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!!

Momosa Publishing LLC to proudly support Lakeview Elementary “Literacy Luau” in St. Cloud Florida on Jan. 26

Published January 23, 2019 by Disneyways.com

Momosa Publishing LLC (Momosa Publishing), one of the United States’ leading publishers of health, parenting, inspiration, and children’s books, is proud to announce its donation of 25 books to the Literary Luau at Lakeview Elementary on January 26, 2019.

Momosa Publishing marketing director Krista Joy has a close connection to this special event. She manages the career of well-known local entertainer Peter Alden, whose adopted son Gabriel Grigsby’s courageous battle with rare genetic brain disorder Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) led to the family’s quest to add ALD to the list of newborn screenings in Florida.

ALD affects 1 in 18,000 people, primarily boys and some men. It destroys the protective sheath that surrounds the brain’s neurons — the nerve cells that allow us to think and to control our muscles. Championed by State Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) for years, the ALD screening requirement became state law in May 2018 in honor and memory of Gabriel, who was 10 when he passed away in July 2013. It is a fitting legacy for the brave boy who fought against such tragic circumstances.

Gabriel attended Lakeview Elementary and the organizer, Stephanie Walcott was his favorite teacher. Gabriel’s father, Peter Alden, will perform a 15 minute set of songs from the film “Blue Hawaii” at the Literacy Luau. Peter Alden is a veteran of the Legends in Concert Stage and a full-time entertainer.

“Giving back to our communities is so much a part of who we are,” Momosa Publishing co-founder and editorial director Jennifer Reich said. “Krista’s relationship with Peter Alden – and his efforts to add ALD to the screening protocol – along with our ties to Florida and Orlando in particular – make our team a strong supporter of the event. We couldn’t be happier to participate in the Lakeview Elementary Literacy Luau.”

To kick off Literacy Week, Lakeview Elementary will have the Literacy Luau on January 26, 2019 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This event will have many Hawaiian themed literacy activities, a book fair, and an opportunity to meet an author. The school will have community members including; Orlando City Soccer and Wonderworks passing out books to students. Families have an opportunity to read together in our butterfly garden and watch the special guest performances on stage. It will be a day filled with reading, learning, and fun!

Momosa Publishing’s mission of helping people raise healthier, happier families is rooted in its commitment to children. Along with its trademark Mommy MD Guides series of advice on children’s health from the country’s leading doctor moms, the firm has published a number of other child-centered books.

Reich’s two sons, Tyler, 13, and Austin, 11, collaborated on a series of enchanting stories of animals exploring the Magic Kingdom. Launched in August 2017, the “Adventures of the Real Animals in the Most Magical Place on Earth” children’s book series tells the stories of the real live animals that make their home in the most magical place on Earth. At the event, Joy will read a portion of the first book in the series, “The Adventures of the Rabbits in the Most Magical Place on Earth” and present Momosa Publishing’s donation of 25 books.

The series, which also includes “The Adventures of the Squirrels in the Most Magical Place on Earth” – the story of Sammy Squirrel and his family AND “The Adventures of the Lions in the Most Magical Place on Earth”, the story of Daniel the lion and his family – is available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

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.

Save Money! Pre-Order”Peter Pan’s Flight” Narrated by Krista Joy from Theme Parkology

Published October 19, 2018 by Disneyways.com

Save Money! Pre-Order”Peter Pan’s Flight” (Written and Narrated by Krista Joy from Disneyways.com) This DVD is now available for pre-order from Theme Parkology!

Click below for a sneak peek!

Come one everybody, here we goooo!! This whimsical documentary explores the history of the attraction and was written and narrated by the talented Krista Joy, intro music by James Presley, and animated title sequence by C. Andrew Nelson.

This will be a wonderful addition to your Theme Parkology collection.

Pre-order until November 5th 2018 and SAVE!! DVD is only $15 when you make this advanced purchase at THIS LINK.

So, don’t delay order your copy today!

While you are at it, why not add the Enchanted Secrets of Disneyland to your cart as well?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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