Category Archives: children

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Directed by Stephen Herek, The Great Gilly Hopkins, is an inspiring film the whole family can enjoy. A true classic story that will capture anyone’s heart. The cast alone is worth renting or buying the movie including Kathy Bates, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close. These talented women bring so much life to the classic young-adult novel by Katherine Paterson, who also wrote Bridge to Terabithia.

This great tale won the Truly Moving Picture award at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival. The story is about real, emotional, funny and captivating scenes featuring Sophie Nélisse, who was unforgettable in The Book Thief.  She brings her same talent to this adorable movie, which also stars Julia Stiles, who plays Gilly’s mother.

The story follows Gilly as a coming-of-age story about one girl discovering what a family really can be. We met the feisty and headstrong Gilly Hopkins where she has made a name for herself in the foster system. She outwits family after family in hopes of being reunited with her birth mother.

In a comical effort to escape her newest home and overly affectionate foster mother, Mamie Trotter, played by Bates, the young girl devises a scheme she believes will send her mother running to the rescue. When her grand plan backfires, Gilly realizes she may have been wrong about everything in her search to find where she belongs.

The movie brings up questions like “What is a family?” “What is family love?”

I was touch by this film because it holds life lessons with an impressive cast from a charmingly written novel. It all comes to life with a perfect mix of characters. I laughed, cried, and loved it.

Snoopy, Come Home

snoopycmehomI visited the Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, California for my daughter’s sake, thinking I would be bored out of my head. Boy, was I wrong, I discovered Charles Schulz, the genius who created a series of Peanuts comic strips that voiced the current social conflicts of the time and still today. Women rights, pray in schools, draft, and war. Growing up, I did read the comic strip without realizing he was bringing up social issues. As a young girl, I marveled at the expressions and characters of each personality. I watched the television specials with my family falling in love with Snoopy.

Watching Snoopy, Come Home brought memories back during the nights I’d watch the Peanuts specials with my family. I am still in love with Snoopy because he is so innocent yet creative. In this Peanuts movie, the story is quite good. It begins with him running off to visit Lila, his original owner, who is in the hospital. Woodstock goes with him, but they are captured by a rather overbearing girl who demands Snoopy and Woodstock be her pets.

Being clever the two escape, which includes some very funny and misplaced steps of amusement. Back at Charlie Brown’s home, he is concerned with finding out about Lila. Who is she? I will not share the ending of the movie, but I will tell you that it is so much fun to watch Snoopy get into many mishaps as he tries to sneak into places where dogs are not allowed.

The movie is tried and true, and now released on Blu-ray. The new format adds more of a sparkle with a widescreen format. Keep in mind parents, that the going away party for Snoopy might be a tearjerker for the kids or trouble understanding why people are so sad at a party. Still, the humor is fun to watch and offers great laughs.

Movies Giveaway

Movie Roar is giving away three movies. Each person who comments on this page will be entered in the giveaway. Once we have a good number of comments the winner will be picked from a drawing.

Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

WhiteyDirected by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger, we witness the sweeping and revelatory documentary film that follows the trial of the infamous gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, using the courtroom action as a springboard to examine accusations of multi-faceted corruption within our nation’s law enforcement and legal systems. Some of you are familiar with Johnny Depp’s Black Mass will recognize this story which is dramatized in Depp’s portrayal of Whitey.

 

 

Tangerine

tangerineDirected by Sean Baker, it’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend, played by James Ransone, hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra, played by Mya Taylor, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

 

 

White God

whitegodA Hungarian movie and Cannes Film Festival winner, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, White God is an allegory of the human experience. Young Lili is forced to give up her beloved dog Hagen because its mixed-breed heritage is deemed unfit by The State. After the separation, she and the dog begin a dangerous journey back towards each other. At the same time, all the unwanted, unloved and so-called unfit dogs rise up under a new leader, Hagen, the one-time house-pet. Hagen has learned all too well from his Masters in his journey through the streets and animal control centers that man is not always dog’s best friend.

 

Shaun the Sheep: Season 2

shaurnsheep2I was going to post this review in the Kids section of Movie Roar since it really is safe for kids to watch and is really silly.  I changed my mind when I realized it really is funnier from an adult’s point of view.

Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 is hilarious. The short episodes are not too long nor too short – about 7 minutes. They are just right for any rainy afternoon or boring evening with nothing to do. My favorite one is about the bagpipe. The sheep and dog think it is a goose. I have never laughed so hard in such a short amount of time.

The package comes with two DVDs. If you have a free moment or two, just pop in the DVD and peruse the menu for an episode that catches your eye. The set has a total of 40 episodes. There are plenty of choices.

Let’s face it. These cute little sheep and the dog are hilarious. Each episode has no dialogue, just music and some grunts here and there. It is produced so well that I didn’t even think about the fact there was no dialogue.

Another funny aspect about the storyline is the dog and sheep try to steer clear of the farmer, who is as blind as anyone with a pair of opaque eyeglasses.  I just laugh thinking about it.

I recommend the DVD set for the whole family. Any age will enjoy these short stories. Just thinking about the sheep, the dog, and the farmer puts a smile on my face.

Little House On the Prairie, Season 8

littlehouse8Many of us have spent our younger years watching Little House On the Prairie. It debuted in 1974 when a majority of families still watched television together. Today, most networks, streaming websites, and cable companies compartmentalized programs for age groups. Thus, getting the family to watch one show together is a bona fide miracle.

Today, we have DVDs, so television shows like Little House On the Prairie can be watched by the whole family. This series is about decency and wholeness, celebrating the concept of right and wrong.

Now, you can get the series in full broadcast length and completely digitally remastered. The entire eighth season is on 6 discs, with the very last disc having two Little House On the Prairie movies. The movies are from season 9: Look Back to Yesterday and The Last Farewell. Now, that is a treat and something worth enjoying.

You can select episodes from the menu, so if you have a favorite you want to see, it’s easy to maneuver around and select the episode.  You can even select individual scenes from episodes. Subtitles are available as well in different languages.

Instead of listing all the episodes like a catalog, I am going to highlight some favorite episodes of mine from the DVD package. A Christmas They Never Forgot is where the family gets snowed in on Christmas Eve, The Ingalls family and Esther Sue exchange family stories when they were younger. I just love flashbacks.  No Beast So Fierce follows Charles and James as they go on a business trip together. James becomes friends with a wild dog that follows him everywhere after he feeds it. Stone Soup is kind of a silly title but is about three town kids coming together after a drought comes to Walnut Grove. Laura is pregnant and can’t keep up with the newly planted orchard while Almanzo is away.

All in all, this is a great package and a must for any family’s library.  If you are not sure you want to purchase the DVDs yet, search Amazon Prime and watch a couple of episodes and see if your family likes the programming.

Get Santa

GetSantaI knew I was in for a treat when I saw Ridley Scott as executive producer in the opening credits of Get Santa.  Jim Broadbent plays Santa who ends up in jail because he tried to release his reindeer from the animal shelter. How they got into the animal shelter is about as sane as the movie gets.

The movie is a bit crazy and fun to watch compared to most traditional Christmas movies that are about the meaning of Christmas. Some are set around Christmas but really have nothing to do with the holiday. On the odd occasion, Hollywood releases a movie about the spirit of Christmas like Miracle on 34th Street,  A Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life. Get Santa touches on the spirit of Christmas, but presents the story in a refreshing, hilarious and playful way.

Written and directed by Christopher Smith, Get Santa is strictly a British movie. The tale is filled with dry humor where Santa requests the help of a young father named Steve, played by Rafe Spall, and his son named Tom, played truthfully by Kit Connor. Santa needs them to go to the North Pole, ask the Elves to help them get the reindeer back to his sleigh. Then, Steve, who just finished serving time in jail, can help Santa break out of jail and deliver the presents to all the boys and girls around the world before Christmas.

The movie is full of crazy offbeat characters that keep the story moving along.  I had a great time watching it with my family. Broadbent is a master at his craft. He plays the most believable Santa I have seen in a long time.  Not the usual Christmas sentiment but still the message is clear, believe in Santa, so get a copy or watch it on Netflix.