WARNING: This review contains references to suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach a trained counselor at the Crisis Text Line.Continue reading →
Are you ready to head back to the theater? Some exciting films are coming out this month and not all of them will be available to stream. Watch my “July Movies” segment from Good Morning Texas HERE to find out what you can stream at home and what movies will require actual pants and shoes. Remember that screenings sell-out faster right now, due to socially-distanced seats, so make sure you buy those tickets in advance. And here’s a look at Matt Damon’s latest, Stillwater, which opens in theaters only July 30th.
You might ask yourself, “Why is Marvel releasing a movie about a dead Avenger?” That’s a good question, but “death” hasn’t stopped them from building stories around other departed heroes. Take for instance Vision and Loki, who now have successful series bearing their names. Marvel isn’t just mining old material with these characters. It is using them to further the ever-expanding Marvel universe.Continue reading →
Wanna see a movie? There are options for folks who feel like popcorn & an air-conditioned theater, as well as those who prefer a sofa & sweatpants.Continue reading →
I didn’t get to attend the screening of The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It but Rebekah Black (my co-host on the Haunted AF podcast) stepped in to cover it. She’s a huge fan of scary movies but she’s also extremely picky and hates bad CGI. We’ll share more thoughts when Episode 3 of the Julie Says So Movie Minute podcast drops on 6/10.
I have to admit, I went into The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It fully expecting it to be a hot pile of garbage. I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the best of all five (or however many there are).
If you’re a fan of the series, this one essentially gives you all of them rolled into one movie. Even the freaking nun managed to make an appearance (probably not the way you want her to, but she’s there). This based-on-actual-events story of Arne Johnson might even be the inspiration behind every demonic-possession movie that’s come out since he hit the scene.
If I had to sum up this installment of The Conjuring in one word, it would be intense. It comes out swinging. The first 15 minutes are filled with nonstop action but there’s a decent balance of funny, too. It’s needed to ease all of that crazy! The story does get a little obvious at times and the ending is a bit cheesy. Without giving too much away, there’s a real love-conquers-all vibe (boo!). Another issue (and this is one The Conjuring has struggled with since the beginning) would be the bad special effects and sad makeup. Either get a better team or film with a lower digital quality. And maybe less close-ups on the demons! The crayola-look kinda ruins it.
Despite these minor issues, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It might be the best of the bunch. It also feels like this one might be the last, so why not go out with a bang? I’m giving this chapter of The Conjuring franchise 8 out of 10 bone crunches. Yes, bone crunches are a prominent sound-effect in the film so if that makes you cringe, you might really struggle with this movie!
I saw Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights last night but, by the time I got my backside into that seat, Chris Ramirez had already seen it three times. It holds a special place in his heart, having performed years of musical theater and even recently portrayed “Sonny” in the Dallas Theater Center version. Here’s his review and check out his bio at the end to see what Chris is working on, including a play about pro-wrestling!
This summer, theaters nationwide are showing the film adaption of Lin Manuel Miranda’s 2008 masterpiece In The Heights. I saw it on Broadway in 2009 and, as a Latino, I had never felt the amount of pride and representation in a theater before. The rumor mill said that a film version (starring Lin Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas) was in the works and I couldn’t have been more excited! For years, the movie was stuck in limbo and I lost hope. Lin aged out of playing Usnavi and HAMILTON became the new toy everyone wanted to play with. When the announcement came that the movie was FINALLY being made, you can imagine how enthralled I was. I was even playing “Sonny” at the Dallas Theater Center when the trailer and poster were released!!! I had the opportunity to see the film and all I can say is it was worth the wait.
From the second it starts, director Jon M. Chu makes it clear that In the Heights will lean into stylization and magic. I mean…the opening song was executed TO PERFECTION. The films ability to capture Latinidad, community, family, love, culture, and characters within the first musical number had me in ugly tears 4 minutes in. They didn’t stop for the next two and a half hours…and that’s ok! The cinematic style and musical numbers work so well together that you will want to hop up and move those hips with the actors on screen. Speaking of which, the acting in this film is so truthful and heartfelt, you’ll feel as if you know and understand the people of Washington Heights. The dialogue from Quiara Alegrìa Hudes, who also wrote the book for the stage version, is phrased so beautifully. I will be shocked if she doesn’t get an Academy Award nomination.
If you are a fan of the stage version, it’s important to know that things were cut, moved around, and changed to accommodate the length. This isn’t a bad thing. I actually support every decision and change they made because a direct scene-by scene-copy would not translate well. Jon, Lin, and Quiara also had to move things around for the emotional arc and pacing of the story. Don’t worry, it is still the In the Heights musical we all know and love. There are even some great cameos and easter eggs for long time fans.
If you are fully vaccinated and get the chance to see In the Heights in the theater, I highly recommend it. This touching story of sueñitos (dreams) and community is one to be shared WITH people. Laughing and crying with strangers when I watched it at a theater is a memory I hold so close to my heart and will not soon forget. It may have taken over 10 years for this to finally come out, but In The Heights delivered and will serve as a reminder that Lin Manuel Miranda created a masterpiece before HAMILTON. I leave you with Lin’s own words, “Esta bonita bandera, contiene mi alma entera, Y cuando yo me muera, entierrame en mi tierra!” WEPA! (This beautiful flag holds my entire soul, and when I die, bury me with it in my land.)
I made my first in-person appearance on Good Morning Texas today, after a straight year of Zoom interviews! It felt great to be back in that seat, even though the wind blew my hair into my lipstick and I’ve completely forgotten how to walk in heels. It was my first segment with new GMT host, Hannah Davis too, who is just as adorable in person as she is on TV. We discussed the post-Covid theater experience and what you can do to prepare for it (namely plan ahead) and I gave her my review of A Quiet Place Part 2. We also discussed the other big upcoming releases, like Disney’s Cruella, In the Heights, F9 and Black Widow. Click HERE to watch the segment and remember to check out the brand-new Julie Says So Movie Minute podcast right HERE.
(Dawn Burkes has written for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,The Dallas Morning News and she currently spends her days at the Los Angeles Times. She is one of my favorite critics in the world so I’m insanely proud she’s letting me share her review here.)
Disney keeps pulling tricks out of the magician’s hat, and this time, they may have pulled out one of the biggest: One of the best parts of “Cruella” is that at some point, you completely forget that it’s a Disney film.Continue reading →
I was so excited when Good Morning Texas expressed interest in sharing the Julie Says So “What’s Streaming” segments, THEN I attempted to film one on Zoom. Three days (and multiple meltdowns) later, I still couldn’t find a way to fix my hair. You’ll just have to pretend it isn’t magically disappearing and then reappearing as you watch the segment, but you’ll still get some excellent streaming ideas for Memorial Day Weekend. Watch it HERE and huge “Thanks” to Good Morning Texas for sharing my work!
As always, thank you Vintaglio Jewelry for providing the bling. Take a look at their website and gorgeous hand-made pieces HERE.