First Look: the New Muppets Movie

Walt Disney Studios are whetting our appetites with some new Muppets awesomeness.  The studios released this teaser and promotional image for the upcoming Muppets movie, which How I Met Your Mother star, Jason Segel co-wrote and is also the star.

What I love most about this image is the action and emotion that’s going on—all at once.  (They’re Muppets, I know.)  The teaser image is sort of Da Vinci-like with its storytelling, yet so indicative of the creativity and eclecticism of  the Jim Henson Studios. The guy holding the iPhone is my favorite.

The working title of the new Muppets movie is called, “The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time.”  The way Segal and co-writer, Nick Stoller, made us laugh in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and with the new Muppets’ movie’s interesting storyline, plus all of the rumored cameos, will this new Muppets Movie live up to its title?

Here’s a cool quote from Stoller that first appeared in an interview elsewhere:

Basically, we’re gonna do an old school Muppet movie, where the Muppets have to put on a show to save the studio. It’s very simple. A big part of the movie is rounding up all the Muppets from around the world, because they’ve all been separated. So it’s collecting them and bringing them together to put on this big show. It should hearken back to Great Muppet Caper and Muppets Take Manhattan and those kinds of Muppet movies. Jason and I are having a lot of fun writing it. We want to get as many cameos and guest stars as possible. Jason will play a human ventriloquist, and his puppet is alive and wants to be a Muppet.

The Muppets are coming to a theater near you, but unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another year..  The beloved Muppets are set to release this new film during the 2011 holiday season.

Credit: Muppetwiki

Toy Story 3 Features Hidden Easter Eggs

The highest grossing animated film of all time and one of our family’s favorite movies of the year (and maybe yours too?), Toy Story 3, was released on DVD and Blu-Ray earlier this week.  We, of course, were first in line to grab our copies.

Since picking up our copy of TS3, it’s no surprise that we’ve watched it no less than four times already.  Each time, I’ve found myself searching for even more quirky surprises that I missed before.  Pixar is well known for hiding easter eggs in their films, so I thought I’d repost the link to a great site that shares many of those hidden gems of Woody, Buzz and the gang.

Slash Film did a great job dissecting some of the most important scenes in the film that were chock full of interesting tidbits, many of which reference other Pixar films and characters, with quite a few nods to next year’s Cars 2.  One easter egg that I found interesting was the significance of the number of A113 found in several other Pixar flicks, just like TS3.

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The Wizard of Oz Turns 71

Today marks The Wizard of Oz’s 71st anniversary, and a variety of sites are celebrating this milestone with fun facts, features and more.

Did you see Google today?  The Google Doodle of the day is an image of Dorothy and the gang embarking down the yellow brick road, with Oz in the distance, and letters that spell out ‘Google’ subtly placed.

 

The Wizard of Oz was based on a children’s novel written by Frank Baum, which was originally named The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The book-turned-groundbreaking film has touched generations of children with its whimsical story and the magic of ‘dreaming’ in Technicolor.

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Toy Story 3 Hits Theaters Today

Well, the day has finally arrived!  After years of preparation and months of anticipation, Toy Story 3 officially hits the big screen today.

As Andy heads to college, Buzz, Woody and the gang find themselves in a precarious predicament after mom mixes up the trash and the “keep” pile.  The toys find themselves at a daycare where they befriend new pals in an eclectic lineup of other toys from the daycare.

The third film in the wildly popular Toy Story series, TS3, like the earlier installments, is expected to break the bank, and be one of the biggest tickets of the summer.  The original Toy Story earned $191 million with its original release and $363 million worldwide.  As evidenced by the plethora of licenses for towels, shoes, cereal bowls, Pull Up diapers, bread and more, TS3 is quite the hot commodity in children’s gear.  And I’ll be the first to admit that our toy box has been filling up with our own respective gear in anticipation of the film!


Why is this flick so popular?  Well, for many reasons.  In part, what started 15 years ago as a collaboration between Disney and Pixar, has turned into a fleeting success.  Since their initial partnership, the studio has gone on to develop a laundry list of computer animated classics, with the original Toy Story as its springboard.  The story, cast of characters, exceptional graphics and more have kept audiences engaged for well over a decade.  Now, the original audience’s kids, nieces, nephews and perhaps grandkids, are just as excited for the toys’ shenanigans as we were 15 years ago.

 

Fifteen years ago, I was still in school.  [Let’s just leave it at that ;)]  Today, I’m planning to take my 2 year old who has been harping on Buzz and ‘Wooly’ for months now!  It’s incredible to think how much has changed for me between now and then; but what’s even more incredible is how these characters are still touching lives, even after all these years!

After all of the movie’s clever marketing, the film’s early reviews are looking quite bright!  I can’t wait to share my thoughts, and maybe even a some of our favorite kid gear to boot.  For now, take a look at this pretty cool behind the scenes clip with interviews from some of the voices.  If you go to see Toy Story, be sure to tell me what you thought!

