Book Review “Sofia the First: Holiday in Enchancia”

Author: Catherine Hapka
Illustrator: Disney Storybook Art Team
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Sofia the First
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Disney Press
Release Date: October 29, 2013

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

“Sofia the First” is easily my favorite children’s television show on TV and Christmas is my favorite time of the time. Put the two together and we have a match made in heaven here with “Sofia the First: Holiday in Enchancia”, which is the latest book in the series from Disney Press. I really hope that Disney Junior is also planning on turning this story into a TV special like “Sofia the First: The Floating Palace”. This book is a perfect way to get in the mood for the holiday season. It blends the wonderful feeling of the holidays with the charm of “Sofia the First”.

The story focuses around a snowstorm that prevents King Roland from returning home in time for the holidays. Sofia leads her family on a brave expedition to find him, and shows Amber that spending the holiday with loved ones is better than any present. Containing the tradition with the last book, this one includes a very special appearance by Princess Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty”. Like the past books as well, this is wonderfully illustrated and really captures the holiday spirit.

Once thing that I realized is that this book is actually quite smaller than the first two installments in this series. I am not sure why Disney Press decided to take that route but to be honest, I like the smaller format much more. This book comes out in late October and will give parents plenty of time to pick up and spread some holiday joy to the family. I think I enjoyed this book as much as my daughter did (but I am also an old softie when it comes to the holidays). Keep them coming Disney Press, I can’t wait to see what you have planned next for this series!

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To celebrate to holiday seasons and the recent release of AWOLNATION’s “Megalithic Symphony”, Media Mikes would like to giveaway the holiday prize pack (show above). If you would like to win one of this great prize, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite song from AWOLNATION. This giveaway will be open until January 7th at Noon and is only open to residents of the United States. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Media Mikes will randomly pick out a winner and alert the winner via email.

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DVD Review “Rankin/Bass TV Holiday Favorites Collection”

Created by: Rankin/Bass
Studio: Warner Archive
DVD Release Date: August 31, 2012
Run Time: 148 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to Rankin/Bass, they are the Christmas special gods! I always think about their specials when the holiday season comes around. This TV Holiday Favorite Collections includes some of the lesser popular titles like “The Little Drummer Boy: Book II”, “Pinocchio’s Christmas”, “The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold” and “The Stingiest Man in Town” (which is the only one not using stop-motion “animagic”). I watch these specials every year on ABC Family. They are not the best of the best but they are still Rankin/Bass and they are classics.

Official Premise: Four family classics from the studio that helped make the holidays magic!: The Little Drummer Boy Book II: Starting where the original left off, Book II sends Aaron, the little drummer boy, off on a quest to aid Simeon, crafter of the silver bells. With Greer Garson and Zero Mostel. The Stingiest Man in Town: Rankin/Bass departs from its usual stop-motion “Animagic” process for this line animation adaptation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. With Walter Matthau, and Tom Bosley. Pinocchio’s Christmas: After Fox tricks him out of a gift for Geppetto, Pinocchio sets out on an adventure to reclaim Christmas. Along the way he meets up with a beautiful marionette and a jolly old man in a flying sleigh. With Alan King. The Leprechaun’s Christmas Gold: A sailor and a leprechaun join forces to reclaim the Christmas gold after a wailing banshee makes off with it, thanks to the sailor’s blunder. With Art Carney and Peggy Cass.

If I am not mistaken, this release is the first time that “The Little Drummer Boy: Book II” has been released on DVD, so that is the main draw here. The other specials have been previously released before on DVD, but it is nice to have them in the spotlight for once. The specials look nice on DVD but like some Warner Archive releases have not been remastered but taken from the best quality master that is currently available. So they could use a little touching up but for me that has always been the charm of these films, which is their imperfections. I look forward to sharing these episodes with my daughter and revisiting these each year.

 

Related ContentABC

2012 Holiday Movie Preview

Now that the turkey has been put away and the last piece of pie has been eaten it’s time to turn our attention to the upcoming Holiday Movie Season.  In the next five weeks the best (and sometimes the worse) of Hollywood will be coming to a theatre near you.  With early shots like “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Skyfall” opening earlier this month, not to mention this summer’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” the race to the Oscars has begun in earnest.  Here is a list of films opening between now and the end of the year.  Some synopsis information courtesy of our friends at the Internet Movie Database.  As always, dates shown are subject to change at the whim of the studio.

 

NOVEMBER 30

 

CALIFORNIA SOLO

Starring:  Robert Carlye,  Kathleen Wilhoite and Savannah Lathem.

Directed by:  Marshall Lewy

A former British rock star, now living in the states, is arrested for drunk driving and faces deportation.  Writer/director Lewy also wrote/helmed the entertaining “Blue State.”

OSCAR CHANCES:  No

 

THE COLLECTION

Starring:  Christopher McDonald, Randall Archer and Emma Fitzpatrick

Directed by:  Marcus Dunstan

After escaping from the grips of a serial killer known as “The Collector,” a father is forced to attempt to rescue his daughter from the Collector’s warehouse.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Won’t scare up any.

 

DRAGON

Starring:  Kara Hui, Wu Jiang and Takeshi Kanashiro

Directed by:  Peter Chan

Hoping to retire to a quiet and more peaceful life a former martial arts master finds himself pursued by his former master and a skilled detective.  After premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival “Dragon” finally makes it to theatres.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Unless it’s another “Departed” I’m going to say “no.”

