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Now on Bluray and DVD is DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH

Grinch cover
Jeri Jacquin
This week on Bluray/DVD and Digital from directors Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier, Illumination and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the one we know as THE GRINCH.
In Who-ville it is that time of year as the Who-ville-ians prepare themselves for their favorite holiday of Christmas. Of course there is always one who isn’t quite so thrilled about the excitement and that’s The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch). Living atop Mount Crumpit with his dog Max, Grinch gets a little grumpier when he realizes that he has to make a grocery stop in Who-ville which is the last thing he wants to do.
Also in Who-ville is Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), a very sweet six-year-old who is very aware that her mother is overworked. Taking care of twin boys Buster and Bean, Mom Donna (Rashida Jones) keeps a happy face for her family but Cindy reaches out to Santa for a little help. The Grinch and Cindy meet and the outcomes is that Cindy Lou decides to go to the North Pole and ask Santa straight out for help. The problem is that the traveling she would have to do to make that happen means that Cindy Lou has to go to plan B – trap Santa!
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The Grinch has his own idea for messing with Who-ville and the holidays he hates so much. On Christmas Eve with the help of Max, he decides to be Santa Claus and take every little gizmo and gadget from the towns people. While heisting the Who’s house, he meets Cindy Lou again as she explains that she wants nothing for herself, only her mother and there is a crack in the Grinch’s nasty ole heart.
That doesn’t stop him from stealing everything in Who-ville and back up to Mount Crumpit. What he doesn’t expect is that all the people of Who-ville see past the trappings of Christmas and celebrate the holiday with love in their hearts. Well, the Grinch can’t get away from the feelings that snowball to the point of doing the right thing and becoming part of Who-ville the way it always should have been.
The Grinch toasts, “To kindness and love, the things we need the most”!
Cumberbatch as The Grinch is funny and charming in his grumpy way but that is what is expected of this iconic character. It is difficult to carry on the tradition of the Dr. Seuss’ from it’s 1966 Boris Karloff voice narration that I grew up with to the 2000 Jim Carrey hilarious version that my daughter grew up with but Cumberbatch has a little help from Illumination to make his version come to life.
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Seely as Cindy Lou Who is a very sweet girl who sees the day to day struggles of her mother and although tries to help the best she can, she feels it might not be enough. That’s a child with an amazing heart that should all be blessed to know.
Jones as Donna is a Mom who is trying to be everything to everyone and does so with the Who-ville positive attitude – even if it is exhausting. I found her creative, skillful and someone I’d like to have around my kitchen at breakfast time.
Lansbury as the Mayor is a voice I can say that I always love to hear and am thrilled that she is The part of the Grinch memorable universe.
Other cast include: Kenan Thompson as Bricklebaum, Tristan O’Hare as Groopert, Ramone Hamilton as Axle, Sam Lavagnino as Ozzy, Scarlett Estevez as Izzy and Pharrell Williams as the Narrator and the glorious Ms. Angela Lansbury as Mayor McGerkle.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
The Bluray of THE GRINCH includes the Bonus Features of 3 Mini-Movies, The Making of the Mini-Movies, From Green to Screen, Who’s Who in Who-ville, My Earliest Grinch Memories, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” Lyric Video, Songs from His Little Heart, Grinchy Gadgets, Anyone Who Can Draw: The Grinch, Max, Fred, Cindy Lou’s Yule Log and so much more!
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The Digital Movie included in this pack has Movies Anywhere and with the Movies Anywhere App you can download and stream from any device which means you can go to Who-ville from almost anywhere.
THE GRINCH is a film that will be part of holiday viewing for years to come. The animation is green and vivid which is what we’d expect of the world created by Dr. Seuss and it adds to the fun of the film.
What is also in this film is the importance of family and helping one another because if you do that, it is so easy to reach out that feeling to a Grinch we all might know. Let’s face it, no one wants to be left out of the holiday fun and watch it from afar. THE GRINCH invites us to be caring, giving, loving and full of holiday fun.
Now that’s something we can all get behind all year long.
In the end – it’s never too early to be annoyed by Christmas!

