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THE ANGRY BIRDS 2 Bring More Giggles

Angry Birds 2 cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Thurop Van Orman and Sony Pictures Animations are our favorite birds with THE ANGRY BIRDS 2.

Everyone on Bird Island is in a pretty good place since Red (Jason Sudekis) has made a name for himself as a hero. Making sure the pigs stay on their island is a full time job and it comes with some adulation that Red has come to like.

Then, the green pigs on Piggy Island are being bombarded with, well, ice balls! Needing help, they reach out to Red and the other birds to see if they want to help find out what is going on. At first Red isn’t having it but when Leonard (Bill Hader) decides to sneak in to see the birds and explain what is happening.

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They talk to Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) who discovers that his ex-gal Zeta (Leslie Jones) is the one responsible for the ice bombs. Seems she isn’t happy being stuck on the cold Eagle Island and she is going to make sure that she gets the sun in her life again!

Now Red, Leonard, Chuck (Josh Gad) and sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) get to Eagle Island only to discover something more sinister. Zeta has created lava ice balls and plans to destroy both islands. Red thinks he can handle everything on his own until, well, he can’t realizing that he needs all his friends to save their homes.

Sudekis as Red still has issues of not being liked by everybody and thinks he needs to continue to be a solo hero in order to keep his status. Hader as Leonard makes a daring move in asking for the birds help to stop the craziness that is plaguing them both. These two characters may always be after each other but together they are pretty darn funny.

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Dinklage as Mighty Eagle likes his solitude and perch high up on the island, when that is threatened you’d think he’d help right? Right? Jones as Zeta is an angry eagle who is not only smart but really smart. A combination of a hurt heart and brains can be dangerous for everyone around her.

Gad as Chuck is bouncy and fast! This actor has made quite a name for himself playing animated characters and I don’t mind one darn bit. Bloom as his sister Silver is equally as smart as Zeta but doesn’t have the broken heart to deal with. She doesn’t see herself and Red as compatible but there is a weird attraction if they can just get past the “destruction of their world” thing.

Other cast include Awkwafina as Courtney, Sterling K. Brown as Garry, Eugenio Derbez as Glenn, Tiffany Haddish as Debbie, Danny McBride as Bomb, Peter Davidson as Jerry, Dove Cameron as Ella, and Maya Rudolph as Matilda.

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THE ANGRY BIRDS 2 is very colorful, full of action and the kids at the screening found it very funny. The story is interesting in that the birds and pigs, who are always trying to one up each other with pranks, finally have a reason to work together – to save their islands.

Discovering a third island of Eagles who are kind of angry about being so cold is the right ingredient to discover more about these characters, especially Mighty Eagle. It’s a nice lesson for the kids to learn how to get along with everybody once you understand them.

In the end – this summer winter is coming!

 

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A DOG’S JOURNEY Continues to be Heartwarming on Bluray

dogs journey cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Gail Mancuso, Amblin and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the continuing story of Boss Dog in A DOG’S JOURNEY.

Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) is with Ethan (Dennis Quaid) and Hannah (Marg Helgenberger) on the farm. Also living at the farm is granddaughter CJ which makes Bailey very happy. Not so happy is her mother Gloria (Betty Gilpin) who seems to be centered on her own life and less on CJ’s.

That leads to Gloria taking CJ away from Ethan, Hannah and Bailey and running off. Saddened, Ethan discovers that something is wrong with Bailey and before he moves on knows that he must find CJ.

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Many years have passed and Bailey, now Molly, smells CJ! She takes the dog home as her best friend Trent adopts fur-brother Rocky. Eventually Mom Gloria finds out and wants Molly gone but CJ puts her own foot down.

Growing up together, CJ tells Trent that she wants to move to New York to pursue music with her inheritance. She believes the story that Gloria told her about how the grandparents tried to take it. Surprisingly enough, Ethan and Hannah try to visit but CJ doesn’t know they are there – but Molly does. Immediately Ethan recognizes who Molly is and reminds him to take care of CJ.

Years go by and CJ (Kathryn Prescott) is in New York writing music and walking dogs and comes to the attention of a little Biewer named Max aka Bailey. Max discovers that childhood friend Trent (Henry Lau) lives in the same building as CJ and finds a way to reunite them.

