A Week Away

Bad boy Will Hawkins (Kevin Quinn) from the wrong side of the tracks literally has nowhere left to go when he finds himself at summer camp for the first time. Feeling like a fish out of water, he somehow finds a friend in bunk mate George (Jahbril Cook), a father figure in camp director David (David Koechner) as well as girl next door Avery (Bailee Madison) who completely changes his outlook on life – and love.

If High School Musical and Camp Rock had a baby, it would be A Week Away. High School Musical and Camp Rock both helped shape my teenage years which meant there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that this movie was a must watch. I knew I would end up liking it; I just wasn’t sure by how much. I’m actually surprised this movie wasn’t marketed more and that more people aren’t talking about it!

I liked the musical for a variety of reasons. The cast are all fresh-faced and full of talent. Kevin Quinn and Bailee Madison had amazing chemistry that had me rooting for their characters from the very first time they were on screen together. The supporting cast in Jahrbil Cook and David Koechner as well as Kat Conner Sterling as Avery’s best friend Presley, Iain Tucker as troublemaker Sean and Sherri Shepherd as George’s mom Kristin, I am sure we will see them all in many projects to come.

The storyline, while predictable at times, was still entertaining. I appreciated that more adult themes were dealt with and despite the cheesiness of some scenes, it didn’t deter from the overall moral of the story.

I also really enjoyed the music. All of the songs were catchy and came with top notch dance sequences. I know that they will all be stuck in my head as I’ve basically had them on repeat since.

If you are in the mood for a fun musical, A Week Away is worth checking out. It’ll have you smiling from ear to ear and dreaming of summer.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

It’s no secret that I am total DC trash. I have always preferred DC to Marvel and it’s not just because Batman was my favorite character growing up. Despite the fact that they still need to find their footing, I am constantly looking forward to the newest installments and I believe they have a lot of potential. So, when I heard that Zack Snyder was releasing his cut of Justice League, I was stoked. Even I can admit that the 2017 Joss Whedon version left a lot to be desired. This was a chance at redemption and I loved absolutely everything about it.

Following Superman’s (Henry Cavill) self sacrifice, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists the help of Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to put together a team of superheroes in order to save the planet from new foe Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) are recruited to form The Justice League. If they want to be successful, they need to get Superman back – and that’s just the start of their problems.

This movie is long. At a whopping four hours and two minutes, I think it is the longest superhero movie I have ever seen. But that is how it needed to be. Having all this extra time really allowed for storylines to be fleshed out more. Details here are vital and that is something we missed out on the first time around.

Not only that, but every single character had a strong backstory. This change gave us better insight into characters that we didn’t know much about before, like Cyborg and The Flash, for example. Nobody was left out and it was great to see more interaction between everyone too. The Flash in particular was an absolute stand out. He brought some much needed comic relief in the otherwise dark setting and I really hope he gets his solo film now.

The effects seemed like they had stepped up a notch and the overall atmosphere was much darker. I liked that because it fit the story and overall DC feel that way. I also loved the music choices throughout. They weren’t overdone, however when they were used, fit perfectly.

I truly believe that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a masterpiece. I’m forever grateful that he decided to give the fans this gift. He really does have an amazing understanding on the DC universe and I hope there is a sequel (with him on the helm) in the future.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥.5

My Salinger Year

I’m actually not sure how well known My Salinger Year is. I hadn’t even heard of it until very recently and that was only because the movie was featured on an entertainment TV talk show. It certainly seemed interesting and I loved the fact that it was about an aspiring author and the famous J.D. Salinger. I knew I had to add it to my list and I have to say that I am really glad I decided to check it out.

The year is 1995 and aspiring writer and poet Joanna (Margaret Qualley) has left her comfortable life in Berkeley, California for the exciting New York City. Sure that she will be more successful in her dreams there, she finds herself a job at one of the city’s oldest literary agencies. What she doesn’t realize straight away is that the company takes care of J.D. Salinger, as well as other well known authors. Though Joanna has not read any of his books, she is appointed the task of replying to the endless amount of fan mail the author receives. Though she is told precisely how to answer each and every one, Joanna believes there are some fans who deserve more than an automated response. And as Joanna settles further into her role, all while becoming more acquainted with Salinger himself, she becomes so wrapped up in his legacy that she begins to forget her own dreams in the process.

Aside from the story which held my interest throughout, I have to say that I was also attracted to the film because of Margaret Qualley. When I first saw her in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, I knew that her talent would take her places in the years to come. Her portrayal of Joanna was relatable, realistic and I felt she really carried the movie well. This only made me more excited to see her in many more projects in the future. Sigourney Weaver, who has a role as Joanna’s boss Margaret is a household name. She is amazing in everything she does and the two had great on screen chemistry. I liked how their relationship grew into a mutual respect as time went on.

