Men’s Gift Guide: What to Get the Guy Who Has Everything

Who’s more difficult to find a gift for: your mother-in-law, or the guy who has everything? Okay, so both are pretty hard. But honestly, just get your mother-in-law a photo album and a subscription for a fresh bouquet every month, and you’re golden. As for the impossible guy, the whole gift-giving world is your oyster. That’s right—there’s actually a whole treasure trove of gifts out there you can choose from for that extra-picky man you want to impress.

A Donation

Sometimes, a graceful way to show someone you care about them is to make a charitable donation in their name. This is such a win-win because you both get those warm-fuzzies that come from selfless giving, and your guy doesn’t have to worry about accruing more stuff that he doesn’t want or need. Plus, if he’s already involved in charity work, you can donate to the organization that’s close to his heart. Even the guy who has everything can’t get enough of giving back to a cause he’s passionate about.

A Dedication

Similar to a donation, there are countless adoption/dedication programs to choose from. You can get your guy anything from a star in the sky, a tree in the Amazon, or a snow leopard on the endangered list. Many of these programs provide periodical updates or facts about the object or creature you’re helping support—plus they usually come with fun little goodie bags. This is a nice, wholesome way of showing how much you care and how well you know him without having to get him another gadget he’ll only use once.

A Timepiece

Is there anything classier than a well-dressed guy with a slick new watch? No, there is not. If you absolutely have to get your everything-man something wearable, please let it be a watch. Look no further than these classic men’s watches from MVMT—their elegance will certainly delight the high-class tastes of your man. A sophisticated watch will help him get to all his appointments on time, but the best part? He’ll always think of you when he checks the time so you’re never far from his thoughts.

Nostalgia

Perhaps the solution is right in front of you. There’s no one in the world who doesn’t appreciate a thoughtful gift from the heart meant to remind you of happy times. The possibilities are endless. Yes, a photo album is always a crowd pleaser, but who says it has to be cute? It can be all funny pictures, embarrassing moments, or selfies (it is 2018, after all). But, photos are not the only way to a sentimental man’s heart. You can find a vintage hoodie from his alma mater, a pair of sunglasses that look just like the ones his grandpa used to wear, or some old baseball cards from when he used to trade them around with friends. Get creative, and do some digging. You can find some real treasures when you make an effort to remind your impossible-guy of the good ole’ days.

A Vacation

Don’t worry, there’s no need to plan a luxury trip to the Maldives for two weeks. A weekend trip is a great gift to share together that will spark plenty of new memories. Maybe you could take a little road trip or even opt for a staycation in your own city. Splurge for a nice hotel, get a reservation at that restaurant you keep talking about, book massages, and check off those touristy things you’ve been meaning to do for years. A lot of times, the best gift is just good company and happy memories to be made.

A New Hobby

Guys that have everything usually love to try new things and expand their horizons– otherwise they wouldn’t have so much cool stuff. Ask him about his interests and his schedule, and then do some research on classes in your area. Maybe it’s a cooking class, or he can learn how to brew beer, or maybe even a dance or art class. Trying something new is always exciting and gives you an excuse to get out together.

The man who has everything can be hard to shop for, but with a little creativity and thoughtfulness, you’re bound to find a gift that he’ll cherish for years to come.

 

Interview with “Survivors Guide to Prison” filmmaker Matthew Cooke

Actor/filmmaker/activist Matthew Cooke has long taken in an interest in looking out for the little guy.  His last film, the tongue-in-cheek documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs,” was well reviewed and opened a lot of eyes to the drug problem facing this country.    His newest documentary, “Survivors Guide to Prison,” looks at the current state of the judicial system and how it failed two very different men.  As the film begins it’s run across the country (it’s both in theatres and available on Video on Demand), Mr. Cooke took some time to speak with me about his goals and what he hopes to achieve with his work.

 

 

Mike Smith:   What inspired you to do this film?

