Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paranormal Activity 3 (3)

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The beginning of the story and bringing a close to this epic trilogy (See also, Paranormal Activity, Paranormal Activity 2).

I heart all of these movies and was excited when I heard they were making a third one. I really love that they went back to when the girls were kids, it was really the best idea ever and created a whole other layer to the story. It also made it that much more creepy.

I liked that they added some more research and some history to this one, talking of possession of girls and waiting until puberty yadda yadda...but that is all true (if you believe in the paranormal). That for me got me interested in what was going on and helped me feel sympathy, emotion and additional thrill.

This is, in my opinion, the least scary of them all. I admit that I find the scare level of these films slowly declines for every movie. The first is by far the best and the second held its own but the third is all about the story. I didn't jump once or really feel the suspense I am used to with these movies but I still liked it and thought it was really interesting. Mind you, it takes a lot to scare me sooo, it's probably still scary.

The kids in this film kicked ass. They rocked it.

Best scene: the bloody Mary scene. Awesome and the best part of the movie.

It's worth it to tie it all together. Some crazy stuff still happens though but not enough to make me jump.

Cannot wait to watch all three together now!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Real Steel (3)

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A down-and-out ex-boxer is reconnected with his son after 11 years. His son takes an instant interest in his profession, robot fighting, and the two find the fire to rekindle a long lost bond.

This movie is exactly what you think it is. It's an action movie about fighting robots with the added drama of a father and son bad relationship.

The two together do not really work in this movie. A slow mo fighting Hugh Jackman shot, cut to child brimming with emotional tears, cut to Jackman's love interest brimming with tears, cut back to slow mo robot fight just didn't work. I was laughing during every single emotional scene. That being said, I got exactly what I came for with this movie. I was expecting a masterpiece and knew it wasn't ground breaking cinema so I enjoyed the laughs rather than over think them.

The fights were not so impressive but I thought the robots were really cool. The idea is appealing to me as an action movie lover and I enjoyed all the different robots and the short-but-sweet explanation of how present day boxing became robot fighting. Pretty cool concept. This movie could've been a lot darker, gruesome and not-so-PG but I can see why they wanted this to be a little more family friendly (see also, money).

Hugh Jackman (Australia) is an all time favourite of mine. Ever since the first X-Men movie I have followed his career with bells on. I like how he is so diverse and talented and yet at the same time doesn't take himself too seriously. That's probably why he is still making solid box office rocking flicks while keeping his dignity. Yes, even after this movie (it was #1 at the box office for awhile and is now happy at #2).

The kid was pretty annoying. I like him at first but then after he kept yelling with a breaking voice and running around being all weird smiles and wide eyed I started to get irritated. Sorry buddy, it was a great attempt though and you done good.

I liked the look and personality behind Atom and was generally interested in the outcome of this movie and the robot. I can't say the same for the humans in the movie though, especially most of the side characters. The stereotypes were at an all time high and rather than find it amusing I found it kind of stupid. Meh.

It's a movie about fighting robots. You know if you'll like it or not. This is a movie that you don't really need me to tell you if it's worth while or not. I liked it because I would like a movie about fighting robots. Dig?


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Tree of Life (3.5)

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A film about life.

This movie is quite abstract and could be about many things. While trying to figure out exactly what that was I found myself lost in a reality that hurt like it was real but was surreal like a dream. The story behind the beautiful is something I think most people can relate to. The way it was shown is entirely cut and paste which is confusing at times but once you let the fact that this movie is not linear sink in your heart takes over.

This movie is part amazing drama and part nature video. It was like Baraka meets The Hours or something. A heart wrenching story with images that distract but then multiply into a modern view on life. At least that's what I felt it was. Nature and grace, like the movie says. But why can't there be both? The choice of images made me feel that this was the idea they were trying to get across. It will probably mean something entirely different to everyone.

I found the ending a bit long and repetitive. There was probably an artist reason behind that but I found it took me out of the story that I had accepted over the last hour and a half. Also Sean Penn isn't really even in this movie so I don't know why his name is on all the posters.

