Tag Archives: Disney

Date Night Movie: “Into the Woods”

Usually when I write about date night movies I'm taking about stuff that Mrs. Yeti and I see without Greta, but, tonight's “date night” was even more special. Greta and I saw a screening of Into the Woods on the Disney lot tonight and it was magical.

The movie was fantastic, the weather was wet and shimmery but not cold and the studio backlot was decorated to the hilt for tomorrow's annual tree lighting ceremony. Daddy/Daughter “date night” perfection! Seriously, we could have strolled around that gorgeous, candy-colored backlot all night…in fact, we kinda did. Enjoy the pics!

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“Star Wars: Rebels”

OK, I tend to be pretty generous where Star Wars is concerned. I worshipped the original trilogy as a kid, I loved the second two prequel films (Revenge of the Sith actually made me cry at the end!) and I thought the various iterations of the animated Clone Wars series were pretty solid with a few moments of true greatness peppered throughout. But, the latest addition to the Star Wars universe, the DisneyXD animated series, Star Wars: Rebels is straight up amazing!

I never thought I would say it, but, selling Star Wars to Disney a few years back just might be the smartest thing George Lucas has done in decades! Rather than water down and Disney-fy the franchise, the influx of new ideas and behind-the-scenes talent like Clone Wars veteran Dave Filoni and Star Wars ĂŒber fan, director/producer Simon Kinberg has injected new life into what many fans once saw as a creatively bankrupt franchise, at best.

I mean, sure, I've watched just about everything that's been churned out over the past decade, but that doesn't mean it's always been good. But if the rest of the season lives up to Star Wars: Rebels' thrilling, action-packed pilot “movie,” then sign my Jedi ass up!

Seriously, this is top-notch Star Wars storytelling here! Cool, beautifully crafted characters with actual backstories and emotions, awesome action set pieces and best of all, one of the coolest storylines since the original trilogy. Set five years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, Rebels follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the Ghost as they sow the seeds of rebellion in a galaxy that has begun to grow weary of the galactic empire.

I know that sounds impossibly geeky, and it is, but it's also one hell of a ride. Centered around the adventures of the newest member of the Ghost crew, a Force sensitive orphan named Ezra, Rebels really went into overdrive when they revealed that the leader of the Ghost team, Kanan Jarrus, is actually one of the last surviving Jedi knights. Cooler still is the fact that Jarrus offers to train Ezra in the ways of the Force is he joins them. Does it get any cooler than that? Seriously, Greta and I were cheering out loud when Jarrus whipped out his lightsaber for the first time. So rad!

Of course, we're only on the third episode, so, the series could totally fall apart at any minute, but for now, I'm basking in Star Wars perfection. It's been a long time since there was anything this good in the new Star Wars universe and I'm gonna enjoy it!

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Sexy “Frozen” Costumes

Yikes! I'm cool with sexy nurses, pirates and maids and shit, but when I heard that Yandy.com was selling sexy Frozen Halloween costumes, I got seriously creeped out. I mean, at least sexy Anna and Elsa costumes make sense, because, well, like it or not, sexy/slutty Disney Princess Halloween costumes have been around for years, but, Sexy Olaf? Yuck. Double yuck!

The worst thing is that it's not even that creative! Mrs. Yeti and I are working on homemade Olaf and Princess Anna costumes (to go with Greta's Queen Elsa ensemble from Costco!) as we speak, and let me tell ya, my non-sexy, hand-sewn Olaf is gonna kick slutty Olaf's trashy ass. So, watch out, Yandy.com! 🙂

 

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Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Like the rest of the world, I was deeply troubled to hear of the untimely death of Robin Williams on Monday. My brother and I were huge Mork & Mindy fans — Mrs. Yeti and I even made a pilgrimage to the old Victorian house they used on the show in Boulder, Colorado! — and I have always had a soft spot for Williams' later dramatic work as well. Expecially The Fisher King! I think of that gorgeous dance sequence every time I'm in Grand Central Station…truly magical shit!

But perhaps my favorite film in the Robin Williams cannon of awesomeness is Disney's Aladdin. Having watched it dozens of times with Greta over the years, I can honestly say that the movie only gets better with repeated viewings, and the songs are still some of the best Disney jams ever.

But the true standout in the film is that crazy-ass genie with the heart of gold. If ever a part was tailor made for an actor, it was that. Funny, sad, self-deprecating and completely lovable, Williams' voice performance as the genie might just be his best work ever.

And though I'm still terribly sad about his death — and the horrible details of it all — I gotta tell ya, the magic of that amazing genie will live on forever. It really is a performance for the ages.

While listening to another beautiful tribute to Williams on SiriusXM's EWRadio this afternoon, Greta finally asked me who died. And though I spared her the details, I told her that a very famous actor named Robin Williams had died rather suddenly and that the whole world was sad about it. She asked me what movies he made and I told her that she would probably know him best as the genie from Aladdin to which she replied: “Wow, he was a good actor with his voice too!”

Truer words were never spoken. RIP you sweet, sad man…you will be sorely missed.