Matthew Cooke:  I think we have a very large problem.  It’s like when you see a bad car crash or someone has fallen down a well.  You can’t ignore it.  You have to stop and try to do something.

MS:  Was there any one thing that made you tackle this subject?

MC:  Human beings are funny things.  We can walk by homeless people and ignore them.  We have a tendency to become numb.  But sometimes you look into a topic enough that you go, “Oh my God!”  You begin caring about it.  I really don’t think there’s another explanation I can give other than I finally became aware that human beings are being held in solitary confinement FOR YEARS and they don’t need to be there.  In a way it’s like being tortured.   I became aware that, the system that we have in place now, has an 80% failure rate.  That means that 80% of the inmates that are released from prison end up returning within 5 years.  Yet here we are, spending millions of dollars, putting more people into prison.  The U.S. has more people in prison than any other country in the world.  And it’s not effective.  We don’t help the victims of crime heal.  We don’t create more harmony.  We don’t create well-being.  To what master does this monstrosity serve.  And it’s money.  And when you finally learn about something it becomes personal.  “There but by the grace of God go I.”  I could be in this film.  I’m not trying to be overly dramatic but I couch-surfed for a while when I was out on my own.  That could have easily been the road for me.  That could have been me.

MS:  How did you come upon Bruce and Reggie’s cases? (NOTE:  The film follows two men, Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole, who were imprisoned for murders they did not commit.  Lisker was 17 when he was arrested for the death of his mother.  Cole 23 when he was accused of a neighborhood killing).

MC:  I met Bruce when he was speaking at a fundraising dinner.  I heard his story and thought, “this guy’s story is incredible.  It would make a hell of a movie.”  Reggie Cole I met through the California Innocence Project.  And I just thought that these two stories were so heart wrenching.  And they are both poets.  I think Reggie is one of the most articulate, poetical people around and no one could describe the horrors he endured the way he has.  Between he and Bruce, I just decided that these two guys’ stories are it.    I mean, there can really be nothing more horrifying than being put in prison for something you didn’t do.  This is a fear we all have.

MS:  One thing I noticed in the film is that you shot all of your narrators close up and make-up free.  Every blemish visible.  Was that intentional?

MC:  Yes.  I wanted them to be raw.  I tell people it’s not really a movie.  It’s a film because of the media used but it’s really a public service announcement.  A bunch of us coming together to tell you what’s going on.  I didn’t want it to be polished.  I adore every aspect of film making but I didn’t want to make anything that was purposely beautiful that would take away anything from the informational aspect.  I wanted it to be very, very raw and very up-close.  Really almost claustrophobic.  I didn’t want audiences to enjoy it as if it was exploitative.  Sometimes we make films that are so pretty that we enjoy them too much.  I really wanted this film to be visceral…in your face.   I want the film to be memorable.   It’s my hope that it delivers an educational and raw, unbridled education and that it achieves it’s goal.   Where we no longer think of prison anymore as the answer.

MS:  Have Bruce and Reggie received any compensation?

MC:  Yes they have.  I don’t have the exact figures off the top of my head.  And I’m also of the opinion that financial compensation is no substitution for time.  (NOTE:  Bruce Lisker received $7.6 million after spending 26 years in prison.  Reggie Cole received $5.3 million for his nearly 15 years behind bars, the last 10 in solitary confinement.)

MS:  What’s next on your plate?

MC:  What’s next?  I want everyone to see “Survivors Guide to Prison.”  We worked five years to construct something that is really worth 100 minutes of peoples’ time.  Getting the word out.  I’m all about that right now.

Film Review – “Survivor’s Guide to Prison”

 

SURVIVOR’S GUIDE TO PRISON

Starring:  Danny Trejo, Matthew Cooke and Susan Sarandon

Directed by:  Matthew Cooke

Rated:  Not Rated

Running time:  1 hrs 42 mins

Gravitas Ventures

 

 

 

 

When I sat down to write this review, I tried to think of a film that, upon its release, found itself on the front page because of the subject matter it covered.  All I could come up with was “The China Syndrome,” which was released in March 1979.  12 days after it opened, events unfolded at Three Mile Island which nearly mirrored the film.  Recently here in Kansas, a man named Lamonte McIntyre was released from prison after serving 19 years for a crime he didn’t commit.  That theme is repeated in filmmaker Matthew Cooke’s latest project, “Survivor’s Guide to Prison.”

