Movie review: Mary Poppins Returns

Yesterday was a weird day wrapped in a magic bow. It started with a rehearsal for my newest Second City Training Center coached ensemble (yay!) followed by my car getting towed because apparently, my Spothero reservation didn’t go through (boo!). But it concluded with dinner and a movie next to the most adorable husband this side of the planet.

And not just any movie. A pre-screening of Mary Poppins Returns, a movie I’ve been dying to see since it was announced (especially once I discovered one of my favorite celebrity crushes, Lin-Manuel Miranda, would have a role similar to that of DIck Van Dyke in the original film). I’ve also loved Emily Blunt since The Devil Wears Prada. And then there’s Colin Firth. Who I’ve loved since I was fifteen, watching Pride and Prejudice on repeat.

Mary Poppins Poster Jack Lin-Manuel Miranda

I went into the theater with high expectations. I was hesitant to have such high expectations after the Nutcracker kinda flopped on me (I was initially drawn into the colors and music and potential messaging, but after thinking about it for far too long, I realized that the action in the plot did not back up the messaging and it wasn’t actually very good at all). Thankfully, I’ve slept on it, and I still absolutely loved Mary Poppins Returns.

Mary Poppins Returns movie review

THIS is the movie we need right now. The world is dark and gray, and Mary Poppins animates it with positivity and color and sheer energy to yet again save the day (and the Banks family). Emily Blunt plays Poppins in a way that makes me believe she’s always been Poppins (no disrespect to Julie Andrews intended because she, too, played the part practically perfect in every way). It’s like in Doctor Who, when a new doctor comes in and you truly feel like they’ve been the doctor all along. Like magic.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS,  a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 film MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an all-new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

We’re on the brink of adventure; don’t spoil it with too many questions.

-Mary Poppins

In Mary Poppins Returns, the Banks children are more responsible than their artist father who has taken a part-time job at his father’s former bank to help make ends meet during The Great Depression. Mary Poppins arrives just in time to help the entire Banks family (Jane is a regular visitor to Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane). With Jack the lamplighter as her childlike adult accomplice, Mary takes the three Banks children on quite the adventure. From a dazzling display inside a Royal Doulton bowl, using classic animation (which Disney hasn’t really used since Winnie the Pooh in 2011) as a nod to the original sequence inside the street chalk scene to an important meeting with Meryl Streep’s Topsy on the ceiling of her home, Mary teaches the new generation of Bankses how to have fun.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney's MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS,  which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Jack in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

I loved the energy and imagination and pops of color that swirl throughout the film like paint on a canvas. The music is full of clever lyrics (and several that are full of much more adult-humor than one would expect, including a line about flapping about in bathtub gin). I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat, full of joy, and so many chills, you guys. If you need a little boost of magic this holiday season, let this be the movie that takes you there.

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks' home in Disney's original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks’ home in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS

Lin-Manuel Miranda is there every step of the way, but the entire supporting cast is brilliant. Molly Weasley Julie Walters is the perfect casting for Ellen. Meryl Streep slays as Mary’s eccentric cousin (I wonder if any relation to Uncle Albert?). Colin Firth plays a duplicitous banker with sheer perfection. As for the Banks family? Emily Mortimer is such a perfect casting for Jane that I can see a resemblance to her 1964 childhood counterpart. Ben Whishaw is a wonderful combination of the child, Michael, and Mr. Banks from the original movie. The three children —Joel Dawson as Georgie, Pixie Davies as Annabel and Nathanael Saleh as John — are adorable and charming in their own rights.

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson is Georgie, Pixie Davies is Annabel and Nathanael Saleh is John in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

Mary Poppins easter eggs

The nods to the original are spectacular and come in every shape and size, including:

  • Dick Van Dyke’s incredible singing, dancing cameo
  • The return of the penguins
  • A passerby (UPDATE: this part was played by Karen Dotrice, the original Jane Banks!) stating, “Many thanks. Sincerely,” which is from the nanny advertisement that Jane and Michael write for their future nanny. No one else is picking up on this egg!
  • Admiral Boom still lives next door
  • Several sightings of the Sister Suffragette vote sash as the string on Michael’s kite
  • The blocks that Jane held, spelling out Mary Poppins
  • The snow globe from Feed the Birds

I found myself squeeing throughout the movie, and Brian often had no clue what I was noticing, so you really have to know your Mary Poppins to catch them all. I’m quite sure I missed as many as I caught, so once I’ve seen it a few more times, I’ll pass along the easter eggs.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins Returns

Are you planning to see Mary Poppins Returns? Have you seen it already? Let me know your thoughts!