 

KILLING THEM SOFTLY

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini

Directed by:  Andrew Dominik

A professional “enforcer” is called in to investigate a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Gandolfini chewing the scenery should be epic.

 

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:  DAY OF RECKONING

Starring:  Jean Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren and Scott

Directed by:   John Hyams

After a home invasion claims his wife and daughter a man vows to take down Luc Deveraux (JCVD, baby!). If the WGA is to be believed it took no less than EIGHT people to write this thing.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Only if they give an award for most writers on a film heading straight to video by Valentine’s Day.

 

DECEMBER 7

DEADFALL

Starring:  Eric Bana and Olivia Wilde

Directed by:  Stefan Ruzowitzky

After a disastrous attempt to rob a casino a man and his sister accidentally end up at the same Thanksgiving celebration.  Nothing says “family” like Turkey and larceny.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Bana has a better chance playing the Hulk again.

 

THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS

Starring:  Ed Lauter and Edward Burns

Directed by:  Edward Burns

If there’s an Irish surname in the title (“The Brothers McMullen,” “The Fighting Fitzgeralds”) you can bet it’s an Ed Burns film!  This one features Lauter as a father having Thanksgiving Dinner with his family 20 years after he walked out on them.  I sense a “Thanksgiving” theme coming on Pearl Harbor Day.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Actually Burns is a pretty good storyteller so….maybe?

 

HYDE PARK ON HUDSON

Starring:  Bill Murray and Laura Linney

Directed by:  Roger Michell

Remember the look on Bill Murray’s face when Sean Penn won the Oscar over him?  If early word is to be believed he may have a second chance this year with his portrayal of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Here, FDR hosts the King and Queen of England with the help of his distant cousin (and lover) Margaret Suckley.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Come on Billy Boy!

 

LAY THE FAVORITE

Starring:  Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall

Directed by:  Stephen Frears

A sports gambler falls for a casino waitress who also has a way with laying a bet or two.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Frears has been nominated twice for Best Director but not sure if this is going to make three.

 

PLAYING FOR KEEPS

Starring:  Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid

Directed by:  Gabrielle Muccino

A down on his luck former soccer player starts coaching his son’s team and meets attractive single moms, which I’m sure just makes him sexier in his ex-wife’s eyes.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Best Abs?

 

DECEMBER 14

 

THE HOBBIT:  AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

Starring:  Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and Ian McKellen

Directed by:  Peter Jackson

Bilbo Baggins journeys to the Lonely Mountain accompanied by a group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy earned 30 Oscar nominations and took home 17 awards.  I don’t see the well running dry any time soon.

 

STAND UP GUYS

Starring:  Christopher Walken and Al Pacino

Directed by:  Fisher Stevens

An impressionist’s dream as two of the most imitated actors EVER team up as a couple of old gangsters who decide to “get the band back together.”  Directed by the scientist who created Johnny 5 in “Short Circuit.”

OSCAR CHANCES:  Probably not but watching Walken and Pacino on screen together is award enough!

 

DECEMBER 19

 

MONSTERS INC. 3D

Starring the voices of:  Billy Crystal and John Goodman

Directed by:  Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich

Mike, Sully and little Boo return in the 2001 PIXAR classic with the added touch of the third dimension.

OSCAR CHANCES:  The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won the Oscar for Best Original Song.  For you trivia buffs, it lost the Best Animated Feature award to “Shrek.”

 

ZERO DARK THIRTY

Starring:  Jessica Chastain and Chris Pratt

Directed by:  Kathryn Bigelow

Isn’t life funny?  You’re all set to make a film detailing the decade long search for Osama bin Laden when a team of Navy Seals raid his compound and pop a new asshole in his forehead.  Rewrite!  Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, who both won Oscars for “The Hurt Locker,” reunite for what is sure to be one of the most controversial films of the season.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Depending on the political climate in Hollywood, either a bunch or nothing.

 

DECEMBER 21

 

THE IMPOSSIBLE

Starring:  Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor

Directed by:  Juan Antonio Bayona

After being swept up in a terrible tsunami a family of five find themselves separated.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Friends who have seen it tell me the performances are wrenching.  Perhaps a nod for Watts?

 

JACK REACHER

Starring:  Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike

Directed by:  Christopher McQuarrie

Based on Lee Child’s best-selling novel series, homicide investigator goes on a hunt for a sniper who has shot five seemingly random victims.  Writer/director McQuarrie won an Oscar for his screenplay for “The Usual Suspects.”  He also wrote “Valkrie” for Cruise and is the star’s choice to write and direct “Mission: Impossible 5.”

OSCAR CHANCES:   In real life Cruise is ten inches shorter than the title character…maybe best visual effects?

 

NOT FADE AWAY

Starring:  James Gandolfini and Christopher McDonald

Directed by:  David Chase

A group of New Jersey friends in the 60s form a band and aspire for the big time!  This is the feature film debut of “The Sopranos” creator Chase.

OSCAR CHANCES:  The 2nd time I’ve mentioned Gandolfini….could be an omen!

 

ON THE ROAD

Starring:  Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart

Directed by:  Walter Salles

Three friends travel across the country in a 1949 Hudson.  Based on Jack Kerouac’s classic novel, which despite being over five decades old, has never been adapted for a film.

OSCAR CHANCES:  When your source material is one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century an adapted screenplay nomination isn’t out of the question.

