Dreamworks Trolls in Theaters November 4th!

Dreamworks Trolls

By Erin


 Dreamworks Trolls is on it’s way to theaters this Friday and I had the opportunity to screen the movie a little early and attend a special press junket held at DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox a couple of weekends ago. We chatted with Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick and got a preview of the many things from the Trolls world that we can now experience for ourselves like some yummy frozen yogurt, their awesome songs, and some cool wigs so you can actually BE a troll yourself!


So what did I think of the movie? Trolls is a cute, colorful adventure inspired by the tall-haired troll dolls that first became popular in the 1960s. I remember having a lot of these as a kid, which was a big factor that drew me to this movie (besides Justin Timberlake lol).  Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) partners up with grumpy pessimist Branch (Justin Timberlake) to rescue her friends from the crazy troll-hungry Bergens. There are lessons they learn about inner happiness, never giving up, and being proud of who you are. The film has a very fuzzy, felted look to it, that filmmakers took a lot of time to create which softens some of the danger, but little kids are still likely to be scared by the greedy, hungry giant Bergens. Glitter farts of Poppy’s sparkly friend, Guy Diamond are sure to make viewers of all ages laugh, along with all of the catchy songs, the strong themes of friendship and empathy, and the fun characters. The messages are positive and easy to understand. Happiness is inside everyone, if you know where and how to find it. You shouldn’t have to change who you are to get someone to like you. Musical numbers are used to move the story along and have a lot of meaning to the storyline. Classics like “The Sound of Silence” enter at just the right moments and often at just the right time to make you chuckle. With all the colors, music, action, and glitter; there’s so much to look at and listen to all at once. This is a movie the whole family can enjoy.

Meet the Cast


After a very fun day full of good food, crafts, and previewing the Trolls items you will see below, we got to meet the cast and directors of the Movie Trolls. Here is a little bit of what they shared with us about the movie and the music.

We all wanted to know from Justin what were some of the unique challenges between doing the songs that are covers versus his own songs.

Justin Timberlake:  Well, every song was pretty situational, whether it be for a comedic purpose or dramatic purpose. So I think you really just kind of break down each moment and you know, at the end of the day it’s theatrical as well.  For instance, there were some great opportunities to write songs to use almost like you’re writing your own source music. The roller-skating scene to write the song for Ariana Grande, that worked out. I saw the scene and they had something else tempted in there and went back and sort of rethought that. But when you’re using a song like The Sound of Silence’, as soon as you hear those two opening, it’s so recognizable that immediately all the adults in the room laugh.  And then with something likeTrue Colors’, I can’t imagine actually having to write a song after hearing that in that scene and just it literally is like it worked so well. I’ll shut up now.

What attracted Anna to this particular project and was it different than any other musical element?

Anna Kendrick:  Well, I think music and animation, I grew up in an era when all animated films were musicals, so that made perfect sense to me. And I didn’t know that, when I signed on I didn’t know how much of it was going to be covers and that just made it even more fun. Because I already knew the words and stuff.  But, when I was recording Sounds of Silence’ I was like, “Oh my God, my dad is going to be so excited,” because we listened to this in the car when I was growing up. Singing these songs is just so cool. Like I can’t believe I get to do it.  So, I mean, I would say that because if Justin had been a part of it before I signed on that would have obviously been a huge factor. And so the fact that he came on after that I was like, “This is like getting better and better. Like is someone going to give me a Ferrari next? This is the best job I’ve ever had.”

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Exploring the Islands and Legend of Moana

Exploring the Islands and Legend of Moana

By Erin

*I attended an early press day as a guest of Disney for purposes of this post. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.*

Tenacious teenager Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) recruits a demigod named Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to help her become a master wayfinder and sail out on a daring mission to save her people. Directed by the renowned filmmaking team of Ron Clements and John Musker, produced by Osnat Shurer, and featuring music by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa‘i, “Moana” sails into U.S. theaters on Nov. 23, 2016. ©2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Tenacious teenager Moana (voice of Auliʻi Cravalho) recruits a demigod named Maui (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to help her become a master wayfinder and sail out on a daring mission to save her people. ©2016 Disney

Not too long ago, I introduced you to the Characters of Moana. We had learned all about the creative process of creating the characters for Moana. We met the  members of the team who brought Disney’s adventurous heroine to life, from the initial sketches to costume design to animation – and how a lot of research helped to bring Moana to life and inspired the artists. Moana is set to be the 56th film from the Walt Disney Animation Studios and will set audiences on a magical voyage across the tropical pacific. Inspired by the deep-rooted sense of community in the South Pacific, Moana will prove to be one of the best Walt Disney Animation Studio films to date. Now I want to share with you a bit about the intense research that was done to create this magical film and the history behind it.

Visual development for the island of Motunui, and the layout of the village. Artist: Andy Harkness, MOANA Art Director, Environments and Color.

Visual development for the island of Motunui, and the layout of the village. Artist: Andy Harkness, MOANA Art Director, Environments and Color.