I’ll admit that like Joanna, I also have not read any of Salinger’s novels. So I saw myself in this character, though not only for this reason, but for the fact that I am an aspiring writer too. It also reminded me that it’s important to stay true to yourself and to always follow your dreams. The rest will follow after.

My Salinger Year is the perfect film for fans of the author, writing or anything in between. I hope it is released in many other places because it deserves more love and appreciation.

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

Raya and the Last Dragon

Raya and the Last Dragon is the latest Disney masterpiece. I say this confidently because I loved absolutely everything about it. It doesn’t happen often that I dislike something by Disney, however, over the more recent years, I feel like they have really stepped up their game in regards to modernizing their stories. Before it was standard procedure for a princess to sit around and wait for her prince to come and rescue her, but now these princesses are bad asses and don’t take shit from anybody. It’s amazing! Because of that, this latest addition was a stand out.

Many years ago in the land of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together harmoniously. However, when a group of monsters called the Druun threaten everything, the dragons sacrifice themselves to save the people. In the aftermath, Kumandra split up and became separate kingdoms, sparking a rivalry between one another.

Five hundred years later, the Druuns are back. Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) must embark on a journey to find the last dragon. By doing this, she can save humanity and hopefully put Kumandra back together in the process.

Everything about this story was flawless. There were twists and turns, ups and downs and never a dull moment. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through.

Raya herself is a feisty young lady warrior. She is the perfect role model for girls everywhere. Her determination to bring Kumandra together once more and save the people is truly inspiring. Kelly Marie Tran really helped bring her to life. I can’t imagine anyone else playing Raya now. Similarly, Gemma Chan was brilliant as Namaari. The misunderstood antagonist made you root for her and her chemistry with Raya was off the charts. Other standouts included Izaac Wang as Boun, Benedict Wong as Tong and Thalia Tran as little Noi. Without these three, the movie would not have been what it was. I have to say though that the best part of all for me was Sisu, the infamous last dragon. Voiced by Awkwafina, she brought a new dimension to the role and stole the show.

Raya and the Last Dragon was everything I hoped it would be and more. I am simply stunned by the world that was created for this special story. I cannot sing it’s praises enough.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

The Mauritanian

Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) has been detained and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for six years. Never actually charged for a crime, the government believed that he was involved in the events of 9/11. Defense attorney Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) and her associate Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) work together with military prosecutor Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) to uncover the truth of this conspiracy to hopefully set Mohamedou free.

The Mauritanian is not a movie that I would normally gravitate towards. This one spoke to me however, not only because of it’s impressive cast, but because it is based on a true story. Prior to watching, I had only heard bits and pieces of Mohamedou’s story. I never expected to be so deeply impacted by it when I learned more of the details. Despite having seen it a few days ago now, it is still at the forefront of my mind.

Watching this was, at times, difficult to watch. It is not to be taken lightly. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around what was unfolding in front of me. How could one man go through so much and for something that he didn’t even do? I couldn’t believe it and I’ll admit it made me emotional many times. It really goes to show just how unfair the system is.

Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch all gave outstanding performances. The additions of Zachary Levi as Stuart’s friend Neil and David Flynn as Kent, I was immediately transported into the past. Sometimes I forgot I was watching a movie because of how organic it was. The nominations (and wins) that they have received so far are 100% deserved. I only hope this will continue to be the case as the award season continues.

The Mauritanian was an eye opening movie for me. I’m always hesitate to dive into more serious genres but getting out of my comfort zone is important. This was a piece of history that I will never forget and I urge you all to check it out for yourselves.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Vivian (Hadley Robinson) is fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school. The jocks are always getting away with everything. Then, there is The List which annually compiles untrue titles of each student. Not to mention the fact that Principal Shelly (Marcia Gay Harden) does nothing to stop any of it. It has all gone too far. In order to step up and – hopefully – smash the patriarchy, Vivian follows in her mother Lisa’s (Amy Poehler) footsteps by anonymously publishing a zine. In the zine, she is able to speak out against these issues, but does that really count for anything when she’s not taking complete ownership?

I’ll be the first to admit that I was on the fence about watching Moxie! It seemed like it was going to be another teen movie that tried too hard to get it’s message across. While some parts were cliched and a bit cringe, it did work out well in the end.

They deal with serious issues that women face every day. Real issues that women face every day are depicted and it is important that they are addressed. Unfortunately Moxie! does not go into as much depth as it could have. It did sometimes seem as if the writers wanted the story to remain a comedy. There’s nothing wrong with humor; I just wish the approach wasn’t as superficial.

All in all, I think Moxie! mostly achieved what it set out to do. This is not only a film that teenage girls will look to, but it is one that everyone can learn something from.

Rating: ♥♥♥.5