 

THIS IS 40

Starring:  Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann

Directed by:  Judd Apatow

If you really liked “Knocked Up” and left the theatre wondering what happened to the married couple with the cute kids you’re in luck!  This movie is all about them.  Nobody does funny/raunchy/sweet better than Judd Apatow.

OSCAR CHANCES:  The last comedy to win an Oscar for Best Picture was “Annie Hall.”  IN 1978!!

 

DECEMBER 25

 
DJANGO UNCHAINED

Starring:  Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by:  Quentin Tarantino

Can it really be just 20 years since QT burst onto the scene with “Reservoir Dogs?”  Yes it can.  For his seventh feature (I count “Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2” as one film) Tarantino tells the story of a former slave turned bounty hunter who is searching for his wife, still being held in captivity by an evil master.

OSCAR CHANCES:  NEVER bet against the former Video Archives clerk!

 

LES MISERABLES

Starring:  Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway

Directed by:  Tom Hooper

March 1987.  I’m walking through Times Square at about midnight when I find myself face to face with Colm Wilkinson and Terrence Mann (the actor, not the character played by James Earl Jones in “Field of Dreams”) who were both starring in the new musical “Les Miserables.”  “Someday,” I told them, they’re going to make a movie out of that show you’re in!”  OK, the second part I made up.  One of the greatest musicals of all time finally makes it to the big screen.

OSCAR CHANCES:  If Jackman can pull of “Bring Him Home” then a noms in the bag.  Hathaway already seems like a lock.  Hooper took home the directing Oscar for “The King’s Speech.”

 

PARENTAL GUIDANCE

Starring:  Billy Crystal and Bette Midler

Directed by:  Andy Fickman

Old school grandparents  clash with their grandchildren when they are asked to watch them by their daughter.

OSCAR CHANCES:  If Bette ain’t singing it ain’t happening!

 

WEST OF MEMPHIS

Documentary

Directed by:  Amy Berg

In 1993 three young boys were brutally murdered.  Three teenagers were tried for the crimes and sent to prison.  But the evidence never added up.  Peter Jackson produced this story of the West Memphis Three, who were finally released from prison last year.  If you’ve seen the HBO “Paradise Lost” trilogy then you’re familiar with the story.

OSCAR CHANCES:  With the celebrity clout of such stars like Johnny Depp in their corner should be a lock for a Best Documentary Feature nod.

 

DECEMBER 28

 

PROMISED LAND

Starring:  Matt Damon and John Krasinski

Directed by:  Gus Van Sant

In this topical drama, a natural-gas company big shot takes on an environmentalist to debate the issue of fracking.  Damon and Krasinski wrote the script.

OSCAR CHANCES:   The last time Damon shared a screenwriting credit it was on a little movie called “Good Wil Hunting,” which earned him and Ben Affleck an Oscar.

 

QUARTET

Starring:  Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon

Directed by:  Dustin Hoffman

Forty-five years after “The Graduate,” Dustin Hoffman makes his directing debut with a film based on the acclaimed play by Ronald Harwood.  At a home for retired opera singers, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday is disrupted by the arrival of an eternal diva…the former wife of one of the residents.

OSCAR CHANCES:  Possibly.  This is the kind of movie the old guard at the Academy loves!

 

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Blu-ray Review “Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special”

Directed by: Tim Johnson
Starring: Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Lucy Liu, James Hong
Jack McBrayer, Dan Fogler
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Dreamworks Animated
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Run Time: 25 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Firstly, I am stumped that this short was not included on “Dreamworks Holiday Classics” release. As a stand-alone release, I really think that it is a toss-up to purchase unless you are a really hardcore “Kung Fu Panda” fan. What is good about this short though is that it brings back ALL of the original voice cast. It also doesn’t specifically focus on Christmas, it keeps it on a generic holiday angle so it is available to a more wide-audience. When it comes down to it though, this is a fun short for the whole family that will make you smile and get in the mood for the holiday season!

Official Premise: In this hilarious action adventure, Master Shifu calls on Po to host the year’s biggest event – the Winter Feast, a special time of the year to celebrate family, tradition and the awesomeness of Kung Fu! Po and the Furious Five must team up to throw the best celebration the Valley of Peace has ever seen. Can Po pull off the perfect party, impress his heroes, and discover the true meaning of the Winter Feast?

“Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special” looks stunning on Blu-ray in its super sharp 1080p transfer. It also packs a really impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track. Dreamworks did not cheap out on this at all. The special features are aimed at kids and are decent. There are various interactive features including “Learn to Draw Wo Hop”, “Kung Fu Panda Holiday Shuffle”, “Mr. Ping’s Noodle House” and “How to Use Chopticks”. I was hoping for a little more since this release just includes the 25 minute short but like I said decent overall.

Blu-ray Review “DreamWorks Holiday Classics”

Starring: Mike Myers, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Dreamworks Animated
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Run Time: 85 minutes

Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

Christmas is right around the corner and “DreamWorks Holiday Classics” is the second compilation release after last months “DreamWorks Spooky Stories”. This release includes five Christmas-themed shorts, including “Shrek the Halls”, “The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper”, “Merry Madagascar”, “Donkey’s Christmas Shrektacular” and “Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury”. Though missing from this release is the previously released “Madagascar” short “Party With The Penguins”.  Also Dreamworks also released “Kung Fu Panda Holiday”, which could have been included in this release easily. Nonetheless, these Dreamworks shorts really bring the Christmas spirit and are just downright right.   If you own these shorts previously though, I wouldn’t say that they are worth the purchase but if you don’t the HD upgrade is worth it.

