Archives for November 21, 2015

KIDS FIRST! 2015 Holiday Gift Guide – DVDs Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions, www.kidsfirst.org

As the holidays approach, you are looking for the perfect gift for that niece, nephew, sister-in-law and of course, your own kids and family members. You know what the people closest to you want and need, but those relatives who you don’t see as often are a bit of a challenge. Check out our compilation of DVDs, Feature Films, Audio Recordings and E-Books to help you find the perfect gift for your loved ones. Many have been reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critics and we’ve provided a link to their video reviews which gives you the kids’ point of view. More film reviews are available at www.kidsfirst.org. Happy Holidays from KIDS FIRST!

DVDS, FOR ACTION FANS

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Ant-Man
Armed with the amazing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang joins forces with his new mentor Dr. Hank Pym to protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from ruthless villains! With humanity’s fate in the balance, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a daring heist against insurmountable odds. Filled with humor, awesome special effects and exclusive bonus features, this action-packed adventure takes you to new levels of pulse-pounding excitement! MSRP: $39.99

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxfi0yhPir0

Avengers: Age of Ultron 
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure. MSRP: $39.99

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbFqfu6U0ko

DVDS, FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Aladdin Diamond Edition
For the first time ever, a whole new world of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Aladdin will be revealed in a whole new way on Blu-ray with never-before-seen bonus. Rediscover how three wishes can change everything in Disney’s timeless adventure for the whole family. MSRP: $29.99

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRjElA2Vl1Y

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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander’s day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander. $36.99

http://youtu.be/ogtd8QhXY0A

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Cinderella
Walt Disney Animation Studios is releasing the live action version of Cinderella on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere. The movie stars Cate Blanchett as Stepmother (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Lily James as Cinderella (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), Richard Madden (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) as Prince, Stellan Skarsgård (Marvel’s: “The Avengers,” “Thor”) as Grand Duke, Holliday Grainger (“Jane Eyre”) as Anastasia, Derek Jacobi (“The King’s Speech” ) as King, and Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother (“Alice in Wonderland”). MSRP: $36.89

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Bhyy-J8U8

Home
When Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human, and together they discover the true meaning of the word HOME. MRSP: $19.04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8LHlp4UhlY

Inside Out
After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Jay, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo del Carmen. Starring Diane Lane, Rashida Jones and Amy Poehler. MSRP: $39.99

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dg7QOumdKWc

 

The Legend of Longwood

Crumbling castles, frightening spirits, beautiful horses and a plucky, fearless heroine all come together in this magical quest film, set in the starkly beautiful landscapes of rural Ireland. When 12-year-old Mickey Miller moves from New York to Ireland, she soon discovers a link between herself and the 300-year-old legend of the mysterious Black Knight, who regularly haunts the sleepy Irish village. MSRP: $16.97

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB___oeu1rs

 

Little House on the Prairie – The Complete Collection

Fall in love again with the classic TV series that celebrates family, faith and the human spirit, and enjoy the nine-season saga with vividly restored picture and sound. Completely uncut and remastered, this 48-disc set features all nine seasons and is packed with eight hours of bonus material, including the 96-minute original pilot movie, a cast screen test with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, the six-part  “The ‘Little House’ Phenomenon” documentary that takes a historical look back at the acclaimed series and three movie specials. MSRP:$149.98

 

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Friendship Games

Every four years, Canterlot High has ‘The Friendship Games’ where they must rival with different schools with a series of different sporting events and every year, the cup has gone to Crystal Prep. So Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, and Sunset Shimmer must work together to win the cup. But they find out that the other Twilight Sparkle is on the opposing team. MSRP: $17.98

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=801twsvfwyI

Once Upon a Sign: The Magic Mirror
In this DVD, young Alice Cogswell wants to enter the talent show but she’s unsure of herself. After an audition that doesn’t go her way, she gets some magic help. But will this magic help get her to the talent show and help her ASL poetry sparkle? MSRP: $15.95

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df9XUcTXw_U

Once Upon a Sign: The New Stone Soup
This new DVD tells the story of three traveling magicians who hope to enjoy a delicious meal after entertaining the folks in a local village. The people are happy to revel in the show but are not willing to share their food with the performers, so the trio comes up with a plan to get the community to contribute food and learn that sharing can be a joyous and happy thing. MSRP: $15.95.