 

The film introduces us to two very different people with one thing in common:  innocence.  Bruce Lisker was a white 17-year old boy when he came home one afternoon to find his mother dying from multiple stab wounds.  He called 911 but when the police arrived they took him into custody “for his protection.”  He would not see freedom again for 26 years.  Reggie Cole was a young black man who was also arrested for murder.  He was lucky.  He only had to fight for 16 years for his freedom.  Both men were the victims of shoddy police work, ineffectual representation and this country’s eagerness to throw people in prison.  And it’s not getting any better.

 

Narrated by a host of celebrities, among them Trejo, Quincy Jones, Danny Glover, Sarandon, Ice T and director Cooke himself, the film is a step-by-step, by the numbers guide on how to do whatever it takes to keep yourself out of prison.  As they tick through the bullet points – “Be Polite” is first and foremost – it’s almost humorous to see people like Trejo, his face weathered from having spent over a decade himself in prison, offer reminders on how to stay clean.  But the more they speak, the more you realize you’d better pay attention.  It is revealed that with all of the new and various laws being passed constantly, the average American can commit three felonies a day without knowing it.

 

As we learn more and more about life behind bars, the film also revisits Lisker and Cole, and they’re own struggles.  The true definition of irony comes when, five years into his sentence, Cole kills a man in self-defense.  Because of the circumstances that put him behind bars for murder, an innocent man is NOW a murderer.  Hidden camera and surveillance footage show the brutal way of life that is a constant for those incarcerated.

 

A sobering look at a life any of us, if enough things work against us, could find ourselves living, “Survivor’s Guide to Prison” is a film that should not be missed.

Video Poker Guide

The game of Video Poker was first introduced in casinos (by Si Redd) in the mid-1970s when computers and monitors were first combined to form personal computers. The 5 card poker game has gained popularity across the world over the past years thanks to the latest mobile technology that allows gamblers to play real money video poker from the comfort of their homes.

Other than the simplicity and fun that accompanies this card game, players also enjoy hundreds of game variations, betting options, and low house edge.

Currently, there are numerous video poker variations both land-based and online casinos, hence, you must read and master the variation you want before diving in to play. Nonetheless, our guideline will help you to choose the best card variation, how to play it, how to win and where to play.

How do I play?

The logic of playing not hard to grasp as every player is given 5 cards. The player must choose which cards to play with by clicking on them on the monitor, the ones that are not used are discarded. Once you placed your betting stake (from $1-$5), you select a number of coins you want to wager on a hand. It is recommended to start with max coins because the chances of winning are high (payout of 800:1).

Alternatively, you can scale down to the quarter machine if you want to place low stake bets which offer as low as $1.25 per hand.

What is a Pay table and how does it work?

Winning in this card poker game is determined by the strength of your hand on the pay tables. Every pay table has 5 columns representing the total cards/credits used for winning. You will notice that all payouts are uniform irrespective of the number of coins selected except for Royal Flush which offers a payout of 250:1 on all bets, less 5 coins. The following is the standard pay table that you will find in how each hand is paid.

Explanation of Poker Hands

Sequential Royal: this is the highest paying hand in this card poker and it occurs when royal flushes appear in an order across the monitor e.g. from left to right.

Royal Flush: This is a straight flush but with the highest paying cards like 2, 8, 6 and 10 and it plays the role of the jackpot.

Straight flush: this hand is both a straight and a flush. It includes J, 10, 8, and 9.

Straight: this hand has consecutive ranks like 9 and 6.

Flush: this hand includes all identical cards like Q, 4 and 6.

What are the variations in this card poker game?

