Tag Archives: Family Movies

Finding Dory Movie Review

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Film Review

In 2002, director Joel Zwick and writer Nia Vardalos taught the world just how loud and large a Greek wedding can be with their hit movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It remains the highest grossing romantic comedy of all-time, even though it never reached the number one spot at the box office. The film has earned over 368 million dollars worldwide, on the small budget of only five million dollars. With that type of success, nobody was surprised when My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2  was announced, even if it was 14 years later.

Nia Vardalos and John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Nia Vardalos and John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 continues the story of Toula Portokalos (Vardalos) and her huge, sometimes very needy Greek family. Only this time, she’s trying to balance multiple parts of her life, including, dealing with her daughter who wants to go to college out of state and the lack of romance with her husband. But that’s not all, the entire Portokalos now have to ban together to arrange a wedding when they learn Toula’s parents, Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan), were never officially married.

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Jacob Tiranno Accepts the 365 Day Movie Challenge

Happy New Years Everyone!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday and had a great time ringing in the new year. Like most of you, I compiled a list of resolutions for the year of 2016. But, when I was writing that list that we all know too well, I thought for this year I needed a real challenge. Something to test my will power and my never give up attitude. But instead of choosing something silly, I decided to take on the 365 Day Movie Challenge.

Jacob Tiranno accepts 365 Day Movie Challenge

Jacob Tiranno

Now for those who are unfamiliar with this 365 Day Movie Challenge, I am committing to watching one film a day, that I’ve never seen before. To some of you, this doesn’t sound very challenging. To you, nay I say. This is probably one of the hardest things to do. The 365 Day Movie Challenge will be a part of my life for one whole year. Every day my life for the next year will be revolving around the question of when can I sit down and watch a movie before the day ends. That not only intrigued me, it genuinely excited me.

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The Good Dinosaur Movie Review

Earlier this year, I watched Disney and Pixar’s film Inside Out. “[It] is one of the best movies of 2015 and one of greatest animated films ever made. It brought me joy, sadness, and fear, making it the emotional roller-coaster of a lifetime,” I wrote. The film struck me very strongly and in the back of my head I doubted that Pixar would ever be able to top it. That is until I sat down with a directing animator on The Good Dinosaur, named Rob Thompson. I landed the interview because Thompson visited the University of Nevada Las Vegas and gave a behind the scenes presentation of the movie. It was there that I got a sneak peek of the latest animated film, and for a second, I wondered, “Could this movie be better than Inside Out?”

Arlo & Spot in The Good Dinosaur

Arlo & Spot in The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur asks the great question, what if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs missed Earth? But more specifically, it follows the story of a young Apatosaurus named Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), who is accidentally separated from his family. In order to make it home, Arlo goes on an epic journey, meeting an unlikely, human friend named Spot (Jack Bright), along the way. The movie was originally supposed to be directed by Bob Peterson, but in October of 2014, Pete Sohn took control of the film. Sohn had been working with Peterson on the movie since 2009 until Peterson was removed from the project in 2013. The cast and story were nearly changed in its entirety. During my interview with Thompson, he was sure to mention it the huge change of story and how it was reimagined, “When that happened, the whole movie changed.”

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The Peanuts Movie Review

Peanuts was a syndicated comic strip, which debuted in October 1950, and was written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. This influential and incredibly popular comic strip ran for fifty years, totaling in over 17,000 strips published, and it continues to be a major icon in pop culture. Peanuts was read and seen in 75 countries and reprints appear in almost every U.S. newspaper today. The lovable characters from the strip eventually leaped off the page and appeared in several successful TV specials, such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and even theatrical films. Similar to the comic strip, these critically acclaimed specials still air during the holidays. Now, for the first time in 35 years the Peanuts gang return to the big screen for the new film—The Peanuts Movie.

Sally Brown, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy in The Peanuts Movie

Sally Brown, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy in The Peanuts Movie

 The Peanuts Movie tells the story of good man Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp), a nervous, unconfident, but gentle boy. But that must all change so he can impress his new neighbor and crush, The Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi). At the same time, Snoopy (archival recordings of Bill Melendez), one of the world’s favorite dogs, takes to the sky to chase his arch-nemesis The Red Baron.