The Seventh Dwarf                       

Venture into the wondrous world of Fantabularasa Castle and be spellbound by the exciting adventures of your favorite storybook characters in The Seventh Dwarf. With an exceptional voice cast of Peyton List,, Norm Macdonald, Nina Hagen and Joshua Graham, this new CG-animated motion picture is a hilarious mash-up of the best classic fairytales, packed with beloved storybook characters,  non-stop laughs and toe-tapping songs!  MSRP $14.99

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUlYzcBiCnA

 

Tomorrowland
Bound by a shared destiny, a teen (Britt Robertson) bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor (George Clooney) embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory. MSRP: $39.99

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFm10Ox7U8

 

The Wild Thornberrys: The Complete Series          

This 15 disc set contains all 91 episodes of the popular Nickelodeon series. The hit series follows the Thornberry family as they travel the world in their Communications Vehicle (or CommVee) looking for rare animals to film. After an encounter with a mysterious shaman, their youngest child Eliza was given the power to speak to animals! Travelling to every corner of the world with her family of daffy documentarians, Eliza uses her fantastic skill to learn about the lifestyles and habitats of the world’s most exotic creatures. MSRP $29.99

 

FOR FILM BUFFS

The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazaki (Amazon Exclusive)
Includes a 1972 TV Pilot directed by Miyazaki, three episodes from the hit anime series “Little Samurai” and a commemorative booklet. For the first time, all 11 of Miyazaki’s feature-length masterpieces are packaged in collection, complete with bonus features. Included films are: Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979); Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984); Castle in the Sky (1986); My Neighbor Totoro (1988); Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989); Porco Rosso (1992); Princess Mononoke (1997); Spirited Away (2001) ; Howl’s Moving Castle (2004); Ponyo (2008/2009); The Wind Rises (2013) MSRP: $224.99.

Gumby: The Gumby Show, The Complete 50s Series
For the first time ever, the complete Gumby Show has been re-mastered from its original camera rolls and soundtracks with the brilliant colors and full-length formats as first aired in the 1950s. These imaginative, surrealistic, stop motion animated masterpieces will mesmerize children and adults of all ages. MSRP: $24.99

https://youtu.be/Q-sR2ziIR_A

 

Shaun the Sheep

 

From Aardman, the producers of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit comes Shaun the Sheep Movie, a farm-tastic adventure for the whole family. MEET SHAUN! He’s a little sheep with big dreams, and lately, life on Mossy Bottom Farm has become a bit dull. When Shaun takes the day off for some fun in the Big City, he gets a lot more action than he bargained for. Now Shaun and his flock must use their wits to hatch a baaaa-rilliant plan to get back home in an adventure the whole family will love. MSRP: $34.99 (BR)/$29.95 (DVD)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8x_aUsOies


FOR YOUNGER KIDS

ABC Monsters: Starring ABCD
The ABC Monsters are on the loose and only Alice, Brian and Cherry Berry can catch them. 26 cuddly ABC Monsters live within the walls of Capital Castle. Each monster represents a letter of the alphabet, but should any of the monsters go missing for longer than a day, all the letters will be wiped clean from every book in Capital Town, so it’s very important to make sure that all the ABC Monsters are safely back in Alphabet Gardens before the sun goes down. MSRP: $9.99

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lH4ohgUGV4

Chuggington: The Big Freeze
The chuggers perform one heroic rescue after another in this cool new seasonal collection of “Chuggington” adventures! When icy temperatures cause the town to run out of fuel and all diesel engines are grounded, it’s wheels-to-the-rails as Chief Jackman and his team of brave Chug Patrollers work together to find a way to the frozen docks to retrieve fuel and get the town of Chuggington moving once again. MSRP: $14.98

 

Doozers: Giant Gingerbread House
The Pod Squad want to build a Doozer-sized Gingerbread House. However, in order to achieve such a large size Gingerbread House it’s going to take some clever construction to create. Can the Pod Squad do it? Then, Daisy Wheel wants to ice skate with the others, but she doesn’t know how. Together, the Pod Squad build her a custom Doo-Step Skating Dress that lets her glide across the ice in no time. Weee! Enjoy these adventures and six more focusing on science, technology, engineering and math! MSRP: $9.99

