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This Weekend at the Box Office: The Space Between Us

February 3, 2017 at 9:27 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: The Space Between Us

Happy Friday, Kansas City! If you have some teens in your household (or like teen movies yourself), The Space Between Us, might be right up your alley to check out this weekend. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, had a chance at a sneak peek and shares her thoughts with us below. Check it out…

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Space Between Us // iFamilyKC Blog

Release Date: 3 February 2017

Run Time: 120 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Chelsom

Cast: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino

 

This weekend, The Space Between Us hits theaters. It is a charming story about a boy (Gardner) raised on the planet Mars, who desperately wants to go to Earth. Due to brittle bones and an enlarged heart, scientists are not sure that he would survive Earth’s gravity. Gardner’s mother dies shortly after giving birth to him and so he has been raised by scientists and is desperate to have a real connection with other people. That is where Tulsa comes in; a foster kid Gardner meets online and develops a relationship with. It stars Asa Butterfield (from Hugo and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) and Britt Robertson (from Tomorrowland and Mother’s Day). Both give good performances, although their characters (especially Robertson’s) do not get all the development they deserve.

Eventually, Gardner makes it to Earth, and to little surprise, sneaks off to find Tulsa. The two of them take off on an adventure and he gets to see some of the most stunning countryside the United States can offer. Perhaps being the mother of young children, I harbored a bit of disbelief that a boy whose body is having difficulties adapting to Earth could do some of the things he did. They must have been giving him a heck of a lot of immunizations on that 7-month trip through space. As he goes through the film, Gardner asks everyone what their favorite thing about Earth is. It’s a charming reminder that often the simplest things are the most meaningful. Eventually his health begins deteriorating and it is clear his time on Earth is coming to an end.

Based on the trailers, I thought this movie was only a teenage romance film, but the story hints at bigger themes with space exploration and the importance of family. And although I didn’t dislike The Space Between Us, I don’t feel like the film reached its full potential. It was directed by Peter Chelsom whose previous movies included Serendipity and Hanna Montana: The Movie. The storyline jumped around at times and it had quite a few plot holes and clichés. If you aren’t looking for anything too serious though, it was still an enjoyable movie. And if your teens are looking for a movie to check out for Valentine’s Day weekend, this may a contender, but I doubt it will get much hype. I think this is a better movie to rent at home. Despite one teen romantic interlude, the film is pretty family friendly (it is rated PG-13). I give The Space Between Us a 3 out of 5.

 

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,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

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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,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2


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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,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

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This Weekend at the Box Office: Operation Avalanche

October 3, 2016 at 1:47 PM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Operation Avalanche

Hello, Kansas City! Fall is a great time to get out to the movies, especially for the lesser-known, independent films. Operation Avalanche entered theaters September 16th and is playing in select locations. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, got a chance to check out the film and gives us a run down of what to expect. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Operation Avalanche

This Weekend at the Box Office: Operation Avalanche

Release Date: 16 September 2016

Run Time: 94 minutes

MPAA Rating: R (for language including a brief sexual reference)

Director: Matt Johnson

Cast: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams, Josh Boles

 

Operation Avalanche star Matt Johnson and Owen Williams, who play CIA agents that go undercover at NASA to try to find a Russian mole within the organization. In this found-footage documentary style movie, which by the way is not based on a true story, the agents discover that NASA cannot make it to the moon by the 1969 deadline. They decide to create “Operation Avalanche” and to film a fake moon landing and release it as the real thing.

 

I thought this film was just ok. I didn’t feel a real connection to any of the characters so when certain events played out (which I won’t give away) I didn’t care too much. Several people watching it actually walked out of the theater about 30-45 minutes in to the film. I’m not sure why, as this film was definitely known as a” conspiracy thriller.” It kept my interest enough in it’s 94 minutes, which I thought was the perfect length. Any longer and I may have checked out early. I love a good conspiracy theory movie and to me this could have been way better than it was.

 

I give this movie a 6 out of 10, with 10 being the best. I don’t recommend this movie for anyone under age 16 because I simply don’t think kids will be interested in the subject matter. Operation Avalanche had it’s moments of excitement and thrill and if you are interested in conspiracies and historical events I would definitely check it out. Otherwise, you probably aren’t missing much.

