Peep-TSD (Easter Bunny Challenge)

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Peep-TSD (Easter Bunny Challenge)

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for warm nights and campfires! Well, we decided to get a jump start on a campfire game with our Easter-themed version of “chubby bunny” using marshmallow Peeps! The competition is fierce, and choosing a winner comes down to splitting “hares” with how close it gets!

Sure, we get a little choked up, but we thought it would be a colorful way to say “hoppy” Easter! And trust us…it gets awfully colorful with all this sugar. But in all seriousness, we at ShadowShine Pictures hope you have the sweetest holiday this Resurrection Sunday!

Happy Easter friends!

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Thirteen

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Thirteen

An infant was the boss of the box office this weekend, followed by a French beast, a Japanese cyborg, and a group of teenage superheroes. Who says originality in film is dead? Well, considering three of those are remakes, I think it speaks for itself. Anyway, let’s practice our teething and chew on these numbers!

Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby took the top spot this week with just over $50 million. Reviews were lukewarm, with some critics praising the animation and cast while critiquing the poop jokes and simple story. It’s a middle-of-the-road animated film that will fit nicely among Storks, The Secret Life of Pets, and those other cute non-franchise kids movies.

Our next newcomer, Ghost in the Shell, took the number three spot behind Beauty and the Beast by a long shot. The Disney remake brought in $45 million in its third week, while Ghost in the Shell trailed behind with $18.6 million domestically, and mixed to negative reviews. Yes, it did bring in $40 million internationally, but that’s still shy of the $110 million budget. Critics and audiences alike were disappointed in the “style-over-substance” approach that left us with cool cities and solid action, but failed to put an actual ghost in the fancy shell, glossing over the deeper themes of the original manga and prior films. On top of that, the choice to cast Scarlett Johansson in a role meant for an Asian actor is controversial enough, made worse by Johansson’s excuse of basically saying, “well, at least it’s a female protagonist, right?”

Although some Japanese people said they weren’t surprised a white woman was cast in an American remake and weren’t bothered by it, more people, especially Japanese-Americans, were rightly outraged that they tried to pass off an American remake of one of the most popular Japanese manga of all time with a white lead. If Zoe Saldana or Penelope Cruz had been cast, the masses would be confused that they cast someone of a different race in the lead role and everyone would agree that it felt out of place, so why did Johansson make it this far other than this is just another case of Hollywood whitewashing? The only way they could have justified this would have been to delve into themes of outward appearance and privilege from someone who was born in an Asian body, placed in a cyborg with a different racial appearance, and shown the effects of that while also showing that the human soul is race-less. But knowing Rupert Sanders’ work, we all know he’s not focusing on deep themes of acceptance and identity, but rather making cool-looking backdrops for hollow stories.

The final newcomer of the weekend was The Zookeeper’s Wife, starring Jessica Chastain and Daniel Brühl, which finished in spot ten with $3.2 million. Despite being a film about World War II, the overall consensus was that it was too safe and sterilized, so even though the historical accuracy was there, the energy and heaviness that should have been, was not.

Looking ahead to next week, Boss Baby is gonna have some competition with Smurfs: The Lost Village! The blue buggers are back in an entirely computer-generated film where they use a magical map to look for a lost village. It’s an all-new cast, but the fact that no one really knows it’s unrelated to the first two and makes no effort to seem like a new identity is a bad sign that this is probably here to sell merchandise and make a little money before the good animated films come out this Summer and doom this movie to be as lost as the village they’re trying to find.

We’ll also see the release of Zach Braff’s latest directorial effort, Going In Style, starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin about three old men robbing a bank. And if you already think that sounds bland and done a million times before, it’s also a remake of a 1979 film! You’d think another film from the director of the indie classic Garden State would have more to offer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Theodore Melfi wrote the script, however, and after his success with writing and directing St. Vincent and last year’s Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures, maybe there’s more to this movie than the trailers make it seem.

And lastly, The Case for Christ comes to 1,100 theaters this weekend. Based on Lee Strobel’s book of the same name, this movie will tell the story of what inspired the book and not an exact book-to-film translation. It follows Strobel, an atheist journalist who investigates Christianity in an attempt to disprove it after his wife recently finds faith. Through the process of interviewing scholars, scientists, and Biblical historians, he finds there may be more to Christianity than he originally thought. Now I can’t speak for the movie (though PureFlix has been known to consistently release garbage), but I’ve read the book, and it’s fascinating, informative, and intriguing. Hopefully the movie can capture a little bit of those qualities or at least sell a few more copies of the book.

Well, that’s all for this week. We’ll be gone next week, but we’ll be back with an Easter recap, so in the meantime, go catch up on some movies! I know I will!

