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Cappuccino with Jules

Lifestyle. Music. Film. TV. Freshly brewed.

Ariana Grande and John Legend’s “Beauty and the Beast” Duet

Beauty and the Beast‘s theme has always been unforgettable, and now this song as old as time gets a modern update for the release of the new 2017 film by Disney. Filling in for Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson are Ariana Grande and John Legend, and this duo really do measure up to the original performers. Their soulful, powerhouse vocals make a fine, magical mix.

Listen to their version here and pre-order the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack now to get an immediate download of the song:

Natalie Portman in “Jackie”: A Portrait of a First Lady

“Don’t let it be forgot that for one brief shining moment there was a Camelot. There won’t be another Camelot. Not another Camelot.”

Natalie Portman was at her finest in her portrayal of Mrs. Kennedy, making director Pablo Larrain’s Jackie a superior film that deserves all the attention at the 2017 Academy Awards.

With the prime focus being the First Lady’s attempt at piecing her life – and ‘Camelot’ – back together in the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a strong, impactful acting was needed to accurately play this iconic woman, and Natalie’s effortless performance showed how much research went into her preparation. Her mannerims, way of speaking and elegance definitely reflected the real Jackie. She had that ability to show extreme devastation about her husband’s loss but also remain composed, strong and hopeful in the face of the public.

Jackie was my favorite Natalie role after Black Swan, and I genuinely think she deserves that Best Actress win this year, even though the other choices are equally great. The same can be said of costume designer Madeline Fontaine whose work on this film was of stylish, regal quality and also Mica Levi who composed a dark yet emotive score that fit in with the grim atmosphere that Jackie’s struggle is associated with.

If you missed Jackie at the cinema, you can now pre-order the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray. Witness Natalie’s brilliant transformation into Mrs. Kennedy.

Back to 1989: 27 Songs on Taylor Swift’s 27th Birthday

1989. The year Taylor Swift came into this universe. Fast forward 27 years later, and she is a global superstar and hitmaker with award-winning records and chart-topping singles. To celebrate her Birthday, I’m listing 27 of my top favorite Taylor tunes. Feel free to list yours too.

  1. “New Romantics”
  2. “Style”
  3. “Mine”
  4. “Sparks Fly”
  5. “Clean”
  6. “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  7. “Picture to Burn”
  8. “Red”
  9. “Speak Now”
  10. “Innocent”
  11. “I Know Places”
  12. “Blank Space”
  13. “Should’ve Said No”
  14. “Bad Blood”
  15. “Starlight”
  16. “Hey Stephen”
  17. “Welcome to New York”
  18. “State of Grace”
  19. “Enchanted”
  20. “Safe and Sound”
  21. “Fearless”
  22. “Wildest Dreams”
  23. “I Don’t Want to Live Forever” featuring Zayn
  24. “Everything Has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran
  25. “22”
  26. “Love Story”
  27. “Wonderland”

“Someday at Christmas” by Jackie Evancho is a Delicious Holiday Truffle for the Ears

Another holiday season, another Christmas album from the young and gifted classical songstress Jackie Evancho. With an elegant, cinematic orchestration and pure display of vocals in every track, this is one record worth collecting. Someday at Christmas is like a musical painting that’s full of grandeur yet very sincere in capturing the essence of Christmas and in igniting a spark of hope for the world.

Not only it makes a perfect companion for a festive holiday dinner with family and friends. It also serves as a delicious holiday chocolate truffle for the ears. I applaud Miss Evancho for a very inspired selection of songs to record and the classical greats in all the duets, such as Placido Domingo and Il Volo. They add to the divine quality of Someday at Christmas.