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdErinV2

 


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This Weekend at the Box Office: Masterminds

October 1, 2016 at 2:00 PM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Masterminds

Happy Saturday, Kansas City! The newest comedy to hit theaters is Masterminds, starring Zach Galifinakis, Kristen Wiig, and an all-star comedic cast. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, had a chance to check out a sneak peek, and gives us a few thoughts on the film. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Masterminds

 

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Masterminds

Release Date: September 30, 2016
Run time: 94 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Jared Hess
Cast: Kate McKinnon, Zach Galifinakis, Kristen Wiig

 

 

 

Masterminds is a comedy based on a real-life bank heist. Zach Galifianakis plays a kind, unsuspecting guard who gets talked into stealing millions of dollars by the woman he is in love with (Kristen Wiig). He is just a pawn to “Geppetto” (Owen Wilson) who takes all the money and leaves Galifianakis on the lam in Mexico with no help. Jason Sudeikis is also in the film, playing a sadistic hit man. Out of all the performances, only Wiig seems to bring any real emotion to her character.

 

The movie works on paper. It has a ‘dumb criminals’ angle, an awkward family photos moment, and some huge comedic talent. However, the movie never seems to get off the ground. I chuckled throughout the film, but never got a good laugh out it. The funniest part of the movie is the blooper reel at the end. Be sure to watch that! Jared Hess, who also directed Napoleon Dynamite, directs the film. In that same vein, not all comedies have to be laugh-out-loud to work, but this one misses the mark. It doesn’t play to the strengths of the cast, which I think could have made this a better comedy.

 

I wouldn’t run to the theaters to see Masterminds. It’s worth a watch, but there’s a lot of competition at the movie theater right now, and there are better films to spend the money on.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2


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This Weekend at the Box Office: Bridget Jones’s Baby

September 16, 2016 at 6:00 PM • Posted in Mom Fun, MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Bridget Jones’s Baby

Looking for a movie to check out with the girls? You’re in luck because Bridget Jones is back at it with Bridget Jones’s Baby. It opens today (September 16th), and brings back some old loves, as well as some new eye candy. Our Mom Squad Ambassador got to check out a sneak peek and gives us the low down. Take a look…

This Weekend at the Box Office: Bridget Jones's Baby

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Bridget Jones’s Baby

Release Date: September 16, 2016
Run Time: 2 hr 2 min
Rating: R
Director: Sharon Maguire
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey

 

Bridget Jones is back with her usual shenanigans. In the third installment of Bridget Jones, Bridget and Darcy are apart and have pretty much gotten back to where they were in the first film. All of Bridget’s old friends are married with children, which makes it even tougher on Bridget to be alone at 43. Luckily, she has found an outrageous new best friend whom encourages Bridget to, well, sleep around.

 

Bridget ends up pregnant and doesn’t know if it’s Darcy’s or an American billionaire named Jack’s. After seeing the needle for the amniocentesis, Bridget freaks and refuses to do a DNA test before the baby is born. This leaves both men competing for Bridget’s affection and a role in the baby’s (whom they both want to be theirs) life.

 

Bridget Jones movies are like Bridget herself. Unapologetically unrefined, good-natured, extreme, and humorous. Spectacular pieces of cinema they are not, and there are more twists and turns then could ever be remotely believable. But they are good natured and fun romantic comedies. If you liked the first Bridget Jones movies, you will enjoy this one. It gets a bit fantastical like the second film did- but not so much so.

 

I feel like this is a good movie to rent, I wouldn’t rush to see it in the theaters. Unless of course you’re absolutely in love with Mr. Darcy, like the woman seated next to me last night was. But then, you probably already have your ticket.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2


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This Weekend at the Box Office: The Wild Life

September 9, 2016 at 10:00 AM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: The Wild Life

Summer blockbuster season may be over, but there are still plenty of films to check out. This weekend, The Wild Life opens in theaters, and our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, gives us a run down of what to expect. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Wild Life

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Wild Life

Release Date:  September 9th, 2016

Run Time:  90 minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG (for mild action, peril and rude humor)

Directors:  Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen

Cast: Matthias Schweighöfer, Kaya Yanar, Ilka Bessin

 

I had a chance to check out this film last weekend so I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on it.  The Wild Life is the story of how Robinson Crusoe ended up stranded on a deserted island with several wild creatures.  The story is told from the point of view of a silly parrot who Crusoe names Tuesday.  It begins with Tuesday trying to find a way to prove there are other worlds out there besides just their little island.

I thought this movie was just okay to be honest.  I think small children will be entertained by the silly animals, and a few action scenes throughout the film’s 90 minutes.  Some animated movies have a little humor thrown in for the adults that goes right over children’s heads. This is not one of those movies.  I found it to be quite boring, but it did seem to entertain my 6 year old, for the most part.  When I find myself not really caring too much about the characters, that’s when I know it’s not that great of movie.  It reminded me of those knock off movies they put in the Redbox that look like the real movie but aren’t. I found myself wondering if the real movie was out there somewhere.

