The 2016 Almost-Summer Movie Preview

(Image Credit: Universal)

(Image Credit: Universal)

Now that it’s officially spring, it’s time to start looking forward to all the movies that are coming out. Contrary to popular belief, every month is a great month for movies, and the almost-summer months of April and May are definitely not exceptions. Check out what’s coming out this year below!

April

The Boss – April 8

In order to start your April off right, go see Melissa McCarthy’s newest movie, The Boss. McCarthy stars as a woman convicted of insider trading who is released from jail and ready to resume her high-status place in the business world. But not everyone is willing to forgive and forget, so she decides to start a brownie empire with the help of Kristen Bell and the Girl Scouts. The Boss is sure to be hilarious and a great beginning to the almost-summer movie season.

The Jungle Book – April 15

The first of two upcoming Jungle Book movies, The Jungle Book is the Disney version, a reimagining of the animated classic. The movie will be live-action with CGI animals, and if you have any problems with snakes or tigers, it might be too realistic for you. The Jungle Book features a stellar voice cast, including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken. Fans of Oz the Great and Powerful and Maleficent, this one’s for you.

Criminal – April 15

In a movie that sounds reminiscent of Face/Off and Source Code, Kevin Costner stars as a former death row inmate who gets a CIA operative’s memories implanted in his head. The CIA operative is played by Ryan Reynolds, so we hope he gets plenty of screen time as well, even if he’s dead. But it’s likely we’ll see more of Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones than Reynolds. If you love Gal Gadot in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and can’t wait for the Wonder Woman movie, it looks she’ll have a pretty significant role in Criminal as the operative’s wife.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War – April 22

A spinoff of 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, The Huntsman: Winter’s War focuses on Eric, the Huntsman, played in both movies by Chris Hemsworth. The movie tells the story of how Eric came to fight by Snow White’s side, but it also features a new threat in the form of the Ice Queen (Emily Blunt), the Evil Queen’s (Charlize Theron) younger sister. The Ice Queen’s story will bring in elements of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” also the basis for Disney’s Frozen. In addition to Hemsworth and Theron, Sam Claflin will reprise his role as William in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

 

May

Captain America: Civil War – May 6

It wouldn’t be the beginning of May without a movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this year, we’ve got Captain America: Civil War. Set one year after Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie will see the Avengers split into two factions, one side supporting superhuman regulation, led by Tony Stark/Iron Man, and the other against it, led by Steve Rogers/Captain America. Practically every actor in Hollywood is in this movie, with Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Rudd all returningCaptain America: Civil War will also introduce Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the latest version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to the MCU.

The Nice Guys – May 20

A mystery comedy, The Nice Guys looks like a buddy-cop film, which makes sense given director Shane Black’s previous work. The titular “nice guys” are a down-on-his-luck private detective (Ryan Gosling) and an enforcer (Russell Crowe). Set in 1970s Los Angeles, the two must team-up to solve the mystery of a missing girl and the death of a porn star. If you liked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or Iron Man 3, you should give this one a try.

X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27

The latest X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, made itself buzzworthy by casting younger versions of several members of the X-Men team we already know and love, including Game of Thrones’s Sophie Turner as Jean Grey. A sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past, the movie will be set in the 1980s with Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), finally-bald Professor X (James McAvoy) and the young team going up against Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and new villain Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). Mutants on the good side will include Cyclops, Beast, Havok, Nightcrawler and Jubilee while mutants on the villains’ side will include Storm, Psylocke and Archangel.

Alice Through the Looking Glass – May 27

In this sequel to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland where things are not as she left them. With the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) growing “darker,” Alice travels back in time to save him. Other actors reprising their roles will be Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the voice talents of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall as Absolem the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and Bayard the Bloodhound. Sacha Baron Cohen joins the cast as the part-human, part-clock character Time while Rhys Ifans will play the Mad Hatter’s father.

 

Almost-summer movies  pave the way for summer movie season, and every year, they are some of the most popular ones. Don’t miss out on the April and May movies, especially with all these sequels! You might still be busy with school, but these movies will definitely be worth your time.