 

 

Check it!

Speaking of how much things have changed in 15 years, did you know Disney Pixar has a Facebook app where you can buy Toy Story 3 tickets via Facebook? You FB-obsessed people (like me) don’t even have to leave the site to secure your own movie tickets!  Just head to Disney Together to get the app and click, click and you’re done!

Disney Pook-A-Looz are Cute, Edgy and Sweet

I’ve been reading some blurbs about the Licensing Expo that was recently held in Vegas.  Of the interesting information that was dispersed from the annual show that showcases all the hottest licenses in the industry, I was interested to see this one from Disney Consumer Products, which I’ll get into later.

Pook-A-Looz

Speaking of Disney, at the Time to Play Spring and Summer Showcase, Disney Consumer Products had a diverse selection of their latest toys.  Aside from the much-hyped Toy Story and the ever-popular Princesses toys, DCP had some new, but familiar faces.

DCP recently introduced Pook-A-Looz, a plush line of their classic characters who have received a modern-meets-vintage twist.  That probably doesn’t make too much sense, but according to Disney, Pook-A-Looz were designed to capture the personalities of iconic Disney characters in an edgy, offbeat way.  They’re said to be inspired by the urban vinyl toy culture, which began in Asia a decade ago.

 

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Q and A with John Lithgow: Succinct, not Soporific

His theatrical and entertainment career spans four decades, through Broadway, Hollywood and back, garnering countless accolades, including a Tony, Oscar nominations, Golden Globes, some Emmys and four Grammys.

He has the capacity to make families laugh with eccentric roles like those from Harry and the Hendersons and Third Rock From the Sun, yet he can disturbingly induce the fear in his latest role as a murderer in Dexter and just as easily write seven endearing children’s books.

With all that, it’s safe to say this living legend transcends the “triple” requirements of being a triple threat.

And among those accomplishments, for the second year, Emmy-award winner John Lithgow will act as host for Turner Classic Movies (TCM)’s Essentials Jr., a summer movie showcase which highlights a lineup of iconic family-friendly films.  Set to run each Sunday throughout the summer, TCM’s Essentials Jr. includes films such as Old Yeller, To Kill a Mockingbird, Swiss Family Robinson, among others.

The other week, as part of his media rounds promoting TCM’s Essentials Jr., I had the chance to sit in on a short conference call to speak to Lithgow.

His voice resonated a little more than I expected it would.  And the phrasing of his speech was just as succinct as you’d imagine. In our short interview with the actor, author, singer, songwriter and performer, find out which films made an impact on him, what character he thought was brilliantly portrayed as a midwestern hick and why he thinks ‘soporific‘ is so fantastic.

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First Lady Honored with Big Help Award from KCA

Saturday nights definitely aren’t like they used to be.  This past Saturday, we tuned in to watch Nickelodeon’s 23rd Annual Kids’ Choice Awards.  I love awards shows to begin with, so watching one with the kid made it much more fun.  Even after the kid went to bed, I had to watch to see if any of my favorites took home the top kid honors.

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Watch This: Abby in Wonderland

With the upcoming release of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, the Tim Burton-directed adaptation of the classic story, Alice’s adventure and tea party is fresh on our minds.

In fact, another whimsical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland has us seeing the Cheshire Cookie Cat, the Grouch of Hearts and a fuzzy red rabbit.

Wait, what?

The always-precocious fairy-in-training, Abby Cadabby, stars in Abby in Wonderland, the Sesame Street version of this classic tale.  In this re-release from Warner Home Video and Sesame Workshop, along with Elmo and several friends, Abby dreams that she takes a journey down a rabbit hole and bumps into some familiar friends along the way.

The kid, who is way too young for the latest Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, has fallen in love with Abby in Wonderland.  Over the past week or so since receiving the review copy, we have watched Abby in Wonderland nonstop.  It’s a 30-minute primer to the storybook classic that cutely incorporates a few Sesame Street characters who play Alice in Wonderland characters, and even has Abby and Elmo singing a few sweet tunes.  This watered down version of Alice in Wonderland is a great alternative for preschoolers, especially those who have piqued interest in the eye-catching Disney commercials.  And to boot, this DVD release comes with 5-song CD that features a few favorite Sesame Street hits.

Abby in Wonderland, the Sesame Street adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, goes on sale March 2, 2010 but of course, I have a copy for one NKT reader.

To win a copy of Abby in Wonderland, comment below and tell me who your favorite Alice in Wonderland character is and why.

For extra entries, share about this giveaway on any social media site and comment below.  Sign up for the NKT newsletter below and get 2 extra entries.  (If you’re already a subscriber, invite a friend to subscribe.)  Please leave a comment for every entry.

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This contest will end this Friday, March 5, 2010 at midnight.  The winner will be chosen by random.org and will then be notified by email.