There are a number of variations you will find in this game like Tens or Better, Deuces wild, Jacks or Better and Double Bonus, but with Jacks or Better is the commonly used variation in casinos. In no particular order, this is the description of the variations;

Jacks or Better

This is the most played variation with giant winning chances to the gamers. Players in this game must hit a pair of Jacks for it to count as a win. On the other hand, you can opt to play 4 lines Jacks or Better where you will have 4 rows and you can bet concurrently to win handsomely.

Tens or Better

This is a variation of jacks or better whereby you win when you get a pair of tens or better.

Deuces wild

In this poker variation, Deuces wild can substitute any card to achieve a stronger winning hand with a high payout.

What is the Winning Strategy in this game?

Since video poker game is more or less like Blackjack, it is easy to come up with a plan that will guarantee you a win on every single hand. Nevertheless, it is good to remain faithful to your instincts and gut because, despite the strategy, gambling is based on chance.

Target the Max Coins

Playing with Max coins will give you a Royal Flush hand whereby you stand a chance to get a payout ratio of 800:1 whereas Min coins will grant you a low payout of 250:1.

Practise before real gambling

There are free demo games available on the internet today. It is recommended that you do some practice before starting real money gambling. This will help you to familiarize with the pay tables and other rules of the game.

Play within your limits

Money is sweet and if you don’t set your limits in gambling, you might end up bankrupt. If you play and loose consecutively, simply log out and live to fight another day.

Avoid Alcohol

Do not be fooled by Hollywood scenes where you see rich guys drinking expensive liquors while gaming. All winning strategies are bred in your brain. Stay sober and you will hit the jackpot.

Where can I play Poker Games?

Online casinos have become so many today and this can be dangerous to beginners who want to make some good money from the comfort of their homes. Some of these casinos are legit while others are mere online scams. Fortunately, our https://best10casinosonline.co.uk/ has top certified, safe and secure online casinos for both beginners and experts. These casinos offer video poker games together with other countless casino games you can imagine.

Verdict

This 5 card poker game has great opportunities for generating good income, although it is not for every Tom, Dick, and Harry. If you cannot withstand the pressure of making decisions that will determine your chance of winning, we suggest you stay away from Video Poker.

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Film Review “Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse”

Film review by Jeremy Werner
Starring:
Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Miller
Directed By: Christopher B. Landon
Rated: R
Running Time: 93 minutes
Paramount Pictures

Our Score: 2 out of 5 Stars

Among the four credited writers for “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”, one must have known what they were doing. One of those writers must have grown up watching movies like “Dead Alive” and “Return of the Living Dead” on late Saturday nights. For every hilarious scene “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” conjures up, there’s at least two or three that don’t even nip at the funny bone.

Ben (Sheridan), Carter (L. Miller), Augie (J. Miller) are the last of a dying bunch, the scouts. Ben and Carter realize that the scouts are the lowest part of the social totem pole at high school. They can’t even get an AV geek to join their ranks. Augie however, lives and dies by the scout code. Ben and Carter are only in it because they’re still friends with Augie and they know it means a lot to him. So Ben and Carter decide to humor Augie for one more overnight in the woods.

Ben and Carter, hoping to salvage their adolescence, plan to sneak out during the overnight and head to a party across town. Meanwhile, an unexplained virus breaks out of a lab, and slowly seeps into town. Within that time frame of our three heroes going out for the night and Ben and Carter sneaking off, the townsfolk are turned into zombies. The build up is expected, but it still takes it sweet time before the carnage starts.

Once the carnage does start though, it seems a bit tame. There are some decent zombie kills, but nothing that hasn’t been done before. As for the jokes, they’re small hits or wide misses. A lot of jokes come too quickly to be enjoyed and those that linger are clearly taken out of someone’s better written script. While “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” is rowdy, it’s not rowdy enough for the full 93 minutes.