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5 Live-Action Disney Movies We’re Looking Forward To

(Image Credit: Disney)

(Image Credit: Disney)

When you think Disney, is the first thing that comes to mind animation? Well, you’re not alone, but don’t forget Disney has done some amazing live-action movies over the years. From Mary Poppins and The Love Bug to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Hocus Pocus, live-action Disney movies were just as much a part of my childhood as their animated counterparts. So, I’m excited that Disney has a lot of live-action in the works.

Not only are we getting Pirates of the Caribbean and Maleficent sequels, but Disney is returning to the classics with live versions of Dumbo and Pinocchio also announced. Those all sound good, but they aren’t even the best parts. Read on to find out which five live-action Disney movies we’re looking forward to the most.

The Jungle Book – April 15, 2016

Coming pretty soon to a theater near you, The Jungle Book is a live-action/CGI remake of the animated classic. The trailer was intense, pitting Mowgli against tiger Shere Khan and python Kaa. But it also made sure we saw plenty of good times with Mowgli and his friends, black panther Bagheera and, of course, Baloo the bear. The cast is full of all-stars like Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johannson and Christopher Walken, but the real highlight is the debut of Neel Sethi, who has already won over hearts as Mowgli.

Pete’s Dragon – August 12, 2016

I’m not entirely sure that I saw the original Pete’s Dragon, but after watching the just-released trailer for the live-action remake, you can bet I’m going to see the new one. The movie is a reimagining, and judging by the trailer, the tone has chanegd, which is probably appropriate for the story of an orphan living alone in a forest. Sadly, the movie is no longer a musical, but the dragon looks pretty darn cool.

Beauty and the Beast – March 17, 2017

Even more star-studded than The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast will feature Emma Watson and Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens in the title roles. Then, we’ll all be the guests of Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald and Gugu Mbatha-Raw – which is just about the coolest dinner party I could ever dream up. Even better, the movie will feature classic songs we all love as well as new material with Alan Menken returning to do the music with Tim Rice, whose work includes Aladdin and The Lion King, joining him.

Mary Poppins Sequel – TBA

People began buzzing about this movie recently when it was announced that Emily Blunt was in talks to play the title role. The sequel is said to be set in London 20 years after the first movie with the now grown-up Banks kids needing help with children of their own. If you’re still kind of leery about a Mary Poppins sequel – and trust me, I understand – maybe the news that Lin Manuel-Miranda of Hamilton fame is in talks to play Mary Poppins’s friend, the lamplighter Jack, similar to the role played by Dick Van Dyke in the original. Manuel-Miranda is supposed to also help develop new songs for the musical sequel.

A Wrinkle in Time – TBA

It’s still early days for the A Wrinkle in Time movie with director Ava DuVernay (Selma) only just announced, but my expectations are already very high. The movie will, of course, be based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, a book that I devoured in elementary school. Frozen’s writer and director Jennifer Lee will pen the script, which is not an enviable task, because the book focuses a lot on math and science and has been called unfilmable. But no matter what happens, it has to be better than the 2003 television adaptation.

Whether you want to see all of these movies or just some of them, keep them in mind, because if I know Disney, there’ll be more greatness where that came from. See you in the theater, reliving our childhoods!

Our 10 Most-Anticipated YA Books of the Spring & Summer

Our 10 Most-Anticipated YA Books of the Spring & SummerMaybe I’m alone in this, but it seems like every year, right around January – March, I hit a book rut. There isn’t much new coming out that grabs my attention, and I end up attempting to decide what older books on my to-read list I feel like tackling. It has a tendency to leave me feeling like I’m reading “leftovers;” the stuff I was never super excited about but just mildly interested in, and it’s usually kind of depressing.

But good news, fellow book-lovers! March is here and there are all sorts of exciting new releases coming out this spring and summer to look forward to. Here’s a list of some of my most anticipated spring & summer YA book releases. Click through the titles to read more about each book on Goodreads, and get a peek at the current release date since some of these may be subject to change.

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Curse #3) by Marie Rutkoski | March 29, 2016

books_winnerskiss

This book series has been steadily building toward its third and final installment, which readers can finally dig into at the end of the month! Early reviews have been promising, and I’m excited to see how all the strategy and manipulation finally plays out for Kestrel and Arin.

 

When We Collided by Emery Lord | April 5

books_whenwecollided

I always enjoy Emery Lord’s contemporary fiction, which tends to lean into comedic territory. When We Collided sounds like it might be a bit heavier than Lord’s past work, but I’m intrigued by the mysterious blurb and am excited to see Lord branch out a bit with her writing style.