This isn’t the only relationship that needs to be reunited as CJ finds the will to help a friend in need, discover that all mother’s aren’t the same, that her grandparents are amazing and that dogs have always been in her life for a reason!

It is a dog’s journey along side those who need him!

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Gad as Bailey, Molly, Big Dog and Max returns to do what he does best, make everyone fall in love with what ever character he is playing. From Olaf from FROZEN and now Bailey the loveable and sweet dog, Gad doesn’t just let us in, he hugs us the entire way. I’m so pleased he stayed with A DOG’S series of films.

Prescott as CJ is all grown up and comes to terms with her relationship with Gloria, Trent and the grandparents who have been waiting for so long to see her. She is sweet and endearing from beginning to end. Lau as Trent believes in his friend CJ and knows that she is more special than she could ever have imagined. Gilpin as Gloria is a woman who gets lost in her own loss life and forgets that CJ needs her.

Quaid as Ethan returns as the only person who realizes that Bailey returns again and again with the promise to keep all of them safe. Helgenberger as Hannah is devastated when CJ leaves and does her best to believe that someday they will be together again.

Other cast include Abby Fortson as young CJ, Ian Chen as young Trent, Emma Volk as toddler CJ, Johnny Galecki as Henry, Jake Manley as Shane, Daniela Barbosa as Liesl, Conrad Coates as Big Joe, Arlene Duncan as Hilda and Kevin Claydon as Barry.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

FILM-JOURNEY-REVIEW

The Bonus Features include Gag Reel, A Dog’s Sequel, Everyone’s Best Friend, Working with Dogs, A Healing Journey, Scoring the Journey, and Feature Commentary with Director Gail Mancuso.

 Also Deleted and Extended Scenes including It’s Gonna Work, A Song for Molly, You Can Stay Here, Just Do the Laundry, Let’s Get Started, Gloria Looks at Henry’s Things, This Place is Huge, It’s Really Happening and I’ve Loved You Forever.

A DOG’S JOURNEY is completely beautiful, heartwarming, and touching filled with everything dog lovers want in a film. The added sweetness of this film is that it is relatable on so many levels because it isn’t just about a dog. It’s about friendship, loyalty and love whether you have two legs or four.

We should all be so rewarded in life with a friend like Boss-Dog who loves unconditionally, protects fiercely and only wants the best for us. Let us remember that that goes both ways.

In the end – some friendships transcend lifetimes!

MARSHALL

Marshall cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from director Reginald Hudlin and Open Road Films is a case that would bring a name to life with MARSHALL.

Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is a graduate of Howard University and now a lawyer with the NAACP who takes cases to help those who need it the most. One such case takes him to Connecticut to defend Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), an African American who is accused of raping Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson) – a white woman.

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Not a lawyer in the state, Marshall must work with Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a Jewish attorney who isn’t happy to be a part of the case. Trying to make introductions and slowly slip away, Judge Foster (James Cromwell) isn’t about to let that happen.

Prosecutor Loren Willis (Dan Stevens) is satisfied when Judge Foster allows Marshall to stay but he isn’t allowed to cross-examine witnesses or basically do anything inside the court room. Marshall is furious and has no choice but to make sure that Friedman stays with him on the case.

As each witness comes to the stand, it becomes clear that Spell might not have been honest about everything with Marshall. Now he must work with Friedman on how to present the case and not let anything get in the way of securing Spell’s freedom.

Neither of them could have known what they would discover and how it would end!

Boseman as Marshall gives the audience the angrier side of Thurgood Marshall. From the moment his character is up on the screen it is easy to see he isn’t going down without a fight – on anything. Trying to keep his cool, Boseman spends a lot time pursing his lips and squinting at the judge but once of the courtroom makes it clear he has a lot to say. Unfortunately the anger is aimed at Friedman who takes the lumps quietly.

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Gad as Friedman is a lawyer who just wants to take the simple town cases and enjoy his career. When Marshall comes to town, a sense of fear starts to take over as his family becomes a target for those upset with his new partner’s attitude. At one point he makes it clear that he and his family still have to live in the town once Marshall takes off for his next case elsewhere. Is does take time for Friedman/Gad finds the fighting lawyer in him!

Brown as Spell is a man in a situation that doesn’t have an easy way out. He sticks to his story and clearly has no animosity towards the woman who is accusing him. As the trial gets further and further along, it becomes clear that the truth might not be that easy to tell. Brown is coming off a high with the successful television series This is Us, of which I am a huge fan, and it’s nice to see him take on the bigger screen.

