Avengers Assemble

It’s been one week since Avengers: Infinity War premiered in the United States. If you’re still feeling emotionally drained, here are some funny clips of the cast to cheer you up. Prepare to squeal & laugh! 😆

–   T h e   E l l e n   S h o w   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8SciRAdC44

–   J i m m y   K i m m e l   L i v e   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHBLOkfJSYI

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Nh1gayzOE

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiXTjekClMo

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Hm41N0dUs

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiwbf54evWw

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrnpSe4OChM

–   T h e   L a t e   L a t e   S h o w   W i t h   J a m e s   C o r d e n   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lgcAySBbTA

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiOiMVHW37o

–   T h e   T o n i g h t   S h o w   S t a r r i n g   J i m m y   F a l l o n   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3ymBk6Vb04

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

🎬 Directed by Bill Condon

🎼 Music by Alan Menken

📝 Screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos & Stephen Chbosky

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👗 Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe

🐗 Dan Stevens as Beast/The Prince

☕ Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts

👸🏻 Emma Watson as Belle

🔥 Ewan McGregor as Lumiére

💋 Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette

🌹 Hattie Morahan as Agathe/Enchantress

⏰ Ian McKellen as Cogsworth

🎭 Josh Gad as LeFou

🔨 Kevin Kline as Maurice

💪🏻 Luke Evans Gaston

☕ Nathan Mack as Chip

🎶 Stanley Tucci as Cadenza

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite Disney movies growing up. The love story goes beyond girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy. Belle is the first human, not counting the enchanted objects, to look past Beast’s exterior. Her attention and kindness encourages him to become more human, making his inner transformation just as important as his outer change. They develop a friendship first and then fall in love. I am ashamed to say that despite being initially excited, I allowed myself to be swayed by critics giving their opinion based on the trailers. Once the movie was released and I heard great feedback from lifelong fans, I started to relax and get excited again. I finally saw the movie last Wednesday. When the title card filled the movie screen, I got chills and teared up. In that moment I realized how emotional the experience was going to be for my inner child.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • S P O I L E R S  A H E A D ! ! • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The sets are stunning. The village is like the picturesque interior of a snowglobe isolated from the rest of the world. There are golden, ornamental baroque details all over Beast’s castle, specifically French Rococo. Under the curse, the exterior is dark and dramatic; the word gothic comes to mind. As the centerpiece of the story, the enchanted rose is as striking as it needs to be. The theme is appropriately weaved into other parts of the film; Maurice attempts to pick a white rose from Beast’s garden, and Belle’s baby rattle is a red rose. Don’t even get me started on the final scene. The flower-draped ceiling is GORGEOUS!! The entire ballroom looks like springtime, airy & bright.

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

Belle is the same beloved character but with a few modifications. Her day-to-day outfits are a quirky mix of materials and patterns, and combat boots are her footwear of choice. The wardrobe update matches her new role as an inventor just like her father Maurice. The yellow ballgown is a simpler design than it’s 1991 counterpart, but when you see how it moves onscreen, doubts will fly out of your mind. The gold touches make it shine, and the skirt floats through the air as if it were weightless. The look wouldn’t be complete without the gold ear-cuff, a subtle nod to Belle’s unconventional style. There is no need to say much about the celebration dress. The way it looks and moves in the ballroom during the final scene will take your breath away. Belle’s hairstyles are simple but very beautiful. My personal favorite is her updo in the library scene accessorized with a blue headband. Of course I have to mention Beast’s wardrobe which goes through a transformation of its own; it becomes more refined and princely as the movie goes on. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran deserves a lot of credit because she came up with outfits for a character who is animated during most of the film. A lot of work went into making sure the animated garments had the depth and detail of tangible clothing. The animators did a phenomenal job.

