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From princess movies to Star Wars to Marvel, it seems like Disney is always in the news for its new movies. In 2019, however, Disney will not be bringing a whole new story to life but putting a new twist on one of its classics.

Most Disney fans are familiar with the animated film “Dumbo,” the story of an outcast baby elephant with oversized ears who learns to soar. In keeping with the pattern of remaking classics with a live-action cast, Disney has just released the first trailer for the new, live-action version of “Dumbo.” Available information about the 2019 live-action version of “Dumbo” states that the film is “inspired by” or “based on” the original animated movie, but is not a pure remake of the 1941 classic. Instead, the film is set to act as an “expansion to the original film…[while] also serving as a live-action adaptation of the 1941 animated original.” The synopsis for the 2019 “Dumbo” shows clearly that, while the basic storyline still follows the rise of an outcast baby elephant with oversized ears, the details of the story have been altered. New characters have been added and some, such as Timothy Mouse, appear to have been removed.

“Dumbo” stars Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton and Eva Green as the main human characters and members of the same struggling circus as Dumbo. Farrell plays a one armed war veteran who “was once a circus start” before he returned “terribly altered” by his experiences in war. Farrell’s character, Holt Farrier, is hired by Danny DeVitor’s character, circus owner Max Medici, to “take care of Dumbo, a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him the laughingstock of the struggling circus troupe.” Dumbo’s incredible powers of flight are discovered not by a hungover Timothy Mouse but by Hold’s children. In response to the discovery, “silver-tongued entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere,” who is played by Michael Keaton, and “aerial artist Colette Marchant,” played by Eva Green, “swoop in to make the little elephant a star.”

Disney has received mixed responses to their recent string of live-animation remakes which included “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast.” “Dumbo,” however, appears to be taking a new direction with the classic story. Take a look at the trailer online now, and decide whether this film will manage to fly or if it will end up crashing into the pie filling.

 

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14254598113_a3c95fa195_bFor the first time since 1994, the FIFA World Cup will be coming to North America in 2026. The United States, Mexico and Canada combined their bids to win the hosting rights over Morocco by a landslide victory of 134 to 65. The 2026 World Cup will be the first time that the World Cup is hosted simultaneously by three countries. Ten of the 80 matches will be held in Canada and another 10 will be held in Mexico, but the United States will host the lion’s share of the tournament with 60 matches being held in America. Those 60 matches will include the final which is currently set to be held in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.

The last World Cup to take place in North America was the 1994 tournament in the United States. Mexico hosted in 1986 and 1970 prior to that, but 2026 will be the first time that any part of the World Cup has been held on Canadian soil.

The so-called United Bid was an unusual moment in a time of divisive politics when the presidents of all three nations worked in unity for a single common cause. Despite the landslide victory for North America, Morocco complained about the United Bid’s proposal until the very end. “The United Bid is proposing an offer that is mainly a business proposal,” said Moroccan official Moncef Belkhayat. “Their offer is based on dollars, on profit, while Morocco is offering an offer that is based on passion for [soccer,] for development of [soccer]–not only in Morocco, but also in Africa.”

While the North American bid’s promise of a record profit of $11 billion undoubtedly lent the United Bid some weight, Morocco was the underdog when it came to logistical and practical concerns as well as profit. The 2026 World Cup is set to be the first to involve 48 teams, a significant increase over the current 32 teams involved. Hosting such a massive event would be an incredible undertaking for any host, especially a single country. In order to be prepared for the event, Morocco would have to spend billions of dollars to build nine stadiums, significantly renovate five others and build the numerous hotels, highways, rail links and facilities necessary to host a tournament that draws more than a thousand players and millions of fans. All of this would have to be done in eight years.  North America’s bid had the advantage of offering the resources of three different countries and the developed infrastructure of each which would need far less work to be able to support the sudden influx of soccer fans.

Despite Morocco’s passionate argument, the combination of practicality and profit carried the day. FIFA will be returning to North America for the first time in decades, and millions of fans will enjoy the game they love on the continent on the western side of the Atlantic. No word yet as to what to expect on the inevitable debate over whether it is called “football” or “soccer” when the tournament eventually arrives on U.S. soil, though it will undoubtedly be interesting.