In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London. “Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers.

Mary Poppins Returns will be released in U.S. theaters on December 19, 2018. Get your tickets for Mary Poppins Returns.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Returning to the Hundred Acre Wood

“Your life is happening now, right in front of you.”

Sage advice from a grown-up Christopher Robin’s wife, Evelyn (played by Hayley Atwell), as she lectured the titular character of the newest tale from the Hundred Acre Wood.

Brian and I had the opportunity to check out a screening of Christopher Robin earlier this week and it was everything I wanted it to be. Charming and sweet with the nostalgia my generation of millennials craves with every piece of media we experience.

Winnie the Pooh Disneybound

Of course, I Disneybounded as Pooh for our movie date! I also convinced Brian to wear grey as if he were DIsneybounding Eeyore.

Let me back up. I grew up with Winnie the Pooh as a child, fostering a mild obsession through high school. I loved Pooh,  and the rest of the gang. Even today, when I visit Disney World, I find myself snuggling up to Tigger and Pooh and Eeyore as if they were my best friends in the whole world. There was something special in each of the fluffy friends that really resonated with me. I loved them. And I recognized the wisdom in their tales. Christopher Robin is not without the classic wisdom that its predecessors have provided.

The movie begins with Christopher Robin (played by Ewan McGregor) bidding his childhood friends farewell before going off to boarding school. A series of drawings and scenes carefully, but briefly, detail Robin’s life to now. And then we hit the present day: Christopher Robin has to choose between saving his job and saving his family. Of course, by saving his job, he can also save his family, right?

With a little help from his dear friend Pooh, who stumbles into London after losing all of his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher remembers that doing nothing often leads to the very best something, and drops the stance picked up from his woozle of a boss (played by Mark Gatiss) that nothing comes from nothing.

I absolutely loved Christopher Robin. I thought it was light and charming, but full of a powerful message — one that really hit home, especially less than a week after finally piecing together my words about leaving my job and rediscovering my own childlike joy. The message of working to live instead of living to work isn’t hammered, either. It’s sweetly weaved throughout the movie, as Robin remembers what it’s like to be a kid again (to the benefit of his 8-year-old daughter, Madeline, who doesn’t know how to play).

Emotional Factor: I surprisingly didn’t tear up much (of course there were some moments, particular with slightly melancholy versions of the class Winnie the Pooh songs playing in the background) during this movie, but I sure did laugh.

Brian, my harsher Disney critic, enjoyed it without the nostalgia (he didn’t grow up with Pooh!) and thought “it was sweet.”

Be sure to stick around for the end credits scene featuring Richard M. Sherman and a few new songs from the Disney music legend (and if you don’t know who he is, I highly recommend watching The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story, which is a truly incredible and fascinating documentary about Richard and his brother Robert).

What childhood memories do you have of Pooh and his friends? Are you planning to see Christopher Robin in the theaters?

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN is directed by Marc Forster from a screenplay by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder and a story by Perry based on characters created by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. The producers are Brigham Taylor and Kristin Burr, with Renée Wolfe and Jeremy Johns serving as executive producers. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher Robin; Hayley Atwell as his wife Evelyn; Bronte Carmichael as his daughter Madeline; and Mark Gatiss as Keith Winslow, Robin’s boss. The film also features the voices of: Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger; Brad Garrett as Eeyore; Toby Jones as Owl; Nick Mohammed as Piglet; Peter Capaldi as Rabbit; and Sophie Okonedo as Kanga.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN opens Friday, August 3 in theaters everywhere.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Maleficent Has Always Been My Favorite Villainess

While no one paid me to say nice things about this movie, I did have the opportunity to check it out earlier this week at no cost to me. All promotional pictures are used with permission from Disney to write about this film.

maleficent533ef68db974e (1)I’ve told you about my Maleficent obsession right? How I was this close to “meeting” the Disney World character version of her at the Halloween party, but we got in line too late? Or how I hunted down Maleficent pins when we were at Disney like nobody’s business?