I think if I had a choice to see it in theaters, I would check it out during the cheaper matinee times. Or better yet, just wait until the Redbox/Netflix release.  I give it 4 stars out of 10, 10 being the best.  I think the length of the movie is perfect and it would be for children 7 and younger to check out.  Other than that, The Wild Life left me cold.

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdErinV2

 


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This Weekend at the Box Office: The Light Between Oceans

August 28, 2016 at 12:34 PM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: The Light Between Oceans

We’ve had our fair share of family-friendly movies to see this summer, but now it’s time for a grown-up flick. Our Mom Squad Ambassador got a chance at a sneak peek of The Light Between Oceans starring Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, and shares her thoughts below. Take a look!

 This Weekend at the Box Office: The Light Between Oceans

This Weekend at the Box Office: The Light Between Oceans


Release Date: 
August 19, 2016
Run Time: 132 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz

I belong to a group that has a monthly ‘book swap’. It’s like a book club, but instead of us all reading the same book and discussing it, we each bring a book that we have read and enjoyed to trade with others. We also recommend any titles or authors we like. For some time now, my good friend has been recommending The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. I have not gotten around to reading it, as I’ve been on a mystery kick, so when I was invited to preview the movie, I invited my TLBO book-loving friend to go with me. I figured this would be a good way to get two perspectives on the film. We all know that when a movie is based on a beloved book, expectations can be hard to meet.

 

My friend warned me to bring tissues, but somehow we both managed to forget. BIG mistake. (I’d recommend bringing some powder too if you get red-nosed while ugly-crying like I do.) Although the movie started out slow, a lot happens and you (and the characters) really run the gamut of emotions. The story follows an emotionally damaged man, Tom (Michael Fassbender), as he returns home from WWI to Australia, where he has taken a position manning a lighthouse on a very remote island. He falls in love and marries a young woman who is full of life, and they are very happy until they suffer heartbreaking loss. When a baby washes ashore, along with a dead man, the wife (played beautifully by Alicia Vikander) thinks her prayers have been answered with this baby and wants to keep it. Years later, they return to the mainland and find that their actions have had devastating effects on another woman.

 

I can see why the book was so popular. The story is truly gut-wrenching and makes you think about the situations these characters find themselves in. As a mother, you can sympathize with both women and understand how the love you have for your child can define so much of who you think you are. The cast (which also included Rachel Weisz) was spectacular. The sets and costumes were gorgeous. According to my friend, the movie not only did the book justice, but she felt Michael Fassbender did an exceptional job at rounding out his character, who in the book seemed to not have much depth at times.

 

This was a great film. I don’t think I’ve cried so much since The Notebook. Normally, sad movies don’t appeal to me, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I could watch Michael Fassbender brush his teeth. But I enjoyed the film, and I can’t stop thinking about it today. I definitely recommend The Light Between Oceans.

 

From iFamily to Yours,
DarcyiFamSiggy

 


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This Weekend at the Box Office: Pete’s Dragon

August 16, 2016 at 4:00 PM • Posted in MoviesComments Off on This Weekend at the Box Office: Pete’s Dragon

Most of the Kansas City metro is returning to school this week, but there is still the weekend to take up a movie with the family. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin had a chance to see it with her family and shares her experiences below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Pete's Dragon

This Weekend at the Box Office: Pete’s Dragon

Release Date: August 12th, 2016

Run Time: 103 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG (for action, peril and brief language)

Director: David Lowery

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban and Robert Redford

 

Bring your tissues to Pete’s Dragon folks! It’s tear jerker for sure! Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford and Oakes Fegley, this film is a wonderfully heartfelt story of a lost boy, Pete, who meets a dragon, Elliott, when he wanders in to the woods after his parents die in a car crash while trying to dodge a deer in the road. Pete and Elliott develop an instant connection and have many adventures together. Bryce Dallas Howard plays a park ranger, who discovers the boy and figures out he has been in the forest for 6 years. I was blown away with the gorgeous New Zealand scenery in the film.

 

Without giving too much away, Pete’s Dragon was fantastical, sweet, and beautifully told. I think I enjoyed it more than my 6 year old. She was interested in it toward the beginning and middle but she said it was “boring” overall. But then again, I tried showing her one of my childhood favorites, “The Land Before Time” on Netflix and she was bored with that too. I vaguely remember the animated movie of Pete’s Dragon (1977), but perhaps she would like that better.

 

I give this movie a 7 out of 10, 10 being the best. I would have probably given it an 8 if it was completely up to me but since it is a family movie, I tried to base the score on my child’s reaction to it as well as my own. I would definitely recommend checking it out with your family. It would be a great way to kick off the school year and say so long to summer!

From iFamily to Yours,

ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

 


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