A Subatomic Spoiler-Free Look At Ant-Man

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Big things come in small packages, and that’s something that’s always been true for the hero Ant-Man. The movie adaptation of the hero’s origin, Ant-Man, opens in theaters today,  is a definite treat for the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who might not have been as impressed with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but were huge fans of Guardians of the Galaxy.  It is the final film in “Phase 2” and as staunch fans will catch on this is with good reason, as Ant-Man will be heavily connected to many aspects of the MCU going forward – some that might not come to any fruition, and others that are going to take us to DEFCON 1.

This is a story about Scott Lang, who in comic books was the 2nd Ant-Man, and the movie sticks with that theme.  He is a self proclaimed “cat burglar” who has just gotten out of prison, and through a series of events ends up breaking into a home where he comes into possession of a suit that he can use to shrink down to a size where he can ride an ant like it is a horse.  Hence his name… get it… Ant-Man.  In a way similar to the comic book also, he is doing this for his daughter… though the circumstances are a bit different.

Comic book fans like myself, those who are familiar with the history of the Avengers have been wondering just how Ant-Man would fit into the MCU.  After all in comic books, the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, and he was one of the founding members of the Avengers, before Captain America, Hawkeye, or Black Widow were ever members.  In comics he is the guy who created Ultron, not Stark. He has also been several superheroes including Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, etc.  So the big question for this group was just how were you going to fit this diverse a character back into the mix?

In short, this is handled extremely well.  The pieces of Pym’s story are brought in piece by piece and at just the right times.  In this way you can see the parallels between the growth of both Lang and Pym in the movie.  One thing that this movie helped me with is the Ultron that was presented in Age of Ultron – as I struggled with that interpretation.  Missing was the psycho-drama element of the Pym vs. Ultron struggle – and Ultron was turned into all the worst elements of Tony Stark instead.  Here, in place of Ultron, we have Yellowjacket – who unlike comics is NOT Pym (no spoiler here, this was all over the trailers), and as is true to the MCU is different yet analogous to his Earth-616 (soon to be zero?) counterpart.  As a result he takes on many of the personality traits of Ultron from the comic books.

There is the contingent of people who have been wondering why they should care about a dude who can shrink and talk to ants.  Well because when a dude with a bow and arrow or a gal with a guns and martial arts can stand tall against the likes of a Hulk, everything else in between can work, and a tiny dude can stand tall too. However, in case that’s not enough there are elements added to this movie that are there to help you through this particular issue.  Each a piece of the puzzle to set up so much of what will be “Phase 3” of the MCU.

While I’m sure you’ve already been taking your kids to see the MCU movies, I wanted to say that for younger, even Pre-Teen audiences, this might be the most approachable of all the films to date.  Cassie Lang being the differentiating factor there.  Because there are a lot of elements of the story that are there to make a young girl work within its context younger kids may relate better and understand more of the story.  That said, there are still guns, stuff gets blown up, crimes occur, and people die.  Overall this is a super fun movie, full of a lot of what makes comic book drama great.  MCU fans are going to want to see this.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Peek Inside Inside Out

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For countless centuries humankind has strived to unlock the mysteries of the mind, only to discover is that while we can speculate and conclude, we may never truly know what goes makes us all tick.  That’s not to say we don’t have an idea of how we work, after all we’re the ones who live this life and somehow we get through just fine without truly knowing how we do it.  What we generally find is that, at the end of the day, the cliche is true, “we’re all human”.  Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) takes all these swirling notions, and… emotions and turns them into the beautifully clever movie Inside Out.

In Inside Out, Docter sets out to answer for us that ageless question of, “What’s going on inside that head of yours?” Great effort was made by Docter to take concepts by both Freud and Jung and combine them into something easily digestible by audiences, as their concepts are often quite convoluted, conflicting, and complimentary at the same time.  That’s not an easy task, some people spend their entire thesis trying to sort such things out.  To do this he reached back to one of his earlier works that many might be familiar with Cranium Command.

To do this the movie is set inside the mind of Riley, an 11 year old girl (based on both Docter himself and his daughter) whose life is drastically changed when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  Much like Cranium Command, Riley’s mind, and similarly those of her parents, dogs, cats, etc. are all controlled from a control room, Headquarters, by her emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.  In fact, even the teaser poster for the movie resembles the logo for the closed attraction. Their job is to help define and maintain Riley’s personality.  They do this by creating and storing core memories which drive the aspects of that personality.