Official Premise: “Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury”: The Dragons are back in the exciting next chapter to the Academy Award-nominated film, “How to Train Your Dragon”. The epic story of Hiccup and Toothless continues as they take flight in a thrilling adventure to discover an island of ever-before-seen dragons. “Merry Madagascar”: When Santa and his reindeer crash onto the island of Madagascar, it’s up to Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and those wacky Penguins to save Christmas. Get ready for a sleigh full of laughs in this hilarious holiday classic. Also includes “The Penguins of Madagascar in a Christmas Caper”. “Shrek the Halls”: After promising Fiona and the kids a Christmas they’ll remember, Shrek is forced to take a crash course in the holiday. But just when he thinks he has everything for a quiet family Christmas just right, Donkey, Puss in Boots, Gingy and the rest of the gang decide to crash the party. “Shrek the Halls” is the greatest holiday tale that’s never been told until now. Also includes “Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular”.

This release is delivered as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack. The 1080p transfers looks amazing on each short. The colors are perfect and super crisp. The star of the release though is the Dolby True HD 7.1 track for “Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury” and “Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular”. I was very impressed with these. The rest of the films include Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, which are also stunning. The downfall though is that there is only one special feature included on this release, which is a sing-along version for “Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-tacular”. Lastly there is also some previews for additional DreamWorks titles.

DVD Review “The Garfield Show: Holiday Extravaganza”

Series Creators: Philippe Vidal, Robert Rea & Steve Balissat
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Distributed by: Vivendi Entertainment
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Episodes: 6
Running Time: 75 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “The Garfield Show”, I have always been a fan. Of course it doesn’t compare to the classic Jim Davis cartoon but it is all we have right now. This release in particular is great since it focuses on my favorite time of the year, the Fall holidays. Well I guess I am not the only one since this release includes a hilarious collection Garfield’s favorite holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! If you are looking for a fun pack of episodes that will surely get you and your family in the holiday mood, look no further.

The episodes included are “The Haunted House”, “Which Witch”, “Turkey Trouble”, “Caroling Capers” and “Home For The Holidays Part 1 & 2″. Oh course I am partial to the Christmas episodes but all of them are very entertaining. There is also a bonus episode included called “Heir Apparent”. Each episode is about 10 minutes and in that time it delivers a good dose of our feline friend and his clueless mutt….oh and Odie also 😉 Vivendi Entertainment has been releasing a bunch of these collections for this show and let’s hope that they continue in the future.

Concert Review “94.1 The Zone’s Presents: Rover’s Holiday Hangover”

“94.1 The Zone’s Presents: Rover’s Holiday Hangover”
Everlast, New Found Glory, Four Year Strong, Young Bloods, Velvet Elvis, Falling Forward
Date: Saturday, January 21st 2012
Venue: Main St. Armory, Rochester, NY

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

January 21st saw the arrival of Rover’s Holiday Hangover featuring Everlast and New Found Glory. The concert was put on by 94.1 The Zone which is one of Rochester NY’s most listened to stations. Like most radio sponsored events the musical line up was somewhat diverse and at times questionable in my opinion however each band put on solid performances for the near capacity crowd.

The Webster, NY based band Falling Forward kicked off the show playing their own blend of melodic infused metal which received a favorable welcome from those who showed up early for the show. Velvet Elvis followed and performed a drawn out set of what I would describe as sludge rock. The band had a couple moments where I questioned if they were at the level to play on such a bill. Clearly stopping their drummer to restart songs is not a plus in my book. The crowd responded to the band with a somewhat lack luster applaud as the band left the stage almost 40 minutes later. Home town favorites Young Bloods took to the stage next and worked the packed hall back into a frenzy that was complete with dozens of flying glowing sticks which were given out by the band prior to the start of their set.

Next to take the stage was thought to be Four Year Strong however due to an illness in the band only two members were able to perform. Prior to the start of their set it was announced that this would be the first time ever that people were going to hear some of their songs performed acoustically. The crowd seemed very thankful that even though the entire band was not present they still cared enough to come out and put on a stellar performance that sounded amazing.

Pop Punk heavy weights New Found Glory followed after a brief intermission and preceded to ignite the crowd into one mosh pit fueled, crowd surfing hodgepodge that had security working overtime. The band played hit after hit along with treating the crowd to a couple classic covers songs by Green Day and The Ramones. Everlast would close out the show playing his own blend of blues infused hip-hop. A quick survey of the crowd made me question the playing order of the night as I noticed quite a few people myself included heading for the doors after only three songs.

Overall Rover’s Holiday Hangover was a decent show. It would have been nice to have a more cohesive line up as I felt it may have held listeners attention better and not made them want to leave early. For a presale price of $10.00 and a door price of $20.00 you really could not complain especially in this day and age. 94.1 The Zone did a great job giving back to their listeners and I am looking forward to attending more of their shows.

