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TOY STORY 4 Reunited Our Favorite Friends

Toy Story 4 cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Josh Cooley, Pixar Animated Studios and Walt Disney Pictures brings back our friends for TOY STORY 4.

Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang are still living with Bonnie. As time has gone on, Woody has found himself spending more time in the closet and less time with Bonnie. Yet Buzz, Jessie (Joan Cusack), Dolly (Bonnie Hunt), Trixie (Kristen Schaal), Rex, (Wallace Shawn), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Slinky Dog (Blake Clark), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Mrs. Potato Head (Estelle Harris) and the gang are still supportive of Woody.

But he has other things to worry about when Bonnie (Madeleine McGraw) is upset about going off to kindergarten. Taking the initiative, Woody decides to make sure she has a good day! When things don’t seem to be going in that direction, he helps Bonnie create a new friend, Forky (Tony Hale) and she is delighted.

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Before the real school year starts, Mom and Dad decide it’s time to go on a little road trip. The toy-gang is thrilled as well and wait to be packed into the RV for a little adventure. When Forky escapes the RV, Woody tells he gang he will meet them at the RV park in the next town while he goes off to settle their new toy friend down a bit.

It gives time for Woody and Forky to bond as the sheriff gets time to explain the situation to him. Getting close to the RV park, Woody sees something in an antique store window. A lamp that his friend Bo Peep (Annie Potts) once called her home with the three sheep Billy, Goat and Gruff. Taking a small detour to find out if she is in the shop, he and Forky meet Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) who only wants one thing from Woody!

When she doesn’t get it, Gabby Gabby takes Forky as hostage at the same time Woody finds Bo Peep. Now she needs to bring her friends to help including Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) because Bonnie and her parents are about to leave the RV park and not everyone is aboard. Buzz jumps into action to help as the gang in the RV make a little plan of their own.

It’s pretty much help your friends, help your new friends and make a decision that will change the lives of everybody all while getting back to Bonnie.

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Because that’s what friends do for one another!

Hanks as Woody will now and forever be considered a beloved icon in both movies and animation. He has brought all of us so much love and teachable lessons in the character of Sheriff Woody. From the very first TOY STORY in 1995, I knew this was going to be a ride from adults to children, little did I know now that it would include grandchildren. Woody can be found in kids rooms still because he is the friend we all wish we could have for a lifetime.

Allen as Buzz is once again the lighthearted friend who tries to keep Woody’s spirits up and when it comes time to bring him home, it is Buzz who go to find him. They are an unbeatable pair and even if he is still a little confused sometimes, he doesn’t let that stop him from hearing his own ‘inner voice’.

Potts as Bo Peep is sweet, strong and has a little fight in her swagger. She has a story to tell and it is about where she has been and how she now sees the world. McGraw as Bonnie is such a young girl learning to be outside of her bedroom and toy world into something much bigger – but she still needs her toy friends.

Cusack, Hunt, Schaal, Shawn, Ratzenberger, Benson, Clark, Rickles, Harris return as their respective and beloved characters and, of course, we wouldn’t have it any other way. As much as there wouldn’t be a TOY STORY without Woody and Buzz, there equally wouldn’t be a Woody and Buzz without Jessie, Dolly, Rex, Hamm, Barbie and the Potato Heads.

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Hendricks as Gabby Gabby can be a little bit off putting and a tad-bit like Lotso from TOY STORY 3 in that she wants to be large and in charge. It is clear that there are deeper issues and Woody needs to get to the bottom of it.

Reeves as Duke Caboom may have only been in the film briefly but man did he make me laugh! This was a fantastic chance for Reeves to show his comedic side in a way that most would see as unexpected and awesome at the same time.

Other cast include Bill Hader as Axel the Carnie, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples, Jay Hernandez as Bonnie’s Dad, Lori Alan as Bonnie’s Mom, Emily Davis as Billy/Goat/Gruff, Carl Weathers as Combat Carls, Jeff Garlin as Buttercup, Jordan Peele as Bunny Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Jodie Benson as Barbie, Jeff Pidgeon as Aliens, and especially Mel Brooks as Melephant Brooks, Carol Burnett as Chairol Burnett, Betty White as Bitey White and Carl Reiner as Carl. Reineroceros.