San Diego International Film Festival Opens This Week

film festival
Jeri Jacquin
This year’s San Diego International Film Festival begins October 15 and ends the 20th managing to pack the schedule with some amazing films, shorts, animation and documentaries. That is what the SDIFF does, bring the filmmakers to show their best with every range of human emotion in every frame.
Opening night begins with the film JOJO RABBIT showing at the beautiful Balboa Theatre downtown. That is followed by a gathering at the to speak with filmmakers, industry and perhaps a celebrity or two. It’s a beautiful way to the start the festival and the weather is usually pretty nice to be able to walk downtown after.
The second day starts with the film SAFE INSIDE which is the story of Ana and Tom traveling across France. Hired to work at an estate in the countryside, secrets are revealed! It is followed by Twisted Humor and Tribes on the Edge. The evening film is Makoto Mioya’s film IMMORTAL HERO and the last film of the evening THE TRUTH.
JoJo Rabbit
Day Three brings a story of a small town who is on the verge of panic when a chemical plant has the potential to interfere with the residents love life with LOVE IN KILNERRY. The next film about a look at the last week of school, friendship and PHILOPHOBIA. Next is a look at Animation Filmmaking with a question & answer session to follow the screening. BELLINGCAT – Truth in a Post-Truth World is a look at what is called ‘citizen investigative journalists’.
The riveting documentary that looks at women and poaching is BREAKING THEIR SILENCE: Women on the Frontline of the Poaching War. Decisive Moments is a look at what is going on in the minds of everyday people.
The film DOING MONEY is a look at sex slaves and trafficking with District Attorney Summer Stephans and City Attorney Maura Elliot will be participating in a question and answer session following the film. 100 DAYS TO LIVE brings a serial killer and the race to stop him.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE is the story about a painter in the 18th century who must pain the portrait of a young woman getting married. INSIDE GAME is the real life story of Tommy Martino who came up with a plan, along with his friends, to make money betting on the NBA.
The Irishman
The Opening Night film at ArcLight Cinemas is the Premiere and Afterparty for THE IRISHMAN. Director Martin Scorsese is back with a blockbuster film starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino (who we are happy to see together again!).
Day Four brings Waiting for Mamu, a documentary about CNN Hero of the Year Pushpa Basnet who helps the children of Nepal.  The PANEL – Streaming Services 2020 discusses what lies ahead for digital plaforms. HAWAII is the story of a family in communist Romania and a family member that had always been thought dead.
San Diego Scene discuss local filmmakers and its followed by THE GREAT ALASKAN RACE with a story of a champion musher racing to deliver medicine in Alaska that will save lives. BABYSPLITTERS has a couple disagreeing on whether to have a baby and how to solve their stalemate. Global Consciousness brings films that discuss problems and how to handle bringing about solutions.
We Rise Up takes on the continual question of ‘What is Success?’ followed by a question and answer session. Twisted Humor is always a personal favorite because I can almost guarantee the funny will be twisted and I certainly can’t get enough of that!
The Kill Team
SHE IS THE OCEAN is a story of two women who share a love for the ocean and it gives them the power to make their dreams comes true. Strangers in a Strange Land always tests the limits of filmmakers imaginations and they never disappoint with their creative visions up on the big screen.
CLEMENCY is the story of a prison warden who has spent years handling death row executions.
Alfre Woodward stars as Warden Williams, a woman who comes face to face with the issues of her job and a connecting with an inmate she is ordered to execute.
THE TRUTH is a mother and daughter dealing with their personal issues while Mom is working on a sci-fi film When World Collide are films that bring out the best out of the most unexpected people or situations. THE KILL TEAM is the story of a soldier in Afghanistan who witnesses the killing of innocents and must navigate his way to telling the truth. BUCK RUN is a film about memories in rural Pennsylvania from director Nick Frangione.
The evening also includes the NIGHT OF THE STARS TRIBUTE with Laurence Fishburne receiving the Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence, Pitbull receiving the Music Icon Award, Lindsay Wagner receiving the Humanitarian Award, Jared Harris receiving the Cinema Vanguard Award, Jillian Bell receiving the Fairbanks Award and Camila Morrone receiving the Rising Star Award. It is a night for celebrating and just knowing that Laurence Fishburne and Jared Harris are in the same room together gives me awesome chills!
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Day Five brings a morning PANEL – Development Hell to learn more about the stages of getting an IP in the marketplace and the 48 Hour Film Project brings their creations. ANGELIQUE’S ISLE is the story of a woman who joins her husband to Lake Superior hunting for copper. MY BODY IS NOT A WEAPON bring several women together to learn from one another. Student Shorts highlights the work of student filmmakers from everywhere.
EVE is the story of a young girl who wants one specific role badly but when it goes to someone else, life begins to spiral for them both. The next panel of Unstoppable Women bring together a discussion of filmmaking and defying stereotypes in the entertainment industry.
(Un)clear Intentions asks the question ‘is it real or it fake?’! ORDINARY LOVE is the love story of Joan and Tom and what it means to truly be devoted for better or worse. SAFE SPACES is the story of a professor dealing with events in his life and an ill grandmother added to the pile. The Condor and the Eagle bring four indigidgenous leaders from Canada to the Amazon jungle to bring meaning to climate justice.
SEA OF SHADOWS follows scientists who risk their lives to bring a crime syndicate to justice. A panel about Social Impact follows the film. INSIDE THE RAIN brings a college student and a stripper together in an effort to deal with a potential school expulsion. LIGHT FROM LIGHT brings Sheila to investigate a haunted farm in Tennessee meeting a man who believes his deceased wife is with him.
Motherless Brooklyn
The following panel is Technology in Entertainment followed by the award winning Mongolian film THE STEED. Alluring & Enchanting bring pieces that are funny and full of surprises. CAROL OF THE BELLS has a young man looking for his biological mother who turns out to be disabled.
MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN has Edward Norton directing and staring in a film about the 1950s New York and Lionel, a P.I. with Tourette’s Syndrome. Befriended by Frank Minna played by Bruce Willis,  Lionel is looking into the murder of his friend and won’t stop until he finds answers.
EXTRA ORDINARY is the story of Rose, a young girl with gifts that she tries to hide from. That is until she is put in a position where she can’t hide much longer. PARASITE is writer/director Joon-ho Bong’s film about a family trying to find their way with jobs being scarce. When Ki-woo poses as an English tutor, the mayhem beings!
The evening brings the Filmmaker Awards Show along with an afterparty. It is a celebration with awards for the films voted on by the audience. It’s always fun to see if my list matches the winners.
The final day of the San Diego International Film Festival starts with Culinary Cinema at the Arclight as San Diego Chefs bring their enticing delicacies. It is always a fantastic time to mingle with fellow foodies to talk about the films seen so far at the festival.
TEMBLORES is a story of man coming to terms with who he is and the fallout in his family, the community and a society that just isn’t ready. The Dead Soldier is the story of Jacob Panton who is mortally wounded in Afghanistan. In the operating room he is brought back and this is his story.
Marriage Story
BY THE GRACE OF GOD is the story by Francois Ozon that tells of three men who refuse to remain silent about a priest’s abuse. The Best Global Cinema Winner and Feature Winner  will be announced at the Filmmaker Awards and shown on the final day. A HIDDEN LIFE is the story of Franz Jagerstatter who refused to fight for the Nazis in World War II and the threat of execution for treason.
Finally, to end the San Diego International Film Festival of 2019 is MARRIAGE STORY. Staring Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Alan Alda and Ray Liotta, the film is written and directed by Noah Baumback. It is the story of a marriage breaking up and still trying to keep a family together.
That’s about it, that’s everything that people can expect from the SDIFF this year and it is a full schedule so wear comfortable shoes! It is always a pleasure to be a part of the film festival as a moderator which I will be doing again this year for look for me while I ask questions and get you to ask even better questions.
For more on the SDIFF and to see the schedule or purchase tickets for films for the fantastic events and parties, please visit https://sdfilmfest.com/passes-and-tickets. Come be part of the scene!

Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS Lands Down on Bluray

Bluray Cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Walt Disney Home Entertainment and director Rob Marshall comes our favorite Nanny as MARY POPPINS RETURNS.

Back in 1930s London, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is living with his three children Annabell (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) after the passing of his wife. Sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) visits the childhood home regularly and living a busy life.

The Fidelity Fiduciary Bank is back with a new chairman in Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) who is in their lives as Michael has borrowed money and the Banks family is being threatened with repossession of the family home. Remembering that their father left them shares, the two go through the attic to desperately find them – instead they find a kite but Michael throws it away.

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Annabel, John and Georgie find the kite and decide to take it to the park. That is where they meet a very straight forward and no-nonsense nanny named Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) who takes the children home. Much to the surprise of Michael and Jane, Mary Poppins announces she is taking charge of the children.

That gives Michael time to go and look for the shares but Wilkins is no help. That’s when Annabel and John get the idea to sell something of their mother’s hoping it will help pay off the debt. Georgie has an accident and Mary enlists the help of her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) as they set off on an adventure to fix the bowl.

When that doesn’t work, Mary takes the children to visit Topsy (Meryl Streep) who tells them the bowl won’t help their problem. The children decide to go straight to Wilkins to ask for help only to discover what is really going on.

The family learns that it only takes a moment to turn back time but will it be enough to save their iconic home?

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Blunt as Mary Poppins is charming and looks like she is having an amazing time. To me that’s important when you are taking on such an iconic character. It is good to see those shoes back in the house on Cherry Tree Lane and Blunt makes sure that we remember every minute of the return.

Whishaw as Michael is now raising his own children in the house of his childhood. It makes the transition for those of us who remember everything from 1964. Dealing with the bank is such an adult issue but then again it is nothing new to Michael. Mortimer as Jane has much of her mother’s women empowerment issues but doesn’t forget where they came from as children.

Davies, Saleh and Dawson as the new Banks children have some big shoes to fill and they do it quite nicely thank you very much. They are charming, sweet, funny and have hearts as big as their father and aunt. There isn’t anything they won’t do for their family and with Mary Poppins’ help, they are about to prove it.

Firth as Wilkins has the wonderful ability to be absolutely sympathetic on one hand (and be believable about it) and in the next breath he is as horrible as he wants to be – all while grinning with no shame. Streep as Topsy is very funny and of course she has the pipes to pull off any song you put in front of her.

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Miranda as Jack gets a chance to be the next generation chimney sweet as well as “Jack” of all trades. He fits in with his soot laden face and dancing on the London night cobblestone streets with all of his friends – including Mary Poppins.

Shout out to Julie Walters as Ellen because I have adored her since first seeing her in the 1983 film EDUCATING RITA. She is a chameleon and there isn’t a role she has done that I am not enthralled with. As Ellen she is hilarious!

It must be said, this film could NOT have been any more endearing without Dick Van Dyke who just made me absolutely giddy. Returning as Dawes was the smartest thing Disney could have done allowing us slightly older movie lovers to embrace someone who still dances in paintings that are drawn on our hearts.