New Found Glory Set List:
1.)    All Downhill From Here
2.)    Something I Call Personality
3.)    Radiosurgery
4.)    Understatement
5.)    Don’t Let Her Pull You Down
6.)    Hot or Miss
7.)    Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones Cover)
8.)    Memories and Battle Scars
9.)    Failure’s Not Flattering
10.)  Kiss Me (Sixpence Non the Richer Cover)
11.)  Dressed to Kill
12.)  Anthem for the Unwanted
13.)  Truth of my Youth
14.)  Head on Collision
15.)  Basket Case (Green Day Cover)
16.)  It’s Not Your fault
17.)  Intro
18.)  My Friends Over You

Stand Up to Cancer and Lucasfilm Kick Off The Holiday Season by Using the Force for Good

STAND UP TO CANCER AND LUCASFILM KICK OFF

THE HOLIDAY SEASON BY USING THE FORCE FOR GOOD

New All-Star Behind-the-Scenes Star Wars™ Video Tribute Featuring

Outtakes Debuts

Iconic Darth Vader Design Joins Exclusive Line of

SU2C Star Wars T-Shirts Available at SU2C.org

LOS ANGELES, CA, NOVEMBER 28, 2011— Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and Lucasfilm will continue their collaboration this holiday season when they release never-before-seen outtakes from the highly popular star-studded video clip that urges fans to Use the Force for Good.  The campaign continues to raise funds for groundbreaking cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives.  Just in time for holiday shopping and due to popular demand, SU2C and Lucasfilm have added a fourth design incorporating the iconic image of Darth Vader to their line of co-branded tees, which feature Star Wars™ artwork alongside SU2C’s signature upward arrows and slogans such as “Blast Cancer” and “Use the Force for Good.” This new exclusive Darth Vader t-shirt bears the slogan “Do Not Underestimate the Power of SU2C,” and will be available for purchase in late November.  The full line of  tees is available for purchase at store.standup2cancer.org/shop with proceeds benefiting SU2C.

In addition, a new behind-the-scenes look at the Star Wars video tribute featuring celebrity Star Wars enthusiasts and SU2C Ambassadors— Aziz Ansari, Zach Galifianakis, Bill Hader, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, Jaime King, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg and Emma Stone—who were joined by Star Wars alum Samuel L. Jackson, can currently be viewed on the Star Wars YouTube channel, youtube.com/starwars, alongside the original video tribute.  This new behind-the-scenes video not only captures funny outtakes from the all-star cast, it highlights candid moments where the cast members express why they participated in the original Star Wars video tribute. With approximately 800,000 hits on YouTube so far, the original Star Wars video tribute encourages fans to Use the Force for Good and join Lucasfilm in donating to Stand Up To Cancer.

“To build a grassroots movement of people determined to end this disease, cancer and references to it have to become part of the pop culture zeitgeist,” said Sue Schwartz, SU2C co-founder and partner at Robertson Schwartz Agency. “Lucasfilm’s willingness to highlight the fight against cancer with an icon like Star Wars is a huge boon to our efforts.  Everyone at Stand Up To Cancer is eternally grateful to Lucasfilm and our celebrity ambassadors for ‘Using the Force for Good.’ We look forward to continuing this campaign through the end of the year to raise funds for life-saving cancer research.”

About Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray

Relive the unforgettable moments and experience the spectacular adventure of STAR WARS The Complete Saga in a way only Blu-ray can deliver. This incredible collection unites all six Episodes together for the first time in stunning high definition with the purest digital sound in the galaxy. With over 40 hours of thrilling special features, including all-new content created exclusively for this release, you can journey deeper into the Star Wars universe and discover more than ever before. This month, feel the Force of STAR WARS The Complete Saga on Blu-ray!

About Stand Up To Cancer

Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)—a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization—raises funds to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C facilitates collaboration among the best and the brightest in the cancer research community. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., conduct rigorous, competitive review processes through which SU2C’s grantees are selected. By galvanizing the entertainment industry, SU2C generates awareness and builds grassroots support for this new approach to ending cancer.

Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd.  All rights reserved.  All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

BBC Ultimate Holiday DVD Giveaway [ENDED]

THANK YOU FOR ENTERING, THE CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN AND NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EVERY WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

This Holiday season the BBCAmericaShop.com invites you to discover the perfect gift from DVDs to traditional UK Holiday collectibles a : http://bit.ly/BBC_Gifts; and to enter for a chance to win a pair of $500 Gift Cards for you and a friend: https://bitly.com/BBC_Sweeps.

To celebrate BBC America’s newest DVD releases this holiday season, Media Mikes would like to a bunch of great DVD from BBCAmericaShop.com (see below). If you would like any of these DVD’s, please leave us a comment below or send us an email and let us know your favorite BBC show. This giveaway will be open until Monday December 5th at Noon, Eastern Time and is only open to residents of the United States. Only one entry per person, per household; all other entries will be considered invalid. Once the giveaway ends, Movie Mikes will randomly pick out winners and alert the winners via email.

Here is a list of the DVD’s we are giving away:

BBC Holiday Gift Set (DVD)
BBC Holiday Drama Collection (DVD)
Being Human: Season 3 (DVD)
Planet Earth: Special Edition (DVD)
Top Gear 16 (DVD)
BBC Holiday Comedy (DVD)


Media Mikes’ Holiday Movie Preview

Once again it’s time to put the turkey in the oven, loosen our belts and plan our weekly trips to the multiplex. Its holiday time and the studios are pulling out some of the big guns to keep you entertained. Once again, MediaMikes is pleased to preview some of the films you can look forward to seeing in the next two months. As always, opening dates are subject to change at the studio’s whim.