TOY STORY 4 is a chance for the toys themselves to actually have an adventure that is about – well – them! Of course there is the continuing story of Bonnie but it is also about how these toys are still caring of one another.

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They have their own attachments and feelings about the years they have spent together and TOY STORY 4 has a chance to tell that side of it all and do so in a way that brings closure we didn’t even know we needed.

In the end – on the road of life there are old friends, new friends and stories that will change you forever!

 

 

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Bring all Your Monsters to See HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: Summer Vacation

Hotel trans cover

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from director Genndy Tartakovsky and Sony Pictures Animation is a return to visit one of our favorite monster family’s at HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: Summer Vacation.

The hotel is busier than ever as Dracula (Adam Sandler) and daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) miss spending family time together. Son-in-law Johnny (Andy Samberg) thinks Mavis’ idea of a family vacation is fantastic and along with son Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) pack immediately.

Mavis has booked passage on a monster cruise and invites the extended family with Frank (Kevin James), Eunice (Fran Drescher), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Wanda (Molly Shannon) and their brood, Griffin (David Spade), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key) and Grandpa Vlad (Mel Brooks).

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At first Dracula isn’t thrilled about the idea but when Mavis implores him to use the time for family, he can’t exactly turn her down. Captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn) welcomes everyone aboard and promises them a fantastic vacation. Seeing all the ship has to offer, the gang is excited. Even Dracula changes his tune when he sees Erika because the one thing he thought would never happen is happening – zinging!

Worried how Mavis will react, he keeps his feelings under his proverbial cape. What he doesn’t know and that’s who is hiding below deck, what plans are taking shape and more importantly – who is Bob?

All of this and more will be answered because after all – they are family!

Sandler as Dracula once again puts on the cape to run the hotel and spending time being a good Dad and Grandpa. Wanting to spend more family time, the monster cruise is certainly something different. It’s good to see Sandler keep his character goofy and loveable even for a vampire.

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Gomez as Mavis wants to spend quality time with the family having fun. Having her father ‘zing’ certainly isn’t on her itinerary. It doesn’t help that her suspicions about the ships captain are accurate but everyone deserves a second chance.

Hahn as Captain Erika is nimble, fun and very sneaky. She has her eye on Dracula but zinging isn’t why! Erika’s story of hereditary, history and revenge but she also hasn’t met anyone like Dracula.

Frank, Eunice, Wayne, Wanda, Griffin, Murray all return because this wouldn’t be HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA without them. They bring fun, charm and a gentle reminder that extended family hold an important place in our lives. This bunch is so loveable that I was “awing” every five minutes. This is a monster family that started it all and continues to keep us together.

Shout out to Mel Brooks as Grandpa Vlad for bringing the jokes and fun on deck. Of course any time Mel Brooks shows up to a party it’s going to be awesome!

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Other cast include Chris Parnell as Stan, Joe Jonas as The Kraken, Chrissy Teigen as Crystal, Aaron LaPlante as the Gremlin, Genndy Tartakovsky as Blobby, Sandie Sandler as Winnie, Sunny Sandler as Sunny, Tara Strong as Frankenlady, Libby Dickey as Lucy, and Joe Whyte as Tinkles.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: Summer Vacation makes the difficult look easy in that the story is fresh and fun while leaving us the characters our own family’s have come to love. The comedy is there, family issues about our busy lives and, of course, how love shows up at the most unexpected time and place – no matter if your one or one thousand years old.

It is so easy to forget these are ‘monsters’ when there situations are not so different than our own. Another reason this series of films has and continues to be embraced by family film goers. It’s a film we can take our kids to see while still being kids ourselves.

So pack up your own brood and prepare them all for popcorn, fun and loads of giggles. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: Summer Vacation is everything and so much more.

In the end – family vacations can suck the life out of you!

 

 

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 Brings the Drac Pack Back on Bluray!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray 3D Combo Pack and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Animation and director Genndy Tartakovsky is the best monster get-a-way with HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2.

Mavis (Selena Gomez) and Johnny (Andy Samberg) are married and raising their adorable red-headed boy Dennis (Asher Blinkoff) in Hotel Transylvania. A source of pride for Vampa Drac (Adam Sandler), he is also loved by Frankenstein (Kevin James), Murray (Keegan-Michael Key), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), and Griffin (David Spade).

