Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Interviews and Review

A mysterious and surreal tale that celebrates peculiarity and the power of friendship, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children hits theaters on September 30. The film, directed by the illustrious Tim Burton and based on the best selling novel by Ransom Riggs, left me enchanted and wanting more of this incredible story. It was a vivid portrayal of good vs. evil and how finding your true self is just as important as making and creating lifelong friends.

When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is. 

 

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This week, I had the unique opportunity to participate in a few roundtables with Ransom Riggs, the bestselling author of Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Colleen Atwood, the costume designer for the film and several stars of the film.

 I enjoyed hearing what Ransom Riggs had to say on what seeing his book created into a film by Tim Burton.

 

Well, it helps when the person changing it is a director you’ve looked up to for 25 years.  So, you know, if it had been anyone else, I might have been more nervous.  But, I think also, I went to grad film school and I’m a total film nerd, and I’ve written screenplays that no one is going to buy or anything like that.But I’ve dabbled enough to–I think to have a good perspective on how much work needs to be done and adaptation to make it a genuinely satisfying cinema experience that stands alone as a movie.  So, I totally respect that.  And, yes, I don’t watch the movie and go what about this?  What about that?  I just try and remove myself as the author and say, “Am I enjoying this as a movie?” And, yes, absolutely, I think it works so well.

 

 

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Because the film was set in modern day and then went back in a time warp, the costumes helped depict the story in such an eloquent way. Colleen Atwood had a unique task to create timeless and elegant costumes for this unique cast.

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On her inspiration behind Miss Peregine’s beautiful look for the film:

 

Well, the main thing that, that Eva Green [Miss Peregrine] and I talked about was having the costume sort of have some kind of quality that was birdlike without saying I’m a bird.  So she has such an amazing shape.  I mean she has an amazing physique so she lends herself to that sort of slim kind of goth middle and the kind of pointy shoulder.  She was a little bit pointy as a character.  So, we kind of did those instead of doing a puff sleeve we did the points on her sleeves.  I didn’t really want to put her in a black costume.  I really badly wanted it to not be black, and, and I found this amazing piece of navy blue, navy blue wool crepe which is what I ended up making the costume on.  And, then I sponged into it a little bit with a little bit of green and some other colors, like how feathers reflect different colors.  So, you really probably don’t see it in the film in the sense.  It only just keeps it from being a really flat surface to photograph.  It makes it more interesting photographically, and inside her shoulders there is a little inset.  There’s a box pleat.  There’s a feather that’s embroidered in a metallic and silk thread that sort of–I like how animals in nature sometimes they have a little piece of color or something that’s sort of bright that their own species catch but other people don’t catch, and then sort of that was my inspiration for that in her costume.  And, I wanted to make her long – her things are all pointed kind of like feathers, and her jacket goes down in a little V in the back that, that kind of helps sell bird a little bit without being too aggressively birdlike.

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 We also had the chance to talk to several of the actors from the film. Varying in age and experience, these young actors were all so well spoken and so some thoughtful things to say about their work on the film. We interviewed Asa Butterfield (Jake), Ella Purnell (Emma), Lauren McCrostie (Olive) and Finlay MacMillan (Enoch).

On their key takeaway from being in the film, Asa Butterfield said: 

You make a lot of good friends in a film, with every film you do, because you’re working so closely with people for a long amount of time.  You get close, and you’ve made these friends, and you probably, hopefully, going to know for the rest of your life.

 

 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in in theaters September 30. Be sure to catch this amazing film!

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, with Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed By: Tim Burton
Rated PG-13

 

 

 

Full disclosure: I was invited by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to participate in this roundtable. As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Ice Age: Collision Course is a Fun Family Film

In the latest installment in the Ice Age franchise, Manny and crew are back for more fun in Ice Age: Collision Course. In the latest film, Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie’s (Queen Latifah) daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer) is approaching a new phase in life. Peaches, who is getting married, hopes to explore the world with her new husband, Julian—much to her parents’ chagrin. IceAgeCC Poster

Alongside of this new phase in life, the Earth is experiencing its own changes, where Manny and his friends must team up to make things right. Along the way, they meet eccentric characters, such as Shangri Llama, who follow a different path in life, making this adventure even more colorful.

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Several weeks ago, I had the chance to screen Ice Age: Collision Course and interview Keke Palmer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, as well as the director Mike Thurmeier. This was such a fun junket at the Crosby Hotel, and an equally funny family film that I can’t wait for my kiddos to see.