THIS WEEK

A DANGEROUS METHOD
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
Directed by: David Cronenberg

It’s a battle of great minds when Sigmund Freud (Mortensen) and Carl Jung (Fassbender) duel over a disturbed patient (Knightley). Cronenberg and Mortensen have teamed up twice and produced some great films (“A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”). I’m expecting a hat trick here.
OSCAR CHANCES: Mortensen earned a Best Actor nod for “Eastern Promises” and Fassbender is coming off a career making performance in “X-men: First Class.”

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

Starring the voices of: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy
Directed by: Sarah Smith

When Santa Claus accidentally misses one child on his rounds his youngest son, Arthur, attempts to correct the problem.
OSCAR CHANCES: Don’t see it on the short list for Best Animated Feature.

THE ARTIST
Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and John Goodman
Directed by: Michel Hazanavicius

In the 1920s an actor (Dujardin) falls for an upcoming actress (Bejo). This film is silent and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where Dujardin was named Best Actor.

OSCAR CHANCES: The last silent film to win an Oscar was the first, “Wings.” Look for that to change soon.

HUGO

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Mortez and Christopher Lee
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

In 1930’s Paris, a young boy who lives in the train station hopes to unravel a secret involving his late father and an automatron. Scorsese plus 3D? Can’t wait.

OSCAR CHANCES: With a director like Scorsese you can’t count this film out.

THE MUPPETS
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper
Directed by: James Bobin

A fan of the felt covered group (Segel, who also wrote the screenplay) tries to reunite the Muppets in an attempt to stop a greedy oil tycoon (Cooper) from buying and demolishing their old theatre. Some of the original Muppet performers, including Frank Oz, declined to work on this film. But Segel has been a lifelong fan and I don’t think he’d do anything to harm the franchise. Director Tobin is making his feature film debut after having helmed many episodes of “Da Ali G Show” and “Flight of the Conchords.”

OSCAR CHANCES: To quote Johnny Carson while addressing Miss Piggy, the only Oscar award she’d ever win would be from Oscar Meyer.

MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
Starring: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne
Directed by: Simon Curtis

A young man working on his first film is assigned to look after Marilyn Monroe.
Williams totally immerses herself in the role as does Branagh, who co-stars as Laurence Olivier.

OSCAR CHANCES: A possible nod to Williams for Best Actress.

DECEMBER 2

CORIOLANUS
Starring: Ralph Fiennes and Gerard Butler
Directed by: Ralph Fiennes

Fiennes makes his directorial debut with a modern-day retelling of the Shakespearean story of a Roman war hero who loses his power and must eam up with his enemy to lead an attack on those who betrayed him.

OSCAR CHANCES: Fiennes could be a double threat.

SHAME
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale
Directed by: Steve McQueen

A sex addicted man (Fassbender) has to come to terms with who he is when his younger sister comes for a visit. The film has been rated NC-17 so you may be hard pressed finding it. Director McQueen is English and no relation to the late actor.

OSCAR CHANCES: NC-17 means not a lot of theatres will be playing it so unless everyone in Hollywood gets a screener it doesn’t appear likely.

DECEMBER 9

I MELT WITH YOU

Starring: Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe and Jeremy Piven
Directed by: Mark Pellington

When four friends from college have a reunion they are reminded of an old pact they once made with each other.

OSCAR CHANCES: Mmmmmmmmmm NO.

NEW YEAR’S EVE
Starring: Lea Michelle, Jon Bon Jovi and Halle Berry
Directed by: Garry Marshall

From the people that brought you “Valentine’s Day” comes another celebration day. Can “Cinco de Mayo: The Movie” be far behind?

OSCAR CHANCES: Nada.

THE SITTER
Starring: Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor and Sam Rockwell
Directed by: David Gordon Green

Hill stars as a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door. Foolishly, he takes the kiddies with him to New York City. For fans of Hill, this is the last “chubby” film you’ll be seeing him in. If you’ve seen his video game commercial or the trailer for “21 Jump Street” you’ll notice he’s dropped some serious poundage.

OSCAR CHANCES: Unless they give them for weight loss, no.

TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY
Starring: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy and Colin Firth
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

Retired from Britain’s MI6, George Smiley (Oldman) embarks on a mission to expose a mole in the organization. Oldman takes over the role played by Sir Alec Guinness in the 1979 film.

OSCAR CHANCES: Oldman is always worth watching.

W.E.
Starring: James D’Arcy and Abbie Cornish
Directed by: Madonna

Madonna directs this romantic drama focusing on the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson as well as a contemporary romance between a married woman and a Russian security guard. Madge also wrote the screenplay with her “Truth or Dare” collaborator Alex Keshishian.

OSCAR CHANCES: Judging from the early reviews I’d have to say no. However, there’s always the Golden Raspberry awards.

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN
Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly and Ezra Miller
Directed by: Lynne Ramsay

When her teenage son (Miller) goes on a killing spree at school, his mother (Swinton) must deal with her grief and her feelings of responsibility.

OSCAR CHANCES: Strong subject matter, which the Academy likes.

DECEMBER 14

LOOSIES
Starring: Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander and Michael Madsen
Directed by: Michael Corrente

A New York City pickpocket learns he has a child from a long ago romance. Star Facinelli also wrote the screenplay.

OSCAR CHANCES: None

DECEMBER 16

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED

Starring: Alvin, Simon, Theodore
Directed by: Mike Mitchell

On a luxury cruise the boys and their Chipettes find themselves marooned on a not-so deserted island. Director Mitchell helmed the last “Shrek” film.