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

Alan Menken is a musical genius so it’s a no-brainer that I like all of the new songs, especially Evermore. In terms of flow, Days in the Sun is a nice song, but it feels unnecessary. There is no nice way to say this so I’ll just rip off the band-aid. Many of the vocals are heavily edited, and I suspect it has more to do with lack of vocal ability than over-zealous audio editors. It is a fact that Dan Stevens hired a vocal coach to learn how to sing for this movie, and Emma Watson has never sung professionally. I am thrilled with their acting performances, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired; they sound robotic and lack emotion. I found myself holding my breath every time they sang because I desperately wanted it to sound good but knew it probably wouldn’t. A few times I was pleasantly surprised. Emma did a good job with Belle (Reprise), and Beast sounded much better in the second verse of Evermore. I saw a comment on YouTube regarding Emma’s vocals that was well put. I can’t remember the exact words, but this is the basic idea: The original songs, written for an experienced singer, are above Emma’s capabilities. She sounded better singing the songs written for her portrayal of Belle. I had the same problem with Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson. Ewan has sung before in a film, and for the most part his vocals sound good. I know Emma can sing, and I think she was a great choice for Mrs. Potts. The issue is inconsistency. Sometimes the vocals sound good, and other times they sound heavily autotuned. Since both roles requires a certain voice, it is possible that manipulation was required to help Ewan and Emma stay in character while singing. The song Beauty and the Beast is a turning point in the story, and Mrs. Potts’ singing voice ruina a bit of the magic in what is an otherwise beautiful scene. Listening to it again, the vocals sound better than I remembered, but there are still some parts that don’t sound as nice as they should. Knowing that Emma has a great voice makes this even more of a heartbreaking disappointment. I love the cast, but this movie is a musical. Acting and vocals should be split 50/50 when considering the potential actors. Perfection was well within reach for this film, and lack of vocal ability was the one and only roadblock. Consider the rave reviews that Josh Gad and Luke Evans are receiving. Why do you think that is? Not only are their acting performances spot-on, but their vocals are spectacular. That is why they are the most successful part of this musical film. I want to end my rant by mentioning that I find the entire soundtrack to be over-edited, even the experienced voices such as Kevin Kline. I would have preferred less effects and rough edges. At least the final result would have sounded more genuine.

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

Animation was the perfect medium for this story because it is a fairy tale that is not at all grounded in reality. When considering a live action version, you have to ask yourself if the story will translate. I commend the crew because I was a believer every step of the way. I like the realistic design of each enchanted object. They fit the style of the movie and still feel like the same beloved characters. I love the way the friendship develops between Beast and Belle.  There are so many amazing scenes I could mention such as the library and Belle’s childhood home in Paris, but I will stick with one. Up until the ballroom scene, I was fully invested in the budding friendship. During the waltz when Beast lifts Belle, I felt a strong wave of emotion and instantly knew the relationship had become a love story. I was worried about the transformation because I wanted to be in the moment; I didn’t want to only see Dan Stevens in a wig. I am so relieved that the scene came together because it cemented the couple’s chemistry. I know that Belle’s final quote is controversial, but I LOVED it. I found the playful moment to be cute and relatable.

Belle: How would you feel about growing a beard? 😘

Beast: GROWL! 😉

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

There are details that disappoint and frustrate me, and I’m not afraid to talk about them. However, I can’t change anything so there’s no use dwelling on the negative. My emotional reaction speaks volumes, and I will definitely be watching this movie again. Please go and see it before you form an opinion. You might be pleasantly surprised! :)

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

Beauty and the Beast Artwork ➡️ Tale as Old as Time

📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹 👸🏻 💘 📖 🐗 🌹

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– Lauren Michele <3

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We’re All in This Together

I can’t believe it!  Today is the ten year anniversary of “High School Musical.”  I just finished watching the cast reunion on Disney Channel.  I am so glad they maintained close relationships with one another.  I had a huge, goofy smile on my face listening to them reminisce.  HSM was a HUGE part of my childhood, and I want to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my most vivid memories.

1.  I don’t actually remember watching the premiere of HSM.  I may not have watched it on January 20th, but I discovered it soon after because I remember following the cast’s every move  and watching the premiere of “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

2.  I freaked out when the music video mentioned above premiered.  It was an extra song featured on the soundtrack but not in the movie.  I watched it to death!  It also fed my suspicion that “Zanessa” was real. 😍

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFB54wp41zo

3.  Seeing Zac Efron sing in the music video strengthened my belief that he sang in HSM.  He didn’t, but I believed and fought for him until the 2nd movie came out (he sang in the last 2 movies).  I’ve learned to live with it. 😂

4.  I might as well follow #3 with the fact that Zac Efron was a 2000s heartthrob featured in Bop, J-14, M, Tiger Beat, etc.  Yes, I did have posters of him on my wall, but I also had posters of the other cast members.  No shame. ;)

5.  I believe this happened in either 2009 or 2010, but me and my dance friends put together a big sleepover complete with food, games, and a “High School Musical” marathon.  There was a lot of squealing, laughing, singing, and crying.

