Book Review “Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale”

Authors: Nick Nunziata, Mark Cotta Vaz
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: October 18, 2016

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

This seems to be the year of “Pan’s Labyrinth” getting a resurgence. The film is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary (can’t believe that it has been that long already). This film has been one of my favorites and one of the best from Guillermo Del Toro. When it comes to a visual eye, he is the man to deliver and this film is overloading with beauty and style. “Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale” gives us an exclusive look into the making of this wonderful modern marvel and does not disappoint. It also is stocked tight with a foreword by Guillermo Del Toro himself. I love his passion and it shows how much work and effort in each one of his films. This is a must owe book for any fan of “Pan’s Labyrinth”.

Official Premise: To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this acclaimed fantasy, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinthprovides the definitive account of the film’s creation. Written in close collaboration with the director, this volume covers everything from del Toro’s initial musings, through to the film’s haunting creature designs, the hugely challenging shoot, and the overwhelming critical and fan reaction upon the its release.

The book dives deep into the production of this amazing movie with some beautiful concept art and rare set photos. If you are looking for the ultimate behind-the-scenes look into Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth then look no further than this book! It is not just pretty photos though this book also has interviews with the film stars Ivana Baquero, Sergi López, Maribel Verdu, and Doug Jones and also key players like producers Alfonso Cuarón and Bertha Navarro; and director of photography Guillermo Navarro. This film is a classic and this book represents it perfectly!

Book Review “Disney Fairies: Bedtime Fairy Stories: A Treasury”

Author: Celeste Sisler
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Series: Disney Fairies
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: LB Kids
Release Date: October 7, 2014

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Tinker Bell has always been a favorite character from “Peter Pan” but she has recently developed into one of Disney’s biggest character within the Disney Fairies series. Having a two year old, I have become a big fan myself of the Disney Fairies, especially the movies. “Disney Fairies: Bedtime Fairy Stories: A Treasury” is a great collection of nine bedtime stories for my little tinker Bella (my daughters name). A must have for sure!

Official Premise: The fairies of Pixie Hollow are always busy flittering about. They have mysteries to solve, animals to care for, and a responsibility to help one another. But the fairies also know how to have fun together! They go on great fairy campouts, search for the perfect pumpkin, and paint beautiful pictures. This bedtime treasury includes nine soothing stories sure to put every fairy to sleep.

The illustrations are very colorful and vibrant. I have read some bedtime stories that are a bit too exciting to really be considered bedtime stories since it rallies the kids up. This collection really has some enjoyable stories but my daughter loves to point out each of the characters’ names and what is going on in the stories. So I have really enjoyed reading this to her at night. I hope that LB Kids have future volumes planned.

Blu-ray Review “The Pirate Fairy”

Starring: Mae Whitman, Christina Hendricks, Tom Hiddleston, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné, Megan Hilty
Director: Peggy Holmes
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: April 1, 2014
Run Time: 90 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Pirate Fairy” is the latest entry in the Tinker Bell led “Disney Fairies” direct-to-video CG-animated movie series. The last one “Secret of the Wings” was one of my favorites and was also in amazing 3D. This one has last that added dimension but is still an amazing film. It introduces us to a new strong female lead fairy Zarina (voiced of Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”) and also a captain boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston aka Marvel’s Loki)…hint hint who could be hooked to become a captain. These films are very cute and fun as well. My daughter is nearly two and she absolutely loves the Disney Fairies, especially Tinker Bell. I mean what girl doesn’t? This series is great for them and I hope that Disney continues these forever!

Official Premise: From the world of Peter Pan comes The Pirate Fairy, a swashbuckling new adventure about Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy who’s captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities. When Zarina’s wild ideas get her into trouble, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, who make her captain of their ship. Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends must embark on an epic adventure to find Zarina, and together they go sword-to-sword with the band of pirates led by a cabin boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston), who’ll soon be known as Captain Hook, himself.

Disney released this film with a combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + HD Digital copy. Since Disney has started their own streaming online service, I have been loving this option. I hope they make an Android app sooner than later…not everyone has an Apple product Disney! The 1080p transfer is mind-blowing. The detail and work that must go into these films must be ridiculous. They create this world in these films and it looks so beautiful and magically. The colors are so vibrant and feel so fresh. If that wasn’t enough this Blu-ray comes with an outstanding DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, that’s right 7.1. Since this film is more action based, it is very impressive.

The Blu-ray is also packed with great special features both for kids and the adults. “Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land” gives you the chance to explore Never Land’s history and its endless ability to inspire. “The Making of ‘The Frigate That Flies'” takes you behind-the-scenes with Tom Hiddleston at the song recording. “Croc-u-mentary” is a funny documentary about the character “Crocky”. Lastly, there are some Deleted Scenes and Sing-Along Songs included rounding out the extras. Fans of this series should really enjoy these extras after the film.