Maya The Bee Movie
Based on the well-known children’s novel and popular animated series, this animated feature brings to life an enchanting story of a little bee named Maya and her exciting adventure of self-discovery and fantastical fun. This is an instant classic that delivers wholesome family entertainment— emphasizing the importance of friendship, freedom and courage. Originally a German children’s novel by Waldemar Bonsels, The Adventures of Maya the Bee was published over a hundred years ago in 1912. MSRP $15.80

 

https://youtu.be/F5D58b_NPEk
My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (3 Movie Gift Set)   
Join Twilight Sparkle and her Canterlot High friends in three animated adventures! With a special lenticular cover featuring a transforming Twilight Sparkle, the box set houses all three films released from the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls canon, Equestria Girls, Rainbow Rocks and Friendship Games. Bonus features include audio commentaries, animated shorts and deleted scenes. MSRP $29.93

http://youtu.be/iUaO_LE2-NM

Strawberry Shortcake Berry Tales
Join Plum in “Snowberry and the Seven Berrykins” as she learns to believe in herself when putting on a small and simple play.  In “Berryella and Prince Berry Charming,” Huck agrees to be in a production, but then quickly realizes that he’d be happier behind the scenes.  Strawberry, Lemon and Raspberry star as three princesses on a quest to rule a kingdom in “The Littlest Berrykin,” and realize that they can never succeed without kindness and generosity. MSRP: $14.98

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast
An ancient myth of a massive creature sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this creature is not welcome in Pixie Hollow — and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast, who they fear will destroy their home. Fawn must convince her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast. This thrilling action-adventure roars to life with never-before-seen bonus extras on Blu-ray and DVD. MSRP: $36.99

http://youtu.be/IRR0NJzRwOg

HOLIDAY THEMED DVDS

A Christmas Detour 

Two NYC bound travelers find themselves inextricably linked when a freak snowstorm waylays their Christmas plans to an overcrowded airport hotel in Buffalo. Eternal optimist and hopeless romantic, Paige Summers, desperately needs to find a way to the city so that she can meet her fiancé’s parents before her storybook wedding — and it’s up to a guy she can’t stand, fellow passenger and total stranger Dylan Mackenzie, a guy permanently soured on romance after his girlfriend broke his heart to rise to the occasion and become Paige’s off-white Knight in shining armor. Exclusive to Walmart and Sam’s Club. MSRP: $14.93

 

A Crown for Christmas 

Allie has taken care of her brothers and sisters ever since their parents died when they were just kids, and now, she and her sister Lisa work as maids in a first-class Manhattan hotel. By a twist of fate, Allie meets Ryland, a King in disguise staying at the hotel, and on the very same day loses her job due to unruly hotel guests. In an effort to apologize for Allie losing her job, one of Ryland’s closest servants offers her the role of Governess (a glorified Nanny) for Ryland’s 10-year-old daughter Teddy. Walmart/Sam’s Club Exclusive. MSRP: $14.93

Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas

The story of Buddy the elf, and his quest to reunite with the human father he never knew existed. While Buddy’s sincerity and idealism are commonplace at the North Pole, these attributes are rejected in cynical New York City. But through song, dance, and relentless good cheer, Buddy rekindles the spirit of Christmas for the entire city. Voice talent of Jim Parsons, Mark Hamill, Kate Micucci and Ed Asner. MSRP: $14.98 (DVD)/$19.98 (BR)

Home Alone 25th Anniversary Edition
This gift set features all five films packaged together for the first time in a collectible paint Includes all 5 films together for first time! Includes: Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Home Alone 3, Home Alone: Taking Back the House, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist. MSRP: $39.99

 

 

Ice Sculpture Christmas 

As a little girl, Callie Shaw always knew she wanted to be an amazing chef.  Now, after spending years trying to get her foot in the door, she’s losing faith that she has what it takes to succeed.  Is it time to give up?  Working as the entry-level new hire in her hometown’s country club kitchen, Callie finally gets the opportunity to make a name for herself through a culinary Christmas ice-sculpture contest!  Walmart/Sam’s Club Exclusive. MSRP: $14.93.