Unfortunately, after moving, Riley’s once “perfect” world starts to fall apart under her and she has to learn to cope with the changes and learn to incorporate them into who she is, rather than let them ruin her life.  As Riley’s world starts to fall apart, so do the core aspects of her personality, depicted as floating island “lands” from a theme park, including a familiar “hub & spoke” design where Headquarters is the Hub.  Those lands crumble, and fall into an abyss of lost and forgotten memories.

The emotions look to Joy, their leader and Riley’s first emotion, to solve the problem.  From there things start to go wrong as Riley’s core memories are rejected by the system in Headquarters and through a series of mishaps both Joy and Sadness are whisked off with those core memories to long term memory with no way back to Headquarters.  Leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust in control.  From there things turn sour for quite a bit for both groups, and this reflects to Riley in the real world.  Thankfully with the help of one of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong things eventually get fixed, and Riley learns to accept, and move on.

Inside Out great, if not fantastic.  While I wouldn’t consider it Pixar’s best work it is near the top.  It’s extremely clever, with some amazing throw away lines mostly at Jung’s expense.  Everyone who has grown up, become a teenager, lived through a life altering change, etc. should relate to this movie.  In other words, pretty much everyone on the planet.  Something so relatable is really the pinnacle of every artist, and this might come to be known as Docter’s pinnacle work.  Go see Inside Out, you’re going to enjoy experiencing these emotions.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Cinematic Journey Into The Woods

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Based on the Stephen Sondheim play of the same name, Into the Woods is Disney’s big holiday movie for 2014.  The play itself is a tale about morality, vice, desire, and virtue.  Based on the concept that each fairy tale is supposed to teach us or our children a lesson to help them in life.  However the twist here is that several fairy tales collide to create the pillars of a whole new story where the object lesson is centered around the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I have to be perfectly honest here, before seeing this movie I knew very little to nothing about it.  Having never seen the play before or read much about it, never having heard the songs, I was going in blind.  There had been some brief discussion with my Disney Film Project Podcast co-hosts which contained a great deal of excitement from our own Rachel Kolb, who happens to be a huge fan of the play and knows a great deal about it.  When I’m in this situation I try not to come in with too many preconceptions.

The core story is about a Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and their desire to start a family.  However they quickly learn that they have been cursed by their next door neighbor who happens to be a Witch played by Meryl Streep who really steals every scene she’s in.  Wanting to break the curse, and be able to have a child, the Witch assigns them to retrieve 4 seemingly normal items and bring them to her in 3 days time.  The trick however is that this sends them on a collision course with the fairy tales Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. 4 items.  4 stories.

The problem however is that the wishes of each of the major characters – the Baker, his Wife, the Witch, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and Rapunzel – have consequences.  Each of their stories plays out somewhat as you know them, but it’s what happens after this that matters.  But the wishes themselves are just allegorical wrappings for the choices the characters continue to make throughout the story.  And how they have to learn to take responsibility for those choices.

There is a lot of commentary that discusses the difference between the musical and the movie, from the removal of songs, to the changes of plot elements.  While not having seen the play, I’m guessing this serves 2 purposes; the shorter time a movie has to tell a story, and that some things that work on stage do not work as well on film.  While this is a somewhat dark story that has some moments that you may need to either explain or gloss over to your children, this is still a family film.  I might consider the age and maturity of any pre-teen children before seeing this film with them.  This is a very solid movie, based on a well constructed story, that I greatly enjoyed watching.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Look At Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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Let’s face it we’ve all had bad days.  Some terrible.  Some horrible.  Some just plain no good.  And others still very bad.  But what if one day you were faced with a day so awful that all those things got combined together and it was a day that just kept getting worse and worse.  That’s the basic premise behind the 1972 children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  A movie adaptation of the film by Disney opens in theaters today, October 10, 2014, and it provides us with a look at not one, but rather two very bad days in the life of Alexander.

This really turns out to be a smart move, as in the past others have tried to focus solely on the bad day described in the book.  However writer Rob Lieber, and indie superstar director Miguel Arteta choose instead to quickly move past that bad day and instead focus the movie on the day after – which also turns out to be Alexander’s birthday.  While there’s no actual magic portrayed in this movie, at the end of his really bad day as it becomes his birthday Alexander makes a wish that his family could know what it’s like to have a bad day also.

