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Feb 28 2014

Not Quite Ready For the Oscars this Sunday? We Got You Covered

By at 11:35 am

Been too busy wiping snotty noses, murdering Caillou and pairing mismatched mittens to make it to the movies this winter? Don’t worry, this gaggle of talented kids has your back. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2014

My Daughters & I Love “Mary Poppins” for Very Different Reasons

By at 3:50 pm

mary poppins

I had forgotten so much of it. How could have I have forgotten? I probably watched the movie hundreds of times when I was a child. I knew every single line, from Jane and Michael’s job description for a new nanny to the jokes that Bert and Uncle Albert told when they were floating on the ceiling, to the final, hopeful lyrics of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

It wasn’t until last week when I finally sat down with my daughters to watch Mary Poppins for the first time that I remembered so many of those beautiful details that had such a firm grip on my young mind (and to be honest, my heart): Mrs. Bank’s “votes for women” sash (I didn’t really understand the message, but man, did I want a sash), Mary Poppins’ magical cough syrup that changes taste depending on who is drinking it, and chimneys that could suck a child up and send them into the rooftops high above a city. I loved it all.

Here is what I have never forgotten: the small, dark room at the top of the stairs in the old Victorian house my sister, mother, and I were living in with my grandmother. It was at the end of a short hallway, and down a few steps. The space was just big enough to hold a loveseat, a taple-top movie projector and BetaMax player, a screen, and a glass-fronted china cabinet filled with my grandmother’s antique doll collection and an older cousin’s collection of Friday the 13th movies. Most days after school and most weekends for at least a year, my sister and I would grab a few snacks and a drink and settle in to watch the movie once or twice through. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 31 2013

Finally a Disney Movie That’s Not About Boy-Girl Love

By at 3:03 pm

frozen disney movie

Fine, I admit it: trekking to the movie theater after a day of heavy snow against my husband’s generally sound advice was not my best plan. But I had promised our 4-year old that I would take him to the movie theater for the first time that Saturday night, to see Disney’s Frozen, and I loved the symmetry between the white-covered world outside and the premise of the movie featuring a snow queen (which is about as much as I knew about the plot).

Clad in boots, gloves, and puffy coats, we drove ploddingly to the mall, where I skidded terrifyingly a couple of times and vowed to always take my husband’s advice from then on. But we made it safely and, tickets and popcorn in hand, settled in to enjoy the show.

It was magical. And not just because I loved seeing my adorably inquisitive son’s eyes grow wide with wonder as he took in a new experience with “the biggest TV screen ever,” but because the story itself was a revelation. Read the rest of this entry →

Gal Gadot’s Breasts Are Just Fine for Wonder Woman, Thank You

By at 1:01 pm

gal

Don’t mess with Gal! The Israeli 28-year-old beauty was recently cast to play Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel, and has been batting off some harsh criticism since the announcement.

Naysayers have said that Gal is not “womanly” enough or “busty” enough to play a character usually depicted with an extremely perky set of breasts.

Gal spoke to Israel’s “Good Evening With Gai Pines” show and gracefully gave the interviewer a little peace of her mind:

“I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world,” she said. “Breasts? Anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels (roughly $2,500 in U.S. dollars) and everything is fine.

“By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go ‘by the book,’ it’d be problematic.”

Good going, Gal. Set ‘em straight.

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Dec 4 2013

Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Cast as Wonder Woman

By at 3:26 pm

shutterstock_153362807

Gorgeous Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Warner Bros. sequel to Man of Steel.

The 28-year-old, former Miss Israel contestant is best known in America for her three most recent installments in the Fast & Furious franchise. She is also a model (duh) and had a two year stint as a sports trainer in the Israel Defense Forces.

Director Zack Snyder said in a statement:

“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe,” Snyder said. “Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role.

Go, Gal!

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Seven Tidbits That Will Make You See the “Sound of Music” in a New Light

By at 12:06 pm

the sound of music live with carrie underwood

Tomorrow, December 5th, NBC will air The Sound of Music – Live! Rather than a remake of the much loved Julie Andrews movie, this is actually a revival of the original Broadway production.

