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Simba Just Can’t Wait for our Lion King Review!

Published July 7, 2019 by Disneyways.com

We all know Simba just can’t wait to be king! But apparently he is looking forward to our movie review, as well!

Today is July 7th 2019, and my oldest son is turning 25 today! The Lion King movie always makes me think of my son Bradley because the original animated film came out just about 2 weeks before he was born.

Today felt like the perfect day to announce that I am delighted and honored to have been invited for the media preview for Disney’s The Lion King! Yep, Disney is bringing the “live action” Lion King to you in theaters July 18th – but you’ll be able to read our full review here at Disneyways.com on July 11th! Even if it’s not your birthday, it’s a little like getting an early birthday present from Disneyways to you. Remember to check it out!!!  And as Mufasa says,

“REMEMBER…who you are!” 

Check out all our recent movie reviews HERE

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – A Spoiler-Free Review by Peter Alden Grigsby

Published April 24, 2019 by Disneyways.com

AVENGERS: ENDGAME – A Spoiler-Free Review by Peter Alden Grigsby

There is just ‘something’ about watching a Marvel Universe Film. They continue to produce films that build on one another. Often times creating a final product that leaves you with a feeling of “how in the world can they top that?!?!” Very few highly anticipated films live up to the hype, but Endgame certainly does. It’s the best possible conclusion to Infinity War, and, at this point at least, is the crown jewel of the Marvel franchise. As previously stated, “how in the world can they top that?!”


As most fans are aware of by now, Avengers: Endgame is the official close of MCU’s phase 3, and it certainly does that! What I am about to say next is certainly not a ‘spoiler’, but I will say,

(Albeit ‘tongue & cheek’), DO NOT have a lot of fluids before this film, and stay away from the largest cup size at the theater! It is every bit of its reported 3 hour running time. The first hour and twenty minutes, while certainly a necessity in the story telling of the film, does drag a bit, and would be optimal for a bathroom break if needed. That being said, when this film kicks into high gear, it does not slow down, and you will be loath to move from your seat until the end!

Avengers: Endgame (2019) picks up almost immediately after the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), which left the universe in ruins. With the help of other allies, the remaining Avengers assemble in what might just be the last time, to attempt to undo Thanos’ actions, and restore the universe to normal. I feel almost silly attempting to write a ‘spoiler free’ review, because that is proving to be nearly impossible! I have started over a number of times, but buckle up true believers!

Endgame is, quite surprisingly, more inventive than I expected. We know where the story is headed, but there are some interesting turns getting there. I was also surprised at how emotionally engaging it was for a superhero film. With its 3 hour run time, this film spends quite a bit of time on character development, much more so than in previous offers. It does tend to make the film drag a bit early on, but I’m glad they did it, and it most certainly added to the reason the audience was so emotionally involved. There is also quite a bit of humor throughout as well. In fact, this is probably one of the funniest Marvel films since Thor: Ragnarok or perhaps Ant-Man. The laughs are intentional, but don’t feel forced or contrite. The battle scenes are visually stunning, and certainly live up to what we saw in Infinity War. It’s amazing to think that Marvel was able to keep this film under wraps, and I have no intention of spoiling that, but, suffice it to say, there are definitely some surprises that I certainly didn’t see coming. Run; don’t walk to see this little gem! Hopefully fans will keep a lid on things so that everyone can laugh, cry, gasp in surprise, and be thoroughly entertained without anything being given away or ruined.

One last thing though. I even struggled about this, but, in the end, I feel this doesn’t ‘spoil’ anything, so here we go. This film does not include mid-credits, or a post-credits scene, making it the first film in the MCU since The Incredible Hulk to include neither. Marvel has definitely raised the bar on themselves with this one, and I believe this could go down as the most successful superhero film, EVER!

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on April 23, 2019 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Captain Marvel – A SPOILER FREE MOVIE REVIEW! WRITTEN BY PETER ALDEN GRIGSBY

Published March 6, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Captain Marvel – A spoiler free movie review written by Peter Alden Grigsby

You really have to admire the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They have managed to take Comic Book Superheroes, and make them one of the most viable franchises in modern cinema. They have been so successful in fact, that they have enough productions to sub-divide into phases. As of now, we are coming to the end of phase 3, which will culminate with “Avengers: Endgame”. Shifting from big league hitters such as Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Hulk to characters that have not received as much attention such as Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the lynch pin, Captain Marvel. Spider Man, quite possibly their most popular character ever, has also recently re-acquired from Sony, so he will also figure prominently in the new phase.

