Review: Muppets Most Wanted

Kermit and the gang are together again, and this time they’re taking Europe by storm in Muppets Most Wanted.  Kermit, the Muppets’ effervescent leader, isn’t as excited about the world tour as proposed by Ricky Gervais’ Dominic Badguy (pronounced Bad-gee).  After much coercing, Kermit reluctantly agrees to the group’s urging and lets Dominic lead the way for a European world tour, which is really a coverup for a complex jewel heist.

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When Kermit goes on a walk, Dominic, together with his boss, Constantine, hatch a plan where a case of mistaken identity lands Kermit in a gulag in Siberia and his criminal look alike as the lead of the muppets.  The rest of the movie follows the complex scheme between Dominic and Constantine around Europe with intermittent sketches of the Muppets.  

 

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To help investigate the burglaries and jewel heist, Ty Burrell steps in as Interpol and goes head to head with the Eagle.  Jokes are aplenty between these two, as Burrell does a great job as a silly top cop.

 

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Over at the gulag, Kermit’s mistaken identity has him holed up with hard criminals like Ray Liotta and Danny Trejo.  Trejo fit well in this role and was immediately recognized by my six year old: “Hey, it’s Machete from Spy Kids!”  It was Tina Fey who commanded the most laughs in her role as the tough warden who has a secretive crush on Kermie.  Fey’s first song was my favorite, and was the best attempt at showcasing her true talent.  I could’ve used much more Tina and whole lot less Ricky Gervais.  

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During the world tour, I appreciated all of the star cameos with stars such as Christophe Waltz and Selma Hayek.  Even better, I loved the typical Muppet comedy and gratuitous use of homophones throughout.  Christophe Waltz doing the waltz, Usher was an usher at the wedding…but, unfortunately, I thought Muppets Most Wanted misfired as a children’s flick.  The movie, to me, had smart comedy and appealed to the parents who grew up watching the Henson-created variety show of the 70s and 80s.  I found myself leaning over to my six year old more than a dozen times having to explain things and significance of certain jokes—something I’d never expect from a typical kid-friendly flick.

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There were quite a few Muppet centric scenes where we both laughed, but not nearly enough.  Overall, it was a fun family movie, but one definitely for older kids.  I’d absolutely watch Muppets Most Wanted again, but after being so smitten with Frozen and a few other children’s films, this one didn’t quite make the cut for my kid.

Frozen: Easter Eggs and Printables

With the Frozen DVD and Blu-Ray hitting the shelves this week, we’re in a Frozen state of mind to say the least!  In case you didn’t pre-order from Amazon, it looks like the major big box stores—Target, Toys R Us, Walmart—have Frozen on sale for $19.99 this week.  

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And, of course, if you’re the totally digital family who doesn’t even bother with hard copies of anything, you’ve been watching Frozen day and night for several weeks, right?  

So, in honor of Frozen, I thought it would be fun to re-visit some fun stuff found in the movie.  Disney and Pixar is well known for their generous helpings of Easter Eggs throughout their movies.  In case you haven’t already seen these, I thought I’d share the Frozen Easter Eggs as revealed in the Disney Blog!

Did you catch Eugene and Rapunzel at Queen Elsa’s coronation?  They’re over here in the bottom left.  I read some even cooler fan theories over here about Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel’s attendance.  This would make total sense to me!

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And what about the chocolates that Anna is eating?  Supposedly, these chocolates were also featured in Sugar Rush from Wreck It Ralph.

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One of the paintings from “The First Time in Forever” was also spotted on Tangled.

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And, of course, the Mouse makes a very subtle cameo at Oaken’s Trading Post. Do you see him hiding on the first shelf?

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Frozen Printables

 

Beyond the movie itself, we’ve been having a blast playing Frozen-centric games and doing cool activities.  During the push for the initial release of the movie, Disney Studios provided these fun activities and printables.  We had a blast making dancing Olaf at our recent Disney Side Party!  Check out the other activities below!