For every inspired moment of comedy or gore, there’s a really long waiting time for something to happen. It doesn’t have a strong enough character presence like “Zombieland” to carry the story. It’s hard to relate with teenagers who individually represent horny, courageous, and heartfelt. It’d work better if all three he had these qualities. There’s also a couple of weird loose ends that never go anywhere, like the fact that zombies will sing if they hear their favorite song.

“Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” may suffer from peak zombie in pop culture. We’ve nearly seen it all and while the title is cool, there’s not much else that we haven’t seen in other movies. For those looking from the bleak pessimism of “The Walking Dead” this weekend, “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” may come as a pleasant surprise. For seasoned horror and zombie fans, it’s disappointing this couldn’t have been more.

Book Review “The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy: Location Guide – Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain and Beyond”

Author: Ian Brodie
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

New Zealand is a country that I would never think that I would ever want to visit…that is until “The Lord of the Rings” and “The HobThe HobbitThe Hobbit” films came along. Since those films have come out, people all over the world have flocked to New Zealand in order to visit the the “real” Middle-earth. “The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy:  Location Guide – Hobbiton, the Lonely Mountain and Beyond” delivers you the locations where the new trilogy was shot around New Zealand from the author of the international bestseller “The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook”. The book also comes with a foreword by Sir Peter Jackson and contributions by Andy Serkis, Jared Connon, and Dan Hennah.

After reading this book, I literally wanted to pack up and plan a trip to New Zealand. The locations in these films are so visually stunning that they literally jump off the pages. Luckily, Harper Design delivered us a beautiful book with extremely crisp and high quality original landscape photography. This book exclusive movie images and location photographs, specialty maps and directions, GPS references, touring information and even helpful Internet addresses. If you are a hardcore “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” and you read this book and do not seriously consider a trip to New Zealand then I might suggest that you might not be as big of a fan as you think. Well if you take the trip or not, this is a must own for any fan certainly.

 

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Book Review “Disney Infinity: Prima Official Game Guide (2014 Revised Edition)”

Author: Howard Grossman
Series: Prima Official Game Guides
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Prima Games
Revised edition
Release Date: March 11, 2014

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I have been playing “Disney Infinity” since the first game it was released and it is so much fun. But to be honest, I probably would have enjoyed it as much without reading the Disney Infinity: Prima Official Game Guide. The book was jam-packed with everything you need to know about the game. Well, since this game is ever-expanding it is only expected that the book should as well. Prima Games released an updated 2014 Revised Edition with over 175 new pages included. I was hesitant at first since I already owned the original guide but this one is a must own for anyone playing Disney Infinity, no question!

This book features easy-to-follow walkthroughs for all ages. Are you stuck on a specific puzzle, mission or quest? If so this book really lays it out for everyone to be able to follow and get the most out of the game. Since the release of the last book, Disney Infinity has released tons of new characters and play sets including “Toy Story in Space”. Included inside are exclusive maps cover every play set with detailed locations of hidden areas, items, and collectibles. If you are looking to max out your new characters like Jack Skellington, Phineas, Agent P, Sorcerer Mickey, Rapunzel, Anna & Elsa and many more you can find out how to unlock their powers and gadgets along with details on the entire power disc collection.

Most importantly if you are a fan of “Disney Infinity” then you enjoy to play in the Toy Box mode. You are able to learn how to build and customize your own virtual world with the detailed guide given on the variety of Disney characters, powers, gadgets and accessories. This new revised edition also comes with free mobile access to the eGuide. This will allow you access your guide from PC, Mac, tablet and smartphone devices etc. I found this really handy when I didn’t have the book right in front of me. So if you are playing “Disney Infinity”, I cannot recommend this guide from Prima Games anymore!

2013 Disney Blu-ray Holiday Gift Guide

Are you looking for great holiday gifts, as we enter the shopping season? Well don’t worry since Media Mikes is providing you the best choices in terms of Blu-ray and DVD released by Walt Disney Home Entertainment! Be sure not to miss any of these great releases this Fall! Your friends and family will be thanking you later!

