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MOVIE REVIEW: Coco Is A Heartwarming Fiesta For The Whole Family

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VVNG – There I was, halfway through enjoying another magnificent Pixar movie, when I started thinking: “Hey, maybe Pixar isn’t going to make me cry this time. Maybe they are just going to let me enjoy a fantastic celebration of Mexican culture.”… Boy, was I wrong! All of a sudden the screen got completely blurry when my eyes got covered with a thick layer of sad juice. I started trying to close my tear ducts and breathe properly as this movie started yanking violently at my heartstrings. Just as the Mexican saying goes, if you don’t like hot sauce, then you are not Mexican. Well I say if you go watch Coco, and don’t cry, not only are you not Mexican, I doubt you are even from this planet. Even though this movie obviously has Mexico and its people on its mind, anyone, from anywhere, can appreciate the jaw-dropping animation, the lively colors and the beautiful family story that all come together to help make Coco, a movie that is as heartwarming as it is drop-dead gorgeous.

I give Coco, el ¡Sello de Aprobación del Checky!” (Checky Seal of Approval) So many of the unique things that make Mexico special were perfectly portrayed in this film. The music, the art, the tamales, the architecture, the passion, the lingo, the chancla, and even some of the greatest Mexican artists that have passed away were respectfully featured in the movie. The first time I saw a trailer for this flick, I instantly thought of Book of Life, and although I really liked that movie, Coco is a lot more realistic and detailed than Book of Life.

It is abundantly clear that this film was made with tons of creativity and love. Every frame of this movie is bursting with color and stunning visuals. You should definitely pay the extra moola to watch this in 3D. I wouldn’t say this movie is hilarious, but it definitely has some very funny jokes throughout its entire runtime that kept me laughing and smiling regularly.

The only (minor) negative thing I will say about this animated masterpiece is that sometimes the movie slows down and gets a bit too serious, and although I did not mind that at all, it MIGHT cause some of the younger kiddos to get a bit antsy. Oh, and there is a Frozen “short” before the movie that felt way too long, so just be prepared for that. It was funny, but I wanted to get to the movie already. Having said that, I really enjoyed the way the filmmakers seamlessly combined so many of the things that we love about Mexico into a very entertaining and beautiful movie about family that you can enjoy (regardless of your ancestry) with all of your loved ones.

It should go without saying, but I recommend this excellent movie, that does not dumb down or rely on stupid humor to keep the younglings’ attention, to anyone who appreciates culture, creativity, beauty and/or their family. So put on your chanclas and take your entire familia to go watch this colorful, artistic and touching film about death and the afterlife that is very much full of life.

So, what did you think of Coco? Do you agree or disagree with me? Which flick are you checking out this week? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great day at the movies and don’t forget to save me some popcorn.

Official Synopsis: Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Hector, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

Ezequiel T (a.k.a., El Checky) is a Translator with a lifelong passion for films. He has been reviewing movies for years and has been watching, discussing and sometimes even making them for as long as he can remember. When reviewing them, he has a simple way of recommending a good movie by giving it The “Checky™ Seal Of Approval!” which is due to his childhood nickname. He currently lives in Victorville, CA with his wife of 12 years, Joanna.

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Movie Reviews: Birds of Prey and Sonic the Hedgehog

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Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn – Margot Robbie, Marie Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollet-Bell, Rosie Perez and Ewan McGregor.

Raise your hand if you have a crazy break up story. Ok, now raise your hand if you’ve ever blown up a factory (like Harley does in this movie) as a symbolic gesture of independence from your former partner. WAIT!!! You know what? Nevermind, don’t raise it. I don’t want to testify against you in court. Instead, why don’t you just go watch this flick and enjoy the absolutely bonkers aftermath of The Joker and Harley Quinn’s toxic relationship? Maybe it will help make you realize that your former flame isn’t as bad as you remember him/her when you compare them to the over-the-top events that take place in this uniquely bizarre film. 

As soon as Mr. J (literally) kicks Harley to the curb, everyone in Gotham who has beef with her finds out she’s not protected anymore and starts trying to get payback for whatever ludicrous thing she might have done to them. Good thing is that this vivacious babe is no damsel in distress. She is strong, capable, and as smart as she is adorable. So, whoever is foolish enough to try and cross the incomparable Ms. Quinn, is in for an outrageously topsy turvy world of hurt. 

This movie isn’t JUST about Harley, though, there are also other characters who appear in the movie that make up the titular “Birds”. While there’s nothing wrong with any of them, in fact, they are pretty freaking badass, they don’t really get to shine as much as they undoubtedly could. This is a bummer because they kind of end up feeling like they were an afterthought, and Harley should have just had the whole movie to herself and it would have still been great. Also, I know this movie is Rated – R, but sometimes it was TOO dark like it didn’t know where the line was or didn’t care that it crossed it a few times. I don’t mind violence, but when it’s done for no reason other than to be edgy, it just makes me uncomfortable. Aside from that, this is a very entertaining movie that is as vibrant, lively and chaotic as our favorite spunky, fun-loving and insanely violent bad girl. 

Score: “Checky™ Sticker of Tolerance!”

