Sick Day Movies

October 30, 2008

My twins are sick today so we are hosting our own mini Scooby Doo marathon.  Scooby Doo has the most movies they can agree on. 

If it was just my daughter, we’d be watching princess movies all day.  My son would rather spend the day watch movies like Cars and Speed Racer.

But that’s okay, because sick days are meant to snuggle under a blanket, curl up on the couch and watch that one or two movies that really seem to connect to you.

My husband loves to watch the Matrix trilogy when he’s sick.  It’s the only time he really gets to watch them uninterrupted.

My sick day movies are little less cohesive:  Eddie and the Cruisers, The Lost Boys and A Knight’s Tale.

I know that Eddie is a little off beat, probably why I like it.  But I love the music in the show.  The Lost Boys has been a favorite of my since I was a teen.  And I don’t even know why I like A Knight’s Tale, except maybe for the eye candy Heath Ledger.

Yeah, I know it’s a weird collection, but that’s what sick days are for – to bring out those movies that you don’t necessarily watch with family and friends.

What is your favorite sick day movie(s)?


Disney To Welcome Its First African-American Princess

January 16, 2008

Seventy years ago, Snow White made history for Walt Disney as the star of his first full-length film.  In would be 12 years before another princess followed in her footsteps, but follow they would.  First came Cinderella (1950), then Sleeping Beauty (1959), Ariel (1989) and Belle (1991). 

Princess and the FrogWhat did these five princesses all have it common – they were all white.  It wasn’t until Alladin was released in 1992, that Disney showcased its first non-Caucasian princess with Jasmine.  The diversity continued with Pocahontas (1995) and Mulan (1998).

Now in the 21st Century, Disney will release its first African-American princess in The Princess and the Frog.  Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) will be the voice of Princess Tiana, a young girl who lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the Jazz age.  Expect lots of Cajun charm.

No word on who her prince will be.  But since I’m guessing Disney isn’t ready to tackle interracial couples (at least not in cartoons), I expect the prince to also be African-American.

Dr. Facilier, the villian, will be voiced by Keith David (Delta Force, ER).

The Princess and the Frog is expected to be released in late 2009.

Photo courtesy of Disney.


A Sad Day When Disney Starts Banning Children

January 16, 2008

Disney bans children.  Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d see in print.  Granted it’s only one restaurant, in one upscale resort.  But a precedent has been set.

Victoria & Albert’sAccording to the Associated Press, the restaurant in question is Victoria & Albert’s, Disney World’s only five diamond restaurant.  Victoria & Albert is located in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Meals at this high-dollar restaurant start at $125 a plate.  Now, the truth be told, I will probably never take my children – at least as long as they are children – to a $125 a plate restaurant. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m not upset by the ban.  Here’s why:

Firstly, the name Disney, particularly Disney World or Disney Land, is synonymous with children.  After all, it has made its money off children.  So the thought that Disney would ban children from any part of Disney World or Disney Land (even if it is at the resort) just sounds out of place.

But Disney today is not the Disney of my youth.  Their market has changed.  Now Disney is targeting singles, young couples and other adults trying to relive their childhood.  This strategy is evident in the number of adult-type entertainment being offered at the resorts.

Secondly, Disney World is a vacation spot.  How many people go on vacation where they go out to dinner without their children?  Sure, we have taken my mother on vacation with us so that my husband and I go out for a drink and a little alone time while on vacation, but dinners are still for the family.  Besides how many parents can bring their own babysitter.  Children 10 and under cannot be left alone.

I’m sure the resort probably offers some type of babysitting.  I don’t know about other parents, but I’m hesitant to leave my children with someone I don’t know.  And is the babysitting available during evening hours too?

Furthermore, I think it’s elitist to say the parents with young children don’t deserve to enjoy a night of fine dining.  Rather than ban the three families a month that frequent this restaurant, why not offer a family dining section.

We’ve encountered these “family sections” at several restaurants we’ve eaten at during our vacations.

Lastly, my children (except for being a little loud) are pretty well behaved at dinner.  I attribute this fact to our practice of taking our children with us when we dine out.  How will children learn to behave in a nice restaurant if all they ever eat at our McDonald-like eating establishments?

All I can say it’s a sad day when Disney starts banning children.  I better take my children soon before it become an adult only facility.

(Photo Courtesy of Walt Disney Co.)


Preview of 2007 Family-Friendly Holiday Season Movies

November 10, 2007

With the Writer’s Guild of America on strike and all our favorite television shows going dark, the place to be this holiday season for a little entertainment is the theater.   The holiday season on the big screen is fairing up pretty nicely as an option for family outings to include not only some holiday-themed movies, but some other fun family films.