The Nutcracker Sweet

Features the voices of an all-star cast including Alicia Silverstone, Ed Asner and Drake Bell. It  is Christmas Eve and the Silberhaus children are excited for the festivities to begin. Marie and Fritz are playing in the children’s room when their godfather Drosselmayer arrives and presents them with an early Christmas gift, a Nutcracker. Marie witnesses a great battle between a vast army of toy soldiers led by the Nutcracker against a terrible platoon of mice commanded by the Mouse King.  MSRP: $14.93

 

Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Christmas Special
As you’ve never seen it before, beautifully restored, re-mastered and in HD. Join the whole Playhouse gang for one of the wackiest specials ever! With laughs for the whole family, this unique, triple Emmy®-nominated special offers all the imagination and charm of Saturday morning’s most outrageous TV series, which became a cultural milestone when it aired from 1986-1991. MSRP $6.95 (DVD) / $19.97 (BR)

 

‘Tis The Season For Love 

Hanna Baker, left her small town of Kern to seek the stardom that everyone knew was her destiny.  Now, ten years later, with none of her dreams coming to fruition and feeling like a failure, Hanna heads back to Kern for a real hometown, family Christmas, to cheer her up. Once back, Hanna sees that life in Kern has moved on quite nicely without her and she soon finds herself longing for her past.  MSRP: $14.93

 

 

 

 

AUDIO

Andy Z- Classic Songs & Traditional Tunes

Beloved American folk songs blended with classic children’s songs that the younger set just can’t get enough of. Andy brings together two genres that complement one another beautifully and captures the heart and intention of the songs as they were originally written.  For this 15-song album, he used true-to-genre instrumentation, thoughtful arrangements and restored lyrics. MSRP: $14.98, http://www.andyz.com

 

Big Block Singsong Volume 1

Who knew that being so square could be so cool! Big Block Singsong is a terrific musical, visual DVD romp. Creators Warren Brown and Adam Goddard have hit the creative mother load here – what seems so simple is so deceiving in its well-designed construction – the ‘simple’ individual block characters sing a two-minute nicely produced song that covers subjects from noses and hair to emotions of sadness and happiness, so you see the sky’s the limit, or not. MSRP: $15, http://www.bigblocksingsong.com

 

Calling All the Elephants
Randy & Dave, two hit songwriters from different genres, started writing some silly songs for kids. “Silly” soon morphed into over-the-top, laugh-out-loud funny. Randy’s country roots and Dave’s children’s pop roots come together to create a wacky, seesaw feel, moving from a country stroll where the wit of the lyrics sneaks up on you to a rock ‘n’ roll sprint where an outrageous lyric slams into you. MSRP: $14.98, http://songwizard.com

 

Dancin in the Kitchen: Songs for ALL Families by Cathy and Marcy,

This CD knocked my socks off so I immediately decided to dance barefoot in the kitchen – great decision. This album is a breath of fresh air that climbs the mountain of rarefied musical integrity and promotes acceptance and tolerance on so many levels. You will not be disappointed or dismayed, this album is special and grabs you from the first downbeat to the last fade-away. MSRP: $15; http://www.cathymarcy.com

 

Do You Believe in Magic

Original fantasy musical/rock opera for tweens, teens, combining colorful characters, compelling story, infectious songs, danceable duets, narration, full musical score. Percy Jackson meets Into The Woods. Enchanted books, witches break into song! MSRP: $15

 

 

Happy Kids Songs
These full-production songs are both highly entertaining and age appropriate–adult quality music with words and themes that tap into the most common issues confronting 4- to 8-year-olds. The variety of adult and child soloists, children’s chorus and wide range of instruments and musical styles easily hold children’s attention and parents’ too. These songs were written and produced by award-winning child psychologist, Dr. Mac, who has also been the music director and songwriter for the PBS hit, Jay Jay the Jet Plane. MSRP: $19.80, www.happykidssongs.com

Hot Air by Recess Monkey, http://www.recessmonkey.com

‘Hot Air’ rises to the occasion and delivers a potent punch of fun, danceable and delightfully listenable tunes that will lift your spirits and take you on flights of fancy that are frown resistant. Recess Monkey is a tried and true band of experienced and educated musicians who have inhaled the wonderful songwriting and production values of top groups from the late 60’s and 70’s and have exhaled a new, original and pleasing paradigm of songs that are kid-friendly but more importantly, kid-conscious. MSRP: $13

Let’s Boogie
The debut album from Toronto children’s’ rock band, Rock’n’Rainbow, this CD is a family dance party of high energy tunes with catchy hooks & funk-rock rhythms, exploring favorite forms of exercise: biking, heading out on scooters & boogying-on-down. Rainbow Songs Inc. MSRP: $14.97

 