Be sure to save the below images to your computer to print out yourself!

 

Build an Olaf

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Find Olaf Maze

 

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Elsa and Anna coloring pages

 

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Spot the difference

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To download even more printables and fun games check out the link below:

 Download Frozen Activities

 

Photo credits: Disney Studios

5 Things We Learned From Mr. Peabody and Sherman

A throwback to Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mr. Peabody and his son, Sherman, are back and they’re sharing their adventures with a whole new generation. Together with several fellow bloggers, we had a chance to preview the movie and participate in a Q&A roundtable with Director Rob Minkoff, Ty Burrell (voice of Mr. Peabody) and Max Charles (voice of Sherman).

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We had a fun time getting to know the stars of the movie, while taking turns asking them burning questions.

I’ll share more on that soon, but first, I wanted to share five things that Mr. Peabody and Sherman taught us.

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1. Family is family 

Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a fun story about a dog who adopts a boy and goes on to explore the world, with boy in tow.   Mr. Peabody, a genius Renaissance man, er, dog, is good at most anything he does.  Despite the fact that he was never adopted as a pup, he, himself went on to adopt a boy.  His son, Sherman, grew up as the son of a dog, something that was rather unique and special, though he didn’t know it yet.  When Sherman gets teased for having a dog as a parent, Mr. Peabody, who never considered the consequences of their unique family, consoles his son without hesitation—because that’s what parents do. 

When Sherman makes a mistake and takes the WABAC without asking, Peabody comes to rescue.  When kids are sad, confused and feeling overwhelmed, parents swoop in with their unconditional love and find a way to make things better.  What’s so fun about this movie is that instead of focusing on Mr. Peabody being a dog, it underscores the love between a parent and their kid.  Family is family, after all.But ultimately, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a reminder that every dog needs a boy.

 

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2.  History is fun

I was an English major, so I read a lot of period pieces and books.  The best thing about literature is that it schools you on history, too.  I have always appreciated the arts and history in general, so I absolutely loved that Mr. Peabody and Sherman took the audience to memorable eras such as the Renaissance, the French Revolution, early American history and beyond.  Even better?  These historical references were fun and witty, but in the end made for an ongoing conversation with my six year old.  The kids will appreciate the Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s adventures, but parents will love the bits of edutainment.

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3. Traveling and seeing new places can bring families joy

The world is a big place, and there’s so much to see.  In Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the dog and son duo travel through time in their WABAC time machine and learn a lot about the historical places and locations they visit.  At the same time, they learn about their relationship with each other.  Traveling as a family is so important and strengthens your bond in ways you never knew how.

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4.  It’s important to take risks

When Sherman’s nemesis-turned-friend, Penny, urges him to take the WABAC for a spin, the kids disobeyed and broke rules.  There’s a fine line between breaking rules and taking risks, but when Sherman takes a risk, he learns something about himself.  During the Renaissance era, Mr. Peabody, Sherman and Penny find themselves hanging out with Leonardo Da Vinci, the Renaissance Man himself.  Penny and Sherman take Da Vinci’s Flying Machine for a spin, even though the inventor said it didn’t work. Sherman insisted to Penny that he didn’t know how to fly. Penny encouraged her friend and unbeknownst to him, Sherman could fly! His risk paid off and he did Da Vinci a favor in the process. Taking risks are character-builders, and something that kids and adults can learn from.

 

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5.  Variety is the spice of life

  Mr. Peabody is a genius dog, and something he hopes to instill in his son. While perfection isn’t necessarily something to strive for, (in my opinion, anyway) I can wholeheartedly agree that kids need room to “run.” Whether it’s playing sports, reading voraciously, drawing, coding, life should be about discovering your passions. Everyone’s path is decidedly different, so it’s totally fine if your best friend embraces music and you find joy in soccer. Mr. Peabody discovered and invented a myriad of things; while his life was fulfilling, in the end, nothing made him happier than his family.

 

   

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Mr. Peabody and Sherman hits theaters tomorrow, March 7. The humor appeals to kids and adults, and the story is engaging and relevant.