From there you can only begin to imagine some of the mayhem that ensues.  It’s clear from watching the movie that the comedy direction was provided by Steve Carell who plays Alexander’s father in the movie.  That works out really well as because while the gags are fairly redone as far as “bad luck” movie gags go, many of them play out with a renewed vigor as a result. While Jennifer Garner, playing the mother, is also great in her role, it’s a shame that she has nowhere near the chemistry with Carell as she had 2 years ago with Joel Edgerton in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

The strongest factor about this movie is that it’s a solidly constructed family film.  You see, in strong contradiction to the lesson that the Joker tries to teach Batman in The Killing Joke, one bad day doesn’t have to lead to ruin.  Rather it’s how you approach that day, and the things that happen to you in it, and who you survive it with.  In this case Alexander chooses to help his family make it through their day, see his point of view, and they all become stronger for sharing the experiences together.  Fans of the book will like this movie, as will parents looking for a movie to share with their children, and even new fans like myself who now needs to go read a book.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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The Hundred-Foot Journey Is Simply Delightful

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It’s fun when a story that is well off my radar becomes a movie and it ends up being both delightful and enjoyable to watch.  The Hundred-Foot Journey is definitely one such movie.  It is the story of an Indian family that is displaced from their home due to political unrest.  As such they begin a journey through Europe to find a new home.  After a near death experience the family inadvertently finds that home in a town in the French countryside.  The family patriarch “Papa”, played by Om Puri, becomes enamored with and purchases a dilapidated restaurant for his family to start anew.

The fundamental problem is this restaurant is across the street from a high class French restaurant operated by Madame Mallory, played by Helen Mirren.  A mere 100 feet from door to door.  She is not amused by this at all, and a feud begins between the two restaurants.  However, that’s hardly the grand sum total of the movie.  Instead it becomes something so much more… in a very unencumbered way that really helps to make this shine.

At the core of the movie is the story of Papa’s son Hassan.  From a young age Hassan was trained by his mother to be a chef.  His true passion for the works is shown throughout the movie.  Early on in the movie this is shown through his tasting of some raw sea urchin, and again later in a scene involving an omelet.  Along the way he meets and falls in love with a woman, Marguerite, who also happens to work for Madame Mallory.

Much of this might all seem like spoilers, but really this movie doesn’t hold a lot of surprises.  That is not to say that it’s predictable, but it has no sudden turns or suspenseful moments.  As the story about the survival, growth, and evolution of this family are portrayed on the screen it’s very easy to be drawn in.  Though initially the characters seem a little over the top, as time goes on you realize that’s by design.  Over time it helps drive them toward a more realistic feel.

I’m entirely sure as to the appeal of this movie across a wide range of audiences.  It’s definitely not a movie made for children.  Much of the theater goers were of the “Above 50” crowd.  That’s not a bad thing at all, not all movies are for everyone.  As I said I found this movie to be both unexpected and enjoyable.  If it seems at all interesting to you, it’s worth going to see.  My one concern is the choice of release date – it doesn’t feel like a summer movie and would probably have been better served being released in the fall.

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Great Expectations At The Enzian

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Saturday Matinee Classics:
GREAT EXPECTATIONS
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9TH AT 12PM

One of the finest literary adaptations ever put to film, this stunning version of the Charles Dickens classic about a young orphan and his mysterious benefactor features masterful direction by Lean. Nominated for five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay, and featuring an outstanding ensemble cast, including John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Bernard Miles, and Alec Guinness, GREAT EXPECTATIONS won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

Shown in conjunction with “What the Dickens Orlando” – celebrating the life, works,
and world of English novelist Charles Dickens.

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Videodrome At The Enzian

videodrome

Wednesday Night Pitcher Show:
VIDEODROME
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6TH AT 8PM

Grab a beer (or two) and some munchies at Eden Bar and enjoy a FREE outdoor movie on the lawn at Enzian. Come thirsty for Jell-o shot movie trivia before the show!

Starring James Woods & Deborah Harry in one of her first film roles, VIDEODROME is one of writer/director David Cronenberg’s most original and provocative works, fusing social commentary with shocking elements of sex and violence. With groundbreaking special effects makeup by Academy Award®-winner Rick Baker, VIDEODROME has come to be regarded as one of the most influential and mind-bending science fiction films of the 1980s.

