Showing posts with label geekly retreat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label geekly retreat. Show all posts

It's Good To Be Weird - A Spies in Disguise Review

What do you get when you combine the voice talents of Tom Holland and Will Smith with a great story and a talented animation team? The answer. . .Spies in Disguise, an action packed comedy that will have you championing Team Weird! I had the chance to be among the first in the world to see this movie complete - weeks before the "world premiere" even!  When I was out in California for The Geekly Retreat we had the opportunity to screen this movie with some of creative talent behind it.  I already had a sense this movie was going to be a hit, but I walked out loving every minute of the film and having a really hard time staying silent about it until embargo broke.  So let's dive right in to see what makes this the perfect spy movie for kids.

About Spies in Disguise


Super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is … not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo are forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise – transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic… pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril. “Spies in Disguise” flies into theaters this Christmas.

The Perfect Spy Movie for Kids


There are several reasons why I loved this film. First, the characters - particularly Beckett. Beckett and Sterling are the perfect on screen duo with the classic "opposites attract" feel to their relationship. While Sterling may appear to be the obvious hero, Beckett proves to us that heroes can also come from unlikely sources. "Let's get weird" becomes a tagline of the movie and I love the fact that a kid who is fascinated with science and engineering follows his dreams and sees them become a reality. As a mom of a boy who is also a STEM lover and an educator, I think it's awesome to have kids see it's cool to be smart - not just cool to be tough.

When it comes to brains, Beckett doesn't just have smarts in the science world, but also in the political philosophy department. Some of the messaging of this movie is incredible and just what I want to have my boys hear as they are watching an action packed spy movie. Here is just a sampling of lines that Beckett delivers in the movie that teaches kids fighting, violence, and war are not always the best or only option to consider. Without turning this into a political piece, we see a lot of violent messaging in our world - it's popular and it sells. This film shows that while the world may have violence, maybe it doesn't always have to be that way. Here's just a sampling of Beckett's lines throughout the film:

  • "You can do more by bringing people together than by blowing them up."
  • "I believe together we can find a good way to beat the bad."
  • "There's not good guys or bad guys - just people."
The value of teamwork is also central to this story. Sterling was an incredible super-spy, but he needed help from an unlikely source. In fact, early on in the film, Sterling remarks "Team? I fly solo." Little does he know how important the kid from research and development will become in his life. Not only does Beckett become a member of Sterling's team, but he develops his own "flock" of support as the movie progresses. This doesn't mean that everything is smooth sailing though as these team relationships develop. Friendships are tested and feelings are hurt - just like in real life. Characters learn what it means to change and grow, to apologize, and to accept the beauty of each other's differences.

I think this movie truly has it all for families to enjoy - action, humor, and heart. I can't wait for my boys to see it in theaters when it opens this Christmas. Make plans to fly to the movies too and see it with your family this holiday season!



Will There Be a Frozen 3?

The release of Frozen 2 has answered many questions for fans of the first film and has taken the box office by storm.  One of the lingering questions though that Frozen fans continue to ask is - will there be a Frozen 3???  Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that there are still more questions I have and more stories I want to see told from the Kingdom of Arendelle.  I'm going to keep this post as spoiler free as I can, but I do caution that there are some mild spoilers ahead so if you haven't seen Frozen 2 yet, you may want to hang on and read this after your visit to the movies.

Love Story of Anna & Elsa's Parents - In Frozen 2 we learn a lot more about Anna and Elsa's parents.  We find out how they first met and then what happened on that voyage that ultimately cost them their lives.  But I feel like there is still more I want to know about these two.   What was their love story like?  How did they go from little kids to adults who fell in love with one another?  We see their mother rescue their father and then they land in a wagon together, but we don't know how her sudden appearance in Arendelle is explained and how she grows up as an orphan in a strange land.  And after they fall in love and give birth to their first child, life only gets more complicated.  When did they first realize Elsa had powers and what did they make of this discovery?  It seems that magic and adventure is a part of this love story from the beginning and I think it would be a great tale to explore.

Kristoff's Backstory - Can we all just agree right now that Kristoff is simply amazing?  He is everything a woman would want - rugged mountain man with a heart of gold that wears his emotions on his sleeves.  I mean, that power ballad, says it all.  So where did he come from?  When we meet young Kristoff in Frozen, he is in the woods with his favorite reindeer friend, Sven.  They follow the King and Queen into the woods to seek the wisdom of the trolls and obviously end up becoming "family" with them.  Where are Kristoff's parents?  What was it like to be raised by the trolls?  I don't think I'm alone in wanting more Kristoff - especially if it involves more 80s musical numbers, right??