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I asked Keke and Jesse about their experience with exploring and roaming, and I loved what they had to say.

Traveling and roaming, exploration was a key component in this story, and it’s obviously a right of passage in many peoples’ lives. Have any of you taken any significant trips in your life that were, you know, life changing?

Keke said, “Significant trips? Probably when I was living in New York for the four months doing Broadway. That was the most significant change I could tell in myself because I’m so thankful that I used that time wisely because it really left me the opportunity to learn so much about myself. I used the opportunity of the discipline I had to have for Broadway to take time from my phone and to really sit with myself and discover more ways to meditate and do yoga. And that was a really cool time for me. Even though my mom was there, she really gave me my space, and she and I were transitioning into, you know, her seeing me also as an adult and respecting my boundaries. And that was a really cool time where I was able to see, “Wow, okay, you’re making a jump, sister.”

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Jesse Tyler Ferguson had a wonderful anecdote about traveling too:

“I just got to go to Cuba, which was really, really interesting. And you sort of have to go with a purpose, which I love. It wasn’t a trip for the weak of heart. We went, and we brought Capezio dance shoes to a dance troupe out there, and they performed for us. And I was able to immerse myself in the artists that were in the culture there. And we weren’t just having mojitos and smoking cigars. You know, we really got to like experience and see the parts of the city that I think are, you know, not shown on Instagram and Yelp.”

Be sure to check out the brand new adventure in Ice Age: Collision Course, which is out in theaters on July 22.

Full disclosure: I was invited by 20th Century Fox to participate in this press junket. As always, all opinions are my own.

An Ode to Music and Relationships: Ricki and the Flash Review

This one isn’t for the kids, but definitely for the parents who love music and for those that can relate to chasing dreams.

Rock dramas could easily populate a genre of its own. The new film, Ricki and the Flash starring Meryl Streep, is a unique story that seems to transcend genres and your typical rockstar story.

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Directed by Jonathan Demme and written by Diablo Cody, Ricki and the Flash is a story about a musician who set out to chase dreams at the expense of her family and traditional path in life. Ricki Randazzo, the veteran rocker, played by Streep, is at her best on stage, alongside of her multi-faceted band, the Flash. When her adult daughter is facing a crisis back home in Indiana, she has a chance to redeem her role as mother and come to the rescue, when she, herself, could use a dose of the same support and rescuing.

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In Ricki and he Flash, Meryl’s starring role has the potential to upstage this heartwarming story. Ricki’s relationship with her daughter, Julie, played by Mamie Gummer, is a modern mother-daughter relationship heightened by dysfunction and healing.  Mamie and Meryl’s onscreen relationship catapulted their real-life mother-daughter chemistry, and further solidified Mamie’s rising star status. Man, does she play the angsty, bitchy victim well!

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Ricki’s boyfriend, Greg, played by the ruggedly charming, Rick Springfield, lifts the love storyline at the best possible moments. Kevin Kline played a conservative secondary character as Ricki’s ex-husband. The talented Andra McDonald was nice to see in the film, but I thought her character was underutilized. 

The strengths of this film are the relationships, the live music and the raw emotion. When all three catalysts are in full force, expect all the feelings. All of them.

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As Ricki, we see Meryl as we’ve never seen her before. She’s passionate about her music and doesn’t apologize for chasing her dream to be a rockstar. At one point of the film, while on stage, she starts a diatribe about why women are punished for putting careers first. We knew she was talented, but she takes her musical chops to the next level. She learned to play the guitar for the film and shows her rockstar status in various scenes. Of all the songs played, “Cold One” is undoubtedly the most unforgettable. This song catapults different meanings with every time it’s played, with the last scene making it all come full circle.

If you’ve ever chased a dream, wanted to chase a dream or had a dysfunctional relationship, Ricki and the Flash will resonate with you. The relationships portrayed by Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer and Rick Springfield make this film worth seeing and believing in second chances.

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On that note, I had a cool opportunity to sit in on a blogger junket with three of the main characters of Ricki and the Flash. As expected, Meryl was gracious, Mamie was cool and reflective, but quite honestly, Rick stole the show for many of us who grew up listening to him.

 

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I have a short video to share of his impromptu serenade! Several people asked the predictable questions about Meryl working with Mamie, and what it was like for Meryl to play live for the movie. (It was great to work together; and it was fun to rock out with Rick and the band!)

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The one question I asked had to do with music for the film and how music affects them. 