To help with traffic and parking Enzian will now have valet parking available for every WednesdayNight Pitcher Show for $3 per car. Show your valet stub for a FREE popcorn! Free parking is also available at First Watch and State Farm across the street.

This event is FREE & open to the public!

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Boyhood Opens At The Enzian Friday

boyhood

Boyhood – Opens Friday 8/1

“A masterpiece of American moviemaking. A moving and memorable 12-year epic of family life that isn’t quite like anything else in the history of cinema.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, SALON

Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.

SHOWTIMES:

FRI 8/1 & SAT 8/2
2:30PM   6:15PM   10PM

SUN 8/3
3:30PM   7:30PM

MON 8/4 – THURS 8/7
6:15PM   9:55PM

Click Here For More Information

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Guardians of the Galaxy – A Disney Parks Blog Meet-Up

On Sunday, July 27, I was lucky enough to attend a Guardians of the Galaxy movie screening hosted by the Disney Parks Blog.

Poster

When this meet-up was first announced I wasn’t completely sold on the movie, but I’ve enjoyed all other Marvel movies a lot so I figured I’d give it a shot. Plus blog meets are always a lot of fun. To begin with, I have to apologize for the lack of photos in this post. Our phones were confiscated (more on that further down) so the only pictures I have are one from before we went in and afterwards.

We were told that check in would begin at 10:00 at the AMC Theatre at Downtown Disney. Knowing how crazy parking is at Downtown Disney these days, we planned to arrive by 9:30. When we arrived, there was already a pretty good sized line forming by Bongos across from the theater. Unfortunately, most of the line was in the blazing sun.

The balloon occasionally did a good job of blocking the sun for us.
The balloon occasionally did a good job of blocking the sun for us.

Finally, they began leading small groups of people over to the theater to check in. They checked our names off on the list, we got one of four different color wristband (we would later find out what those were for) and vouchers for popcorn and a drink. We were also handed 3D glasses, very very cool 3D glasses which were themed to the main characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket Raccoon Glasses

Then the first surprise of the day – we had to check our phones! We were instructed to turn over all our electronic devices. They put them in a baggie and gave us a raffle ticket to use to pick them back up after the movie. They also had a really strict bag check at the entrance to the theater. Disney definitely did everything they could to prevent piracy for this screening.

Once we got to our seats (which were saved for us by our awesome friends), we passed the time by comparing/trading 3D glasses and lamenting on the fact that we couldn’t take selfies. Soon, people from the Parks Blog came out to speak to us. They started out by introducing some of the attendees that came dressed as their favorite superhero. Of course, the Guardians, Star-Lord in particular, were popular choices. We were then told that the wristbands that we received at the entrance would allow us to pick up a toy from the official Hasbro line once the movie was over! There were four different toys and each wristband corresponded to one of them.

Then the movie started. Watching a movie at one of these meet-ups is always a fun experience. The entire crowd is into it with clapping and laughing, and in the case of this movie a little singing and dancing in our seats. Seriously, this soundtrack is killer. The movie is so fun and I love the characters! I won’t go into a full review because that will be covered in another post. I will say, as someone who knew nothing about the story or characters going into it, if you are on the fence about seeing it – go for it! I don’t think you’ll regret it. I can’t wait to see it again.

Once the movie was over (no bonus scene after the credits for the screenings – boo), we lined up to retrieve our phones and toys. Everyone seemed really excited over the toys – they are pretty awesome! There was some trading going on, but we were happy with the ones we got.

Our toys and 3D glasses
Our toys and 3D glasses

Another fun Disney Parks Blog Meet-up was in the books and I think a good time was had by all. Are you looking forward to seeing Guardians on the Galaxy or have you been lucky enough to see it already? Do you have a favorite Guardian?

 

 

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Muscle Beach Party At Central Park Maitland Thursday Night

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Muscle Beach Party

THURSDAY AT 8PM

Popcorn Flicks in the Park

50th Anniversary Screening!

Sequel to Beach Party finds Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello romping in the sand again. Trouble invades teen nirvana when a new gym opens and the hardbodies try to muscle in on surfer turf. Good, clean, corny fun, also starring Don Rickles (his first appearance in the Beach Partyseries), Buddy Hackett, and Peter Lupus (TV’s Mission: Impossible). Watch for “Little” Stevie Wonder in his film debut and the great Peter Lorre in his last screen appearance.

This event is FREE and open to the public.

Show up with a blanket and join us at the park!

