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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 →

Nov 9 2012

My Kids’ First Brush with Fiddler on the Roof

By at 12:58 pm
Pre-Fiddler on the Roof costumes.

The original costumes, pre-Fiddler on the Roof.

Up until 15 minutes before we left the house to go trick-or-treating this Halloween, my 5-year-old daughter was going dressed as a medieval princess. Her biggest brother not only made her a crown with matching veil, he also whipped up jester costumes for himself and his younger brother so they could accompany her as wandering minstrels. It was all set. Photos were taken and everything.

But then, my daughter changed her mind. She no longer wished to be a princess. Now she wanted to be Tzietel from “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Well. That’s quite a thematic change, isn’t it? Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 22 2012

Prepping for Passover

By at 9:31 am

Are you ready for the matzah?

Passover. Just the word conjures up images of matzah balls, bitter horseradish, bubbe’s brisket, and days upon days of matzah-based meals (and sometimes the, errr, stomach issues that come along with it!)

So in honor of this glorious holiday, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite Passover things. We’ve got everything from the basics of the holiday to the best Passover movies to even how to survive your seder with kids. Oh, and don’t forget our recipes page and shopping guide. Enjoy, and get ready to get ready for Passover–starting the evening of Friday, April 6.

And don’t worry–there’s a lot more Passover coming your way…

Don’t Miss:

How to Prepare a Seder

How to Survive a Seder with Kids

Greatest Passover Movies

Passover Shopping Guide

Our Favorite Passover Songs

The Best Kveller Passover Recipes

Passover Survival Tips for Vegans (by Mayim Bialik)

Nov 15 2011

Mayim on the Black Carpet for the Breaking Dawn Premiere

By at 2:06 pm

Mayim Bialik at Twilight Breaking Dawn PremiereI attended the “black carpet” premiere of Breaking Dawn, the latest in the Twilight saga. Having never read any of the books and having never seen any of the previous four movies, this was an interesting evening indeed.

Here are 10 more reasons why the evening was interesting.

1) Exhaustion: I was awake since 3:30 a.m. yesterday morning, taping 30 live satellite interviews with morning shows across America. With only a 15 minute nap under my belt, I was pretty exhausted by the time the premiere rolled around. The red carpet started at 4:30. The movie started at 8. I got home at 11 in time to breastfeed Fred and fall asleep. Big day for mama.

2) Preparation: About a year ago I found the make-up/hair person I can not live without and she is really what makes me happy to go out to these events. You may not understand how important a make-up/hair person is, but I found someone who is a) not pretentious, b) quick as lightning, and c) does not hand me any BS. Many actors like to be told they always look fantastic even if they don’t. I am not that actor.

3) The car key: In the middle of all of my preparation, my husband attempted to take the boys to the park and library but could not find our only key to the car with the carseats, which was locked… This kind of thing, in case you don’t know my husband, does NOT happen to him. My husband puts the car key in the same place every day every time no exceptions thank you very much. He tore the house apart and simultaneously tried to keep the boys from flipping out since all they wanted to do was go to the park and library and not watch Mama get made up, as my older son put it, “like a girl clown.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 6 2011

Why Are Moms So Embarrassing?

By at 11:14 am

Did your mom make you cringe like mine did?

Growing up, I never realized how much I needed or appreciated my mom. I always saw her caring, helpful, and protective ways as meddling, overprotective, and overbearing, especially when I was a teenager.  It wasn’t until I had my son that I realized how much we really do need our moms, even when we don’t know it.

Looking back, although my mom always tried to help, her motherly ways were, quite frankly, embarrassing at the time.  What teenager wants their mother in the middle of everything?

Take, for the example, the time I was 16 and invited a few friends over from my B’nai B’rith youth group. When word got out that my parents’ home was the infamous Fast Times At Ridgemont High home and that the pool was the very pool that Phoebe Cates dove into, a few extra people showed up. (Admittedly, it was kind of cool to live there.) I now had over 100 of my closest “friends” come to the party. And no, I was not a popular kid, but having a famous house made it so…for one night. Instead of being angry, my mom invited everyone in (and around, since the house was not that big). She got my father involved and the two of them began clearing out our fridge and making sandwiches for everyone, because, in her words, she didn’t want anyone to leave our home hungry. Can you say embarrassing?

Or then there was my 19th birthday when I stretched the truth a bit and told my parents that my friends were taking me out for dinner and a movie. In reality, my girlfriends and I were going to hang out at the Jewish fraternity house and most likely do nothing (read: watch a bunch of lazy guys play pool or video games. The things we find amusing in college, right?) My parents were clueless as to where I was really going on my birthday – well, at least that’s what I thought until I reached the frat house.

When I walked in, there was a huge birthday cake on the table, complete with paper plates and decorations–the whole nine yards. I was amazed that my “brothers” remembered my birthday. Turns out, the cake was not from my fellow brethren, but from my mother. Yes, my mother! She had the cake delivered so that no one would forget my birthday and I wouldn’t be disappointed. I stood there flushed, matching the color of the little frosting hearts on my cake, as everyone whispered and chuckled while enjoying my cake. I felt as though there was a big “L” stamped on my forehead. Loser! Just how cool did I look now?

My mom has always been there. During the times I did not want her there, and more recently the times that I have. When I gave birth to my son, my mom was there the entire time, right outside my door. Then she stayed overnight with me, my husband and our newborn son, sleeping upright on the chair by my side. She never left the hospital–or my room, for that matter. When my husband went on the road (he’s a professional musician) shortly after my son was born, she stayed with me one night holding my son for the entire night, never putting him down, just handing him over to me when it was time to nurse, simply so that I could get some rest.

Five years later and she continues to meddle, only I understand it a little better now. Her overprotective ways don’t seem so overprotective any more, but rather natural–the way it should be. She has taught me how to be the best mom I can be, and also what to avoid so I don’t embarrass my son. And I know that when I have a cake delivered to his frat house, he will appreciate it…well, not at that moment, but someday.

So, let’s cut our moms some slack. Happy Mother’s Day!

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