Brad Pitt was decent in this film. It's hard to talk about peoples performances because the movie was up and down and all over the place so it was hard to lock down on a scene and really get a feel for any one character. Except the kids, the kids were awesome. Jessica Chastain was beautiful in this movie and really fit the character well which was important.

Terrence Malick, the director of The Thin Red Line makes some great movies and this one is very different yet still had the same tone as most of his movies have.

I liked it but I didn't love it. I can see why it is getting all these awards and is successful with the critics but I also see why it didn't dominate the box office or get high ratings with us non-film student types. As cinema it was stunning, as a movie it lacked in anything solid enough to really grasp. I did like the whole concept and enjoyed the movie more than I thought I would. It's a heavy movie though, an epic drama, but I suggest watching it if only to have your own opinion.

It's one interesting drama, that's for sure. Quite different from what I have seen before. I liked some parts more than others but over all it's a good film.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Gogol Bordello Non-Stop (4.5)

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If you don't already know Eugene Hutz then I feel sorry for you.

Wait. Let's try that again.

If you have never heard of Gogol Bordello or their leader Eugene Hutz then you really should try your hardest to do so so your life can become more complete.

Gogol Bordello, the Gypsy Punks of the world, have been in my top 10 fav bands since I first heard them back in 2004. Their music is new, original, innovative rock with a splash of insanity that makes it impossible to not dance to and utterly possible to become obsessed with.

If their music wasn't enough for you than Eugene Hutz should fill in all blanks. He is smart, beyond talented, poops creativity and energy and eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This guy knows his stuff but has not had an easy life, so while he has a thick skin, his brain hides away pumping the good juices 24/7. Delicious juices. There are so many quotable lines from his lips during this documentary and although he might look goofy to you don't let his outfits fool you.

I have been to a couple Gogol shows and the footage they include is awesome because that's what it looks like. I have never experienced a concert going experience like the one at a Gogol show. The energy is hard to describe. You can see this in the movie.

While being a fan helped in following along and understanding the fast and sometimes randomness that is this movie I think it's a great look at this fast and sometimes random band that is exploding into the world.

They also look at the underground music scene in NYC in the early 2000s and you follow the band as they go from clubs, to stage, to international fame.

I'll end this here because I could go on forever. If you like punk/rock/gypsy/international/new music and don't know them yet I suggest doing so. If you do know them and like them then you will like this documentary. Gogol aside I think this is one of my new fav music docs, next to It Might Get Loud.

Band website:


The Last Exorcism of Emily Rose (4)

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Following The Last Exorcism I decided to try another exorcism film in hopes of finding something worth watching. I found it. Thank you Netflix.

As I am interested in the paranormal I have read, heard and seen things from the real Emily Rose exorcism back in the day (the real name and audio files can be found on youtube but it's scary as hell, you were warned). So the fact that they made a film about it got me interested because I am a sucker for based on true story movies.

I was surprised when Jennifer Carpenter was Emily Rose. I love Dexter and it's my favourite show on television but Deb is one of my least favourite characters so I could never tell if Jennifer could actually act or not or if I hated her character. She can act. Man can she act. She can also make REALLY scary faces and move her body in weird and wonderful ways. She was awesome as Emily and I thought she nailed this part. While the story focused more on the Rev she was still amazing in her scenes.

I've always liked Tom Wilkinson (Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind) and was happy to see him as Father Moore. He seemed innocent and sweet but at times strong and powerful. So, well, very much like a priest. haha. He just fit the part well and I thought he was a great match for Laura Linney.

I've seen Laura Linney in a couple movies (Love Actually) but nothing huge that made me really notice her. She was good as the lawyer but he character didn't have a lot of intense emotional scenes compared to others so I found myself less interested in her than some of the other actors.

The story was great and while I doubted the direction the film took at first I quickly got sucked into the story and was following every detail. I liked the way they balanced the court scenes with the exorcism and didn't find anything hokey or exaggerated with the horror scenes. It seemed all very real and that probably means they did their research and really wanted this movie to be truthful. Some extra dramatic elements were added but other than that I loved it.

