Monday Moments & Movies: Alice Through the Looking Glass


Alice Through the Looking Glass is a movie that will spark imagination and touch open hearts with timeless messages of valuing identity, family, friendships, time, forgiveness and adventure.

I was delighted to see the world of Underland come to life enriched by a visually stunning film and pockets of truth that can resonate for children and adults.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) steps through the looking glass to another whimsical feast for the eyes and heart. Emboldened by her loyal friendship and selfless love for her best friend the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) ventures out on a quest to help save him and find his family.

In order to restore the Hatter to vibrant life she must deal with time travel trips and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen) that reveals new layers and facets to the truth. There is a running thread of discovery through each time jump that Alice makes where she observes beloved characters Mirana (Anne Hathaway), Iracebeth (Helena Bontham Carter), and the Hatter in their formative years.

I love the message that in order to understand someone you must realize that each person has faced their own trials and tribulations. Never be quick to judge but take the time to listen to each person with an open heart of acceptance that allows room for forgiveness.

“You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it.” Alice’s mindset changes from determination to fix problems to humility in valuing what a new perspective can give you. Pain of the past can be let go when you step into the future with perspective, possibility and lessons learned with gratitude.

Another message that is beautifully interwoven throughout is to not to be afraid to be fully you. It is when Alice own her uniqueness and ability to find wonder that she is able to use her strength to help save the day and the relationships that mean the most.

And of course, believe in the impossible and do the impossible. If you watch the film go with an open heart ready to revel in some madness and experience moments of friendship. Step through the looking glass where adventure awaits. In your life, what looking glass do you need to step through to enjoy a new experience? When you look in the mirror what adjectives come to mind to describe you?

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Breakfast is my favorite power meal of the day. Egg whites, avocado and a healthy green elixir of veggies get my mind exploring the possibilities of a promising day filled with adventure. Create an inviting atmosphere for yourself to start your day. Change your point of view from the ordinary to the extraordinary and get ready to embrace the impossible. Adventure awaits!

Friday Film: The Wizard of Oz

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The beloved and iconic film “The Wizard of Oz” celebrates its 75th anniversary!  Experience the vibrantly restored movie in IMAX and 3D in theaters starting tomorrow.  It is the oldest film to be converted to 3D and will only be in theaters for a week!  Check out local movie listings or click here to find a movie theater near you!

To celebrate the film’s anniversary I created a pinterest board serving as a nod to the “Wizard of Oz” in fashion, architecture, design, food, photography, quotes and fun. Check out my pinterest and follow my board of Oz inspiration!

http://www.pinterest.com/shineandinspire/wizard-of-oz/

Upcoming Disney Projects

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Walt Disney Studios revealed many of their upcoming live action films at the 2013 D23 Expo yesterday.  Some of the magical standouts were “Into the Woods,” “Cinderella,” “Maleficent,” and “Saving Mr. Banks.

The “Into the Woods” cast seems delightful with Meryl Streep as the Witch, Johnny Depp as the Wolf, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine to name a few others.  Recent casting decisions include casting Sophia Grace Brownlee as Little Red Riding Hood and Daniel Huttlestone as Jack.  People might recognize Sophia Grace from her appearances on Ellen DeGeneres’s show and Daniel from playing Gavroche is the movie “Les Miserables.”  Rob Marshall is set to direct known for directing the movies “Chicago,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” etc.

This fairytale-themed musical is set to premier in theaters December 2014.

For more information about Disney’s upcoming projects click here.

“Ways to Live Forever” Movie

“Ways to Live Forever” is coming to select theaters starting July 19.


The film “Ways to Live Forever” is a poignant look of living with terminal cancer seen through the eyes of 12-year-old Sam played by actor Robbie Kay who chooses to live forever by recording his story.  Sam possesses an inquisitive and courageous soul to face the unknown with openness and honesty.

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Alex Etel as Felix and Robbie Kay as Sam

Joining Sam on his quest to find answers and peace despite a ticking time table is his best friend Felix played by actor Alex Etel.  Their camaraderie and adventures shine light through a spectrum that breaks apart the potentially dark unknown future from what is positively attainable in the present.  Together they are able to start to accomplish Sam’s wishes that include going up down escalators and breaking a world record.

