The Little Prince Movie Opens August 5

littleprinceBased on the beloved book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince is an animated feature that will be released on Netflix and in select theaters simultaneously this Friday, August 5. Using both CGI and stop motion animation (using paper and clay in different scenes), the film brings the story to modern audiences by nesting it inside a new story.

A Little Girl, voiced by Mackenzie Foy (famous for playing the love child of a vampire and a human in Twilight: Breaking Dawn), strives to live up to her Single Mom’s exacting standards, hopping out of bed right on time and keeping to a rigorous schedule of study and exercise, all in preparation for her first day at a new school in an industrious town of workers, where every house looks the same. Except one. Their neighbor, The Aviator, lives in a quirky treehouse-like home next door, where he tinkers with his old airplane and eventually makes friends with The Little Girl. She is curious and entertained by his story about a Little Prince he met a long time ago, so she gradually gives up on her schedule and simply plays and explores like a regular child.

As The Aviator relates his tale to the Little Girl, the pair grows closer, but of course, in their tidy world such things cannot last. Single Mom gets wind of their unusual relationship and forbids it. The Aviator grows older and gets ill. But bolstered by the wonders of the story, the Little Girl takes matters into her own hands, refusing to believe that the Little Prince is no longer out there.

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Actor Mackenzie Foy and director Mark Osborne at press interview for The Little Prince

Director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda) assembled a star-studded cast, with Jeff Bridges as The Aviator, Rachel McAdams as the Mother, and a long list of other noteworthy names playing the friends that the Little Prince encounters on his trip around the cosmos. The Little Prince himself is voiced by the director’s son, Riley Osborne, whose scratch tracks proved remarkably perfect for the feeling the filmmaker wanted to create. Riley is 15 now, but he was 11 when the voices were recorded, and even in foreign-language versions of the movie, the boy’s voice remains. For Osborne, who spent many years working on this film, that captured laughter is a gift that will last.

I took my own children (little Princes, themselves) to see a screening of the movie, and I recommend you go see it in the theater if you can. It’ll be great to replay it on Netflix, but the experience of seeing a film in a theater is so special and grand, and The Little Prince is visually beautiful. On the big screen you will be able to see details that you might look for on repeated viewings at home – one that caught my eye was that the pages of the Aviator’s story are written in French. Osborne told me that was a nod to the French heritage of the book – he actually hired a forger to copy de Saint-Exupéry’s handwriting so that it could be recreated in animation.

The film is also very moving, emotionally. Touching on themes of friendship, love, and loss, the movie made me more than a little bit teary, and when I looked over at my kids I saw at least one of them wiping a tear away, too. If you haven’t had the chance to read The Little Prince to or with your kids, this is a great opportunity to get to know the story together, and then dive into the text to get a deeper level of appreciation for this classic title.

Frontier Treats Thousand Oaks to Star Trek Beyond

Cable company takes local guests to the final Frontier by treating them to a free screening of Star Trek Beyond. (See what I did there?)

prince family star trek beyond

Last week my family and I got to see a pre-release screening of Star Trek Beyond at Muvico in Thousand Oaks. Frontier Communications brought this special experience to the community as a way of introducing themselves as a leading cable, internet, and phone service provider in our area. I must say, this was way better than a simple postcard in the mailbox!

The Experience

As events go, this screening was run smoothly by friendly professionals. The first things we saw outside the theater were a Frontier truck and a photo op area set up by Frontier for guests to pose for silly pix before they went inside.

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star trek beyond audience 1

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There were some funny Star Trek props, and people really got into the spirit!

Inside, friendly and professional staffers checked guests in quickly, and got everyone into their seats with popcorn, drinks, and 3D glasses far ahead of the 7pm showtime. Check-in was easy and quick, and we were given these pretty tickets and some vouchers for snacks.

star trek beyond tickets popcorn

As a fun bonus, Frontier VP of Marketing Cameron Christian gave a short speech to the waiting audience, and he and his young daughter, “a total Trekkie,” he said to a round of chuckles in the theater, pulled a raffle winner from the pot of tickets that was distributed to guests as they checked in. The winner got a big bag of fun swag including Star Trek merchandise, and branded goodies from Frontier and Epix, a cable movie channel that partnered with the provider for this event.

The Movie

I love watching movies at the theater. Besides the impact of the big screen and the awesome audio, there’s something about seeing a film with a large group of people who are also sitting there hoping that the movie is really good. When everyone applauds at the end of film, you know it was a crowd pleaser. Well, a loud round of applause broke out at the end of Star Trek Beyond, even after we sat for a while waiting for the movie to start.

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This was the first Star Trek installment that my kids, who are 9 and 11, got to see on the big screen. They were blown away by the action and suspense, even if the tradition was lost on them. Nostalgia was a big part of the experience for me and my husband, who was amused by the deliberately cheesy touches: really big rocks for Captain Kirk and his crew to climb on and hike through, drab ugly uniforms, groan-worthy humor. I loved that Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty, was one of the screenwriters. I also loved seeing Sulu embrace his male companion and their young child on a space station break, and that the iconic voiceover, played at the end of the film, includes the line “…where no one has gone before” instead of “where no man has gone before.”

But overall, I felt pure moviegoer joy during the scene with the giant tube wave and the blaring, totally awesome use of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” deployed as a weapon in an epic moment. A new character, alien Jaylah, enjoys “the beats and shouting,” and knew exactly what track to play when it was needed. Enterprise crew actually called it “classical music!” You’ll have to see the film to understand. I hope you do!

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Jaylah. This year’s Halloween costume?