When we left what was left of the team after “Infinity Wars”, we learned that Nick Fury had sent an emergency signal to Captain Marvel, just before being vaporized by Thanos. But who is Captain Marvel? Why was she not included in “The Avengers Initiative”? How can she help, when some of earths ‘Mightiest Heroes’ have already been vaporized? These are just some of the questions that this film sets out to answer. While giving the ‘basic gist’ of the story, I’m not going into too much detail; I want to present this review with NO SPOILERS! So buckle up true believers, here we go!

Right off the bat, THIS is an ‘origin’ film! Simply stated, don’t expect too much of a plot. Take this film as a “hi, nice to meet you”/first date kind of experience. We start out in the middle of the story, where we learn that a race of people called ‘Kree’ is in a war with another race called the ‘Skrulls’. We learned a little about them in “Infinity War”, but we get more of an insight in this film. The Skrulls are shape shifters, and can control their appearance. This is where we first meet “Vers” played by Brie Larson, who comes off fairly well. She presents a “girl-next-door” type of personality, while also being perfectly believable as a woman that can handle herself in any situation. At times she comes off a bit ‘wooden’, but hey, it’s a superhero movie, not “Titanic”. Vers is dealing with reoccurring nightmares about people she feels she knows, but can’t explain why. She also has a mysterious power that even the Kree don’t understand, but properly harnessed could make her one of the most powerful beings in the Universe. Her mentor, Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) is doing his best to help her figure out both who she is, and how to control her powers. Training her to control her emotions, as that is how she can ultimately control her powers. Jude Law is certainly capable, and believable in what he is being asked to do. That said, it’s not much! His character is certainly not explored to the degree it could have been. The chemistry between Law and Larson is not quite Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi caliber, but acceptable. Much like an older brother helping his younger sister. After learning that the Skrull commander, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) has captured Soh-Lar a Kree spy. Vers joins Yon-Rogg and a Kree rescue team to retrieve Soh-Lar. Of course, things go terribly wrong and Vers winds up separated from her team, and on a collision course towards Earth. For me, Ben Mendelsohn comes close to stealing this film! He gets some of the best lines in the movie, and delivers them brilliantly. This character, sadly, is not explored much either, but Mendelsohn managers to capture a menacing presence, without coming off as a typical ‘casting couch’ villain. He also demonstrates some brilliant comic timing.

Marvel uses a great ploy of ‘going back’ to move forward! Back, meaning to earth in the mid-90’s, (those familiar with the time period will enjoy the many ‘inside jokes’ that are presented.) and there are some genuinely funny moments. This is where we meet a young Nick Fury (Samuel A. Jackson), sans eye-patch, and a ‘rookie’ Shield agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). I’ve never really been a fan of the ‘de-aging’ CGI effects to make older actors look younger, I’ve never thought it looked real, but I will say it was done fairly well, and doesn’t really distract too much. Talos has followed Vers to earth, and is now after her. Sadly, this is where the ‘1990’s’ shtick becomes burdensome, and takes this film into a TV superhero feel. Not ‘camp’ but more like the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno ‘Incredible Hulk’ series. We learn Vers real name is Carol Danvers. She has a mysterious relationship with a Scientist (Annette Bening) she barely remembers. To me it seems that Bening was used for her ‘star power’ and very little else. What should have been a pivotal character was, again, never explored enough to the point that we actually cared anything about her. We also meet her best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashanna Lynch). Maria Rambeau is extremely likeable, and presents her character as the kind of friend we would all like to have. However, other than being Danvers best friend, there is not much for her to do. Danvers and Rambeau, we learn, are kind of like a female version of “Top Gun”. Yes, there is even a mascot named ‘Goose’! It’s almost as if the writers got a bit lazy during this ‘middle section’ and just went into an auto pilot mode, burping up cliché’ after cliché’ and really over using what could have been a fun little plot point. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some laughs, but all in all, the movie drags a bit here.