Nursery Rhyme Parade!
This new album presents 35 familiar nursery rhymes and songs. These fresh and sparely produced tracks provide the perfect opportunity for parents to remember their own childhoods, and to connect with their kids through melody, rhythm and rhyme.  Acclaimed children’s book and magazine illustrator Ekaterina Truhan created the sprightly animal parade art for the album and noted singer Renee Stahl guests. Exclusive to Amazon, MSRP: $9.99 CD; $8.99 Digital

The Pop Ups – Bird and Rhino (music video)
Stomp those fires out with The Pop Ups. This is an animated music video, featuring a song from their brand new album, Great Pretenders Club, exclusively at Amazon. http://amzn.to/1Vn3Pi2 Animator: Garrett Davis, Artists: Jacob Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein www.thepopups.com MSRP: $7.99

 

VIDEOGAMES

LEGO Dimensions
The all-new collection merges physical LEGO brick building and interactive console gameplay. Includes the videogame, bricks to build the LEGO Gateway, three LEGO Minifigures, Batman, Gandalf and Wyldstyle, plus the LEGO Batmobile, and the LEGO Toy Pad, which allows players to transport special LEGO minifigures and models into the game, as well as direct in-game action all with the movement of the physical toys.  MSRP: $99.99

Need for Speed

Brings together 20 years of history and inspiration from some of the most beloved games in the venerable franchise, to create the definitive racing game experience. Introduces compelling and innovative gameplay through Five Ways to Play – Speed, Style, Build, Crew, and Outlaw. Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC. ESRB: T. MSRP: $69.99

 

NHL 16

Built with more fan feedback and insights than ever before, NHL 16 delivers your most requested features and modes along with new experiences that make NHL bigger and better. NHL 16 puts you into the heart of a team, where you’ll play together and win together. ESRB: E, MSRP: $59.99

 

Star Wars Battlefront

Feeling the ominous thud of an AT-AT stomping down on the frozen tundra of Hoth. Rebel forces firing blasters as Imperial speeder bikes zip through the lush forests of Endor. Intense dogfights between squadrons of X-wings and TIE fighters filling the skies. Immerse yourself in the epic Star Wars battles you’ve always dreamed of and create new heroic moments of your own in Star Wars Battlefront. ESRB: T, MSRP: $69.99

Project CARS

Represents the next-generation of racing simulation as the ultimate combination of fan desire and developer expertise. With a Franchise Mode that allows you to carve out a personalized career starting in the Karting world and then progressing on to whichever motorsport specialization you prefer. ESRB: E, MSRP: $39.99

 

F1 2015

The official video game of the 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship, F1 2015 is set to take gamers closer to the real-world experience of racing in the world’s most glamorous, exciting and prestigious motorsport. ESRB: E, MSRP: $39.99

 

PLAYING IN THEATERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, PG, Comedy. December 18, 2015
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami…and dump them.  They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother. Starring Bella Thorne, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting andAnna Faris.

Bridge of Spies, PG-13, Biography, Drama, History. In Theaters Now
An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda and Amy Ryan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27BmVO6QcCY

Brooklyn, PG-13, Drama, Romance. November 6, 2015
In 1950s Ireland and New York, young Eilis Lacey has to choose between two men and two countries. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Brid Brennan, Maeve McGrath and Emma Lowe.

Everest, Biography. In Theaters Now
A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm. Starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWKSys0TSM0

Goosebumps, PG, Comedy, Adventure. In Theaters Now
A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R. L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Madison, Delaware.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDRNZpFrKPE

 

 

Hotel Transylvania 2, PG, Animation, Comedy. In theaters now.
Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel. Starring Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Kevin James.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_iSuuiqdLc

 

Jem and the Holograms, PG, Adventure. In Theaters Now
As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden. Starring Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott and Aurora Perrineau
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT_Aep6FOw8

 

Joy, NR, Comedy-drama. December 25, 2015
Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper.

 

Spectre, Action, PG-13, Adventure. November 6, 2015
A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE. Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux.

 

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, PG, Action, Adventure. December 28, 2015
A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). Directed by J.J. Abrams, Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Adam Driver.

 

The 33, PG-13, Drama. November 6, 2015
Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. Starring Naomi Scott, Cote de Pablo, Kate del Castillo, James Brolin.

 

The Good Dinosaur, PG, Adventure, Comedy. November 27, 2015
An epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. Starring Raymond Ochoa, Jeffrey Wright, Steve Zahn and A.J. Buckley.

