Archive for the Kids Category

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 26 – Hocus Pocus

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, horror, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

 

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Kenny Ortega

Review Rating: 8

The Sanderson sisters are brought back from the dead when the black flame candle is lit by a virgin on Halloween night, to eat the lives of all the children in Salem!

Not all of Halloween needs to be dark dank and dreary. Granted these are witches who worship Satan, monster zombies and disbelieving virgins, but come on – it’s the Disney version. This means the sister witches are Bette Midler as Winifred, Kathy Najimy as portly Mary, and Sarah Jessica Parker as ditzy blonde sister Sarah; Satan and his beleaguered wife are the famous Marshalls; spirited black cats can not only talk, they get the best one-liners; and every last thing to do with magic, no matter how bad it sounds, is just adorable. Doug Jones, of the interesting contortions and roles, is Billy Butcherson, poor lost soul and risen zombie with a heart of gold (and moths). Sean Murray is the actor for and voice of Thackery Binx, the talking black cat that is the ultimate Halloween accessory. Omri Katz is main character Max, in what is fairly likely his best role to date. Vanessa Shaw is love interest Allison, and a very young Thora Birch is Max’s sister Dani. An awesomely adorable cast and even a musical number makes this very Disney tale an absolute must for every Halloween viewing party!

Comic-Con International 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Kids, movie news, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense, TV Movie, VG Movie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Comic-Con International is one of those insane events that happens once a year, that everyone and their family looks forward to. Shwag is given out in spades, autographs are hoarded, lines are formed for miles, and cosplay is proudly displayed, often by folk who are considered completely “normal” otherwise. CCI is like it’s own world, with it’s own rules, and it helps to know them if you’ve never been to Comic-Con before. For example:

1. The FREE STUFF

Literally right across the street from the convention center, past the trolley tracks and the hordes of fan-atics trying to cross the street, is always set up as the ads and the FREE STUFF. Often new or returning TV shows are advertised with exhibit walkthroughs and at the end, you get a FREE something with the shows logo stamped on it. Clever geegaws, FREE photos with sets as backdrops, games and trivia and hotties giving out t-shirts, oh my! Someone this year was a genius, and for the Dracula walkthrough, the FREE thing given at the end was a chair. Now I grant you, it’s just a folding piece of cardboard with ads printed on it; the thing still supported my weight during those interminable lines for more FREE STUFF, so that’s awesome. All day Thursday, all I did was wander around the across-the-street area, didn’t even go in to the convention center itself, and yet I came home with a bulging bag of FREE STUFF. There was even a place giving out free half-pints of ice cream, advertising Elder Scrolls. I do not kid.

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1-A. TRIVIA PRIZES

Sometimes, not always, you can be in the right place at just the right time. I was in line for the Falling Skies trailer exhibit across the trolley tracks, when a Volunteer came out with t-shirts over one arm and announced to the line he was doing FS trivia, and asked who on the line was a fan?! …*crickets* Really? Well, I’m a fan! After gleefully giving some trivia about the latest show, I was handed the last in a lot of only 200 made, the Volunteer said, of an official Falling Skies hoodie, with a patch and a logo and thumbholes in the sleeves. This happens to me, as a rabid fan, often, and who knows, it may happen to you too!

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1-B. CCI BAG LOADOUT

Several years back, someone else was a genius and started giving out these high-end bags to hold shwag as part of the Comic-Con package when you pick up your badge. Everyone gets one, they usually have some sort of theme, and this year is no exception. This years CCI bag featured Warner Bros. (of course) and CCI on one side, the other side reserved for ads for shows like ARROW, Retro Batman, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, and many others, also featuring double arm straps so the bag could be a backpack, thank heavens. But that wasn’t the highlight of this years bag, oh no. Along with the CCI bag and it’s helpful lugging-stuff goodness, each bag came complete with a detachable ad cape. I grant you, it’s this cheapo piece of fabric with a logo screened on it and neckties, but come on. Now everyone can Cosplay at Comic-Con!