The last 30 minutes or so ramps up, and we get more of the action sequences we were expecting from the trailers. This is where I have to be careful because, as I said before, I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Suffice it to say, we DO learn how Captain Marvel will fit into the MCU in “Endgame”, as well as some interesting little twists along the way.

 

So, in going ‘back’ to move forward, “Captain Marvel” has set the stage for phase 4 of Marvel’s cinematic franchise. While certainly not Marvel’s best ‘solo’ hero movie, it’s certainly not the worst, (that dubious honor belongs to “Iron Man 2” in my opinion) and it’s certainly enjoyable as sort of a ‘Saturday afternoon matinee’! Story line, what little there is of it, is a bit contrived and confusing at times. As for character development, there were so many, so none of them was really explored in-depth. It was certainly nice to learn more about Fury, and how everything ties in together. There were a few moments in this film when I felt that it was heading into a ‘preachy’, feminist, “#metoo” direction, but thankfully it pulled itself back. It’s going to be tricky, moving forward with this character, to not fall into that trap. I hope Marvel can do it, because Captain Marvel could be a very interesting character. I would still recommend seeing it to fill in the last gaps before “Endgame”. This movie does at least explain why Danvers has been absent, and that was satisfying. So, in short: Dull story, some funny dialogue, mediocre villains, and a predictable plot. CGI was well done.

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Monday March 4, 2019 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

As seen on major Disney Fan sites such as Disney World Enthusiast, WDW Hints, WDW Magazine, City Surfing Orlando, Disneyways.com and many more! Rave reviews from all major Disney influencers and talk show hosts are online now – for Peter Alden’s Kingdom Classics CD.
Get ready for Classic Disney songs, with a retro rock vibe!! Peter Alden captures the ‘classic’ feel of the golden age of rock and fuses it into some of your favorite Disney classics!!

Mary Poppins Returns ~ A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Joelle Heath

Published December 18, 2018 by Disneyways.com

Delightfully whimsical.
That is the phrase that comes to mind for this movie. It was a mostly sweet, sometimes teary, always sassy homage to the original. The songs are fun and in line with those of the original, with one exception being a tune just a bit more ahem mature than one might expect. You will notice many parallels in story elements that are classic to Mary Poppins and rather than coming across as simply repackaged from the original, those elements imbue authenticity for who Mary would still be, even after all these year. Though, don’t ask her age. That would be impolite.
If you still remember what it was like to be a child or need to be reminded, I hope you can find your way to the theater to enjoy this sweet holiday season treat. Keep an eye out for the many Easter eggs. You might even find yourself drawn to see it twice, just in case you missed something.

 

About the Author ~ Joelle Heath grew up in Pennsylvania and attended college at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. After graduating, she moved to sunny Florida. She teaches AP History at Cypress Creek High School and loves working with the great students and a terrific faculty.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin

Published November 15, 2018 by Disneyways.com
Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms: A Spoiler- Free Review by guest author Chrissy Lin
An age old tale about a Sugar Plum Fairy and a Nutcracker falling in love…or wait, was it an age old story about a little girl who dreams of her Christmas toys coming to life…or….oh dear…I have a confession to make–I’ve never seen the original Nut Cracker!
I don’t know anything about the story, and until I looked it up online, I really only had a vague idea of what it might, possibly, be about!  I know, I know, have I grown up under a rock?  It might seem like it!  But let me tell you, that did not matter one tiny bit as I sat mesmerized by Disney’s new “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.”
Hear me for just a minute…
Sheer…Visual…Gorgeousness!!  
From the moment this delightful movie begins, you are thrown into a glittering world where heartbreaking reality meets a softer side of steampunk, culminating in a sweet story that has familiar elements and characters from the original Nutcracker story, without following that beloved story even one tiny bit.
I am a huge fan of several of the actors, most notably the amazing, talented, oh so epically regal, Helen Mirren, who played Mother Ginger.  Morgan Freeman was a delightful mixture of mystery and mischief in his role as Drosselmeyer, but it was my particular favorite, Matthew Macfadyen (with whom I fell in fan girl love when I saw him in Little Dorrit), who stole the show for me as Mr. Stahlbaum. His ability to convey deep emotion with just a soft catch in the back of his throat added depth and heartache in all the right places.  These three, along with strong performances from Jayden Fowora-Knight (Phillip the Nutcracker), Keira Knightley (Sugar Plum) and MacKenzie Foy (Clara), breathed new life into characters who have danced the same dance for more than 100 years.  Completely and utterly family friendly, there was only one PG word uttered, and only one or two moments with a PG scare.  I have a 5, 7, and 11 year old, and I wouldn’t hesitate to let any of them watch it.  In fact, I’m really looking forward to discussing the gorgeous and creative costumes with my eldest daughter.  Lead costume designer Jenny Beaven outdoes herself with exotic costumes that deserve a “nosed pressed to the screen,” loooonnnnnngggggggggg pause on your DVR to truly experience and appreciate her work.  Any aspiring costume designer would do well to take notice of all the little details she adds to make her outfits fantastically fantastical works of art. All in all, when you add up the NEW heart warming story line, the depth of feeling brought by the actors, and the glittering, high fantasy fashion of the costumes, you end up with a movie worth watching on the silver screen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chrissy Lin is a Senior Style Dots boutique partner, a wife, and a mother of three. Follow her on Facebook at  Chrissy Has Dots and join her VIP Style Dots FB group at  Chrissy‘s Dot VIPS!!!!! If you love jewelry or just love to buy gifts – check out a sparkly selection HERE.

