Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coroline coming to DVD July 21st!

This is one of my favorite movies! Coraline (Two-Disc Collector's Edition) will be released on July 21st along with other versions.

Available for a Limited Time Only on Blu-ray Hi-Def and 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD

Featuring 2-D and 3-D Versions of the Movie, Four pairs of 3-D glasses,

Plus a Digital Copy of the Film

Coming July 21st, 2009 From Universal Studios Home Entertainment

“A Magical Tale. A Remarkable Feat of Imagination!” – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Universal City, California, May 26, 2009 – From the visionary imagination of filmmaker Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and based on the award-winning novel by Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, Sandman) comes the remarkable handmade, stop-motion animated feature film Coraline, available on Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack, 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD and single disc DVD July 21st, 2009 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. While all editions feature both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film and four pairs of 3-D glasses, the Blu-ray Hi-Def and 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD also include a digital copy of the movie, as well as an astounding array of bonus features that take you inside the intricate hand-crafted world of this incredibly unique film. The Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack also includes a standard definition DVD of the film, as well as even more bonus features, including additional filmmaker interviews and behind-the-scenes exclusives within Universal’s U-Control and BD-LiveTM features.

An instant classic that will captivate audiences, Coraline, the first feature film from Portland Oregon-based animation studio LAIKA, is the first stop-motion animated feature originally produced in stereoscopic 3-D. A startlingly original tale, Coralines vibrant flights of fantasy will keep kids and adults enthralled as it underlines one of life’s most essential truths: be careful what you wish for.

Coralines stellar voice cast includes Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”), John Hodgman (“The Daily Show”), Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and Keith David (Crash), with an enchanting musical score by Bruno Coulais (Winged Migration, The Chorus). Henry Selick is one of the leading directors working in animation today. He directed the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, which has achieved classic status and the remastered 3-D version is bringing Selick a whole new generation of fans. Selick is also the director of James and the Giant Peach, which won the top prize for animated feature at the Annecy Film Festival, and Monkeybone. He also created the celebrated animation sequences for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s book, a New York Times and international bestseller and enormous critical success. Among its many honors are: the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker and the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla awards. Preorder close is June 2, 2009. Coralineon Blu-rayTM Hi-Def is priced at $39.98 SRP. The 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD is priced at $34.98 SRP and the single disc DVD is priced at $29.98 SRP.

CRITICS ADORE CORALINE

Coralinemesmerized and delighted critics across America with its wondrous and thrilling story and visually stunning stop-motion animation. Leonard Maltin of Entertainment Tonight proclaims Coraline is “the best 3-D movie I’ve ever seen!” It is “a magical tale…a remarkable feat of imagination,” according to Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times. Claudia Puig of USA Today calls it “a visual marvel,” while Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weeklycalls the film “a thrilling stop-motion adventure!” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone says the film is simply “dazzling!” Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle awards it “5 stars! Beautiful!” “Frame by frame, Coraline is a treat,” adds David Edelstein of New York Magazine.

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAYTM HI-DEF:

· U-CONTROL ON 2-D FEATURE – Universal’s exclusive signature feature allows viewers to delve into the making of the film with the click of the remote without ever leaving the movie. Through picture-in-picture, fans can enhance their understanding of how the movie was made by viewing tours of the sets, animatics and behind-the-scenes moments, including voiceover sessions.

· CREEPY CORALINEDirector and screenwriter Henry Selick and Coraline author Neil Gaiman take fans deeper into the darker intricacies of Coraline’s alternative worlds.

· BD-LIVETM Fans can access exclusive online and interactive features through their Internet connected Blu-rayTM player, including:

· MY SCENES SHARING – Show your BD-LiveTM friends your favorite scenes from the film.

· THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HENRY – In this feature, director Henry Selick discusses his approach to the film adaptation of the award-winning book and what he loves about Coraline.

BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAYTM HI-DEF

& THE 2-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD:

· DELETED SCENES

· THE MAKING OF CORALINE Director and screenwriter Henry Selick hosts this behind the scenes feature about how this hand-crafted, stop-motion animated film was made.

· VOICING THE CHARACTERS – Coraline’s acclaimed cast and filmmaker Henry Selick talk about their experiences working on the film, including defining the perfect voice for their characters.

· DIGITAL COPY OF CORALINE Transfer the included digital copy to your iPod, Mac or PC and experience Coraline anywhere, anytime!

BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAYTM HI-DEF,

2-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD & SINGLE DISC DVD:

· FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR HENRY SELICK & COMPOSER BRUNO COULAIS

SYNOPSIS

11-year-old Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) has just moved with her parents (Teri Hatcher and John Hodgman) to a new home in Oregon. With no friends and her parents distracted by work, the feisty and adventurous Coraline sets out to find some excitement in her isolated new environment. She is befriended—or, as she sees it, pestered—by a local boy close to her age, Wybie Lovat (Robert Bailey Jr.) and visits her older neighbors, eccentric British actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible (Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French) as well as the arguably even more eccentric Russian, Mr. Bobinsky (Ian McShane). Just as she’s beginning to think her new home is utterly uninteresting, she uncovers a secret door which leads to a parallel existence much like her own life—but much better. The adults, including the solicitous Other Mother (also voiced by Teri Hatcher) welcome her warmly. And Coraline gets far more attention there—even from the mysterious Cat (Keith David). She begins to think that this Other World might be where she truly belongs. But when her wondrously off-kilter, fantastical visit turns dangerous, Coraline must summon all her resourcefulness, determination and courage to get back home—and save her real family.

CAST AND FILMMAKERS

Cast: Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, John Hodgman, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, Robert Bailey Jr. and Ian McShane,

Written for the Screen and Directed By: Henry Selick

Based on the Book By: Neil Gaiman

Produced By: Bill Mechanic, Claire Jennings, Henry Selick, Mary Sandell

Director of Photography: Peter Kozachik, ASC

Editors: Christopher Murrie, Ronald Sanders

Music By: Bruno Coulais

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Made Here, Baby! Book Review

As a parent, you would do anything to keep your children free from harm. So you want to be sure that the toys you buy for them are fun, well-made, and-above all-safe. Recent recalls of millions of imported toys have caused parents to be more and more concerned about products that are manufactured overseas-and the materials that go into them. It is becoming clearer than ever that by buying more American-produced merchandise for our children, we can assure ourselves of its quality and safety.

Made Here, Baby!: The Essential Guide to Finding the Best American-Made Products for Your Kids by Bruce H. Wolk is a wonderful book if you have children. Bruce uncovers more then 400 companies devoted to making safe, high-quality children's produccts in the US. The majority of the companies highlighted are smaller companies that are environmentally friendly but harder to find.

Bruce tracked down these companies, interviewed owners, tested the products. He did all the work, then gives us the descriptions we need regarding what makes the company a company we should buy from.

What makes this book even better though is that it isn't just a list of companies and products. There is also interviews, anecdotes and helpful appendixes that identify companies committed to green or organic manufacturing. There is also listings of companies owned or founded by women!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MommyDocs Summer Staycation Safety

We usually put all of our extra money into our girls dancing, so vacationing is unfortunately out of the question. Summer is a great time for us to cut down our spending, save up some money & just relax. Of course the kids get pretty bored with that, so we have to find cheap ways to entertain them!

I know with the economy, other families are also taking that approach. Mom Central also knows that, so they got together with the MommyDocs (Clorox) and came up with a list of Five Tips for Summer Staycations to keep your family safe and your house cleaner during the summer months this year.

Staying Safe at BBQs. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of Moms are cooking more at home and many are likely switching up their meal routine with an outdoor BBQ. Make sure your kids have a safe BBQ experience by keeping them away from the flames and any sharp knives. Also, don't forget to check that your child's hamburger is fully cooked. Always keep a thermometer on hand to be sure all food has reached the appropriate inside temperature.

Keep the Pool Cool and Clean. If your kids love to spend hot afternoons in kiddie pools, you know the importance of cleaning the pool area. Dump out water after each session, and keep the pool clean by disinfecting it with a solution of ¾ cup bleach* to one gallon of water. Don't forget to rinse well and dry thoroughly after each cleaning (never leave any water in the pool). Be sure to always supervise children when they are in or around any water. (* Always remember to read and follow precautions and usage directions before using cleaning products)

Staying Healthy and Hydrated. Spending time in the heat means kids will be more prone to becoming dehydrated. Remind kids to take frequent rest/drink breaks in the shade when playing outside and try to avoid activity during peak sun hours. Encourage fluids before, during, and after outside activities.

Having Peace of Mind at Playgrounds. Sometimes just getting out of the house is the best way to keep it clean, but before letting kids loose at the playground, ensure the safety of the equipment. Swing seats and slides can really heat up in the sun – test them out before your kids hop on to avoid burns. Be sure the playground surface is composed of a soft material to help prevent injury. All playground equipment should be routinely checked for any broken or loose parts. As always, adult supervision is a must at all times!