CENTRAL PARK
251 Park Avenue South
Winter Park, FL 32789 

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A Non-Spoilery Look At Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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When it comes to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there are two types of people who will be watching over the coming months.  Those that are comic book fans and those that are not.  This is an important point, because what many believe to be the big reveal is, in fact, not the big reveal for many who will watch it.  Either way, that reveal is to me, an avid (rabid?) comic book fan, is about the fourth most important thing you should have picked up from watching this movie.  My point being this, when you’re watching keep an eye out for some of the smaller things because in a movie about subterfuge, subtlety is often key.

As I mentioned in Disney Film Project’s 2014 Preview Episode, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie drawing on a number of key things.  To start with you have to remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy agency, and in modern culture due to certain events, such things aren’t looked at favorably or heroically.  So it became necessary for the creators of the film to roll with that in order to create a story that will, I promise, lead to a better, stronger, and more heroic organization then what you’ve already seen.  To be more specific would be spoiling this movie and a bit of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Winter Soldier was a character introduced to comics in 2005 by Ed Brubaker as part of what was considered to be another revival of Captain America himself.  Pretty much right off fans were excited despite that they knew the “big secret”, because the journey was about Cap discovering it for himself and then working to track down The Winter Soldier and help him to regain his self and sanity by regaining his memories.  In comic books, this involves a Cosmic Cube (movie fans will call this the Tesseract), and is going to be the basis for Captain America 3: The Hunt For The Red Skull (okay I made that title up, but that’s what I want it to be).  By the time you get up from your seat, you’ll know what related device will be the Chekhov’s Gun for that film when it happens.

Also in 2005, as part of the Ultimate Universe from which much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe derives, came a story called Ultimate Nightmare created by Warren Ellis.  In it Nick Fury pulls together a strike team including himself and three superheroes: Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon.  Sound familiar? It should, this is the same team that was picked for this movie.  This team is one of my absolute favorites to come from the Ultimate Universe, and it made me extremely excited to know they would be at the core of this movie.  Seeing them on screen, the buildup of absolute trust that they accrue toward each other throughout, and watching their character growth in this movie is one of the major reasons this movie is enjoyable.

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Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falon, is done fantastically in the film.  He’s always been a hard character to present well, but also since 2005 he’s really come into his own as a solid character who no longer feels like a tag along / second fiddle.  He is after all the second most important Captain America partner (the term “sidekick” doesn’t fit him. Keep in mind too that in comic books he’s not only teamed with Cap, he’s actually put on the uniform and been Captain America, and is actually an Avenger.  He also got awesome mechanical wings and guns which make for some of the best action moments in this film.

After you get up from the film you’ll probably want to look up these names as they most likely play into future Captain America movies based on the way things are going (hint: you’ll already have seen 3 of them):

This movie is just extremely solid for the first part of a storyline that took more than 5 years to tell in comic books.  It is designed in the same magical way that Marvel has created all their movies from Iron Man forward: appealing to movie fans, and appeasing the comic book fan at the same time.  It’s a mix that other movie and comic companies simply haven’t yet, and may never, figure out how to deliver on.  Will everyone like this movie? No, overall a lot of Avengers fans didn’t like Captain America: The First Avenger.  But plenty will love this movie and it is going to rock a lot of socks, and the box office.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k0kkSHiiPE

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Disney Movie Collection Giveaway

Disney Movie Collection Giveaway
We have joined with several other Disney Blogs and Blogger to bring you a Disney Movie Collection Giveaway that is amazing!
This awesome group has joined forces to giveaway 20 Disney DVDs that include classics, animated, live action, and comedies. Man, just think of the Disney Movie Rewards points!

The complete list of movies included in the Disney Movie Collection Giveaway are:

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Incredibles
  • Cinderella
  • Monster’s University
  • Brave
  • Babe’s in Toyland
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Muppet Treasure Island and Great Muppet Caper Collection
  • Wall-E
  • Wreck It Ralph
  • Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton)
  • Iron Man 3
  • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
  • Aladdin
  • Tinker Bell
  • Mary Poppins (40th Anniversary)
  • Herbie Collection (Love Bug / Herbie Goes Bananas / Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo / Herbie Rides Again)
  • Kurt Russell: 4-Movie Collection
These movies can all be yours if the entry is right!!!
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you enter the Disney Movie Collection Giveaway!
  • Giveaway starts at midnight EST on January 14/15 and ends at 11:59 PM MST (1:59 am EST) January 27th
  • Winner must be a US Resident 18 years or Older.
  • Winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond to claim their prize or another winner may be chosen.
  • Movies will be sent individually from each blog sponsor. 
  • Winner’s address will be shared with all blog sponsors (18). 
  • If winner does not agree to have his/her address shared with all sponsors, another winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Details

