Mother’s Movie Tuesday-Beast Edition!

Again, I stand sorrowful before you readers.

I really have no excuse this time. It’s been over a week, and there’s honestly no apologizing for it, except to promise to try my hardest not to abandon you again. 😒

Today’s movie is one I’ve been wanting to see since it was announced early last year:


Oh yes. You knew this one was coming. ❀

Synopsis(as if we needed oneπŸ˜‚):

Disney’s animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

-Submitted by Anonymous, IMDb.com

Review:

Oh, my land.

Look, I knew it was going to be good. I went in with high expectations. But still, wow.

Let’s have a bit of backstory here. Beauty and the Beast has long been my favorite princess movie, and one of my top five favorite movies of all time. I watch it at least once a month(in fact, I may watch it tonight). I consider Alan Menken and Howard Ashman(lyricist and composer for the original movie) to be one of the two top songwriting duos of all time, and Ashman was taken from us entirely too soon. 😒

So, you can see I’m a bit biased about this movie. It absolutely encompasses everything I love about Disney movies. So the new live action had some big shoes to fill for me.

And boy, did it ever deliver.

It was everything I wanted it to be and more. It filled in plot holes in the original (why did no one remember there was a Prince less than a mile from their village?), it brought beautiful new songs into the repertoire of classics in the BatB soundtrack, and didn’t you just love Emma Thompson’s beautiful rendition of the titular song? Epic. Simply epic.

I have nitpicks, of course, but they are minor compared to the majestic beauty of this film. For instance, why did they change lyrics in Gaston’s songs? Both of his major songs had significant changes to their lyrics from the original, and it didn’t seem to serve any purpose to the narrative as a whole. It didn’t really take away from the movie for me, except when I tried to sing along. πŸ˜‚

Overall, this movie is so amazing and worth the watch. I wouldn’t take young children to it in theaters, though, as it’s a bit darker than the original, and therefore is a bit scarier.

Now to sit and wait until it comes out on a Blu-Ray, so I can watch it over and over again. ❀

Final Grade:

Violence: A

Language: A

Innuendo: A+

PS: As to the “controversy” surrounding the gay element that’s been making headlines, there was nothing to it. There’s one second of screen time for a guy who’s been dressed as a woman by the wardrobe, who looks like he likes it. There’s a bit where LeFou gets a little close for comfort to Gaston, but it’s swiftly stopped. Other than that, there seemed to be a bit of an undertone of tension between LeFou and Gaston, but I’m convinced I only saw that because I was on the lookout for it. I will be letting my kids watch it when it comes out on BluRay(Lil’ Bit’s too young to sit in a theater for that long), and I’ll have no qualms about letting them watch it.

World Poetry Day β€

Welcome to Writer’s Wednesday!

In honor of World Poetry Day, instead of sharing some of my own writing today, I thought I could share a few of my favorite recordings of famous poems. Enjoy!


How wonderful is that voice? ❀

And this one. Oh my…❀

This is my absolute favorite poem, of all time. And to hear its author read it? It’s amazing.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Let me know your favorite poem in the comments! 

Mother’s Movie Tuesday-Animal Edition!

Good Monday, blogosphere!

This Movie Monday, Ive got one that I’ve been wanting to see since it was announced:


Synopsis:

“Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Buster Moon, a dapper koala, presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal-some, might even say delusional-optimist, who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.”

-Submitted by Anonymous, IMDb.com

Review:

The verdict? A resounding…


Let me explain.

This is a perfectly okay movie. There are a few standout performances, like Tori Kelly (who is absolutely ASTOUNDING) and Taron Egerton (he is fast becoming one of my favorite actors of ALL TIME), but it’s suffering from a timing problem.

As you can see from my past few reviews, the docket for kids’ movies lately is absolutely wonderful. I mean, Moana, Lego Batman, even Trolls-there are so many excellent movies for families that have graced the big screen in the past six-eight months. And this one just doesn’t quite live up to the quality.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed it, and both Princess and Lil’ Bit have asked to watch it again more than once. The singing bits were quite good, but the moments in between (which make up about 75-80% of the movie) just did not capture me in the way I think they were supposed to. There were just too many storylines, too many storylines that needed more development to be truly interesting.