 

 

A new music video featuring Andrea Bocelli and his 20-year-old son Matteo Bocelli singing the beautifully poignant “Fall on Me” from Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is now available.

Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – Journey to the Four Realms Featurette

Disney’s “Nutcracker and the Four Realms” in theaters November 2, 2018.

Disney’s Christopher Robin A Spoiler-Free Movie Review from a life-long Winnie the Pooh fan ~ Written by Beatrice Denis

Published August 7, 2018 by Disneyways.com

Disney’s Christopher Robin A Spoiler-Free Movie Review from a life-long Winnie the Pooh fan ~ Written by Beatrice Denis

It was truly a joy to watch my favorite silly ole bear come to life on the big screen interacting with real people in today’s world! The movie begins around the time that the original story is about to end. You’ll see a few of your favorite moments with Christopher Robin as a real child playing with his Hundred Acre Wood pals before he goes off to school. Sometimes life has a way of making children grow up quickly. Christopher has a lot of difficult things to deal with during the chapters of his life from the time the story that we all know and love ended until we get to the point where this story begins. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when we can get so engrossed in the urgency and responsibilities of adulthood that we can lose that part of us that made time to simply do nothing and enjoy the moment. It’s in those precious moments when we allow ourselves to relax in the thing that we love most about life, that refresh us and allows us to be a better person for every aspect of our lives. This movie had a few difficult real-life moments and if you’re prone to crying at movies, you may want to bring a tissue…but every bit was kid-friendly. In the end, it helps you think about prioritizing the things in life that truly matter and see things the way we always really have from deep down within ourselves. That person that we were long ago is always inside us.

Ewan McGregor does a nice job of bringing Christopher Robin to life as an adult and Jim Cummings is a spot-on voice of Pooh and Tigger. Also, make sure you stay through the credits for some extra-special appearances. The Sherman Brothers, made up of Richard & Robert Sherman, were the duo that Walt Disney called on to create some of the most memorable songs in the world. Robert passed away in 2012 but Richard Sherman, who just celebrated his 90th birthday, makes a special appearance and wrote some new music for Christopher Robin with the same catchy lyrics and tunes that “The Boys” were known for back when Walt still worked in the studio.

Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this moving on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy of Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my love for this movie. All opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Beatrice Denis moved to Florida in 2010 from North Carolina, due to her love for all things Disney. She recently had a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding on Land and Sea at both Walt Disney World and on the Disney Wonder on Alaska water with beautiful snow-capped mountains in the background. You can follow her upcoming adventures on her blog, A Disney Girl in Orlando.

Ant-Man and The Wasp – A Spoiler Free Movie Review! Written by Peter Alden Grigsby

Published July 5, 2018 by Disneyways.com

 

Ant-Man and The Wasp – A Spoiler Free Movie Review! Written by Peter Alden Grigsby

Ant-Man and The Wasp is the 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The MCU has really evolved into a blockbuster franchise. I think that they have some really great movies, especially in their Phase 3 (2016-2018) “Spider-Man:  Homecoming” and “Dr. Strange” come to mind.  I was of two minds about seeing this film AFTER “Avengers:  Infinity War”.  The time-line of this film takes place after “Captain America: Civil War”, but before “Infinity War”  I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out after such a character changing movie, however, I was certainly ready for a ‘light-hearted’ superhero story!  Especially if the first “Ant-Man” was any indication!

