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This Weekend at the Box Office: Beauty and the Beast

Happy Sunday, Kansas City! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Disney’s newest live action film Beauty and the Beast is now out in theaters. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Darcy, got a peek at the film and has a great review of what to expect. Take a look!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Beauty and the Beast

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Beauty and the Beast

 

You all know how excited I was to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie. My kids and I had planned an entire day, we had our manicures done, our outfits picked out and then my kids decided they did not want to see the movie. “It’s going to be too scary,” they told me. We had watched every preview, many of which showed the beast growling, or falling, and wolf attacks and torch toting villagers. My kids didn’t bat an eye. However, as more adults asked them if they’d be afraid, they decided they probably would be and bowed out. I was disappointed, but ultimately it ended up being for the best.

I ended up enlisting a couple friends and we went to see the new Disney movie Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson. First thing to note: there were some pretty intense scenes. Many parents shuffled little ones out during a particularly scary scene involving wolves and I thought to myself, that would have been me leaving with my four-year-old. Later in the movie, there is another dark scene (I don’t want to give anything away), and I know my six-year-old would be wanting to leave as well. So, this new version of Beauty and the Beast- it is definitely for adults and older kids. It is rated PG, and I’m thinking it’s probably best for kids age 10 and up.

Now on to the fun stuff! Beauty and the Beast fans will NOT be disappointed. It has everything you loved about the old cartoon version and MORE. All your favorite songs are in the movie- plus a couple more. The characters are all included and endearing, but are given more backstory and portrayed a bit deeper. Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) I think were particularly entertaining. They balanced each other nicely and did an incredible job portraying some of the films silliest characters. The story follows true to the original movie, but again, you get more. I enjoyed that, but I also thought at times they put in things that were unnecessary.

One thing I liked about the film, although one of my friend’s disagreed, was this version of Belle. She’s the only literate female in her village. She wants to teach children to read, she invents things, she’s clever and independent and truly the hero of the movie. Belle does not wait around for Gaston, her dad, the Beast, or anyone to help. In fact, she often feels that it’s her job to rescue everyone else. Whereas in the cartoon movie Belle swaps positions as prisoner with her dad because he’s sick, in this movie she does it because she’s sure she can escape. I liked Emma Watson’s Belle, not only because I love to see strong female characters, but because it added a connection between her and the Beast. They both are very lonely outsiders. People don’t understand them, nor do they try to.

The screening of this movie was 3D, and I want to go see the film without 3D. It practically ruined it for me. I don’t know if it was the theater, but even with the glasses, a lot of the movie was dark (in terms of brightness) and blurry. Some moments with the 3D were neat, but most of the time I was frustrated that I couldn’t take in all of the scenery because it was blurry. It was incredibly distracting. That being said- when I could see the backgrounds, they were gorgeous. The castle was amazing and it’s unreal some of the effects. (Cogsworth gets a stunning makeover).

I guess I’d give this movie 3 out of 5 stars. Although it is incredible, it was overly ambitious and fell short for me. I’d rather have a movie I could’ve taken my kids to. There were some technical issues (the 3D, Belle not looking in the proper spot during scenes), but it did have enough magic to help me remember why I loved the old cartoon movie as a kid so much.

 

From iFamily to Yours,


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,

iFamMomSqdDarcyv2

 

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A Kansas City Favorite: The American Royal BBQ

Happy Friday, Kansas City! I don’t know about you all, but Kansas City BBQ is a downfall of mine, and I’m convinced, no one does it like Kansas City does. Today, we are lucky enough to have a guest Dad (married to our fantastic Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky) talk about the American Royal BBQ event that happened this past weekend. Get ready to salivate and check it out!

A Kansas City Favorite: The American Royal BBQ

 

 

I have often declared the American Royal BBQ as one of Kansas City’s best annual events. This year was the first time our three kids would attend, and I was excited for them, and excited for myself. While working to build anticipation for the family’s arrival at the American Royal BBQ, I asked our three kids ‘what is the American Royal BBQ event all about?’ to which one of them readily replied, “Celebrating bar-b-que. And, celebrating the Royals.” Close enough; thanks, Captain. And with this answer in the air, we exited the car and began a long walk to the infield of the Kansas Speedway, where thousands of people were converging on hundreds of BBQ serving tents.