Oral histories of the people and cultures of Oceania was a huge inspiration for the story.  Filmmakers traveled to learn as much as possible. For centuries, the greatest navigators in the world masterfully navigated the vast Pacific, discovering the many islands of Oceania. But then, around 3,000 years ago, their voyages stopped for a millennium – and though there are theories, no one knows exactly why. “Navigation— wayfinding—is such a big part of Pacific culture,” says Musker. “Ancient Polynesians found their way across the seas, wayfinding island-to-island without the use of modern instruments, using their knowledge of nature, the stars, the waves and the currents.” The Pacific Ocean is home to thousands of islands and island nations, known to generations as Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia. Many Pacific Islanders consider the entire region not in sections, but as the whole of Oceania. The islands themselves may range in size, but inhabitants of these islands consider the ocean between them very much a part of their world. A world many times bigger than the United States. Filmmakers were deeply inspired by the people who live there, the cultures they celebrate, and the history and traditions passed down from generation to generation.

Visual development for the island of Motunui. Artist: Ian Gooding, MOANA Production Designer.

Visual development for the island of Motunui. Artist: Ian Gooding, MOANA Production Designer.

“We came away from these trips not only with ideas, images and inspirations for our story, but with an even stronger resolve that we wanted to make something that the people we met would enjoy,” says Musker. “We aren’t making a documentary, of course, it’s an animated feature. But our experiences infused our imaginations in a way we hadn’t anticipated.” Clements, Musker and several members of the production team ventured first to Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti, and later to New Zealand. “We wanted to, as much as possible, avoid the ‘touristy’ things, to go deeper,” says Clements. “We wanted to meet people who grew up on islands; we wanted to listen and learn what makes these Pacific Island cultures so remarkable.” The filmmakers were invited to take to the seas, coming as close as possible to voyaging like the early explorers who inspired them. “We sailed with a Fijian navigator aboard a camakau, which is a traditional Fijian sailing vessel,” says Musker.

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Meet the Cast of Doctor Strange!

Meet the Cast of Doctor Strange!

By Erin


Marvel Studios has created more movie magic with “Doctor Strange!”  Coming out in theaters this Friday, November 4. You won’t want to miss it! Doctor Stephen Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts, made his first appearance in Marvel comics in 1963. Th Marvel Cinematic Universe opens up a host of new, electrifying stories and exciting, mystifying, never-before-seen action with this one. There has always been a very important supernatural side to the Marvel comics, and ‘Doctor Strange’ is the perfect entry point into that realm, with parallel dimensions, alternate dimensions and the multiverse, which unlocks an entirely new area of storytelling.

The story follows world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange, whose life forever changes after he gets himself into a horrific car accident where he ends up losing the ability to be able to use his hands. Traditional medicine fails him miserably, and he is willing to do anything to heal his precious hands. He ends up in an unlikely place—a mysterious enclave known as Kamar-Taj. He soon finds out that this is not just a center for healing but also the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Strange finds out he has some magical powers of is own and is forced to choose to either return to his old life or to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

The other week I had the opportunity to meet the cast of this action-packed film. Here are a few fun and exciting things they had to share with us.


Talent in attendance

·         Benedict Cumberbatch (“Dr. Stephen Strange”)

·         Rachel McAdams (“Christine Palmer”)

·         Tilda Swinton (“The Ancient One”)

·         Benedict Wong (“Wong”)

·         Mads Mikkelsen (“Kaecilius”)

·         Director Scott Derrickson

·         Producer Kevin Feige

Kevin Feige shared with us about the right time to bring Dr. Strange into the Marvel Cinematic Universe “Sometimes things just work out, timing often, particularly in the cinematic universe, works out well for us, and it’ll be our 14th film within the MCU and we always say we have to push the boundaries, we have to keep surprising people, we have to keep making them unique and different, and certainly this movie and this character fits all of that. Also tapping into other dimensions and tapping into sort of that supernatural realm of the Marvel Comic Universe is going to come in handy, as we move forward throughout the Cinematic Universe, so the timing was perfect.”


Scott Derrickson added to that how Doctor Strange was a product of the Sixties and was a big breath of fresh air into the world of comics at that time, and as a fan watching movies felt ready for some new, daring, weird left turns in the world of comic books and the MCU. Guardians of the Galaxy was that and was such a bold that movie. When he came in to meet for Doctor Strange, his approach was, let’s make this as weird in the MCU as the comic was in the comic book world in the Sixties. I think they’ve done a good job accomplishing this!

One of the biggest challenges of the movie and to keep it fresh according to Scott, was to try to make a movie that is as visually progressive by movie standards as the Ditko art was in the Sixties. “The primary source of inspiration was the early Stan Lee, Steve Ditko comics, and that artwork is still progressive. That was the primary source of inspiration and visual effects have just caughten up to where we can do some of the things that we did in this movie. The trick of it was to not hold back and to push ourselves as far as possible to do original things with the set pieces.”

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