The Little Mermaid

We all know the story of The Little Mermaid. Created by Hans Christian Andersen and animated by Disney in 1989, this beloved classic has finally gotten the live action remake treatment. Over the years, I have come to tread lightly when it comes to these because I’ve been let down so many times (except for Aladdin which was brilliant). So while I was interested in seeing where they’d take one of my top five Disney flicks, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

I am happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised with the film. The visual effects were stunning – yes there was a lot of CGI, but I wasn’t bothered by it. The vibrant colours of life under the sea was beautiful. I was completely transported away into this world that I almost wanted to pack my bags and become a mermaid myself!

The best part of the film, was of course, Halle Bailey. This is her film. All the people who were skeptical can step aside because she was born to play Ariel. She made the role her own while also incorporating bits and pieces from her origin. The facial expressions, mannerisms and her VOICE. Her fucking voice was perfection! When she sang Part Of Your World I had chills engulf my whole body and I never wanted it to stop.

In addition to Bailey, we had Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric who was a total clone of his animated counterpart. I was one of those little girls who had a major crush on Eric and to see him come to life like this was a treat. I thought the rest of the casting choices fit as well: Javier Bardem as King Triton was powerful though underused, Jacob Tremblay as Flounder was cute and ever so diligent towards Ariel and Awkwafina was laugh out loud hilarious as Scuttle. Unfortunately I didn’t care much for Melissa McCarthy’s Ursula as I’m simply not a fan of the actress herself. The stand out for me, however, was David Diggs as Sebastian. Every single moment of his was pure gold.

While they tried to bring this story into the 21st century, I didn’t care for many of the updates. The only new song I really enjoyed was Scuttle’s (though I might be biased because it had Lin Manuel Miranda written all over it). The added scenes didn’t really do anything to enrich what we already knew and the run time was a little too long.

All that being said, The Little Mermaid was much better than I ever thought it was going to be. Seeing this story come to life was a major nostalgia trip for me in the best way possible. I do think this is a step in the right direction for Disney going forward and hope it sticks.

Rating: ♥️♥️♥️.5


The Madrigals, a family who live in the Columbian mountains, inhabit a magical house. The magical house has given each child a gift over the various years, from super strength to the power of healing. The only child who never received a gift was Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz). Always feeling as if she was left out, Mirabel finally sees purpose in her family when she discovers that the magic is in danger and she takes it upon herself to save it.

I had no idea that Encanto would leave such an impression on me, nor that it would touch me in the way that it did. The story was intricate and unique with many captivating characters. Pepa (Carolina Gaitan), Bruno (John Legizamo) and Isabela (Dianne Guerrero) were among my favorites, but I connected the most with Mirabel. Her desire to fit in and establish her place in her family was all too familiar to me and I loved how realistic she seemed.

Lin Manuel Miranda was behind the soundtrack and he once again excelled in the department. The songs were fun and catchy and I appreciated the fact that there were some Spanish pieces thrown into the mix.

The colorful pallet of the film was unlike anything I had seen before. The house, in particular, seemed to come from a dream. Having the chance to see into each child’s room added to this feeling.

Disney has done it again. I don’t know how they keep me coming back for more and yet here we are. Encanto really had it all. Not only was there an exciting story, it also reinforces the importance family and being proud of who you are. I highly recommend it!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥.5

Tick, Tick…Boom!

What are we meant to do with the time that we have? That is the question that Jon (Andrew Garfield) can’t help but ask himself as he attempts to write the next great American musical. Preparing for the showcase that will make or break his career, Jon feels pressure from everyone and everything around him. His job waiting tables at the Moondance Diner is not stimulating enough, his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp) dreams of something more herself and Jon’s best friend Michael (Robin De Jesus) transitions from a life of fantasy to something more stable in the advertising industry.

There was no question in my mind that Tick, Tick..Boom! would be a revelation. Anything that Lin Manuel Miranda touches is, let’s be real. His directorial debut saw him adapting Jonathan Larson’s life before his untimely death right as he finally broke into Broadway.

Andrew Garfield was mesmerizing as the titular character. I knew the guy could act, but I had no idea whatsoever that he could sing. Everything that he brought to the role of Jon was amazing to watch. More stunning performances from Alexandra Shipp and Robin De Jesus helped strengthen the film. And who could forget Vanessa Hudgens as Karessa and Joshua Henry as Roger, friends of Jon’s through and through. It also wouldn’t be a Miranda production without some cameos from other much projects of his.

An ultimately sad story, Tick, Tick…Boom! was really something else. I love how it made me think about just how I am spending my time here on this Earth. The fact that this took place during the AIDS epidemic in the 1990s only added to that notion. Mixed together with a stellar soundtrack, this is a movie that I won’t soon forget.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Ever since he was young, it was always Vivo (Lin Manuel Miranda), a kinkajou and his owner Andres (Juan de Marcos Gonzalez) against the world playing music for the people of Havana. When tragedy strikes, Vivo takes it upon himself to deliver a love song from Andres to Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), his lost love and a famous singer. With the help of a teenage girl named Gabi (Ynairaly Simo), they travel through Florida in hopes of getting to Marta’s farewell concert before it’s too late.

Vivo had been on my list for some time. I really wanted to see it because of Lin Manuel Miranda who not only stars as the title character, but who wrote and composed all the music. They were certainly the highlight of the film and brought such a bright atmosphere to an otherwise somber movie.

Despite the colorful setting and the very talented cast which also included the likes of Zoe Saldana, Michael Rooker, Nicole Buyer and Katie Lowes, the rest of the plot was just okay. It wasn’t very surprising and at times I kind of wanted it to move along more. I think I kind of expected more from it at times.

All that being said, Vivo is a story about hope and finding your place in the world. It is also about accepting others as well as yourself in the process. It did leave me feel warm and fuzzy inside so I guess it did it’s job!

Rating: ♥♥♥

In The Heights

Washington Heights, New York City. A vibrant community of individuals from all walks of life who have known each other for forever. Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner, saves whatever he can in hopes of a better life back in the Dominican Republic.

The storyline of In The Heights may not give a lot away, but trust me when I say that you NEED to watch this movie. It is the standout of the summer and I guarantee that it will put a giant smile on your face. Based on the stage musical by mastermind Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, the movie is a colorful array of catchy songs, breathtaking cinematography, a blast of culture and an amazing ensemble cast.

Anthony Ramos helms the troupe as protagonist Usnavi. His charisma, good looks and beautiful voice make him easy to root for throughout. Well knowns Jimmy Smits as Kevin Rosario, Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia, Daphne Rubin-Vega as Daniela and Stephanie Beatriz as Carla are a joy to watch. Then there are the newcomers who perfectly round out the cast: Melissa Barrera as Vanessa, Leslie Grace as Nina Rosario, Corey Hawkins as Benny and my personal favorite Gregory Diaz IV as Sonny. He stole every single scene he was in!

And of course, who could forget Lin Manuel Miranda himself as Piraguero? His little cameos were everything.

I’ll be completely honest when I say that I was worried this wouldn’t live up to the hype, or to my expectations. I have become such a fan of Miranda in just one year and I was worried that this just wouldn’t compare to Hamilton. Luckily I soon realized that that wasn’t the case. The two are polar opposites in their plot, but there are similarities in the music styles that I appreciated.

In The Heights really was everything that I hoped it would be and more. It was lively, it was fun, it was emotional and it was heartwarming. It had everything you could want from a movie and yes, I did cry. If you haven’t seen it yet, you are seriously missing out!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