TRACK LIST

  1. “Someday At Christmas”
    Serving as the title track, this is one tune the world needs. Powerful lyrics with an imagined vision of the future – a future we all crave for.
  2. “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
    The cinematic intro paves a path to a very fine song. She really gets into the storytelling aspect.
  3. “Guardian Angels” (featuring Placido Domingo)
    A very exquisite duet. This song is the Truth.
  4. “Little Drummer Boy”
    Definitely a one-of-a-kind version of this popular song. She gives it a fresh energy.
  5. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
    Probably one of my top faves from the record. I enjoy Christmas albums that have “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” on the list, and Jackie is doing this whimsical tune justice.
  6. “Pie Jesu” (from Requiem – featuring Placido Domingo)
    What a fine duet. Respect!
  7. “Christmas Waltz”
    She delivers the tune in an imaginative way, and it definitely feels like a magical post-dinner holiday waltz, and all the guests, reindeers and sugarplum fairies are watching.
  8. “Hallelujah” (featuring Peter Hollens)
    The Leonard Cohen hit is definitely perfect for Christmas.
  9. “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
    A fresh new take on a holiday classic. Feel the warmth in this song.
  10. “O Holy Night” (featuring Vittorio Grigolo)
    Simply divine. That’s all I can say.
  11. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
    It’s like a personal letter from Jackie to all of us this holiday season.
  12. “Little Drummer Boy” (featuring Il Volo)
    Two times a charm. Love the call-and-response bits in the verses that are followed by a vocal unison in the chorus.

Get Someday at Christmas and Jackie’s other records here.

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Magic. Adventure. Jazz Age New York. Eddie Redmayne. The wizarding world of J.K. Rowling that bewitched the entire planet with Harry Potter now reopens with promises of a new universe in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the film does deliver.

Redmayne’s Newt Scamander – the author of the textbook the movie title is based on that later becomes required reading for first-year Hogwarts students – has a luggage full of fantastic beasts that accidentally run loose in 1920’s NYC. In his quest to get them back, he is joined by sisters Tina and Queenie Goldstein (Katherine Waterston and singer-songwriter Alison Sudol in her divine acting debut) as well as a no-Maj – what muggles were referred to back in the day – named Jacob Kowalski (humorously played by Dan Fogler).

From the adventurous Newt and determined Tina to the whimsical Queenie and comical yet lovable Jacob, these fantastic four are brilliantly developed. Colin Farrell is also at the top of his game as the menacing Percival Graves. I have a soft spot for Queenie, not just ’cause I’ve been a longtime supporter of Ms. Sudol since her A Fine Frenzy days, but Queenie is a wonderful witch with an equally magnetic, charming personality. Oh, she can also magically conjure a delicious apple strudel in addition to having an amazing mind-reading ability. She and Jacob are the ultimate scene stealers, and the two of them look like those delightfully quirky couples found in Woody Allen movies.

All the film settings help enhance the plot, from the famous Central Park to the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), the American equivalent to the UK Ministry of Magic in the Potter-verse.

When it comes to the beasts, the wide variety of magical creatures featured on the big screen add a lot of intrigue. My personal favorite is the Niffler, an adorable duck-like beast that’s attracted to shiny belongings. But other forms of beasts are also introduced like the Thunderbird that Newt rescued from Egypt and plans on returning to its natural habitat in Arizona, which is really the main reason he’s in the States.

Expect Fantastic Beasts to be nothing short of fantastic! Fantastic screenplay (written by Rowling herself), fantastic cast, fantastic beasts, fantastic production, fantastic visual effects, fantastic Roaring 20’s costumes, and fantastic mix of light adventure and the darker, intense aspects portrayed in some scenes. Don’t miss out on the cinematic grandeur this film flawlessly showcases!

 

“Beauty and the Beast” 2017 Official Trailer

An intelligent beauty. A cursed prince. A tale as old as time. We’ve been waiting for what seemed like an eternity for new promos related to Disney’s live-action adaptation of its Academy Award-winning film Beauty and the Beast, and now they’re finally out in the open.

Shortly after the debut of its first look image on the latest Entertainment Weekly issue, the 2017 movie’s official trailer premiered yesterday that instantly made the world swoon with adoration. So much enchantment in one video!

With strong production and inspired casting (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Audra MacDonald, Josh Gad, Emma Thompson and Kevin Kline), I could tell Beauty and the Beast will make 2017 a magical, unforgettable year.