Paul Rudd returns as Scott Lang (Ant-Man), and he is certainly growing into the role.  Since the first film, Scott is maturing as a man and a father.  This film’s open finds Scott under home confinement thanks to a plea deal he took for siding with Captain America in “Captain America: Civil War”.   The years of being under house arrest have driven Scott to find creative ways to entertain himself, and he is able to enjoy visits from his daughter Cassie.   His friend, former burglar, Luis (Michael Pena) is running a ‘security’ company now, with help from Scott at home.  Although Scott is nearing the end of his isolation he knows F.B.I. Agent Woo (Randall Park), is waiting for him to slip up in some way, and with a possible twenty year prison term in the balance, he is doing everything by-the-book.  Hope (Evangeline Lilly) and her father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) are also angry with Scott because he took the Ant-Man suit and helped Captain America without their permission.  As fate would have it, a strange dream, involving Hope’s mother Janet (Michelle Pfieffer), causes Scott to contact Hope who in turn takes Scott along with her to get to the bottom of the dream. Scott is naturally reluctant as he is days away from freedom, and being discovered out and about and consorting with his wanted former associates would not be good for his eventual release. Adding to this already complicated situation, is a shady tech dealer named Sonny Burch (Walton Goggins) and a mysterious new adversary named “Ghost” (Hannah John-Kamen) who complicate matters and force Scott, Hope, and Hank to contend with issues all around them as they race against time on an urgent mission while trying to stay away from Agent Woo and his team.

The chemistry between Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly is great, and they work well off each other.  Both are fun to watch on-screen as they continue to bicker amongst themselves, all while trying to be a superhero team.  I have to say that I am surprised at how much I like Michael Douglas as Hank (the original Ant-Man).  He is fantastic as the father-figure/mentor that Scott and Hope need to finally become real partners, and friends.  He is definitely the ‘glue’ of the team!  Micheal Pena also reprises his role as Luis, and, in a film filled with some great comedic performances, still manages to steal many scenes!  Randall Park also manages to garner some laughs with his “Adam West-style” dead-pan delivery as straight laced Agent Woo.  Walton Goggins has perfected the ‘smarmy businessman/shady crook’ character over many years of work!  He is absolutely believable as this black-market tech dealer.  Hannah John-Kamen has the interesting task of introducing us to ‘Ghost’.  A character that first presents as an evil threat, but becomes more of a sympathetic/misunderstood character!  This leads me to my only real “problem” with this movie.  While both Goggins and John-Kamen do a nice job with their characters, they still come across as more “TV bad guys”!  Formidable to be sure, but still more like something ‘Daredevil’ or ‘Luke Cage’ might come up against in the Marvel TV Universe.  This is not a slight in any way to the characters, or actors, they just seem a bit out of place here.  Understandably,  it would be silly to pit Ant-Man against the likes of a ‘Loki’ or ‘Red Skull’, much less ‘Thanos’, however he does deserve to have a nemesis that requires a ‘super-powered’ hero.

That being said, this film is still great fun to watch, and it does have some great character moments as well as humor around the build-up to the action sequences. The action, and there is plenty of it, mixes some great visual FX with some humor (i.e. – as Hope and Scott are forced to jump between household and everyday items at various sizes to contend with the threats presented to them).  There are also some hilarious moments as Scott deals with various suit malfunctions that interfere with his actions.  Finally, as we’ve come to expect with MARVEL, there are some post credit scenes that, without giving anything away, help to tie this film into the MCU.  Make sure you stay all the way to the end!!  This film is an action packed thrill ride filled with fun characters, interesting story line, and fantastic performances by the actors!!  Put this one on your list!  It’s worth it!! 
**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Monday July 2, 2018 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Coco Movie Premier Review

Published November 22, 2017 by ltdjosh

I received a free movie preview in exchange for writing a review on this blog.

Last week, we were treated to our sneak preview premier of the newest Disney-Pixar movie, Coco. This is my humble review of the movie. I promise this will be a spoiler free review.