Other cast include Julie Walters as Ellen, David Warner as Admiral Boom, Jim Norton as Mr. Binnacle, Jeremy Swift as Hamilton Gooding, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Templeton Frye, Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady, Noma Dumezweni as Miss Penny Farthing, Sudha Bhuchar as Miss Lark, Tarik Frimpong as Angus and Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

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The Bluray Bonus Extras contain over an hour of Bonus Including a Sing-Along Edition Deleted Song: The Anthropomorphic Zoo, Bloopers, The Practically Perfect Making of MARY POPPINS RETURNS, Deleted Scenes and so much more!

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is absolutely a must have on Bluray to sit right next to the 1964 original MARY POPPINS. You can have both, love both and binge watch both with what I think could be three or four generations of family members loving every moment.

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is colorful, musical, fun, animated and everything we would expect not only from Disney but from Mary Poppins’ herself.

In the end – in a place we hold dear where wonder once lived…soon from above, a new story begins – again!

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The Hidden World

how to train hidden world

Jeri Jacquin

Flying into theatres this Friday from writer/director Dean DeBlois and DreamWorks Animation is the return to Berk and our favorite characters in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The Hidden World.

Life in Berk has been busy and becoming slightly crowded as Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), Toothless and Astrid (America Ferrera) lead their friends on adventures to stop the capture of their winged friends. That is went Hiccup remembers his father Stoick (Gerard Butler) telling him the story of the Hidden World that is considered a safe haven for dragons.

Thinking they would search further out for it, Hiccup meets Grimmel the Grisly (F. Murray Abraham) who finds out that after hunting all the Night Fury’s – there is one left! He tells Hiccup to turn over his dragon or watch the destruction of everything around him.

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What the leader doesn’t know is that a beautiful white Light Fury has caught the attention of Toothless and he is smitten from moment one. Hiccup must tell his people what Grimmel is planning and they decide to leave Berk and look for the Hidden World together.

Discovering a beautiful island, they rest for a short while which gives Hiccup time to plan their next move and give Toothless time to be with the dragon of his dreams. Mom Valka (Cate Blanchett) flies back towards Berk to see how long they have before Grimmel’s attack ships get to them.

Hiccup and Astrid follow toothless and discover the Hidden World and see for themselves the beauty the dragons have built for themselves. They also see that Toothless has become their leader and when they try to protect their Alpha, Toothless is forces to save his friend.

All of this has fallen straight into the hands of Grimmel who captures Toothless and Light Fury and that doesn’t sit well with dragons or the people of Berk. Friendship and loyalty come together to fight for each other!

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Baruchel as Hiccup returns to finish the story he began telling us from the first film in 2010. He is now a young leader still trying to find his place and Toothless is his touchstone. Astrid is still strong on his life and he wants a bigger future with her but the crowding of the village takes precedent at the moment. My family has come to adore Hiccup as his frailties and flaws are right out front. He has become an important animated role model and there certainly isn’t anything wrong with that (just ask my granddaughter).

Ferrera returns as Astrid who has also grown in her role as a strong woman in the middle of a little dragon madness. She supports Hiccup but doesn’t forget who she is and what she has to offer the village. Blanchett as Valka is another strong warrior presence in the village even if she has an admirer that brings us all giggles.

Abraham as Grimmel is a man who just needs a hug or something. Killing off all the other Night Fury’s, he is hostile when discovering he missed one. He plots and plans to get Toothless and is patient to make that happen.

Ferguson as Gobber is still hilarious and full of wisdom in a twisted sort of way that I enjoy. Hill returns as Snotlout and has plenty to say even though I’m not sure he realizes how silly he is. Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs has totally embraced dragon motherhood. Justin Rupple as Tuffnut who tries to give Hiccup marriage advice but it’s hard to take seriously a guy who fakes his beard. Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut who is tough and mouthy yet – I like her.

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Kit Harington returns as Eret who fits into the Berk pack like he was always meant to be there. Robin Downes as Ack, Kieron Elliott as Hoark, Gideon Emery as Trapper and Julia Emelin as Griselda the Grevious.

How to Train Your Dragon is a twelve book series by author Cressida Cowell. The first book published in 2003 has been a huge success and the books can be found world wide. DreamWorks Animation has also brought the dragons to the smaller screen with an animated television series that kids just love. I mean having dragons more often is always a good thing!

This final film in the series is beautiful and laced with everything we have come to expect from Hiccup, Toothless, Berk and the entire gang. What is even more stunning about the film is that as each of the films has gone along, so has the timeline for the characters. In this film that have each come into their own and made a memorable place in their community.

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Much of the time we don’t see the progression of animated characters if there is more than one. In the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON trilogy, we have seen Hiccup grow from a young boy to a man and Toothless grow by his side (along with the rest of Berk). The series has dealt with life and death as well as everything in between when a community is as close as this one is.

Each film has made me laugh hilariously; get teary eyed a little and even now will openly admit to moments where an ‘awwwwwww’ or two escapes my lips. I had the pleasure of screening the film with my granddaughter who not only had the best time but wanted her parents to read the How to Train Your Dragon books (three times today alone).

I am thrilled with the way DreamWorks closed the trilogy and as much as I know I’m going to miss visiting the characters of Berk, the storyline of the closure was epic and satisfying in a heartwarming way.

In the end – their final quest and the friendship of a lifetime!

THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is Iconic and Beloved

 

Christmas

Jeri Jacquin

Now on DVD and Bluray in the Deluxe Edition from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment are five holiday favorites that let us all know the fun is here with THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION.

What is on the collection you ask? Only the best of Rankin & Bass with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman,  Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.

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On December 6, 1964, the shape of holiday programming was about to change as Sam the Snowman tells the story of Santa and Mrs. Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph is born to the lead reindeer on Santa’s team, Donner. The parents are quite surprised when they see that their young son’s nose glows a bright red. Santa sees it and Donner realizes that they will have to cover the glow so Rudolph can be seen as normal.

Going out for reindeer games a year later, Rudolph meets doe Clarice and one word from her makes him fly – literally. Unfortunately, the covered up nose comes off and he ends up being pushed away by the other reindeer. Deciding to run away, Rudolph meets Hermey, an elf who is having a similar identity crisis. He wants to be a dentist and not be just a toy maker.

While on the snowy road, they meet Yukon Cornelius who wants nothing more than to find silver and gold. Following them is the Abominable Snow Monster and they manage to allude him to the Island of Misfit Toys and King Moonracer who asks Rudolph that if he ever go home to tell Santa about all the toys on his island looking for homes.

Taking off on his own to avoid troubling his friends, Rudolph becomes a young stag and returns home only to find from Santa that his parents and Clarice have also been gone a long time. Looking for him has put them in danger and now he must find them. With the help of Hermey and Yukon, Rudolph finally discovers who he is and where his place is among his family, friends and the community he loves.

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Cricket on the Hearth tells the story of a cricket that seems to be the guardian angel of the Peerybingle family. The 50-minute production contains Animagic and songs that were composed by Maury Laws and Jules Bass.

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On December 19, 1968 The Little Drummer Boy the story of Aaron, and orphan boy, plays drums for the animals. After a tragedy at home, Aaron joins a caravan that performs in Jerusalem but in his anger he lashes out at the townspeople. When the troupe comes across a Magi, Aaron discovers they are following a star to Bethlehem. When one of his friends his hurt, he wishes to play his drum to make him well but something even more special changes for the young boy.

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Frosty the Snowman sang and danced its way into homes on December 7, 1969 as a group of kids build a snowman and name him Frosty. What they don’t realize is that once they place a hat on his a little holiday magic brings him to life. Young Karen notices that the temperature is starting to melt her friend and, along with rabbit Hocus Pocus, know they must get him to the North Pole as quickly as possible.

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On December 14, 1970, Fred Astaire becomes a part of our holidays at S.D. Kluger, the special delivery mailman who knows the story of Santa Clause. The ruler of Sombertown is the grouchy ole Burgermeister Meisterburger. When a baby is left on his doorstep with the name Claus, he is suppose to be taken to an orphanage. Instead a wind takes him to the Mountain of the Whispering Winds and taken to Tanta Kringle who names him Kris.

As Kris grows up, he wants to deliver toys to the kids in Sombertown only to discover that the Burgermeister has banned them. That doesn’t seem to stop Kris, especially when he meets the town’s school teacher Miss Jessica. The Burgermeister has taken all the toys that Kris delivered away but Kris promises to fix the problem even though he knows there is a trap set for him. Instead, he finds a safe place to make toys and one night a year makes us all believe in everything good.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Enchanting Bonus Features in the include The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass – An all new documentary celebrating the legacy of the holiday specials created by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass including interviews with the filmmakers and historians, Restoring the Puppets of Rudolph – Discover how the puppets from the beloved special were restored and Reimagining Rudolph in 4D – A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer attraction film.

Also, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Attraction Film A short stop-motion film originally created for a Rudolph 4D experience, T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games – A video storybook including the untold story of the Reindeer Games, Frosty the Snowman Pencil Test and Commentaries on Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.

There hasn’t been a Christmas since I was four that I haven’t watched these classic holiday specials. It was quite easy to pass that tradition on to my own kids who are now sharing them with children of their own. What makes this such a magnificent set to own is that now we can watch them any time we like!

Also, as they only air once during the holiday season, the entire family can watch them again and again leading up to Christmas Day. For my family that’s pretty important because we can’t get enough of Rudolph, Santa, Frosty, the Drummer Boy or having a Cricket watching over us all.

Rankin/Bass brought so many animated specials to television and these five particularly stand out. The company was founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass with holiday specials that led to equally beloved specials. It must be said that in 1977, Rankin/Bass gave me such a gift when it animated J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and it still is one of my very favorites today.

The Animagic and animation of these specials are still as stunning and lovely today as they were beginning in 1964. It did not take long for each of these characters to become iconic and recognized in an instant by children and children at heart. Now having them all on DVD and the magnificent and stunning colors of Bluray, THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS SPECIALS COLLECTION needs to have a special place in everyone’s home entertainment library.

Now, if you will excuse me, my granddaughter and I have a holiday date starting with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

In the end – the holiday season has arrived as old friends wait to celebrate with the entire family!

INCREDIBLES 2 is Exactly That – Purely Incredible and Now on Bluray!

incred 2

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Brad Bird, Pixar and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the return of the family we love to love with INCREDIBLES 2.