 

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“Love is an Open Door” clip goes viral

If you thought the pop-culture juggernaut that is Frozen peaked with the film’s two big wins at the Academy Awards or yesterday’s eagerly-awaited home video release, think again.

Proving that Frozen mania is here to stay, a new wave of videos featuring people singing and/or lip-syncing songs from the movie have gone totally viral. And this time, they’re singing something new. So, move over Adele Dazeem (aka Idina Menzel) because “Love is an Open Door” is definitely having a moment.

And while it may have all started with the charming, “good-looking couple” in the first clip shown above, the list of spoofs and imitators on YouTube is growing by the second. There are even imitators of the imitators…it’s crazy! But also, kind of totally awesome.

Long live the Frozen phenomenon!

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Disney Princess LEGOS

Just when you thought LEGO had reached the pinnacle of coolness with the recent release of their fanboy-tastic “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” LEGO playsets, they take things even further by adding the Disney Princesses to the mix as well.

That’s right, brick lovers, the Disney Princess LEGO sets are here. And though several of the bigger name Disney Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel have appeared in hugely-popular DUPLO playsets over the years, this is the first time Disney royalty has appeared in a “big kid” LEGO set and the results are freaking awesome.

Disney Princess LEGOS

Seriously, even if I didn’t have a Disney Princess-loving daughter, I would want some of these sets. Beautifully detailed with rich, subtle colors you don’t often find in the LEGO universe, the sets are far cooler than you’d expect, especially considering how totally lame and borderline sexist the company’s previous girl-themed efforts have been.

I mean, no offense to the toothy lasses in the LEGO Friends collection, but, girls can do much more than run an ice cream shoppe, beauty parlor and/or brush their horse’s plastic hair all day long. Say what you will about Barbie, but at least she has career ambitions, while even the best of the LEGO Friends sets feel a marketing scheme that never really took off.

Whereas the new Disney Princess LEGOS are so cool and character-specific that they actually breathe new life into a franchise that most parents I know feel has lost a little steam in recent years. And, by focusing on the strengths and unique skills/talents of each of the Princesses featured in the LEGO sets, the powers that be present girl characters that, you know, actually do things.Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

The Merida set highlights her archery skills, Rapunzel’s set focuses on her skills as an artist and even Ariel — who many consider to be the most offensive and weak-willed of the bunch — gets a chance to focus on her skills as a “collector of human artifacts” in one of her two LEGO sets. OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but, it’s better than nothing.

But the biggest surprise of all comes in the largest, showiest set in the series, Cinderella’s Romantic Castle. If you ask me, Cinderella was always the first truly modern-skewing of the Disney Princesses, but, rather than showcasing her skills at sewing and cleaning (both of which she obviously excelled at) Cinderella’s LEGO set goes out of its way to highlight her cheeky sense of humor by sneaking all sorts of hidden treasures into the castle. Her bed features a “secret drawer” containing a mysterious envelope (a souvenir invite from the Royal ball that started it all perhaps?) and another “secret room” upstairs hides a treasure chest behind a door that is only opened by a key hidden behind a trick bookcase downstairs. Forget romance, this castle is downright magical!

Disney Princess LEGOS

Disney Princess LEGOS

And in case you were wondering how long it takes to construct a 646 piece LEGO castle, I can tell you from experience — Greta got the castle from her Grandma Linda for Christmas — it takes forever. Just kidding. I didn’t actually log the hours, but, it took us a good two or three days to do it right. But, Greta and I had a blast building it and luckily, all of the big new LEGO sets come with very detailed instructions, so, we had lots of help.

And with my new “Lord of the Rings” Battle at the Black Gate LEGO set (yep, Santa heard my pleas as well!) due to start construction sometime this weekend, I forsee much cross-movie franchise bloodshed and turmoil in the land of LEGOS. Poor Cinderella will never know what hit her!

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Disney Princess Leia

I know I’m a little late on the bandwagon here, but, it suddenly occurred to me today that because of the gazillion dollar deal George Lucas made with Disney that Princess Leia is now officially a Disney Princess! How cool is that? In other totally rad Star Wars news, Disney has hired a writer (Little Miss Sunshine Oscar-winner Michael Arndt) to script Episode Seven, so, they are really hitting the ground running with this next trilogy of movies! Awe-some, huh?

Anyway, back to Princess Leia. Greta was so thrilled to hear about Leia’s ascension to the ranks of the Disney Princesses that she actually dug out her old Princess Leia doll (one of the first Barbie-sized dolls we gave her when she was born) and started playing with her again. Man, talk about the power of Disney marketing!

And while her Princess Leia doll did not score an invite to what looked to be the Barbie wedding of the century in Greta’s bedroom this afternoon, she is floating around near the top of the Barbie bin, so, there’s always hope (or…A New Hope…get it?) that Leia will get played with a lot more now that she’s part Disney. So, yay for her!

