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The Muppets Take Manhattan Blu-ray DVD Combo


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The Muppets Take Manhattan Blu-ray
Kermit D. Frog, Fozzie Bear, Ms. Piggy
Directed by Frank Oz
Originally released 1984
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2011

The Muppets Take Manhattan Blu-ray is a fun, family friendly movie that still works more than 25 years later. The DVD in this combo set features both a fullscreen and widescreen version. Special features are limited to a Jim Henson interview and three short Muppet profiles of sorts. The Muppets Take Manhattan is not the best Muppet movie but it is entertaining and teaches good values.

The Muppets have just graduated college and decide to take their year end musical to Broadway. Success does not come easy. After a while the gang goes back home, leaving Kermit in charge of selling the play. That too is not easy. Kermit starts to miss the gang but perseveres.

The musical numbers are okay enough. The scene with the Muppet Babies is blatant product placement. The weak point in The Muppets Take Manhattan is Juliana Donald who plays a waitress named Jenny. Donald never manages to make you believe she is doing more than talking to puppets.

The closing number does have a bit of magic to it. The funniest scene is when Kermit gets a check-up from Linda Lavin

There are lots of cameos here. The include Gregory Hines, Liza Minelli, Elliot Gould, and Joan Rivers. The best is at the beginning with Dabney Coleman.

Special features on The Muppets Take Manhattan BVlu-ray DVD areJim Henson Interviews on Directing vs. Acting, Kermit & Jim, Magic, Expanding the Character’s Role, Kermit Comes Alive, Experimenting, Filming in New York City, The Art of Puppetry, The Kitchen Scene, Director Frank Oz, Singing in Character. Kermit’s Voice, A Team Effort, Cameo Roles. Muppetism Featurettes

Fozzie Bea, Miss Piggy & Kermit the Frog, and Pepe

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Strawberry Shortcake – Growing Up Dreams – Mom Reviewed


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Strawberry Shortcake ? Growing Up Dreams
Strawberry Shortcake, Peppermint Wizz, Ginger Snap
Fox Home Entertainment 2011
44 minutes

In this classically animated Strawberry Shortcake episode, she and her gang of friends experience some growing pains while imagining their lives as grown ups. This family DVD contains one episode (44 minutes) with two mini-stories all about becoming good grown ups.

In the first part, the young girls are thinking about what they would like to be when they are older.  Strawberry’s friend, Gingersnap, wants to be an astronaut, but is ridiculed by another girl.  She tries anyway and succeeds.  The second story is about many young kids’ dream:  wanting to be the boss.  While all the other girls decide to pretend to be their future professions, Peppermint Wizz decides to be the mayor…bossing everyone around.  No fun for anyone!

My whole family agreed that there were some really good messages here – never give up on your dreams, pitching in makes work go faster, and asking instead of telling is often the way to go, if you are looking for cooperation.   Lots of kids could learn something good from this DVD.  It really got my kids talking about how they would react in similar (real-life) situations.  The story about Peppermint Wizz in particular had my four children talking to each other about how to solve situations where others are trying to boss them around.

We all really liked the vivid colours, and the music. The scenery and names all related to food had my kids’ imaginations and appetites working overtime.   The younger kids in the house preferred the video, and the girls more so than the boys. This DVD definitely deals with issues more closely associated to girls, and so they would be the ones to learn the most from this.  That said, younger boys could also enjoy the pretending to be  grown up aspect of the show.

I would recommend this family DVD, especially for younger kids (4-10 year-olds), as there is a lot to discuss afterward and there are some really good messages here.

Mom Reviewed – Strawberry Shortcake Berry Big Journeys  

Mom Reviewed – Strawberry Shortcake – The Sky's the Limit  

Dad Reviewed – Strawberry Shortcake The Glimmerberry Ball Movie and Berrywood Here We Come

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Ice Age – A Mammoth Christmas Special Blu-ray DVD


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Ice Age A Mammoth Christmas Special Blu-ray DVD
Manny Mammoth, Scrat Squirrel, Sid Sloth
Fox Home Entertainment 2011
24 minutes

There should be a “No Artificial Sugar” sticker on the Blu-ray DVD Combo pack for Ice Age A Mammoth Christmas Special. This 24-minute cartoon featuring the regular Ice Age crew and young Peaches Mammoth is a family friendly Christmas offering adults in the family will enjoy almost as often as their kids. While many seasonal cartoons and releases play like a money grab, this is not the case for A Mammoth Christmas Special.

Sid breaks Manny’s family Christmas rock and he, Crash and Eddie, and Manny’s daughter Peaches decide to go to the North Pole to see Santa and get Sid off the Naughty list Manny just told them about. Manny and Ellie go after them.

Although not as complex as the Ice Age movies, how could it be at 24-minutes, A Mammoth Christmas Special features a very smart and entertaining story that also deals with how some traditions came to be, sort of.

Parents will enjoy the spirit of cooperation this cartoon presents without being didactic about it. They will also enjoy this Ice Age Blu-ray DVD combo pack as a whole even after the kids play it over and over and over again … and they will. There’s even a digital copy so you can bring it with you wherever you go.

