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Pitch Perfect 3 Hits Theaters Nationwide and Audiences are Singing Its Praises!

The Barton Bellas are back but are they better than ever?! We sent iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Ruth to check an advanced screening of Pitch Perfect 3 before it hit theaters nationwide today and she’s sharing her thoughts with you today on the blog. Take a look…

Pitch Perfect 3

Pitch Perfect 3 Hits Theaters Nationwide

Audiences are Singing Its Praises!

I came into this movie with mixed expectations. The first movie was my absolute favorite. It was witty and full of music. The second movie didn’t give quite give me the same zest that I was looking for but I enjoyed it enough to look forward to the next edition of the series.

The Story

The night of Pitch Perfect 3, I was revved up and ready to go. I waltzed into the theater with my best friend and sat down waiting in anticipation. The movie opened with some drama as Becca (Anna Kendrick) found herself loathing her place of employment. She had made it into the music industry, but it wasn’t quite what she had been banking on when she graduated college.

The scene moved to her apartment where we found some other former Bellas. They all had a similar back story. Some were hanging in limbo waiting for their careers to start. They had odd jobs and not much to look forward to.

An invite to a reunion continued disappointment for the girls but led to a brilliant idea. Aubrey’s (Anna Camp) father is stationed overseas with the military and she had learned of the USO tour. Being the keen eyed girl that she is, an invite to join the tour opened up a new opportunity for the girls to reunite as former Bellas and sing again with a purpose. The girls joined in line with several upcoming bands to tour four countries with DJ Khaled (played by himself). The girls quickly learned that they were not quite up to snuff with the other bands after challenging them to a riff off. Thus the story line began to blossom as the girls met their many challenges head on.

The Flow

This movie screamed with new surprises enough for any fan or newcomer to enjoy. The music was played down as bit as the girls didn’t follow their traditional mash-up sequences. Opportunities to sing were far from few but the story line gave you plenty to think about. I was able to see the characters evolve in a way that enriched the movie only to make it better. Simultaneous varying story lines cut with witty commentary and unexpected action sequences left the auditorium full of laughter.

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) had the best story line in the film. She developed from the awkward Bella seeking approval to an unexpected savior. Her character took many twists and turns which opened up to her back story and the strained relationship she had with her father over his criminal activities.

In the end, the Bella’s learned a lot about themselves. They are braver and stronger than they thought. The world has its ups and downs but opportunities present themselves under the oddest of circumstances. Becca, though offered an amazing opportunity in the music industry, hesitated with regard to her Bella family. She learned that true friends don’t hold each other back.

Final Thoughts

This movie was written with a great arch and the best story line of the three. It was so much more than a goofy comedy about college kids singing riff offs and challenging each other. The content was taken to a new level, a more mature level. A fantastic way to conclude the series.

From iFamily to Yours,

This Weekend At The Box Office: Wonder Woman!

I just love how incredible Summer movies can be, don’t you?! If you’ve been waiting, like we have, for a strong female led super hero movie, you’re in luck! “Wonder Woman” hits theaters nationwide this weekend but does it hit the mark or will it fall flat?! We sent iFamilyKC Mom Squad blogger Brigette out for a special sneak peek of the film earlier this week and she’s sharing her thoughts with us today on the blog. Take a look…

Two words…. WONDER WOMAN! I have waited for this movie a long time and it is finally here! The newest DC Comic film starring Gal Gadot (“Keeping Up With The Joneses”, “Fast and Furious”), was the tough Amazonian woman I had hoped for! It also Stars Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Robin Wright (General Antiope) and Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta).

The film starts off in modern day France where Diana (Wonder Woman) takes a trip down memory lane where learn her story and how she trained and grew up on the island of Themyscira before leaving to stop the war in London during the WWI era.

The entire film will have you on an emotional roller coaster. During the telling of her journey to become the heroine she was destined to be, you are thrown through moments of “wow this is so peaceful” to “OMG did they just do that!?”. The director Patty Jenkins, captures everyone’s attention with amazing slow motion scenes, high intense action and that feeling of something getting caught in your throat when you see Wonder Woman and her soldier (Pine) falling in love.

I loved this movie! I could barely contain my moments of excitement when she went full Amazonian woman! I also loved the fact that outside one scene with some adult humor and Pine covering his nude body with his hands, it was clean. A lot of super hero movies tend to show a little more blood and people blowing up these days. And while majority of this film is set during the war, I don’t have to worry about someone’s head being blown off or them screaming from pain. This is definitely a movie I will see again and allow my children to watch!

This in my opinion is definitely the movie of the year! So, make sure you grab your popcorn and get ready for a wild, exciting ride with Wonder Woman!