It’s Johnny that isn’t feeling very loved as Mavis is totally dedicated to little Dennis. Vampa Drac is feeling a little out of sorts waiting for Dennis to show signs of carrying on the family legacy. When Mavis announces that it might be better if they left the hotel, Johnny manages to talk Mavis into visiting his home while Vampa Drac takes care of the boy.

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Visiting his parents, Johnny shows Mavis what life outside the castle is like. From small town living to a thrilling trip to the mini-mart, Mavis is excited about the world she didn’t know existed.

Knowing the clock is ticking, Drac’s first stop is ‘monster-in-training’ boot camp that doesn’t go exactly as planned – unless you like posting video to YouTube! All of this to keep Drac’s father Vlad (Mel Brooks) from finding out that Mavis married a human and his grandson isn’t a pureblood.

Sometimes families can be draining!

Gomez as Mavis is now a Mommy and takes that job seriously. Samberg as Johnny thought he’d have Mavis all to himself but with the arrival of little Dennis he starts to feel a little neglected and looking to the birds for friends. Blinkoff as Dennis is just so adorable to listen to! He is also a little boy who wants to make both sides of his family happy and still wants to fly! A red-headed baby vampire is just to awesome!

James as Frankenstein is hilarious as usual, Key as Murray brings the love, Buscemi as Wayne can be counted on with the one liners and Spade as Griffin takes no nonsense – unless he’s the one giving it.

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Sandler as Vampa Drac brings back the same love and attention for little Dennis that he continues to have for his daughter Mavis. Saddened that she would think of leaving him and the hotel, Drac will do anything to keep them home. Wanting Dennis to carry on the family tradition, he realizes that means letting his family be who they are.

Brooks as Vlad is hilarious because that is the last character I would imagine him playing. I adore Mel Brooks and have for more years than I care to count. His line delivery is pure magic, but then again Brooks could read a phone book and I’d be thrilled.

Other cast include: Fran Drescher as Eunice, Molly Shannon as Wanda, Megan Mullally as Linda, Nick Offerman as Grandpa Mike, Dana Carvey as Dana, Rob Riggle as Bela, Chris Kattan as Kakie, Sadie Sandler as Winnie, Jon Lovitz as Phantom of the Opera, Robert Smigel as Marty, Nick Swardson as Kelsey, Paul Brittain as Pandragora, Chris Parnell as Fly and Doug Dale as Kal.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion pictures, television and digital content that offer so much to those wanting to expand their home entertainment library. To see more of what they have to offer please visit http://www.sonypictures.com. Sony Pictures Animation has not only brought the gang from HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA but is responsible for CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, both of THE SMURFS films, The Academy Award nominated THE PIRATES! Band of Misfits and one of my new favorite holiday films ARTHUR CHRISTMAS. For more information on what Sony Animation will be bringing in 2016 please visit http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 four tubs of popcorn out of five. Talk about happiness in a dysfunctional family, the story here would work even if they weren’t monsters – I’m just thrilled that they are. Having watched Mavis grow up from the first HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, Dennis is a joy to experience! Of course I think so because my own granddaughter is a redhead so I am a tad partial.

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The best part of this film is that every member of the family can enjoy the charm, humor and love that is in every part of the storyline. The animation is fun and brilliantly done, the casting takes fun to a whole other level. That’s also what makes HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 such a treat – the humor reaches every tickle bone and tubs every heartstring.

The Bluray includes Sing Along with Monster Scary-Oke!, Deleted Scenes, Make the Scary Silly Sounds of Hotel Transylvania 2, How to Throw the Ultimate Monster Party, How to Draw Your Favorite Characters, The New Guys: Meet Vlad, Dennis, Kakie and More!

I am a fan of having an animated section to the home media library and with grandkids I’d probably be disowned if I didn’t. Get ready to add more fun, laughs and love with the Drac Pack and pick up your own Bluray copy (which by the way is stunning to look at) of HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 on Tuesday from Sony Picture Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation.

In the end – they are back to raise a little terror!

 

 

For more Bluray reviews please visit http:///moviemaven.homestead.com

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