Disney•Pixar’s COCO 

Disney•Pixar’s COCO

By Erin

Disney•Pixar’s COCO is now playing in theatres everywhere! Also, for a limited time only, you can see the brand new Walt Disney Animation Studios’ featurette OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE playing in front of COCO only in theatres! Both of these films are the perfect way to start the holiday season! They will give you all the warm and fuzzy feels.

In COCO, Miguel is an aspiring singer and self-taught guitarist who dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico. But Miguel’s family forbids music. Many years ago, his great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather came to an impasse: She wanted to raise their family together in Santa Cecilia, but he couldn’t let go of his dream, leaving his family behind in his quest to be a musician. Passed down from generation to generation, great-great-grandmother Mamá Imelda’s consequent ban on music is strictly enforced—much to Miguel’s dismay. When Miguel unearths a secret from his family’s past—a connection to Ernesto de la Cruz, he rushes to share the news with his family, thinking it will clear the way for him to be a musician. Unfortunately, it only makes matters worse. Miguel feels like he has to choose between his passion for music and his love for his family. Miguel wants to prove to his family that making music is both beautiful and honorable. We follow Miguel as he follows his heart and his dreams.

NO MUSIC – Miguel challenges his family’s generations-old ban on music, spending time with a local mariachi. But his grandmother Abuelita promptly puts a stop to it.

A magical event is sparked by Miguel’s impulsive actions that renders him visible only to those who have come to visit from the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos. This world is a beautiful, lively and colorful parallel world that is populated by generations and generations of people who long ago left the Land of the Living, including Miguel’s own ancestors, who instantly recognize him and offer to help—but only if he agrees to give up music forever. Miguel ends up running into and teams up with a scrappy, streetwise skeleton named Héctor and they set out to find Ernesto de la Cruz—who they believe holds the key to Miguel’s baffling and decidedly unmusical family history.

What happens next? Well you will just have to go see the film now won’t you? 😉 I do not want to give away all the magical twists and turns and melt-your-heart moments. However, I will leave you with some fun tidbits about the film and some cool things to look for and take notice of in Coco!

Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector.

THEM BONES – Look for the very subtle nods to the skeleton residents in the Land of the Dead, like the cobblestone streets that feature some bone-shaped paving stones.

CHANGE OF PLANTS – Artists at Pixar Animation Studios like to add vegetation—grass, trees, bushes—to exterior environments, but “Coco” filmmakers wanted the Land of the Dead to be different. The only living plants in the vibrant fantastical world are marigolds.

• During research trips to Mexico, filmmakers learned that the color and aroma of marigold petals are believed to help guide the spirit of a family’s loved one home during Día de los Muertos.

Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) finds himself in the Land of the Dead—a rich and vibrant community featuring bridges of marigold petals.

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Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette

By Erin

* I attended the Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Featurette Press Day for this post*

You are in for a special treat this holiday season when you go to theaters to see Coco! Before the feature film, we head back to Arendelle, unwrapping “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” an all-new 21-minute featurette. With four new original songs, the featurette welcomes back to the big screen the characters that audiences fell in love with in 2013’s Oscar®- winning feature “Frozen.” The original cast and characters are back, including Olaf (voice of Josh Gad), who is on a mission to harness the best holiday traditions for Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel) and Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff). Directed by Emmy®-winning filmmakers Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton (“Prep & Landing”), produced by Oscar® winner Roy Conli (“Big Hero 6”), with original songs by Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson (“Between the Lines”), “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” will be in theaters for a limited time beginning November 22.

“The cool thing about the ‘Frozen’ universe is that it’s all about family,” says producer Roy Conli. “We all rallied around the themes of family and holiday traditions—and the fact that our families are made up of more than just our relatives. The idea of welcoming our friends and loved ones into our inner circles really resonated with all of us.” Directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters, the team behind the Emmy®-winning television special “Prep & Landing,” the featurette kicks off about six months after the feature concludes. “Olaf is still brand new to the world,” says Wermers-Skelton. “And Anna and Elsa only recently reunited after being separated for most of their lives. We wondered how they might approach their first holiday together.”

We all have our own family traditions during the holidays, so the theme is really relatable, but Anna and Elsa have never had the chance to create any traditions of their own. This casts a shadow on what they thought would be a huge holiday celebration. Olaf teams up with Sven on a merry mission to comb the kingdom to bring home the best traditions to save this first Christmas for his friends. Traditions are personal though, what one family treasures might seem completely bizarre to another. Olaf being Olaf though just grabs everything he can find. He’ll do anything for his friends to give them all the traditions that he can. It is a very heart-felt story that you won’t want to miss! Perfect to get you in the holiday spirit and ready to see Coco!