Harry Potter Stars James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, and Evanna Lynch

to Appear at A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort

Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

3-Day Event to Feature a Harry Potter Tribute, Cast Member Q&A’s,
Wand Combat Masterclass, Pottermore Demonstrations and More

 

Harry Potter film stars James Phelps, Oliver Phelps and Evanna Lynch are slated to appear at “A Celebration of Harry Potter” – a special event hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment that will celebrate all of Harry’s adventures, from the beloved books to the feature films.  Creative talent also set to appear includes KazuKibuishi, the award-winning artist who recently re-imagined the Harry Potter book covers, and Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina ofMinaLima, who established the visual graphic style of the Harry Potter films.

From January 24 – 26, 2014 at Universal Orlando, fans will enjoy unforgettable experiences – including a Harry Potter Tribute on Friday night, a Harry Potter Expo, panel discussions with film talent and crew, and more.  Additional details about “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be released early next year.

Access to “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included with regular theme park admission or with an annual pass.  Those without an annual pass can experience the full offering with a 3-day park-to-park ticket.  Admission into panel events will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Event Details

A CELEBRATION OF HARRY POTTER PANEL DISCUSSIONS

The panels will be held in a theater-style setting and will include discussions and Q&A’s with Harry Potter film talent and crew.  Admission into the theaters will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Specific panel times will be released at a later date.

  • A Harry Potter Tribute

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” will kick off with a special evening event starring several cast members of the Harry Potter film series and award-winning artist Kazu Kibuishi, who recently re-imagined the Harry Potter book covers for Scholastic and beautifully captured pivotal scenes from the enchanting Harry Potter stories.  Guests will enjoy film clips, Q&A sessions with cast members, and get a glimpse of new details about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, opening summer 2014.

  • My Life on the Harry Potter Film Set: Talent Q&A’s

Actors from the Harry Potter films share what it’s like to work on a major motion picture and be part of film history.

  • Duelling Demonstration & Wand Combat Masterclass with Paul Harris

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter will present a spellbinding masterclass with the world’s only Wand Combat Choreographer, Paul Harris.  Paul choreographed the epic battle scene in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and will be on hand to teach you the technique behind wielding a wand.

  • Graphic Design for the Harry Potter Films with MinaLima

Graphic designers Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina from the studio MinaLima will discuss their ten-year involvement in establishing the visual graphic style on the film productions of Harry Potter and present some of the iconic props they created for the films, including the Marauder’s Map, the Daily Prophet and The Quibbler.

  • Bringing the Harry Potter Films to the Theme Park – Set and Prop Design of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter film and theme park Set Designer Alan Gilmore and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Prop Master Eric Baker will present a look at how ideas move from the books to screen, and then become real-life theme park experiences.

  • Go Behind the Scenes of Pottermore.com from J.K. Rowling

Pottermore’s Creative Director gives an exclusive insight into the creation of Moment artwork for Pottermore.com, and a look at the next installment of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Plus, get ready for an exclusive reveal as he shares his favorite upcoming new entry from J.K. Rowling. 

A Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Expo Booths

The Harry Potter Expo will be held inside a Universal Orlando soundstage and will be open to guests throughout the weekend.  The expo will include booths and exhibits that will give guests deeper insight into the various manifestations of the Harry Potter series.

  • Harry Potter: The Exhibition

Guests will get an up-close look at the artistry and craftsmanship that went into creating the iconic costumes that have appeared throughout the Harry Potter film series. They will also have the opportunity to get sorted into Hogwarts houses during a Sorting Hat experience.

  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

This interactive experience will feature a duelling presentation by the world’s only Wand Combat Choreographer, Paul Harris.

  • MinaLima

Limited edition artworks and reproductions based on original prop designs will be on display, including iconic pieces, such as the Marauder’s Map and the Daily Prophet.  A selection of original graphic props from the films will also be on display, and on-hand to meet guests will be Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima.