I'll add this my solid horror movies list and is a great exorcism movie. It's more drama/horror than thriller/horror but it scared me and some parts were burnt into my mind which made it hard to fall asleep. Well done.


The Last Exorcism (1.5)

(Watch the Trailer)

2010 horror/drama by Daniel Stamm.

A fake exorcist brings a film crew to his final exorcism to prove to the world that there are no real demons, just people with troubles. A young girl and her family are about to prove him wrong.

I'm not sure why it took me so long to see this movie. I think it was in theatres and I missed it so it went onto the back burner. Now I wish I had not wasted my time seeing it at all.

It wasn't scary. I was maybe in suspense for the beginning of one scene and then when that ended in nothing I lost interest and this continued for the whole film. The only reason I kept watching is because I kept thinking something would happen but it never did.

The story is interesting because it shows this new form of exorcist but other than that the characters and story were thin. To make up for that some extra blood and cool new exorcism scenes would have worked but they didn't do that. Oh well.

That's the thing I found with this film - it's all been done before. Nothing was new. Creepy girl with weird religious family yadda yadda. Some blood. Some suspense. Weird ending and the entire time you don't really see anything that's happening because people are running with the handy cam. Meh.

Probably my least fav exorcist movie to date. I really wanted this one to be good.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Withnail & I (3.5)

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1987 British comedy by Bruce Robinson.

"London 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp, cold, piles of washing-up, mad drug dealers and psychotic Irishmen, decide to leave their squalid Camden flat for an idyllic holiday in the countryside, courtesy of Withnail's uncle Monty's country cottage. But when they get there, it rains non-stop, there's no food, and their basic survival skills turn out to be somewhat limited. Matters are not helped by the arrival of Uncle Monty, who shows an uncomfortably keen interest in Marwood..." (IMDB)

I had to look to IMDB this time for a synopsis because I'm still not entirely sure what this weird and ridiculous movie is all about.

When it started I was not prepared for, first the characters that were thrown at me, and then the lack of story that I kept waiting for. So what I thought this comedy was going to be quickly changed and instead I found myself trying to keep track of what these British people were saying. Some of the things were so ridiculous that I found myself giggling even before I decided to not care to figure the story out.

And that's the secret to this movie. It is bizarre British humour but almost to the point of being abstract and just weird to be weird. The characters ARE this movie and everything else is just there to support them as they wander around being eccentric, lost and ultimately hopeless in life. At first it's distracting, then it's funny and sometimes unnerving.

I thought I didn't like it at first. Then I started to really get into the characters and some scenes were so out there silly that I was laughing and having a great time. Then there were some awkward tense bits that confused me before being hilarious again.

Richard E. Grant (Penelope) makes this movie as Withnail. His character is almost impossible to define and yet was so magnetic to watch. You never knew what he was going to say or do next.

I still am not sure what this movie is about. Finding yourself? Friendship? Being an actor? Mental illness? Sexuality? Drugs? All of the above?

I think it is just about two friends who live completely strange lives. The story doesn't matter though, it's all about the characters and the mess they make.

The more I think about it the more I like it. I need to watch it again.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Catfish (4)

(Watch The Trailer)

Nev gets a painting in the mail one day of one of his photographs. The girl who painted it is a 9 year old named Abby. Abby's mom is Angela. Her dad is Vince. Her half-sister is Megan. Megan and Nev start talking on the phone and after 8 months Nev and his friends decide to spring a surprise visit to the family...

I want to continue the summary but I'll give things away. This is definitely way more suspenseful and shocking if you don't know much so bare with me for my review.

I feel like everyone was talking about this film when it came out and everyone was telling me to go see it. I really had no idea what to think of it but everyone claimed that I would never guess the ending and that the story is unbelievable.

I have seen movies like this before. I honestly knew what was happening even before Nev figures it out, but maybe that's because I've always be aware of how much information is online and how easy it is to believe what people tell you. It was because of this that the movie didn't have as harsh an affect on me as it did most people but that doesn't mean it was bad. Not at all, I really enjoyed it.