Anna and Kristoff's Wedding - Forget the royal weddings of Charles and Diana or Will and Kate, THIS would be the royal wedding event of all time.  Anna and Kristoff have a love that is pure and sweet.  They are both a bit clumsy from time to time (Kristoff's attempts to propose in Frozen 2 had me cracking up!) and have a way of bringing humor to every situation they touch.  This special event would be the perfect show!  What would the bride wear?  How about Sven and Olaf?  They would obviously be involved in the wedding party - maybe loosing the rings sometime before the ceremony??  I could write this script in about an hour if you're out there listening Disney - it practically writes itself!


via GIPHY

So whether Frozen 3 is in the works as a major movie event remains to be seen, but with the new streaming service of Disney+ already a resounding success, Disney has yet another platform to tell more Frozen stories.  I'm hoping there is more in the works and I bet I'm not along in that desire.  So Disney, if you're out there listening, please give us more Frozen in the years to come!  Love, the loyal citizens and fans of Arendelle!

Celebrity Treatment in Burbank, California

The Geekly Retreat was my first visit to California and what a memorable experience it was! We had some amazing times during the retreat and it all took place in and around fabulous Burbank.  Visit Burbank was one of the sponsors of our retreat and they treated us well from beginning to end.  Let's take a look at some of the places we enjoyed while in town.

Safari Inn 


Feel like you've seen the Safari Inn before?  Well, you probably have!  This hotel has been used in a number of blockbuster Hollywood films and television shows.  I instantly recognized the Safari Inn from two of my favorite movies when we received details about our stay.  The first film I recognized the hotel from was Apollo 13.  Remember the scene on launch day when Lovell's wife is at the hotel and drops her ring in the drain?  Yep, the outside footage there is of the Safari Inn.  It may also look familiar from Incredibles 2 when the protection program for supers is dissolved and they are forced to figure out their next steps.  There are also many more Hollywood cameos for this famous location too.

Inside the room at Safari Inn
The hotel itself combines a classic feel with some modern upgrades. While the exterior probably hasn't changed much over the years, the rooms themselves have clearly been renovated in recent years, featuring a clean and contemporary color scheme.  The room we were in featured two double beds, a sink and vanity in a dressing area, and a separate bathroom.  There is no official closet in the room, but there is a rack that you can hang clothes on if you need to during your stay.  There is a restaurant "on-site" at the neighboring partner hotel, Olive's Bistro.  From there you can order room service or take the few steps to enjoy a meal in the restaurant.  Another great perk is the free Burbank shuttle.  You need to prearrange your time and destination, but you can get service to a number of area destinations including the airport.  You'll also find a small pool on property along the road and located right next to the parking lot.  To learn more about staying at the Safari Inn Burbank, check out their website here!

Urban Press Winery


Our first night in Burbank, The Geekly Retreat attendees were hosted at Urban Press Winery for drinks and dinner.  Our evening began in the lower level tasting room which featured a bar and high top tables.  The room was equal parts cozy with warm colors and wood tones as well as contemporary with high ceilings and grand statements like the wine bottle doorway.  After enjoying tastes downstairs, we moved up to a private area overlooking the lower level where tables were set up for us to enjoy a speaker dinner.  Lastly, we moved out to the patio.  I know I was in California which was much warmer than Maryland in November, but I wads still happy to find they had portable heaters out there as it was chilly that evening.  The seating outside was more dining tables which allowed us to sit in large groups, mingle, and enjoy conversation with one another.
Enjoying the wine tasting at Urban Press Winery

So on to the important stuff - what about the food and wine?  Well. . .it was all delicious!  My husband and I enjoy visiting wineries around the Mid-Atlantic and I was very excited to visit my first California winery.  The wines were a bit drier than what I'm used to on the East Coast, but that's actually my preference so it was a rather enjoyable assortment - from the reds to the whites, and everything in between.  Quite surprisingly to me, my favorite wine of the night was the Rose.  I'm typically not a Rose fan, but this was made with Pinot which didn't make it as sweet as some others I've had.  The food was equally good.  My favorite was the simple meat, cheese, and bread that we had at the beginning.  That's always one of my favorite things to eat when enjoying a wine tasting!
If I find myself in the Burbank area again, I'd be happy to return to Urban Press Winery for more wine, food, and fun!  Check out more about this Burbank hot sport here!

Porto's Bakery & Cafe


I had heard that Porto's was THE place to go in Burbank when it comes to quality baked goods, but tasting truly was believing when we had the chance to experience Porto's on two different occasions.  During our work day at the Team Click offices, Porto's provided lunch to us which included sandwiches, salads, and sides.  The following morning, we had the chance to head to Porto's downtown Burbank location for a visit and to enjoy breakfast.  Now we had known how good Porto's was after the lunch on Friday, but seeing the line that had stretched outside of the building on Saturday morning let me know that the quality of their food was not a secret to the locals.
Lunch from Porto's Bakery - YUMMY!

When we entered the bakery, it was truly an overwhelming scene of people and pastries.  Our group was led upstairs to a conference room where we had our own assortment of breakfast waiting.  I selected a fruit topped pastry which looked (and tasted!) fabulous along with a fresh, delicious cup of orange juice.  While we ate, we had the chance to learn the history of Porto's.  What an incredible story!  The bakery was founded by Rosa Porto, an immigrant from Cuba who began baking prior to her arrival in the United States and then turned her passion into a business for her family.  Over the years, the family bakery has remained true to it's belief that "quality is the number one ingredient in everything we do."  To find out more about the story of the bakery and discover the menu, check them out here!