 

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | April 26

books_ravenking

Another series finale, this is perhaps my most-anticipated book of the spring. Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series has not missed a beat since page one of the first book, and she has built such a lovely world full of unique characters and atmospheric writing. I can’t wait to see how this ends, and how on earth Stiefvater addresses the Gansey situation!

 

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Adieh | April 26

books_rosedagger

The Wrath and the Dawn was my annual winter book rut-breaker last year around this time, so of course I’m excited for the follow-up! Adieh set up such an interesting world that I’m excited to return to it. I’m a little worried about how magic is going to be handled in book 2 since it felt a little awkward in the first, but I’m optimistic that the magic plotline will smooth out now that the bones of the story have been set up.

 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | May 3

books_unexpectedeverything

Morgan Matson is one of those authors who can really do no wrong as far as I’m concerned, so I can’t wait to read her next book! It doesn’t even really matter what it’s about – Matson handles teenage characters, relationships, and quirks so wonderfully that the plot details are just icing on the cake. Plus the cover is full of cute dogs! They know how to win me over.

 

 

Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins (and many more) | May 17

books_summerdays

I have mixed feelings about these short story compilation books. On the one hand, it’s a nice way to get a nice little story from a favorite author without having to wait for them to write an entire book. On the other, I usually find myself wishing for a book more along the lines of Let It Snow, which features three short-ish stories instead of a dozen extremely short stories. It just gives me more time to settle in. However, that won’t stop me from devouring this immediately – I’m especially looking forward to reading the short story by Ms. Perkins herself. Give us a new full length book soon, Stephanie!

 

The Last Star (The Fifth Wave #3) by Rick Yancey | May 24

books_laststar

I promise this is the last final book from a series on this list! But c’mon…The Fifth Wave series is full of action and twists and tension and suspense and, well, ALIENS! What’s not to love? I’m intrigued to see how a world that was in such disarray at the end of book 2 finds resolution…or does it?

 

The Darkest Magic (Spirits & Thieves #2) by Morgan Rhodes | June 28

books_darkestmagic

Last year I read The Book of Spirits & Thieves with zero context of Falling Kingdoms, its companion series. The story still managed to hook me, and that’s with some of my biggest book red flags: a map and a list of characters in front, a heavy reliance on magic for plot momentum, and a relationship to a book series I’ve never read. I’ve since dabbled into Falling Kingdoms and have no doubt Rhodes will keep me hooked with this book!

 

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West | July 26

books_ps

Whether Kasie West is tackling sci-fi dystopia or contemporary romance, she does it with style. Her contemporary styles are usually light and adorable while still having depth and wit. P.S. I Like You sounds like it should fit right in, and with a mysterious secret admirer plot line, I fully expect to be hooked from the first sentence.

 

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir | August 30

books_torch

An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favorite books of 2015 – and probably my #1 favorite non-contemporary book of the year. The alternate universe spin on the Roman empire, the alternating perspectives between two amazing and conflicted characters, the unflinching ability to put those characters in the worst of situations without ever making the reader completely hopeless…it just all works, and the ambiguous ending makes me oh-so-glad another book is happening!

 

My most-anticipated books are part of series I enjoy or from my favorite authors, so I’m sure I missed lots of great ones that I just don’t know about! Let us know in the comments what YA books you’re most looking forward to this spring and summer!

#FreeKesha: The Outpouring of Support

(Image Credit: Instagram, iiswhoiis)

(Image Credit: Instagram, iiswhoiis)

Last week after Kesha’s trial, it was ruled that Sony would not terminate her contract with Dr. Luke. We saw videos of the pop star breaking down in tears and our collective heart broke for her. But soon after, there was an outpouring of support not just from fans, but from celebrities, too.

After the ruling, there was a wave of tweets condemning the ruling, sending positive vibes, and supporting Kesha entirely.

https://twitter.com/lorde/status/700792372385308672

After the kind words, some celebrities took bigger action in hopes of supporting Kesha. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 “to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time.

Musician Zedd offered to produce a song with Kesha.

However, Lady Gaga has been the most dedicated and vocal in her support for Kesha. At the Oscars she dedicated her performance of her song Til It Happens to You to Kesha. She brought rape survivors on stage and stood together in unity and made a very powerful and moving statement.

