Thursday, March 15, 2018

Disney's "A Wrinkle In Time" {review}

I discovered Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time in the fifth grade. I was enthralled, and I devoured the full series. Naturally, when I heard Disney was coming out with a movie, I was thrilled. I've been waiting anxiously to see this, and perhaps I went in with too high expectations. I am sad to say that this movie underwhelmed.

First the positive. I thought all the actors did a great job, and the movie is great visually. The depiction of the planet Uriel is simply gorgeous, and Mrs. Whatsits's alternate form, although nothing like the literary version, is stunning. Excellent CGI, wonderful, vibrant colours. The story follows the basic arc of the novel, and, in presenting strong and diverse female characters, it certainly is timely and will appeal to a modern audience. Actually, one rather gratuitous incident underlines the film's desire to be timely. When Mrs. Which first appears, she is a giant, towering over the landscape. (In the book she never fully materialises.) Charles Wallace tells her she is "the wrong size," meaning she made a mistake. Mrs. Which replies, "Is there really such a thing as a wrong size?" Fair enough, and I totally agree, but this line feels out of place, and is a bit of a throw away, while also screaming, "It's 2018!"

If you haven't read and loved the book, I suspect you'll love this movie version more than I did.

Where the movie failed for me was in those places where it diverged from or glossed over the original story. Not that I expected it to include everything or present each character as they were described, of course. It didn't kill me that Mrs. Whatsit shows up as a gorgeous young woman in a billowy white gown instead of as an old tramp dressed in odd layers of mismatched clothes. And it's of no consequence that Meg's mother is a gorgeous black woman instead of a beautiful red-head with the palest of complexions. The contrast of beautiful mother and supposedly plain daughter is there. Meg's twin brothers are left out completely, which is ok for this story, as they play almost no role here, but I missed them. And I have no idea why Charles Wallace had to be adopted, unless it was to add another layer of diversity to an already diverse film.

Mostly, I found the story here glossed over the science that was such a big part of the novel. The opening scene has the Murry parents presenting at a scientific meeting, and dad gives a brief overview of their concept of "wrinkling" time to allow travel over great distances in the blink of an eye. (He is mocked, btw, whereas in the book he was a respected scientist working with a team of government experts.) Presumably this is meant to set up the science so it can then be set aside. I was drawn into the book, and got excited about math and science as a young girl when I read L'Engle's descriptions of her five dimensions. The concept of squaring a cube to represent the fourth dimension and then squaring that for the fifth was so compelling for me. In the book, Mrs. Which accidentally brings the group to a two-dimensional planet, and the description of what that feels like for three-dimensional Meg is visceral.

There are many more examples of where the movie ignores or re-writes the original story, including leaving out a huge chunk with Aunt Beast that is critical to Meg's character development, and turning her father into a fairly weak and sad individual. But I'll stop there. The 2018 version presents a story focused on the power of love and family and believing in yourself. Diversity is a huge value. It is visually beautiful, and the story will speak to its modern audience. But if you loved the original book, be prepared. Much of what made that story so compelling and mind-bending did not make it to the big screen.

Disclosure: I received complimentary access to view this film with my family for purposes of this review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Disney's Lady and the Tramp {giveaway}

One of the sweetest and most iconic love scenes in movie history. And it's in an animated feature. Who could forget this romantic spaghetti dinner moment between Lady and her Tramp? Their accidental kiss, followed by him rolling the last meatball over to her just warms my heart. I've long been a fan of this movie. It has romance, laughs, action, tension, and, of course, adorable dogs. If only the cats weren't so mean ...

Walt Disney Motion Pictures has just re-released this classic animated favourite as part of their Signature Collection. The set comes with BluRay, DVD, and Digital versions of the movie, so you can play it on any of your devices. Along with classic bonus material, you'll find three all-new extras: "Stories from Walt's Office," W"alt & His Dogs," and "How To Make A Meatball and Other Fun Facts About Lady and the Tramp." That last one features "Oh My Disney" star Alexys Gabrielle and teen chef Amber Kelley. The set also includes a sing-along version of the movie, which I love! There are great songs in this one, including Peggy Lee's "He's A Tramp," and, perhaps my favourite, "The Siamese Cat Song."

Have you got your copy yet? This is a great title to share with your kids or grandkids. A true classic!

Buy Yours

A Giveaway

One lucky RMB reader will receive their own copy of Disney's "Lady and the Tramp" to enjoy with their family. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, March 18. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!


Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this BluRay. No financial compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own, or those of my family. This post contains an affiliate link, and should you make a purchase via that link, I will receive a small commission from

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Product Review: Spokes Air-Puffed Potato Snacks {giveaway}

I love my snacks, especially my savoury ones. I have a weakness for potato chips, I have to admit, and you'll often find me munching away on them in the evening while watching TV. And you'll often find me eating way more of them than I had planned, because I tend to snack a bit mindlessly at night. It's not really a good situation, for either my health or my waistline, so finding healthier options is important.

Enter Spokes Air-Puffed Potato Snacks. These are new to market, and created by a Canadian mom looking for healthier snacking options for her family. They are manufactured by Left Field Foods in a peanut-free facility in Calgary, AB, and are free of the 11 major allergens. Spokes have no dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, egg, no artificial preservatives or colours, and no trans fat or cholesterol. They are Non GMO Project Verified, lightly misted with sunflower oil and air-popped, never fried. With just 40 calories per cup, these crispy potato snack options are a great "better for you" choice.

See? They are shaped like a spoked wheel. Cute! You can see from the bends how they crisp up.
Boo and I have been checking these out, and we've both given them two thumbs up for both texture and flavour. We received 3 of the 9 flavours to try - a spicy Mango Habanero for mom, plus more Boo-friendly Sea Salt, and BBQ. (I have to work on his taste buds, because I really love spice.) I dove into the Mango Habanero right away, and I believe I ate about half the bag. So, I still have an issue with overeating, but given the low calories and minuscule fat content (only 1g in the entire bag of this flavour!), I'm not too worried. These were nicely crisp and flavourful, with the right hit of heat - nothing crazy, but too hot for my child who thinks black pepper is hot. (sigh)

As for Boo, he pretty much destroyed this bag of sea salt and has done a good job on the BBQ as well, although he is sharing.  All the flavours we have tried are nicely balanced, and these air-puffed snacks are easily dealing with my night-time snack cravings. Here's the full flavour line-up: Sea Salt, Mango Habanero, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Barbecue, Dill Pickle, Salt & Pepper, Fiesta Salsa, Sea Salted Caramel and Simply Bare.

I like that these are a healthier snack option, while still delivering full taste and crispiness to meet my cravings. But even more, I love that these are safe for pretty much everyone. There are many kids and adults among our friends and family who have food allergies or sensitivities. I appreciate that this is a snack I can feel safe serving to whoever drops by, and even send some in to school for a treat.

Spokes are available at many natural, conventional, and independent grocery and drugstore retailers across the country, including Whole Foods, Sobeys, Safeway, London Drugs, and more. I checked the store locator online to see where I could get them near me. So far none of the major grocery stores near me carry them, but they are available in the GTA at The Big Carrot (Danforth Ave.) and at Bed, Bath, and Beyond store.

For more information, including nutritional information on each flavour and where you can find Spokes Air-Puffed Potato Snacks near you, check out the website. You can connect with Spokes on social at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

A Giveaway

Want to try these for yourself? The good folks at Spokes are providing 2 winners with 5 free product coupons each, so you can try multiple flavours and pick your fave. Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, March 15. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Best of luck!


Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family.


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