Visit Burbank


I'd like to thank them for being a sponsor of some of our activities during The Geekly Retreat!  For more information on planning your visit to Burbank, California, head on over to the Visit Burbank website.  Be sure to follow #VisitBurbank on social media for the latest and greatest news from this popular entertainment destination.

Growing Up: A Look at Olaf in Frozen 2

As Olaf told us all in Frozen, "some people are worth melting for" and it's certainly true that one little snowman melted hearts all over the world in the original Frozen.  From his delightful song to his charming sense of humor to his deep love and loyalty to Anna and Elsa, Olaf captivated audiences and became a star.  Olaf fans have nothing to worry about in Frozen 2 as he is once again back and, in some ways, steals the show.  But, like some of the other characters, our favorite snowman has done some growing up since we last left him in Arendelle.

In Frozen, we meet Olaf - the snowman lovingly created by Anna and Elsa as children when they played in the castle.  When Elsa's powers are unleashed, Olaf becomes real and befriends Anna and Elsa in adulthood.  However, we meet a very naive Olaf in the original film.  His song, "In Summer," tells of a snowman longing to spend days relaxing in the summer sun, oblivious to the danger that would pose to him.  Throughout the film he is equal parts lovable and goofy.  While his character is certainly dedicated to his friends and can clearly articulate love, he seems blind to what's going on in the world around him.

Josh Gad (Olaf) discusses his character's
growth at the Frozen 2 press junket.
Then we meet Olaf in Frozen 2.  Olaf has become older and wiser and is now questioning the world around him.  I attended  the Frozen 2 press junket with The Geekly Retreat where Josh Gad jokingly talked about Olaf getting "a license" and taking out "an insurance policy" as the moderator mentioned his permafrost and new found ability to read.  But Gad turned serious when he shared Olaf's fears about change and growing up.  He shared a story of his own daughter at about 5 years old suddenly crying and asking "what if I don't want to grow up?"  Olaf is going through that same journey in the film.  He questions why things have to change and even his song, "When I Am Older" hints at the fact that kids question the world around them and recognize that they don't have all of the answers.  Gad described it as that moment you "realize that maybe the world isn't just raindrops and lollipops and roses."


Olaf will definitely be a relatable character for kids trying to figure out the world around them.  He reminds me of my own son who at 7 notices everything and questions "why" when he sees things that are difficult for him to understand.  Gad again delivers a memorable performance that will leave an impression on your heart even after the movie ends.  Olaf will once again we worth melting for when your family sees Frozen 2!

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 my experience on the red carpet, download FREE activities for the family to enjoy, learn about the music of Frozen 2, and read a full review of the film

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Meet the Villains of Lady and The Tramp

Following our screening of Disney's new live action remake of Lady and The Tramp, I had the opportunity with my fellow attendees of The Geekly Retreat to sit down with Yvette Nicole Brown (Aunt Sarah) and Adrian Martinez (Elliott) to talk about working with the furry stars of the film, their characters, and diversity in the film. These two were delightful and full of enthusiasm to share their perspective on a reimagining of this classic Disney film.

About Working with the Dogs


Both Brown and Martinez had nothing but wonderful things to say about working with their four-legged co-stars.  They each talked about the difficulty of being the "villain" to these sweet dogs.  Because their characters had to be so mean to the animals during filming, they spent some extra quality time playing with the dogs when the cameras weren't rolling so they knew not to really be fearful of Brown and Martinez.  Brown in fact was so moved during the film, that she adopted a dog herself to bring some of that puppy love home!

Their Characters


It may seem that a villain is a one-dimensional "bad guy" character that is just out to ruin lives.  However, the conversation we had with Brown and Martinez shed a different light on the villains from Lady and The Tramp.  Martinez talked about his character being "misunderstood."  He was a dutiful civil servant who truly felt like he was doing what needed to be done to keep the citizens of the city safe from wild and dangerous animals.  Brown also talked about the complexity of Aunt Sarah.  On the outside, it's easy to write her off as a cruel, cold woman, but when you look closer you see her doting on her niece and genuinely enthusiastic about the new arrival.  One of the lines that humanizes Aunt Sarah most was actually an ad lib by Brown.  In this version of the film, Jim Dear and Darling actually take Lulu with them when Aunt Sarah comes to housesit.  You can clearly see the hurt and disappointment in Aunt Sarah's eyes as the young couple races out of the door with their baby as soon as she arrives when Brown says "I didn't even get to hold her."  Looking at her through the lens of someone who is lonely and hurting, it becomes easier to relate to her character.  Those cats in the film though. . .they're just mean and manipulative if you want my opinion!
Photo From Walt Disney Studios


Diversity in the Film


One of the things that stands out about this film is the diverse casting.  As Disney has been re-imagining films for a live action reboot, this seems to be a trend. . .and it is very welcome and refreshing to see.  Both Martinez and Brown talked about the film's obligation to represent the world we live in and hopefully seeing this as a step towards the new normal.  Brown shares that "I think every child, no matter their race, or their sexual orientation. . .deserves to see someone that looks like them."  When asked how critics may respond to re-imagining some favorite Disney films, Brown points out that "there's enough love in our hearts to enjoy the 1955 classic and the 2019 classic" and notes that they don't need to cancel each other out.