The edits, the 3 friends together, Nev himself and where the movie does go (and how they keep going) is what kept me glued to the screen. I thought the pace was perfect and it really did feel real and truthful because they didn't leave anything out.

This movie actually broke my heart a little bit. I'm more sad than shocked and more depressed than scared. This story has to be learned though and everyone should see this film. The more people who do, the smarter our society will be and the smarted individuals will (hopefully) become.

I want to say more but it will give the whole thing away so I will have to leave it to that.

Solid documentary. Striking story. Probably not what you were expecting...


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

50/50 (3.5)

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Inspired by true events, this comedy is about a 27 year old who finds out he has cancer and has a 50/50 chance of survival.

I absolutely heart Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Hesher, 500 Days of Summer) and all he does (as you probably know by now). This movie is no exception. This was such a personal look at cancer and what it can do to someone and I thought it played the part quite well. Although at times I wanted a little bit more I quickly realized that that was the way his character was and not until the car scene (you'll know the one) did I really see into this man. That's the thing, you do feel for him and don't want him to suffer but you also don't get a lot out of this character until the movie really gets cooking and I thought that was an interesting approach.

Seth Rogen (The Green Hornet) is someone that I was never sure about until recently and now I know I like him. He is goofy but not ridiculous (see, Will Farrell) and emotional but not stupid. I like his style of comedy and him as a person and the fact that this story was about his friend and his experiences meant that much more when you see him on the screen.

Anna Kendrick is quickly sneaking up to be one of my new favs. Okay, she was really girly like in the Twilight films, but don't hold that against her. She held her own in Up in the Air and the more I see her the more impressed I am. She was really cute in this movie and I liked her character a lot.

I thought the balance between comedy and drama was tipped more towards to drama but the comedy is good and I was laughing a bunch. I thought it was going to be more comedy so I got a bit of a surprise when it tipped the other way but it totally worked and the emotions were running high by the end. Let's just say that I wasn't the only one who was sniffing and trying to hide their tears.

One complaint is that about 3/4 the way through the movie seemed to reeeaally slow down and it was like not much was happening. It was a bit on repeat and I started to get kind of bored but I suppose that needed to happen so the ending was more intense but it brought me out of the movie for a bit which sucked.

A different way to look at the disease and some interesting characters were backed by good scenes and some great laughs. Some parts slowed too much which took away from the strength of the movie at times but I liked it.

Bonus: That damn dog.


Valhalla Rising (2)

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I had heard that this movie was so gory and awesome and full of vikings and blood goodness. I was really disappointed in this movie. I also was looking forward to it because it was the same director as Drive but that movie was WAY better and actually can't even be compared at all. So lame.

One. All everyone ever does is stare. It's not that there isn't a lot of dialogue, that's not the problem at all. It's literally a lot of shots of guys looking at other guys or mountains or trees or fog and then back to each other. Boring. No expression on any one's face when all you see are faces is boring after, well, 10 minutes and this movie felt like 4 hours.

Two. The story was nothing. I had actually no idea what was going on ever except that they were going from one place to another. I assume it was Canada and Indians and stuff but I'm not sure. Also, I think it's actually Scottish people and not Vikings so the title of the film kind of leads you on. I guess Valhalla has a better ring to it than Hell though. I'll give 'em that.

Three. Anytime there was action it was quick, gross and great. The gore, the few times it happened, came out of nowhere which worked and then was really graphic. If there had been a little more of that the movie would've been way better.

Four. It was beautiful. The movie is all landscapes and arty shots. Really beautiful set ups and backgrounds but when you are still on something for 2 minutes without it moving and no talking or music it is more stationary than needed. Aka, boring.

I wanted to like this movie more than anything and when I saw it on Netflix I was super pumped and turned it on without a second thought. Then I sat there. And sat there. And little things happened. Then I sat. And sat. And people died. And I sat. And it was over.