After the Parr family has dealt with the Mole and his attack on the city, the Supers once again find themselves on the outs. Sitting in a motel room wondering what they are going to do next, Lucius aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) arrives with news.

It seems someone wants to help bring Supers back! A meeting with Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) brings Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) a chance to prove that Supers should be brought back.

The idea is to make Elastigirl the face of the Supers which takes them by surprise, especially Bob’s ego. The Deavor’s provide the Parr family with a spacious and, well incredible new home and Helen an awesome two wheel ride. All of this means Bob is home to tend to teen-angst ridden Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).

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Home life problems include Violet’s confusion about her date with Tony (Michael Bird), Dash’s rambunctiousness and Jack-Jack being Jack-Jack. As Helen leaves to resume ‘hero’ work, Bob is now Mr. Mom and learning the ropes. It doesn’t take long before he becomes over whelmed but can’t let Helen know so calls on Lucius who is equally confused about it all. His last hope is Edna Mode (Brad Bird)!

Helen on the other hand is busy saving Ambassador’s and meeting new Supers. Winston wants to create a summit where everyone comes together once again. The problem is a new villain is using technology to turn the Supers into not-so-nice Supers putting the possibility of bringing Supers back on the back burner! You follow?

Don’t worry, you will, and what an incredible ride it is!

Hunter as Helen/Elastigirl takes the lead in this film as a working Mom in the most Super of ways. I love Hunter’s character for so many reasons but mainly she is the glue that holds the Parr family together. Not taking anything away from Bob, it’s just a Mom thang!

Nelson as Bob/Mr. Incredible is a little distraught about being put aside but slowly begins to see that he can be equally incredible being a dialed-in Dad as well. When he is finally called to help save the world once again, a twists comes in and the loyalty of family suits up!

Vowell as Violet is having the double issue of teen and super confusion. The one thing she does know for sure is that family is everything. Milner as Dash continues his wise cracking sense of humor and ability to test his parent’s limits – which isn’t always a bad thing.

Jackson as Lucius/Frozone is thrilled at the possibility of being free to freeze, even if his wife might have other ideas. Odenkirk as Winston is a man who truly believes that the Supers need to come back. He has his own personal reasons for it which are endearing. Keener as Evelyn is laid back and the technical brains of the very rich duo.

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Fucil as Jack-Jack steals the film from everyone and it must be said. This kid-character had me cracking up from start to finish – probably because that’s exactly how I see most toddlers. Fiery one minute and happy with a cookie the next, Jack-Jack is coming into his own and the family better learn to deal!

Other cast include Sophia Bush as Voyd, Phil LaMarr as Krushauer/Helectrix, Adam Gates as Chad Brentley, Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker, Isabella Rossellini as the Ambassador.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The Bluray include the Bonus Extras of Ten Deleted Scenes – Ideas from the Cutting Room Floor, Heroes & Villains – A Collection of Mini-Docs About the Incredible Characters of INCREDIBLES 2, Superbaby – Music Video About the Making of INCREDIBLES 2, Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird – Explore Director Brad Bird’s Early Career and His Big Personality, Super Stuff – See What it Takes to Design and Build an Incredible World.

Also included is Making Bao, the Short Film BAO from Disney*Pixar and the All New Mini-Movie AUNTIE EDNA.

INCREDIBLES 2 has my whole family jumping in our very incredible Incredible pajamas. Yes, when we like something we go all in and this film is definitely family fun from start to finish. It is so great to have the gang back together dealing with the duality of trying to have a normal life while trying to save the world from itself.

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I believe the reason for the films success in 2004 is because this family is so dang cute for one but totally relatable for another. They have work problems, family issues, sibling rivalry – basically everything we non-supers deal with every day. The fact that they are animated just makes all of those things sort of enjoyable.

What I enjoy as well is the fact that writer/director Bird doesn’t really deviate from that winning formula. In fact, once again the story deals with losing a home, being unemployed, Mom having to be the bread winner and Dad discovering what really goes on at home and, of course, turning to true friends in time of need.

Those are awesome things to take away from a film that also entertains at every turn. I sit in front of my big screen television and am giddy with excitement to see one of my favorite families (if you must know, The Adams Family is also in that list) come together once again and, well, be a family that just happens to have something extra to share with us all.

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So gather up your own super family and prepare for adventure, laughs and a little learning with a family that shows us all how it’s possible to be incredible in our own special ways.

In the end – it’s back to work!

 

SMALLFOOT is Total Family Fun

 

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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from directors Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig and Warner Bros. is the story high in the clouds about SMALLFOOT.

Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum) is a yeti who lives in a village high in the clouds. His father Dorgle (Danny DeVito) has a very important job of helping the sun come up each morning and Migo wants to be just like him.

When the village Stonekeeper (Common) bestows on Migo his own helmet, the training begins. After a few practice runs, he is set across the sky aiming for his gong target when distracted by the lovely Meechee (Zendaya), daughter of the Stonekeeper. Shooting over the mountain, Migo lands in a snowy patch and tangles with an airplane where he sees the mythical Smallfoot!