Hudson as Strubing is a very beautiful woman who is also in a situation that has no good ending. The questions are harsh and her story is uncomfortable at a time in the country when a jury is unforgiving of such a crime. Stevens as Willis takes great pleasure in making sure Marshall stays quiet and knows that his case is not only a strong one but can only have one outcome.

Cromwell as Judge Foster is not a man to be trifled with in the slightest. He makes it clear before a jury even sets food in his courtroom that Marshall is under a gag order. He watches every move Marshall makes and doesn’t allow for any wiggle room – period.

Other cast include Keesha Sharp as Buster Marshall, Roger Guenveur Smith as Walter White, Derrick Baskin as Ted Lancaster, Barret Doss as Bertha Lancaster, John Magaro as Irwin Freidman, Ahna O’Reilly as Mrs. Richmond, and Jussie Smollett as Langston Hughes.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MARSHALL three tubs of popcorn out of five. I know, I’m going to get grief for this but here is my problem with the film. First, out of all the cases that Thurgood Marshall was a part of and made history with, this is the story the filmmakers chose to tell? Really? Not one other case stood out and made a greater impact worth telling on film? That was disappointing to me.

This is supposed to be a film about Thurgood Marshall yet I found the journey of Gad’s character of Friedman more compelling. Here is a Jewish lawyer who wanted to fly under the legal radar and completely happy doing so until he is pushed into situation where he excels! He comes out of a shell and lets Marshall know that he understands how it feels to be calls derogatory names and have stereotypes thrown at him. I am all for that storyline but isn’t this a movie about Marshall?

I wish I understood Marshall’s life more in the film instead of the bits and pieces thrown that flash by so fast. The relationship with his wife is another story that just seemed odd, thrown in quick and ripped away and on to the next scene. The quick flashes of relationships with Langston Hughes or the Lancaster family and I’m still not sure if they had a purpose and I just missing it.

I read a lot about Thurgood Marshall over the years and his career is remarkable leading to becoming the first African American Supreme Court Justice. His cases are stellar and his career a brilliant one and I’d rather read a good book about his life than see a film that misses the mark. That’s just my opinion folks!

In the end – his name means justice!

Beauty and the Beast Dances and Sings onto Bluray

Beauty and the Beast cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital HD from director Bill Condon and Disney is the return of a tale as old as time with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Belle (Emma Watson) is a young girl living in a small village where everyone knows everyone. So much so that Belle is known as an unusual girl who would read than find a husband. Living with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), he is also seen as unusual.

Also in the town is Gaston (Luke Evans), a tad self centered man who sees Belle as his prize and wants to marry her. Along with side kick LeFou (Josh Gad), it is a constant struggle to understand why she is not falling at his feet!

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During a trip to the neighboring town, Maurice unexpectedly loses his way and ends up in a tattered castle. He quickly discovers that the inhabitants are a little more magical and terrifying. A Beast (Dan Stevens) roars down and puts Maurice in a tower cell.

When their horse returns to Belle, she immediately knows her father is in trouble and rides off to find him. Finding her father in a cell and meeting the Beast, Belle offers a trade to stay in exchange for releasing her father.

Maurice returns to the town and tries to convince everyone that Belle is being held prisoner by a Beast. In the meantime Belle is getting to know her surroundings and the magic that holds the castle captive. Taking care of her is the candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), the elegant clock Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), the motherly teapot Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and her teacup son Chip (Nathan Mack), the chiffarobe Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and the ivory keys of Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci).

Getting to know the Beast, Belle begins to see a different side of the creature. This thrills the residence of the castle since there is a curse with a glass encased rose and when the last petal falls they all will become unchangeable forever.

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The Beast begins to feel so much more than he could have imagined and when Belle needs to be with her father, his heart gives in. But that isn’t all changing as Gaston convinces the town that the Beast must be destroyed. The two sides collide but one thing is certain, nothing will ever be the same.

It begins with heart!

Watson is charming as Belle and she certainly has made her way out of another iconic character. She twirls and sings her way though and looks to be enjoying her performance. Stevens voicing the Beast is gruff and unmoving at first but, of course, finds his heart and is changed.