Want to know more about Disney's Lady and The Tramp which is streaming on Disney+?  Check out my review and then tune in for yourself to see Yvette Nicole Brown, Adrian Martinez, and other terrific actors - both on two legs and four! - light up the screen in this remake of a film that has been delighting viewers for over 60 years.

About The Film




In Disney+'s "Lady and the Tramp," a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.  Life is good for Lady, an overachieving American Cocker Spaniel who resides in an upscale suburban neighborhood.  Her owners, Jim Dear and Darling, spoil her daily and her neighbors, Jock, an outspoken Scottish Terrier and Trusty, a world-weary Bloodhound, are always within barking distance.  But when a baby enters the picture, Lady is no longer the center of attention, and the arrival of cat-loving Aunt Sarah only complicates matters.  Lady soon finds herself alone on the streets in an unwelcoming part of town.  Fortunately, Tramp steps in, and the streetwise mongrel is quick to teach her the ways of the world.  Before long, the prim and proper pure bred and the fast-talking mutt are partaking in moonlit strolls in the park and romantic spaghetti dinners by candlelight.  Tramp savors the independence of a world without leashes or fences alongside his roguish friends Peg and Bull, but Lady misses the comfort and safety of a family, and soon both must decide where - and with whom - they belong.  A heartwarming romantic adventure that seamlessly combines live action and photorealism animation, "Lady and the Tramp" stars: Tessa Thompson as the voice of Lady and Justin Theroux as the voice of Tramp; Kiersey Clemons as Darling; Thomas Mann as Jim Dear; Janelle Monae as the voice of Peg; Yvette Nicole Brown as Aunt Sarah; and Sam Elliott as the voice of Trusty.  The film is directed by Charlie Bean from a screenplay by Andrew Bujalski and Kari Granlund, and is produced by Brigham Taylor with Diane L. Sabatini serving as executive producer.

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Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run Game Sneak Peek

While I was in California attending The Geekly Retreat, we were among the first to see the new movie Spies in Disguise which will be heading the theaters on Christmas Day (Check out my review here!).  Following our screening, we had the chance to play the all-new Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run game which will also be available Christmas Day for mobile devices via the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.  Before we talk about the game, here's what the studio has released about the upcoming movie:

Blue Sky Studios presents “Spies in Disguise,” an animated spy comedy adventure set in the slick, high-octane, globe-trotting world of international espionage. Super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is...not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo is forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise –transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic...pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril. “Spies in Disguise” is directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno from a screenplay by Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor and a screen story by Cindy Davis inspired by the animated short film “Pigeon Impossible” by Lucas Martell. The film stars Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled and Masi Oka. The film is produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Michael J. Travers with Chris Wedge and Kori Adelson serving as executive producers.


So What About the Game?



From Denali Publishing, the mobile game allows you to play as one of the lead characters from the film. Once you assume your identity, you begin running through the city - jumping and sliding along the way to collect points. There's an awesome car mode too where you get to show your skills navigating traffic instead of always being on the run by foot. Each spy also has unique gadgets that you can use to help you on your mission.

Confession - I was terrible at playing this game. But, I'm terrible at playing most mobile games! My oldest though as loved playing during our special preview and is already having much more success than me. The design of the game is easy to use and visually appealing with the characters and design blending perfectly with the movie itself. Both my 7 year old and 4 year old will be able to easily navigate the features of this game. In fact, the general premise is similar to some other games they have played before where they have characters race to the finish and try to collect coins and prizes along the way. This is the perfect way to bring the action of Spies in Disguise home with you from the movies!



Can't wait to check out this game with your family? You can pre-register at SpiesInDisguiseGame.com. The game will release alongside the movie on December 25th!

The Music of Frozen 2 - My Favorite Songs from the Film


Reviews are pouring in for Frozen 2 as it gets ready to open everywhere on November 22.  But you don't have to wait until then to start enjoying this magical journey in your own home!  The soundtrack just released and it is a force to be reckoned with. Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who were also the songwriters for Frozen and Coco, really come through on this film with a soundtrack that is as memorable as the first.  I had some favorite musical moments that stood out from the film, but listening to the soundtrack (over and over again!), brings that whole flood of emotions back and I once again find myself in the woods with our favorite Frozen friends.  As an animated movie musical, the songs enhance the story so listening to the soundtrack may give you a few details about the plot itself, but no major spoilers to be found in the music or in this post!  Take a look at my top 3 songs from the film.

#3 - Some Things Never Change


This song comes early in the movie as we are catching up with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf.  I think part of what I like about this song is it features all of our lead characters singing to and about each other.  It's a cute song to watch as you see those close relationships the between each of the characters and the perfect way to bring them all back to us on the big screen.  Listening to the song again after seeing the movie, I enjoy the message of the song even more.  The world is constantly changing around us and sometimes it feels like things are spiraling beyond our control.  It's in these times that we look for the constants in our lives.  Who are the people that are always there for us no matter what?  When life gets scary, lean on those around you and take comfort knowing that "some things never change."

