“The Secret: Dare to Dream” Review

The Secret: Dare to Dream” is all about the power of positive thinking. Although it started production in 2018 and is being released now during the pandemic, it’s a fitting film for this time frame. Like in the film, where a hurricane causes damage, we’re all facing a crisis too these days.

In the movie, which is based on the best-selling book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, Katie Holmes plays Miranda Wells, a widowed mom of three kids. The family is down on their luck both financially and emotionally. Miranda is dating her boss, Tucker played by Jerry O’Connell. There’s respect there and love, but is it romantic love?

secretdtd-movies-he-poster-01Miranda gets into a fender bender and bumps the truck up Bray Johnson, a college professor from Nashville, played by Josh Lucas. Viewers know that Bray had stopped at Miranda’s house earlier to drop off some paperwork but she wasn’t home. While there, he briefly interacted with her son. Bray offers to fix Miranda’s bumper and soon sits down with the whole family.

But a storm is brewing in Louisiana, where the family lives. Miranda’s house is a mess after storm damage and Bray seems there to pick up the pieces.

Why is he so helpful? And what was in that envelope that he needed to give her at the beginning of the movie? Most of the movie goes by, before we are find out what’s in that envelope – what’s the secret?

Along the way, there are relationship twists and turns for the whole family including Miranda, her boyfriend and her kids. There’s also a growing connection between Miranda and Bray.

“The Secret” has charming moments but at times the dialogue is like a Ted Talk of positive phrases:

  • “Anything is possible if you really want it.”
  • “We get what we expect.”
  • “The more you think about something, the more you draw it to you.”

Bray’s belief is that whatever happens – even the bad stuff – can lead to better things. He tells Miranda, “Think of what you want, not what you don’t want.”

For Miranda, the problem is she’s too stressed to think about what she wants. It’s not until a stranger walks into her life that she starts to realize she has the power to dream and think about what she really wants.

This movie is a respite from some of the real life drama we’re all facing and the message is uplifting. It’s entertaining and made me smile; a reminder that we all need focus on the good things in life, including figuring out what we want and going for it.

The Lionsgate film is available on demand. Watch the trailer here.

And the Emmy Award Goes To…

2020Emmys_MASTER WIN_2020-06-04_14.46.52.pngI’m honored to serve as president of The Pacific Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Every year we hold an awards gala celebrating the achievements of TV and media professionals in our chapter. This year due to COVID-19, the 46th annual NATAS-PSW Emmy Awards was streamed.

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I’m so proud of my board of governors and Emmy Awards committee for putting together this virtual awards show. Congrats to all the Emmy Award recipients! 

We’re already starting to plan next year’s awards gala, which hopefully will be an in-person event. Missed the live show? Check it out below:

Stay at Home for the Premiere of “Trolls World Tour”

You’re invited to have your town “Trolls World Tour” watch party at home – social distancing is definitely encouraged.

 

In the era of COVID-19, both parents and kids have been indoors for a month, living our best quarantine life. Spending around-the-clock time at home with my kids is nice but we’re all ready for something entertaining!

Now it’s time for some Friday fun: an at-home movie premiere for “Trolls World Tour.” This movie, a sequel to “Trolls,” the 2016 DreamWorks Animation hit, was slated for theaters but now it’s going to be available on-demand starting tomorrow, Friday April 10.

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Watch the movie at 10 am Pacific and live tweet with the film’s directors Walt Dohrn and The McElroy Brothers. Use the hashtag: #TrollsWatchParty.

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Host your own viewing party with your family, complete with themed snacks and decorations. This link has printable crafts and coloring pages, as well as recipes.

Want a peak at the movie, which stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake? Here’s the trailer: https://youtu.be/08AExF6dETA

Remembering Cameron Boyce and Honoring His Legacy

Actor Cameron Boyce died last year of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and now his family is continuing his humanitarian work. In my Mediaplanet article, his parents explain the 20-year old had a mission for good.

Cameron Boyce

“He would most definitely want us to take care of each other and be loving to one another, and to be strong,” says his mother, Libby Boyce. “He would most definitely want us to continue working on things that make the world a better place.”

Read more about his epilepsy, #SUDEP and the projects he loved. This article ran last week in a Neurological Disorders report inside USA TODAY. Read the article here.

Get more information about Cameron Boyce’s Foundation.

“Onward” – On a Quest for Magic and Family Connections

“Onward” is a brotherhood movie in the way that “Frozen” is a sisterhood movie. I attended a media screening of this film, which has a lot of heart. Like many Disney/Pixar movies, it made me tear up at the end.

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When we meet Ian, he’s preparing for his 16th birthday and just trying to fit in at high school. Meanwhile his older brother Barley is a fun loving character who spends a lot of time in a fantasy world, full of magic and spells. Did I mention? The teens are elves.