If you appreciate smart humor as much as we do, then you’ll love this!

I was a guest of Dreamworks Animation and participated in a Q&A. As always, all opinions are my own.

Frozen’s “Love is an Open Door” Clip Released; Blu-Ray Combo Set to Release 3/18

With Frozen winning an Academy Award for best animated feature, among a few other accolades, the insta-classic Disney tale of two sisters is still all the buzz.  

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Idina Menzel (or Adele Dazeem, depending on whom you ask) was just on Fallon last night belting out the movie’s signature song, accompanied by the Roots who played children’s’ toys.  It was epic to say the least.

 

 And since Frozen is still flying high this winter, the movie’s other star, Kristen Bell sings quite a few of our favorites.  Her duet with Santino Fontana (Hans) in Love is an Open Door was recently released exclusively by Disney Movies Anywhere. In case you weren’t aware, Disney Movies Anywhere is Disney’s all-new, cloud-based digital movie service. Frozen is now available digitally to own.

Santino Fontana was the prince in Broadway’s Cinderella so my older son and I are totally smitten with this clip.  To watch a Broadway star on stage and then to have him voice a Disney character is pretty cool for a young kid to appreciate.

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Photo credit: Theatermania

Frozen Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital Combo Pack to be Released on March 18

With all this talk about Frozen, even though it’s already availably digitally, I’m excited about for when the Blu-Ray/DVD drops on March 18th.  Like many Blu-Ray and DVDs, Frozen will have quite a few exclusive features. 

Here are a few of the exclusive features that will be available on the Frozen Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital combo pack.

  • The Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  •  D’frosted: Disney’s Journey From Hans Christian Anderson to Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  • Breaking The Ice – The Real Making Of Frozen (Blu-ray, Digital)
  • 4 Deleted Scenes with introduction by Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
  • Original Theatrical Short – “Get A Horse” (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
  • “Let It Go” Music Videos by Demi Lovato, Martina Stoessel & Marsha Milan Londoh (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)
  • Frozen Teaser Trailer (Blu-ray, Digital & DVD)

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 If you’re anything like us, when we find a favorite movie, we watch it non-stop, sometimes til the disk breaks. We can’t wait for this release!

Marvel Super Hero Mashers Combine Construction and Action Figures Toys

For young boys and girls, super heroes personify strength and bravery.  So, when toys depict these super heroes and super powers, action figures become an extension of their imagination.  

Over the past few years, we’ve become major MAJOR super hero fans.  What with Iron Man, Captain America, The Avengers and other Marvel movies on the big screen and eventually making their way to our small screen, it’s super hero all day, every day around here.

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Appropriately enough, Hasbro’s line of Marvel toys are some of our most played-with toys in our house.  Marvel Super Hero Mashers, which debuted a few weeks ago, are perhaps among my favorite action figures to date.  What sets these super hero action figures apart from the rest?  They’re completely customizable!

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As action figures promote imagination and creative play, why not customize the super hero and his powers while you’re at it?  Well played, Hasbro.

 

Excited to get a first look at Marvel Mashers, my guys haven’t put them down since they arrived.   Marvel Super Hero Mashers combines construction/building with action figures, which is the most popular play pattern for my six year old and his copycat two year old little brother.  For review, we received a Marvel Mashers Action Figure Assortment of Hawkeye and an Action Figure Assortment Upgrade of Hulk.

To be able to mash Spidey’s arms with Captain America’s Legs, Iron Man’s torso and Hulk’s other arm most definitely extends his imagination and creative inner story lines and then some.

 

Not sure about you, but when we were kids, I remember taking apart GI Joes and then trying to reconstruct our own guys.  It was endless fun!  So, to me, Marvel Mashers is a brilliant concept and past play pattern come true.  My six year old is within the target age demographic, and without a surprise, it’s a mega hit for him.  Biggie says: “Marvel Mashers is cool because you can make your own guy and mix with another guy, too.”