#2 - Into the Unknown


Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez,
songwriters for Frozen 2.
Much like it's predecessor, Frozen 2 turns to Idina Menzel to deliver a powerful and memorable musical performance as the rising action in the story climbs and our characters embark on their daring journey.  I mean, as if there were any doubt, this song is a technical masterpiece.  Menzel is spectacular.  It's mystical, beautiful, and powerful - all at the same time.  But don't overlook the alternative version of the song performed by Panic at the Disco during the closing credits and also available on the soundtrack.  It takes a totally different spin on the song which is equally delightful for listeners.  Whether your journey into the unknown is a new job, a new beginning, or venturing into the North Woods, you'll find all the courage you need to face the unknown with confidence in this song.

#1 - Lost in the Woods


Ok, ok. . .hear me out on this one.  If you are just listening to the soundtrack, I hope that you're enjoying this song like I do, but this is also one that you have to "see it to believe it" when I tell you this is simply the best musical moment of the film.  As you can tell from the lyrics, we find Kristoff at a bit of a crossroads emotionally and in a true 1980s power ballad way, he delivers a heartfelt song where he puts all of his feelings on the table.  He is in love and not afraid to say it.  The way he loves Anna during this film will leave people talking about how every man should treat his Disney princess.  I really fell in love with Kristoff during this movie and this number is a big reason why.  I have listened to it on repeat and each time can't help but feel my heart smile.  The delivery of this song in the movie is a highlight which will leave you feeling all the feels with Kristoff and also laughing out loud at the creative minds of the animators.  Hands down #1, I don't care what anyone else says!

If you haven't downloaded the music yet, what are you waiting for??  This is the perfect way to pass the time until the film opens and to relive all of your favorite parts once you've seen it.  Looking for more Frozen posts?  Check out what it was like to walk the red carpet and attend the Frozen 2 after party, read my review, and download FREE printable activities for the family to enjoy all here at Running on Pixie Dust!

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.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Trailer Reaction

Confession time.  My family and I have never been big SpongeBob Squarepants fans, but have caught the show occasionally on Nickelodeon.  As part of The Geekly Retreat, I had the chance to view this trailer almost a week ahead of it's debut to the public and I have to admit, that this movie may turn me into a SpongeBob fan if it's as good as the trailer promises!  But will my kids be excited for it, never having really seen the show.  Let's find out!



Ok, ok - my son had his turn, now mommy has hers.  Can we first talk about my favorite part of the trailer?  Yeah, it's Keanu Reeves.  What a cool cameo, right??  I really have no idea how he or that
scene fit into the movie, but I don't care - I'm already a fan.  I think families will really enjoy this movie with all of the laughs and fun along the way.  Who doesn't love good laugh out loud moments like this trailer delivered and I bet the movie will have more along the way! While it's hard to piece together too much of the plot from this trailer, I do enjoy the overarching theme of friendship that is clearly evident as friends work together to reduce Gary.

About The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run


This Memorial Day weekend, SpongeBob SquarePants, his best friend Patrick Star and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom hit the big screen in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event. After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home. As they navigate the delights and dangers on this perilous and hilarious rescue mission, SpongeBob and his pals prove there’s nothing stronger than the power of friendship.

**Update - Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run has had it's release delayed until August 7, 2020.

We still have a while until The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run opens, but I can't wait to learn more about the film along the way!

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Frozen 2 Takes Us Into the Unknown

Are you ready to go "into the unknown" and "let it go" when Frozen 2 hits the big screen on November 22?  I had the chance to walk the red carpet and attend the Hollywood world premiere as part of The Geekly Retreat and it was an amazing way to experience this film! Get ready to fall in love all over again with your favorite characters and meet incredible new faces along the way.

Review of Frozen 2


We find Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff living their best lives in Arendelle as the movie opens.  However, Elsa quickly begins to question what is happening as she hears a strange voice calling to her.  She tries to shake it off, but the sound keeps coming back.  When the full force of nature seems to unleash on Arendelle, the queen and princess lead their subjects into the mountains surrounding the city to seek safety.  Grand Pabbie appears and fills Anna and Elsa into the mystical happenings taking place around them.  It becomes clear that to get the answers she seeks and to save her kingdom, Elsa must leave Arendelle.  Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff begin their journey northward to find out what is happening.

My thoughts on the film?  The story is as good as the first - if not a bit better.  All of the characters have more depth this time around - even little Olaf!  The trailers show a "darker" and "scarier" story than we saw in the original film, but I don't think this should deter young families from seeing the movie.  It's a more serious story at times, but also has many moments of heart, humor, and song that all everyone with find a connection with as they watch.  I will say that I thought the story is a bit more complex than the original and I feel like the first 20-30 minutes are a bit slow, but stick with it and pay attention because the information they go over at the start of the movie is crucial and the action picks up quickly once they arrive in the woods.  And then there is the music!  The songs from this film are their own version of iconic.  While I *think* I enjoyed the original soundtrack more on a standalone basis, I'm excited to listen to the music again when the soundtrack releases and when I see it with my kids to see if that changes.  Regardless, the songs are PERFECT for the film.  The powerhouse team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez certainly deliver again.  There is one song that may go down as my favorite Disney "music video" of all time. . .but I'll let you discover that one one your own!