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Twelve

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Twelve

Even with a handful of newcomers there was no competition for this “tale as old as time” in theatres this weekend, leading Disney’s latest live action remake dwarfing the competition and claiming a couple more notable benchmarks for itself.

Beauty and the Beast took the top spot once again, making over $90 million its second weekend. This makes it the fourth largest sophomore weekend for a film of all time. And with its domestic cume over $315 million, it’s one of the fastest films to ever reach that mark. In comparison to other similar movies such as Maleficent and Cinderella, they each grossed around $34.5 million their second weekends, and The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland each made around $62 million. All that being said, you don’t need me to tell you that people are absolutely loving this remake, and that the nostalgia that accompanies this film is making us all feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Seeing the images of Belle’s yellow dress, the rose, and a castle full of living objects that were so prominent in all of our childhood, now in live action is really hitting home for the audiences, and per usual it looks like Disney knew exactly what they were doing when they made this one. The only real issue that some movie goers seem to be having is the fact that LeFou’s character in this remake happens to be gay. Which seems a bit hypocritical of people who are otherwise praising a movie that’s sole message is about withholding any judgments about others you may have until you know their heart and their true intentions. Why do we even have to label ‘gay’- why can’t people just be people? Overall it’s a silly thing to get upset over, especially since it’s such a minute detail in the grand scheme of this film.

But now it’s morphing time! What are we morphing into? Our 90s childhood selves apparently. Our trusty Power Rangers gang took the number two spot this past weekend bring home a little over $40 million and millennials all around seemed to be eating it up, giving the film an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes and an A on CinemaScore. We were all clearly reminiscing on the many Saturday mornings in front of the TV watching Power Rangers with our bowls of Lucky Charms - I know my brother and I weren’t the only ones! 50% of the audience was over the age of 25, no surprise there, but just as well 30% were under the age of 18, showing that not only are former lovers of the series showing up to see it, but the younger audience is getting introduced to it as well.

Our next newcomer this weekend, Life, fell just behind Kong: Skull Island in spot number four, with $12.5 million. Despite its cast of Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds it looks as though Life will be struggling to stay alive at the box office and make back its $58 million production budget. The main complaint being of course that it is just trying to be Alien. Given the fact that we had two major films (and a minor one) this weekend playing on the nostalgia of its viewers, now isn’t a time for a weak or washed up script – now is the time for something truly original if you’re going to compete with the likes of Beauty and the Beast or Power Rangers.

Speaking of that other minor film, CHiPS came in spot number seven making only $7.7 million and after receiving lows scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, it definitely seems like this bag of chips left people with a bad taste in their mouth. Critics and movie goers alike are complaining that the movie is greatly misogynistic, full of cheap humor and unnecessary nudity, further proving that with remakes everywhere, films need to have substance for audiences to get behind. I mean that goes for just about anything now since media is being created at a faster rate more than ever before. People can move on to the next thing in no time if what they’re watching is struggling to give them anything more than second rate sex jokes.

Slamma Jamma was our final film from this past weekend which shot its way into theaters, but ultimately proved to be a flop. Not even cracking the top ten and making just over $1.6 million the film was a major foul up for River Rain this past weekend.

Looking ahead to next week now we have Ghost in the Shell starring Scarlett Johanson who plays a cyborg devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals who have the ability to hack into people’s minds after technology has advanced to the point where the large majority of the population have cyber-brains. There was some controversy over Scarlett Johanson playing the lead in this former Japanese story, but overall this high action film looks as though it could really say a lot about humans need and dependency on technology, which certainly has me intrigued.

The Boss Baby is also crawling its way into theaters this coming weekend with Alec Baldwin, Lisa Kudrow, and Jimmy Kimmel all lending their voices to this new DreamWorks animation where a baby is actually a spy on a secret mission to get rid of puppies so that humans start giving babies more attention. And that looks like that’s about all this film has to offer. But maybe I’m wrong and we will all be pleasantly surprised!

The last newcomer this weekend is Focus Feature’s the ZooKeeper’s Wife. It stars Jessica Chastain who is the wide of a Zoo keeper in Warsaw Poland who helps keep hundreds of people and animals safe during the German invasion of Poland during World War 2. The film also stars Daniel Brühl who is a Nazi captain and given Brühl’s other filmography this film looks like a touching and heartbreaking story with an impressive cast line up. Plus the cinematography that I’ve seen from the trailer looks absolutely beautiful, and that alone is enough to get me to go and see it!

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World Water Day 2017: WasteWater

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World Water Day 2017: WasteWater

Today is World Water Day, a day focused on bringing attention and awareness to the global water crisis. Despite the many advances in technology, a rapidly expanding global economy, and various social justice initiatives in just the last decade alone, there are still 1.8 billion of the world's population who use a source of drinking water contaminated with waste, putting men, women, and countless children at risk of contracting deadly diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and even polio.