The film mentions the impact of recording your story where experiences can “lodge themselves into people’s hearts” like works of art that are left behind.  What is temporary and what is eternal?  Sam’s character is tested by life’s temporary assignment.

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Robbie Kay as Sam and Ben Chaplin as the father

It is the relationships that enrich the film.  Look out for Sam’s evolving relationship with his father played by actor Ben Chaplin.  There is a turning point of acceptance and understanding.

What could be a cancer battlefield just laden with fear, depression and sadness is a battlefield fought with humor, joy, connection to reality and who matters most.  The movie has moments that will endear the story of Sam and his family to you that can be watched over and over again.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Hancock, the CEO of the Worldwide Motion Picture Corporation.  Since 1977 the WWMPC has been a boutique distributing company that acquires high end independent films from around the world and prepares them for theatrical releases in the United States.

How did the WWMPC get involved with “Ways to Live Forever?”

Our selection process is based on several different criteria.  Primarily it is the scope and feel of the film and if the film has a good sense of a theatrical release.  When you go to see a film in the theater there is a different texture to the film verses a DVD release or something on cable.  We are looking for something that has a big presence with some sort of message or sort of feel.  We are a little bit different in the sense of we don’t cater to the big stars as the studios do but we do have a list of things we look for which can include how the story plays out, cinematography, script, dialogue and acting at a certain caliber.  All of these things sort of blend together and apply to “Ways to Live Forever.”  It didn’t have any major actors but a lot of very good actors that have been in a lot of things over the years that is reflected on screen to form a unique and special motion picture.

The message the film has for pediatric cancer has been fantastic.  It has been really great with the families around the United States who have seen screenings and have just loved it.  The other interesting thing is that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) that rates all films called me personally. They told me that when they were rating the film they thought that it was one of the best independent films they had seen in many years and it would be an artifact film.  In other words, it is a film that people can hang on to and keep in their libraries for years to come.

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Robbie Kay as Sam and Ella Purnell as Kayleigh

What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

It is the sense that death is not a permanent situation and that even though one may leave this world their soul if you will or presence on earth with their family continues on and doesn’t evaporate.  The film eloquently expresses even though you may pass away you’re not necessarily going to be forgotten.  That feeling if you really think it through is very powerful and equating that to families that are going through this cancer ordeal with their kids—they want to have that special feeling that even though their child may pass away the child’s memory can be retained for many years to come.  There is a comfort in that.

What is your hope for the film beyond the initial release?

These cities are the initial kickoff and then it will widen out to other cities in the US for the remainder of the year.  Next year we will have a nice DVD release of the film, go to the cable television networks and it will go through the normal process of being released out.  Most importantly, I am happy that our supporters around the United States get to see the film for their own personal use.  It is a film that you can watch over and over again.

Can you explain the partnerships with the various cancer related organizations?

The relationships that we have with these organizations are based on essentially two tiers.  One tier is an official contracted relationship that involves participation on a revenue basis.  Some of the box office money that is received for the film goes back to their research departments to help find cures and help families and they in turn help support the film through their supporters such as John Hopkins in Baltimore, CHOC in Orange County and CHLA in Los Angeles. The second tier are organizations that wanted to be involved who support the film’s story and have become even more supportive as time goes by and get the word out.

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Robbie Kay as Sam and Ben Chaplin as the father

Favorite moments or scenes that stand out to you?

One of the most powerful scenes is with Sam and his father.  Sam is suffering from a seizure of sorts and the father is called to action to try to find some pills in order to get Sam to relax.  It is a poignant moment because the father after finding and giving the pills to Sam expresses that he is panicked.  Sam is the one who remains calm and helps his dad find the pills.  The father then asks who is the son and who is the father?  This moment expresses so many things about the process that people go through in a crisis where people can fall apart sometimes.  Everyone needs to come together to make daily life possible.

Do you have any interesting stories in the making or distributing of this film?