If they had had the time to truly develop the kind of complex characters audiences have become accustomed to seeing in movies like this, especially in the last year, then it would have been different. But the sheer number of characters and storylines present in this movie meant they all had to be trimmed down to the bare bones of stereotypicality, which makes it predictable and a little bit boring.

In short(πŸ˜‚), it’s an okay movie to rent with your kids, when you just want to not watch the same movie over and over, but not one to spend a lot of money to own.

Final Grade:

Language: A

Violence: A- (some shots of bank robbery and jail)

Innuendo: B+ (quite a few butt jokes of varying types, a cheating porcupine)

Nerdy Thursday: Doctor Who Edition!

Finally, getting around to my favorite feature: Nerdy Thursday!

I know I’m super late to this party, but as we all know our beloved Peter Capaldi will be leaving us after the coming season.


But fear not! Because with every Doctor’s departure, we have the pleasure of speculating on the new actor who will fill the amazingly difficult Doctor’s shoes.

I have only been a Doctor Who fan for about five years now, and so I’ve only had one regeneration to wait and speculate about-Matt’s to Peter’s. This will be my second regeneration, and I feel even more lost after this one. I feel like Peter hasn’t been with us long enough, nor has he had a truly great season the way David and Matt did. Maybe season 10 will be that for Peter: Pearl Mackenzie gives me hope for an excellent season this year.

But I digress. Now we must get down to business: who should be the next Doctor?

Note: These are purely my opinion, not based on any rumors or speculation other than my own.

Pick #1: Haley Atwell


Now, just hear me out.

I am no feminazi, insisting that a female be inserted in every show or story on the air today. I am not on the team that thinks the Doctor must be female, nor do I think the Doctor should be anything but male.

But if there was any female who could do it, it is absolutely Haley Atwell.

She’s smart, poised, classy, and feisty. She’s everything that a female Doctor would need to be, and she’s gorgeous to boot. If we must have a female, she would have to be it.

Pick #2: Jesse Spencer


I’ve been saying this for years.

He’s absolutely perfect! Poised, classy, and he has amazing eyes that can look old enough to be the Doctor. Also, he’s Australian, which would bring an interesting change to the Doctor’s character. However, with his current stint on Chicago Fire, we may not get this amazing pairing.

But one can always hope. πŸ™‚

Pick #3: Richard Madden


 I mean, look at those eyes.

With him being as well known as he is on both sides of the pond, I’m afraid this won’t happen, and it probably won’t. But I think he would be such a wonderful choice.

He’s proven himself in a difficult role, especially in Game of Thrones. He also shows an ability to bring levity to any character, even fleetingly. Although, I think he might be too young to follow Capaldi, he would still look great in the part. ❀

Pick #4: Bill Nighy


And now for the other end of the spectrum. πŸ˜‚

But seriously though, how amazing would he be? He has everything that we’ve loved about the original Doctors, but also has the brevity to play a Time War-scarred Doctor. It’s almost as if the character of the Doctor was created for Bill Nighy. I know it won’t happen-he’s way too high-profile- but wishful thinking, right?

Pick #5: Eddie Redmayne


And now we come to my favorite.

I’ve been a fan of Redmayne since I saw him in Les Miserables, and now I’m firmly on the Redmayne train after his superb performance in Fantastic Beasts. With his ability to play both comedic and dramatic roles with apparent ease, he would be such an excellent choice to play the madman in the box. With his commitments to the Wizarding World, he may not be able to free up his schedule enough to fly in the TARDIS…

But wouldn’t it be amazing if he did? ❀
Those are my picks for the new Doctor. If I left anyone out, let me know in the comments!

Writer’s Wednesday: Poetry Edition!

I’m so sorry, readers.Β 

I really have no excuse for my week-long absence, except that sickness has been rampant in my house this past week. But I’m back now, and with two poems for you for Writer’s Wednesday.