The first thing I can say is that you simply HAVE to go see this movie if you enjoy any kind of good movies. From the moment I saw the first artwork, I was drawn in to this colorful and magical world. Once the previews and teaser trailers started coming out, I got even more excited about the movie. However, I was not even prepared for how amazing and well thought out this movie is. So what exactly is the premise of Coco, you might ask?

Well, this movie focuses on the family celebration of Dia De Los Muertos, or the Day Of The Dead. This celebration is a time where families lay out altars, or “ofrendas” filled with pictures of relatives that have passed on along with the family members’ favorite foods. This celebration is one time of the year, it is said, that the passed on may cross the universe and return (in spirit) to the living world and be with their families. The movie focuses on the Rivera family, specifically young Miguel, as he fights his family for his right to be a musician instead of a shoe maker like the rest of the family. His family is against his decision because of an event that happens years ago, but Miguel is determined to be a musician, even if he has to do it behind his family’s backs.

Through a series of comical events, Miguel comes face to face with his family on the “other side” and has to find his way back to the living world before the end of Dia De Los Muertos. However, along the journey of getting back, Miguel discovers that things are not always as they seem, including his family’s history. Finally faced with the truth, he must make a decision that could potentially change his life. Where will this decision take him? Well, for that answer, you must watch the movie, but I guarantee that it will leave you breathless with laughter and leave you with  a deeper appreciation for, and better understanding of, the amazing culture of Mexico and Dia De Los Muertos.

There’s also another thing in this movie that followers of Pixar Animation have come to expect and enjoy: the music and the characters. Music plays a very pivotal role in this movie, as has become a bit of custom for anything coming out of the studio, and I have to say that the music in this movie is every bit as good as the music from Frozen (sorry Kristen and Idina). I use this reference because the people behind some of the most memorable music in this movie are the same team from Frozen: husband wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. The music is just as catchy to me, and I look forward to hearing more from this talented duo. And the characters in this movie are so relatable. Whether you identify with Miguel’s Abuelita, a stern (at first) guardian of the family traditions who in the end just wants what’s best for her family, his Mama Imelda, who was so shaken by the departure of her husband that she bans music in the family forever (again, to protect her family), or Miguel himself, your sure to find a character to suit your fancy in this film, and leave wanting to know more about this amazing family.

To find tickets, just go to http://movies.disney.com/coco. I promise you won’t be disappointed by this amazing movie, and honestly believe that you’ll want to take your family back again and again.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary movie tickets in exchange for writing this review. This did not influence my opinion and all thoughts are my own.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Published May 8, 2017 by Disneyways.com

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ~ A Review from Guest Author Peter Alden Grigsby

Before we even get into the meat of this film, I have to say that I continue to be impressed with Marvel Studios, and the cinematic universe of superheroes that they are creating. When you bring so many comic heroes (Icons really) to life on the screen, at such a frantic pace, you certainly set yourself up for a BIG ‘letdown’ or quite frankly a bomb!! (Fan boys may remember a little gem from the eighties called “Howard The Duck” – Yikes!) However, I have to say that Marvel has done a fantastic job of avoiding the normal pitfalls, and has created for itself a nice little niche’ in cinematic history!

Like with any movie that is associated with Marvel Studios, “Guardians of the Galaxy! Vol. 2”, comes with much of the inherited “hype” and “excitement”. Director James Gunn, who is relatively unknown, has really made a name for himself directing both the previous “Guardians of the Galaxy” and a confirmed sequel to this installment. He could have relaxed and just coasted on the popularity of the characters, but instead he chose to take a bunch odd-ball misfits and create some depth.

From the very outset we were provided a little bit more on the history of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and exactly how he came about his existence. This opening scene sets that stage with Peter’s mother and his father. In the first film we got snatches of his story, and not really so much about him, but his relationship with his mother. She is the one who instilled in him his ethics, morals and musical tastes, thanks to some great ‘mix’ tapes she made for him with her favorite music. Because she was his only compass, when she was taken from him by Cancer, he immediately put her on a pedestal. He has spent his life not so much ‘searching’ for his father, just more or less wondering who he was. And where his place in the Galaxy was. As the movie advances, and we discover new details about Quills life we, along with him, get to understand what a ‘Father’ really is.