Evans as Gaston is very funny and manages to capture the arrogance and narcissism of the marriage minded self-absorbed hunter. Gad as LeFou is clever and also funny.  Kline as Maurice gets a chance to portray Belle’s father in a less absent minded way but still well done.

McGregor as Lumiere is charming, but then again he is supposed to be. McKellen as Cogsworth has that voice that clearly defines who he is. Thompson as Mrs. Potts is sweet and caring along with the adorable Mack as Chip. McDonald as Madame Garderobe needs lessons in fashion and Tucci as Cadenza plays the ivories beautifully.

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Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The film is obviously beautiful and live-action fans will have a good time singing along whenever they like to song they already know and one or two new ditties. The costuming is stunning and the cgi is clever. The cast is fun and that is all that will matter to families ready to have a real home movie night.

The Bluray includes so many Bonus Extras including Enchantable Table Read – You’re invited to join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more, A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic, and The Women Behind Beauty and the Beast – Emma Watson introduces several of the many talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.

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That isn’t all! Also included From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – Discover what goes into creating some Beauty and the Beast’s best-known moments, Making a Moment with Celine Dion, Beauty and the Beast Music Video & Making the Music Video, Extended Song: Days in the Sun – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, and finally Deleted Scenes, Song Selection and so much more!

This BEAUTY AND THE BEAST pack includes a Bluray, DVD and Digital HD which means with the code you can take the gang where ever you are going and instantly stream and download all 129 minutes of fun.

In the end – be our guest!

A DOG’S PURPOSE Offers a Special Four Legged Love on Bluray

 

bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray this week from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and director Lasse Hallstrom based on The New York Times best-selling novel of A DOG’S PURPOSE.

Bailey (voiced by Josh Gad) is a dog who finds his person in 8-year-old Ethan (Bryce Gheisar). They spend their every waking moment together and Bailey doesn’t want it any other way. As Ethan becomes a teen he meets Hanna (Britt Robertson) and the three are happy together.

When Ethan has an accident and his life changes, he goes off to college to study to become a farmer. That means Bailey stays behind on Ethan’s grandparent’s farm until old age takes him.

But Bailey comes again as Ellie the training police dog, then Tino a girl’s best friend and then Buddy. As this new incarnation, Bailey recognizes his surroundings and the smells of his previous life. Finding his way back to the farm he sees Ethan (Dennis Quaid) who is living alone on the farm.

Not wanting to deal with it, Ethan pushes the dog away but not for long. Naming him Buddy, he begins to see something he can’t explain in the dog. Seeing that Ethan is alone, it becomes Buddy/Bailey’s mission to find another smell he recognizes.

Back in town Buddy/Bailey finds Hannah (Peggy Lipton) and knows that this is what is missing in his two legged friend’s life. There is one more thing that Buddy/Bailey wants for his best friend and it’s only something Ethan would know!

Gad as Bailey/Tino/Ellie and Buddy is the perfect voice for it all. There are inflections in his voice that are meaningful, loving, sad and very playful. The dual performance of this lovely dogs and Gad’s voice make the film so lovely that dog lovers won’t be able to help but run the gambit of emotions.

Gheisar as 8-year-old Ethan has a lot to deal with for such a young boy. His father goes through his own issues that keep Ethan at arms length but having Bailey gives this young boy hope and love. K.J. Apa as the teenage Ethan is strong knowing that no matter what his father does, he has the love of his Mom and the devotion of Bailey – and he certainly needs it.

Quaid as the adult Ethan is a man who clearly holds some resentment about the way life has taken its turn. Not wanting anything to do with another dog in his life, there is something about the dog that shows up at his door that changes everything for him – including opening doors he shut long ago.

Robertson as the teenage Hannah is a young girl who clearly is perfectly suited to the country life with Ethan. She absolutely adores Bailey and when an event changes all their plans for the future, she is heart broken. Lipton as an adult Hannah is wonderful because I have always been a fan so when she shows up in films I’m delighted. Her role isn’t a big one but it sure makes a point about life!

Other cast includes Juliet Rylance as Ethan’s Mom, Luke Kirby as Ethan’s Dad, Gabrielle Rose as Grandma Fran, Michael Bofshever as Grandpa Bill, Logan Miller as Todd, Kirby Baptiste as Maya, Nicole LaPlaca as Wendi and Pooch Hall as Al.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

Amblin Entertainment brings quality film such as BRIDGE OF SPIES and the recent release of GHOST IN THE SHELL. Developing and producing films also through DreamWorks, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One, discover what is coming on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AmblinEntertainment.

