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This Weekend at the Box Office: Hidden Figures

January 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM • Posted in MoviesNo comments yet

Happy Winter, Kansas City! I know most of us are (hopefully) cozy in our homes, but if you get a little stir crazy and are looking to get out of the house — why not check out this upcoming film, Hidden Figures? It’s about 3 African-American female mathematicians who helped get NASA astronauts into space. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, had the opportunity to get a sneak peek of the film, and raves about it below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Hidden Figures


This Weekend at the Box Office: Hidden Figures

Rating: PG
Run Time: 127 min
Release Date: January 6th, 2017
Director: Theodore Melfi
Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae


This week I had the chance to see another movie that I had put on the top of my list, simply because Hans Zimmer did the score (love his work). Offhand I knew it would at least be entertaining through music, but once I saw the trailer, I knew it was something that had to be seen! I just had no idea how amazing and truly impactful this movie would really be!


Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) and Kansas City KS native Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson). These women alone are a reason to get excited! Not only are they award winners, but they have various awards for different styles of roles. They alone are well worth the price of admission. It also stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons who themselves have an amazing list of credentials!


The film is a true story of 3 remarkable women. Set in the ‘60s, a time of segregation and so much hate. During the “race to space” between America and Russia, 3 black women changed the face of NASA by not only their skills and knowledge, but also by their passion and desire to be great! Starting off as “computers,” these ladies were able to work with some of the most brilliant minds in America as they set forward to launch John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth! This movie does a great job of shining light on these women and their brilliant minds as well as what they really had to fight against in the early 1960’s.


I really loved everything about this movie. There were only a few curse words (I think 2) and one scene where two characters kissed but even that quickly faded away. It is definitely a family movie night must!


As a mixed woman and mom of 3 black girls, I honestly cannot think of a more important movie for them to see that’s coming out. And not just black girls but young girls everywhere! Not only is it about women that have excelled in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), but it showcases courage, knowledge, and strength. It teaches them that no matter what someone thinks of you, how they treat you or how hard it may be….to never give up! To fight for what is right and never let someone tell you, you can’t achieve your goals!


I will gladly give Hidden figures a 10/10 rating! Trust me as soon as it comes out, GO SEE IT!


From iFamily to Yours,







This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

November 23, 2016 at 11:29 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch a flick, and Disney holiday fashion, they’ve released their new animated movie, Moana. So, after eating all that turkey, and catching a few Zzzz’s, why not head to the theater and enjoy this family movie. Check out Holli’s review and insider look of the new film below. Happy Thanksgiving!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana



This Weekend at the Box Office: Moana


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 103 min
Rating: PG
Director: Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson



Thanksgiving is, for me, a time not only to appreciate life’s incredible blessings but also a time for reflection. One of my favorite childhood memories, and a tradition that I carry on with my own daughter, is experiencing the new Disney movie that comes out around Thanksgiving each year (like “The Santa Claus” in 1994 and “101 Dalmations” in 1996). This year, Charlotte and I had the chances to celebrate early at the advanced screening of Disney’s latest movie “Moana” and we were not disappointed.

“Moana” follows the story of a special little girl who feels called to the sea. As she grows and learns about her community, she feels compelled to do something different from what is expected of her from everyone she knows. Her father, the Chief, has long rooted beliefs that the sea is not a safe or friendly place for their people and that fear drives him to forbid Moana (and her tribe) from passing the reef located just off of their island.

Even when their food supply begins to diminish, his overwhelming fear of the unknown keeps him from venturing away from home. Moana, however, was chosen by the sea for an unforgettable journey that will restore her island and her people’s long rooted history with the ocean. Along the way, she encounters struggles and situations that force her out of her comfort zone and into the woman she was meant to be.

What I loved most about this movie is the message that it sends to little girls across the world – To be who you are and to not be afraid of the challenges that you might face along your journey. Disney has done it again and moviegoers can expect to fall in love with the stunning animation, fun characters, and incredible sound track throughout the feature film.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check out the digital short before the movie – It’s a good one!