DisneySea’s 15th Anniversary

Set sail and make a wish on the shining sea!

DisneySea (Tokyo, Japan) – the only one to ever exist in the entire universe – is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, and a number of exclusive merchandises have been released earlier on to mark this big event.

The dominant image on most of the items sold at the DisneySea stores couldn’t look grander with adventurers Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto sailing on a golden ship with Chip and Dale plus the Duffy bears as company. Everyone’s all dressed up in dashing outfits. Even my all-time favorite Donald has his sporty gloves on, which we don’t really see everywhere else.

After a very short and pleasant wait, my 15th anniversary package has finally arrived courtesy of Instagram Disney shop Disneyland Jakarta. Even though I didn’t get the chance to visit (my first trip to DisneySea was back in 2014), I got to at least grab a hold of the magic in the form of the the stuff I ordered (shoutout to TDR Explorer for all the merch previews):

  • Assorted cookies that come in a gorgeous limited edition tin box
  • 15th anniversary postcard
  • Lovely clear holders featuring characters like Anna, Elsa and Rapunzel
  • Donald & Daisy mug – Donaisy are my newest OTP, by the way

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In light of this Disney-themed post, allow me to present you my little Disney list.

~ Jules’s Disney List ~

  • The first Disney film I saw at the cinema: The Little Mermaid
  • Favorite animated films: Robin Hood, Frozen, Hercules, The Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp, Mary Poppins, Brave, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Beauty & the Beast, The Princess & the Frog, Oliver & Company, Treasure Planet, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Bambi, Mickey, Donald & Goofy: The Three Musketeers, A Goofy Movie, An Extremely Goofy Movie, Tarzan
  • Favorite live action films: 101 Dalmatians, Cinderella, Alice Through the Looking Glass
  • Best sequels in my book: Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure, The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride
  • Favorite classic character: Donald (obviously) 😉
  • Favorite film characters: Elsa, Maid Marian, Belle, Merida, Nala, Tiana, Mary Poppins
  • Favorite villain: Cruella de Vil
  • OTPs: Robin Hood/Maid Marian, Scamp/Angel, Donald/Daisy, Anna/Kristoff, Pongo/Perdita
  • Favorite TV shows: DuckTales (excited for the 2017 reboot since they’re making Donald part of the main cast like in the original Carl Barks/Don Rosa stories), Darkwing Duck
  • My Disney playlist:
    – “Why Should I Worry” (Oliver & Company)
    – “Bella Notte” (Lady & the Tramp)
    – “Zero to Hero” & “Go the Distance” (Hercules)
    – “Oo De Lally” & “Love” (Robin Hood)
    – “Cruella de Vil” (101 Dalmatians)
    – “Love is an Open Door” & “Let It Go” (Frozen)
    – “I 2 I” (A Goofy Movie)
    – “Gaston” & “Beauty & the Beast” (Beauty & the Beast)
    – “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” (The Aristocats)
    – “Jolly Holiday”, “A Spoonful of Sugar” & “Chim Chim Cheree” (Mary Poppins)
    – “Second Star to the Right” (Peter Pan)
    – “I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way” (Lady & the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure)
    – “Just Around the River Bend” & “Colors of the Wind” (Pocahontas)
    – “Out There”, “God Help the Outcasts” & “Someday” (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

You’re also invited to let me know your Disney favorites.

Postmodern Jukebox

Watch what happens when today’s biggest hits meet Old Hollywood glam! Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox successfully mixes well-known tunes like “Royals”, “Shake It Off”, “Creep” and “Sweet Child O’Mine” with a jazz-flavored syrup, resulting in all-new numbers with a swingin’ vintage sound. It’s like a grand trip to the retro times without ever leaving the present.

The regular artists chosen to collaborate with the band include a roster of American Idol stars like Haley Reinhart, Melinda Doolittle, Casey Abrams and Von Smith plus amazing vocalists like Ariana Savalas, Morgan James and Sara Niemietz. For new listeners, PMJ’s newly released compilation album The Essentials make the perfect introduction. Grab yours in a combo pack featuring an old-fashioned shirt. Or if you’re a vinyl collector, the vinyl version is also offered on the PMJ site.