IMG_7452 For a six year old, it was fairly simple to mix and match, but at times, it was difficult for my son to interlock some of the limbs and parts on his own. Nevertheless, once we had the figures put together, it was open-ended superhero play for everyone.We’ve been having fun mixing and mashing our characters, but in my opinion, we had even more fun when we added even more characters’ “parts” to the mix.

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I’m such a fan of Marvel Mashers that when I attended last month’s Hasbro cocktail party at Toy Fair, I was beside myself when I saw the Marvel Mashers corner.  

image I stood there, alongside several of my fellow bloggers, building our own superhero and naming them ourselves.  I loved digging into the buckets full of Mashers and making my very own superhero with the absolute best powers.  I lovingly named him Captain Wolverman.

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Marvel Mashers has made its mark as custom action figures, underscoring this superhero and construction play pattern which is huge for this age bracket.  It’s an absolute favorite in my house, and not surprisingly, I will most likely find broken (non Masher) action figures at the hands of my boys who will want to Mash every character they meet from now on.

Full disclosure:  I received samples of Hasbro Marvel Mashers to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Oscar Buzz: The Wizard of Oz Tribute + First Look at Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

At the Oscars tonight, The Wizard of Oz will be honored by Judy Garland’s three children: Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. It’s been 75 years since the classic made its debut, and it’s time for a new generation to be introduced to Dorothy’s picturesque adventure down the yellow brick road. 

Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz trailer

Perfect timing for new movie buzz, as the trailer for Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is set to debut during the Oscars.  The all-star cast to this classic story with the twist includes Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Kelsey Grammar, Patrick Stewart, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, Oliver Platt, Hugh Dancy and Megan Hilty.

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In addition to planned Oz themed TV shows, films and Oscar tribute, Roger Stanton Baum’s (L. Frank Baum’s great-grandson) books are the inspiration for this new 3D-animated musical Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which is set to release on May 9, 2014.  

The trailer can be viewed here.

 

And with a new movie, that must mean new toys!

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While at Toy Fair, I actually first heard about Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return while touring the Bandai booth.  The pr rep breezed through this part of the tour; however, it was truly one of the most interesting toys they were showcasing.  From the toys, especially the dolls, you can really get a feel for Dorothy’s Return. Dorothy’s crew looks more modern, more vibrant and will, no doubt, be more commercial. As much as I love Wizard of Oz, the thought of this new animated feature is starting to growing on me.

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Q and A: Jordana Beatty and Megan McDonald of Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer

It’s a likely scenario: most third graders are probably anticipating on having an exciting, adventure-filled summer.  (I can’t think of anyone who actually plans on having a boring summer…)  With kids counting down the minutes to summer vacation, the Judy Moody movie based on the popular Judy Moody book series by Megan McDonald has an empowering and creative get-out-there and enjoy yourself message that’s relevant for both kids and adults.

In Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, the disheveled red-headed, tomboyish title character is determined to have the best summer ever, and even challenges her besties to a thrill point race.  Amid her own expectations and a little brother named Stink (Parris Mosteller,) Judy’s summer adventures are both epic and outrageous, with a little help from Aunt Opal (Heather Graham) and a pal named Frank (Preston Bailey.)

I had the chance to chat with Jordana Beatty, the 12-year old Australian actress who plays the lead, and Megan McDonald, the author/screenwriter of the Judy Moody books and movie.  I love the premise behind this movie, almost as much as I appreciate seeing a tomboy tween lead.  In my candid Q & A with the effervescent and articulate Jordana, she revealed her most memorable scenes and her own crazy summer adventures.  Likened to the Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume of this generation, Megan McDonald shares her inspiration for her characters and how she enjoys spending her own summer days, which just so happens to be my ideal summer.

Beyond the puke scene and how much fun she had filming, find out what Jordana Beatty wants kids to take away from Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, which is out today.