From iFamily to Yours,



This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

November 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied

Good Morning, Kansas City!! Now, I know it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and most of you are probably running around trying to tie up as many loose ends before the holiday, but if you find some down time this holiday weekend, Marion Cotillard and Brad Pitt have a new movie out. Allied is out in theaters today, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, was able to get a sneak peek and tells us the highs and lows of the film below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied


This Weekend at the Box Office: Allied


Release Date: November 23, 2016
Run Time: 124 min
Rating: R
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Brad Pitt


Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard headline in a new spy movie titled Allied out on the 23rd. They play two spies who meet on a mission in Morocco and fall in love. The basic premise of the movie is that they marry and have a child after which one learns the other may be a double agent.

I’m not going to lie; I went into the film with Mr. and Mrs. Smith in the back of my mind. Although both films have Pitt and center on married spies, there the similarities end. Allied is set in the 1940’s and the allies are working together to bring down Hitler. The costumes, sets and locations are magnificent. The scenes on the rooftops in Morocco are some of my favorites. I was lucky enough to travel to Morocco several years ago and I felt they really captured the magical beauty of the country. The clothing and cars had me nostalgic for the 1940’s- until the bombings knocked some sense into me. Robert Zemeckis directs and creates a visually stunning story. I think this one will be nominated for some awards this winter.


I like Brad Pitt, I feel for the stress he’s going through in his personal life, but I didn’t feel like this was his best movie. It may be just me though. I felt like he was a bit stiff. ‘Did he get botox?’ ‘Was he stressed about life?’ ‘Is he just a spy and they don’t show much emotion?’ These were all thoughts I had while watching. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I just didn’t feel like he gave it his all. ‘Am I really criticizing Brad Pitt?? Why does criticizing Brad Pitt make me break out in a sweat?’ The questions continue. He did produce a very emotional scene at the end of the movie. Maybe the stoicism was to make it more impactful.


Marion Cotillard was great. Both she and her character were enigmatic and charismatic. She also gave a very moving performance. I think most of the cast was terrific. Again, this was a movie that demanded a lot visually from its cast and I think they hit it out of park. The movie has quite a bit of action in it, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it an action movie. It definitely had an artistic quality to it. If you are looking for your typical spy movie this isn’t it. My husband didn’t care for the film. I think the very things I enjoyed about it (visually interesting, emotionally charged) didn’t register with him. So I guess keep that in mind. If you are wanting to see an action film, there’s probably a better option out over the holiday weekend. That considered, I guess I’d rate it a 3 out of 5. I would watch it again, but apparently it would have to be without my husband.


From iFamily to Yours,




This Weekend at the Box Office: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

November 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Happy Friday, Kansas City! For those of us who are massive, unashamed Harry Potter nerds, we have been waiting for this day. Today, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy had a chance at a sneak peek, and gives us all the goods. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

This Weekend at the Box Office:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Release Date: November 18, 2016
Run Time: 133 min
Rating: PG-13
Director: David Yates
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston


If you had gleefully enjoyed eight years of entering Hogwarts via your local movie theater and their completion left you in a melancholy no number of trips to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter could quite eradicate, then you are in luck! You surely know J.K. Rowlings is back at it again with a series that predates the Harry Potter ones. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens this Friday and we muggles are transported back to a land of magic. However, you will find this land/film much changed.


Fantastic Beasts is set in 1920’s New York. During this time Witches and Wizards are pretty much under ground as the no-majs (American for muggle) are beginning to suspect that magic may exist. Witches and Wizards live in strict secrecy and are not allowed to fraternize with no-majs. Under the same reasoning, nearly all magical beasts have been exterminated to near extinction as the magic folks fear their discovery. This being said, the beginning of the film has very little magic to be found. Viewers that have enjoyed being transported to such a fantastical world may find themselves, like me, disappointed as the minutes plug by without much excitement from the setting, or even from Eddie Redmayne who leads this film, but has very few lines in the first half.


Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a magizoologist who travels the globe saving and studying magical creatures. He is an oddity in his world and that combined with the fact that he’s brimming with liberal ideals have kept him fairly isolated from other wizards and witches. He manages, however, to catch the eye of an Auror (Investigator) whom is trying to prove her value to the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the Untied States). She thus drags a reluctant Newt into a magical mystery and some serious drama.


The cast boasts a lot of big names, more than I had realized. Many of them had somewhat small roles hinting at things to come as the series progresses. I read that there are 5 films planned. Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) are two of my favorite characters and bring a lot of heart and humor to the film, but true to J.K. Rowlings’ style, there are many interesting and well-developed characters. If you’d like to learn more about the characters and film, and even download some free posters, you can do so here.