2. The LINES

In Comic-Con, there are lines literally everywhere. For the panels, for the Halls, down in the shopping mall, and don’t forget the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. (We’ll get to that.) The lines in the Exhibit Hall, where we do all the shopping and yes get more FREE STUFF, are often girded by Con security and hapless Volunteers with signs that don’t really work. Usually after Friday, the lines for the really swell FREE STUFF become impossible unless you attended such-and-such panel beforehand and received the postcard that entitled you for a FREE t-shirt advertising their movie. The Exhibit Hall frankly, has needed for years traffic signals and cattle prods, and not necessarily in that order. You were warned.

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2-A. The MAIN HALL LINES

The LINES for Hall H and Ballroom 20 need to be addressed as well. It’s been years since I’ve bothered at all trying to get into either one of these rooms, and with good reason. Hall H and Ballroom 20 are the largest venues at Comic-Con and therefore have the coolest panels shown there. Hall H in particular gets insane, due to the fact that the overflow line is outside (someone finally put up tents a few years ago to shield the line from the sun, hooray) and these days people will often camp out overnight to ensure getting in to Hall H the next day. I’ve heard stories of die-hard fans camping out there three days before the Con was to open, just to see their favorite star in real life. And I think that’s why these lines are so insane: most of these people get to see a real-life celebrity once in their miserable lives, here at Comic-Con. Even the lines for the smaller roomed panels are getting interesting, so nevermind what the website says. If you want to see a panel, any panel at all, come early for the line.

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3. The FULLFILLMENT ROOM

CCI some years back instituted this sort of reward program that gives away yet more FREE STUFF advertising various programs shown at Con. At a lot of the panels, while you’re sitting there listening to Noah Wyle crack wise about Falling Skies or whatever, Con Volunteers will pass out along the lines of Con-goers these little faire-type tickets. What not everyone knows is to keep these tickets, they’re not for a raffle you’ll never win or anything, it’s for the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. Next door to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and here is where the FULLFILLMENT ROOM is set up. What they don’t tell you, is that the ROOM is set up in the very back end of the Hotel, and the place usually only has Volunteers with signs for the ROOM about halfway through the Hotel, if at all. Also, inevitably, there are lines of eager Con-goers already in the know about the ROOM. However, if you’ve kept your non-raffle tickets (I store mine in the back of my Con badge, that always works) and walked huffing and puffing all the way to the ROOM, stood in the interminable lines and tried to be nice to the harried Con volunteers, you can get yet more FREE STUFF. Bags from everywhere under the moon, posters and comics and booklets oh my, in previous years I got full-on video games with unlockable content, bracelets and pins and don’t forget the t-shirts, all with the logo of your favorite movie or show!

4. The COSPLAY

A lot of people go absolutely apeshit insane trying to do Cosplay for Comic-Con. I tried it once or twice a few years ago, and truly, it does not mesh with wandering the exhibit hall with a bag stuffed full of free shwag. But there are a couple of things I’ve learned about the Cosplayers and their ways. One, they always prefer to be asked before you start blinding them with a camera flash and effectively block their way to wherever they’re going by mobbing them with picture-taking. Two, very few of them actually mind if you come right out and ask where their costume is from, if you don’t know. A lot of those Anime Cosplayers can get downright obscure, and they know it, so if you don’t know, ask already. Three, after you take their picture and thank them for it, say something nice about their costume already. It costs you nothing to say, “Love the shoes” or “You look just like the Khaleesi”, even if you don’t mean it. And who knows what it cost the Cosplayer to make that costume; show some appreciation for their fan-aticism and love, if nothing else.

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5. FINAL THOUGHTS

Comic-Con International is an event like no other in the whole world. Every year people from all over the planet come here to San Diego in massive hordes for this four-day insanity extravaganza. Yes, the lines are terrible, the crowds are massive, and the heat is stifling. Yes, there are always disappointments: I didn’t get in to the Doctor Who panel, I didn’t get that geegaw from thus-and-such retailer I really wanted cuz’ they sold out on Thursday, I missed the pirate ship walkthrough because they closed it a day early, et cetera. But what you do get in exchange for all the headaches is an experience like no other. I saw Travis Fimmel from Vikings live and in person, I came home with four free bags of shwag, I spent all the money I studiously saved just for this event in the exhibit hall on fan things, and overall I had a blast. Comic-Con brings together people from all over, who all have one thing in common: I’m a fan. In a lot of cases, we’re all insane fan-atics, and Comic-Con connects us all for those four glorious days of squees, cheers, and die-hard unabashed and unapologetic geekdom!

