Our Top 3 New Movies & Family Favorites: “Must Sees” from My Family to Yours

Before we begin with my 3 new family favorite films, let me just say – with full disclosure- that I have never been a movie fan. The movie theater was always a place for me to catch a much-needed nap. Since the pandemic; however, film and TV have become a sort of inescapable portal to my sanity. And for my family, movie hour has become the time to pique our curiosity, spark conversations about important life topics in a fun way and gather ideas for creative projects afterward. With that in mind, I have to share our latest home cinema favorites, which have left me and my family watching on repeat.

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Jungle Cruise

As a mom who grew up watching WWE’s, “The Rock” at the beginning of his career, Dwayne always gets a chance to sell me on his films. Beyond his chiseled physique though, the juxtaposition of his strong appearance with the vulnerability of his history, combined with the well-timed humor makes me mention this movie first. Watch on Disney+


Jungle Cruise is a story about a privileged woman, who sets out on a journey to find a cure for all things. Along the way she encounters several setbacks on account of her gender and must rely on several men who are less brave and less trustworthy than she, like the scamming “Frank owes me money” skipper played by Dwayne Johnson.

What I really love about this film are the strong female lead, the childish humor, and the beauty of the Amazon. Emily Blunt’s character is my kind of a girl, a persistent heroine who’ll stop at nothing to save the world: not chauvinism, not her fear of water and not even the mission impossible itself. I love that this movie takes on the topics of feminism, LGBTQ acceptance, diversity and wraps it all into a fun little Disney package.


If I’m to be completely honest about my recommendations though, I do have to point out one thing that really bothered me and continues to bother me about American films: the German Nazi villain. Is it just me or is it the film industry’s job to continue trudging down this hypocritical path of unforgiveness, as it uses every opportunity to paint German and Russian characters as the unredeemable enemy? It’s done to death, it’s propaganda and it’s lazy. Frankly, I think that the plot and the villain back story could have been much more interesting, but the good news is that none of that stopped the richness of fun and adventure.


If you have daughters, don’t mind catching an eye full of The Rock for an hour plus, like a good adventure and want a laugh, make sure to put this on your weekend “Watch List”.


Encanto

“Welcome to the family Madrigal!” and Bienvenidos. My daughter is absolutely obsessed with the new film Encanto and after watching it for the third time in one week, I might have to admit that I’m a bit hypnotized too.

Encanto is a story about the Columbian family Madrigal, which thrives by the blessing of their individual gifts, and all of those gifts stem from a very tragic beginning years ago. The family is the center of their village and that village has come to rely on the family’s gifts. Of course, this creates some pressure, but every gifted family member is proud. The only problem is that one family member is still waiting to receive their gift, but if it’s up to another family member they will never receive the gift that could destroy them all. Watch on Disney+

Having spent a significant time in South American over the past three years – Argentina- I love seeing the warm loving fun-ness that the Madrigal family brings to the big screen. From the colors to the music, to the message, I love everything about this film. What I love most though, is the focus on family. These days, films tend to focus on one character as the central focal point of a storyline, and although this story does have a main character, the story would be nothing without everyone else. I also love that Disney has obviously done some diversity and inclusion work in-house, which is seen in their vibrant portrayal of the family members. As this story takes place in Columbia, it would be easy to feature light-skinned Latins and Latinas who are typically the ones thrust to the forefront to represent a much more diverse group of people; however, the creative and corporate leaders of this film can be congratulated for all of the many shades, shapes, and sizes of character represented in the story. In my opinion, they did a particularly great job in the way that they chose the tanned skin daughter for the most beautiful sister and kudos for allowing the strongest sister to still be feminine.


Shang-Chi

And speaking of representation and diversity, let’s talk about the Asian side of film. Shang-Chi is easily my favorite new movie on the market, but I’ve always been a fan of epic fight scenes and adrenaline-rush cinema.

Shang-Chi is the story of a young warrior, who ran away from his past and although he thought he’d escaped it, suddenly it’s come directly to his doorstep in San Francisco to haunt him.
What I love about this film is …. well, there’s so much that I don’t even know where to begin.
Watch on Disney+

I love the balancing act between East and West and how the story makes the Asian culture – a culture that can seem so foreign – feel familiar. I love Akwafina’s character as the hilarious, refreshingly candid, and strong female sidekick. I also love that hint of romance at the end that left out the gushy, “I always loved you,” ending. And speaking of strong women, can we also send a thousand heart eyes emojis to Shang Chi’s mom!?

Now let’s cozy into another honest moment. While I loved the Mandarin woven seamlessly into the movie for me, it does create a challenge for younger children who may not yet read swiftly. I read the subtitles aloud for my children mustering all of the acting skills that I don’t have and despite the mild interruption, they still love it.

SO, those are my favorite new movies and I’m sure with the pandemic changing rules every day, we’re in for many more to come. In the meantime, I’m dying to know which are your favorites. Let me know in the comments section where ever you found this article.

Happy watching to you and yours!

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