After all of the years watching and re-watching Frozen, I was left with a number of plot questions.  And when I heard a Frozen 2 was in the works, I found myself hoping that these questions would get answers.  This is a spoiler-free zone, so while we're talking about what questions that will be answered - no answers will be actually be given!

What happened to Anna and Elsa's parents?


In Frozen, we get a brief few scenes with Anna and Elsa's parents before they embark on a journey by boat.  We see the boat thrown around the ocean and then Arendelle receives news that the King and Queen have died.  While it appears clear that they perished at sea, I always wanted to know where they were going and more about what happened on that fateful day that changed the lives of both Anna and Elsa forever.  You WILL find out more about the death of their parents in this film.  Apparently Anna and Elsa, like me, have been asking this same question.

Where do Elsa's powers come from?


Anyone else find it strange that Elsa is the only one in her family that turns the world to ice when she touches things?  Grand Pabbie asks Elsa's parents early on in Frozen if she was born with the powers or cursed and her dad reveals that she was born with the powers.  How does that happen?  My academic brain thinks back to Punnett Squares and I'm fascinated that she has these icy powers while mom, dad, and Anna don't.  Well, rest assured that you WILL find out why Elsa has these magical powers as the story unwinds.

What's Kristoff's backstory?


Can we talk about Kristoff for a moment?  Here is this rugged mountain man who lives with his reindeer best friend and falls in love with a princess.  What happened to his parents?  Why does he live with a bunch of trolls?  I love me some Kristoff and want to know more!! So in this movie, Kristoff plays a more prominent role and we learn more about him for sure (in fact, some of my favorite moments from this film involve Kristoff) - but I did not get ALL of my questions answered.  Maybe this is Frozen 3 territory?  Or a Disney+ series?  One can hope!

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!  Follow the Frozen fun on their social media channels!

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Sonic The Hedgehog Sneak Peek

The Paramount Pictures trailer for Sonic The Hedgehog just released, but guess what?!? I got to see it last week in a special sneak peek as part of The Geekly Retreat and our visit to Paramount!  I had to keep this a secret, which was hard because I have to say I'm pretty excited about this film and my son is even more excited than I am!  Check out his reaction. . .



So what am I most excited about when it comes to this movie?  First, I love the fact that an old school video game character from my childhood is still cool to kids today and getting some love.  I think the story idea is cute.  While we don't know much, it seems Sonic decides to leave life inside his game and give the "real world" a try.  Jim Carey appears to be a great blend of funny and mean from what we see in the trailer - the perfect villain qualities for a kids movie.

About Sonic The Hedgehog


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is a live-action adventure comedy based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega that centers on the infamously brash bright blue hedgehog. The film follows the (mis)adventures of Sonic as he navigates the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound – human – best friend Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). Sonic and Tom join forces to try and stop the villainous Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) from capturing Sonic and using his immense powers for world domination. The film also stars Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.

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Feel the love for Sonic The Hedgehog when he races into theaters on Valentine's Day 2020!

Get in the Christmas Spirit with Noelle

Who doesn't love a family friendly Christmas movie that gives us a glimpse of what it's like to be a Kringle?  For generations, movies have been made that pull back the curtain on the mystery of Santa Claus and his family, and Disney's Noelle puts an original twist on the family life of St. Nick.  Warning - I both laughed out loud and ugly cried in this movie far more than I expected which is the sign of an outstanding movie in my opinion!  Seriously, you'll want to keep reading this and then grab your yogurt pants (you'll get it when you see the movie!) and your hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and peppermint to watch this with the whole family.

Recap of the Movie


The movie begins introducing us to Santa's kids, Noelle and Nick.  When Santa passes away, it's everyone's expectation that Nick (Bill Hader) take over for his father.  Noelle (Anna Kendrick) is there to support her brother every step of the way as her Christmas cheer is infectious.  As his first Christmas nears, Nick is overwhelmed and questions his ability to handle the job.  Noelle encourages him to take a weekend getaway to clear his mind, but when Nick doesn't return, the North Pole goes into panic mode.  What happens when Santa goes missing and Christmas is just around the corner?  Panic sets in and Noelle's tech-savvy cousin, Gabriel (Billy Eichner), is named as the replacement Santa.  Realizing her duty to her brother, and really the world, to bring the real Santa back home, Noelle leaves the North Pole for the first time with her nanny, Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine), and heads to Phoenix, Arizona.  What follows is a series of hilarious events that teach Noelle more about the true meaning of Christmas than she can even imagine.  Seriously, Anna Kendrick is delightfully jolly as Noelle Kringle and her enthusiasm for the holiday season will easily come across the screen to everyone who watches.