I enjoyed the movie. It was fun and imaginative. The effects are amazing (again- you’ll be waiting awhile to get to them). And yet it doesn’t feel overly Harry Potterish with the change in setting and older characters (none of the main cast is in school any longer). However, many fans of Potter were a similar age as the books and films came out and thus grew up with Harry. If this is you, you will once again be nearly the same age as the main characters. This being the first film of the series, it did spend a lot of time acclimating the audience to a new framework for a new story, so although Fantastic Beasts seemed a little slow to get off the ground, I think it was just a matter of it being the first installment. Many film-goers at the screening turned out in Hogwarts robes and yelled magical phrases throughout the film. If you want to avoid this crowd, maybe don’t hit this film on opening weekend, but I do recommend going to see this movie. It was truly an enjoyable and fun film.

From iFamily to Yours,



This Weekend at the Box Office: Bleed for This

November 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Bleed for This

If you’re looking for a chance to get out with some friends or your significant other before all the festivities of next week, why not check out Bleed for This, starring Miles Teller? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, had a chance to see it a few days before opening and gives us the rundown of what to expect. Check it out…

This Weekend at the Box Office: Bleed for This

This Weekend at the Box Office: Bleed for This

Release Date: November 18, 2016
Run Time: 1 hr 56 min
Rating: R
Director: Ben Younger
Cast: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart


Man oh man…. Where do I begin with this movie!? I am going to do my absolute best at not giving away too much or any spoilers, so if I do… sorry!


I truly love a great underdog or comeback story and this one is definitely one of the best! Miles Teller (Whiplash) stars as world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza, who after a tragic accident that nearly left him paralyzed, defeated the odds and was able to become a legendary boxer. This true story movie leaves you in awe of the human nature to never give up.


I must admit I have been wanting to see this movie for a while and I am so glad it lived up to my expectation! Outside of the occasional nudity and constant foul language (not a fan of it), I was constantly engaged and excited to see his next move! I even found myself worried and afraid at times that something awful was going to happen to Vinny. Every time he challenged himself or someone, my heart would sink! The story is beyond inspiring and the acting its self pulls its own weight!


Another thing I loved about this movie was the footage. I loved the fact that they showed home videos and actual recordings from his fights. It made you feel even more connected to Vinny and those around him. I could go on and on about Vinny’s will power, brute strength and courage to do what he did. But honestly you will have to take my word for it and GO SEE it! I highly doubt you will be disappointed! I know I wasn’t!


I would gladly rate this movie a 8.5/10!


From iFamily to Yours,






This Weekend at the Box Office – Arrival

November 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office – Arrival

Happy Friday, Kansas City! After a long week, the movies are one of my favorite activities to enjoy on the weekend. This weekend, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner have a new movie out, Arrival. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette was able to get sneak peek and gives us the highs and lows. Take a look…

This Weekend at the Box Office - Arrival


This Weekend at the Box Office – Arrival


Release Date: November 11, 2016
Run Time: 116 min
Rating: PG-13
Director: Denis Villenueve
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner


Let me start by saying this, I have a tendency to over excite myself about things and sometimes it pays off and other times I just get an even bigger let down!

The other night I had the opportunity to preview “Arrival” starring Amy Adams (love her), Jeremy Renner (Avengers) and Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland). When I first seen the preview I just knew this was going to be a groundbreaking movie! Great actors, unique story line and not to mention Sci-Fi! But as I watched “Arrival” and even as I’m typing, I find myself baffled.


The story line is not like your typical alien movie. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will let you know this…. If you are looking for an “end of the world, doomsday suck out our brains” kind of movie, you will be disappointed. After a foreign air craft appears in several locations around the globe, a crafty team of military personnel and scientists around the world try to none the less communicate with Earth’s new visitors.


Outside the fact that the movie starts off a little slow, the suspense is phenomenal! It will have your mind rambling dozens of questions, trying to figure out the aliens next move, and whether or not the humans can act fast enough before going into full blown war! With a few plot twists and the occasional cheeky humor, I could not help but constantly wonder what will happen next?!