Running back to the village to tell everyone, Migo is banished by the Stonekeeper until he tells everyone the truth – there are no Smallfoots. Deciding to find one Migo takes off but finds himself followed by Gwangi (LeBron James), Kolka (Gina Rodriguez) and Fleem (Ely Henry).

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They take Migo to Meechee who is the head of the S.E.S. (Smallfoot Evidentiary Society). The group believes that all the rules set in stone for the yeti’s are not true, that there has to be something more. Migo still takes it upon himself to find a Smallfoot in the local town and meets Percy (James Corden), a television personality who spends his time discovering new animals but has lately fallen on hard times.

When the pilot of the downed airplane makes it to the town, he tells Percy that he saw a yeti which gives Percy a great idea. Trying to convince Brenda (Yara Shahidi) to dress up as a yeti, he could get his ratings back and once again be a hit.

But Migo has other plans and after a verbal exchange of sorts, takes Percy to his village. Stunning that the yeti’s are congenial, Percy finds himself making friends and explaining any questions, well sort of, that they might have. Meechee realizes that something is wrong with Percy and that he needs to get off the mountain.

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That’s when Migo discovers through the Stonekeeper that some things are better left untold to the people and making Percy go away is the best thing for them all. Not everyone agrees and when the two groups meet – someone has to bend!

Tatum as Migo is adorable and my three-year-old granddaughter is my proof. She was immediately drawn to Migo with his fast talking curious ways and when the singing began – that’s all it took. Laughing, clapping and cheering Migo on became her mission all through the film and it was as delightful as the film to watch. Thanks Channing for making our film experience so entertaining!

Corden as Percy is a fast talking personality who is losing his perspective and, according to Brenda, his integrity. Willing to do anything to bring back the fame he once knew, it takes a group of furry yeti’s to remind him of his humanity and ability to care for someone other than himself.

Zendaya as Meechee is charming and stubborn when it comes to doing what her father the Stonekeeper says. She believes that there is something more to their life and wants to be able to find out what that is. Common as the Stonekeeper is convinced he is doing the right thing by his yeti-people and is equally as stubborn to make sure the village is kept safe. Tatro as brother Thorp does his father’s bidding but does get an eventual wake up call.

DeVito as Dorgle comes from a long line of yeti’s who have made it their life (and flat headed work) to bring in the sunrise and enjoys knowing Migo will someday follow…or will he? Rodriguez as Kolka follows Meechee with no hesitation but is keeping an eye on Migo. James as Gwangi is another follower who believes with or without any proof. Henry as Fleem is the yeti that would drive me nuts always weighting the pros and cons of life until what he’s weighing becomes over rated.

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SMALLFOOT is fun, musical and giggly mixed in with lessons of loyalty to both family and friendship no matter how big or small your foot might be. The fun comes in the slap stick comedy of snowy pratfalls and snowballs that I will even admit to enjoying. In a theatre full of children, it is easy to see the delight on their faces.

The music is fun, lighthearted, engaging and, I’m sure, will create a few hits that will be sung by children again and again. While the characters were singing the catchier tunes, the children would stand up and dance a little which always makes the adult laugh and smile.

Giggling is inevitable with this film as its jokes get the adults and the antics get the kids, or maybe it’s the other way around but does it matter? The antics are there and its meant for every age group.

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The lessons of friendship and differences are what is wonderful and colorfully done with SMALLFOOT. Whether you are furry or have a small foot, each side saw the other as monsters and that is when the opportunity presents itself to either change that or continue to live in fear. I choose the change!

SMALLFOOT’s animation is colorful, vibrant and stunning which is just icing on the cake of a film, and I saw for myself, that everyone truly, truly enjoyed.

In the end – no every legend is a tall tale!

 

 

A Story of Two Worlds Comes to Bluray with NAPPING PRINCESS

Napping Princess Bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray & DVD from writer/director Kenji Kamiyama, Shout! Factory and GKids is a story of daring, family history and adventure for the NAPPING PRINCESS.

In 2020, Kokone Morikawa (Brina Palencia) is a young girl who has become well known for dozing off occasionally and when she does, she finds herself in world called Heartland. It is a dream world of factories, workers and a man who rules it all.

Believing they are all dreams, Kokone and her father Peach (Doug Erholtz) have been living a quiet life but Kokone knows little about her mother. Meeting up with her childhood friend Morio (Shinnosuke Mitsushima) they have a chance to reconnect as friends and it couldn’t come at a better time.

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In a twist she doesn’t fully understand, Peach has been kidnapped by a man named Watanabe (Lex Wutas) who is looking for a mysterious laptop containing important technology. It is the technology that Peach has been hiding from both worlds. Watanabe is now on the hunt for Kokone because she and Morio have decided to find her father on their own and nothing is going to get in their way.

Kokone also discovers that the world she lives in now and Heartland are not so far apart when secrets are revealed and a plot that could change everything becomes known with a little magic. They must come together in Heartland to reconcile old wounds and remember that family and friendship is everything.

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty And The Beast. Also their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

GKIDS brings award winning feature animation for both adults and family audiences. The company has scored an astounding nine Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations with THE SECRET OF THE KELLS, A CAT IN PARIS, ERNEST & CELESTINE, SONG OF THE SEA and WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE. Also bringing Studio Ghibli library of films they include SPIRITED AWAY and PRINCESS MONONOKE.

