Friday, December 28, 2012

Something to Sing About: “Les Misérables”

This is an extraordinary film, well worth seeing, especially if you’re a fan of musicals in general. I think it’s also a good choice if you’re open to experimental and avant garde film. It’s rated PG-13 for “suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements,” and that’s fair. This film looks at the lives of the forgotten, excluded homeless of early 19th century France, people drawn into worlds of violence, crime, and prostitution. It’s grim beyond belief but if you’re willing to indulge the production, by which I mean you’re willing to suspend your disbelief to theatrical proportions, you’ll find a stunning, cohesive work of art. Yes, I said it: this film operates as an art piece in its entirety; it creates a world where virtually every utterance is sung and sticks with its premise to the end. I think it succeeds much more than it doesn’t. Except for a few moments that dragged a bit, this production was stirring and engrossing and Hugh Jackman now seems in a class by himself: that rare bird who can act as well as he sings; he’s among the best of the best in both arenas.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Spot-On Disney Fun: “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”

Disney’s Seventeenth Animated Feature – 1961
This movie is a treat, tip to tail. Beginning with the jazzy, modern-art inspired opening credits, you’ll realize you’re in for something special. This little movie-before-the-movie features dancing dalmation spots that hop onto a musical stave and animator’s sketches that spring to life. Work-in-progress sketches of dalmations run in a row, reminiscent of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies of horses. And One Hundred and One Dalmatians makes any number of references to famous films, just as it has inspired many imitators. Even future Disney features (I’m looking at you, Aristocats) will try to recapture its magic. Any why shouldn’t they? This is one of those rare films that succeeds on every level: story, characterizations, animation, pacing, and message.

Friday, December 21, 2012

This Time, It’s Personal: Customizable Books from Chronicle

Okay, you have a fabulous trip planned for the holidays. After the New Year, you’ll come home and start thinking about packing up the decorations and dismantling the tree—but not quite yet. It’s time to just relax the savor the last few days (or hours) of the holiday season. I have a suggestion: after the avalanche of gifts your child has received (with Santa grabbing a lot of the credit) has been opened and that anxious thrill of the new has begun to fade, consider that this may be a nice time to share a special and very personal gift with your child.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

’Appy Holidays!

Here’s a Santa’s bagful of apps that will make perfect last minute holiday gifts. Seriously, what could be quicker than an app download? They’re holly-jolly fun and for some of these apps, the price is very right; by which I mean free. As I always say: free’s a good price.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just In Time: December Cash Giveaway!

Welcome to the December Extreme Cash Giveaway! Media Darlings has partnered up with some amazing blogs for this special giveaway where one of our readers will win a $400 cash prize!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Thing, Small Package - “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Movie Review by Jack Silbert
And so we return to Middle Earth, back to an ancient time when Liv Tyler was still famous. I had been genuinely looking forward to The Hobbit until about two and a half weeks ago. That’s when my friend Alex explained that this was not only an approximately three-hour film, but just the first installment in another trilogy. Wait wait wait, wasn’t The Hobbit always Tolkien for beginners? A simpler tale? Was I ready to devote another sizeable chunk of my life to these small people with swords in a magical land?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Child’s Christmas In NYC

Many families in the greater metropolitan area take a trip to New York City during the holiday season to share in the spectacle. New York City knows how to put on a show. From the gigantic open-air Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center to the recent Santacon in Times Square, New York City does Christmas BIG. When it comes to decorated windows, there's a group of stores—Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Bloomingdales—that make it their business to make their windows worth a special trip. A major stroll through mid-town Manhattan is sure to put you in the spirit of the season. This walking guide will help you plan your route.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Merry Classic Christmas!

Just leave a comment directly below (with a way to reach you; email preferred) for a chance to win Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection, Classic Christmas Favorites or Dr. Seuss’s Deluxe Holiday Collection on Blu-ray.

Happy holidays and good luck!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giftable Books for MG and YA Book Lovers

As promised, here’s our list of giftable middle grade and young adult books with that little extra something that will make them memorable gifts. For starters, if you have a middle-grader in your family, I hardly need to sell you on the Lemony Snicket series. Little, Brown and Company’s latest edition, Lemony Snicket: "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" is a true celebration of the love of books. Sub-librarian Dashiell Qwerty figures large in this mystery about the power of literature. You’ve got to love a detective story about a town where you can pay your taxi fare by recommending a good book to your driver.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Giftable Books for the Youngest Book Lovers

’Tis the season! While you’re making your lists and checking them twice, consider these extra special titles that combine beauty and brains resulting in memorable gifts for your young readers (and pre-readers). These are books to treasure.