Official Synopsis: It’s open season on Harley Quinn when her explosive breakup with the Joker puts a big fat target on her back. Unprotected and on the run, Quinn faces the wrath of narcissistic crime boss Black Mask, his right-hand man, Victor Zsasz, and every other thug in the city. But things soon even out for Harley when she becomes unexpected allies with three deadly women — Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

Sonic the Hedgehog – Jim Carrey, James Marsden, Ben Schwartz (as Sonic’s Voice)

One of the best memories I have of my childhood is when my parents got my brothers and me a Sega Genesis in the 90s. I still remember the first time we used it. We unboxed and connected everything, popped in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game, turned it on, got goosebumps when we heard the glorious “Segaaaaaa” jingle and were immediately blown away as soon as we started playing with the little blue blur. We spent hours and hours trying to get through all of the levels in the game, yelling when Sonic would lose his rings, stressing out when he would almost drown, and celebrating everytime we defeated Dr. Robotnick. 

I kept playing Sonic the Hedgehog games well into my adult years and have always had a special place in my heart for the charismatic speed demon, and I’m sure this is true for a lot of you as well. My expectations for this movie were super low because I never thought a movie would be good enough for a character that brought me so much joy, but I actually ended up liking it a lot.

Sometimes the jokes in the movie don’t land, there is a henchman that is pretty useless, and Jim Carrey’s performance is at times a BIT too wacky and cringey, but for the most part, this is a very delightful and surprisingly heartwarming flick. 

James Marsden is wonderful, charming and likeable. Jim Carrey is at his most Jim Carreyest ever, and the majority of his performance is hilarious and brilliant. The action sequences are top notch when they are (super) fast-paced, and dazzlingly impressive when Sonic is going so fast that everything around him slows down. Also, there’s a ton of moments that are incredibly sweet and help make this movie stand out from other video game adaptations.

You should definitely go watch this movie if you want to relive your childhood, hear your kiddos laugh, and/or just enjoy an amusing and splendid family flick. Just make sure you aren’t too hyped up after it’s over that you get a speeding ticket on the way home.

Score: “Checky™ Sticker of Tolerance!”

Official Synopsis: Sonic tries to navigate the complexities of life on Earth with his newfound best friend — a human named Tom Wachowski. They must soon join forces to prevent the evil Dr. Robotnik from capturing Sonic and using his powers for world domination.

What did you think of Harley and/or Sonic? Do you agree or disagree with me? Which flick are you checking out this week? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great day at the movies, and don’t forget to save me some popcorn.

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Swedish artist Tove Lo films latest video “Bikini Porn” in Victorville and Hesperia

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Lo, premiered her latest music video today titled “Bikini Porn” and if you recognize some of the scenes, that’s because it was filmed in the cities of Victorville and Hesperia.

Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson or better known by her fans as Tove Lo was born on October 29, 1987, and is referred to as “Sweden’s darkest pop export” by Rolling Stone. She is known for her raw, grunge-influenced take on pop music.

The singer who has 1.8 million followers on Instagram shared her latest video with the world on Friday, January 17, 2020, and said, “anyone shocked it’s basically me running around in a bikini? Didn’t think so.”

The nearly 3-minute long video shows the dancer dressed in various different colored bikinis as she dances around the desert, a bar, elevator, hotel pool, gym, and even on the back of a flat-bed trailer.

In one scene, the barefooted singer is dressed in a leopard print one-piece bikini as she’s dancing around the inside of a CD shop before she’s removed and taken to the parking lot.

During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the singer told the magazine this video was very fun and very bizarre to shoot. “There were only seven of us in a van as the crew driving around Victorville. Been a while since I did a run and gun shoot; I loved it!”

Tove Lo ended her Instagram post by thanking the good people of Victorville and Hesperia. “Thank you for being so nice and for not calling the cops on me. Time to drink champagne all day xx.”

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ibl/Shutterstock (9369274c) Tove Lo Grammis Awards, Grand Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden – 08 Feb 2018
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Santa Fe Trading Co. hosting holiday fair in Old Town Victorville

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VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — With the holidays quickly approaching and the malls busier than ever, Santa Fe Trading Co is hosting a holiday art and craft fair and a chance at more unique gifts.

The fair is boasting over 80+ vendors offering hand-crafted items, gifts, and novelties. The hours for the event are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 21. 

Some of the items that will be offered include crochet items, metal work, paintings, jewelry, clothing, homemade dog treats, shabby chic furniture and more. 

In addition to vendors, there will also be Christmas carolers,  performances by “Harmonology,” and the Country Crossroads band throughout the event. Artist Sydney Encarnacion will also be singing from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Coleen Quinn from Y102 will also be in attendance doing a live remote show from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The event is for all ages and Santa Claus will also be in attendance and available for visits and pictures during the event. 

Refreshments will be provided by D’vine wine bar and include wine and beer for $5.00 and hot chocolate for $2.00. Food will also be offered and choices include tacos, burgers, bbq, and hot dogs. 

Santa Fe Trading Co. is located at 15464 7th St in “Old Town,” Victorville. Parking is limited on-site but street parking is available as well. 

Though this is not classified as a cash-only event it is recommended to bring cash as some vendors do not accept cards.

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