Since 1993 World Water Day (formally World Day of Water) has chosen a theme centered around this crisis to help educate the global community on how we might together work to end the injustice of unclean water which is a key contributor to extreme poverty. This year's theme is WasteWater, a growing and systemic issue which is threatening the environment and putting future generations at even great risk than they currently already are at. Wastewater comes largely from our homes, the cities we live in, and from both industry and agricultural development which then flows back into the natural world without being cleaned, treated, or reused first.

According to the UN Water council, by reducing the amount of our wastewater, and then also reusing it in our homes, gardens, city green spaces, and so on we as a planet can create even more sustainable water habits and bring this crisis one step closer to being a begone era.

In response to the crisis of unsafe drinking water there are many organizations and non profits who are working diligently and tirelessly to bring access to this safe water to everyone around globe by 2030. Just a few of these organizations include:

With our support, from people like you and me, we can make that goal a reality and not just a benchmark. Together through partners such as these we can bring an end to the water crisis in our life time and provide safe and clean drinking water for billions of children the world over.

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Eleven

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Making Dollars and Sense at the Box Office: Weekend Eleven

It was BEAST of a weekend for theatres with no shortage or record breaking achievements and some pretty magical numbers, but one film clearly stood out as the belle of the ball.

That's right, Disney invited audiences from across the globe to be their guest this weekend as their latest live-action animated adaptation, Beauty and the Beast, debuted to an impressive $174.8 million from domestic show houses. That in and of itself is already a feat given the film had a $160 million budget and a domestic premiere of this height is unheard of for the “live-action remake” genre. But that's just the first course for this film as it also pulled in $182.3 million from the international markets. That means within three days the film made over $357 million worldwide!

Most notable of the many records Beauty and the Beast set this past weekend was: largest March opening of all time; 7th largest opening of any film of all-time, and the largest opening for a PG-rated film. But additionally it also set records for:

  • #1 Global and domestic opening for a PG-rated film in IMAX
  • Largest Spring Opening Weekend
  • 6th largest Sunday Gross
  • 8th largest theatre average for a wide opening release
  • 14th best global opening of all time

It really wasn’t a surprise for anyone this weekend that the Disney film was the beast to beat, but I don’t think even this level of success was nearly as expected. The reason though comes down to Disney capitalizing well on the nostalgia of early twenty somethings to mid thirty-year-olds. Sure this is a great film to take your kids to, but really Disney placed their bets on young adults coming out in full force to send this movie over the top, and they clearly hit the jackpot.

The songs and cinematography are charming, the design of the film is exquisite, and the characters and cast are all lovable. If you were a die-hard fan of the original film which came out in 1995 chances are you quickly got caught up in the nostalgia of this film and Disney had you right where they wanted you. But with that said the question is what’s next for this film?

In my opinion while the film was overall enjoyable and cute and charming, it really left something wanting. Having taken such a well-known and classic story the creators of the film could really have said some interesting things with the characters and deepened them well beyond what we already knew and expected going in. But for the most part it just feels like they elevated the sub characters to help fill in the gaps of a 129-minute film while not increasing by the same margin the storylines of our two main characters.

Like really this film could have taken more creative risks like the creators of Maleficent did to really bring us a beloved story we all know but add WAY more context and depth to it. In the end it feels like Disney got lazy and just took the safe bet. Which sure, fine, that’s cool, it was still a good film, but honestly, in a month I’ll be thinking of the original film far more than I will the huge live action adaptation.

But moving on, the other newcomer from this weekend was The Belko Experiment, which despite only bringing in $4.1 million dollars opening weekend landing it at spot #7, was still a relative success given that it’s production budget was only $5 million. Yes, would studio executives liked to have seen this film perform better? Obviously, but the film really never stood a chance holding its own against the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Logan, and even Get Out. Despite being counter-programing for those first two, Get Out is still the superior film within the Horror genre. Plus, Belko fell into the same pit as did the Purge series as it presented some really interesting concepts and possible statements, but never evolved anything past the general premise. With a 48% and 43% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic respectively, it looks like this experiment was a failure.

Looking ahead to next weekend we have four new films releasing nationwide that have the unfortunate fate of going up against Beauty and the Beast which I have no doubts will claim the top of the box office yet again.

First up, and maybe the only one that might have the power to give Disney a run for their money is Lionsgate’s Power Rangers. That’s right, continuing in the vein of cashing in on some serious nostalgia we have the story of five teens from Angel Grove that get chosen by fate and destiny to protect their tiny town from Rita Repulsa, an Alien that is looking to level all of the world and claim ownership over it. Based on the series that was pioneered by the TV show of the same title back in 1993, the group of kids will have to overcome their own insecurities and real-life issues before they can band together to become the iconic Power Rangers. Given the fact that this was one of my favorite shows growing up as a little kid, you better believe I’ll be seeing this movie this weekend, even if I know I’m fully getting played.