 “The music and lyrics throughout Ricki and the Flash complemented the storyline and evoked so much emotion between Ricki and Julie and Ricki and Greg. Do any of you have songs or lyrics that could be a part of your life’s soundtrack?

Mamie Gummer answered that she spent many years listening to powerful female musicians such as Sarah McClaughlan, Fiona Apple and attending Lillith Fair—the type of music that speaks to your emotions.

 

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As a college kid of the 90s, I can totally relate to this language and music choice!

Ricki and the Flash is now in theaters and is rated PG-13. 

 

Kevin, Stuart and Bob are Hilarious in Minions Movie

Everyone’s favorite hilarious little yellow characters are front and center in Universal Pictures’ Minions. As the leads in their namesake animated feature, the Minions are up to some shenanigans and life before Gru. 

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Minions explores life for the yellow fellows and their hunt for their leader. When collaborations with leaders like Napoleon, Dracula and dinosaurs ultimately fail, the Minions decide to tap some of their best, er, most willing guys—Kevin, Stuart and Bob—set off on a hunt for their true leader. 

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Several series of events lead the trio to their chance encounter with an evil family who help them get down to the Villain Con in Orlando.

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Their search leads them to Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock) and then becoming her evil henchmen. Kevin, Stuart and Bob are tasked with taking the British crown, which then leads to them becoming royalty and making Scarlett feel threatened. Because the Minions are loyal, they grant Scarlet the monarchy and things get a little crazy to say the least. Kevin, Stuart and Bob beckon the rest of their crew to England and must save the World in the process.

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Despite the evil brouhahas and constant scheming, Minions is a story about friendship, loyalty and courage. In their first foray as the lead, the Minions are able to endure their brand of comedy and nonsensical scenarios, without uttering a complete intelligible sentence, thanks to the supporting cast and silly storyline. Sandra Bullock’s Scarlett Overkill added a feisty flavor to the mix, as did Jon Hamm as Her Overkill. We learn to love the Minions’ imperfections even more than we already do, and Kevin, Stuart and Bob 

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My Minion-obsessed 3-year-old sat through the entirety of the 1 hour 44 min runtime, and could’ve watched it several times over. I thought it could’ve been a little shorter, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Overall, Minions is a fun family flick, and one that’s sure to be a hit with the littlest guys, as well as the adults. 

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Minions hits theaters on July 10th.

Rihanna, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin Take us ‘Home’ in Dreamworks’ Latest Family Film

In Dreamworks’ new animated film, “Home”, two unlikely characters cross paths and work together to overcome alienation while learning to embrace imperfections.

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When the free-spirited tween, Tip, voiced by Rihanna, finds herself isolated and alone as the eccentric aliens, Boov, colonize Earth, she ventures out with her cat to search for her mom. As the Boov settle into their new digs, the quirky and often misunderstood, Oh, voiced by Jim Parsons, finds himself in another unfortunate scenario when he mistakenly sends a party invitation to everyone in his contact list—including their evil enemy, Gorg. When the cluelessly arrogant Boovian leader Captain Smek, voiced by comic legend Steve Martin, finds out that Oh made another mistake that might cost them their new home, ultimately, Oh is banished. 

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 At the press junket a few weeks ago, I enjoyed listening to Rihanna, Parsons and Martin as they charmed a room full of bloggers and journalists.

 

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To my surprise, Rihanna was hilarious and self-deprecating; at one point, I totally felt as though we could potentially be BFFs. When a fellow blogger asked Rihanna about how important it was for Tip to resonate with her own character and traits, I appreciated her candor:

 “I think it was both important to me and DreamWorks Animation for this to be as realistic as possible.  We wanted little girls to feel empowered, little girls of any size, shape, color, race.  It didn’t matter.  We wanted girls to just feel strong and brave and empowered and beautiful and like they can do anything.  And they can take charge of their life or their situation no matter what.”

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Hopefully, girls and boys will appreciate and be influenced by Tip’s fearlessness and determination to rise above adversity.

In person, Parsons was just as charming as I’d envisioned. When asked what his takeaways were from “Home,” Parsons appreciated several of Oh’s strengths.

“Oh has his own selection of them too, this optimism and eagerness and friendliness and hopefulness, that I don’t carry with me as in abundance and as much of the time as he does.  And there’s not a good reason for–I mean, life gets in the way.”

 

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Parsons provided charm and awkward likability to the outcasted Oh, while Rihanna gave Tip a sassy, yet vulnerable persona. As recognizable entertainers who stepped out of their usual realm, providing voiceovers for Home was a new frontier for both Rihanna and Jim Parsons.

