Flora and Ulysses

Wow! All I can say is WOW!

Do you know how long it has been since I’ve seen a movie that emphasizes the importance of being there for your family even when things get rough?

On the surface, Flora and Ulysses appears to be a story about a superhero squirrel, but in reality it delves into something much more super – the importance of never giving up on your family.

Flora and Ulysses contains a message of hope, courage, and perseverance despite familial struggles. While the husband and wife are separated in this movie, their love for each other is evident. Divorce looks like it may be in their future, but you can tell it is not something either of them want. Furthermore, I was impressed by the fact the father actually tells his daughter “I love you!” You rarely hear that in movies. (In fact, you rarely see a father involved in his child’s life in movies these days.)

I’ll admit the action scenes and slapstick humor were painful (for an adult at least. Kids won’t have a problem with it), but if you can look past that, the values are what make the move good. They are why I kept watching it; I was expecting to be disappointed at any moment. But surprisingly, I wasn’t.

Safety (Disney+)

College is challenging enough, but it is even more challenging when you are struggling to provide for your younger brother.

Safety, recently released on Disney+, is based on a true story. Jay Reeves plays Ray McElrathbey, a young man with a football scholarship to Clemson University. What starts off as your average college experience quickly takes a drastic turn when Ray’s mother is admitted into a drug recovery program. Now, Ray must juggle caring for his 11-year old brother Fahmarr (played by Thaddeus J. Mixson) while maintaining his rigorous academic and athletic life. Ray’s devotion and care for Fahmarr ultimately jeopardizes his scholarship to Clemson, and Ray soon has to make a decision – football or Fahmarr.

With a talented cast and a good plot, this feel-good movie is definitely worth the watch.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is another of Netflix’s new Christmas movies, and … its a musical!!

Jeronicus Jangle is the Willy Wonka of toys. He is the world’s greatest inventor! But tragedy strikes. One night, Jeronicus’ ideas are stolen and produced by someone who was once a friend. Unfortunately, his ideas weren’t the only thing Jeronicus lost that night. As days and years pass, Jeronicus slowly loses his creativity, lust for life, and ultimately his family, leaving him a grumpy and lonely old man. That all changes when his granddaughter, Journey, shows up. Her creative, joyful persistence is no match for her cranky old grandfather. Ever so slowly, he begins to rediscover the magic in life.

The cast of Jingle Jangle is stellar! My favorite character by far was Journey; Madalen Mills does a fantastic job capturing Journey’s enthusiasm. Forest Whitaker does an excellent job playing the cantankerous Jeronicus, and Keegan-Michael Key does an excellent job as the villain.

I didn’t realize when I started watching it that Jingle Jangle was a musical. I absolutely love Madalen Mill’s (Journey’s) voice. She sings one song in particular – Square Root of Possible – which is my favorite song in the show. It is sort of the “Let It Go” of the film.

The vibrant colors, stellar cast, and fun music make Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey an interesting movie. While I can’t say I enjoyed it (I thought the story was a little slow), I was blown away by the excellent voices and drawn in by the fun colors and believable cast.

If you are looking for a family friendly Christmas movie, and are tired of the old classics, you might want to check Jingle Jangle out on Netflix.

Secret Society of Second-Born Royals

Ever wondered what would happen if our favorite princes and princesses had siblings? Well, wonder no more. Disney’s Secret Society of Second-Born Royals answers that question. They would be super heroes!

This movie is enjoyable for all ages. While adults my spot a few plot holes, they are not so egregious as to prevent you from enjoying the movie. The ending does imply a possible sequel, and quite honestly, I hope they make one.

Be sure to check it out! It is available on Disney+.

Also, fun fact, there was no profanity in the film, something my sister pointed out to me at the end. She was right, and I am still blown away. The show is rated PG, but I think it could have easily been rated “G”, even with the action scenes.

UP

Wow! What a difference 5 years can make!

I didn’t like Up the first time I saw it. But recently, I was craving a good animation. Tired of all my Disney Pixar regulars like Inside Out and Monster’s Inc., I decided to give Up a second chance. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it.

UP tells the story of an elderly man, Carl Fredricksen, who spirals into depression and bitterness upon the death of his wife, Ellie. Ellie and Carl dreamed of and went on many adventures over the course of their marriage. However, there was one adventure they never took, and that was Ellie’s dream trip to Paradise Falls. Feeling as if he failed his wife, Carl resolves to take Ellie, even if only in spirit, to Paradise Falls. Spurred to action by the threat of entering a retirement home, he attaches balloons to his house, causing it to rip from the ground and sail away.

Unbeknownst to Carl, one of the neighborhood kids, Russell, is on his porch when the house is ripped from the earth. Now, not only is Carl on a journey to South America, Russell is joining him. Russell’s enthusiasm and incessant chatter are not exactly what Carl had in mind when he set-off on this adventure. Russell is annoying, an obstacle in Carl’s path to fulfilling his wife’s dream. It is not until the end that Carl realizes dreams change, and sometimes, living with the one you love is the greatest adventure of all.