From iFamily to Yours,



This Weekend at the Box Office: Kong : Skull Island

Hello, Kansas City! This weekend, there’s a new film hitting theaters – Kong: Skull Island. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, got a chance at a sneak peek and has a great review below. It is rated PG-13 and as Brigette mentions, this may be better for the older kids and adults. Take a look…

This Weekend at the Box Office: Kong : Skull Island


Rated: PG-13
Run time: 2 hrs
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson


This Weekend at the Box Office: Kong : Skull Island


Let me start by saying this, “Kong is King”! If you are like me and enjoy movies about adventure, Sci-fi, fantasy creatures and laughs, then you will enjoy this installment of King Kong!
This film takes place in the 70’s with a two “truth seekers” looking to find answers about a mysterious uncharted island. After rallying a troop of service men, a photographer and other scientists they venture off into the unknown.
Starting off this movie was a little slow. I don’t know if I was just anxious to see Kong back on the big screen or if there was just…. Well, slow to start because of all the science talk and looking for partners to join them.
However, the real adventure starts from the moment they approach the island! I was drawn back to my seat pretty much the whole movie! With a whole cast of top tier celebs like Tom Hiddleston (Thor), Samuel Jackson (Avengers), John Goodman (Monsters Inc) and Brie Larson (21 jump street). In my opinion the true star of the movie (outside of Kong) was John C. Reilly! He kept the laughs coming, even when the director had you in in awe of the all the action.
This movie is visually entertaining and exciting! There are a few cuss words and at times it can get pretty graphic. Overall, I think it is a good family movie for the older kiddos!
I would rate Kong : Skull Island an 8/10!

PS: See it in IMAX 3D!!


From iFamily to Yours,







Movie Review Spotlight: “Million Dollar Arm”

“Million Dollar Arm” Movie Review

In Theaters Nationwide: Friday May 16, 2014

Rated PG

Screen Time: 2 Hours, 4 Minutes

Directed By: Craig Gillepsie

Cast:  Jon Hamm, Pitobash, Suraj Sharma, Aasif Mandvi, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Bill Paxton

Ahhhh, sweet Summertime. What better way to celebrate the new season than a heartwarming film from Disney Motion Pictures.  “Million Dollar Arm”, which opened for wide release across the country on Friday, is an inspiring and moving film that follows the true story of how Major League Baseball’s two first Indian players transitioned from life in rural India to playing professional baseball in America.  What started as a last ditch attempt to save his business from failure, the true “Million Dollar Arm” is a program that has inspired young would-be players to follow their dreams, a story we can all rally behind.

The story begins with J.B. Bernstein (John Hamm), a once wildly successful sport’s agent who left the corporate world to venture out on his own with his business partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi).  After a couple of year’s out on their own, the duo finds themselves on the brink of closing their doors. Unwilling to fail in his business, Bernstein puts it all on the line for one last chance: the opportunity to convert young Cricket players into professional pitchers.  Along the way, Bernstein learns about what it really means to put business aside, enjoy life, and love others.

Although the film, at times, can feel a little predictable at times, it somehow doesn’t take away from how truly inspiring and wonderful the story really is.  Audience members will enjoy this heartwarming, feel good movie that is both family friendly and enjoyable.  On our movie review rating scale, I give “Million Dollar Arm” a solid A.

“Under The Skin” Movie Review

Movie Review of “Under The Skin”

Release Date: Friday April 18, 2014 (Kansas City Market)

Official Rating: R (language, nudity, sexual content, violence)

Screen Time: 108 Minutes

I will be the first to admit to you that I am a nerdy parent. I enjoy sci-fi movies, board games, and am somewhat of an adventure book snob. I think that’s what intrigued me so much about the movie “Under The Skin”, which was released here in our area on Friday. The film, which stars the lovely Scarlett Johansson, gives insight to what it might be like to live as an alien hunter in the human World (assuming, of course, that aliens living as humans is something that could actually be a real thing). More so, it gives insight to what it might be like for that same alien to attempt to learn how to be like the humans she’s surrounded by.

It’s a bizzare movie that you really need to be a fan of the genre to appreciate. Laura (the lead character played by Scarlett Johansson) is a complex, yet simple, alien who collects men. The first half of the film is spent following her quest to pick up men, bring them back to her creepy alien lair, and seduce them so that they’ll willingly walk into a pit of gooey substance that tramps them and robs them of their internal organs. Audience members never quite fully understand the point of it all but we’re not meant to. Instead, we’re meant to follow Laura’s journey as she attempts to live as a human (and not as a huntress) throughout the second half of the film.

Overall, the film is dark, disturbing, interesting, and enjoyable for any sci-fi lover to watch. Given the amount of nudity in the film (and the general content), it’s not something that I was recommend watching in front of your children but it would make a great date night option for parents looking for something unique and off the beaten path.