It was Martin’s brand of grandiose comedy that made Captain Smek’s arrogance and cowardice believable, yet strangely likable. Martin, of course, could effortlessly entertain the room with a single sentence.  As for Martin’s takeaway from the film:

“I’m vowing to be more animated.  That’s true.”

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 Jennifer Lopez voiced Tip’s mom and lent her vocals for one of the songs in Home. With nods to popular lyrics and a unique soundtrack, the music was just as fun as the story itself.

 

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“Home” unearths a number of themes, but one message that will hit home for kids and families is that camaraderie and friendship sometimes evolve when you least expect it. Despite their differences, when Tip and Oh reluctantly partner up to overcome adversity, they realize they have just as many similarities as they have differences.

 

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As their adventure unfolds, they learn about their own personal strengths and acceptance for things out of their control. As Tip and Oh bond and travel to search for family and safety, ultimately, they find friendship and compassion. Dreamworks’ “Home” is yet another fulfilling family film that explores into multiple thought-provoking themes while maintaining a fun and relatable storyline for kids. 

 

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Overall, this is a fun film for families, but the story may be too big for littler audiences. For those who might not understand complex story lines or who can’t sit through an hour film, I wouldn’t recommend seeing Home in the theaters. At times, I felt that the dialogue was abrupt and borderline questionable. I found myself instinctively thinking a few times “we don’t say that,” as if my 7 year old was watching next to me. Toward the end, in one of the turnkey scenes, grief and loss is a brief topic. So, if your child is uneasy about loss and darker concepts such as evil, I’d give a second thought before watching “Home.”

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From Tip and Oh’s light-hearted coming of age story, we learn that the idea of “home” transcends its literal meaning of a place or a thing. “Home” playfully depicts home as a feeling of contentment and a personal destination where love, life, family, friends converge. Home arrives in theaters on March 27.

 

 

Full disclosure: I was invited to participate in this press junket, but did not receive compensation. As always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Penguins of Madagascar is a Smart and Funny Family Flick

The Penguins of Madagascar are back, and this time, they’re stars of their own movie. Produced by Dreamworks and distributed by 20th Century Fox, Penguins of Madagascar is a fast-paced and funny story about four penguin friends.

 

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Penguins of Madagascar, which hits theaters on Wednesday, November 26, sheds light into the backstory of the funny foursome: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. The spinoff to the Madagascar franchise, the Penguins’ adventure follows their pursuits in preventing the peculiar Dr. Octavius Brine from taking over the world.

 

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Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private must work together with North Wind undercover agents while keeping their character in tact and eating as much Cheezy Dibbles along the way. Above all pursuits, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private embrace their brotherhood and prove the importance of loyalty.

 

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Famous names lend their voices to this fun film: John Malkovich is Dave, Ken Jeong is hilarious as Short Fuse and Benedict Cumberbatch is Classified the gray wolf. Like other Dreamwork films, the humor in Penguins is witty and smart, relevant for the parental audience, but still silly and fun for the kid contingent.  With all the action, adventure and fun, Penguins has all the elements for fantastic family film and impeccably-timed for the holidays.

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In honor of the Penguins Movie, we were invited to a press junket in the City. Together with several other bloggers’ families, we enjoyed the day at the Bronx Zoo, where we toured the Madagascar exhibit and watched a private feeding of Magellanic Penguins and were treated to breakfast and lunch courtesy of Residence Inn. 

 

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After our day at the Bronx Zoo and following our screening of the Penguins of Madagascar, we were hosted at the new Central Park Residence Inn. Residence Inn and the Penguins have a partnership promoting the family travel experience, and we were quite fortunate to experience this partnership firsthand.

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Overlooking Central Park from a few blocks away, the Residence Inn is a convenient midtown location that’s close to a myriad of NYC tourist destinations.  The decor is modern and sleek, the complimentary breakfast is expansive and the rooms are cozy and comfortable; the Residence Inn is ideal for families who seek a midtown hotel with ample amenities.

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My kids were in amazement of the unbelievable views of the city from our room at the Residence Inn. As if watching the Penguins movie before anyone else wasn’t cool enough, getting to stay in a really cool hotel overlooking Central Park was certainly a highlight of the weekend.

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Check out Penguins of Madagascar on Wednesday, November 26!

