For all you Tinker Bell fans, Disney just released the latest video in the “Disney Fairies” movie series, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. Just in time for the first snow school closure day here in Colorado.
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure takes place in Autumn, as the fairies are on the mainland hanging the colors of the leaves, tending to pumpkin patches, and helping geese fly south for the winter. The rare Blue Moon will rise, and when its light passes through the magical Fall Scepter that Tinker Bell has been summoned to create, Pixie Hollow’s supply of pixie dust will be restored. But when Tinker Bell accidentally puts all of Pixie Hollow in jeopardy, she must venture out across the sea on a secret quest to set things right.
My kids’ school district is actually open today, thank goodness. They actually viewed my preview copy last weekend. My son, Nathan, who is nine watched it for a little while, then went to go play on the computer. Lucie, who is six, sat on the couch and watched it for a bit, too. Then she went to go play with her doll house and let the movie play in the background.Uh oh, I thought, she’s getting too old for these type of cute, girly movies. (Note to self: stop letting her watch all those scary Harry Potter DVDs.)
No, actually she was paying close attention. When I asked her how she liked Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Lucie gave me a complete rundown of the plot. She said liked it except for when Tink broke the blue ball on the scepter. She told me how it got fixed, and how she liked that part best of all.
The full-length CG animated film comes in a Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD) and standard def DVD. If you can safely make it out of the house today, I’m sure you’ll find it at your local grocery, discount or video rental store.
Walt Disney Company’s new motion picture division, DisneyNature, released its first film, Disney Nature Earth, on Blu-ray™ Hi-Def and DVD earlier this month. Earth tells the stories of animals survival from pole to pole.
Narrated by James Earl Jones, Earth was good, but not spectacular. It features a lot of gorgeous eye candy and familiar Disney story telling, but I somehow felt I’d seen all of this before. (UPDATE: Thanks to one of my readers, I now realize that 60 percent of Earth was taken from the Planet Earth & The Blue Planet Seas of Life series.)
Yes, the stories of the various animal families was endearing, dramatic and at times heart breaking, but it’s typical Disney circle of life fluff that seems terribly old fashioned. Sure, Disney is used to anthropomorphizing animals in its cartoons, much to our amusement. But it doesn’t work so well in its documentaries because people need to realize that animals, while they deserve our care and respect, are not pets, but wild animals that will attack when threatened. I’ve seen many stupid people try to pet elk, buffalo and bears at national parks and I partially blame the “oh look at the cute wild animals” nature shows for this.
I guess they figure making animals seem human will make us feel more sympathy for them. Yet, ignoring scientific fact really ticks me off, like when the movie called the male polar bear the “father bear” when the only fatherly act he performed was mating with the polar bear mother to conceive a couple of cubs. Considering that the male polar bear was starving, if he was anywhere near his offspring, he probably would have tried to eat the defenseless cubs.
The ecological lessons seemed like an afterthought, too. Instead, I would have appreciated some facts and less fluff throughout the movie. Frankly, maybe it’s because the bar was set so high by Planet Earth & The Blue Planet Seas of Life that Earth seems to miss its mark.
Like the mating display of birds of paradise featured in the movie, Earth sure dances pretty, but doesn’t grab my attention enough to stick around.
Defiance is based on an extraordinary true story of a band of brothers, the Bielskis, who sheltered refugee Jews hiding in the forests of Bela-Russia from the invading Nazis – and turned them into resistance fighters.
The Denver Post called Defiance, “nearly too lovely and familiar for its ugly subject matter.” I disagree. A story about a group of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things should be told in a beautiful way. It’s a story of the evil men do to each other, but more importantly how the need for revenge isn’t as important as family, love, or survival – and saving everyone no matter how old, how sick, how young or if they were a man or a woman.
Defiance stars Daniel Craig (Quantum of Solace), Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Jamie Bell (Flags Of Our Fathers). I enjoyed the movie very much because it involved straight story telling and no special effects or Hollywood BS. Just a powerful tale of the good guys winning over the bad ones and how you need to keep persevering no matter how tough things get.
To learn more about the real story behind the movie, check out the Defiance movie website. You’ll also be able to enjoy the stirring music from the movie, and find resource links to more stories of the Holocaust and Jewish resistance.
(Thanks to Click Communications for the review copy.)
The new Star Trek movie is amazing – can’t wait to see it again. And if you’re like me, you grew up on reruns of the original series and loved The Next Generation, too. If there’s a dad in your like who’s a Trekker, too, then a cool gift for Father’s Day would be The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series and The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation on DVD.
Star Trek: Original Series
The Best of Star Trek: The Original Series features fan favorite episodes like The Trouble with Tribbles, Amok Time, The City on the Edge of Forever and Balance of Terror – an interesting choice but probably picked since it introduces Romulans to the series. The episodes are digitally remastered to improve the picture quality and the special effects are enhanced as well. There’s something deliciously cheesy about the old special effects, but what can you do?
Star Trek: The Next Generation
If you ask yourself regularly, “What would Picard do?” than The Best of Star Trek: The Next Generation is for you. Featured episodes include the two-part The Best of Both Worlds, Yesterday’s Enterprise in which a previous Enterprise travels 22 years into the future to meet with its successor and The Measure of a Man, an episode where Commander Riker is forced to take the stand to prove that Data is indeed an android. I would have liked to see the season two-part finale instead of Yesterday’s Enterprise and The Measure of a Man. Now that would have been an action packed DVD!