 

A Kansas City Favorite: The American Royal BBQ

 

The American Royal is a series of horse shows, livestock events, and rodeos that extend for eight weeks, with the international BBQ being one of the final festivities. This past weekend was the 37th annual BBQ event, featuring live music, a petting zoo (and other kid-oriented activities), parties and numerous grilling, smoking, and saucing competitions—the most coveted award being the Grand Champion. My involvement, as usual, was limited to the Friday-night International BBQ.

 

 

A Kansas City Favorite: The American Royal BBQ

 

I have great memories of the American Royal BBQ. Specifically, the Friday night event. Until you’ve attended, it is hard to fathom a BBQ pop-up village featuring blocks upon blocks of BBQ parties. It reminds me of the feeling of being surrounded by high rises in NYC, and after walking for blocks (miles?) in one direction, you look up only to find oneself still surrounded by high rises and skyscrapers. Only this is Kansas City. Instead of a contiguous sea of tall buildings, it’s an endless world of smokers, parties, RVs, circus tents, pop-up bars, and more smokers. You can stroll through the rows of BBQ tents, and thirty minutes later still find yourself passing areas you have yet to see. It’s a carnivore’s paradise.

 

A Kansas City Favorite: The American Royal BBQ

 

The massive party atmosphere is quite inviting. The food tastes great, the drink feels good, and the music keeps the adrenaline strong. Everyone seems driven by the same objective, which is to indulge in a good time. Early in the evening, the mood is a bit subdued and protective as each tent is host to a private group of friends, family, coworkers or clients. But as the night progresses, the gatherings become less private, the tent gates open, and party goers pour into the walkways and common areas. A good vibe takes over as inhibitions subside. It becomes a giant block party, or perhaps better stated, a giant party that extends for blocks. Quite entertaining.

 

With kids in tow, my night ended earlier than I would have preferred, so if there was an impromtu marching band of revel rousers blowing their horns and beating real and make-shift instruments, as I’ve seen in the past, then I would have missed one of the great highlights. But, this gives me something to look forward to in the future. So here’s to good food, good drink and an all-around good time. Go Royals!…right Captain?

 

From iFamily to Yours,

Regan Ervin

 


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 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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This Weekend at the Box Office: The Suicide Squad

Howdy, Kansas City! My family and I are huge DC Comics fans, and we have been not-so-patiently waiting for the world of the Suicide Squad to be up on screen. For those unfamiliar, the Suicide Squad are the “bad guys” of the DC Universe – Joker, Harley Quinn, and more. However, this film asks the bad guys to do some good, and our own Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin has a great review of it below. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Suicide Squad

Release Date: Friday August 5th, 2016

Run Time: 130 minutes

 Rating: PG-13

Director: David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Cara Delevingne

 

Suicide Squad is the latest DC Comics movie in which superhuman villains are recruited by a secret government agency to help them with a seemingly deadly mission. It stars Will Smith as Deadshot, a hitman that has a softer side as a dad of a young daughter and Jared Leto as the latest Joker. Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn, the funny and quirky love interest of the Joker, who met and fell in love with him while working as his psychiatrist in the asylum. Viola Davis plays the head of the government agency working with Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and the team of villains they have put together know as the Suicide Squad to defeat an entity from another world that is threatening the city.

 

This film is full of plenty of action, awesome special effects, and even a few funny lines. I’ll be honest, I’m not an avid comic book reader or follower. I enjoy the Batman and Superman movies, but beyond that I’m usually lost. From the beginning of this flick, I was hooked! It was so intriguing and caught my attention very well. The perfect blend of a well written storyline and a few big name stars.

 

I would recommend this movie for date night, or a night out with older children 10 years and up. I personally think it might be a little too violent and scary for children younger than 10 but use your own discretion. The guys will definitely love this one and the girls will probably enjoy it as much as I did. On a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best, I give Suicide Squad a solid 8. I gave it an 8 because I thought it ran a tad bit longer than it should. However, it definitely kept my attention for the entire length of the film, 2 hours and 10 minutes. Check out Deadshot, Harley Quinn and the rest of the Suicide Squad this Friday, August 5th at a theater near you!