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, PG-13, Adventure, Sci-Fi. November 20, 2015
After being symbolized as the “Mockingjay”, Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.
The Intern. PG-13,  Comedy. In Theaters now
70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin. Starring Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo and Anders Holm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYTLqwheH8Q

The Martian, Adventure, PG-13, Drama. In Theaters now
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lJ8yNpc2A4

The Peanuts Movie, G, 3D Animation, November 6, 2015
Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home. Starring Trombone Shorty, Rebecca Bloom amd Anastasia Bredikhina.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP2hfqhLJgo

E-BOOKS

A Blanket Quite Rare – http://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/214194.html
There once was a boy with a blanket quite rare that his mother had told him was made with great care.  It came on his birthday with colors so bright It made him feel happy all day and all night. Neptune Press. MSRP: $12

 

The Loneliest Tree – http://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/214181.html
Not very far from the big city is a very special farm. It’s special because it grows special trees…Christmas trees! The trees are able to stretch their graceful branches covered with needles and pine cones toward the sun as they grow taller and taller–all but one. Neptune Press. MSRP: $9.95
Ship Shape (Upton Charles – Dog Detective) http://www.kidsfirst.org/detail/214154.html
When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing  from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that’s “BEE-shon free-ZEY”), a little white dog, who  wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery.  During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Neptune Press. MSRP: $7.99.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 – Nothing Can Prepare You For The End

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This closing film to The Hunger Games trilogy shows Katniss Everdeen, the reluctant leader of the rebellion leading an army against President Snow. Her tragic journey finally comes to an end with this emotional finish. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Clayton P. comments, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is surprisingly more creative and suspenseful than all the prior films in the franchise.” See his full review below.

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

 

 

 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is surprisingly more creative and suspenseful than all the prior films in the franchise.  However, there are a couple of things about the film that are not fantastic. I don’t think that Jennifer Lawrence does a great job in this film. It seems as if she was asleep throughout the movie.  This film again stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hucherson as Peeta Mellark. They are supported by Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  The film is directed by Francis Lawrence, who directed all the Hunger Games films except the first.

At the beginning of the film, Katniss is recruited by Commander Coin (Julianne Moore) to lead the rebellion. They really want her to be the “face” of the rebellion and film fake skirmishes for the ever present media. Katniss plays along but her intent is to assassinate President Snow.  Snow is ready for the rebellion. His generals plant POD traps (obstacles designed to release a weapon that can range from a bomb to a group of mutts) all over the Capital, which are motion sensitive.  When someone comes near, flame throwers engulf them or huge machine guns appear and blow them up.  The PODS are planted every few feet, so it is a deadly obstacle course for the rebels to try to make it through into the heart of the Capital.  In the face of all this, Peeta, who had been psychologically tortured and brain-washed by Snow in Part 1, is now ordered to join Katniss on this mission.  But, he is unstable and doesn’t have a grip on reality.

 

The best part of this film is the ending, which I can’t tell you about because of spoiler alert. But, rest assured, it is a great ending.  The middle of the film is very action-packed, scary and suspenseful.  Katniss, and the rebel force work their way through the PODS.  I love this part of the film and the locations that were chosen.  At one point, the rebel force goes down into the sewers to escape detection, adding a bit of horror to the action film setting. The supporting cast is great, especially Julianne Moore, who plays Commander Coin with great conviction.

 

The screenplay is interesting, especially the dialogue between Katniss and Peeta.  Peeta keeps asking Katniss and the others if things are “real or not real” since he has a tenuous grip on reality, due to his brain-washing.  I also like the song that plays during the end credits.

Unfortunately, there are some drawbacks to the film besides Jennifer Lawrence’s performance.   I feel that some of the fight sequences are not realistic.  One last point I would like to make is that the uniqueness of The Hunger Games is the idea of the games themselves.  There are no games in this film and I miss he whole survivalist concept of that.

 

Overall, I think this film is a great ending to The Hunger Games franchise.  I give the film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 11 to 18, keeping in mind that there are some rather violent, scary scenes in the middle of the movie. This film opens November 20.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Coming Soon! An App to Find Holiday Lights, Santa Sightings, and Places to Give Back!

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The Holiday Cheer Map is available online and via Nextdoor’s free apps for Android and iPhone.

I love this one! A great app to help you get into the holiday spirit!