Both DVDs sell for around $14.99 US and $15.99 CAN. Find it on sale and put it in a drawer as these DVDs will make great stocking stuffers or Hanukkah gifts, too, along with the new movie which should be out on DVD by then – can’t wait!
(Thanks to Click Commuhttp://www.click-comm.comnications for the review copies.)
My kids love the iCarly TV show on Nickelodeon. It’s even taken over from their usual favorite, SpongeBob. I was surprised when this happened and became concerned. Wasn’t this a tweenager show? After all my kids are only six and nine.
So I sat down with Lucie and watched an episode where the group goes to Japan to accept an award for their web show. It was completely ridiculous, yet cute and kind of sweet.
The girls, Carly and her sidekick Sam, are smart and aren’t boy and clothing crazy. They put a lot of hard work into their show and are proud of their accomplishments. Also, they are good friends to each other and their buddy, Freddie. Carly is a good sister to her goofy (but cute!) older brother, Spencer, who’s a bit of a goof ball and dreamer. Freddie’s “Hover Mother” cracks me up, too, but their relationship strangely rings true. Plus, Carly and Freddie’s apartment is very retro cool.
Sure there’s the occasional floating bra and underpants joke in the show. (Kids love underwear humor after all.) Still, it’s a program that I feel comfortable to have my young children watching, which is why I was glad to review iCarly: Season 1, Vol. 2. The DVD contains 12 episodes from the TV shows and some behind the scenes extras. If your children are iCarly fans, this would be a nice treat for them. Plus, it’s a great stand by on those rainy days during summer break or to watch in the car on the way to grandma’s. Don't forget to pick up a copy of iCarly: Season 1, Vol. 1
It’s no surprise that director Darren Aronofsky chose the Jersey Shore as a backdrop for The Wrestler. Like Mickey Rourke’s character, Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a veteran performer on the professional wrestling circuit, the Asbury Park boardwalk is a victim of age, but beloved by locals who grew up riding the roller coaster and eating salt water taffy – like me.
“The Ram” is respected by other wrestlers and still loved by fans as he tries to hold on to his career as his body fails him. But in real life he’s a loser, unable to pay rent on his dilapidated trailer or reconnect with his estranged daughter. He has a crummy job in a grocery store, and his only friends are trailer park kids and a stripper.
It was hardly accidental that The Day the Earth Stood Still DVD was released a couple of weeks before Earth Day with its, “humans are killing the earth” message. Then again, like most good science fiction movies, it’s a reflection of the time it’s made in. However, unlike the original 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was a Cold War parable, it misses its mark by relying too heavily on special effects and not enough on story.
The original movie didn’t have the budget (and the technology didn’t exist) to blow you away with special effects. Instead it had to rely on acting, direction, plot and dialogue to deliver its important message of peace and cooperation – and to make you think long after you left the theater. While the classic movie seems a bit quaint today, it holds it own even after multiple viewings because it’s well done.
2008: The Day the Earth Stood Still
The 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still is all special effects and watered down sentimentality and eco-friendly message. However, the cast is impressive and they do a good job with what they’re given. Keanu Reeves (as Klaatu) is at his Matrix-like, alien best. Jennifer Connelly is somewhat believable as Dr. Benson, but didn’t need to have a step-son (played by Jaden Smith) to show she was loving and concerned.
In the classic movie, it’s the child that introduces Klaatu to the adults and bridges the relationship between human and alien. In the 2008 version, the kid was a distraction, though the interaction between the kid and Klaatu was kind of nice.
Mad Men's Jon Hamm shows up here and there, as does Kathy Bates as the secretary of state. Even less screen time was given to John Cleese as a wise and kind Nobel Prize Winning scientist. I wanted to see their characters much more than Connelly’s or Smith’s, probably because I like them more as actors and their characters were more interesting.
I finally got to see Slumdog Millionaire on DVD, and what struck me immediately is how the movie is a classic rags to riches American story, even if it takes place in Mumbai, India.
It’s the story of how two young boys, Jamal and Salim, against all odds survive and find success. Heck, one even becomes a millionaire. It’s that American Dream of work hard, live by your wits, and with a little luck you’ll become successful and get the girl. It doesn’t hurt to be smart either.
True, Slumdog Millionaire isn’t that cut and dried. There’s a lot of tragedy a gritty realism, too. A religious riot that causes the death of the boys mother. Somehow they manage even though they’re homeless and orphaned. As a mom, this part of the movie was the toughest for me since my children are about the same age as Salim, Jamal and their orphaned friend, Latika. Would my children survive in those circumstances? I dared not think about forced begging, purposeful maiming, prostitution and the exploitation of young children and girls in third world countries.
I was a fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels and the Sean Connery Bond movies. Roger Moore was fine (loved him in The Saint television show), but by the time Moonraker came out in 1979, the Bond movies were all about goofy gadgets, hotties in bikinis, one-dimensional villains, and silly sex jokes – more a campy spoof than spy thriller.
But I had heard that Daniel Craig in Casino Royale was terrific. Me? I thought he was a knockout, but didn’t have time to see the movie in the theaters. So when the critics thought that Quantum of Solace wasn’t as good as Casino Royale, well, I didn’t find time to go see that either – until now.
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