A few weeks ago I attended the press day with screening and reception at the Walt Disney Animation Studios for Olaf’s Frozen Adventure where we were able to interview Josh Gad, Directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters, and Producer Roy Conli. It was a very heart-warming interview and would have melted your heart.

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Producer Roy Conli, actor Josh Gad and directors Stevie Wermers-Skelton & Kevin Deters answers questions after a screening of “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel surprised us all with a special musical performance of one of the new songs, “That’s right.” It was a very magical moment to hear them sing it live for us.

So much magic in one room that we were all trying to capture. Can you spot me? lol I am the one in the gray Mickey Mouse shirt in the bottom left.

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Songwriters Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson perform for pess and their guests at the press day for “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

There were also tons of magical Frozen treats on hand such as these Olaf Rice Krispies treats!

OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE – Press and their guests take part in activites at the press day for “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” at the newly remodeled Walt Disney Studios Animation building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017 in Burbank, CA. Photo by Marc Flores. ©2017 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

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Thor: Ragnarok Review

Thor: Ragnarok

By Devon

Vivid. Dazzling. Flashy. Intense. All words that come to mind when I watch the new Thor: Ragnarok, coming to theaters today, November 3rd.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Thor (Chris Hemsworth)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

This third Thor film begins with a battle going on between Thor and Surtur, a fire demon. Thor learns that his father, Odin, is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm itself will soon fall to Ragnarok if Surtur places his crown on the Eternal Flame. Ultimately, Thor defeats Surtur and makes his way to Asgard, believing Ragnarok has been prevented. However, coming to Asgard, he finds his brother, Loki, posing as Odin; they travel together to Earth where they find Stephen Strange. Stephen leads them to a dying Odin, who explains that his firstborn daughter, Hela, will be released upon his passing.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..L to R: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

The movie advances from there, introducing several new and lovable characters along the way. From the very beginning of the movie, I knew this was going to have a very different feel from the others in the Thor storyline. If you read my post about the press junket I attended where I was able to interview members of the cast from this movie, you’ll remember me saying that Taika Waititi worked with the entire cast wanting to give this movie “a new sensibility.”

There’s definitely a lot more humor in this movie than in the others; in a good way, of course. Chris Hemsworth portrays a much more witty Thor than we’ve seen before, and it definitely sets a good balance between the comedic side and the dark and dramatic side. I never would’ve pinned Chris Hemsworth as the next to come out as a comedic outbreak, but he sure proved that he was. His wit and charisma that plays along with most characters he comes into contact with throughout the movie put such a different spin on the entire Thor series of the MCU, but I think it was a necessary twist given how dark the previous Thor was. But of course, that all gets balanced out as well, with the introduction of Hela, Cate Blanchett’s character. Hela is Odin’s firstborn daughter, the goddess of death. She is dark and mysterious, and has Thor and Loki confused as to her existence and where she even came from, as all history of her in Asgard has been hidden away since her imprisonment. Adorning head-to-toe black and a headdress that reminds the crowd of horns, she manifests weapons and was able to destroy Thor’s beloved hammer within minutes of being introduced to her. She’s such a powerful villain that leaves all of the heroes wondering how to defeat her, and Cate Blanchett really pushes that narrative with such an impressive and dominant portrayal, she definitely steals the show when she’s on screen.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Hela (Cate Blanchett) ..Ph: Teaser Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

One of the new characters we met was Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, a mercenary who we find capturing Thor and taking him to serve the Grandmaster, played by Jeff Goldblum, who is the ruler of this planet named Sakaar. Tessa Thompson did a wonderful job portraying Valkyrie, who once defended Asgard against Hela long ago, and now works for the Grandmaster. Valkyrie is a very strong character, both physically and mentally, as she easily holds her own against the likes of both Thor and Loki. Not only in character though, Tessa’s portrayal is so strong that she doesn’t just fall to a side character, she’s so well integrated that it actually leaves you wanting more from her. If the idea of a stand-alone Valkyrie movie were to come to fruition, I think it would do some wonderful justice in building up such a powerful female hero.

Marvel Studios’ THOR: RAGNAROK..Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster is the twisted, eccentric ruler of Sakaar. The Grandmaster was such an amusing character to watch, being both somewhat sarcastic but also somewhat sadistic, in a way where he pins warriors together to fight tooth and nail in his Contest of Champions. Watching Jeff portray the Grandmaster, you can definitely tell he took the idea and ran with it. I definitely think his talent as a jazz musician added to the character improvisation as well, with the way the Grandmaster talks and sways when he walks.

Marvel Studios Thor: Ragnarok..L to R: Topaz (Rachel House), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)..Photo: Jasin Boland..©Marvel Studios 2017

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