OSCAR CHANCES: Director Mitchell also helmed “Duece Bigalow: Male Gigolo.”

CARNAGE
Starring: Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly
Directed by: Roman Polanski

The parents of two school boys, one family upscale the other middle class, meet to discuss their son’s schoolyard fights.

OSCAR CHANCES: Hell Yes! With the exception of Reilly, who was nominated for “Chicago,” everyone I’ve mentioned above has at least one Oscar on their mantle.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – GHOST PROTOCOL
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Paula Patton
Directed by: Brad Bird

After the IMF has been disavowed by the government, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) leads a new group of agents to investigate a bombing of the Kremlin. Director Bird tries his hand with live action after having directed the animated masterpieces “The Iron Giant” and “The Incredibles.”

OSCAR CHANCES: Possibly in the technical areas.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law and Jared Harris
Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Holmes does battle against his greatest nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Also stars the original “Girl in the Dragon Tattoo,” Noomi Rapace.

OSCAR CHANCES: Visual effects.

DECEMBER 21

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN

Starring the voices of: Jamie Bell and Daniel Craig.
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Master Spielberg tries his hand at motion-capture animation, throwing in a little 3D for good measure. There are over 20 “TinTin” classic comics so if this is a hit I’d expect more.

OSCAR CHANCES: Since the Academy ruled recently that motion capture films don’t qualify for the Animated award, unless John Williams’ score gets a nod I’d say no.

ALBERT NOBBS
Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson
Directed by: Rodrigo Garcia

In order to make a living in 19th century Ireland, a woman disguises herself as a man. Thirty years later she is still living a lie.

OSCAR CHANCES: Critics who have seen this film call it Close’s greatest performance.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Starring: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig and Stellan Skarsgard
Directed by: David Fincher

The director of “The Social Network” and “Fight Club” takes on one of the most popular novel series in history. He’s also taking on the audiences pre-conceived ideas as to how the story will unfold.

OSCAR CHANCES: I haven’t read the books or seen the previous films. The trailer has had me excited for quite awhile. I’m saying at least two nominations. Do I hear three?

DECEMBER 23

IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY

Starring: Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic
Directed by: Angelina Jolie

Two people fall in love during the 1990s civil war in Bosnia. Not only is Jolie making her directorial debut she also wrote the script.

OSCAR CHANCES: None to speak of.

WE BOUGHT A ZOO
Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johannson and Thomas Haden Church
Directed by: Cameron Crowe

A widower decides to purchase a run-down zoo and move his family to run it. Good news: from the director of “Jerry Maguire” and “Almost Famous.” Bad news: from the director of “Elizabethtown.”

OSCAR CHANCES: Good pedigree but unusual subject.

DECEMBER 25

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
Starring: Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn
Directed by: Stephen Daldry

After his father is killed on 9/11 a young boy finds a mysterious key and must find out where it goes.

OSCAR CHANCES: NEVER bet against Tom Hanks or Stephen Daldry.

WAR HORSE
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

An adaptation of the children’s novel and the currently running Broadway show, the story revolves around a farm horse sent into battle during World War I and the young boy who tries to get him back.

OSCAR CHANCES: Across the board.

DECEMBER 28

PARIAH
Starring: Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans
Directed by: Dee Rees

A Brooklyn teenager must deal with disappointing friends and family when she attempts to embrace her lesbian identity.

OSCAR CHANCES: This film has been raved about since it premiered at Sundance earlier this year. It could be this year’s “Precious.”

DECEMBER 30

ANGELS CREST
Starring: Thomas Dekker, Mira Sorvino and Lynn Collins
Directed by: Gaby Dellal

A small town father tries to care for his young son and alcoholic wife. Tragedy strikes when the young boy disappears in a snow storm.

OSCAR CHANCES: Maybe

THE IRON LADY
Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent and Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd

A look at Margaret Thatcher, the former English prime minister.

OSCAR CHANCES: Streep holds the record with 16 previous acting nominations (two Oscars). Can number 17 be far behind?

 

Related Content

DVD Review “The Smurf’s Holiday Celebration”

Studio: Warner Home Video
Episodes: 2
Run Time: 48 minutes

Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Got to admit I am a sucker for a Holiday special and to top it off I love me some Smurfs. This DVD comes with not one but two specials from “The Smurfs” television series.  Warner Home Video is known for keeping The Smurfs alive through releasing numerous volumes over the last year.  This DVD definitely does the job and gets you in the holiday spirit.  If you are a fan of The Smurfs and looking for a little holiday cheer this is a no-brainer.

The first episode included is  The Smurfs’ Christmas Special, originally aired on December 12, 1982, shows its age a little bit but delivers the smurfing goods.  It is the classic story featuring Gargamel plotting to destroy Christmas for the Smurfs.  This is easily the better of the two on the disc.  The second special is called “‘Tis The Season To Be Smurfy”, originally aired December 13, 1987.  It follows Sassette Smurf who helps an elderly human couple celebrate Christmas and discover the true meaning of the season.  This one is missing my favorite character, Gargamel, but does contain some decent holiday spirit.

