Disney Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

Captain America

Last Friday night, my boys and I decided it was time to hit the movies again. This time, we ventured out to the theatre to see the newest Disney Marvel release, “Captain America: Civil War”Once again, we all really enjoyed the same film which doesn’t happen often for us…three resounding thumbs up! Read on for all of the details and don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this review.

The Story

Captain America 3Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire  for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo and Martin Freeman, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl. Anthony & Joe Russo are directing with Kevin Feige producing. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Patricia Whitcher, Nate Moore and Stan Lee are the executive producers. The screenplay is by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. Get ready to pick a side and join the nonstop action playing out on two fronts.

Our Review

Captain America 4Overall my boys and I truly enjoyed this film. I give it a B, my teenager gives it a B+, and my youngest son gives it an A-.

For my boys (ages 13 and 10), it was all about story and action. They both agreed the plot was interesting and that the fight scenes delivered without being overly violent; just your standard comic book fighting. In fact, some parts were filmed in a way that made it appear choppy giving it even more of a comic book feel. My teenager liked that the story was different and that some of the twists were completely unexpected. My youngest was also impressed with the new superheroes that joined the cast, in particular the Black Panther whose performance was remarkable.

Captain America 2If you’ve been following my blog or have heard me on Behind The Magic, you know by now that I’m a complete superhero rookie. To date, I’ve only seen five superhero movies in my life: Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant Man, Deadpool and now Captain America: Civil War. In hindsight, I probably should have watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier prior to seeing this film. I was familiar with most of the characters having seen the Avengers’ movies, plus my Big Bang Theory addiction certainly helped. I even recognized Stan Lee when he made his signature cameo this time, and not just because the entire audience cheered. What I was not familiar with was most of the backstories which made parts of the film a little difficult, but not impossible for me to follow. What I loved about Captain America: Civil War was the depth of characters, the heartfelt emotion, and the complexity of the storyline. There were certainly moments that borderline on the ridiculous which I imagine most superhero films have, but I was able to suspend my disbelief and thoroughly enjoy the movie despite my low expectations.

I would recommend this film for children at least 10 years old based on my experience with my boys, however you may find that the comic book violence could make it difficult for sensitive children of all ages to watch. I’ve included the trailer below and for more details, reviews, ratings and for help determining if it might be right for your family, please check out this link or feel free to ask me a question in the comments section.

Sneak Peek

Have you seen “Captain America: Civil War”?
Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Disney Movie Review – The Jungle Book

Jungle Book

In the midst of a huge spring snowstorm, my boys and I decided it was time to hit the movies again. This time, we ventured out to the theatre to see the newest Disney release, “The Jungle Book”As a little girl, I was a huge fan of the Disney read-along version of this story, so I was eager to see the live action film based on one of my childhood’s most cherished stories. My boys (ages 13 and 10) had mixed feelings about it. My youngest was looking forward to it, but my teenager was torn between sleeping in or eating junk food at the theatre. Ultimately, his teenage boy appetite won out and he came with us. For the first time in a long time, we all really enjoyed the same movie…three resounding thumbs up! Read on for all of the details and don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this review.

The Story

The Jungle Book 7Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world.

Our Review

The Jungle Book

Overall my boys and I loved this film. I give it an A-, my teenager gives it a B, and my youngest son gives it a B+. The inspiring story, all-star voice cast, and spectacular computer-generated effects are really what make this film a winner. If there is a downside, and it wasn’t easy to find one, it is that the musical numbers most Disney classics are known for are sorely lacking in this version. Only three songs are featured, one of which is only in the credits, and the two that are prominent in the film are more spoken than sung. Aside from that minor issue, “The Jungle Book” is stunning. It should be noted that this isn’t your typical light-hearted Disney animated film, “The Jungle Book” is dark, slow-paced, and violent. The vicious animal fights and perilous situations that beloved main characters find themselves in could be alarming to younger viewers. The messages of bravery, family, and teamwork are strong though, and ultimately should leave you and your family feeling inspired.

I would recommend this film for children at least 9 years old based on my experience with my boys, however you may find that the violence against animals could make it difficult for sensitive children of all ages to watch. I’ve included the trailer below and for more details, reviews, ratings and for help determining if it might be right for your family, please check out this link or feel free to ask me a question in the comments section.

Sneak Peek

Have you seen “The Jungle Book”?
Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Adorable Inside Out Merchandise On Sale Now


Have you a chance to see the new Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out? My boys and I saw it this morning and we absolutely loved it! Rather than doing a regular movie review, because it seems like this movie has already been getting lots of press, I thought I would share with you some of the adorable new Inside Out merchandise currently available online at the Disney Store. They are offering a special from now through Sunday that includes free shipping on your entire order if you purchase a Disney-Pixar item. Here are some of my favorites (contains affiliate links):