Ranted & Photographed by Alicia Glass

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San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents Hecho en Mexico (Made in Mexico)

Posted in comedy, drama, Foreign, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  El Mall

MPAA Rating: R

Director:  Duncan Bridgeman

Review Rating: 6.5

Using the diversity now available in Mexican music as a framework, everything from traditional Mariachi to up-and-coming rap, the documentary approaches contemporary Mexican culture and modern and lasting issues.

The whole of the movie is basically various issues faced by Mexicans today: work, family, religion, health, etc, set in vignettes that basically shake the collective finger at the viewer, interspliced with various forms of modern Mexican music. Rap, contemporary rock, Mariachi, folk, many different forms of traditional and the like, all provide a framework to a whole bunch of apparent disapproval with which the filmmaker casts at the audiences’ modern way of life. The migrant workers who espouse that they just want to cross the border to find work in the better land, for example. Or the battle between the sexes, always an issue for the Latino community, and how the battle is unbalanced due to the sacred elevation of any woman once she becomes a mother. The issue of religion or more to the point the lack of it is addressed, though in a contradictory act, the sacred worship of the pregnant Virgin of Guadalupe is also given its’ own entire segment. Another whole segment is given to the abuse of the body by drugs, which I will grant you is worth some finger shaking, but the film goes so far as to admonish for even the use of caffeine, and that’s just unrealistic. Like pretty much the rest of the entire audience, I did not go to this movie to be chided the entire time. I went for the music, so, on to that.

I did not know there was so much diversity in Mexican music at this point. I’ve heard Latino rap before, and one can’t live in Southern California without learning a small smattering of Spanish by osmosis. The music provides a rich counterpoint to the rebukes of the film, but there is a bit of a problem. Like a good deal of any modern rap from any nation, it sounds good until you actually listen (or in this case read) to what they’re actually saying. The film dutifully provides subtitles for all the music, and a great deal of it is either lamenting their tortured history or complaining about the current situation, and yes a lot of it has to do with the United States. The audience obviously had some favorite singers they were there to support, given the cheering when certain singers were given their segments, but that was all they were there for as far as I could tell. Entirely not what I was expecting at all, the film nevertheless provides thought-provoking slices of Mexican life, all set to a gloriously diverse soundtrack.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Historical, Kids, Movies, Musical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Blue Sky Studios

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Steve Martino, Mike Thurmeier

Review Rating: 7

When Pangea begins splitting into different continents, Manny and the males of the absurd herd are separated from Ellie and Peaches, and have to fight pirates to find their way back together!

The fourth installment of the still-popular Ice Age franchise starts off featuring the poor deplorable Scrat trying to, once again, find a place to store his acorn and inadvertently causing Pangea to split off into continents. It’s a little too goofy for me for a beginning, but we’re willing to forgive it if they get better as the movie progresses. Meanwhile, Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are trying to deal with Peaches (Keke Palmer) as a willful teenager now, torn between wanting to hang with her outcast molehog friend Louis (Josh Gad) and be accepted by the other mammoth teenagers, especially Ethan (Aubrey Graham) whom she has a crush on, while Sid’s family is (briefly) returning to foist a completely bonkers Granny on him. And now we know where Sid gets his…uniqueness. Suddenly in the midst of a mammoth argument, there’s an earthquake that splits the ice floes and separates the family. Manny, Sid (John Leguizamo), Diego (Denis Leary) and oh hell Granny (Wanda Sykes) too, manage to survive a huge storm and are determinedly trying to get back to where Manny yelled for the remnants of his family to meet back up, when they get accosted by singing pirates!

Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) is a Gigantopithecus (yes go ahead and say that out loud, I’ll wait) of the floating iceberg turned pirate ship, and finally we now have a love interest for Diego, in the form of sabertooth first mate Shira (Jennifer Lopez). Captain Gutt and the rest of the crew try to press gang the men of the absurd herd into joining the ship, and when that doesn’t work insists on making them walk the plank, that annoying Granny first. Much chaos ensues that ends up sinking the pirate ship, and Gutt vows revenge. Shira gets tossed from the crew, just as Diego prophesied she would, and ends up helping the Absurd Herd, just as we knew she would. Off we go for the final confrontations! Oh and did I mention Scrat and his finding of Scratlantis? I didn’t? That’s because, well, it’s a little more ridiculous than usual, but hey that’s me.