It’s Ian’s dream to spend time with his dad, who died before he was born. Barley, remembers their dad and misses him too.  Ian’s dream could be a reality after the teen’s mother gives him a gift from his father. The gift? A magical stick that with the right spell can make their father come back for just one day.

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It turns out Ian has more magical powers than he ever knew. He makes a spell and it partly works: the boys have half of their father back. Their dad revealed from the waist down, purple socks included. The brother duo then embark on a quest to find a gem to help Ian create another spell to reveal the rest of their father.  Throughout this endeavor, Barley drives a rundown van named Guinevere. The vehicle is a character in itself.

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The brothers’ voyage starts as a mission to find that magical gem to help them spend one more day with their deceased dad. But it turns into a journey of self-discovery. The premise is that we all have a little magic in us if we just look for it and believe in ourselves.

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Tom Holland, who plays Ian, and Chris Pratt, who portrays Barley, are really a great set of brothers in this film. Pratt reminds me of Jack Black. As an aside, I’d like to see a Jack Black/ Chris Pratt film.

The movie is part fantasy, part modern day story. Some of the things that happen are absurd but you accept them and they somehow work in the overall storyline. The main characters are elves who live in cul-de-sac homes that look like mushrooms. Ian is a typical teenager; the family has a pet dragon, his mom does workout tapes and they all have cell phones.

ONWARD

The fun unfolds. Ian’s mother, voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, has an interesting new boyfriend, a half cop/half Minotaur, who annoys the kids. During the journey, the teens meet tough biker elves who are hysterical. Plus, Ian and Barley spend a lot of time worrying they they’ll end up in a green gelatinous cube if they can’t make their mission a success.

Their dad loves to dance and despite not having a torso or a head, he’s got moves. He stumbles because he can’t see and the result is silly and endearing. It even has “Weekend at Bernie’s” vibes.

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We, Ian and Barley realize at the at end that we don’t really need to see the dad’s face. He lives on beyond the physical world because he’s reflected in his kids.

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This Pixar Animation Studios’ film is produced by Kori Rae and directed by Dan Scanlon. As expected from a Pixar/Disney film, the animation, music and sound are well done. The characters are lifelike and the storytelling is solid.

This heartwarming story will resonate with viewers, especially those who love a family story or anyone who grew up without a parent.

The movie opens March 6.

Animated Spy Movie “Spies In Disguise” Thrills the Whole Family

Spies in Disguise is the kid’s version of a James Bond movie. It has lots of heart and humor too, for kids and adults.

My family and I attended a preview screening of  the animated comedy from 20th Century Fox. Will Smith plays super spy Lance Sterling, a smooth agent who prides himself on working alone.  He relies on gadgets made by CIA-like scientists. Enter millennial scientist Walter Beckett, played by Tom Holland. He’s been using his stem skills to create and innovate since he was a little kid.

Spies in Disguise

Flash forward the present day and Walter is working in a government lab, tasked with making gadgets for secret agents. Lance needs those gadgets to get his missions completed quickly and efficiently. Even though his job is to build gadgets to take down bad guys, Walter encourages non-violence whenever possible. Many of his inventions are so mesmerizing that they cause bad guys and the audience to say, “aww.” Glitter is a theme.

At one point Lance needs helps and relies on Walter, who promises to make Lance invisible. Walter’s invention makes it happen but hijinks ensues when he turns Lance into a pigeon. The high-action secret mission continues for both Lance and Walter, who make an unlikely spy duo.

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This animated movie is very entertaining. The characters are great and animation is well done. Plus, the soundtrack from Mark Ronson is a hit. I predict this film is poised for a sequel or two.

Spies in Disguise opens Christmas Day.

Frozen is Back! Frozen2

I was invited to attend a media preview of Frozen II​. The Disney film is back with familiar characters and new adventures.

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This time, Elsa hears a voice that no one else hears. She and her sister Anna, as well as Kristoff, Olaf and Sven go on a journey through enchanted forests and dark seas to find the truth behind that voice.

Along the way they make new friends and sing some fun songs. My favorite new song is called “Something’s Never Change.” #Frozen2 is rated PG and opens Friday, November 22.

Photo credits: Disney

Kicking off the Christmas Season with “Klaus”

It’s only November 2, but who can pass up the opportunity to hang out with Santa? 🎅🏻

Today my family and I attended a sneak peak of the new Netflixfilm’s movie, which premieres November 15 on the streaming service.

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This cute holiday movie has lots of heart. The theme? Every good deed sparks another good deed.  My kids, my husband and I really enjoyed it. 🎅🏻  These festive Klaus cupcakes were delicious too!

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