Frontier Communications

Frontier Communications acquired Verizon FiOS and provides internet, phone, and TV service in California. Learn more at FrontierSoCal. Personally, I wasn’t familiar with the brand, and I was delighted to meet them in this way! Our whole family had a great time before, during, and after the movie as we chattered about it together during the ride home. (We had to explain to the kids what “Live long and prosper” means.) It’s rare that all four of us enjoy the same entertainment, but Frontier’s screening of Star Trek Beyond was one of those delightful occasions. Now we are looking forward to going back to where it all began with original Star Trek TV series!

Have you seen Star Trek Beyond yet? What did you think?

This post is sponsored by Frontier Communications. All opinions are my own. Jaylah photo from Paramount Pictures.

Cinépolis Westlake Village: Watch Movies in Luxury

Cinépolis offers a luxurious movie-watching experience. Read to the end and enter to win free tickets!
Cinépolis Westlake ext

When Cinépolis first opened in the Westlake Village Promenade at Westlake and Thousand Oaks Boulevards, I wondered who would pay the extra money to see a movie just so they could sit in a comfy chair and have a server bring food to them during the film.

Answer: everyone. And now I understand why. Over two visits this winter I learned more about the theater and its working style, and I wish I could see a movie like this every time!

When you approach Cinépolis, you feel like you’re walking into a theater, not just going to the movies. The lobby is spacious and decorated with a classy, modern feel. The staff is well-dressed and polite and helpful – they make you feel like you are a welcome guest.

The first thing you notice when you enter is the delicious aroma of waffles. Wait, waffles? Oh, that’s just a fresh batch of their house made caramel popcorn. Refreshments are served at the snack bar but also brought right to your seat once you’re settled in, but I’ll get to that later.

Cinépolis Westlake Lobby

Across from the snack bar is a seating area with bar tables and comfy chairs for lounging under a big screen TV. Another big screen TV hovers over their full bar along the back of the lobby. The perfect place to meet your friends for a bite to eat and a drink before going in to the theater. Or for you to sneak out of a chick flick you’re not really enjoying to check the scores and grab a beer? People can come to Cinépolis just to go to the bar! There’s an adjacent outdoor seating area for those lovely SoCal nights, too.

Cinépolis Westlake Bar

So, on to the theater experience. One of the most wonderful things about Cinépolis is its reserved seating feature. When you purchase a ticket you also choose your seat. Traditional movie theaters offer this option now too but Cinépolis was one of the first to do this in my recent memory. Since you’re guaranteed your seat, there’s no anxiety about getting there early to stake your claim in the part of the theater that you like best (middle of the row, back third). Or, if you decide to go to a film on a whim, you can pop open the Cinépolis app and see what’s available, then purchase your tickets right on your phone. Show your screenshot at the entrance to the theater wing to get in. No printing necessary!

Cinépolis Westlake Auditorium

The 8 screening rooms at Cinépolis vary in size but each is populated with black leather reclining arm chairs. Little side tables with lamps are situated every two chairs, but each chair has its own retractable table for holding your snacks. And like on an airplane, each seat has a button that will summon a server to bring you snacks and drinks.

Cinépolis actually has a full menu – beverages and movie snacks like popcorn and candy, of course, but also actual meals, from appetizers all the way up to lobster rolls and gourmet pizzas. There’s also a full bar menu with signature cocktails (try the Long Island Iced Tea if you’re in the mood) and a coffee and tea bar.

Yes, you can order any of these things while you are sitting on your butt watching a movie. I wondered if this service would bother the audience so I observed the process carefully while watching The Big Short, a pretty dialogue-intense film to which you really have to pay attention to follow well. The servers are dressed head to toe in black, move silently throughout the theater, and crouch next to the seats of the guests who call for them. Since there’s plenty of space between each seat it’s not like they’re in your way. They’re in and out like dark snack angels.

If you find yourself feeling a little chilly, you can even buy a blanket and snuggle up in your comfortable armchair. Beware of reclining, though. You could get so relaxed you’ll fall asleep and miss the movie you came to see!

The Westlake Village location is doing very good business. The manager told me that over the winter holidays the theater was packed all day long for two straight weeks, with film showings ending late in the night. Granted, “packed” just means “sold out” here and with the reserved-seat model there’s no danger you’ll be stuck up under the screen or miss the show because you had to stand in line waiting to get in.

They have special events and promotions from time to time. In December they had Star Wars characters on site for photo opps, and coming up soon there is a Valentine special:

Cinépolis Valentine promotion

Prices for this package of two tickets for premium seating, a bottle of wine, a cozy blanket, and a custom chocolate bar cost around $100 (price varies by location). It’s available on Saturday, February 13 at the 7PM screening of Deadpool and on Sunday, February 14 at the 7PM screening of The Notebook. Tickets go on sale February 1 online. Considering the movie ticket cost alone is $25 each, this is a great deal and a special treat for your sweetie.

I have to say, an indulgence at Cinépolis is pretty awesome. If you’re not used to being pampered, treat yourself to a Cinépolis outing. Yes, it’s more expensive than going to a traditional theater chain, but it’s worth a splurge once in a while, especially for a movie you are really excited about seeing. If you’re used to the finer things in life and you don’t have your own home theater, this is the place for you. In fact, even people who probably do have their own home theaters come here. Celebrity sightings are regular occurrences!

You’ll be the celebrity among your friends and family if you win this set of two tickets up for grabs! Just leave a comment here on this post between now and Thursday, February 4, at 11:59pm. The winner chosen at random from qualifying entries will receive two tickets to a movie of your choosing. Thanks for reading!

180 Promenade Way
Westlake Village, CA 91362

Photos courtesy of Cinépolis. I received two complimentary tickets from Cinépolis USA. All opinions are my own. P.S. We loved the movie. The Big Short is entertaining yet sobering. Recommend.