Böyük_şəhərdə_seksLast week marked the 20 year anniversary of one of the best known series of all time, “Sex and the City.” The first episode of this famous show aired on June 6, 1998, and its original run had a total of 94 episodes. The series finale of the original show played on February 22, 2004, but the story continues on to this day as part of an HBO series.

“Sex and the City” has always been deeply intertwined with its setting of New York City, and that has not changed regardless of whether this romantic comedy drama is playing out as part of a TV show, a feature length film or as a paper and ink book. The very premise of the show is based around the habits of New Yorkers in “their natural habitat” as Carrie Bradshaw chronicles the “mating habits” of singles in the City.

“Sex and the City” has become a household name, and many people remember their favorite episodes. From today’s point of view, however, it can be easy to forget exactly how much “Sex and the City” influenced culture.

One of the show’s biggest moves was the use of a pseudo-forbidden word, “sex” in its title. As executive producer Michael Patrick King said, “Before “Sex and the City,” whenever the word ‘sex’ was written…it was always black and oily, and now whenever you see the word ‘sexy,’ it’s usually pink…That’s us. We took the shame out of it and we made it fun. I’m very happy to have put a light…on a situation that society deemed as dark and shameful.”

“Sex and the City” also made it clear that a TV show could blend genres and still remain successful in a time when shows were either dramas or sitcoms. The show was not afraid to take similar risks with the story either. “We broke a lot of rules,” said King. “The series started as four single women, but in Season 3, I was like, ‘If Charlotte really existed in the world, she would be married.’ So we just broke the brand and had her get married.”

For all that the show focused on the sex lives, or lack thereof, of its principle characters, “Sex and the City” was careful to make sure that the women-centric show did not fall into the trap of being all about men. Carrie does eventually get her happy ending, but King was insistent that the moral never be “find a man to love you so you’ll be whole.” Instead, the mantra was meant to be “love yourself and your girlfriends, and maybe somebody will come along and join the party.” It is for that reason that Carrie ends her final monologue with surprisingly wise words for a show that has become so associated with a vivid pink drink: “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” This advice remains equally valid regardless of whether it is the first or fiftieth time one has watched “Sex and the City” with a frilly pink Cosmo in their hand.

Lionsgate-I_Can_Only_ImagineThe idea of a feature-length movie based on a song sounds ridiculous, but “I Can Only Imagine,” the faith based film based on the hit song of the same name, succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. The film grossed over $83 million overall, and it finished third at the box office during its opening weekend despite competing with such secular blockbusters as “Black Panther.” Now, the faith-based film of the year is making the transition from big screen theaters to family TV’s with the DVD release of “I Can Only Imagine.”

Faith-based films are often dismissed by the movie industry as well as critics and Hollywood elites, but “I Can Only Imagine” earned an “A+” score on CinemaScore, the highest possible rating available. Less than 80 films can boast of a similar rating, even without the handicap of being a faith-based film in an overwhelmingly secular industry.

The film “I Can Only Imagine” is as uplifting as the song on which it is based. The movie follows the story of Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe and the writer of the song “I Can Only Imagine.” The film charts how a song that took only minutes for Millard to write was actually born out of a lifetime worth of experiences.  The official synopsis explains that Bart Millard “found faith at a young age, [but] life wasn’t easy for [Millard.] He leaned into an active imagination and his love of music as escapes from a troubled home life. As he grew older, [Millard] turned to football in hopes of somehow connecting with his abusive father. But a career-ending injury—combined with the vision of a teacher who saw unlimited potential—set [Millard] on a musical pathway.”

In both the movie and real life, Millard was simultaneously pursuing his dream and “running from broken relationships with his father and Shannon, his childhood sweetheart.” Millard and MercyMe, “named for his grandmother’s favorite expression,” hit the road in an “old, decrepit tour bus” in order to chase the ultimate dream of all musicians. “With the guidance of a grizzled music-industry insider, the band [underwent] a journey none of them could ever have imagined.”

As both the biopic of one of the most successful Christian songs of all time and as a real-life story about the power of faith, “I Can Only Imagine” is a must-have for every Christian family. The film is “a gripping reminder of the power of forgiveness, [and it] beautifully illustrates that no one is ever too far from God’s love—or from an eternal home in Heaven.”

The DVD version of “I Can Only Imagine” will be available online (LINK: http://lionsgateathome.com/i-can-only-imagine) and in stores starting Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Pre-order (LINK: http://lionsgateathome.com/i-can-only-imagine) your copy today!