Again, like this summer, I am surprised to only find one G-rated movie.  Even the chipmunks got a PG rating this year.  The list of family films this season includes only 1 1/2 animated films.  I counted Disney’s unique offering, Enchanted, as half since it’s half animation and half live action.

Without further delay, here’s a rundown by release date:

Bee Movie
Bee MovieIn this animated feature, Barry Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) decides he can’t be like his best friend Adam Flyman (Matthew Broderick) and settle for a typical life in the hive making honey.  But when he set out to discover the rest of the world, he had no idea what an adventure it would be.  Along the way, Barry makes a few new friends, including Mooseblood (Chris Rock), a mosquito headed to Alaska, and a human named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger).  But with adventure comes mishap and Barry and Vanessa find themselves racing against time to saved the flowers.  For a full review, click here.

Rated PG for mild suggestion humor and a brief depiction of humor.  View Trailer at www.beemovie.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters. 

Fred Claus
Fred ClausEvery family has its black sheep.  In the Claus family, it’s Fred (Vince Vaughn), Nicholas’s (Paul Giamatti) older brother.  When Fred’s shady dealings finally land him in jail, Santa steps in to bail his brother out, offering him a job in his toy workshop.  Can this sheep change the color of is wool?  Or will Fred’s antics jeopardize not only his relationship with Nicholas, but the whole Christmas holiday? Kathy Bates stars as Mother Clause and Rachel Weisz is Wanda.

Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor.  View Trailer at fredclaus.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Mr. Magorium’s Wonderful EmporiumWhat throws a worse tantrum than a toddler who has lost his favorite toy?  A toy store that has lost its favorite owner.  Mr. Magoriums’ Wonderl Emporium is a delightfully magic place or at least it was until its 245-year-old owner Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) leaves the store to his timid manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman).  Together with the help of the doubtful accountant Henry (Jason Bateman) and a nine-year-old (Zach Mills), Molly must find the magic to keep the store alive.  For a full review, click here.

Rated G.  View the trailer at www.magorium.com.  Release Date:  November 16

August Rush
August RushThis drama follows the young and musically talented August Rush (Freddie Highmore) on his search to find his parents — Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a Irish singer and guitarist, and Loyla Novacek (Keri Russell), a privileged cellist with an overprotective father (William Sadler).  Drawn together by their love of music, Louis and Loyla had shared one magical night together in New York 12 years ago, but due to an unfortunate turn of event the two were separated from each other and August.  Living on the street and under the protection of the Wizard (Robin Williams), August is determined to find his parents through his music.  Terrence Howard stars as social worker Richard Jeffries. 

Rated PG for thematic elements, mild violence and language.  View the trailer at augustrushmovie.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  November 21.

Christmas in WonderlandChristmas in Wonderland
Patrick Swayze stars in the comedy as Wayne Saunders, a father who moves his three kids from to LA to Edmonton, where the kids think they’ll die of boredom.  But they are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they head to West Edmonton Mall for some Christmas shopping, but find a bag of counterfeit money instead.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at christmasinwonderland.com.  Release date:  November 21

Enchanted
EnchantedWhat happens when a fairytale comes true — or in Enchanted‘s case, comes alive?  We find out when the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) pushes an animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) down a well and she winds up in modern day New York in living color.  Will the gritty streets of New York change Giselle’s romantic look on life?  Will Giselle trade her storybook prince, Edward (James Marsden), for a real life romance with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a handsome lawyer?

Rated PG for scary images and mild innuendo.  View the trailer at enchantedmovie.com.  Release date:  November 21

The Golden Compass
The Golden CompassBased on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, this fantasy follows Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a rebellious orphan, on her quest through a parallel word full of shape-shifting creatures and witches to find her best friend, Roger (Ben Walker), who has been kidnapped by the government for experiments.  But with the coming war, Lyra might be destined to save more than her friend — her world and all the parallel worlds connected to it.  Daniel Craig stars as her explorer uncle, Lord Asriel, and Nicole Kidman is his colleague, Mrs. Coulter.

Not Yet Rated.  View the trailer a www.goldencompassmovie.com.  Release date:  December 7

The Perfect Holiday
The Perfect HolidayNarrated by Queen Latifah, this sweet little tale is about Emily (Khail Bryant), the youngest of three children, whose only Christmas wish is for her single mom, Nancy (Gabrielle Union), to be happy.  So she asks Santa for the one thing she overhears her mom wish for — a nice normal man.  Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), an aspiring songwriter working as the mall Santa, is more than happy to fulfill this Christmas wish.

Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive humor.  View the trailer at www.theperfectholidaymovie.com.  Release date:  December 12

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin & the ChipmunksA live action/CGI version of the 1980s cartoon about how songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) turns three chipmunks — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — into pop stars while the trio turns David’s house and life upside down.  Fun fact: the Chipmunks were named after Liberty Records executives — Alvin Bennett, Simon Waronker, and Theodore Keep.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at www.alvinandthechipmunksmovie.com.  Release date:  December 14

National Treasure:  Book of Secrets
National TreasureA highly anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit, Book of Secrets promises even more intrigue and action as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) sets out to defend his family name when a missing page from John Wilkes Booth’s diary reappears and implicates Ben’s great-great-great grandfather in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Look for more mysteries and puzzles as Ben and his crew travel to Paris and London before returning to the states.  Jon Voight reprises his role as Ben’s father, Patrick.  Also returning is Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase, Ben’s love interest from the first movie.

Rated PG for some violence and action.  View the trailer at nationaltreasure.com.  Release date:  December 21

The Water Horse:  Legend of the Deep
Water HorseDiscover the magical beginning of one of Scotland’s most famous legends when a young boy discovers a very unique egg, one that takes him on an enchanted journey when it hatches into a water horse.  Walden Media, the company that brought you the Chronicles of Narnia, promises another fantastical tale.

Rated PG for action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.  View the trailer at thewaterhorse.com.  Release date:  December 25

Well I think I can find several good options to fill the lulls in my holiday shopping schedule.  Hope you find one or two you enjoy too.  See you in the concession lines!


More ‘High School Musical’ Fun and A Wake up Call Too

August 19, 2007

Unless you’ve been asleep under a rock, you already know that the one of the hottest sequels of the summer (at least if you are a preteen) debuted on the Disney Channel this past Friday.  Following in the footsteps of its successor High School Musical, High School Musical 2 is bound to meet the same success.  However, if after watching the show, your child wants more, never fear.  Here are some more fun ways to enjoy High School Musical 2.

High School Musical 2Get a Wake Up Call — Sign up to receive a wake up call from your favorite HSM2 star.

Sing Along — If you haven’t been able to learn all the lyrics to the new song, you can find them here.

Test Your Knowledge — Test your knowledge of HSM with this triva game.  Click on the game controller to start the trivia game.

Take a Quiz — Take this quiz to find out which HSM2 character you are most like.

What’s Your Musical Moment — Take this quiz to find out your musical moment.

Troy’s Try Outs — Try out for the basketball team with Troy.

Sharpay Says — Catch up on the latest quotes from East High’s favorite diva.


Disney to Ban Smoking in Family Movies

July 26, 2007

Disney announced Wednesday that it plans to ban all depictions of smoking in its family-oriented movies, according to Reuters.  I think this move is a powerful one by a company whose name is synonymous with children.

Smoking BanSince I live in a state that depends on a tobacco company, I might be a minority.  However, I’m glad that someone in Hollywood is finally stepping up to the plate to help discourage kids from trying smoking.  And I think they are most definitely targeting the right films, those aimed at children viewers.

As an adult I have no problem with films that show people smoking.  At this point I understand the dangers associated with smoking and have no interest in them.  At the same time, I understand that there is still a large portion of the population that smokes.  In fact I have several friends that do.  I respect their decision just as they respect mine to not smoke.

However, as a teenager and even a pre-teen, I was fascinated with smoking because characters in movies I found fascinating looked cool and sexy smoking.  Add those images to peer pressure and you have a recipe that encourages teens to try this vice.

I’m not saying teens smoke because they see it in the movies, but it’s hard to promote smoking as a bad habit to acquire when it looks so cool in the movies.  And like it or not, teens (and even some adults) are influenced by what they seen on the big screen.

Disney isn’t banning smoking in all their movies, just those released under the Disney label.  And that’s okay with me.  I think when you get to movies aimed at adults, that the adults should be mature enough to separate reality from fiction. 

Let’s hope makers of other movies aimed at children follow suit. 


Instead of Manhattan, The Muppets To Take the Disney Channel

June 25, 2007

As a parent of toddlers, I watch a lot of the Disney Channel.  It’s got some great original shows that are wonderful for toddler development.  And soon it’ll be home to Jim Henson’s The Muppets.

The Muppet MovieAccording to Muppet News Flash, the Disney Channel plans to introduce The Muppets to a new generation through “shorts” (mini-movies).  The shorts are scheduled to appear later this year (maybe as soon as August) and will have cameos of other Disney stars.

I was a generation that grew up on The Muppets.  As a kid, The Muppet Show in primetime was appointment television.  And when a new Muppet movie was release, my cousins and I were first in line.

I recently bought The Muppets Take Manhattan so I could introduce my two-year-old twins to The Muppets.  We watched it the other day and they loved it.  So I’m very glad to hear that The Muppets will soon be added to their slate of Disney shows. 

In the meantime, I’ll be looking to add the other Muppet movies to our DVD collection.  I also hear that the first two seasons of The Muppet Show has been released.  I’ll have to check that out.