Below are a few of my top fave PMJ videos…

 

Indonesia Comic Con 2016

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It’s here. It’s now. It’s Comic Con! All fandoms and pop culture lovers in Indonesia shall rejoice! In collaboration with the New York Comic Con and supported by the XM Studios, this fantasy and action-packed event is finally returning.

From Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts to Suicide Squad, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Arrow, almost every merchandise related to all the big superheroes and action film/TV characters we all enjoy are put on display, ready to be taken home to be added to our collection. And we’re not only talking about American favorites but also a lot of stuff from popular comic books and shows in Japan. Think Sailor Moon, Final Fantasy, the Gundam series and Death Note. Even Disney exclusives are available.

Meet and greet sessions with notable stars like Deadpool actress Brianna Hildebrand, The Legendary Kamen Rider Ichigou creator Hiroshi Fujioka, Indonesia’s very own Ardian Syaf who’s signed with Marvel and DC Comics and Alex Milne (Transformers comic artist) are also part of the 2-day con. In addition to all those, local and international illustrators, comic creators, graphic designers and special effects teams are setting up their own stands to showcase and sell their drawings, digital art, sketchbooks and other works.

Thanks to my friends Tifany and Michelle, we got to attend the Saturday Comic Con’s opening day at a Rp 90.000 presale price (on-the-spot tickets cost Rp 120.000). For all die-hard Comic Con fans in Jakarta, today is your final chance to experience this exciting event, so be sure not to miss it.

Below is a list of some of the stands we got to visit throughout our Comic Con adventure, complete with photos of stuff that stood out:

  • Star Wars-verse ~ The shop has popular merchandises that cover The Force Awakens, the earlier movies and the upcoming Rogue One film (the Rogue One promo is all ablaze, and I definitely approve). Also, visitors are given that opportunity to own the “limited edition” Star Wars medallions – the first in Indonesia. Sphero’s newest Force Band is also available to purchase – a Jedi essential.
  • Comics ~ Presented by Books Kinokuniya, various graphic novels, mangas and books are on sale: Supergirl, Fantastic Four, Suicide Squad, Gotham, Batman, Superman, Batgirl, Spiderman, Attack on Titans, Sailor Moon, The Legend of Zelda, you name it. My goal was to find Agent Carter, DuckTales and Darkwing Duck comics but unlike in NY and San Diego, they weren’t in stock so I’ll just look them up on Amazon/eBay.
  • Lego’s Spooktacular Shop ~ All sorts of Halloween-themed Legos can be spotted, including Scooby Doo, Ghostbusters and one with the main Disney characters.
  • Cosplay Area ~ Where all the cosplayers get to mingle. Cosplayers can be found all over the venue though. During my time there, I got to walk past Harley Quinn, Captain America, King Geoffrey, stormtroopers, Hermione Granger and Daenerys Targaryen. Plus some Walking Dead zombies.
  • Pops ~ Pretty much every toy shop has one. Pops are definitely in demand these days. Collectors’ favorites. What you can get: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Severus Snape, Newt Scamander, Harley Quinn, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Daenerys Targaryen, the Starks (including Jon Snow), Alice in Wonderland, Cheshire Cat, Red Queen, Mirana the White Queen, Toy Story characters, most Star Wars characters, etc.
  • Sephora ~ This international make-up brand has a mini studio dedicated to helping visitors transform into the character of their choice with their magical make-up products – I saw one in the process of becoming a monster with blood all over his face

 

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Artsy Harley Quinn and Superman tees.

swRogue One.

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Stunning Elsa from Disney on Ice.

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Hey there, Chewbacca!

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Spotted a poster for this fantastical update of Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried.

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Hermione Pops.

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The Star Wars medallions that hold so much power.

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My Comic Con program guide and a Game of Thrones pouch – the only merch I bought which I’m now super proud of owning. Lovely, whimsical illustration of the characters!

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