Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Movie review: Disney Pixar's Inside Out!

*Disclosure: We attended a screening of this movie. We were not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are ours and ours alone. 

My family had the great good fortune to attend an early screening of the new movie from Disney Pixar, called Inside Out. And what a great movie it is! I've been anxiously waiting until I had permission to post my experience with the film and the go-ahead just arrived, so read on for details!

Do you ever look at someone and wonder what is going on inside their head? Disney•Pixar’s original new film “Inside Out” ventures inside the mind to find out. 

Based in Headquarters, the control center inside 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five Emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy (voice of Amy Poehler), whose mission is to make sure Riley stays happy. Fear (voice of Bill Hader) heads up safety, Anger (voice of Lewis Black) ensures all is fair and Disgust (voice of Mindy Kaling) prevents Riley from getting poisoned—both physically and socially. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) isn’t exactly sure what her role is, and frankly, neither is anyone else.  

I hadn't read much about the movie before we saw it, but I knew it was from Disney Pixar, so assumed it was just a kids' movie. That is a wrong assumption. There is something in this movie for everyone. There are funny scenes that will tickle the kids, amusing interactions between mom and dad that parents will relate to, and lots of universal truths about emotions and life experience that ring true for all ages.  Truthfully, the person in our family who liked it the least was our (just turned) 6 year old. She laughed at some places, but much of the film went over her head. Still, she sat and watched the whole thing and enjoyed the fantastic 3D images.  The scenery and animation are really superb in this movie. 

I don't want to spoil the movie (even though I'm usually a fan of spoilers!), but if you do happen to find out the plot before you go, it's still definitely worth seeing. The voice acting is spot on. All of the characters are fantastic and bring their respective emotions to life. Sadness steals the show in a performance that is endearing and sad and sweet all at the same time. Joy is full of energy and optimism and is just wonderful to watch as she goes on her journey. Disdain (Vivian's favorite), Fear and Anger are also just hysterical. 

My son and husband generally cry in movies, and this one was no exception. Ethan was crying so hard that people sitting near him were actually a little concerned, but the places that made him cry (he's very sensitive to movies) passed quickly and he was soon laughing hysterically again. I even teared up in a few places myself. But the crying moments are perfectly balanced with jokes and funny scenes. Stay for the credits and you will leave the theatre chuckling. 

Go see Inside Out. It's getting great reviews for a reason. It's a solidly fantastic movie.  Great plot, great acting, good messages about life and emotions. GO!  

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book review: Putting the Monkeys to Bed

*Disclosure- I received a copy of this book to review for myself. All opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

We have a new bedtime book in our home. It's called Putting the Monkeys to Bed, and, as far as I can tell, the author somehow snuck into my house and has been observing my son's bedtimes, because this book is TOTALLY about him.  I actually started annoying Ethan while reading this book to him because I kept laughing and saying "the main character in this book should be called Ethan!" Despite my annoying behavior, the book was a hit with Ethan as well.



Putting the Monkeys to Bed is a very funny little story about bedtime for a boy named Sam. It tells of all of the trouble that his stuffed monkeys get him into when they want to play instead of go to sleep like good monkeys. Any parent of a kid who does everything but sleep at bedtime will relate to this book. And the kids will love the great illustrations and the funny story of Sam and his monkeys.

I highly recommend this book for all families!