  • Pottermore from J.K. Rowling

Go behind the scenes of Pottermore.com from J.K. Rowling.  Find out how Moments from Harry’s story are created from the first sketch to the final splash of color, get an exclusive look at artwork that has not yet been released, and experience Pottermore.com for yourself – defeat your opponent in a wizard’s duel or try your hand at brewing magical draughts and potions.

  • Scholastic

Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the U.S. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and share your message about what Harry Potter means to you.  Award-winning artist Kazu Kibuishi, who recently reimagined the Harry Potter book covers, will be signing posters at limited times throughout the weekend.

  • United States Postal Service

Guests can check out the limited-edition Harry Potter collection of 20 new Forever stamps, featuring images of Harry Potter, the extraordinary boy wizard, and the adventures he encounters with the friends, heroes, villains and creatures that make up his world. Also, see collectible products featuring the stamps, meet the stamp art director, and get special cancellation postmarks commemorating this celebration.

For more information about the event and tickets, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

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D23 Expo To Host Preview of ESPN Films The ’99ers

ESPN FILMS TO PRESENT A SNEAK PREVIEW OF THE ’99ers FROM THE NINE FOR IX SERIES AT THE D23 EXPO 2013

ESPN Films To Present A Sneak Preview of The ‘99ers From The Nine For IX Series At The D23 Expo 2013

D23 Expo 

Film about the 1999 Women’s World Cup Team to screen on Sunday, August 11, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Erin Leyden and producer Julie Foudy

 

The world of women’s sports was kicked upside down on July 10, 1999.  Before a sold-out crowd of more than 90,000 at the Rose Bowl and an estimated 40 million Americans watching on television, the women’s soccer team reached a cultural and athletic pinnacle with its penalty kick shootout victory over China to win the Women’s World Cup. As part of ESPN Films’ new Nine for IX series, The ’99ers explores the story behind this incredible team.  Attendees of the D23 Expo 2013 can catch an exclusive screening of this film featuring a Q&A with the director Erin Leyden and the producer Julie Foudy. The screening/ Q&A will take place at The Ultimate Disney Fan Event in Stage 28 at the Anaheim Convention Center on Sunday, August 11 at 2:30 p.m. PT.

The ’99ers is told through the voice of Foudy, a longtime team captain, who gives viewers an inside look at the strong team ethic and rare “do for each other” mentality that propelled them to victory that day and turned the team into a cultural touchstone.  With unprecedented access, the film uses candid, behind-the-scenes footage shot by the players themselves during the tournament to present a unique portrait of the women who irrevocably changed the face of women’s athletics.  Reuniting key players from the 1999 squad and talking with current U.S. players as well, the film examines how women’s soccer – and women’s sports as a whole – has changed since that epic day at the Rose Bowl.

D23 Expo

Tickets for the D23 Expo are $57 for a one-day adult admission and $47 for children 3–12. Tickets for members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are $50 for a one-day adult admission and $42 for children. Multi-day money-saving tickets are also available for both D23 Members and the general public, and D23 Members can save as much as $84 off the price of admission, based on the purchase of four three-day tickets at the D23 Member rate. For more information on tickets and the ticket pricing structure for members and general admission, visit D23Expo.com.

Fans can join D23 at D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

 

D23 Expo

About Nine for IX

ESPN Films and espnW present Nine for IX, executive produced by Robin Roberts and Jane Rosenthal, featuring nine documentary films about women in sports directed by Oscar-nominated, Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning female filmmakers. Inspired by the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the series will air over nine consecutive Tuesdays on ESPN at 8 PM ET beginning July 2, 2013. Stories include Venus Williams fight for equal pay at Wimbledon, the largely unknown history of Katarina Witt and her link with East Germany’s secret police, an intimate look at Pat Summitt—college sports’ most successful coach ever, and the business of sex in the marketing of female athletes. For more information and summaries visit: Nine for IX Media Kit

D23 Expo

About D23 Expo 2013

The D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—brings the entire world of Disney under one roof, providing attendees with unprecedented access to Disney films, television, and theme parks. For the latest D23 Expo 2013 news, visit D23Expo.com. To be part of the D23 Expo conversation, make sure to follow @DisneyD23 and tag your tweets with #D23Expo.

D23 disney twenty-three

About D23

The name “D23” pays homage to the exciting journey that began in 1923 when Walt Disney opened his fledgling studio in Hollywood. D23 is the first official club for fans in Disney’s nearly 90-year history. D23 gives its members a greater connection to the entire world of Disney by placing them in the middle of the magic through its quarterly publication Disney twenty-three; a rich website with members only content at D23.com; member-exclusive discounts and special events for D23 Members throughout the year, highlighted by the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, August 9–11, 2013.