 

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Residence Inn announced a promotion in line with their partnership with the Penguins of Madagascar release. Contestants can enter the Penguins Picture Mission contest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by reenacting their favorite “Penguins of Madagascar” pose with the hashtag #PenguinsMissionPromo between now and December 7. Contestants can enter up to six times, once per week. Each image will be generated into an online photo gallery, giving fans a chance to check out the competition.

 

The grand prize includes round trip airfare to Tampa for four, a three-night stay at the Residence Inn Tampa Downtown, four tickets to see “Madagascar Live! Operation Vacation” at Busch Gardens Tampa, two-day admission tickets for four at Busch Gardens Tampa, and more. Every week for six weeks, participants will also be entered to win prizes including a package of Madagascar DVDs and a $150 Residence Inn gift card.

 

Full disclosure: my family was hosted at the Bronx Zoo, Residence Inn and to a screening of the Penguins of Madagascar, with thanks to DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox. A big thank you to Big Honcho Media and the studios for hosting my family on such a lovely event.

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Arrives in Theaters Today + Giveaway

The wait is finally over:  everyone’s favorite Vikings and Dragons are back in theaters today!  Hiccup and Toothless are back for more in the second chapter of Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2.

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It’s been five years after Hiccup and Toothless have united dragons and vikings on the island of Berk, something that seemed unthinkable many years back. As Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races, Hiccup and Toothless are exploring new worlds.  

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The pair stumble upon a secret cave which is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and reveals a mysterious Dragon Rider.  Hiccup and Toothless are thrust into another battle to protect peace, and ultimately stand up for what they believe, while reinforcing that together as a team, they influence the future of both men and dragons.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2, so far, has received excellent reviews,  In fact, it was also positively reviewed by Common Sense Media, which awarded HTTYD2 its first five-star rating of the year.  

It sounds like HTTYD2 is full of action, stellar graphics and strong bonds between people and animal companions—the making of a fun family flick.

We have a date to watch the movie as a family tomorrow and can’t wait!  In honor of the release of Dreamwork’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, I’m giving away a fun prize pack for you and your family to watch the movie, too!

 Giveaway

  • $25 Visa gift card to see the film
  • HTTYD2 pencil topper set and drawstring bag
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 To enter: tell me your family’s favorite character from HTTYD!  Please comment below.

 

For extra entries:

Tweet about the giveaway: I want to win the #HTTYD2 Prize Pack from @jenrab

Like the Next Kid Thing on FB

or share on any other social media site 

Want to get even more excited about HTTYD2?  Check out these fun activities, including coloring pagescolor by number, connect the dots and word search.  Be sure to check out the first five minutes of the movie here:
 

Prizing and samples courtesy of DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox

Open to US mailing addresses only

This giveaway ends at 11:59 pm June  20.  Random winner will be notified via email.

Update:  Congrats to comment #58, julimi

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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. 

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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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The Lego Movie is an Awesome Hit + Valentine’s Day Printables

Not surprisingly, The Lego Movie did smashingly well at the box office this weekend.  It took the top spot and had glowing reviews to boot.

 

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One of the best write ups I read today, in fact, was from CNN via EW.com whose headline caught my eye:  “Is the Lego Movie Really That Good?”  I asked myself the same question and read on:

 

Based on the ubiquitous lock-block toy and licensed with many of pop-culture’s most ubiquitous heroes, “The LEGO Movie” is a sly Trojan horse of a movie. “Using the building-block world of LEGO to parody the creeping conformity of our world, ‘The LEGO Movie’ proves even more biting than ‘WALL-E,’ because it has the sauciness to send up its own rise-of-a-hero story line,” writes EW’s Owen Gleiberman.

 

Combine the beloved building blocks, personified—rather, animated with mini figures—and throw in comedic timing, sauciness and you get family fun at the theater.   This movie, in my opinion, seemed like a perfect formula for success:  Everyone loves Lego, many of us are enduring cabin fever in the tundra that is our winter and this older kid bracket is an untapped (boy) market in the movies right now.

 

Considering how obsessed we are with Warner Brother’s Lego Marvel video game, I have no doubt that we’ll love this movie just as much.  We were actually focused on another movie this weekend, but we’ve got Lego Movie on our docket to come.  In the meantime, I’ve been loving reading the reviews from traditional outlets, as well as from my friends.

 

And, in case you have Valentine’s on your mind like we do this week, how rad are these Lego Movie Valentines from Warner Brothers?  

 

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Click on the above image to head to the full version of the Lego Movie Printables AND other versions as well.  I know these are promos for the movie, but how perfect are these for Lego lovers and movie enthusiasts alike?

 

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.