Seeing Red – $14.95
Anger may have a temper on him, but he shows his soft side with this cuddly plush. Inside Out’s irascible star is neatly dressed in shirt, tie, and herringbone pants, but be careful not to crease them when you give him a hug. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Anger Plush - Inside Out - Small - 8 1/2''
Joy-full – $12.95
“It’s a great day” when sipping from Joy’s jubilant hot beverage mug. It’ll warm your outlook from Inside Out. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Joy Mug - Inside Out
Mind Games – $19.95
They’ll enjoy playing with their emotions as they recreate their favorite moments from the new Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out. This deluxe figure play set includes Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, Sadness, and more. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Inside Out Deluxe Figure Play Set
Head Set – $12.95
Dive inside Riley’s mind and get to know her Emotions. With five storybooks, each devoted to a different Emotion, plus a die-cut slipcase, Inside Out fans will treasure this collection of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Inside Out Box of Mixed Emotions Book
Parting Cloud – $19.95
Into every life a little rain must fall, but “one of these days” a rainbow is sure to break through, as Sadness considers on this soft heathered tee with graphics inspired by Disney-Pixar’s new animated film Inside Out. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Sadness Tee for Women - Inside Out
“What-ever!” – $22.95
Dress to express while wearing this defiant Disgust Tee inspired by Disney-Pixar’s new film Inside Out, available for a limited time only. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Disgust Tee for Kids - Inside Out - Limited Release
“Fired up” – $22.95
They’ll have a hot time on the ol’ town while wearing this awesome Anger Tee inspired by Disney-Pixar’s new film Inside Out, available for a limited time only. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Anger Tee for Kids - Inside Out - Limited Release
Joy Stick – $6.95
Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out takes audiences for a trip inside the human mind. This thrilling sticker book is packed with characters and and scenes from the movie. More than 60 easy-to-peel stickers can be used again and again. Click the image for more information or to purchase!

Inside Out Ultimate Sticker Book
Looking for more fun Inside Out shirts and merchandise? Click here!

In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’ll leave you with this trailer for Inside Out. If you get the chance to see it this weekend, I highly recommend this film for the entire family. Like with all Disney movies, be sure to bring the tissues – you’ll need them! 🙂

Have a safe and “joyful” weekend, everyone!

Celebrating Earth Day 2015 At Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

Happy Earth Day!

If you will be visiting Disney World this week, be sure to head over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to join in the fun at the “Party for the Planet” in honor of Earth Day this Wednesday, April 22. Here’s the scoop courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog:

Disney's Animal KingdomOn Wednesday, April 22, exclusive Earth Day activities will be offered during our “Party for the Planet” Earth Day celebration. You can participate in interactive activities, explore limited time merchandise offerings, and interact with animal and education experts from Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment and the Disney Conservation Fund team about conservation projects currently in progress.

This year’s “Party for the Planet” celebration includes two exclusive “research stations” at Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Main Entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. These research stations allow you to see behind-the-scenes footage from the newest Disneynature film, “Monkey Kingdom,” while exploring how technology is used to enhance conservation efforts. You will have the opportunity to get an up-close, hands-on look at the technology scientists use to learn about animals, as well as the valuable data that comes from special equipment called camera traps. Many of the tools showcased at these research stations were used throughout production of the newest Disneynature film, “Monkey Kingdom.”

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Have you attended the “Party for the Planet”? Are you going this year?
Please leave a comment and Happy Earth Day!

Disney Movie Review – McFarland USA

McFarland USAA couple of weeks ago, my friend Freddie and I decided it was time for a girl’s night out. Both being fans of the movies and all things Disney, we thought an evening seeing the newest Disney release, McFarland USA, would be perfect. Although Freddie and I aren’t former high school athletes (she was in gymnastics before her high school days and I was on dance team in high school – a fun team activity, but not exactly competitive in nature), we were still looking forward to the story of the film. So we grabbed our popcorn and soda and settled in for the show!

McFarland USA

McFarland USA is based on the true story of coach Jim White (played by Kevin Costner) and the team that he puts together and eventually leads to California’s first statewide cross-country championship. The film begins with White getting fired from his high school football coaching position and relocating his family for the only job that he can find in a small rural town in northern California – McFarland. Things are rough for White, his wife, and two daughters as they struggle to begin their new life and fit in to McFarland; a town known only for its prison and fields. After some set backs at his new job, White notices one of his students running home from school and times him. He discovers that Thomas, his student, can run a five-minute mile. With his newfound information, White gets permission to start a cross-country team and puts together an unlikely group of runners that include Thomas, who is only running so that he doesn’t get suspended, and the three Diaz brothers all of whom spend their free time in working in the fields. The movie follows the story of Coach White and his team through their struggles and triumphs as they make their way to the statewide cross-county championship.

McFarland USA

Freddie and I loved McFarland USA! If you are a fan of sports movies and unlikely heroes, this film is for you. Like other classic sports films, the characters in McFarland USA go through many difficult times and have to put in much hard work to achieve their common goal. Important life lessons are learned not just by the team members, but by Coach White as well. This movie and its underlying themes of cooperation, teamwork, and inclusiveness were truly inspiring. I would recommend McFarland USA for children 8 years old and up. Due to the film’s sports theme and many male lead characters, you may find that boys enjoy it and can relate to it a bit more. I’ve included the trailer below and for more details, reviews, ratings and for help determining if it might be right for your family, please check out this link.

Have you seen McFarland USA?
Did you enjoy it? Please leave a comment!