The Sound of Music was the first movie I saw upon immigrating to the U.S. as a child. It gave me nightmares. Not, as so many people guess, due to the overabundance of lederhosen, but due to the overabundance of Nazis. Maybe the guys in the crimson armbands didn’t mean much to American kids in the 1970s, but, coming from the USSR, I knew all about fascists and how they were out to get little children. (What I didn’t know then, was that the Nazis had been out to get Jews, specifically. Despite the existence of graveyards like Babi Yar, that detail was minimized in the Soviet Union.)

Maybe it was as a result of my (over)-reaction, that my aunt simply never showed my little cousin the final part of the movie. She turned off the videocassette after Maria and the Captain get married.

When my cousin grew up and found out how The Sound of Music really ended (it’s very possible I may have been the one who enlightened her; I was that kind of kid), it changed the entire movie for her.

Meanwhile, as I grew up (and got a degree in Media Studies), I learned numerous tidbits about the making of the film that made me see it in a different light, too.

In honor of the brand new production, I will share with you seven of these tidbits… one for each of the Von Trapp moppets. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2013

Wolverine: A Film by Woody Allen

By at 11:34 am

Thank you to the group Official Comedy for making this amazing parody of what the X-Men movie Wolverine would be like if Woody Allen directed and starred in it. Neuroses, awkward romances, and Jewish jokes–”Try being a mutant Jew–nobody hates me more than myself, which I guess is like a normal Jew, but you get what I mean”–ensue.

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Jul 16 2013

How Much DVD-Time is Too Much DVD-Time?

By at 3:58 pm

little boy watching movie on computerAs I type this, my 4-year-old is enthralled by a Thomas the Train DVD. In an ideal world, I would only let my kids watch DVDs when I am 1. sick in bed or 2. desperately needing that extra hour of sleep in the morning. Wait, in an ideal world, I wouldn’t even need DVDs. My kids would be busy constructing breathtakingly educational products, cleaning the house, and making my coffee while letting me sleep in.

But, my friends, in case you haven’t noticed, this is hardly an ideal world.

Today, after a playdate fell through, his brother going down for a nap, and me needing to pack for an impending move (which I am expertly procrastinating by writing this post, I should note), my 4-year-old proclaimed, “I’m bored.”

If I were on top of things, I would call around for another playdate, find some sort of activity to occupy him, read him a book, or play with him (gasp!). But no. I said, “Do you want to watch a video?”  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 19 2013

What to Watch This Passover

By at 4:20 pm

the prince of egyptWe have a Passover family tradition at our house. Every spring, whenever the holiday happens to fall (seriously, 2013? End of March?), a few days beforehand, the kids and I watch “The Prince of Egypt.”

This DreamWorks animated film released in 1998 is one of my favorites for bringing the annual story to life in a–more or less–accurate manner. Did rebellious teens Moses and Rameses really drag-race their horses and chariots around the pyramids and drop watermelons off of balconies? That answer, alas, is lost to history. (Though I was surprised to learn that watermelons were, in fact, mentioned in the bible as a food eaten by Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt, and that watermelons are also depicted in ancient hieroglyphics. Who knew?) But, a rabbi friend did tell me that, because the bible says God spoke to Moses in his own voice, that’s Val Kilmer playing both Moses and God in the movie. Cool, huh? (Said the geek with the Masters in Media Analysis.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 28 2013

What Kids’ Cartoons Teach About Intermarriage

By at 9:48 am

Elana Gartner’s piece about “adjusting” the fairy tales she tells her son and daughter reminded me of how my poor children are forced to bear the brunt of my Master’s in Media Analysis every time they watch a movie or television show.

Most recently, my 13-year-old son and I discussed how in Les Miserables, the noble revolutionaries who only care about the plight of the poor set up their barricade and destroy the poor people’s (whom they care so much about) neighborhood. Then, while said poor people are literally on their knees cleaning up the mess, the only revolutionary left goes back to his rich grandfather’s house and proceeds to celebrate his lavish wedding without a moment of irony or even self-awareness. Read the rest of this entry →

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