6.  Every time we did jazz squares in dance class, me and my friend Katie would look at each other and quote: “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Every time without fail!!  Nailed it.

6.  Up until 2010 (the big bad Zanessa breakup), I followed the cast’s every move.  They were the BIG Disney celebrities of the 2000s.  I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, just genuinely curious and in awe.  I think every young girl goes through that phase.  I looked at every publicity photo, listened to every solo and group song, and read every magazine.  I also want to clear up that the breakup wasn’t the reason I lost interest.  I still look up the cast from time to time, but everybody grows up and leaves behind the things of childhood.

Favorite Character:  Gabriella Montez

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4lv9xVA3Tk

Favorite Scene:  The very first scene featuring “Start of Something.”  That moment started the whole HSM phenomenon.

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6EOUaWscrE

Favorite Song:  “Breaking Free”

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLa__49Ltv4

Favorite Quote:  “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Also, everything Ms. Darbus says.

Only Ms. Darbus could pull off these quotes:

*Chad is playing with a basketball at his desk*  “Mr. Danforth! This is a place of learning, not a hockey arena.”

“Holidays are over people.  Way over!!”

“This school is about more than just young men in baggy shorts flinging balls for touchdowns.”

“The theatre is a chapel of arts, a precious cornucopia of creative energy.”

“It’s called crime and punishment, Bolton. Beside, proximity to the arts is cleansing for the soul.”

Say it loud, say it proud:

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

Wildcats!  GETCHA HEAD IN THE GAME!!!!!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Happy Endings and Midnight Madness

Once Upon a HolidayEvans, Lisa. Nordstrom – Once Upon A Holiday. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2015. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/29318404@N08/2736221227/&gt;.

(Technically the contents of this post took place after midnight, but “Midnight Madness” sounds much more poetic than  “After Midnight Madness” or “Post-Midnight Madness.”)

Last night was one of those magical nights that I have every once in awhile as a writer.  It is an experience that produces both positive and negative results.  I was in the mood for a movie, specifically a murder mystery.  Unfortunately, I had already finished the Miss Marple DVD recently checked out from the library.  I did the next best thing and checked Youtube for any free episodes that had slipped under the radar of the copyright police.  Nada.  I moved on to Hulu, and this is where the magic began.  I did not find a Miss Marple murder mystery, but I did discover a British romance film entitled “Not Another Happy Ending.”  I was not particularly in the mood for a romance flick, but I was bored and decided to give it a chance since it was already past midnight.

The  basic synopsis is as follows: After discovering that his top-selling author Jane Lockhart writes best when unhappy, publisher Tom Duvall secretly plots to make her miserable.  Sometime during the process, he discovers that he is in love with her.

Jane’s character reminded me so much of myself.  Unless something extremely emotional in my life has happened, I do not feel inspired to write.  This is my creative process, and I love it.  Writing has become my therapy.; I do not turn to my journals unless I need to vent or have something meaningful to say.  When I force myself to write, which includes blogging, I find no joy or meaning in what I write.  During the creative process of Jane’s novel in the film, I found myself desiring to write.  When the movie was finished, nothing but book ideas were floating around in my brain.  Naturally I could not sleep because my brain would not shut off.  I sprayed my pillow with lavender and inhaled the scent of my Eucalyptus Spearmint lotion; that probably sounds weird, but those two products have helped relieve my insomnia therefore I remain a religious consumer.  I finally started to feel sleepy, but my mind was still producing thoughts at top speed.  I realized my eyes weren’t shutting because a beam of light was shining down directly onto my pillow.  I should now mention that I sleep best in complete darkness, which is ironic considering the irrational fears I feel in the dark.  I looked up and saw that a beautiful 3/4 moon was the source of the light.  I laid down and stared up at the moon.  In that moment, I felt like God was confirming that all the ideas being produced by my imagination were good ideas.  Sleep came soon after my revelation.  I now have five book ideas in my head and hope I live long enough to complete each and every one of them.

I bid you all a good night.  Follow your dreams readers!

-Lauren Michele :)

“I’ve never seen a moon in the sky that, if it didn’t take my breath away, at least misplaced it for a moment.”  – Colin Farrell

If you wish to watch “Not Another Happy Ending”, here is the link: http://www.hulu.com/watch/727435

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