Next up with have Warner Bros. CHiPs which is also looking to capitalize on the nostalgia of its viewers as it’s a film based on the 1977-83 TV series about two California highway patrol officers and their many crazy and eccentric adventures together. In this particular film we get Jon Baker, a former motorbike rider who’s trying to get his life and marriage put back together getting thrust together with Frank Poncherello, or “Ponch” as it were, who is an undercover and hardened FBI agent who is investigating a multimillion dollar heist. Together they’ll have to learn to work and trust one another if they ever plan to accomplish both their desires. It’s very much your typical hero buddy film, but with a cast starring Dax Shepard, Michael Pena, Kristen Bell, and Adam Brody, my guess is that this might actually be a hilarious time and well worth the price of admission... and a bag of chips.

But I know what you’re thinking – what happened to creative, fresh, and original storytelling? Well, don’t you worry, we also have Sony’s sci-fi thriller Life coming to theatres which is… well actually no, it’s not creative, original, or fresh in any way. It’s the story of a team of astronauts aboard the International Space station who are performing groundbreaking studies on the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. Things turn bad and fast when the life form proves WAY more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have conceived. If I'm being blunt it totally looks like someone put the scripts from Alien, Species, and Pandorum into a blender together and that’s how we got Life.

The final newcomer for this weekend will be River Rain’s Slamma Jamma which is a sports drama about a young man who after being released from prison where he was wrongfully incarcerated finds redemption by entering a slam-dunk basketball tournament. Despite being a film that looks like it’ll have some really important things to say about overcoming your past, oppression, and finding your way the film looks pretty rough from a film technical perspective and I’m thinking this will be anything but a dunk for the studio.

Well, that’s it for this week! There’s a lot to go see this weekend and while my money is still on Beauty and the Beast taking the number one spot for the second weekend in a row, audiences of all interest are going to have a lot to choose from. So this weekend breakout of your cabin fever, go enjoy a movie at your local theatre!

-Matthew Miller

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Out of Luck: A St. Patrick's Day Story

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Out of Luck: A St. Patrick's Day Story

St. Patrick's Day is here! It's time to wear green (don't pinch too hard those who forgot!), enjoy a beverage or five, and pretend to know the history of the holiday. Even if you're not Irish, you can partake in the festivities - but be careful: luck can be a fickle thing. 

Here at ShadowShine, we were planning to give you a pot of gold worth of photographs, but...as you can see from the video...our rainbow wasn't so lucky. Watch our new St. Patrick's Day video and good luck out there today!

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Shivani + Neal: The Bhagat Wedding Trailer

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Shivani + Neal: The Bhagat Wedding Trailer

We cannot express how much we love these two, nor how wonderful it has been getting to know them over the last several years. We first met Shivani at her cousin, Amity's, wedding back when we had just begun filming weddings, and a couple years later Shivani introduced us to Neal at yet another wedding. Before we knew it the two of them were engaged and were calling us to ask us to join in their wedding weekend and be their cinematographers. Obviously that was a no brainer for us and we instantly said yes!

Honestly, getting to know their families, and specifically the Modys, over the years has been one of the greatest highlights of our entire wedding cinematography adventures. They always greet us with so much love and joy and they are such fun to be around and celebrate with! In many ways every wedding is a new excuse to go see old friends we've grown so fond of, and the fact that it was Shivani and Neal's turn to get married made the weekend all the more amazing.

You can't really sum up their weekend into just a word because there's really no description that could do it justice. The gorgeousness of all the details washed over us and left us speechless, Shivani's radiant smile and exuberant personality glowed the entire weekend, Neal's sense of humor and chill style kept us laughing, and both the Bhagats and the Mody families came together to celebrate this beautiful moment in these two's story together.

In complete seriousness, if we could relive this weekend over and over again we'd jump at the chance. We'll never forget this weekend or how much we are in love with these two, and we'll always be their biggest fans!

Wedding Planer: Rajul Pillai

Wedding Decorator: Colonial Party & Event Planner & Ankita Modi

Photographer: Ray Anthony Photography & ShadowShine PIctures

Florist: Bellisario Florist

Hair and Makeup: Raimonda Pejez and Tammy Pore 

DJ: Sandeep Hans "DJ Sandman" 

Wedding Cake: Sweet Dreams Bakery

Linens & Chivari Chairs: Modern Art Party Rental

Catering & Bar: Rangoli & Krishna Catering

Henna: Neeta Desai

Wedding Gown: Aishwarya

Grah Shanti Gown: Aishwarya 

Henna Gown: Asopalav

Reception Gown: Paras

Venues: Diamond Center, Canton Hindu Temple, & Mody Residence 

 

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