It is all relative to the partnerships of the hospitals, organizations and foundations around the country.  It is the first time that we have ever partnered with organizations on the philanthropic basis.  It is an interesting process partly because it is not done that much in the film industry.  We are sort of blazing a trail in that regard.  It has been very fulfilling in that respect and frustrating in others due to the bureaucracies involved.  Generally speaking it has been very unique.  What we are doing essentially is carving out a specialized audience for the film who are touched by cancer.

Is there anything you want people to know about this film?

The most important thing for people to know is that the film although on the surface may seem like it would be depressing is in reality an uplifting  and positive film.  The film leaves the viewer with a sense of how things really work through families and the disease.  I guarantee you that if you give it a chance you will like the film.

I know you have over three decades worth of experience invested in the film industry.  What inspires you to do what you do?

It has been really a cathartic experience for me over the years.  I originally got into the business in order to experience what it would be like to follow through with a film including the process and how film affects people and the world.  It has been a real unique thing to see the differences that have occurred with the various genres that have played into the film industry, how the film industry affects our society, how media is affected by film and vice versa.  The film industry really has a profound effect on society.  It has been interesting for me to try to bring high quality films to the US that are basically foreign based that audiences in the US may not get a chance to see.

Don’t miss the film “Ways to Live Forever” and catch the film during the initial release beginning July 19, 2013 at the following locations:

 

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AMC Burbank 8 – Burbank, CA
AMC Orange 30 – Orange, CA
AMC Empire 25 – New York, NY
AMC Cherry Hill 24 – Cherry Hill, NJ
AMC Valley View 16 – Dallas, TX
AMC Streets of Woodfield 20 – Chicago, IL
AMC Hampton 24 – Norfolk, VA
AMC Owings Mills 17 – Baltimore, MD

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Main Website: http://waystoliveforevermovie.com/home/

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The World of Oz-Perception, Deception and Perspective

“My people have been wearing green glasses on their eyes for so long that most of them think this really is an Emerald City.” -L. Frank Baum, Oz: The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz

The  mention of the “Wizard of Oz” acts like a rubberband on my heart snapping me back to  flashes  of green and the vision of Mickey Rooney as the Wizard leaving in the hot air  balloon in the touring musical at what is now the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    It was my first acting experience on stage with the curtain  being pulled back on how theater magic happens.

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Image: William Wallace Denslow

Perception: Perhaps at first thought, the story of the “Wizard of Oz” can be perceived as a children’s tale. However, with deeper thought the book’s message touches on some universal themes of being accepted and valued for individual gifts and character—having a home where you belong.

Deception: The Wizard’s story itself is twisted into a tale of deception with many movie fans forgetting that Baum’s version has an Emerald City made green only by the glasses that framed each inhabitant’s vision.

Perspective: On March 8, “Oz the Great and Powerful” hits movie theaters giving us another perspective of the Oz story. I am looking forward to seeing how director, Sam Raimi interprets a world where hidden desires can be the underbelly of actions.

Perception, deception and perspective can all be useful tools for an actor to understand. It can be helpful to me to understand how each person perceives a situation, how they deceive not only outsiders but themselves and what perspective from my own life experience can I bring. What “glasses” does this person or character wear that frames their worldview?

Movie theaters to experience “Oz The Great and Powerful”:
El Capitan Theatre: March 8-31. Enjoy both the movie and “Mysteries of Magic” show where a live magician will entertain you in the beautiful theater.

6838 Hollywood Blvd  Los Angeles, CA 90028

Cinepolis Luxury Theater (Westlake Village, Rancho Santa Margarita, Del Mar etc.): Check out the reclining chairs with gourmet popcorn, delectable food selections and assigned seating for something a little bit different.

It has been 113 years since Baum wrote his book and many years since my first acting role. Those years have granted me some perspective in knowing what I want to frame my worldview with.

So put on those 3D glasses, happy movie watching and SHINE On! Matthew 5:16

On a magical related side note: “Once Upon a Time’s” Bailey Madison was captivating as young Snow White in the episode “The Queen is Dead.”