I didn't like it. I did think the little bit of gore was good and the main guy was good and some of the shots were beautiful but either I missed the point or it never had one.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Drive (4)

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2011 action/crime movie directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (Valhalla Rising).

A stunt driver who acts as a driver for heists when he's not working falls in love with his neighbour and finds himself stuck helping her ex-con husband on a theft. It goes wrong and he finds himself sucked in even further in order to help her and her son stay out of harms way.

Once again, Ryan Gosling is the man (All Good Things, Crazy Stupid Love). His character this time around was the silent, mysterious type but you know deep down he has a secret he is trying to run from. As the movie gets to the meat of things and the first scene that his other side comes out was so powerful. The whole time he sat there barely speaking or moving much and then suddenly he is this tank of action and violence. Once this side of him is out there it's like he can't control it and, in a way that is almost frightening, goes from person to person until it's all over. What a character to play, he did the action scenes really well and he did the pleasant to serial killer transition with ease. So many layers to this character and Gosling nailed them all (no surprise).

While you don't really see much of Carey Mulligan ( Never Let Me Go, An Education) I loved that she was in this movie. There is just something about this girl that I find magnetic and when she smiles I smile. I like her and thought she was a great supporting role for Gosling.

At first the movie is slow and there isn't much dialogue. You sit there and wonder why this was an action movie while not really realizing how sucked into the story you have already become until the first scene when everything starts going down and then you are hooked. I found the drive scenes to be thrilling and filled with suspence. The hand to hand combat had some new moves that had me vocally appreciating them when they happened. Some of them were pretty gorey and it was a happy surprise. The action suited the main character which I found interesting. For example, the fact that he never used a gun really appealed to me and completely fit this mysterious character. Awesome merging of the elements there.

Music was interesting and not what I had expected but not in a bad way and the story was over all decent. When the credits rolled I didn't feel like I missed anything or that I was confused, it was done and the story was complete and that was that. The end.

Liked it. Wouldn't say I loved it but I would definitely watch it again. Solid action flick.


Zardoz (2.5)

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Set in the future, humans are controlled by their god Zardoz and one man sets out to find the truth.

Okay. I have no idea why I had never heard of this movie until now. Not only does it have Sean Connery in the most amazing sci-fi outfit known to life but it's Sean Connery as Sean Connery in a 1970s sci-fi movie. B rated sci-fi. Delicious.

The whole movie I spent with my mouth open just laughing and/or thinking WTF is GOING ON?! 105 minutes of confusion, randomness, more confusion and Sean Connery's thighs. This is awful. It really is so bad that it is slightly good. This is the worst movie and yet the best example of 70s sci-fi where everyone must have been tripping out or on something to make the stuff that they did. There were a lot of floating heads...

This movie is only good for one thing: laughs. No wait, two things: laughs and Sean Connery.

I don't have all that much else to say. If you don't like sci-fi don't even bother because I feel like only sci-fi fans can find even the remotest reasons to want to watching this movie. Unless you really like Sean Connery in a Mankini. I have to post a photo of him in full gear so you understand...

Wow. Yes. This. Watch it for this because besides consistent random shots of boobs there isn't a whole lot of other reasons.

2.5/5 (the .5 is for Sean Connery's outfit).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

All Good Things (4)

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"Mr. David Marks was suspected but never tried for killing his wife Katie who disappeared in 1982, but the truth is eventually revealed." (IMDB)

I have no idea why I had never heard of this movie before but it was one of the best crime/drama films I have seen in awhile.

Ryan Gosling (Crazy Stupid Love, Blue Valentine) I am really starting to believe that you are the best thing. Really though, he might be my new favourite. I have yet to see him in something that I didn't like. I have yet to say a single bad thing about him. I like his style. I cannot wait for the next movie with him in it. Just, yes. So good. He freaked the hell out of me in this movie. His character was charming and sweet but you could see this coldness in his eyes that chilled you. I didn't trust his character from the start and that is huge. When one look of the eye convinces you not to trust him. What pure talent. So exciting to see. Okay, I'll stop now. AWESOME!