Gone are the days of searching for hours for the best holiday light displays or driving miles to see Santa. There’s an app that makes it easier than ever to seek out light displays, places to give back, Christmas tree lots or Santa sightings – right in the convenience of your own neighborhood!

 

Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighborhoods, allows members to pin festive markers (like Santa hats and packages) so other neighbors can easily find holiday cheer.

 

The app goes live on Dec. 1 – right after Thanksgiving and when the season goes into full swing.

 

Join Nextdoor for free by going to nextdoor.com or downloading the app here.

 

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. This was a courtesy posting. Credit: Nextdoor.

Olay Regenerist Mico-Sculpting Cream would make a great Holiday Gift!

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Looking for a really good Anti-aging type of holiday gift this Holiday? I think that many moms would like to find this one in their sticking this Holiday! Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream hydrates to lift, firm and plump so you can delay the need for a cosmetic procedure. What I like best about this product is that it really does seem to work quickly! I have tried this Moisturizer for about two weeks and have noticed a real difference! My skin does seem more firm and also seems much more hydrated. The lines on my face are also slightly less noticeable. So, I know I would like to see this in my stocking on Christmas morning!

Look for the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream where Olay products are sold this Holiday season! Retails for $25.99-$33.99.

Self Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this holiday post. Photo courtesy of Olay.

It’s time for some Holiday Gift Suggestions from SoCal City Kids!

The holidays are finally here and the next few weeks we will be featuring some of our top picks!

Here are some great gift ideas for those on your shopping list!

This first one is a great one for Moms!

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Move over boys! There’s finally a truckin’ hat with just the right cheeky attitude for those high-spirited women on your holiday list! Taking a totally new spin on trucker hats, the Mother Truckers (www.mothertruckerco.com) are cool must-have accessories with lively, sassy and fun-loving messages befitting any proud woman wearing them.

I received one of these hats and they are just too cool! They’re smaller than the usual trucker hat and without all that extra space on top of the cap! Each adjustable snap-back mother trucker hat fits easily and snuggly. With inspiring, fun-loving messages like BOSS LADY, #THANKFUL, and #HOUSEWIFE, the Mother Trucker & co. hats are appealing to women everywhere and make cheeky additions to any outfit!  The hats retail for a wallet-friendly $25.

 

Mother Truckers has also become the exclusive trucker hat for Real Housewives of Orange County star Lizzie Rovsek’s Sunkitten Swimwear line and come in a multitude of flashy and fun colors. These babies are perfect for the gal longing to look cute on a bad hair days while rockin’ some sparkle and attitude.

 

Many other celebrities, “boss ladies” and fellow moms such as comedian and talk show host, Jenny McCarthy and RHOC star Gretchen Rossi proudly wear Mother Trucker hats.

 

Mother Trucker & co. is ran and operated by two crazy “boy mamas” who are living the dream by working hard, laughing along the way, and trying to do their best to create a great life. They are the real deal: PTA moms, team moms and boss moms. They manage their households all while building their empire.

For more information please visit: www.mothertruckerco.com.

Do you want to send someone flowers this holiday season?

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FloraQueen delivers flowers and plants all around the World, in more than 90 countries. I received a FREE bouquet of sunflowers awhile back and just loved them! They work with local florists near you and it’s a pleasure to order from them! Check them out at www.floraqueen.com.

I love this next one!

I don’t know if you have checked out any of the Coloring books for adults? But, I have and love them! They are great for reducing stress! How about the First-Ever Personalized Adult Coloring Books?

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Put Me In The Story, the #1 personalized books site in the U.S., now carries the first-ever personalized adult coloring book –Keep Calm and Color On by Illustrator Katie Martin!

 

Color your stress away in this personalized coloring book where beautiful coloring pages are peppered with inspiring quotes to calm your mind and lift your spirits.

 

A great personalized gift for the holidays, each copy of Keep Calm and Color On is personalized with your name on the front and back cover, a special dedication page, and a coloring page where your name is a part of the illustration. Keep Calm and Color On is the only adult coloring book that features YOU!

This would be a great gift for girl friends, Mom and any adult that I can think of!

Keep Calm and Color On is now available on Put Me In The Story.

They have just added an additional personalized coloring book to PutMeInTheStory.com,Keep Calm and Color On: For Stress Relief. Now through December 13th, you can purchase the books individually for $19.99 each or 2 for $30 when you use the code RELAX at checkout.

http://books.putmeinthestory.com/keep-calm-and-color-on/

Don’t miss the #KeepCalmAndColorOn photo sharing sweepstakes!