Why Families Will Love It


Where do I even begin with this?  Let's first talk about messages that you'll walk away with from the film.  There is a big overarching look at expectations - both from society and from your family.  Nick is expected to become Santa because he's Santa's son.  No one stops to ask Nick if that's what he wants.  I don't want to give any spoilers here, but I'll just throw it out there that Nick isn't the only one struggling with this battle of what he wants and what is expected of him.  Learning to stand up for what you want and what you believe is a hard thing for all of us.

Noelle also grapples with the fact that the holidays can be a hard time for some kids.  As an educator, I loved that a Christmas movie shows that the holiday season isn't always perfection and lots of gifts and big families gathered under the tree singing carols together.  In the film we follow a young boy going through his first Christmas following the divorce of his parents as well as a young girl is living in shelter with her mom over the holiday season because they've lost their house.  I'm a big proponent of movies that show kids they are not alone is struggling with hard things at home and I think this is also a great reminder for kids who may be tied up in wanting the latest and greatest gadgets to be reminded what some of these kids in the movie wish for as their "present" this Christmas.  The idea of Christmas traditions changing as families evolve is also present throughout the film.  Most of my ugly crying happened during these scenes by the way.

At the end of the day, this is a family holiday movie that will leave you feeling all the feels.  It's certainly one that kids of all ages can enjoy right alongside of their parents.  Even young children who would miss most of these bigger themes I've been talking about will delight in the bright colors, fun music, and jolly holiday spirit.  Thank garland that Disney+ has brought us this film for the holidays!!

About Disney's Noelle




In Disney+'s holiday comedy, "Noelle," Kris Kringle's daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something "important" like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over for their father this Christmas.  When Nick is about to crumble like a gingerbread cookie from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away. . .but when he doesn't return, Noelle must find her brother and bring him back in time to save Christmas.  The sudden disappearance of the new Santa (Bill Vader) leads to chaos in the North Pole, so Mrs. Kringle (Julie Hagerty) must step up to rein in the hi-tech replacement Santa, Cousin Gabs (Billy Eichner).  Meanwhile, Noelle and Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine), the family's acerbic but good-hearted nanny, are down South on a search-and-recover mission, during which Noelle (Anna Kendrick) comes to realize she has much in common with her father and begins to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  Written and directed by Marc Lawrence, "Noelle" stars Anna Kendrick, Bill Vader, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Billy Eichner, Julie Hagerty and Shirley MacLaine.  The film is produced by Suzanne Todd with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer.

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Get in the holiday spirit as Disney's Noelle begin's streaming on Disney+ when the service goes live November 12, 2019!

Marvel Hero Project Celebrates Everyday Kid Heroes

So, you may notice a theme in my posts from The Geekly Retreat that talk about Disney+ shows and movies - and it's crying.  Seriously, by the end of Disney+ Day on the retreat, my face was puffy and my makeup had been completely washed off my face.  Many shows and movies will leave you feeling big emotions, and Marvel Hero Project is no different.

The Premise


During our screening, we had a chance to have the show introduced by Dan Silver, Disney+ Vice President of Non-Fiction Content.  The "origin story" of this series is just as sweet as the show itself.  The idea came from Silver's son while they were walking to see Spiderman: Homecoming.  His son was talking about kids that he knows as everyday heroes which brought the idea to Silver, who was working at Marvel at the time.  From there, the idea began taking shape.  The series selects a different kid in each episode who is doing incredible things.

This is definitely a show to watch with the whole family.  It's a perfect conversation starter on a number of topics - namely, to quote Walt himself, "it's kind of fun to do the impossible!" In the episode we saw, and others that I'm aware of, kids and their families have some definite challenges facing them, but they choose to not let anything hold them down.  Others highlight kids in tremendous acts of service to others.  They are stories of heart and perseverance with life lessons for all of us.  We have the ability to make the world a better place, one small act at a time!

At our screening, we were shown one of the episodes.  I'm not going to tell you which one or ruin any "plot points" for you so you can enjoy it with your family, but I will say to bring the tissues.  Maybe I'm just a big softie, or maybe it's being a mom, or maybe it's being an educator, but I love stories of incredible kids doing incredible things!  I cried along with the mom as she talked about coming to terms with her son's struggles and as she talked about his courage to overcome EVERY obstacle in front of him.  I cried with his coach as he talked about the inspiration he has been for the team.  And I cried as the gifted artists at Marvel turned his story into a one-of-a-kind comic book.  That's something cool they are doing for each story they feature on the series and families can read the comics online after watching each episode!

I can't wait to watch this with my kids.  While I think my 7 year old will enjoy it more than my 4 year old, I will certainly watch it with both of them so they can see the amazing stories of other kids!  Regardless of whether you are a Marvel fan or not, this is something you won't want to miss.