Kesha responded with a couple of tweets of her own.

Overall, Kesha’s situation is horrible and devastating, but the huge amount of support from celebrities and fans is astounding. It demonstrates how coming forward about abuse will not always be met with rumors and speculation, but with hope and support. Ideally, Kesha’s bravery and her supporters will inspire and comfort others in similar situations.

‘Gilmore Girls’ Revival: What We Most Want to See

(Image Credit: The CW)

(Image Credit: The CW)

As a longtime Gilmore Girls fan, I reacted to news of the upcoming Netflix revival of the show, in the form of four mini-movies, with a mix of disbelief (Really? After all this time?), relief (Finally Amy Sherman-Palladino can finish the series the way she intended!), and, of course, extreme excitement. Fans have been buzzing about every new casting announcement and analyzing what it might mean for the story.

Personally, I’ll be happy with literally anything. New Gilmore Girls is new Gilmore Girls, and I have all the faith in the world that ASP will come through with something worth watching. That said, of course there are certain things I hope are addressed with the revival, and other things that I just would really love to see.

 

Rory doesn’t end up with Dean or Logan

I don’t think there’s much chance of this, but it’s still on my list because if Rory did end up with Dean or Logan, it would be horribly depressing. Everyone has their opinions on Rory’s various boyfriends, but to me it doesn’t make sense that she’d find long term happiness with Dean, and I just really don’t like Logan. So yeah, I’m biased. I don’t really think she’ll end up with Jess, either, but if she did…I wouldn’t be mad about it. At all.

 

What happens when someone uses a cell phone at Luke’s Diner

I just really want to know if Luke is still enforcing the no cell phones rule. I assume he probably is, but HOW? It’s got to be much harder in 2016 than it was in 2006.

 

Kirk is still exploring new job opportunities

The Stars Hollow townies, and especially Kirk, are the special spices in the Gilmore Girls formula that make it so interesting and endearing. With news of Sean Gunn joining the revival cast, we know Kirk will make an appearance, but I hope that he’s the same ol’ Kirk. I want to see the version of Kirk that’s always got a new odd job and is both bizarre and beautifully clueless. I don’t think it would be right if Kirk was suddenly the picture of maturity and stability.

 

Luke and Lorelai get some resolution

When Gilmore Girls ended, the Luke/Lorelai situation was left (probably intentionally) very ambiguous. No thank you. Sort that situation out one way or the other, please! Either they get together and stay together or they are definitely, definitively apart for good. But hopefully if that’s the case they are still best frenemies.

 

Kwan and Steve get some screentime

I generally could not care less about kids, but for some reason I am just itching to know what Lane & Zach’s twins, Kwan and Steve, are up to these days! Are they musically-inclined like their parents? Or do either of them take after Mrs. Kim? Maybe one of each? There are just so many funny little directions this situation could take, and I would love to see it as a small story throughout the revival episodes.

 

The clothes are fantastic enough to inspire a tumblr

The Gilmore Girls always had slightly eclectic fashion sense, with Lorelai never shying away from a loud pattern or low cut, and Rory preferring mostly simple, classic clothes with an occasional quirk thrown in. I’m excited to see these ladies’ updated looks and I’m hoping for an odd but fashionable blend of items worthy of one of those tumblr pages that tells you where you can, for the low price of $1200, purchase a dress like Lorelai’s.

 

Richard gets a fitting tribute

I’m confident this will happen – ASP clearly loved Edward Hermann and was deeply affected by his death, so I know she will address it appropriately on the show. I’m just hopeful that they are able to find the right balance in tone so that the loss of Richard is important and given the time it deserves, but doesn’t dominate too much of the storyline.

 

The last four words are worth the hype

If you’re a fan of Gimore Girls, you’ve no doubt heard the legend of the last four words. For many years, even before the show originally ended, ASP had the idea in her head for what she wanted the last four words of the series to be. When Sherman-Palladino left the show before its final season, those four words became legend. Would we ever hear them? Well, now we’re going to, and now I just hope they can live up to the huge expectation that has been built up around them.
This list could go on forever, because in reality I could get excited about seeing just about anything related to Gilmore Girls. Just seeing all my favorite characters back together again on screen will be amazing regardless, but if the revival checks off the items on my list, even better!