Toy Fair 2011: Hasbro Showroom, Boy Toys

Along with many of my blogging and media colleagues, Toy Fair affords us an opportunity to take a glimpse into toy manufacturers’ lineup of new products for 2011.  A few big brands opened their doors for informational tours of booths and showrooms, including #2 toy maker, Hasbro.

I already mentioned a few notables from our tour of Hasbro’s Toy Fair showroom, but Hasbro continues to underscore their success in existing toys and licenses, which includes many of the familiar products that have shows on the new family channel, the Hub, a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

I’m finding it quite difficult to organize everything I saw over the past few weeks, so I’ll try to post them in good-sized chunks to avoid bombarding too much information at once.

Here are just a few of the many new toys for boys from Hasbro:
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Hasbro’s new Boys Toys didn’t disappoint. Marvel Super Heroes, once again, have a big presence in Hasbro’s lineup of new toys.  With Thor and Captain America hitting the big screen later this year, Hasbro has several new toys, including role play sets, that will have launches coinciding with movie releases.

(above) The Lightning Hammer is a replica of Thor’s signature weapon, and is fully equipped with electronic battle sounds and a launching projectile.
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The Captain America Disc Launching Shield fires miniature foam disks and has a diameter of 15 inches.

Because I have a smaller super hero fan, I love the Super Hero Squad 3-Packs.  In addition to other popular super heroes, Hasbro will have Thor and Captain America 3-Packs as well. I’m excited to see this segment of Super Heroes go on to expand with more accessories and playsets
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Aside from the Marvel Super Heroes, Rescue Bots (Transformers) and Star Wars are joining this chunkier line up for smaller hands.
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Partying with Mattel’s Toy Story 3 Action Links

We’ve been talking a lot about food over here on NKT, but what we haven’t been talking about enough are toys.  Well, that’s because I’m doing things differently this holiday season, which I’ll explain in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, we recently gathered some friends together to indulge in the very cool Toy Story 3 Action Links from Mattel.  As huge fans of Toy Story 3, when I was invited to apply to host an Action Links party via MomSelect’s Mommyparties, I jumped at the chance.

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Undoubtedly, Toy Story 3 has been the most talked about movie in our house this year, so naturally, this, too, would have been an exciting party to take on and share all about. So, when the giant box of toys arrived, you can imagine our excitement!

At our Toy Story Action Links party, we invited some of Jack’s fellow TS3 fans, all of whom are in the 3-4 age group.  We played off the TS3 theme and had hot dogs wrapped with Pillsbury Crescents on sticks, veggies, cupcakes and more.  Toy Story Action Links was a great reason to get friends and kids together for a fun afternoon.
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I first learned about Action Links at Toy Fair earlier this year.  But because the movie wasn’t out yet and because the toys recreate key scenes from the story, I could only talk so much about this interesting concept.

When we first opened the Action Links sets, my husband and I were reminded of the Rube Goldberg concepts, much like that game, Mousetrap. Remember that?

Action Links embodied that same Rube Goldberg concept, where each interlinking set created a chain reaction, complete with Toy Story 3 figures.
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‘Tangled’ to Unravel at Theaters on November 24

In more movie news, maybe you’ve heard about another Disney flick that’s slated to hit screens in just a few weeks?  Y’know, the one that’s touting hair-raising adventures and quite literally, a lot of hair?  As in, 70 feet of golden hair.

Tangled, which is poised to be another Disney classic, is set to be released on November 24th, over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  Tangled follows the misadventures of Rapunzel, voiced by the dynamic Mandy Moore, and her “prince charming,” or rather, her unsuspecting hostage, Flynn Ryder, who is voiced by Zachary Levi, the handsome geek of NBC’s Chuck (one of my favorite shows.)

 

As an all-around Disney fan, I can’t wait to check Tangled out!  I’m looking forward to seeing the modern-day interpretation of Rapunzel, as I’m sure many of you guys are too!  I will be hitting a screening of the movie next week, so be on the look out for my thoughts and reviews, and maybe a surprise, too.
Speaking of which, Disney is spreading the Tangled excitement with a giveaway!