Iron Man 3 – September 24
Marvel Studios’ Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. Available on 3D Super Set, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Copy & On Demand September 24, 2013.

Bonus features include: Deconstructing The Scene – Jump into action with the stunt-team skydivers in this close-up look at creating one of the movie’s most memorable scenes; Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Look at Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World; Marvel’s Iron Man 3 Unmasked—Join cast and crew for a crash course in epic movie-making, Marvel style; Gag Reel; Deleted & Extended Scenes and Audio Commentary with Drew Pearce & Shane Black.

The Little Mermaid: Diamond Edition 3D – October 1
The timeless story of the Little Mermaid is making its Diamond Edition debut this October. The Blu-ray contains oceans full of bubbly bonus features including an All-New Music Video by Carly Rae Jepsen singing “Part Of Your World,” featurettes including @ Disney Animation which speaks with current Disney animators who were inspired by the film, a Deleted Character, The Real Little Mermaid: Live Action Reference Model, Part of Her World: Jodi Benson’s Voyage To New Fantasyland, Howard’s Lecture, Crab-e-okee along to your favorite songs and all the classic DVD bonus features. Availbale on 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + Music Download) for $49.99 SRP and 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital Copy (Blu-ray + DVD/ Digital Copy) for $44.99 SRP.

Monsters University – October 29
This Fall, Disney Pixar celebrates homecoming with the release of “Monsters University” on Digital HD and Digital HD 3D on October 8, 2013, followed by the 4-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, 3-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on October 29, 2013. Lots of bonus features, go behind the scenes on Pixar’s real life campus with multiple featurettes, view “Deleted Scenes” and featured is the animated short “The Blue Umbrella”.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol 30th Anniversary – November 5
Ring in the holidays with a new 30th Anniversary Special Edition of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Disney’s timeless tale sparkles like never before on Blu-ray and Digital Copy, with fully-restored classic holiday shorts, plus all-new bonus features!

Make the season merry as Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all their pals star in a heartwarming retelling of Dickens’ unforgettable holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is far too greedy to understand that Christmas is a time for kindness and generosity. But with the guidance of some wise ghosts (Goofy and Jiminy Cricket) and a bunch of newfound friends, Scrooge learns to embrace the spirit of the season. Share this wonderful holiday treat with the whole family! Bonus features include: Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Yodelberg, Pluto’s Christmas Tree, Art of Skiing, Corn Chips, & The Hockey Champ. Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD+DVD+eCopy), DVD (+ eCopy), or Digitally.

Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – November 5
Get ready to ring in the season with a full-length adventure straight from the heart of the Hundred Acre Wood. Join Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Roo and the whole gang in Winnie The Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year – now on Blu-ray™ and Digital Copy for the very first time. Newly re-mastered in digital high definition, this sparkling holiday classic is an inspiring celebration of friendship. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but Rabbit will only discover the true spirit of the season after his pals make misguided New Year’s resolutions to change – with hilarious and heartfelt results! Featuring beloved characters, delightful songs and fun-filled bonus goodies, this special Gift of Friendship Edition is sure to become a shared family tradition for generations to come! Bonus features include Disney Intermission: press “pause” and see the characters break into song and dance. Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack (BD+DVD+eCopy), DVD (+ eCopy), or Digitally.

Planes – November 19
Disney’s heartwarming family comedy, PLANES, revved up with high-flying action and adventure, lands in homes and mass retailers nationwide on November 19th. This endearing underdog story about a crop dusting plane named Dusty with sky-high dreams touches down on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and On-Demand featuring a cargo hold full of exciting bonus features. Guaranteeing hours of fun, PLANES is the perfect gift for “ladies and gentle-planes” of all ages this holiday season.

Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United – December 3
Marvel makes history again with one of the greatest Heroic team ups in the universe. Hulk’s brute strength and Tony Stark’s high-tech intellect come together to create a powerful duo necessary to face off against one of the most dangerous enemies.

