beauty and the beast

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (family therapist, film critic) WHAT’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST ABOUT? Disney updates their 1991 animated classic about a bookish beauty who falls for a monstrous beast. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B+) It won’t be nominated for Best Picture like the original, but what this new Beauty and the Beast does right makes up for its flaws. Let’s get the negative out of the way ...[Read More]

la la land

LA LA LAND Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) WHAT’S LA LA LAND ABOUT? An aspiring actress and a struggling jazz musician fall in love and inspire each other artistically. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A) Featuring truly dazzling film-making and strong performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land is an enchanting blend of modern and retro. Taking place in present-day Los Angeles, b ...[Read More]

PITCH PERFECT 2 Family Movie Review

PITCH PERFECT 2 Family Movie Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT? The Bellas seek redemption from an embarrassing incident by competing at the World Acapella Championship. IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: B+)  I’ll keep this simple: if you enjoyed the first film, you’re going to enjoy this one. If you didn’t, this won’t win you over, because it’s more of the same. Now, if you’re one of those crazy people who enjo ...[Read More]

LES MISERABLES Family Movie Review

LES MISERABLES Family Movie Review

REVIEW (GRADE: A-) This is as great a film version of the stage musical Les Miserables (based on the inspired novel by Victor Hugo) as likely could be made; what flaws it has are carried over from the stage production. With numerous story threads (the novel is immense) crammed into 2 hours and 40 minutes, the film moves at a surprisingly steady clip. This is both a blessing and a curse: a few of t ...[Read More]

PITCH PERFECT Family Movie Review

PITCH PERFECT Family Movie Review

PITCH PERFECT REVIEW (GRADE: B+) Frequently laugh-out-loud funny, with terrific music and colorful characters, Pitch Perfect is justified in its status as this fall’s surprise hit, even if it is hindered by a mostly predictable plot and an over-reliance on vulgar humor (see content overview below). Anna Kendrick (Twilight) displays nice range (vocal and comedic) as an aspiring DJ/freshman co ...[Read More]

phantom of the opera

Overlooked Gem: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (2004)

By Jonathan Decker Scary but beautiful, lavish but intimate, Gaston Leroux’s tragic story of The Phantom of the Opera, as channeled through the vision of playwright Andrew Lloyd Webber, has moved and frightened audiences around the world for over 20 years. The key in its appeal lies in its ability to evoke both sympathy and terror towards its title character, a musical prodigy who has endure ...[Read More]

dr horrible's


By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) This is a 45-minute, three-act musical/comedy done by writing genius Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) during the 2008 writer’s strike. He was bored and wanted to create something; while Dr. Horrible is low-budget, it is high-quality in terms of both comedy and music. Entertainment Weekley says: “The songs a ...[Read More]

mamma mia

MAMMA MIA! Family Movie Review

By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic) Rent or buy Mamma Mia here.  Did you know Meryl Streep can do a toe-touch? Seriously! And that Pierce Brosnan has a raspy yet macho singing voice? Kind of like a deeper Bryan Adams. Basically, if you like ABBA, if you like fun fluffy musicals, if you dig that type of energy, this is a blast. If not, move along. Colin Firth adds charm, Amanda Seyfr ...[Read More]