But, I have to be honest…


What did eventually happen next was not that great. I’m talking about the ending. With so much suspense and visually intriguing scenes, the ending did not live up to the same standard as the rest of the movie. I felt “let down”. It kind of seemed like it just ended. It was as if the writers had written something so crazy and the only way for it all to make sense was to just throw a curve ball that did nothing really.


If I had to rate this movie I would give it a 3.5 /5 simply because they lift you up so high and then drop you at the end.


From iFamily to Yours,




Date Night At The Movies: “Inferno” Review

October 30, 2016 at 8:25 AM • Posted in Mom Fun, MoviesComments Off on Date Night At The Movies: “Inferno” Review

This weekend a lot of us will be busy with our families doing Halloween activities. If you and your significant other find yourselves needing some adult time (and who won’t) a movie date may be in order. Hitting the box office this week is Inferno and it could be just what you’re looking for. Take a look…


Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are back with another film adaptation of another one of Dan Brown’s wildly successful novels. Inferno is the third movie where Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, a famous Harvard professor and symbologist. Langdon wakes in a hospital with amnesia and immediately jumps into action with the aide of his ER doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) to find a virus that will wipeout half of the world’s population. With pain and horrifying visions due to a head trauma, he takes off to remember what he’s doing in Florence and to save humanity while racing the clock and outside forces.

Like every Dan Brown novel, this story is a maze and a calculus problem wrapped in a riddle and played out scavenger hunt style. However, the film did a good job of connecting the dots for viewers who may be a little behind on their Dante (like me). I had read Dan Brown’s Inferno years ago, and I only remembered a bit of it. My friend who joined me had not read the book at all. We both really enjoyed the film, and ignorance may have been key as many other moviegoers were griping about the inconsistencies. Even if the movie didn’t mirror the book’s storyline, it was still enjoyable.

The plot had many twists and it was fast paced, but it had to be to get the large novel into a two-hour film. The locations were beautiful. Most of it was filmed in Italy and it served as a reminder that I need to travel more. The movie is rated PG-13, but it is gory. There were a lot of disturbing images. It is about Dante’s Inferno after all. I think the Halloween release was a wise one, though maybe it should have come out a little sooner. This would be a great date movie for people who are tempted to do a spooky movie, but don’t really want a horror film. This did toe the horror line at times- especially in the beginning, but it is a true thriller, and it worked for the material.

The cast was good, which it really needed to be as there were a lot of people and organizations at play and they did not get very thorough backstories. Diverse and strong actors kept this enigmatic roster of characters easy to keep track of. Tom Hanks was amazing, as always. He even provided a bit of comic relief- a nice break in an otherwise heavy two hours. Overall I give a B. I would go see it in the theater, but I wouldn’t buy it.  

From iFamily to Yours,


Inferno Review from Darcy of the iFamilyKC Mom Squad

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This Weekend at the Box Office: Keeping Up With the Joneses

October 21, 2016 at 1:00 PM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Keeping Up With the Joneses

Happy Friday, Kansas City! Zach Galifinakis is at it again with a new comedy, Keeping Up with the Joneses, also starring Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot, and Isla Fischer. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, had a chance at a sneak peek of the movie and gives you all the details below. Check it out!



This Weekend at the Box Office: Keeping Up With the Joneses



This Weekend at the Box Office:

Keeping Up With the Joneses



Release Date: October 21, 2016
Run Time: 105 min
Rating: PG-13
Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Zach Galifinakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fischer, Gal Gadot



I was looking forward to the sneak peek of Keeping Up With the Joneses because I’m a fan of Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and know Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) can bring the laughs. I expected them to be a dynamic duo in this action comedy about a mainstream suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) who get their cul-de-sac world rocked when their new seemingly perfect neighbors (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) turn out to be secret agents.


The suburban couple goes from jealous to suspicious of their Hollywood-like neighbors. And when some snooping reveals the new neighbors are definitely not what they seem, Mr. and Mrs. Suburban find themselves along for the ride (literally) of the neighbors’ secret mission whether they like it or not.


So here’s the good news, Jon Hamm is still easy on the eyes (as is Gal Gadot, if we’re being totally honest) and there were a couple laugh-out-loud moments in the film. The bad news? That’s the end of the good news.


