Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

legends-of-oz-dorothys-returnLegends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is a 3D-animated musical based on the adventure books by Roger Stanton Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum. A continuation of one of the world’s most popular and beloved fairy tales, Legends of Oz finds Dorothy (Lea Michele) waking to post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try to save her old friends the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Lion (Jim Belushi), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and Glinda (Bernadette Peters) from a devious new villain, the Jester (Martin Short). Wiser the owl (Oliver Platt), Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), China Princess (Megan Hilty) and Tugg the tugboat (Patrick Stewart) join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colorful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City. Set to the tunes of Academy Award-nominated singer/songwriter Bryan Adams, Legends of Oz marks a charming, family-friendly return to the Oz franchise.

At first glance this pic looks much more like a direct-to-DVD kid’s movie than anything approaching feature film. Mom and Dad, it’s deserves a second look. This is a fun animated film voiced by recognizable stars. Its rambunctious good vs. evil tale is populated with kid-friendly marshmallow soldiers and sentient saplings. Even its darker moments, they are brightened up by Martin Short’s bad-guy-with-a-touch-of-silly delivery.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return offers sunny songs to hum to, sad moments to sigh over and and a happy ending that exchanges yesterday’s wispy wishes somewhere over a rainbow for a smile-worthy dose of loyal friendship, solid choices and working together for the common good.

Run Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Content Warning: Rated PG

Walking With the Enemy

Walking With the EnemyInspired by the true story of Pinchas Rosenbaum, Walking With the Enemy begins in the final months of World War II. The Nazis are desperately trying to enact their genocide against Jews in Hungary, who had been protected from persecution until their leader Regent Horthy, played by Sir Ben Kingsley, was forced to bow to the will of Hitler and Eichmann. Hoping to find his displaced family and avoid being placed in a labor camp, young Elek Cohen, played by Jonas Armstrong, undertakes extraordinary measures to survive, using a stolen uniform to pose as a Nazi officer so that he can reroute Jews to safety and disrupt the activities of the German occupiers.

Walking With the Enemy is gut wrenching. It is difficult to watch, yet it is important to watch. If we fail to comprehend our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Elek Cohen shows how self-sacrifice to save others is the highest form of love.

Run Time: 2 hours 7 minutes
Content Warning: Rated PG-13

The Nut Job Cracks My Kids Up + Giveaway

TheNutJobToday, The Nut Job comes to BluRay, DVD and Digital HD, starring Will Arnett as Surly, a mischievous squirrel who will stop at nothing to prove himself, at the same time he learns along the way about commitment, sacrifice and what it means to be a true friend.

Surly the squirrel has it all planned out. With the help of his generally useless and silent rat-partner-in-crime, Buddy, food for winter without all the work is all but theirs. They simply have to slip down to the hot-nuts vendor cart that just showed up on the corner, create a small distraction and make off with all the delicious morsels a thieving rodent duo could ever want. Unfortunately for Surley, the Raccoon and his friends aren’t happy about this.

Wow! Did that thing turn out to be a disaster! Thanks to some unfortunate missteps, the cart and its leaky propane tank end up destroying what little food the park community had in reserve. As punishment, the animals banish Surly from the park altogether. But even a cold one-way ticket to a hard city won’t finish him off. Surly the squirrel has only just begun! He’ll show ’em…

The Nut Job has colorful and vibrant animation, and it showcases an all-star cast including Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson and Katherine Heigl. The Nut Job comes to Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet as well as On Demand, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film will also be available on DIGITAL HD. Be sure to make it part of your family’s home entertainment collection!

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Our Gang Loves The Little Rascals Save the Day + Giveaway

LittleRascalsSavetheDayThe Little Rascals are back! The beloved comedy series from the earliest days of film featured the wild adventures of Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla, Buckwheat, their dog Petey, and the rest of the gang. On April 1, 2014, the all-new story The Little Rascals Save the Day will be released on DVD/Blu-Ray featuring Doris Roberts of “Everyone Loves Raymond” as Grandma.

