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Archive for the 'Movies' Category

GNOMEO Giveaway

Have you guys seen “Gnomeo & Juliet“? It’s the tale of the warring Montagues and Capulets,except… they’re garden gnomes.  I haven’t gone yet, but even my college kids were absolutely smitten – and as we’ve mentioned before, the trailer looks adorable.

And we’ve got a prize pack – a youth-sized T-shirt, beanie and gnome hat-shaped notebook – to get you in the mood! Just click “comments” and tell us, what other Shakespeare tale could benefit from the gnome treatment? Extra points for wit! And if you’ve seen the movie and want to share your take with the rest of us, we’d love it. (We’ll draw a winner’s name at the end of the week!)

Posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011
Under: Movies | 3 Comments »

Children’s Film Fests

"Dot" at the Bay Area International Children’s Festival Forget all the fuss about violent flicks and too-scary PG-13 rated movies at the cineplex. If you want to see some cool, truly family-friendly movies, here are two options – and they start in just a few days…

This weekend, the Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival kicks off with a quirky mix of 43 animated shorts, award-winning documentaries and hilarious little films. Among the offerings, Jenny Mackenzie’s “Kick Like a Girl,” about a girls’ soccer team competing in the guys’ league, and showing them what it really means to kick like a girl. We’re also smitten by “Dot” (pictured), Will Studd and Ed Patterson’s teeny tiny stop-motion character who wakes up one morning to discover her world caving in. How tiny? They had to use a microscope and tweezers to move the 9 mm figure around for the camera. Dot rescues herself through sheer ingenuity, with a little help from some handy pencil shavings, pennies and pins. It all goes down this weekend — films, animation workshops and more, Jan. 29-30, in the art deco theater at Michaan’s Auctions, 2700 Saratoga St., Alameda. Tickets are $10 for a half-day pass, $15 for a full day and $20 for the weekend. Visit for details.

Meanwhile, over in Moraga, the 2011 California Independent Film Festival hits the silver screen at the Rheem Theatre, and the lineup includes a whole list of children’s films. Among them: “Inka Bola,” an animated French short about an irresponsible guard, whose babysitting gig for a slightly wild, young Mayan prince go terribly awry; and the charming German short “Bob,” about a hamster, who chases the love of his life around the world in, yes, a hamster wheel. Check out the line-up here.

Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
Under: Family Entertainment, Movies | No Comments »

Kid Flicks in 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet (Courtesy Disney) Is it just us, or was this a lackluster season for movies? There was “Harry Potter” and “Tangled,” sure, but other than that … OK, “Tron” for the teenage guys. But not much else. Well, at least Hollywood is cranking out flicks for 2011.

Here’s what’s in the offing. Take a peek, then tell us, what looks good to you?

Gnomeo and Juliet – Shakespeare meets tacky garden ornaments in this Disney-Touchstone take on the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers who belong to feuding clans, the red and the blue gnomes. Juliet is played by Emily Blunt, Romeo is James McAvoy, and Michael Caine, Maggie Smith and Patrick Stewart also star. Opens Feb. 11, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Smooch.

Rango – Johnny Depp stars in this animated Paramount-Nickelodeon release about a chameleon with an identity crisis. He thinks he’s a swashbuckling action hero – until his Wild West town gets invaded by bandits and he has to actually be one. Bill Nighy voices Rattlesnake Bill, and Abigail Breslin and Isla Fisher also star. Opens March 4. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Under: Movies | No Comments »

Holiday Movie Poll

Megamind (Michael Murphree/Courtesy DreamWorks Animation/MCT)Holiday blockbuster season is upon us and oh boy, are we excited!

Megamind opened last weekend, Harry Potter and Tangled are coming soon… And the only question is what to see now, what to wait for on video, and what we’re going to end up seeing again and again and again?

Here, you tell us…

Posted on Friday, November 5th, 2010
Under: Movies | No Comments »

Harry Potter Tickets Going Fast

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (AP Photo/Warner Bros., Jaap Buitendijk)
If you’re planning to catch a showing of “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part I” the moment it opens, you might want to grab those tickets now., the online movie ticket agency, says 500 screenings were already  sold out as of this morning – two weeks before the flick opens – and 61% of their daily ticket sales have been for the boy with the lightning scar. They’ve also been paying visits to the HP&TDH set, and they’ve got the latest sneak peeks posted here. We were particularly charmed to hear that the actor who plays Griphook, Warwick Davis, played Ewok Wickett in “Return of the Jedi.” You remember him, don’t you? He was the adorable one – ok, they were all adorable, but he was the really cute one Leia befriended.

Soooo, got your HP tickets yet?

Posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Under: Movies | 2 Comments »

Disney’s ‘Tangled’ & 21st Century Princesses

"Tangled" (Disney)
So, Disney’s new take on the Rapunzel fairy tale opens Nov. 24, and the girl with the long, long hair has been considerably updated. In the new, “Tangled” version, Rapunzel has had it with this locked tower gig. She’s about to turn 18, and the curious, adventuresome teen is about to make an exit with the help of Flynn Rider, a charming rogue who did not sign up for this, and, oh, 70-feet of blond hair. Looks pretty darn cute, and the story was certainly due for updating. The original Grimm tale was grim indeed – the prince gets blinded by thorns, for heavens sake – and old-school Rapunzel wasn’t exactly the spunky, strong-minded heroine we 21st century Hermione-lovers favor. So this looks like it will be fun – and the previews are pretty adorable.

But it makes me wonder which other Disney princesses are overdue for a spunky makeover. Snow White – passive victim who ends up shacked up with seven old men and sings while she mops? Sleeping Beauty? She’s asleep for most of the movie, people. OK, your turn:

Posted on Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Under: Movies | 2 Comments »

DVD Giveaway: Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar (Nickelodeon) Those irrepressible penguins of Madagascar are back in another Nickelodeon adventure, and this time, they’re collaborating with some new friends in “Penguins of Madagascar: New to the Zoo.” The DVD lands on August 10, but we’ve got a copy now and we’re giving it away. All you have to do is click “comments” and share your favorite kids-at-the-zoo story. (Our family’s involves an elephant, a pile of elephant poo, a very annoying spectator and the elephant’s revenge. Let’s just say, we had no idea pachyderms could throw with their trunks, nor that their aim would be so ACCURATE. It’s been years and my kids still break out in gales of laughter at the recollection.)

We’ll draw a winner’s name next week. Meanwhile, last week’s “Miss Tutu’s Star” is winging its way to Cindi – congrats!

Posted on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Under: Contest, Movies | 4 Comments »

Vampires, Edward & Twilight Frenzy

Twilight Saga: Eclipse Premiere (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
As everyone knows, the newest installment in the “Twilight” film saga opens in theaters this week, and the reviews are already looking pretty darn good. The Times’ Randy Myers calls it the best one of the three. If the first two were “low-achieving C-students,”  “Eclipse” is their more mature big brother. “Greater attention and care paid to developing tension, plot and secondary characters pays off,” says Myers, “resulting in an entertaining and slick ‘Eclipse.'”

Of course, Twi-hards will be flocking to theaters no matter what the review, so if you’ve got a rabid Edward fan or a member of Team Jacob at your house, you might want to check out these fun vampire party ideas for pre-premiere festivities. They come from Penny Warner, the Danville author of scores of mysteries for tweens, teens and grown-ups. Our favorite idea? The red velvet coffin cake, frosted in deep, dark chocolate.

Posted on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
Under: Movies, Twilight Saga | No Comments »

3-D Shrek

Shrek Forever After (Courtesy Paramount Pictures/MCT) Unless you’ve been soundly snoozing, you know a new Shrek movie is opening this Friday — and this time, the tale about everyone’s favorite green ogre is in 3-D. The first reviews are starting to roll in – we’re still waiting to hear from our favorite movie critics, but the New York Daily News says, “Happily, it’s a move that revives our aging ogre, and renews his flagging franchise.” And OK Mag says, “You can see the ending, and even the fantastically corny final line coming the whole time, but when they finally do they still hit hard.” But the Hollywood Reporter says, “This fourth installment in the popular animated franchise demonstrates it may finally be time to let Shrek and Fiona live happily ever after.” Being a Shrek-ophile, I’ll probably go see it anyway, although those 3-D glasses are problematic over my normal specs. But here’s my question for you…

What do your little ones think of 3-D movies? Are they wowed? Or does the 3-D aspect make scary scenes scarier or more intense?

Posted on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
Under: Movies | 1 Comment »

BABIES? Babies, babies, babies…

A scene from "Babies" (AP Photo)
We are loving the Village Voice review of the new documentary, “Babies,” which opens on Friday. The movie follows a year in the life of four babies from Mongolia, Namibia, Tokyo and Oakland (pictured) and, well, this is what the Village Voice film critic said:

Babies babies “Babies” babies Babies? Babies babies.
Babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies Babies? Babies babies, babies.

The Huffington Post took a more cynical view – “Sure, they’re cute, but what’s the point?” Well, OK, but let’s not underrate cute. For more on “Babies,” check out this interview my buddy, reporter Jessica Yadegaran, did with the filmmaker last week.

Are you planning to see it?

Posted on Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Under: Movies | 1 Comment »