The singing pirates help make the movie. Granny and her Precious, that helps too. And sure, Diego finally got a love interest. Peaches learned valuable life lessons, kept her friends and even got a love interest of her own. But the Ice Age franchise is becoming a bit strained. After Scrat mistakenly broke the ice age world into the continents of what-is-now Earth, there doesn’t seem to be much left. I can say, though, that this is one of the few movies where 3D actually made it more enjoyable and watchable.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Posted in Action, Cartoon, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Kids, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Sony Pictures Animation

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt

Review Rating: 7

Pirate Captain and his misfit crew set out to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award, amid rivals, Charles Darwin, and a sword-toting Queen Victoria!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seen the trailers and thought the movie looked like it might be more of an adult humor speed, so it’s worth a try. The film even has a PG rating, so one can expect more maturity, right? Well. More mature concepts, certainly. That doesn’t make them viable or even realistic. This is however the same folks who do Wallace and Gromit, Sony Pictures Animation, so perhaps they get a little leeway.

Pirate Captain, yes that’s his name damnit, wants nothing more than to get the award for Pirate of the Year. Apparently he’s tried and tried, and every year he fails at it. Black Bellamy, Peg Leg Hastings, and Cutlass Liz (see those are Pirate names) are his rivals for the prize. The ships loyal crew, which is a few ragtags and one we suspect is even a lady, plus Polly, the ships mascot that everyone thinks is a parrot. So the ship goes off to loot and plunder and get the booty as it were, and it’s just not going well at all. From leper ships to science vessels, the crew and her captain get not one thing, until they encounter, wait for it, Charles Darwin. Who tells the crew that their beloved Polly is in fact a Dodo, the last of its kind, and tries to get them to give Polly over so Darwin can win a big big scientist award and supposedly untold riches. Darwin also happens to have a thing for the pirate-hating Queen Victoria. So nothing for it but for everyone to go off to Victorian London where the scientists are gathering to show off their stuff. And Pirate Captain has to make a decision between being rich and famous and the Pirate of the Year, or staying loyal to his faithful, if goofy, crew. Mister Bobo, Darwin’s sidekick man-panzee, and his speaking cards are funny and adorable. There’s even a whole scene at the end where Queen Victoria does her best Kate Beckinsale impersonation.

I thought it was okay. Don’t much care that the lead character Pirate Captain was voiced by Hugh Grant, at least he didn’t try that supposedly charming stutter. Imelda Stanton was the voice of Queen Victoria, and it so fit too – some of you might recall her as Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter movies. Jeremy Piven, Selma Hayek, Brian Blessed, and Lenny Henry are the voices of other titled Pirates. And David Tennant, everyone knows who that is, as the voice of Charles Darwin, which I honestly didn’t place and still have a hard time believing. Visually at least, the film does look good and is certainly watchable, I just wish they had actually had more piratical stuff and less attempts to cater to all ages audiences.

 

Movie Moxie loves SDAFF 2011 — A Boy and His Samurai

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, Kids, Movies, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura

Review Rating: 8

A samurai from the Edo time period time travels to modern day Tokyo and affects the lives of a single mother and her son!

It’s an adorable, funny, and wonderfully poignant film. Taking a Samurai and tossing him into modern day isn’t a new thing if you watch Anime, but to do so in a live-action movie? One never knows how well or badly the interactions will work out. In this case, beautifully.

Hiroko (Rie Tomosaka) and her son Tomoya (Fuku Suzuki) have to be some of the nicest Japanese folk I’ve ever seen. Here’s this apparently crazy cosplayer Samurai type who bows, and speaks honorific language and carries swords openly, all confused and lost. Hiroko takes him in, to her own home, and of course Tomoya instantly bonds with the man and adores him. Samurai Yasube (Ryo Nishikido), wanting to help out in the home and not comprehending that Hiroko goes out to work and makes the money, starts doing domestic chores in an almost complete role reversal. Yasube’s ability to adapt in this admittedly freaky situation is wonderful to watch. After being introduced to the heavenly delights of custard by Tomoya, Yasube discovers his talents with sharp objects lie in cooking and not the dicing of enemies. He goes on to become a famous patissier, sought after for jobs by many, admired by most and envied almost dangerously by a few. Tomoya and Hiroko convince Yasube to enter a cake making contest, where sadly for little wanting-to-help Tomoya, he almost ruins the cake. The amazing entry Yasube made for the contest, an ancient Shogunate palace complete with tiny edible figurines of Yasube and Tomoya himself, is saved by Yasube’s amazing talent, as he makes it snow! Far too soon after that for my taste, comes the time when Yasube has to say goodbye to his newfound family and go back to his proper time. All is not lost or forgotten though, for a bit later Hiroko discovers a pastry shop on her way home that sells specialty custard made the same way for over a hundred years, a family secret passed down from an ancestor who loved nothing more than properly made, heavenly custard.