A DOG’S PURPOSE is from the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron and it has transferred onto the screen in such a unique and lovely way. Each incarnation of dog is just so adorable which means I’m going to go through my “I want a dog” phase for a while – thanks so much for that!

There are so many amazing messages of love, family, devotion, protection, hope, belief in the human-canine connection. Of course anyone who has had a dog as part of their family knows all of this to be very true. I don’t think anyone should watch this film without a tissue box next to them.

The Bonus Features on the Bluray and DVD include Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Lights Camera Woof!, and A Writer’s Purpose that tells the story behind Cameron’s beloved best-selling novel. Included in the Bluray Combo Pack is a DVD and Digital HD with Ultra Violet bringing the best picture with 6X picture resolution and theater-quality sound.

In the end – every dog happens for a reason!

Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Returns as a Live Action Telling

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Jeri Jacquin

This Friday in theatres from director Bill Condon and Disney is the return of a tale as old as time with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Belle (Emma Watson) is a young girl living in a small village where everyone knows everyone. So much so that Belle is known as an unusual girl who would read than find a husband. Living with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), he is also seen as unusual.

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Also in the town is Gaston (Luke Evans), a tad self centered man who sees Belle as his prize and wants to marry her. Along with side kick LeFou (Josh Gad), it is a constant struggle to understand why she is not falling at his feet!

During a trip to the neighboring town, Maurice unexpectedly loses his way and ends up in a tattered castle. He quickly discovers that the inhabitants are a little more magical and terrifying. A Beast (Dan Stevens) roars down and puts Maurice in a tower cell.

When their horse returns to Belle, she immediately knows her father is in trouble and rides off to find him. Finding her father in a cell and meeting the Beast, Belle offers a trade to stay in exchange for releasing her father.

Maurice returns to the town and tries to convince everyone that Belle is being held prisoner by a Beast. In the meantime Belle is getting to know her surroundings and the magic that holds the castle captive. Taking care of her is the candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), the elegant clock Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), the motherly teapot Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and her teacup son Chip (Nathan Mack), the chiffarobe Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and the ivory keys of Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci).

beauty 1

Getting to know the Beast, Belle begins to see a different side of the creature. This thrills the residence of the castle since there is a curse with a glass encased rose and when the last petal falls they all will become unchangeable forever.

The Beast begins to feel so much more than he could have imagined and when Belle needs to be with her father, his heart gives in. But that isn’t all changing as Gaston convinces the town that the Beast must be destroyed. The two sides collide but one thing is certain, nothing will ever be the same.

It begins with heart!

Watson is charming as Belle and she certainly has made her way out of another iconic character. She twirls and sings her way though and looks to be enjoying her performance. Stevens voicing the Beast is gruff and unmoving at first but, of course, finds his heart and is changed.

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Evans as Gaston is very funny and manages to capture the arrogance and narcissism of the marriage minded self-absorbed hunter. Gad as LeFou is clever and also funny.  Kline as Maurice gets a chance to portray Belle’s father in a less absent minded way but still well done.

McGregor as Lumiere is charming, but then again he is supposed to be. McKellen as Cogsworth has that voice that clearly defines who he is. Thompson as Mrs. Potts is sweet and caring along with the adorable Mack as Chip. McDonald as Madame Garderobe needs lessons in fashion and Tucci as Cadenza plays the ivories beautifully.

The original in 1991 with Robbie Benson voicing Beast and Paige O’Hara voicing Belle continues to be a brilliant and colorful animated film that will be first in my heart. I am not a fan of changing my opinion on that anytime soon.

I prefer the 1991 animated version and it’s because of the memories the animated film brings back. I have seen my children and now grandchildren embrace it lovingly and iconically still watch it on Bluray to this day. There is a liveliness, silliness and fun in animated films that can not be captured in live-action.

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The film is obviously beautiful and live-action fans will have a good time singing along to song they already know and one or two new ditties. The costuming is stunning (except for the ending scene where everyone changes and the makeup is pretty disturbing) and the cgi is clever. The cast is fun and that is all that will matter to those sitting in the theatre seats.

In the end – be our guest!

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