compare to the original film?  While the storyline is the same at it's core, there are quite a few deviations to the 1941 movie.  First is the story point of view.  Instead of being narrated by Timothy Q. Mouse with the animals being the main storytellers, this new adaptation is told from the perspective of the circus workers themselves.  Milly and Joe Farrier are children who have grown up traveling with the circus as their mom and dad were stars in the Medici Brothers show.  Their dad enlisted in World War I and, when he returns, he comes home to find his wife has passed away from influenza (it's a Disney movie after all - mom had to pass away) and the circus at the brink of financial ruin.  In an effort to draw in big crowds, Max Medici purchases a new elephant who just so happens to be pregnant.  When Holt Farrer finds out his horse act has been cut, he finds himself in charge of caring for the elephants.  The next part of the movie remains fairly true to the original.  Baby Jumbo is born with large ears and immediately becomes the joke of the circus and nicknamed "Dumbo."  Coming to the defense of her baby, Mrs. Jumbo is seen as a dangerous animal and is sold from the circus.  Dumbo remains and, with the help of the Farrier family, learns that he has an incredible talent - flying. Dumbo becomes famous as a flying elephant and catches the attention of Mr. Vandevere, owner of Dreamland.  He offers the entire fledgling Medici circus the opportunity to come join him, but is Dreamland all it's cracked up to be and will Dumbo ever be reconnected with his mother?

As I've mentioned before, I was really hesitant about Tim Burton's involvement in this film, but I loved most of the film.  The new storyline featuring the Farrier family was heartfelt and showcased a young girl believing in her dreams, a father learning how to adjust to his changed life after the war, and the whole family learning how to lean and rely on each other in ways they hadn't previously imagined.  There is some Burton darkness to be aware of when viewing with the family.  There is the death of one character that you witness in a non-gory way (he's not a good guy, but still it's death), animal abuse and bullying (similar to the previous movie), Nightmare Island at Dreamland which features some pretty scary animals in darkness and fog, and finally a pretty devastating fire.  I did watch the film with my 4 and 7 year old and none of this seemed to really phase them, but it's worth knowing about with sensitive audiences.  I also have to say that I am a big fan of the end of the movie.  It's a complete shift from the old ending and feels even better!

Looking for more Dumbo fun to share with the family?  Check out all the fun family activities from Walt Disney Studios here, including coloring pages, mazes, and much, much more.  And don't forget to follow Dumbo on all of the social media channels listed below!

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Higher, Further, Faster - A Captain Marvel Review

As a novice in the Marvel universe (confession: I've only seen 3 Marvel movies prior), I knew just about nothing coming into this movie.  I went out for my birthday weekend to catch Captain Marvel with two of my friends who are Marvel maniacs.  Outside of the information I received from Walt Disney studios prior to the release of the movie, I really didn't know what to expect.  Here's the basics from Disney/Marvel:

Set in the 1990s, Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL is an all-new adventure from a previously unseen period in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that follows the journey of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. While a galactic war between two alien races reaches Earth, Danvers finds herself and a small cadre of allies at the center of the maelstrom. The film stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Rune Temte, Algenis Perez Soto, Mckenna Grace, with Annette Bening, with Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Patricia Whitcher and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The story is by Nicole Perlman and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse, and the screenplay is by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Jac Schaeffer.

So what really happened? We meet Vers (aka Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers - yeah it's a lot) on the planet Hala.  She is part of the Kree Special Forces that is working to defend the universe from infiltration by the Skrulls.  After learning that one of their agents may have been compromised on Torfa, the Kree team deploys to complete a dangerous rescue mission.  Vers is taken by the Skrulls on Torfa and, while in captivity, they try to extract memories from her.  Vers doesn't even remember her life before 6 years ago when she came to Hala, but she becomes confused and overwhelmed by flashbacks and references to Planet C 53.  After an incredible escape, Vers steals a space craft and heads to Planet C 53 where she crash lands into a Blockbuster Video.  On Planet C 53, which we know as Earth, Vers encounters Agent Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. They then began embarking on a journey to piece together Vers past memories from C 53 while defending Earth from the warfare that is coming between the Skrulls and the Kree.

There was a lot that I really loved about this movie and I'm going to try and share it all without spoiling the plot.  First, y'all know I love to find the big message in movies.  In Captain Marvel, our leading hero learns that you don't always know who to trust because sometimes the information you have believed for as long as you can remember is simply propaganda.  We also learn that the bonds of friends and family are strong despite the trials of time and distance.  Next, I've come up with a new answer to the "What superpower would you like to have" question that people ask sometimes - shape shifting.  It's the superpower of the Skrulls and it's pretty darn cool.  They can take the shape of anything they encounter, right down to the DNA.  I would say I would take Captain Marvel's superpower, which is also downright amazing once you see it in full force, but I still don't fully understand it and would probably be afraid to sneeze that it would end up doing something crazy to me!  I'm also not a cat person, but if I could have a cat like Goose, I may change my mind.

So a big question to answer for my other Marvel novices out there.  Do you need to be an Avenger ace to enjoy and understand this movie?  My answer is a resounding no!  As someone with very little background on Marvel, I felt like the movie was easy to follow and understand.  My friends also agreed saying that beside a few small references - mainly the tesseract - the story stands alone.  From a kid-friendly standpoint, I wasn't really concerned with language or sexual content, but there is lots of violence in line with what you typically see in superhero movies so that's more of a parenting preference as to how young you allow your children to see these types of film.

While I previously have not watched many of the Marvel films, the few that I have seen have simply made me want to watch more and Captain Marvel is no exception!  Stick around during the credits for two additional scenes.  The first one gives a preview look at Avengers: Endgame which opens April 26 and the second features everyone's favorite cat, Goose.

Have you seen Captain Marvel yet?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!  And for more Captain Marvel news and updates, be sure to follow the social media channels below.  Higher, further, faster friends!!

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