Saving on Spills. Spending extra time around the house, especially with kids, often means more spills to clean up. Synthetic sponges and kitchen cloths can start to smell and carry bacteria, but you don't have to toss them out after a few uses. One option to reduce bacteria is to sanitize sponges and dishrags by soaking them in a bleach solution (¾ cup of bleach* to a gallon of water) for 5 minutes in the sink. Don't forget to rinse and dry when done. A wet sponge can also be microwaved to get rid of bacteria. (* Always remember to read and follow precautions and usage directions before using cleaning products)

Any of you doing the Staycation thing this summer vs traveling? If so, what are you tips?

We have been doing library programs, going to the park & beach. Luckily, we have 3 weeks of dance right now this month & possibly some in August to keep the girls busy. The rest of the time they have been mainly just playing with friends though.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits

Have you gotten into the Guitar Hero craze yet? My brother is obsessed with it & my daughters love it as well.

The makers of Guitar Hero introduced Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits for the Nintendo DS system, a follow-up to the On Tour and Decades games previously released. The game features 28 songs, all radio-edits of modern rock hits from bands including Coldplay, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, The Strokes and Wolfmother. Besides being able to take the game on the road, the Nintendo DS has a wireless feature that allows song streaming and multiplayer modes.

Product Features

  • Select from eight characters including two new rockers making their debut on the DS and deck them out with stylish threads and hot guitars and set out to rock.
  • Unique, portable gaming experience for the Nintendo DS that utilizes the innovative Guitar Grip and pick-stylus to strum the touch-activated screen to rock out on the go.
  • Prove your shredding skills in single player modes including Career, Quick Play or Guitar Hero mode, with new career modes included for Lead Guitar and Bass, or use Practice Mode to nail those tricky solos.
  • Multiplayer modes including: Play Face Off, Pro Face off, Co-op and Guitar Duel together utilizing local wireless play.
  • Blow into the DS microphone when the touch screen is set on fire in pyrotechnics, or sign an autograph when requested to by an excited fan.
Mom Central sent me Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits to try out. When I first got it, I just set it on the kitchen table. Later my brother walked by and yells out Oh Damn. I was like, oh my god what happened? He yells, you finally got something good to review (LOL) He's like can I have it? Um no, my girls would kill me.

Since they were outside playing all day though, he finally talked me into letting him be the first one to try out. I had to fight him to get the game back a couple days later so my girls could try it. Everyone loved it! This game gets 5 stars in my book!

You can purchase Guitar Hero On Tour: Modern Hits at Amazon along with many other fine retailers.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h

If you have a kid about to go into college or even just starting out in college, this is a must read book. Honestly, I think you should pick up this book even earlier, maybe Junior or Senior year!

Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h, is a nice, quick easy 83 page for the young adult. It quickly goes over the essentials of money management (credit cards, debit, cash, debt, etc) in an easy to read way. After each of the 12 short chapters, is a question area to fill out that is called Extra Credit.


Product Description
In Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h. You'll learn how credit card companies "trick" you into playing their game by their rules and why it's not your fault that you can't beat them... at least until now. Extra Credit is the book that every college student and high school senior should be armed with as they are about to be assaulted by 50 credit card solicitations each semester. Extra Credit should be a mandatory book for all incoming freshman. You will be able to get your first credit card and use your debit card on your own, but nobody taught you how to use them, when to use them, how to balance your account, or how to tell if you are getting ripped off. You'll discover everything that credit card companies don't want you to know and more!

- What's the difference between a credit card and debit card?
- What are the top 10 tricks used by credit card companies?
- How do credit card companies market to college students?
- How do I know when to use a credit card, when to use my debit card or when to use cash?
- How do I get out of debt?
- and much, much more...

About the Author
Bill Pratt is the author of several books on personal finance including Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h, The Graduate's Guide to Life and Money and Money Made Simple: A Complete Financial Workbook. His books are written to help students and young adults improve their finances and their lives.
Bill is a former economist for the U.S. federal government and a former Vice President for one of the largest financial institutions in the world. He holds an MBA in finance. He left the financial industry to focus his efforts on helping others understand money.
Bill is the President of Pratt Financial Group and Bill Pratt Seminars. He speaks professionally, focusing primarily on colleges and high schools. He also coaches college students and recent graduates on topics from money to careers. His goal is to help students wade through the endless financial and life decisions they will encounter. By making the best decisions with the right attitude, Bill believes that people will accumulate more wealth faster and will then be able to use that wealth to improve the lives of those around them.

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