Given a relatively minor billing in the hustle and bustle of fest-going, A Boy and His Samurai was actually one of my personal favorites for this years SDAFF. A fun, loving and delicious way to say, do what you love, not what people tell you to do!

Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment launch Comikaze 2012!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Historical, horror, Kids, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2012 by aliciamovie

Comic Book Legend Stan Lee & POW! Entertainment launch new Comic Convention
with Comikaze Entertainment Inc.

Los Angeles’ Only Comic Convention Comikaze to rebrand as Stan Lee’s Comikaze
presented by Pow! With This Year’s Much Anticipated Annual Event in the 
Fall.

Beverly Hills, Calif. (April 11, 2012) – Comikaze Entertainment Inc., the
operator behind the largest multimedia pop culture, comic book, horror, 
anime and gaming convention in Greater Los Angeles, has announced a 
strategic partnership with world renowned pop culture icon Stan Lee and 
his company POW! Entertainment.  With a staggering 40,000 attendee 
turnout and over 300 exhibitors during its 2011 debut, this 
one-of-a-kind-expo was promptly recognized and embraced by attendees, 
the comic convention industry, and the greater LA area. In fact, LA 
Weekly named Comikaze Expo the “Best New Convention”.

Hosted at the Los Angeles Convention Center on September 15-16th 2012, 
‘Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo presented by POW! Entertainment,’ promises a 
larger premier experience for attendees this year with an  amazing line-up
of attractions from vendors, exciting interactive contests, tons of 
celebrity autograph signings, the addition of movie screenings, incredible 
panel sessions and all new gaming tournaments. Comikaze Expo will also join 
other major Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment endeavors such as the release 
of Lee’s dedicated digital hub “TheRealStanLee.com” with EQAL, 1821’s 
“Romeo & Juliet: The War” and “Stan Lee’s Kids Universe,” A2 & Archie Comics’ 
“Stan Lee’s Mighty Seven,” and “Stan Lee’s World of Heroes” YouTube channel 
with Vuguru.

“The inauguration of Comikaze Expo demonstrated the mighty appetite and 
eager response from fans to experience a Los Angeles-based event that 
provides a variety of comic book and pop culture entertainment,” said Stan 
Lee, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of POW! Entertainment. “We saw an 
opportunity to creatively take this event to new heights through our 
partnership and we seized it!”

Regina Carpinelli, Founder and CEO of Comikaze Entertainment Inc. commented:
“Stan is one of the greatest entertainment icons of our generation and the
godfather of modern comics.  We expect him to be instrumental in developing 
the Los Angeles Comikaze Convention. We have partnered with one of pop cultures
most celebrated figures and we plan to wow not only LA but also the world.
Audiences can anticipate a highly interactive experience at Stan Lee’s 
Comikaze Expo, unlike any other show. We want to change the way conventions 
are created and make an ultimate fan experience year round.  Besides, 
it’s about damn time Stan had his own convention!”

Gill Champion, CEO of POW! Entertainment, said: “Live events are an important
element supporting POW!’s brand extension. Where else to better start this
program then in our own back yard here in LA and with a proven venue and
association.”

Further announcements around Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo 2012 will be 
revealed leading up to the convention. Tickets are now available 
through pre-sale at $12 in honor of their inaugural 2011 show prices.  
Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo presented by POW! is also offering a unique ticket
at an additional price that enlists fans into the Stan Lee’s Comikaze Army. 
This interactive ticket includes a weekend pass, armband, dog tag, military 
id for discounts on merchandise and select vendors as well as collector’s 
edition posters(children under 12 enter for free) through www.comikazeexpo.com