Scrat does not have a feature on this disc but he does show up in the episode.

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The Big Year Blu-ray DVD Combo


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The Big Year
Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Jack Black
Directed by David Frankel
Fox Home Entertainment 2012

The Big Year is a movie about three guys at different stages in their life who undertake the same challenge: seeing as many different birds as possible in a calendar year. Though it stars Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, all known for their comedic skills, The Big Year is a mix of buddy movie, comedy, and light drama. This is not an especially memorable movie but it is original, fun, and entertaining.

Stu Preissler (Martin) is a very successful and busy businessman who has always put off his dream of having a Big Year. He is almost finally going to do it. Brad Harris is a divorced office drone is his thirties who has nothing to show so far so being the champion birder will be his way of proving himself to everyone else, especially his father. Kenny Bostick (Wilson) is the reigning Big Year champ and a professional at it. When he feels his record is being challenged he gives up everything he has including his girlfriend to keep his record alive.

Stu and Brad eventually become buddies and encourage each other and sometimes team up against Kenny whom they have come to see as their nemesis.

You would think a movie about seeing birds would be boring but The Big Year is not. The main characters, the actors, and the various events combine to make for an entertaining experience.

The Big Year Blu-ray features the theatrical and extended – unrated versions.

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My Cat From Hell Season 2 – Animal Planet Tuesdays 7:00

My Cat From Hell Season 2
Animal Planet
Begins Tuesday April 3rd 7 p.m.

Season 2 of My Cat From Hell begins Tuesday April 3rd at 7 p.m. on Animal Planet. Jackson Galaxy, (author of Cat Daddy: What the Most Incorrigible Cat Taught Me About Life, Love, and Coming Clean) is a cat whisperer of sorts. He goes into houses with a dysfunctional feline, identifies the issues at hand, and finds solutions so owners / humans and cats can live together happily ever after.

Though My Cat From Hell is very interesting, this is not a show that should be shared if one is a cat fancier and the other is not. A cat fancier will easily understand why the people persist in trying to make the cat able to live with them. A non cat fancier will often wonder why these owners don’t just give up and get rid of the cat (please, no nasty emails).

The first episode of season 2 features two cats. Larry is a female who scratches and attacks both her owners. She has become so much of a point of contention that the guy will not marry the girl unless something is done about the cat. Galaxy in and his solution is so simple you just have to go DUH!

More difficult is Ruby. Ruby gets along well with the guy but not well at all with the lady of the house. Also, Ruby is a problem because she scares the lady’s clients. It has gotten to a point where the lady is jealous of the relationship her husband has with the cat and feels left out.

With this case Jackson Galaxy is more believable a cat problem solver. His explanations for the problems are perceptive and his solutions not that obvious but clearly end up working.

If you are a two TV house, I suggest the cat fancier watch this Animal Planet show Tuesdays at 7 p.m. starting April 3rd. The other human can watch Dog Whisperer.

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Win Win


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Win Win
Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer, Amy Ryan, Burt Young
Directed by Thomas McCarthy
Fox Home Entertainment 2011

Win Win is a superb drama that probably went under the radar at your local theatre when it came out. It is now available on DVD and Blu-ray and well worth the investment. If you like a movie about ordinary people facing the curves life throws at them the best way they can, you are going to like this movie. If you like excellent acting, a believable story you can easily connect with yet does not pander to the audience, and a believable ending, you are going to love Win Win.

Paul Giamatti plays small town attorney and everyman Mike Flaherty. Mike has a wife, two kids, volunteers as coah for the high school wrestling team, and tries to make a life for himself and his family. Leo (an excellent performance by Burt Young), one his clients, is deemed incompetent and the court wants to put him in charge of the state. Mike volunteers to take care of Leo so he will not go into a home. The problem is Mike does this to get the stipend attached with being Leo’s caregiver but still puts Leo in a home.

Kyle, Leo’s grandson, shows up unannounced. He has run away from a broken home, his mom is in rehab, and he was planning to live with his grandfather. Mike and his family take in Kyle for a couple of days, then a couple of weeks, and then get him in school and take care of him. Kyle is an excellent wrestler and this gives Mike’s team a shot at winning. Things get complicated and start to unravel when Leo’s daughter, Kyle’s mother, shows up and wants to bring her father to where she is living.

Some dramas about ordinary people are either pretentious or boring. This Blu-ray or DVD is a very human movie whose fallible characters are easy to understand and connect with.

Win Win is a feel good movie not in the rah rah happy ending sense but by showing ordinary people trying their best to live their life as best they can, making mistakes, and picking themselves up.

Special features for Win Win are Deleted Scenes, Tom McCarthy and Joe Tiboni discuss Win Win, David Thompson at Sundance 2011, Alex Shaffer at Sundance 2011, In Conversation with Tom McCarthy and Paul Giamatti at Sundance 2011, Family, Tom McCarthy, Wrestling, Amy Ryan, Fox Movie Channel Presents: Direct Effect Tom McCarthy, "Think You Can Wait" Music Video by The National, Theatrical Trailer

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