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Goosebumps Movie Review

Like most people my age, I can specifically remember staying up late and hanging on to every word of an R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book. The Haunted Mask, Welcome to the Dead House, A Night in Terror Tower, One Day at HorrorLand, I read them all. The original Goosebumps series was a collection of sixty-two children books published from 1992 and 1997. They were the best things at those book fairs we had to go to during class in Elementary school.

Jack Black voices Slappy the Dummy in Goosebumps

Jack Black voices Slappy the Dummy in Goosebumps

Stine would be my gateway to horror-fiction, I had seen plenty of scary movies by that age, but I’d never read a horror story. Needless to say, I was hooked. Then came the television show, which I also enjoyed as a kid. But time came between me and the Goosebumps novellas. But years later, I would watch the trailer of a new movie, directed by Rob Letterman, that would bring all great memories back.

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Pan Movie Review & Film Summary

Pan is the new Peter Pan telling from director Joe Wright. It’s a prequel, which tells the story of a twelve-year orphan, Peter (Levi Miller), who is kidnaped by a group of pirates and taken to Neverland. It is there he discovers that he has a destiny bigger than he could have ever imagined—to become the hero, that never grows up.

Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller in Pan

Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller in Pan

Now, let’s cut to the chase! Pan was a complete disaster. I’ve been a fan of the J.M. Barrie character and story since childhood, and this by far, is the worst version I’ve ever seen.

So, after I looked over my notes as I walked out of the theater, I realized there was no possible way I could create a concise review with the written information. So, as a fun, little exercise and a nod to a hero, Mr. Roger Ebert, I’ve decided just to share these very notes with you. Enjoy!

The following are notes that I took during the screening of Pan. Some of these may contain minor spoilers.

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A Walk in the Woods Movie Review

A Walk in the Woods is simple. It is easy, not hard on the mind or heart. It is, in the simplest form, a movie about friendship. Now, the movie never tries to be a cinematic breakthrough or a groundbreaking story. Or if it did, it failed miserably. But looking at it as a near-ninety-minute picture, about two older men talking about life, death, and memories, it is likable on that level. I can’t help but admit that I somewhat enjoyed my time with these characters.

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk in the Woods

Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in A Walk in the Woods

The movie was directed by Ken Kwapis, who has brought us films such as He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005). It follows Bill Bryson (Robert Redford), the writer of the 1998 book the film is based on, and his journey hiking the Appalachian Trail with his friend Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte). The book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, was the real-life account of Bryson’s hike. Though, it also discusses the history of the trail and gives detail to the trees, animals, and ecology.

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Ricki and the Flash Relatively Rocks

Ricki and the Flash was a pleasant picture. It didn’t offer ground-breaking emotion or an unpredictable story, but it was enjoyable. I sat and smiled during the near hour and forty-minute picture. However, that is my usual reaction when I see the one and only Meryl Streep on screen. I also laughed and at times almost cried, which is unusual because I’m a sap. It did have its share of issues, but overall I was happy when I left the theater that night.

Mamie Gummer & Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash

Mamie Gummer & Meryl Streep in Ricki and the Flash

The first act of the film does struggle. It seemed that award-winner director Jonathan Demme and award-winning writer Diablo Cody struggled to find the correct tone. Sometimes it strives for comedy, but some of the jokes don’t land or possibly weren’t meant to be funny in the first place. This makes Ricki and the Flash feel awkward and it never really shakes that feeling until the movie’s resolution.

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Minions Mostly Miss Their Mark

Five years ago, Gru, an evil villain appeared on the big screen in the animated film Despicable Me. Steve Carell did a great job voicing the character, but the main character wasn’t the best part of the movie. His sidekicks were, the minions! These little yellow, pill-shaped creatures stole the show. Their presence grew in the sequel, Despicable Me 2, which came out two years ago. T-shirts, toys, plush dolls, and cups, minions were everywhere, which meant only one thing. It is time for their own movie, directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin—Minions.

Bob, Kevin, and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) in Minions

Bob, Kevin, and Stuart (all voiced by Pierre Coffin) in Minions

Minions tells the story of Kevin, Stuart, and Bob (all voiced by Coffin) who leave their tribe to find their new master, the evilest being they can find.

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