Immediately after that opening scene we flash forward to ‘current time’ and are thrusted straight into a familiar line-up and setting with fellow Guardians: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) joining Quill in tackling an inter-dimensional being, as their duty. However, unlike many action films, this battle is actually a ‘background’ to Baby Groot discovering Quills mix tape of 80’s classics. Accompanied by some soothing and scene setting music the battle takes place, mostly in the background, but the focus is not on the fight but rather refreshing the viewers on the character’s relationships and chemistry.

Throughout the movie we are re-acquainted with Nebula (Karen Gillan), who we learned was actually Gamora’s sister, and Yondu (Michael Rooker), the scavenger, thief we met in the first film, who actually has an interesting connection with Quill.
We are also greeted by cameo appearances from Kurt Russell appears as Quills long lost father, a character called Ego, who may or may not be the answer to his prayers. Sylvester Stallone also appears briefly as someone from Yondu’s past, but we may see more of him in future offerings. Gunn chose to include explaining the complex relationship that transpired between sisters Gamora and Nebula; foreshadowing a larger turn of events in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) perhaps? Time will tell, but nonetheless I appreciated that it was explained in more detail.

When creating a film that is based in such drama, there is a need to give the audience a break with some humor. The main crux of this, and there was a lot of it was included definitely at the right times. Drax and Mantis (played by Marvel newcomer Pom Klementieff) had an interesting connection as their characters were constantly in turmoil, but in a playful, and almost romantic way. Rocket and Quill clashing with one another made for good viewing. Almost like a Han Solo/Luke Skywalker relationship these two can’t seem to get out of each others way, which makes for some very funny moments. We get way more insight into Rocket as well. He’s still a colossal jerk, but we are given a bit more insight as to what may have led him to be that way. And, although he is gruff, there is a sentimentality to Rocket that makes him more much more ‘human’ than anyone could have thought. Baby Groot’s inclusion kind of brought the tension between the characters back and almost simplified what was going on, as from a child’s point of view.

The ‘final’ battle is the only place that was difficult for me. It took way too long, and was a bit too cerebral at times. Some of the things that happened took way to long to transpire, and it almost felt a little forced. After all, we had seen some incredible special effects up to this point. I have to say, that although I thought the end battle scene was too long, and a little contrived, it did provide some interesting comedic moments, including an homage to Mary Poppins!

After the movie reached its conclusion it was mind boggling to see so many people walking out upon the beginning of the credits! Another one of the amazing things that Marvel Studios has done, is that it has gotten most people (at least the fan boys) to stay for the final credits! In fact Marvel has almost become synonymous with an ‘extra’ scene at the end of the film. It amazes me still that I sometimes see people waiting through credits at the end of another movie, wondering if maybe other studios had gotten the idea of a way to keep people in their seats. Marvel, however, appreciates their post-production scenes and there were a massive 5 in this movie! That’s right folks, 5 different scenes including one interesting one that sets the scene for the next installment. All in all I found this film to be immensely entertaining and funny. It also takes some two-dimensional characters and gives you much more insight into why they do what they do! It is definitely a ‘big screen’ film, so see it in a theater soon!

**Please note that I was invited to a complimentary viewing of this movie on Tuesday May 2nd 2017 so that I could bring you this review on behalf of Krista Joy at Disneyways.com. The free admission in no way influenced my review, and all opinions are my own.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Peter Alden Grigsby is a Florida native. Pete has appeared in an episode of the Mickey Mouse club, was a Jungle Cruise Skipper, “friend” of the Rocketeer, tram driver on the backlot tour, and opening day cast member at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM). When he’s not writing movie reviews, he is performing as a singer and tribute artist all over the world and currently has a cover album of Disney songs called Kingdom Classics

Photo & Video Review!! Visit Morimoto Asia and Vivoli with Us!

Published September 1, 2016 by Heidi Strawser

Did you know you can take a summer stroll and get some quick bites at two new places in Disney Springs – on the go? Why cut into your shopping time when you can grab and go at Morimoto Asia and Vivoli?

Krista recently had the opportunity to visit both of these new places and learn more about them as part of a media tour called #SummerStroll. We’d like to take you on a Photo & Video tour – too bad we can’t provide taste testing as well.

Morimoto Asia

Vivoli

Looks delicious, right? Will you be trying either of these places on your next visit to Disney Springs?

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