I’m really proud of these two poems, and I’d love to hear your take on it. Thank you for sticking with me. ❀

Shame and Glory

I stand before the crowd today
The way I always do.
My clothes stripped off, my life lain bare
Because the day is through.

I’ve come to this place again
You see me every night:
I come before You now this time
Please help me make this right.

The things I feel, the stuff I’ve done
Would make any sinner blush.
But now the shame with which I live
My soul it seems to crush.

The knife, it turns within me
Bringing blood out fresh.
I’m hurt and begging mercy
Forgive my sinful flesh.

You say it’s for Your glory
That we are saved by You
After we hit bottom
We ask You and You do.

So I ask again, please save me
From my evil past.
Forgive my sin and help me
So I’ll see You at last.

This one has no name, but I’ve always referred to it as The Dead of My Own Making.

Bring me the dead of your own making
The frost upon your brow
Foretells that youth is sadly taking
The final slumber now.

Gone far are the days of joyous song
Which men so greatly love
Come now the hours of unquiet slumber
And restless labor on.

Now hush! For silence reigns supreme
O’er this once happy home.
The candles leap o’er empty rooms
That bustling are no more.

Who owned this house? Ask ye may
And wherefore did they go?
The answer is quite simple, friends
And it is one you know.

The house is you, I must announce
And you are sealed up tight.
You’ve kept it up, from inside out
And now bring in the Light.

 

Mother Movie Tuesday-Disney Edition!

First off, WOW.

Seriously, everyone, thank you for the outpouring of love on my last post. It was difficult to make public, because I feared a backlash. I’m glad to have been wrong, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

Again, thank you all.

Today’s movie is one I’ve been wanting to do for quite a while now, but I never got a chance to see in theaters. However, this weekend it came out on Amazon, and I was finally able to watch it:


Moana!

I promise, one day I’ll be able to review movies that aren’t kids movies. Probably when my kids are grown, about ten or twelve years. πŸ€·πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Synopsis:

“Moana is a daughter of the chief of her tribe, Coming from a long line of navigators she sets off for a fabled island with her hero, the demigod Maui. Along the voyage they battle the treacherous ocean and all which it hides, all the while learning what the power the love between friends can accomplish.”

Submitted by Anonymous, IMDb.com

Review:

“I am not a princess!”

“If you wear a dress and have an animal sidekick, you’re a princess.”

It’s a great company that can poke holes in its own proven money-making formula. πŸ˜‚

A few weeks ago, I did a review for Trolls, basically calling out Disney for losing their magic with movies like Zootopia, and Dreamworks seeming to have found it.

Well, I can readily admit now that I spoke too soon. Moana is BRILLIANT.

Seriously, I haven’t seen a better movie since Frozen. It’s beautifully rendered, the music is absolutely fantastic, and the story is simple yet extremely effective and engrossing.

Everything about this movie was amazing and perfect. I could watch it for days. πŸ˜‚

I know this is not the greatest review in the world(let’s face it, I’m not the best critic of movies because I’m so easily impressed), but honestly, I don’t care. 

This movie is absolutely amazing.

And it got snubbed at the Oscars. 😑 So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the most beautiful moment from the Oscars: 

Final Grade:

Violence: A+

Language: A+

Innuendo: A+

One of “Those” Moms…

“Did you know she was missing her arm?”

Nearly three years later, and I still remember the exact phrase she said. I also remember every feeling I felt when I heard them.
Fear.
Panic.
Sadness.
Hysteria.
Shock.
And a gut-wrenching drop in my rapidly shrinking stomach that I have never been able to explain or name.

It was three years ago in May, when my second daughter was born, that I heard those eight words. I had not even seen my little girl yet, and my placenta was being delivered as she said them. It had been an easy delivery, much easier than with my first. I was induced, and labor was only six hours. It had been a perfect delivery, and then she said it.