From iFamily to Yours,
ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

 


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This Weekend at the Box Office: Jason Bourne

I don’t know about all of you, but I am an absolute sucker for summer action blockbusters. Now, Matt Damon is reprising his role as Jason Bourne (from the Bourne franchise) in the movie by the same name. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky was able to get a sneak peek and gives us the run down. Check it out!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Jason Bourne

 

This Weekend at the Box Office: Jason Bourne

Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 123 min
Release date: July 29, 2016 (USA)
Director: Paul Greengrass

 

When I was invited to preview the new Jason Bourne movie I knew had to take the future Mrs. Jason Bourne with me (my Bourne-obsessed sister, Mandy). Yes, I’m a great sister, but I selfishly wanted her on hand to remind me about the storylines of the previous Bourne movies. Believe it or not, the last Matt-Damon Bourne movie was released 9 years ago, so I was definitely fuzzy on details.

 

But … instead of me doing my homework and quizzing her before the movie, we spent our time chatting about everything BUT the series, so I went in basically cold. The good news? It didn’t matter. This movie, while still tied to the others, stands on its own. There is no need to do your homework, you’ll be caught up in the first ten minutes. Although, binge watching the Bourne trilogy doesn’t sound exactly terrible either.

 

Anyway, here’s my scoop on the new one:

 

Jason Bourne is back. Not that imposter Aaron Cross (aka Jeremy Renner), the real-deal, beautiful Matt Damon version. This time he’s living off the grid and trying to survive by keeping a low profile and hiding from the CIA. His old colleague Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) tracks him down and shares files that prove the new head of the CIA (Tommy Lee Jones) has a sinister plan in motion to further corrupt the agency from the inside out. This information is enough to pull Bourne out of his “retirement” and from there the movie immediately shifts into 5th gear and goes full throttle until the very end.

 

If you liked the original Bourne trilogy (by sister bond I’m not allowed to count that last, unnamed fourth one), you won’t be disappointed in this high-energy, fast-paced, stunt-packed new one.

 

In addition to intense (and I have got to imagine extremely expensive) chase scenes via Greek alleyways, the Vegas strip and in a parking garage (that’s a new one), the movie was filled with all kinds software and tracking gadgets that made the U.S. government look like the Jetsons on crack.

 

That said, the quote of the night goes to my sister: “If you think the government can do any of those things they were doing in the movie, just remember they couldn’t even figure out how to hack a 4-digit iPhone passcode.”

 

There’s a rumor going around that Matt Damon made one million dollars for every line in this movie. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t have very many. But I say he was worth every penny. Every summer has its blockbuster and this one is it. I recommend catching the action on the big screen.

 

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

From iFamily to Yours,

BECKY_iFamilyKC_Mom_Squad


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This Weekend at the Box Office: Ice Age : Collision Course

Our favorite prehistoric friends are back at it in Ice Age: Collision Course. The highly successful franchise just released their newest film, and one of our Mom Squad Ambassadors, Erin took her kiddos to check it out, and gives a review of what to expect. Take a look!

This Weekend at the Box Office: Ice Age: Collision Course

This Weekend at the Box Office – Ice Age: Collision Course

Release Date: July 22nd, 2016

Run Time: 100 minutes

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

Director: Mike Thurmeier and Galen T. Chu

Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo

 

Ice Age: Collision Course is the fifth installment of the highly successful Ice Age series of movies. Manny, Diego and Sid are at it again in this cute children’s flick. This time they are trying to save the world from a giant meteorite that could destroy the planet. There are several side stories in the movie, including Manny’s daughter and his future son-in-law. Of course we can’t forget Scrat, that crazy squirrel who’s always trying to protect his acorn.

I thought the movie had some good laughs, keeping my children entertained for most of the movie. It was the first time my 18 month old had been to a 3D movie, and it actually kept his attention for about an hour (the movie is only an 1 hour and 40 minutes so I think that was great!) My daughter laughed and had a good time until she rubbed popcorn salt in her eye. Luckily that was toward the end! I think the movie would be a great one to rent and have a movie night in the comfort of your own home. I give it 7 out of 10, 10 being the best. I think the Ice Age series has probably run it’s course with Collision Course.

From iFamily to Yours,
ErinB_iFamilyKC_MomSquad

 


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