My kids, ages 7 to 8, laughed at The Little Rascals,  whose highly imaginative approach to the world around them is exemplified in  inventive gadgets and contraptions…well, with a few mistakes, too. 😉 The acting is not necessarily award-winning, BUT I realize that my kids are not film-critics, too.

In The Little Rascals Save the Day, my daughter loved  how they raised money to keep Grandma’s bakery from the bank, who wanted to destroy it. Each of their plans goes hilariously awry, to quote my son, “The best part of the movie is when they turned a pig green.” 🙂LittleRascalsGreenPigThe movie extols the value of friendship, leadership, teamwork, fair play and “lending a helping hand to those in need.” I recommend this movie for kids ages three (3) to eight (8). The Little Rascals Save the Day arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet next Tuesday, April 1, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Can’t wait? The Little Rascals Save the Day is also be available on DIGITAL HD right now!

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YesVideo: From Memories to Retelling Stories Digitally

YVStoryTourThese past few months, I have been honored to be a YesVideo Storyteller, their ambassador program. Part of the benefits of being a “Storyteller” is traveling to their headquarters in Santa Clara, California, and take a tour of their facilities. Since 1999, YesVideo has been providing services and programs for families to protect and share generations of memories. They believe in designing products that our own families would enjoy and building processes that we would trust to handle our own irreplaceable memories. First, they started out by mailing customers CD-ROMs, then moved toward mailing DVDs and now making it easy to share the memories via email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and NOW even EMBED VIDEOS on your blog. Along with mailing in your “memories,” you can go into a retail drop-off location like Costco and pick up your “stories” within a few weeks.

“YesVideo is the platform for America’s Family Memories,” said YesVideo’s CEO Michael Chang. “17 million tapes will be lost forever this year. YesVideo wants to change this.” YesVideo brings back memories. Their mission is to help families rediscover & share precious moments held on old film reels, VHS tapes,etc. They currently have 1.8 million video in their YesVideo Cloud, which is connected with Amazon Cloud. Did you know that 125 million minutes of video securely via the cloud with 30% of users are sharing with friends and family? AMAZING!YesVideoBarCodesThe YesVideo tour, given by VP of Operations Lisa McCabe, began at the beginning of where “your stories” enter the facility, the loading dock. From the moment they receive your memories, YesVideo understands that you are entrusting us with your precious and irreplaceable “memories.” They assign ever videotapes, etc with a barcode. They take this responsibility extremely seriously and treat your memories as we would treat our own, like gold. So much, that they have installed tons of video cameras in the facilities to ensure the security and safety of each “story.”YesVideoReelsThe video transferring begins of your media. It is truly amazing to see all the reels going. The sounds bring me back to my childhood. 🙂
YesVideoEditingThen, it moves to editing, where they use an algorithm to make chapters in “your stories.” Each chapter a picture is grabbed to be put on your DVD cover.YesVideoLisaMcCabeThen, the edited videos are burnt on your DVD and placed in the YesVideo Cloud. Did you know that YesVideo has the greatest number of VHS players than anywhere in the world?! If you want to donate yours, they are always accepting more. 😉YesVideoPlayersDuring the last step called “Order Fulfillment,” YesVideo brings up your order record and the system lists all of the items that correspond to your order. This list consists includes your original media, DVD disks and cover sheets for the DVDs. We complete the inventory of your order by scanning the barcode on each item in your order. This ensures that we have the correct DVDs matching to each piece of original media. Once YesVideo has fulfilled and sealed your order, it is boxed up and shipped back to you via UPS.YesVideoPackingI personally want to thank the great YesVideo host and hostess of the mostest, Eber Legarreta and Sharleen Reyes. You know how to show people great food and fun places in the Bay area. I also want to thank CEO Michael Chang and VP of Operations Lisa McCabe for taking time out of their busy schedules to show us what makes YesVideo the place where the world should be bring their Family Videos. Thank you!