When “Zzzax,” a seemingly invincible, energy devouring monster threatens to destroy the planet, these two Avengers are mankind’s only hope. Alone, neither can defeat the awesome power of Zzzax. As a team, they just might have a chance – if they can find a way to work together without smashing heads before time runs out! This Marvel

Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary – December 10
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke bring this timeless classic to life for the first time on Blu-ray. Bonus highlights include: “Mary-oke” an interactive segment that allows viewers to sing-along with famous songs from the film, “Becoming Mr. Sherman,” Saving Mr. Banks’ Jason Schwarzman reveals what it was like to take on the shoes of famed Disney musician Richard Sherman and the making of the Broadway musical.

The Lone Ranger – December 17
Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer star in The Lone Ranger, from Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Director Gore Verbinski. It’s a wild ride of high velocity action, explosions and gunfights that brings the famed masked legend to life through brand-new eyes. The Lone Ranger (Hammer), the last of his kind, teams with Tonto (Depp), a dark and mysterious vigilante, to seek vengeance after justice has failed them. It’s a runaway train of epic surprises, as these two unlikely heroes must learn to work together before the ultimate showdown between good and evil explodes.

Book Review “Frozen: The Essential Guide”

Age Range: 5 – 10 years
Grade Level: Kindergarten – 5
Series: Dk Essential Guides
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: DK CHILDREN
Release Date: October 1, 2013

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Boy, is Disney really pushing “Frozen” or what? “Frozen” journeys into theaters November 27, 2013, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters and they are marketing it like it is going to be the next “Cinderella”. Listen, I am not complaining as I will be first in line next month! I love the love of this film and I just have a feel that it is going to win over audiences no question. As I walked around Target even this past weekend, there are is entire section of merchandise already dedicated to this film. So “The Essential Guide” is a great way to learn a little bit about the film, the characters, location and themes before you see it in theaters.

Official Premise: From the studio behind 2010’s Tangled and this year’s Wreck-It Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studios presents Frozen, the coolest comedy-adventure ever to hit the big screen. When a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter, Anna, a fearless optimist, teams up with extreme mountain man Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer, Sven, on an epic journey to find Anna’s sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, and put an end to her icy spell. Encountering mystical trolls, a funny snowman named Olaf, Everest-like extremes, and magic at every turn, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from destruction.

This fact-filled guide gives you a sneak peak into the enchanting world of this film and also features some beautiful movie stills and fun and interesting facts! Obviously, this book is aimed at kids and includes some decent information but nothing that is going to interest anyone over the age of 10. Either way, my 17 month old daughter loved this book and already has dolls of both of the leading ladies as well as Olaf the Snowman. So she will be reviewing this book often I am sure.  If you adults are looking for something for yourself, Disney is also planning a gorgeous companion book for you called “The Art of Frozen”, which I am sure is going to be stunning, which comes out next month from Chronicle Books.

Book Review “Sharkopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Shark”

Author: Discovery Channel
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Time Home Entertainment
Number of Pages: 192 Pages
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Sharks, why are we so fascinated with them? We just recently completed another amazing year of Shark Week, one of the best in my opinion! Great job, Discovery Channel. They are also behind this great new book, “Sharkopedia: The Complete Guide to Everything Shark”, teaming up with Time Home Entertainment, Inc. If you are a shark finatic like myself then you are going to love this book. This is a 192 page full-color book that includes over 400 vivid photos and tons of great information about nearly 500 species of sharks. I am very excited more importantly to show this book to my daughter as she gets older to have her learn about these amazing marvels. “Sharkopedia” is for all ages and really delivers an ultimate comprehensive book for shark fans.

Some of the chapters included “Shark Anatomy and Senses”, which explore shark parts, skin, muscles, fins, gills, hearing, taste and touch. “Feeding Habits” discuss different types of whats that sharks eat. “Record Breakers” show which shark can live over 200 years. “Shark Behavior” discuss if sharks sleep. “Shark Conservation” talks about what we can do to understand sharks better and how we can help them. There is tons of great information about Great White, Bull and Tiger sharks. I pride myself on being a big fan of sharks and there was still tons of great details that I have never known, thanks to this book. Highly recommend this and it is a great way to ease of having to wait another year before the next Shark Week.

