Monday, February 27, 2012

There’s No “Me” in “Melody Time” … Oh, Wait …

Disney’s Tenth Animated Feature – 1948
Melody Time is a package film in the style of Make Mine Music: seven different shorts that rely on songs and rhyme to tell their tales. Like the package films before it, the shorts of Melody Time vary in appeal. It’s fair to say that the Disney name brings with it a level of quality, even excellence that’s undeniable. Any complaints or criticisms are more a reflection of changing tastes, attitudes, and cultural shifts. And like other older package films, Melody Time inspires its share of smiles, adoring glances, and quizzical, sidelong looks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

And the Winner Is … !

This is Media Darlings’ first Academy Award season and we’ve begun what we hope will become a yearly tradition. In honor of the Awards, we’ll choose a different theme and bring you the best of that category. This is the year of the piglet, so put on your top hat, grab your silk purse, and join me on the red carpet for the Piglet Hall of Fame Awards. The envelope, please!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Complex Issue of Homework – Part 2

In The Complex Issue of Homework Part 1, I wrote about strategies you can try at home to help make homework go more smoothly. Often, one or more of these strategies will do the trick. However, they might not and then you need to work with your child’s teacher(s) to come up with better solutions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

For Your Consideration: The “Best Pictures” for Families

I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s Academy Awards season. Offered for your consideration: the greatest family films to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Easy? Not really. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that not many family films have won Best Picture. But every so often, a family picture slips through. This is my personal top five, incidentally an honor roll of great directors, and appropriate for every family’s dvd shelf or digital video queue:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Get Your Irish Up!

e-Books We Love: Tales from the Glades of Ballymore by Bob Brooks with Illustrations by Karen Ross Ohlinger
The great thing about blogging is you can run across a wonderful little self-published book and give it the “shout out” it deserves. Tales From The Glades Of Ballymore by Bob Brooks is a joyous, heart-warming, completely lovable e-book. Set in a fictional Ballymore (as opposed to the many actual places called Ballymore), this book is part Wind in the Willows and part Tales of Beatrix Potter with a modern sensibility. As a first-generation American and the child of Irish immigrants, this book conjures up the “old country.” I can’t wait to share this with my own little girl so she can better understand her roots.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Complex Issue of Homework – Part 1

I have very mixed feelings about homework. As a parent, I hated it. It caused all kinds of problems for my son with attention difficulties and I often felt like the heavy. In fact, I thought the best part of summer vacation was the lack of homework.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Short But Very Sweet: “Daffy’s Rhapsody”

Cartoon Review by Jack Silbert
I wasn’t planning on seeing Journey 2: The Mysterious Island right away. I hadn’t seen Journey 1, and, you know, didn’t want to get thrown off by the undoubtedly multi-layered plot. So what a wonderful surprise it was to get a sneak peek of the all-new Warner Brothers cartoon Daffy’s Rhapsody, which will be screened in 3-D prior to Journey 2 showings. Simply put, this is a delightful 4 minutes and 19 seconds of animation.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Funny Valentine: Disney’s “Fun and Fancy Free”

Disney’s Ninth Animated Feature – 1947
Fun and Fancy Free  is another post-war package film, made up of two short narrative films—Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk—that were originally planned as separate feature films. Bongo, based on an original short story by Sinclair Lewis (of all people) follows a circus bear who wants to live free in the wild. Mickey and the Beanstalk is (big surprise) based on Jack and the Beanstalk, and stars Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as peasants who discover temperamental Willie the Giant’s castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans. This Mickey represents the last time Walt Disney would voice the character. He was getting a little busy, what with being Walt Disney and all.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine e-Books With Heart

If your child knows what Valentine’s Day is, you’ll probably find yourself helping them get a stack of cards ready for their friends at school (or pre-school!). But what about a special Valentine’s surprise from you to your child? Why not save a tree with these e-books for Valentine’s Day that will encourage literacy AND loving kindness.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Not In Front of the Kids!

With the success of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo—winning a Golden Globe for Best Director and now several Oscar nominations—Scorsese conquered a genre nobody suspected was on his “to do” list: the family picture. And he is now poised to win an arm-load of Academy Awards for a movie for and about kids. As Jimmy exclaimed in GoodFellas when Tommy was sassed by Spider, “What’s this world coming to?”