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Life of Dad’s “Part of your World”

Just heard about an awesome site called Life of Dad, which is a social networking site for, you guessed it, Dads! Very cool. But, where were you guys when I was pulling out my hair that first very long, very lonely year “on the job”? Hmmm. Either way, I’m glad you’re here now and I can’t wait to explore your rocking site some more.

That said, you guys gotta check out the latest clip from their site. Greta and I have been watching the hell out of it this week and it hasn’t gotten old yet. But, this is the same kid who watched the library’s copy of Hercules so many times that it actually broke…so, you never know.

Either way, the clip is hilarious. Especially if you’ve sung this song aloud (among others!) as many times as I have over the past three-and-a-half years. Enjoy!

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“Cinderella Diamond Edition”

If you’re a movie geek like me, then you’ve probably bought you fair share of animated Disney films on different formats over the years. Personally, I’ve bought some Disney movies FOUR times over the past twenty years, once on VHS, again on laserdisc, one more time on DVD and finally, once again on Blu-Ray. Crazy, huh? The thing is, I kept thinking: “One day, my child will cherish these films on INSERT FORMAT HERE.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think that the viewing format would change four times before my kid starting watching movies. Yikes…I guess that’s what we get for waiting so long to have kids.

In any case, Mrs. Yeti and I decided last year that we would not re-purchase any of the classic Disney animated films when they were “released from the Disney vault” onto beautiful Blu-Ray editions. Nope. If we had a DVD of the film — which we do, for most of them, at least — then that would have to do. Yes, I know…it’s sad to think of poor Greta watching the lowly Platinum Edition of a Disney film while a sparkly new Diamond Edition was on store shelves. But, come on, how many times does a man have to buy a damn movie?!

That said, all of our best laid plans went out the window last week with Disney’s Diamond Edition release of the movie classic Cinderella. Yep, we fell for the sales pitch. Even bought the movie within days of it’s release and everything, but, we had good reason. See, this Cinderella comes with a DVD, a Blu-Ray and the all-important digital download. Yeah, I know, those sneaky bastards at Disney found a fifth format to make me buy…urgh!

But, trust me, that digital download is a life-saver, especially if you have a iPhone (or iPad!) savvy kid who likes to watch their movies whenever and wherever they want to. And, digital download aside, this is one hell of a Diamond Edition.

The Blu-Ray image is gorgeous, the new menus are beautifully rendered and the extras are truly spectacular. Sure, there are a bunch of hold-over extras from the Platinum DVD release a few years back, but, there are also loads of new extras that really make the movie shine. My favorite two are a new short film about the woman who inspired the design of the Fairy Godmother entitled:  The Real Fairy Godmother, and a quirky little short about shoe designer Christian Louboutin and his efforts to design a modern-era glass slipper. Sweet, oddly-moving and beautifully-shot, the live-action short isn’t even mentioned on the box but Greta loved it and so did I.

And if all those cool extras aren’t enough for you, the Blu-Ray disc also includes the animated short: Tangled Ever After. Picking up where the 2010 feature film left off, the short follows the goofy hijinks that Maximus and Pascal get into at Razpunzel’s wedding to Flynn Ryder. It’s very cute and surprisingly-clever, but, I still think Rapunzel looks better with blonde hair than that dishwater brown she has at the end of the movie. But, hey, who am I to criticize a Disney Princess?

Oh yeah, and best of all, since we bought our Cinderella Diamond Edition at Best Buy, we also scored a free plush Lucifer (the mean cat!) doll as a gift with purchase. I think Greta would have preferred plush helper mice instead, but, hey, free is free.

So, if you haven’t bought Cinderella a hundred times before and are looking for a cool Christmas gift for the little princess on your Christmas list, this is one Diamond Edition that’s well worth buying. And in case you were wondering, I was not paid for this endorsement, I’m just a big old Cinderella geek. I wrote a Cinderella script of my own a few years back and came to really love that plucky blonde orphan. I mean, say you will about the Disney Princesses, but, Cinderella at least had a job and, you know, a strong work ethic and stuff. And if you ask me, Cinderella is the most-modern of the classic Disney Princesses. I’m hoping that’s why she’s Greta’s favorite too. But, something tells me it’s all about those groovy glass slippers for her.

Either way, check out Cinderella on Blu-Ray today!

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“Candle on the Water”

Great, as soon as I vent about wanting to tell my crying daughter to “shut the hell up”, Helen Reddy’s weepy-eyed classic “Candle on the Water” plays on our Disney Pandora channel in the background. And what do I do? I start crying! Oy, I am such a sap.

If you’ve never heard Miss Reddy’s Oscar-nominated tune, it’s from the groundbreaking 1970’s Disney film Pete’s Dragon. We recently rented it from the library and, groundbreaking or not (“Pete’s Dragon” is one of the first full-length feature films to combine animation and live-action), that movie is very f-ing strange. I’m talking almost unwatchable. Seriously, it’s CRAZY. But that sad-ass candle song still gets me every time. So, hold your children close, hit play on the video clip below and be prepared to weep like a little girl…or, you know, a grown man.

Either way, you’re gonna cry. Thank you, Miss Reddy!

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