My husband ran. Or, at least, that’s what I remember. My mind was a complete blur of hormonal panic and fear, and all I knew was that he was gone. I knew where he went: he went to see our baby. I wanted to see our baby too.
It would be a little while before I did. I don’t remember how long-like I said, I was awash in hormones and shock- but he came back soon, with my mother in tow, looking a little relieved.

“It’s okay,” they both told me. “She’s fine.”

That made me unclench, just a little. Being in the medical field, I knew he and my mother would know if there was something seriously wrong, or even slightly wrong. But I couldn’t stop worrying until I saw her. And she was perfect.

My daughter has amniotic band syndrome, a congenital birth defect where the fibrous bands of the amniotic sac detach and wrap around a part of the baby’s body, essentially cutting off the blood flow to that area. It can be as harmless as indents in the infant’s skin, or more serious, leading to appendages not growing at all or cutting off of blood supply to the newborn entirely.
My daughter’s right arm is affected, and she is missing her right forearm below the elbow and her right hand.

And she’s…fine.

Today, I received an invitation to a birth defect registry support group on Facebook, and as I was reading the stories of mothers and fathers who have lost children and live with difficulties I cannot even imagine every day, I wonder what I’m doing there.

I’ve never truly felt like a “special needs mom”. I’ve never dealt with the day-to-day life of a child who needs constant supervision or special diets. I cannot imagine the strength of those mothers, because I don’t fit with them. I’m not really one of them, and yet I am at the same time.

But, if I’m honest, I’ve never felt like a “normal” mom. Because every time I get a double take from a stranger, or an innocent question from a kid, I realize over again the difficulties she will face in her life.

I will never compare myself to special needs mothers, nor can I fathom the depth of their strength and courage. But, at the same time, I do have a child with different needs. Any two-year-old who has to be taught what to say to her friends about her “lucky fin” is different. But she really is, well, fine.

She climbed a rope ladder, on her own, at a year old. She hooked that little arm in those rope holes and got all the way up with no help. It astounds me every day the things she is able to do, things I would never have expected her to be able to do without some kind of help.
Crawling was difficult, but she did it, until the day she decided to stand up on her own and walk without any help.She had her first surgery at four months, and cried more from the hunger she felt when she woke up from anesthesia than from any pain.Her orthopedic doctor says she shouldn’t have to have any more surgeries unless problems arise as she grows.

So, she’s really fine. And that’s fantastic.

Because, you know what? It doesn’t matter if I don’t “fit in” with other special needs moms. It doesn’t matter if I’m not a “normal” mom(really, who is?). Labels do not have to define me, or any other mom.

I don’t have to be a labeled mom. I just have to be her mom.

So I’ll join the groups. I’ll find other moms like me, who have children like my daughter. I’ll talk with them, get to know them, and learn from them. I’ll enjoy the camaraderie of their friendship, even if I don’t feel like I’m supposed to.

Because I’m a mom. And that’s what moms do: they take care of their kids.

Writer’s Wednesday!