Shop Maleficent Costumes, 2014's Favorite Villainess - Girls & Womens Costumes via Trendyhalloween.com

Well since the day they announced the Maleficent movie, I’ve been obsessing. Especially because it was scheduled to come out TODAY. My birthday. It’s like someone at Disney knew this movie was made for me. And because today is quite a busy day, I was lucky enough to go see it on Wednesday night for a pre-screening where they handed out Maleficent horns and offered photo ops. Because Disney is awesome and somehow I managed to make it on their list of movie-goers.

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Brian and I both really enjoyed Maleficent for what it was, a lighthearted, yet dark, re-telling of a classic tale. I read some of the critic’s reviews last night, which I thought were kind of laughable. No, this is not a “grown-up movie,” but grown-ups who like fantasy and adventure stories will love it.

maleficent536acd2305e68

I haven’t been an Angelina fan for the majority of her career (I’ll admit, I totally dug Tomb Raider), but she rocked this character like no one else could. She was frightening, vulnerable, and lovable all at the same time. Even as a less-evil Maleficent, the character is still my favorite villain.

maleficent531f6917afb22Brad and Angelina’s tiny human, Vivienne Jolie Pitt, was absolutely adorable in her first role. I read a really lovely article in People the other day about how they didn’t want to get the kids into acting, but it was really hard to find a toddler who wasn’t terrified of Maleficent (note: if you have tiny humans, and cartoon Maleficent scares them…this may not be the movie for them. I’d go for date night, if I were you) so they brought in Vivi, who did a lovely job.

maleficent531f691a69a55Elle Fanning’s Aurora complemented Jolie well with her bright smile and curious nature. I especially enjoyed her interaction with the creatures of the Moor.

maleficent53487af5e016fI was less a fan of the three fairies and their purpose in this version than anything else. Their visibility in the movie was brief and seemed more comical and nonsensical than purposeful. The head fairy was played by Imelda Staunton (Delores Umbridge to Harry Potter fans), which was seemingly fitting…if they hadn’t completely overhauled the fairies’ involvement in the tale. They even changed the names, which baffled me.

maleficent536acd1fc2c53The plot also changes from the original telling, and definitely changes from the Disney animation, but the idea truly resonates with the direction that Disney seems to be heading and I enjoyed that a lot. Brian noted that it was a definite female-centric movie and he couldn’t find a male character to identify with, but that he still really liked it.

Disney's "Maleficent"..Ph: Film Still..?Disney 2014The scenery and sets were stunning. I wanted to be there, and thanks to the 3D glasses, it felt like I almost was. The critics will tell you that the 3D isn’t great, but I thought it was pretty decent. I hate the swoop-de-doo that most 3D movies start with, and this movie kept it on a level ground. I liked that a lot.

So if you’re into Disney, villains, action, adventure, princesses and fairies? Go see this movie. There really is something for everyone (over the age of 8-ish). With dragons, epic battles led by a FIERCE Maleficent, magic and adventure, you’re going to love it.

Of course I wore the horns on the 20 minute walk back to the train...and the 40 minute train ride.

Of course I wore the horns on the 20 minute walk back to the train…and the 40 minute train ride.

Are you planning to go see Maleficent? What other movies are coming out this summer that make your heart go pitter-patter?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Brian Shares Saturday: Did You Miss Him?

Brian’s had a busy few months. He just started a new job, so his sharing has been few and far between. Lucky for you, it seems like he may just be back. So without further ado, I give you…

Random Shit My Boyfriend Finds on the Internet

10 Things I Hate About You Health Ledger

There are several more of these sweet gifs if you click through to the imgur site linked on the pictures. I had to pick my favorites, and Heath Ledger tends to win. And who doesn’t love the stapler?   Have You Seen My Stapler

So, at work I’ve got a pretty small team. And they all know that Brian sometimes sends me random shit. And he hasn’t sent me much lately. So when he sends something, everyone gathers ’round my desk to check it out. And I didn’t pre-screen this one…So it basically went… ha ha ha WTF  ha ha ha…

You’ll see.

Disney  Movie AlternateTitlescute baby squirrel

Happy Saturday!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!