To make things even more exciting, we’ll also be running fun contest on social media to get adult coloring book fans sharing their colorful creations for a chance to win one of three Keep Calm and Color On book bundles!

 #KeepCalmAndColorOn Sweeptakes

Enter the #KeepCalmAndColorOn Sweepstakes daily from 11/18 – 12/4 for a chance to win 1 of 3 personalized coloring book bundles from Put Me In The Story!

 How to Enter:

·       Share a photo of your colorful creations from any adult coloring book on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook from November 18ththrough December 4th

·       Use the hashtag #KeepCalmAndColorOn

·       Tag @PutMeInTheStory

 

Winners will be contacted on or around December 5th.

For more information about the books, visit: http://books.putmeinthestory.com/keep-calm-and-color-on/

For full contest rules visit: http://www.putmeinthestory.com/keep-calm-and-color-on-sweepstakes-official-rules.html

The next one is a great one for young children on your shopping list!

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PBS KIDS’ holiday toy collection has officially launched and is now available at Whole Foods Markets nationwide!

I received samples and love how these remind me of classic old school toys but with a modern twist! 

PBS KIDS and Whole Foods Market are offering a new line of sustainable, safe and educational toys, including PlanToys®. All PBS KIDS toys:

 

  • Cost less than $30
  • Inspire creativity and imaginative-play
  • Are gifts that give back, as the profits support both PBS KIDS and Whole Foods’ missions
  • Are made using responsibly-sourced materials, including PlanWood, which is high density fiber composite wood from rubber trees, organic color pigment, and rubber wood

 

These toys are now available in Whole Foods Markets across the country and online at PBS KIDS Shop.

 

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this Holiday Gift Round up. No other compensation was received. Stay tuned for next week! Any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit to the companies listed in the post.

 

 

 

November is World Vegan Month!

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It’s World Vegan Month! Vegans around the world use this month to celebrate the vegan lifestyle and animal rights.

For World Vegan Month, try eating one entirely vegan meal! Tandoor Chef offers delicious options that will make this task easy and convenient. The meals include Channa Masala and Vegetable Pad Thai, along with several others.

I tried the Chicken Curry and the Chicken Tikka Masala!

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My favorite was the Chicken Curry! Just the right amount of spices and it is delicious!

Visit TandoorChef.com/vegan_entrees to see all your options.

Find Tandoor Chef near you at TandoorChef.com/locate!

Self Disclosure: I received free coupons to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received.

Time for Holiday Drinks at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!

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It’s that Holiday time of the year and what better way to relax and enjoy than with a delicious Holiday Coffee drink? My new favorite is the Cookie Butter Latte at The  Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf! It is truly like a dessert in a cup! I could really taste cookie butter!

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®—Southern California’s iconic specialty coffee and tea retailer for over 50 years—combines sugar and spice for a lineup of new and returning holiday beverages. Debuting a new Cookie Butter flavor, these Lattes and Ice Blended® drinks combine premium espresso, brown sugar and gingerbread, topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

I didn’t try all the new Holiday Drinks but also available are:

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I can’t wait to try the  Red Velvet Hot Cocoa! 

SEASON FOR GIVING

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® will continue its decade-long holiday tradition of raising money for The Help Group, a non-profit serving children, adolescents and young people with special needs, throughout the holiday season by donating $1 of proceeds from the purchase of Holiday Blend Coffee or Winter Dream Tea® in participating locations in the California market. Participating locations in the Arizona market will run a similar program benefitting St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. Beginning Friday, November 27 – Monday, December 28, customers can “Deck the Walls” and decorate local store locations with personalized holiday decals by donating $1 to The Help Group or St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

Self Disclosure: I received a free gift card to try out the new holiday drinks. No other compensation was received.

 

Recipe for Fruit Nachos from Terra’s Kitchen

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Terra’s Kitchen Fruit Nachos

  • 2-3 medium peaches, apricots, berries, and/or bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Optional topping: granola, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, mini chocolate chips, dried and snipped cherries, or dried and snipped apricots
    1. Arrange the fruit slices on a large serving platter. Stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla, and honey in a small bowl. Drizzle over the peaches and sprinkle on toppings as desired. Serve immediately.

 

Self Disclosure: Courtesy of Terra’s Kitchen.