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NAPPING PRINCESS is an amazing story of two worlds that actually aren’t so very different, except for the large engines of course, in that families makes mistakes and friendship can give us even more courage. Kokone is a young girl coming into her
own wanting to know more about the dreams and a family she knows so little about.

Those two things along make her character amazingly believable which is important to the story.

The animation is every bit spectacular filled with vibrancy and stunning color. This is a definite film that needs to be seen in Bluray. The journey between the two worlds is amazingly displayed with this animation and because the story is so dynamic I found myself totally wrapped up in every frame.

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Director Kamiyama is also responsible for the films GHOST IN THE SHELL: Stand Alone Complex and EDEN OF THE EAST so it is no surprise that NAPPING PRINCESS is equally as stellar and my favorite of his pieces is AKIRA. NAPPING PRINCESS is also titled ANCIEN and the MAGIC TABLET.

The Bonus Features include an Interview with Kenji Kamiyama, Special Interview with the Cast, Intro at Japanese Release, Okayama Scenery, Special TV Program and Trailers/TV Spots.

In the end – two worlds and one amazing girl!

 

THE NUT JOB 2 Nutty By Nature Brings Family Fun and Giggles on Bluray

THE NUT JOB 2 COVER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Cal Brunker and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the next nutty adventure with THE NUT JOB 2 Nutty By Nature.

Surly (Will Arnett) is back with Andie (Katherine Heigl), and Precious (Maya Rudolph), Buddy and the group is living and dining in a nut shop. Andie isn’t happy about it trying to tell them all that this isn’t how squirrels are suppose to live. Believing they should be working together, they have to when the nut shop closes with a bang.

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Back at the park Andie explains that they must get back to nature and collect their own food. That might be difficult as Mayor Muldoon (Bobby Moynihan) is the city scrooge who wants to make money by trying to find a way to close Liberty park where the squirrels now live. Surly convinces the group, much to Andie’s dismay, to fight the Mayor for their park.

Mole (Jeff Dunham), Jimmy (Gabriel Iglesias), Gunther (Peter Stormare), and Johnny (Sebastian Maniscalco) join Surly and Andie to chase the workers out of the park. Canine Frankie (Bobby Cannavale) is sent to clear the park but instead falls instantly in love with Precious. The Mayor’s daughter decides she wants to keep Precious but moving up isn’t always a good thing.

Surly tries to find Precious but instead finds a cute little psycho mouse in Mr. Feng (Jackie Chan). Andie finds another local park that is huge she is excited about their new home until smacked by a golf ball. Tired of all the worry and fuss, the gang comes together once more time to make a stand to stop the Mayor’s plans from ruining their home. Surly calls in an unlikely army to make sure their plan unites the city and park animals.

It’s a nutty job but they’ve just got to do it!

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Arnett returns as Surly giving us the carefree squirrel who isn’t about to let a silly Mayor and his psycho daughter change his lifestyle. Heigl as Andie is the straight forward no-nonsense squirrel of the group who just wants to be the furry creature nature intended.

Rudolph as Precious comes in with her slobbery lovely self and finds that none of that matters to Frankie the love struck bulldog. Cannavale as Frankie just wants to show some love and learns to see another side of life.

Moynihan as the Mayor can only think of money and how to make more of it all while handling a crazy daughter. Speaking of crazy daughter, shout out to Moner as Heather who needs serious anger management classes!

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Dunham, Inglesias, Stormare and Maniscalco round out the park kingdom nicely. Adding Chan as Mr. Feng as a cute (don’t say cute!) city mouse with a gang that that may look er, um, sweet but don’t let the big eyes fool you.

Other voice cast include Isabela Moner as Heather, Kari Wahlgren as Jamie, Julie Lemieux as Lil’ Chip, and Rob Tinkler as Redline.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

THE NUT JOB 2 Nutty By Nature is so much fun and a bit, well, nutty! It is a story of the animal world taking back what is there’s by joining together to prove they might just be a little smarter than we think. The animation is absolutely stunning with such detail that always amazes me. The flow of the fur is just mesmerizing actually.

The relationship between Surly and Buddy is so endearing without Buddy ever saying a word. Their friendship is based on a history that the film reveals in such a touching way. Andie is who I would call the ‘mother’ figure always watching out for the animals and wanting to keep them safe. She is funny in her break out of song too!

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The pairing of Precious with Frankie is just so dang cute I can’t stand it. Precious may be rough and tough but Frankie brings out the soft side. Now, the city cute wide eyed mice led by Mr. Feng are hilarious.

THE NUT JOB 2 Nutty By Nature has fantastic Bonus Features including Deleted Scenes, Animation Progression Reels, Concept Art Reel, and Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Cal Brunker and Producer/Co-Writer Bob Barlen. Also included with a Digital copy of the film that can be streamed and downloaded on your computer, television, Tablet or Smartphone.

You will never see the park in same way again so gather the family and grab a bag of nuts to celebrate the new adventure of the animal world with THE NUT JOB 2 Nutty By Nature.

In the end – get ready, get set, get nuts!

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