It wasn’t funny, but not for a lack of trying. Seemed like every other line was trying to grab a laugh but fell short. The comedy and action picked up quite a bit about halfway through the film but nowhere near enough to save it.


I give it a D for comedy and a C for action. If you’re in the mood to head to the movies this weekend, skip this one and keep looking.



Becky is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,


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The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!

October 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in Holiday, MoviesComments Off on The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays are MOVIES. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas — there are so many great movies that really bring the spirit of the holiday alive. Halloween has fantastic films, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin breaks down the best Halloween movies for every age group. Grab some popcorn, kick your feet up, and watch one of these movies!

The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!

The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!


Halloween is almost here!! I can’t think of a better way to end the Halloween night festivities with a big bucket of popcorn, some of your kid’s trick or treat candy and a good Halloween movie! If you plan on staying in for the night you could choose a few of these and have a Halloween movie marathon! Either way, check out the following list of Halloween flicks that I’m sure your family will love!


Please note: These are broken down by age group to help you decide what may be appropriate for your child. However your child may or may not be ready for some of these movies, especially the ones in the last list. Use your own discretion!


Ages 2 and up


The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!


All of the movies in this list are animated, short and sweet, and quite possibly hold the attention of the youngest movie watchers!

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Room on a Broom


Ages 5 and up


The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!


A few more recent animated films on this list and a few fun light-hearted flicks!


Hotel Transylvania


Double Double Toil and Trouble

Monster House

Spooky Buddies


Ages 7 and up


The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!



Quite a few Tim Burton flicks are on this list. Those can be a bit frightening to younger ones. And a few cult classics that I bet you can’t wait to share with your kids!

Hocus Pocus

The Addams Family




The Nightmare Before Christmas

Corpse Bride



The Witches

Escape to Witch Mountain


Ages 10 and up


The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!


Enjoy these somewhat scary movies for tweens!

Harry Potter



The Haunted Mansion


Fun Size


Ages 14 and up


The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!


I wanted to make sure and represent the teen crowd and young adults in this post so these movies are definitely recommended for ages 14 and up. Some of these you might save for the older teens. These are sure to scare! Wait until the little tykes have come off their sugar high and settled down for the night to check these out.




The Ring

The Blair Witch Project

The Conjuring

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Nightmare on Elm Street


What are some of your favorite Halloween movies? Let us know in the comments!



From iFamily to Yours,






The Best Halloween Movies for Every Age Group!

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This Weekend at the Movies: Girl On The Train

October 7, 2016 at 1:17 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Movies: Girl On The Train

If you’re anything like me (a psychological suspense movie lover who is in dire need of a mom’s night out), you’ve probably been waiting for the box office release of “The Girl On The Train”. I’m dying to see the film and wonder if it’s as good as the previews make it out to be. iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Becky had the chance to catch an early release of the film this week and shares her thoughts with us tonight on the blog. Take a look…

Girl on the train

If you’ve read the book “The Girl on the Train” (is there anyone left who hasn’t read the book?), then you’re familiar with the premise:

Alcoholic Rachel Watson obsesses with the lives of her ex-husband, his new family and his “picture-perfect” neighbors who live a few houses down mostly from the train window during her daily commute. When Rachel witnesses the neighbor having an affair just before disappearing, she not only gets involved in solving the crime, she’s suspected of being involved in the crime.

The book is a deep, deep dive into the characters’ messed up lives and twisted psyche. Readers are privy to the characters’ darkest thoughts and detailed backstories which I found really interesting and gives the story a lot of depth.

For those who were fans of the book and looking forward to the movie release, I’ve got bad news. That kind of storytelling is just not something Hollywood can come anywhere near cracking in under two hours. I missed the intimate details about the characters that provided context to the twists and turns to the story. I also thought the movie rushed through the best part of the story. Before the suspense had time to build, the mystery unpacked itself very quickly at the end. A little too quickly. The movie went from dark, depressing and a bit haunting to almost campy at the very end.

The acting was solid (yay for strong female lead roles) and it was beautifully shot, but the cast and director weren’t enough to save the script. Just like “Gone Girl” this screenplay doesn’t do the book justice. Skip this movie and spend your time with another book instead.

The Girl on the Train opens today, Friday, Oct. 7, and runs 1 hour and 52 minutes.

Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

From iFamily to Yours,


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