Questions about this review?! Connect with Holli anytime at holli@ifamilykc.com

“Sabotage” Movie Review

“Sabotage”:  A Movie Review

 Release Date:  March 28, 2014

MPAA Rating:  R

 Cast:  Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Breacher Wharton, Olivia Williams as Investigator Caroline Brentwood, Sam Worthington as Monster, Joe Manganiello as Grinder, Mireillie Enos as Lizzy Murray, Terrence Howard as Sugar and Josh Holloway as Neck.

 Mom Rating:  While trying to raise children in this imperfect world, I was a little disappointed by the behaviors and habits of the “good guys” in this movie while they were not on the job.  I would not recommend this film for anyone under 18 because of the real world violence caused by both drug usage and drug involvement.

Genre: Crime Drama/Action Thriller

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the part of Breacher who is the head leader of a drug task force and very respected by his team.  He is as cool as Clint Eastwood in The Good The Bad and The Ugly!  His task force has the reputation for being the best at what they do, until they lose millions of dollars that was meant for them during a raid.  They immediately know that the missing money was from a leak within their group.  The strength of the team quickly disintegrates because of the mistrust, paranoia and suspicion initiated by the sabotage.

Investigator Caroline Brentwood becomes involved with Breacher when members of his team start dying one by one.  They work together relentlessly to bring down the bad guys.  This is a great who done it, that may leave you surprised in the end.

The message of this movie could be that anyone dealing in drugs can be dangerous because a lot is at stake.  For the bad guys it’s all about making money.  But for the good guys it’s about protecting an entire population…the good guys will do whatever it takes to stop the traffic.

Written by iFamilyKC Mom Squadder Shari Jacobs. Questions about this review? Email us anytime at info@iFamilyKC.com

“Divergent”: Movie Review



Release Date: Friday 21 March 2014

Run Time: 140 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn

“The Hunger Games”, “Twilight”, and “Harry Potter” are all examples of popular young adult novel series turned wildly successful films.  Given the incredible success of its predecessors, it would stand to reason that “Divergent”, which opened in theaters across the nation yesterday, would follow suit.

“Divergent”, the first in a series of three (books), follows the story of Tris Pryor, a sixteen year old living in the futuristic dystopian society that was once Chicago.  After a series of wars and societal problems, the city divided into five factions based on qualities that they believed maintained peace.  At the age of sixteen, children in this society are tested to see with which of the five factions their instincts most closely match.  With their results to guide them, the children must then choose a faction to live in as they become official members of society.  Not everything is as it seems and during her initiation into her chosen faction, Tris’s life is turned upside down.  Conflicts within the city and plans to overthrow leadership put the bravery of Tris, her friends, and her loved ones to the test in a series of twists and turns that keep the audience focused on the story.

For those reasons, the first book was an incredible read.  It was a captivating page turner that kept my attention right until the very last page.  Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the film.  My biggest complaint about the movie is that the screenwriters diverged (see what I did there?!) a little too much from the book.  They failed to provide any substance to the characters that readers came to know and love through the books, and they put too much on the table taking some of the suspense and drama out of the story.  I cringed at the changes that were made to the plot, the fact that they simplified the story, and that they failed to capture some of the things that were so great about the first book.  Although the movie was mildly entertaining (ignoring the fact that I’d read the books), it was truly disappointing.

Would be fans with a few hours to burn will find that their time is better spent reading the books, which are far superior to the first film.  Overall, on the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again, I give “Divergent” a 1.39025 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of “Facepalm”.

Follow Holli Ann’s journey through life and parenting on It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can connect with Holli anytime on Facebook, Twitter, or by email at holli@ifamilykc.com.

“Enemy”: Movie Review


Release Date: Friday March 21st, 2014 (Kansas City Market)

Runtime: 90 minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for some strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon

Sometimes in life, there are films that are so unique, so intense, and so well done that they become timeless works of art. “Enemy”, which opened in the Kansas City market on Friday, is not one of those. Rather, it is a film with grand aspirations.  Unfortunately, it is a film that just doesn’t quite deliver.  Several weeks ago, when I was looking at upcoming films for review, I took a peek at the official movie trailer for “Enemy” and had chills.  In looking back, the film’s trailer was its best attribute.  It had suspense and a build up that left me nervous and wanting more.  The film itself, however, could not maintain that same momentum throughout its entirety despite its relatively short runtime of only 90 minutes.

Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam, a professor at a local university who lives a relatively mundane and simple life.  Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal plays Anthony, a local movie star who lives a seemingly happy existence with his pregnant wife.  After spotting his exact double in several small local films, Adam becomes weirdly obsessed with uncovering the mystery behind his doppelganger.  Once Anthony discovers Adam’s existence, he, too, becomes awkwardly obsessed.  The two meet up in a dark hotel room (honestly, who just meets a complete stranger an hour away from home in a remote hotel room?! WHO?!) for a confrontation that is supposed to be intense but just falls flat. Afterwards, the plot takes you through a series of twists and turns that seem a little forced and leave audience members more confused than interested before providing an ending that leaves you questioning whether or not the cashier at the concession stand put something in your drink.