Book Review “Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Episode Guide”

Author: Jason Fry
Reading Level: 8 up
Book Length: 232 pages
Release Date: June 3, 2013
Publisher: DK CHILDREN

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

While I am excited to see this book it also reminds me that this series is over and that makes me sad. This book is really the ultimate episode guide since it covers everything important from the show from episode one to the very last episode. DK Children has released another fantastic high quality release here. The images looks great and there is tons of fantastic information about each major event from the show. Even though it is aimed at kids, this should easily satisfy fans of all ages. If you are a fan of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, this is the book that you’ve been looking for.

Official Premise: A comprehensive guide, Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™ Episode Guide details every episode from the highly popular animated series, The Clone Wars, featuring plot points, key characters, and the spaceships, weapons, and gadgets. Each of the 108 episodes is showcased with a stunning visual spread. For the first time, all of the episodes will be presented in story order, making this the definitive chronology of the beloved television show, The Clone Wars!

Jason Fry is the author of this book and he has done tons of great “Star Wars” books including “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: The Expanded Visual Dictionary”, “Star Wars: The Secret Life of Droids”. He has also worked with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” with the books “Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Visual Guide” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars – Character Encyclopedia”. So I think it is safe to say that this book is coming from one of the best sources available for the franchise. I look forward to future releases from DK and definitely from Jason as well. Just because the “Clone Wars” series is done doesn’t mean it needs to disappear all together!  Keep ’em coming guys!

Book Review “The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A 3D Expanding Pocket Guide”

Author: Sarah McMenemy
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 30 pages
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 14, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is my third book in this Keepsake Cityscapes series that I have had the pleasure to review. I really enjoyed “New York: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape” and “Washington D.C.: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape”. These books are very simple and yet very effective. They pack a lot of great information into a small package. This latest volume takes us on a tour New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Welcome to the Met! Boasting more than two million works, it’s one of the world’s largest art museums. Learn about twelve top attractions, including the lovely Charles Engelhard Court, the formidable Arms and Armor Court, and the Modern Art Gallery showcasing works from Monet to the artists of today.”

The author Sarah McMenemy is the creator of this series and also including “London: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape” and “Paris: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape”. These foldout books with cutout paper are a great tool for kids to learn with and not having to leave the comfort of their homes. I am sure that it will also spark some inspiration with some kids to plan their future trips in their life. Look forward to reviewing future editions of this series.

 

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Book Review “Tolkien’s World: A Guide to the Peoples and Places of Middle-Earth”

Author: Gareth Hanrahan
Illustrator by: Peter Mckinstry
Hardcover: 80 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

I have to admit that I have never read J.R.R. Tolkien’s original books that inspired Peter Jackson’s trilogy, as well as the upcoming “The Hobbit” trilogy. But still I am huge fan of the series and I know quite a bit about the world that Tolkien has created.  This book, when it comes down to it, is an illustrated book that is really only aimed for kids.  Unless you are a die-hard Tolkien fan, I do not see any adults really diving into this book.  The focus is put on the series’ mythical characters and awe-inspiring locations. If you are looking to engage yourself in the incredible journey through Middle-earth, then then watch the movies and skip the book.

When I open a book I really need to fall in love with the illustrations right away otherwise I loose interest fast.  Peter Mckinstry did a decent job with designs these character with his approach but I just wasn’t on board. The book over plays like a encyclopedia. It aims to give details on various different aspects of Tolkien’s world exploring Middle-earth, ranging form the Hobbit’s Shire to dark world of Mordor. I would only recommend this book for two reasons, if you have a young kid or if you are desperate for the upcoming prequel “Hobbit movies”, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (December 2012) and The Hobbit: There and Back Again (December 2013).