Available on DVD 10/4 at http://bit.ly/qKLgIs
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Synopsis: Deck the halls with Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Jokey and all the other true blue friends in these absosmurfly charming animated specials from The Smurfs TV series. In ‘Tis the Season to be Smurfy, young Sassette Smurf discovers the true meaning of the season when the Smurfs befriend an elderly human couple who have no money to celebrate Christmas. Then, in The Smurfs Christmas Special, the wicked Gargamel plots to ruin Christmas for the Smurfs and with the help of an evil stranger, he destroys the Smurf’s village. But even with no Christmas decorations or holiday feast, the Smurfs still have a smurfy song in their hearts. Will Gargamel feel the Christmas spirit this year? Dash through the snow to give your family the smurfiest gift of the season!

WB Home Entertainment Holiday Titles Out on Blu-Ray and DVD Oct. 4

WB Home Entertainment Holiday are released some great classics on Blu-Ray and DVD Oct. 4.  Media Mikes will be covering all of these releases with reviews throughout the holiday season.  For now check out some information below on these great releases

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, Deluxe Edition

Synopsis: From beloved song to animated holiday classic: Frosty meets his match in a glistening Remastered Deluxe Edition! Andy Griffith, Shelley Winters and Jackie Vernon lend their voices to this captivating cartoon about the Snowman?s winter return to the children of a small town for a winter season of fun and games. But he?s lonely at night when left by himself. So the grateful kids build him a beautiful snowlady companion. Jealous of the attention given Frosty, Jack Frost blows up a blizzard and swipes Frosty?s magical, life-giving hat. Only true love can bring Frosty back to his old fun-loving self. Two songs that have proven to be enduring seasonal favorites highlight the soundtrack: Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland.

Official Site: http://bit.ly/pLQtFB

The Smurfs Holiday Celebration

Synopsis: Deck the halls with Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Jokey and all the other true blue friends in these absosmurfly charming animated specials from The Smurfs TV series. In ?Tis the Season to be Smurfy, young Sassette Smurf discovers the true meaning of the season when the Smurfs befriend an elderly human couple who have no money to celebrate Christmas. Then, in The Smurfs Christmas Special, the wicked Gargamel plots to ruin Christmas for the Smurfs and with the help of an evil stranger, he destroys the Smurf?s village. But even with no Christmas decorations or holiday feast, the Smurfs still have a smurfy song in their hearts. Will Gargamel feel the Christmas spirit this year? Dash through the snow to give your family the smurfiest gift of the season!

Official Site: http://bit.ly/qcdx3c

Twas the Night Before Christmas (BD)

Synopsis: A holiday sourpuss brings Santa to the rescue of a small town?s Christmas. For some unexplained reason, letters to Santa Claus are being returned to the children of Junctionville. It seems some resident has angered St. Nick, calling Christmas ?a fraudulent myth!? Skeptical Albert Mouse has to be brought to his senses ?and let up a little on the wonder why.? How Albert is persuaded to change his tune paves the way for Santa?s jolly return to town ? and the joyous finale of the animated fable inspired by Clement Moore?s poem and produced by the merrymaking conjurers of Rankin/Bass Studios. The voice talents of Joel Grey, Tammy Grimes, John McGiver and George Gobel make this festive fable even more fun.

Official Site: http://bit.ly/qmdc2d

“Thomas Kinkade Presents Christmas Lodge” Arrives on DVD This Holiday Season

Anything Is Possible This Holiday Season
THOMAS KINKADE PRESENTS CHRISTMAS LODGE
The Enchanting Family Film Arrives On DVD October 11 From Vivendi Entertainment and Nasser Entertainment

DVD Includes Limited Edition Thomas Kinkade Painting And 3 Free Holiday Music Downloads

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Expect the unexpected and witness a sweet Christmas miracle in the heartwarming family drama Christmas Lodge presented by renowned artist Thomas Kinkade and arriving on DVD October 11 from Vivendi Entertainment and Nassar Entertainment. During the happiest times of her life, Mary (Erin Karpluk, “Life Unexpected”), a historical preservationist, spent the holidays with her family at the Christmas Lodge, a once beautiful but now dilapidated old country inn. After her family abandoned their tradition and spent many years apart, Mary’s ailing grandfather has one wish…to reunite the family and spend one more Christmas at the lodge. Desperate to make his dream come true, Mary leaves the big city to renovate the property. Jack (Michael Shanks, Red Riding Hood), the Christmas Lodge owner, also dreams of bringing the property back to its former glory but is struggling to get the project off the ground. Putting their faith in each other, Mary and Jack join forces to work together to fix up the lodge just in time for Christmas, and find love along the way.

With original songs by acclaimed musician, and co-star, Victoria Banks, Christmas Lodge is the perfect hopeful movie to watch with the family to kick off the holiday season. The DOVE approved DVD includes a free limited edition Thomas Kinkade painting and three free holiday music downloads at the suggested retail price of $14.93.

Synopsis:
Thomas Kinkade presents Christmas Lodge: a place where a heart-warming past and loving future meet for one remarkable group of people. During a weekend trip to the mountains, Mary (Erin Karpluk) finds herself at the now- dilapidated lodge where she spent the holidays with her family growing up. She becomes determined to restore the building to its former glory. Inspired by her grandfather and guided by her grandmother in heaven, Mary throws herself into the project, and during the process finds herself drawn to Jack (Michael Shanks), a handsome man who loves the lodge as much as she does. Historically unlucky in love, this chance encounter allows Mary to renew her faith in life and discover her one true love. For an uplifting story about the importance of faith, family and the true holiday spirit, go to the Christmas Lodge.