Book Review “The Very Fairy Princess Sparkles in the Snow” by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Author: Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Age Range: 3 – 6 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 1
Series: The Very Fairy Princess (Book 5)
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 15, 2013

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Having a daughter changes your life. I am watching her grow day by day and I just appreciate when fantastic books like this are released for her to enjoy. “The Fairy Princess” is a great series for little girls and this latest installment is the fifth book in the series. It is written by the mother-daughter team of Julie Andrews (aka “Mary Poppins”) and Emma Walton Hamilton. My family and myself are suckers for anything teamed for holidays. So “The Very Fairy Princess Sparkles in the Snow” is right up our alley and it is easily the cutest book in the series and I can’t to see what the duo have planned next.

Official Premise: The Winter Wonderland Festival is just around the corner, and Gerry knows this is her moment to SHINE. She’s the most enthusiastic singer around, so she’s certain her music teacher will choose her to perform the solo. She takes every opportunity to show him her VERY best voice-during rehearsal, during lunchtime, and even during recess. When a professional singer is given the solo instead, Gerry is crushed…but as the snow begins to fall, she finds a way to get her SPARKLE back!

Julie Andrews has been such an amazing entertainer throughout her long career and I love the fact that she has turned to writing children’s books. Plus, I love it even more that she has been doing this with her own daughter, which makes it feel like a family project. The story is so sweet and such an even read. Given my daughter is only 16 months old right now but she loved the illustrated (courtesy of Christine Davenier) and the colors are so warm and welcoming. I see this book because a must read daily for my daughter and as she grows up. Keep them coming ladies! Book five and going strong!

Book Review “The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm”

Author(s): Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Editor: Noel Daniel
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Taschen
Release Date: October 4, 2011

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When you actually take the time and read into the work of the Brothers Grimm, you realize that they have created so many classics. This book consists of the most famous collections of tales from the Brothers Grimm. Included amongst the two dozen stories are classics like “Cinderella”, “Snow White”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Hansel and Gretel”. It always makes me step back and think about how much of an influence the Grimm stories have given us in our history. This all-new translation was specially commissioned for this publication by Taschen.

The most important part about the stories is the accompanied artwork. It is backed by some of the most famous illustrators from the 1850s to the 1950s, including Golden Age legend Kay Nielsen, bestselling author Wanda Gág, Walter Crane and Arthur Rackham, and 19th century German illustrations from Hermann Vogel, Otto Speckter and Viktor Paul Mohn. The book is also produced on a very impressive hard stock paper, which also compliments the colors in each image.

Another amazing reason to purchase this book is that it also includes fantastic silhouettes pulled from original publications from the 1920s. With my daughter on the way within in a few weeks of writing this review, I look forward to sharing these stories with her after she is born. It is a real treat for both adults and children alike. This collection will also make sure that people will always be able to loose themselves in fairy tales and take a journey in the minds of the Brothers Grimm.

Blu-ray Review “Tooth Fairy 2”

Directed by: Alex Zamm
Starring: Larry The Cable Guy, David MacKey, Lucius Baston
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: March 6, 2012
MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 90 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Did the world really need a sequel to “The Tooth Fairy”?  I honestly have no idea why this film was made. More importantly, I just felt really bad for Larry the Cable Guy for having to star in this extremely low budget crappy sequel. The Rock’s “The Tooth Fairy” carried a $48 million dollar budget, I would honestly be surprises if this cost anywhere above $5 million. I wanted to think that this was a least “cute” but it was very painful to watch overall. I think even kids will easily lose attention watching this.

The film follows a child in adult’s clothes, Larry Guthrie, who chooses a bowling tournament over this girlfriend Brooke. He tries to win her back by helping out with her after school program, though he ends up telling a child that the tooth fairy doesn’t exist. That night Larry get’s taken to fairy world and is told that he has to collect ten teeth or he will loose his most precious memory. He continues to try to win back his ex-girlfriend while playing tooth fairy at night.  Overall this was really hard to watch fully through.

The Blu-ray presentation was nothing special at all.  Decent video and audio at best. The special features are useless also just like this movie is. The first is called “Why Do I Lose My Baby Teeth?” and is taught by Larry. “Return to Fairyland – Making Tooth Fairy 2” is a sad behind the scenes featurette. “Larry the Hairy Fairy” features Larry messing around in his tutu. “Introducing Crusher the Pig” focuses on the cute pig from the film. Lastly there are a few deleted scenes and alternate takes, which run about 10 minutes but are only in standard definition.