Kirsten Dunst has always been a tough call for me. I generally do not like her in movies because I felt like she acted the same in every single film but I highly enjoyed her in this movie. I don't know if I haven't been watching the right films with her in them but I thought she did an extra impressive job as this character. I genuinely cared for her and was angry when she was hurting. I like when that happens and now I will look at her with different eyes.

This movie is based on a true story and I'm not sure how much was actually true or not but for some reason I get more into a story if I know it really happened. This is an insane story because it looks at how one incident in this mans childhood shapes him into the man he now is. The evil that can be behind one pair of eyes is something that most people would not see coming and I thought this movie showed that with perfection. The suspense in this movie almost killed me as I drifted into the film and couldn't leave until the credits rolled.

Such a fantastic movie and I'm so glad I decided to watch it. The movie build and build and builds and you are on the edge of your seat and then it all goes down. So well edited and the placement of each scene and every element was so well timed. Love it.

If you like drama/crime films you will like this.


Gamer (3)

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In the not so distant future when gaming involves real life people being controlled by real life players in a real environment, a boy controls the life of a convicted murderer in a game called Slayers. The question is, what is real?

I know that in real life Gerard Butler is kind of a dink but I always like him in every film I see him in. Yes, some of the movies are bad, but he is what makes the movie not a total waste of time when I watch it. This movie was no different, while the film itself had potential really all I remember is watching Gerard Butler kick ass and I always like when that happens.

Michael C. Hall played such a weird character. I thought he nailed it though...he was so weird. Dexter is my all time favourite television show and he was nothing like Dexter in this movie. I love when I see that, sometimes actors can't play in different forms and so television actors don't perform as well on stage or on the big screen but this was not the case. Well done.

The story was interesting to me. I enjoy seeing where and how far they will go when movies look into the future. This one seemed rather realistic though as games try to get more and more real and what is more real than someone actually dying when you shoot them. I know that you are thinking that is wrong and how awful but think about it, we aren't that far off from this. Hate to admit it but it is true. Escapism is what our society depends on...but enough of that.

The movie was great and then as they began to try to explain things further they started to lose it. I'm not sure if it was because it was an action flick and then they started to get serious while still keeping the fast pace or if because of that they kept switching from scene to scene way to quickly or maybe I just wasn't grasping it, but they lost me. And didn't get me back because the ending was shitty. It was. They build and build and this guy isn't supposed to be able to die and then he just does and that is that. Like. Really?! Boom. Easy. Dead. Credits. WTF? Hate it.

So the ending ruined the movie and about half way through it got too messy which sucks because it started out so well. Meh. It happens I guess. Still, a good sci-fi action flick. Gerard kicks serious ass.


Gnomeo & Juliet (3.5)

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When I first saw previews for this movie I groaned and rolled my eyes. Not only have I had to study, read, research and watch this play more times than I can count but the thought of them taking it and making it into a kids movie with gnomes in it just made my head hurt. Then I was at home and it was late and I knew anything but a kids movie would put me way past my bed time and it turned out that this was the only kids movie I hadn't seen yet...well, you know the rest. What you probably don't know except you read the rating I gave it is that I actually enjoyed this cute movie.

That is why. It was cute. I didn't think I liked gnomes as much as I did until I watched this movie and my inner child was dancing and laughing with glee. More the laughing than the dancing. Honestly though, it was funny, cute, oddly original and just a little bit cheeky. Wonderful.

James McAvoy...yup (X-Men: First Class, Penelope). Love him. All of him. He was great as Gnomeo and I thought his voice was a great choice for this cute guy. Also, the gnome looked like him and that was a bit weird but I got over it. Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau, The Young Victoria) was also a good choice for the cute little Juliet character.

I guess I can't really talk about the acting because they were animated gnomes but I thought the animation was pretty great and the story was completely different minus the little snippets taken from the actual play but because of that I liked it more than I thought I would.

Cute, funny and entertaining. I'm not sure what kids think of it but I liked it and spent the whole time giggling like a little girl.

Also, the flamingo was the best. Those little legs...haha.

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