“Enemy” has so many twists that it ties itself into a knot it cannot undo.  It asks far more questions than it answers, and I left feeling confused and unsure as to what I had just seen.  A good twist is one that you don’t see coming, but after it happens you feel like you should have.  “Enemy” substitutes needlessly complicated for clever and throws enough at you in hopes that you don’t notice.  Gylenhaal does a fine job in playing two distinct characters, but it is not enough to make up for the shortcomings of the screenplay.

On the It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten, where one is the worst, five is the best and ten is the worst again, I give “Enemy” a 1.23574 with an emoticon based sub-ranking of: “Ummmmmm, whhhhaaaaat?!”

Follow Holli’s journey through life and parenting through It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can stay up to date with all of Holli’s posts by connecting with the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page. Questions about this review? Email holli@ifamilykc.com.

It’s A Movie Review! Reflections On “Labor Day”

Labor Day

Labor Day movie review

Release Date: Friday January 31st, 2014

Run Time: 111 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence, and sexuality.

Cast: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire

For years, Kate Winslet has dazzled fans on the big screen with her incredible talent.  Her latest film, “Labor Day”, hit theaters nationwide on Friday.  Starring alongside Josh Brolin (“W.”, “No Country For Old Men”) and Gattlin Griffith (“Changling”, “Green Lantern”, “Couples Retreat”), Winslet plays reclusive single mother, Adele, who struggles with her inability to cope with the outside World. Adele and her son Henry (played by Gattlin Griffith) live in a picturesque small town where everyone knows their neighbor.  While on a rare trip to the store for supplies, the pair encounter injured escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) who pressures them into providing him refuge in their home.  Left with no other choice, Adele takes him in over the Labor Day weekend.  The remainder of the film follows their story and the events that unfold changing their lives forever.

The portrayal of late 1980’s life in a sleepy town is where this film succeeds. The beautiful imagery, combined with an emotionally charged score, help to elevate this otherwise flat screenplay.  The film, which was adapted from a novel, was the second book turned screenplay for author Joyce Maynard.  The problem with translating a story from a print novel to the big screen is that it’s hard to capture every detail in the way the author intended.  In the spirit of giving the benefit of the doubt, let’s just assume this is the case with “Labor Day”. Overall, the story line is sweet and interesting but it falls short on the screen in that it it’s anticlimactic.  Audience members who are expecting a pay off will be sorely disappointed.

On The It’s An Ordinary Blog movie review scale from one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best, and ten is the worst again I give “Labor Day” a 2.6235 with an emoticon based sub ranking of “Well, maybe the book is better?!”

Did you know that iFamilyKC staffer Holli Ann documents her journey through life and parenting on It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can connect with Holli anytime through Facebook, Twitter, or by email at Holli@iFamilyKC.com

“That Awkward Moment” Movie Review

That Awkward Moment

That Awkward Moment

Release Date: Friday January 31st, 2014

Run Time: 94 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexual content and language throughout.

Cast: Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller

Twenty-somethings in search of a raunchy comedy to heat things up during this cold weather take note: “That Awkward Moment”, starring Zac Efron, opened in theaters this weekend.  In a world endless chick-flicks,That Awkard Moments” offers a refreshing change of pace.  The film follows the friendships of three single guys living the the Big Apple.  After Mike ( Michael B. Jordan) discovers his wife is no longer in love with him, his friends Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) vow to stay single and enjoy life together.  But, as they say, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.

The first part of the films is what one would expect to see if “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and some of the jokes from “The 40 Year Old Virgin” had a drunken one night stand and birthed a baby several years later.  In other words, it’s got some enjoyable, genuinely funny moments.  That would have been enough had it sustained that momentum through the entire film.  The latter half of the movie took a more serious, less funny approach which is, perhaps, where the movie got its title.  It certainly was “awkward”.  The main issue with this movie isn’t that the third act tried too hard to wrap things up, but rather that it felt like there were two movies.  You’ll laugh, you may cry (assuming you cry at mildly emotional moments during movie), and you’ll undoubtedly leave the moving things, “well, that really is awkward”.

Overall, on The It’s An Ordinary Blog scale of one to ten where one is the worst, five is the best and ten is the worst again, I give “That Awkward Moment” a 8.73628 with an emoticon based sub ranking of “hmm…well, okay then.”

iFamilyKC staffer Holli Ann also writes a lifestyle and parenting blog. You can connect with Holli through the It’s An Ordinary Blog Facebook page, through Twitter, or by email at Holli@iFamilyKC.com.