Today’s prompt is a fun one, that I found on Tumblr. I think you’ll really enjoy it.
As always, I really would like some feedback on my writing, good or bad. I’m using this weekly feature to improve my writing, and so any feedback on it will be wildly appreciated. Thank you, and enjoy!
Prompt:
Someone framed you for a crime you didn’t commit. You are currently in the court, your lawyer being the only one who believes in you, as he saw the crime happening. You two have to prove that it is possible for a duck to be able to kill a man.
“A duck, Mr. Tamrin?”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
“An honest to God duck?”
“An honest to God duck, ma’am.”
There was silence in the courtroom for a long, slow minute.
Judge Ashlin sighed. “Are you trying to make a fool of yourself and this court, Mr. Tamrin?”
“Absolutely not, Your Honor. I am here today to prove to you that a common duck is in fact able to kill a fully grown adult human male. May I call my first witness, ma’am?”
Ashlin put her head to her hand. “By all means, Mr. Tamrin. What could possibly go wrong?”
Tamrin smiled. “I call to the witness stand, one Adam Tamrin, Your Honor.”
A ripple of muttering cascaded through the room. The judge was so taken aback by this that she didn’t even think to call for order.
“You, Mr. Tamrin? How will you be of help to this case?”
“I am a credible witness for the defense, Your Honor. I was present when the murder occurred. I also bring proof, which I will now present as Exhibit 2.” He produced a small cassette tape and held it up to the jury.
“Objection, Your Honor!” Jamie Hubrim, prosecutor, stood up from his chair. “He has not submitted that previously for review by the prosecution!”
“Overruled for now, Mr. Hubrim. But I will call for recess so that the validity can be determined by any interested party, as soon as Mr. Tamrin has been questioned.” Hubrim sat back down in his chair.
“Mr. Tamrin, what is your reasoning for this blatant disregard for court proceedings?”
“This tape was only just discovered today to have been taken by a nearby security camera. It was delivered to me just after the start of these court proceedings.”
“Very well. But it will not be viewed until after your cross examination and a thorough diagnostic on the cassette and its contents.”
“Yes, ma’am. May I tell my story now, Your Honor?”
“By all means, Mr. Tamrin. What happened on the night of May 11th?”
Tamrin sighed deeply. “I live in an apartment and take my nightly walk next to Locca Lake, through Dripsprings Park. As you know, the ducks and geese that reside on the aforementioned lake have recently hatched a record number of eggs this spring. The influx of waterfowl on the lake has led to crowding on the walkways around the lake, so I changed my walk during the week in question. I could still see the lake, but I walked a wider path. On the night in question, it was very pleasant, so I walked slower than normal. As I reached the tree-lined portion of the walkway, I heard a commotion, so I left the path and peered through the trees. The victim was standing stock still, surrounded by at least twenty ducks, all advancing on him. Evidently, he had stepped on and crushed one of the ducklings as it crossed the path near the lake. The victim then began backing slowly away from the horde of ducks, and fell into the lake.

“This is where my story becomes…difficult to believe. But as I am under oath and will not lie, I will say: two ducks then grabbed the victim by the collar of his shirt, and dragged him underwater. They held him there until he stopped moving, then let go of his collar and swam away. I waited until the ducks left, then I called 911, then left the scene. When this case arose, and I learned what was being charged, I immediately put myself on the docket to defend the man accused. I knew I was the only one who could clear up what truly happened that night.”

Again, silence in the courtroom.

“Your witness, Mr. Hubrim.”

Hubrim approached the stand, and hesitated before asking only one question: “Why didn’t you stop them?”

Tamrin hung his head. “Because I was completely taken aback by what happened, and was unable to move due to fear and surprise.”

Hubrim seemed to shake his head, shrugged at the judge, and said, “No more questions, Your Honor.”

The judge, mouth hanging open, seemed to return to herself. “Um, yes Mr. Hubrim. Mr. Tamrin, please exit the witness stand. The court will now adjourn for one week, until the veracity of the security footage can be determined.”

One week later, it was determined that the security footage was free of tampering, and its truthfulness verified. When it was shown in the courtroom, it left no room for doubt:

Mr. Tamrin was telling the truth.

The security footage showed the two ducks hold the victim under the water until he splashed no more, then paddle off. The defendant was immediately released: the jury took less than ten minutes to deliberate.

Later, sources determined that some experimental recreational drug had been ingested by the ducks, making them aggressive and predatory. The ducks were studied for years, and all the other ducks were relocated to other facilities.

And that’s how Adam Tamrin became known as the duck lawyer.

Mother’s Movie Tuesday: Kubo Edition!

Man, I am really bad at this. 

Fellow readers and bloggers, tell me: how do you keep to your schedule? I am forever forgetting or falling off the bandwagon on my blog posts, and never getting them out on time. What do you do to stay on track? Let me know in the comments or by email!

For today’s movie, I’m going to review another children’s classic recently released on Amazon: Kubo and the Two Strings. 


Lately, I’ve only been able to get my hands on movies after they are released there, which explains my not having seen Moana yet. So, this may not be a new release, but it did just come out on Blu-Ray and Amazon, so this is mildly topical, I suppose. πŸ˜„

Here we go!

