Theme Park Attractions Based on Movies

scary

What to Watch in the Theater:
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (PG13) is in theaters now. A group of teens goes exploring where they shouldn’t, upsetting the ghost of a misunderstood young girl. As everyone involved is either killed, terrorized or disappears under very unusual circumstances, our young protagonists must figure out a way to save themselves from a similar fate. Lots of good jump scares here, plus some creepy monsters and disturbing images. Not for the faint of heart, but not overly gory either.
Our rating: 4.75 out of 5

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Jim Gaffigan: Quality Time (TV14) is an Amazon Prime exclusive. There are some laugh out loud moments here, as Jim does his usual self-deprecating schtick. The jokes are new, and there’s nothing political or foul – just good clean making fun of friends and family. And maybe one or two horse jokes…
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

Plus box office results,  what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray, news from D23 Expo and our experiences with Galaxy’s Edge (Disneyland) and the Emotional Whirlwind (Disney California Adventure).

Violence and Disappointment Wherever You Look

Bern

What to Watch in the Theater:
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (PG13) is in theaters now. Bernadette is a brilliant former architect, who left the field suddenly and devoted her entire life to raising her daughter. Now that her daughter is going away to school, she has to figure out what to do with her life, given that her only other connection is to a virtual assistant.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5

readyornot

Ready or Not (R) opens today. New bride, Grace, discovers on her wedding night that she’s married into a very eccentric family, that fears they will die if they don’t kill her that night. She can’t escape, but that doesn’t mean she won’t fight – and fight she does. It’s a super violent adventure, with quite a bit of humor, one powerful female protagonist – and one all-purpose wedding dress.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Guava Island (TVMA) is streaming on Amazon Prime. This short film is about a small island nation with rich natural resources and the dictator-like figure who controls the economy. It’s also a big music video for actor Donald Glover (aka singer Childish Gambino). Rihanna has a non-singing role as his love interest. It’s an interesting project, full of political statements and music, but maybe a little too thin on storyline.
Our rating: 2.17 out of 5

Seven in Heaven (PG13) is available for rental and streaming on Netflix. Although this is a Blumhouse production, it’s more of a time paradox film than horror. Two teens emerge from the closet after a party game, only to discover that the people they know are quite different and that their alternate selves lead different lives as well. The new timeline is much more violent and they have to determine how to get back to their own time.
Our rating: 3.33 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

The Last Kid-Friendly Titles of Summer

dora

What to Watch in the Theater:
Dora and the Lost City of Gold (PG) is in theaters now. Unlike the TV series, this is not aimed at preschoolers or young kids, as the story follows a 16-year-old Dora (not a 6-year-old one). Being unfamiliar with the show was not a drawback for us. The movie is fun and campy, quickly moving from a fish out of water story with Dora in the big city, back to a jungle adventure, with some new companions who are now out of THEIR element. Of course Backpack and Boots the monkey are part of the action, but there are also some new friends and foes. The kids in our audience enjoyed the heck out of the slapstick, plus nude and poo gags. While we enjoyed the movie in general, we couldn’t help wondering about the intended audience for a teen Dora film.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

ab2

The Angry Birds Movie 2 (PG) is in theaters now. Red is enjoying his hero status on Bird Island, until the Pigs want to call a truce on the prank war. There’s another island that’s threatening both of them, and the former enemies have to learn to work together against the Eagles. This one might be even better than the first – it’s rife with pop culture references and innuendo, plus tons of celebrity voices. Standout newcomers include Leslie Jones, Tiffany Haddish and Awkwafina. This is more than just a movie based on a game, as we learn more about the characters and their families. There are Lots of laugh out loud moments here  – it’s a fun watch.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5 

blinded

Blinded by the Light (PG13) opens today. Based on a true story, this music-infused coming of age story follows Javed, a Pakistani teen trying to navigate life in 1987 England. As economic woes hit his family, they are also targeted by bigots and hate groups. Javed is struggling to be part of his traditional family, but still grow as a person, and he grapples with father/son issues. When he discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, he finds a new light (and love) in his life, which makes the struggle even more intense. This is an enlightening film from a historical perspective. It also strikes a chord with anyone who has struggled to become their own person, in the face of family or societal pressures. And if you love movies that take place in the 80s (including all the music, hair and wardrobe), here’s one to add to the list.
Our rating: 4 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Teen Spirit (PG13) is available for rental. This is the story of Violet, who enters a singing competition in an attempt to get out of her small town on the Isle of Wight (UK). It’s a bit weird to us that an older man, a veritable stranger to her, becomes her manager/guardian for the purposes of the competition, but his skill set does come in handy. Elle Fanning’s vocals are good, and it’s interesting to see the process of the contest and how fame affects the character. It’s a bit of a strange film but it has its moments.
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5

Plus box office results, movie news, the latest DVD and Blu-Ray releases, and more.

Check out our interviews at 2019 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports here.

Three Hits and One Miss

des3

What to Watch in the Theater:
Descendants 3 (TVG) is available on Disney Channel and DVD. When a surprising new villain wrecks havoc on Auradon, the future of all Villain Kids is jeopardized. There’s more than one surprise here, with new information coming to light, and alliances being made. This film is just as fun as the others, with great song and dance numbers, and just enough drama and twists to make it interesting. We enjoyed watching Cameron Boyce’s last performance with the VK’s, but it was bittersweet so soon after his passing.
Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

artracing

The Art of Racing in the Rain (PG13) opens today. Thankfully, this talking dog movie is only narrated by the dog – no moving lips here. Enzo the dog looks back on his life with race car driver, Denny, who struggles with his career but finds the love of his life. It’s a sweet story full of heartache, tears, and moments that will fill your heart with joy. So yes, there was room for another movie from a dog’s perspective.
Our rating: 4.17 out of 5 

What to Watch at Home (Or Not):
Loving Vincent (PG13) is available for rental and streaming on Hulu. This hand-painted animated film is beautiful and ground-breaking. We learn about Van Gogh’s life and death, as a friend digs into the details after the artist’s passing. Although the animation style is sometimes distracting, the technique is impressive and the visuals are enjoyable, especially the Van Gogh painting homages that are subtly worked into the film.
Our rating: 4 out of 5

Swiped (G) is streaming on Netflix. This film, about a hookup app developed by a brilliant college freshman, is lacking in many areas. First, it includes Noah Centineo as a playboy/bully, which goes completely against his “Internet’s Favorite Boyfriend” persona. Second, the production values are so low, it’s distracting. Third, the story is just terrible. And worst – it was written and directed by a woman – the female characters are an embarrassment to the gender.
Our rating: Skip this one

Plus box office results, movie news, and what’s new on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Check out our interviews with celebrity participants at Mike Tyson’s charity golf tournament here.