 

Fans can join D23 at D23.com and at www.DisneyStore.com/D23. To keep up with all the latest D23 news and events, follow us @DisneyD23 on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

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Les Miserables With Shane – Do You Hear That Ambient Noise?

Les Miserables With Shane – Do You Hear That Ambient Noise?

Shane Grizzard takes us along to the movies with his review of Les Miserables! 

Les Miserables

Last week I got the second greatest Hanukkah gift ever when Shelley invited me to go see the Les Miserables film a week early and cover it for the site. I was very excited because, contrary to popular belief, I’ve never seen a true production of Les Mis before, despite my background in theatre. The only time I’ve ever seen it partially was PBS’s 25th anniversary concert, which was very hard to follow along because there was little scenery, props or stage direction.

Les Miserables is a musical based on Victor Hugo’s famous novel that tells the story of several families’ lives over the years leading up to the [failed] Paris Uprising of 1832. The main conflict follows Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a reformed convict, and Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), the officer trying to recapture him for breaking parole.

I invited my friend Mike along to the early screening, partly because he’s a Les Mis veteran- his cousin played Gavroche on Broadway for a year and they saw it like 12 times- so he would be a good contrasting opinion to my newbie voice. Going in, he kept telling me to pay attention the revolutionary new way they filmed the singing. You see, in the past when movie musicals were made they would record the soundtrack first and then when you went to film the scene the actors would lip sync to the song. In Les Mis they decided to film the singing live in the moment while a pianist played in the actors’ ears off screen and then add the orchestrations in post production. Theoretically, this would create a more theatrical experience, allowing the actors to be more emotionally involved in the scene. Sounds good, right?

I have to say this was my biggest pet peeve for the first half of the film. Perhaps it was the acoustics of some of the spaces where they filmed. Perhaps it was because of the ambient noise in some of the scenes. Perhaps it was because my heart was two sizes too small. (Wait- right holiday, wrong story.) But it kept taking me out of the scene. For some reason it didn’t feel like a musical and more like just people randomly singing out of nowhere. At points I just wanted the actors to stop crying and finish singing the dang song!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCPoIsi8m08&feature=share&list=PLA01F605EEACAC54B

Another issue I had was there are many “inner monologue” moments throughout the musical. You know like in a Shakespearean play where a character would step out and say what they were thinking or explain something to the audience. This works well on the stage but feels odd when you try to adapt it to film, especially when the actors are singing every moment out loud and not keeping their thoughts in their heads. One particular moment, the student Marius (Eddie Redmayne) was thanking his best friend Eponine (Samantha Barks) for finding the love of his life Cosette (Amanda Seyfried), a girl whom he had only seen once across a crowded square (don’t get me started). Eponine is standing off to the side singing aloud about how every word is like a dagger in her heart and she wishes he would just see her for once- ALL FIVE FEET FROM THE GUY. I kept expecting him to turn and say “I’m sorry, did you you say something?”

The actors were hit and miss. I went in to this with very low expectations of Russell Crowe. Yes, he’s sung in his own band before, but can he carry one of leads in this major almost-operatic musical? Personally, I thought Crowe did better than I expected, but as Mike went on to point out he still wasn’t on the caliber of every Broadway actor who’s played the role before him, especially when placed against Hugh Jackman, a stage veteran. Sacha Baron Cohen (who played Thénardier) couldn’t sing either, but was very funny in his little improvisations and quips with Helena Bonham Carter. Unfortunately though there was very little comedy to cut through this extremely dramatic film.

All that being said, as many issues as I had with Les Mis, I found the next day I was longing to go back and see it again! The movie was epic and and the score was beautiful. If you’re a fan of the musical, rest assured they cut barely anything out. Mike and I could only think of one or two small songs that weren’t there. If you’re not a fan, be warned they cut barely anything out and you’re walking into a three hour musical with no intermission. Definitely go to the bathroom before you see the film!

My conclusion: Though I had many issues with the production of this film and its transition from stage to screen and I wouldn’t put it in my list of Top 5 Films of 2012, it was still enjoyable! Go see it, if you’re into epic musicals about depressing miserable French people!

I hope you have a happy holidays!

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