Synopsis:

“Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.”

Submitted by Anonymous, IMDB.com

Review:

Wow.

I mean, really, that’s about the extent of it.

I have always been fascinated by claymation. Animation in its every form interests me greatly, but claymation has always held a special allure for me, because of the amount on work involved.

So when I see a movie on this magnitude and artistic excellence, I can’t even imagine the work that went into developing such an epic tale. It absolutely amazes me, on every level.

Not only is the animation of a superior quality, but the beautiful simplicity of the story is beyond compare. A boy is looking for his father’s armor to stop his village from being destroyed. What could be more generic? But the depth of the characters and method surrounding the story gives it a richness most movies do not capture. It’s wonderful in its bountiful storytelling, and no words can describe how surprised I was at the end(I will not spoil it for you, you must watch it).

My Princess did have nightmares after the ending(again, no spoilers), but she is a bit sensitive, and my Lil’ Bit did not find it scary at all. But just as a warning to parents, your younger or more sensitive children may be a bit scared. Just a warning for the audience, and it doesn’t detract from the beauty of this movie at all.

Honestly, everything about this artistic and moving story will draw you in and make you part of that fantastic world, and yet none of the words I am using even begin to describe the depth of this narrative.

Because this movie, in all seriousness, must be experienced to truly be understood for its brilliance.

And for me, that makes things even better. 

Final Grade:

Violence: A

Language: A+

Innuendo: A

Mother’s Movie Monday: Lego Edition!

Finally made it on a Monday!

yay-gif

As a mom, I don’t get to watch “adult” movies(i.e., movies that can’t be watched with children under ten) very often. That’s why most of what I review here are children’s movies: it’s most of what I get to watch, other than Marvel movies on the occasion they come out. I’ll eventually review Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts, both of which I saw over the past two months, but tonight I’ll be reviewing the newest blockbuster to hit theaters:

lego-batman

Da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!

Synopsis:

“There are big changes brewing in Gotham City, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up. Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.”

IMDB.com

Seriously, that was ALL they had. Sorry guys.

Review:

First off, let me just say that this movie had me laughing out loud within the first two minutes. and kept me laughing throughout the whole movie. It’s rare that a movie makes me laugh as hard as this one did, and for that it gets a favorable rating in my book. πŸ™‚

However.

And it’s a BIG however.

It’s trying waaaay too hard to emulate the massively successful Lego Movie, and it doesn’t quite meet the standards that movie set.

Lego Batman is suffering the curse of the sequel: while being an excellent movie in its own right, it’s inevitably compared to the former, slightly better movie.

Return of the Jedi springs to mind.

Lego Movie broke the mold: it was funny, heartwarming, innocent, and full of enough pop culture and nerdy references to keep any adult in the movie theater happy. It taught an incredible lesson about the value of individuality and creation, and it is generally considered one of the greatest kid’s movies made in recent years.

Lego Batman is an excellent movie: hilarious, nerdy, and full of geeky references to obscure comic book villains that only true Batman fans will know(Condiment King, anyone?). Where it misses the mark, in my opinion, is the heartwarming aspect. While this movie piles on the lesson of family and the need for human companionship to truly be happy, I felt like the movie was trying to hard to recreate the simply touching moments the first movie did so well.
Don’t get me wrong: this movie is definitely heartfelt. There’s a scene near the end(I won’t spoil it for you) where I felt the tears start to well up. The movie tackles some big ideas and feelings in a kid-friendly way that I love to see. But while watching the rest of the movie, I kept seeing things that hearkened back to the first movie, and I saw through the movie I was watching to the movie this was trying to be. And it almost made it too: it almost lived up to the predecessor, but it just missed the mark.

Final thoughts: go see this movie! It’s hilarious and heartfelt. Just go into it trying to forget about the first movie, and simply appreciate this excellent movie without the Lego Movie lens. It’s worth your time, and will become one of your favorites. πŸ™‚

Final Grade:

Violence: A

Language: A

Innuendo: A