About Marvel Hero Project




In life, it doesn't take wearing a suit of iron, carrying a mythical hammer or swinging from spider webs to be a real hero.  Sometimes the person who can make a positive difference in the world is the person who simply sees a problem and has the passion to find a creative solution.  And in Marvel's Hero Project, the new Disney+ series, those people are kids.  Like the girl who helps loved ones  with Alzheimer's make connections through puzzles or a boy who grows an urban garden to feed the hungry, despite his family financial hardships.  The first non-scripted reality series from Marvel Entertainment takes an up close and personal look at the lives of twenty amazing kids from across the country, each of whom is doing remarkable things to help his or her community.  Each week, Marvel surprises these young heroes, who have dedicated themselves to performing selfless acts of bravery, kindness, and betterment, by welcoming them into Marvel's Hero Project, inspiring viewers of all ages.

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Marvel Hero Project springs into action on November 12th!  Don't miss an episode of this inspiring series!!

Lady and The Tramp Review

Disney+ is just about to make it's debut and already it has gone to the dogs!  We all know that Disney's live action remakes have been knocking it out of the park (check out my reviews of Disney's Aladdin and The Lion King which also released in 2019), and with the release of Disney+ we find yet another live action remake that is set to rekindle our love of these classics!

Disney's animated Lady and the Tramp was released in 1955 - long before many of us were even born!  But the iconic story of two dogs from opposite sides of the city who find love over a meatball and some spaghetti is a timeless story that has been entertaining audiences for decades. Fans of the original will be happy to know that there are few changes to the storyline, and those changes only add to the storyline.  Let's take a look. . .

How it Compares to Original


There are many scenes in this remake that pull directly from the original and will tug at your heartstrings as you see them recreated with actual dogs.  I felt a deeper connection with the dogs during this film - in both times of joy and times of sadness.  When you watch Lady climb the steps and hop in Jim Dear and Darling's bed, you can almost feel her wet nose and soft fun snuggling up against you.  And as you watch the dog catcher chase Tramp through the streets, you're heart will race with nervous worry - even though you know how it ends!  There are a few small "tweaks" to some of the scenes as Lady and Tramp explore the city together, but they really don't add or detract from the original storyline in my opinion.

Besides the obvious change of creating the movie in a live action rendition, viewers will also find a more diverse cast in this remake.  As Disney continues to reimagine their classics, we have seen this trend and I think it's wonderful for casting to be more representative of all fans and viewers.  We'll dive into this topic, along with others in my post recapping the interview with Yvette Nicole Brown and Adrian Martinez who play Aunt Sarah and the Dog Catcher respectively.

Overall, I had much stronger emotions during this remake than I had with the classic animation and found myself crying at a few points during the film.  I think fans of the original will enjoy this movie and those of you who maybe didn't enjoy the classic should also give this one a chance too - it's worth the watch!

Kid Friendliness


While there is certainly nothing inappropriate about Lady and the Tramp, I think it's meant to be enjoyed by a slightly older audience.  My 4 year old has grown up with a mom who loves Disney movies and has watched a lot of live action and animation Disney films in his short life.  He would probably enjoy the film, but I don't know that it would hold the attention of all young kids the same way.

The only other caution I would give to parents with young children about the movie is that emotional connection I felt was stronger in this film.  I think it's easier in a cartoon to distance yourselves from the characters and the situations, but it is much harder when you're watching a live action movie.  When Aunt Sarah takes Lady to get a muzzle, it's heartbreaking to watch as is the scene at the dog pound when you see the dogs locked in cages and sad.  Those very raw emotions can be a lot to process for some kids.  In fact, I think my 7 year old may have a harder time watching this film for that reason than my 4 year old who may not fully process what is happening with the animals.

About The Film





In Disney+'s "Lady and the Tramp," a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.  Life is good for Lady, an overachieving American Cocker Spaniel who resides in an upscale suburban neighborhood.  Her owners, Jim Dear and Darling, spoil her daily and her neighbors, Jock, an outspoken Scottish Terrier and Trusty, a world-weary Bloodhound, are always within barking distance.  But when a baby enters the picture, Lady is no longer the center of attention, and the arrival of cat-loving Aunt Sarah only complicates matters.  Lady soon finds herself alone on the streets in an unwelcoming part of town.  Fortunately, Tramp steps in, and the streetwise mongrel is quick to teach her the ways of the world.  Before long, the prim and proper pure bred and the fast-talking mutt are partaking in moonlit strolls in the park and romantic spaghetti dinners by candlelight.  Tramp savors the independence of a world without leashes or fences alongside his roguish friends Peg and Bull, but Lady misses the comfort and safety of a family, and soon both must decide where - and with whom - they belong.  A heartwarming romantic adventure that seamlessly combines live action and photorealism animation, "Lady and the Tramp" stars: Tessa Thompson as the voice of Lady and Justin Theroux as the voice of Tramp; Kiersey Clemons as Darling; Thomas Mann as Jim Dear; Janelle Monae as the voice of Peg; Yvette Nicole Brown as Aunt Sarah; and Sam Elliott as the voice of Trusty.  The film is directed by Charlie Bean from a screenplay by Andrew Bujalski and Kari Granlund, and is produced by Brigham Taylor with Diane L. Sabatini serving as executive producer.

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Disney's Lady and the Tramp begins streaming on Disney+ November 12, 2019!  Be sure to check it out!

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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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!