Sneak Peek: HOP coming April 1, 2011

Hi there!

I found this today… News about an animated movie I hadn’t heard of from the makers of Despicable Me (which we loved) that merges CGI and live action about… the Easter Bunny!?! Hop evidently opens on April 1st, 2011 just in time for Easter season.

Now I have to say I’m leery of the animated/live action crossover… The last time I felt it really worked was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? so I don’t have high hopes. But I know as soon as my daughters see the trailer, we’ll be planning a trip to the theater.

Directed by Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks and TV’s Spongebob Squarepants), Hop has a great cast with James Marsden (X-Men, Superman Returns), Russell Brand (as the voice of the Easter Bunny) (Get Him to the Greek), Kaley Cuoco (TV’s Big Bang Theory), Hank Azaria (TV’s Simpsons, The Birdcage), David Hasselhoff, Chelsea Handler and Hugh Laurie (TV’s House).

Here’s the synopsis:

Blending state of the art animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst houseguest.

Here are a few pics from the production:

And you can find the new trailer here at Apple.

Question: What do you think of this? Something you’d want to go see?

–Fitz

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DVD News: Despicable Me on DVD and Blu-ray on 12/14/10

Yes, that’s right. Your minions will be ready for shipment on December 14, 2010. We all need more minions. And just in time for Christmas! Let’s just hope they don’t set the tree on fire…

This Holiday Season, Bring Home The $250 Million Comedy Blockbuster!

DESPICABLE ME

For a Limited Time Only, Get Three New Mini-Movies Starring The Minions!

Available on the Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray™ 3D Combo Packs for the Ultimate Experience and on the DVD Double Pack

Available December 14, 2010 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Universal City, California, September 22, 2010 – The perfect gift for the holidays arrives in the hilarious and heartfelt animated box office sensation, Despicable Me, available December 14, 2010 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. For a limited time only the fun continues with a trio of all-new, hilarious adventures starring the film’s endearingly mischievous Minions, available only on the Blu-ray™ and Blu-ray 3D Combo Packs and the DVD Double Pack. All three products include a digital copy of the movie to watch anytime, anywhere. A single disc DVD will also be available.

“‘Despicable Me is one of those rare titles that moviegoers of all ages have enthusiastically embraced,” said Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “It’s not only one of the highest-grossing movies of the year but also one of the most popular animated films of all time. Perfectly timed for the holidays, Despicable Me will be high on everybody’s wish list as the must-have Blu-ray/DVD of the season.”

The latest film from producer Chris Meledandri (executive producer of Ice Age and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!) Despicable Me’s all-star cast of unforgettably funny heroes and villains includes Steve Carell (Date Night, Get Smart, Horton Hears a Who!, TV’s

The Office), Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, I Love You, Man), Miranda Cosgrove (Nickelodeon’s No. 1 live-action show iCarly), legendary Academy Award® winner Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, The Princess Diaries series), Russell Brand (Get Him to the Greek, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Kristen Wiig (Date Night, Saturday Night Live), Will Arnett (Monsters vs. Aliens, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, Ratatouille), Danny McBride (Tropic Thunder, Pineapple Express), Jack McBrayer (TV’s “30 Rock”, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and Jemaine Clement (“Flight of the Conchords”, Dinner For Schmucks). The hilarious tale of a wannabe super-villain whose life is unexpectedly changed by a trio of determined little orphans packed theaters and delighted families nationwide this summer.

The ultimate entertainment for the entire family, Despicable Me is packed with never-before-seen bonus features including games, behind-the-scenes featurettes and filmmaker commentaries that will keep the entire family enchanted for hours.

CRITICS FIND DESPICABLE DELIGHTFUL

Despicable Me charmed critics across America with Minion madness! Claudia Puig of USA Today described Despicable Me as “Whip-smart. A fun-filled adventure with a whimsical story and terrific voice casting. Steve Carell as the voice of Gru is hilarious”. Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as “An all-around winner. Funny, clever and warmly animated with memorable characters.” In Touch Weekly’s Matt Sullivan raved, “A blast for all ages. Hilarious!” and Pete Hammond of Boxoffice Magazine wrote, “Rousingly funny, heartfelt and imaginative…blessed with the vocal talents of Steve Carell and loaded with whimsy and smarts.” Lisa Schwartzbaum of Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The movie works not because of the parts – the voice work, the drawing style, the pleasing, matter-of-fact use of 3D – but because the whole is as much a unified vision as anything the Great and Mighty Pixar produces.”

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVELY ON BLU-RAY™ 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD Double Pack:

· THREE ALL NEW, MINI-MOVIES Starring THE MINIONS — The fun continues with three all-new mini-movies, created exclusively for the Blu-ray Combo Packs and DVD Double Pack! Available for a limited time only! Get more laughs and more minion mayhem with “Home Makeover”, “Orientation Day” and “Banana” – you’ll want to watch them again and again!

· THE VOICES OF DESPICABLE ME —Go behind-the-scenes with Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig and Julie Andrews as they give life to their animated characters. Includes character profiles for each of the cast members!

· SUPER SILLY FUN LAND—Join Agnes, Margo and Edith at the Super Silly Fun Land Theme Park and play Feed the Creatures and Freeze the Floating Minions to win super cool prizes.

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVELY ON BLU-RAY 3D COMBO PACK AND BLU-RAY COMBO PACK:

· GRU-CONTROL – Through a picture-in-picture window, see the making of the film with behind-the-scenes footage and cast/filmmaker interviews

· MISS HATTIE’S TOP SECRET COOKIE RECIPES—Margo is proud to present the recipes for those wonderful cookies that the loveable orphans under Miss Hattie’s care enjoy so much!

· BD-LIVE™—Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers and more.

o MY SCENES—Bookmark your favorite scenes from the movie.

· pocket BLU™ app— For the first time available on iPad®, owners can enjoy a new, enhanced edition of pocket BLU™ made especially to take advantage of the tablet’s larger screen and high resolution display. Consumers will be able to browse through a library of Blu-ray™ content and watch entertaining extras on-the-go that’s bigger and better than ever before. USHE’s groundbreaking pocket BLU™ app uses iPhone™, iPod® touch, iPad™, Blackberry®, Nokia® Smartphone, Android™, PC and Macintosh to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray™ player and offers advanced features such as:

o MINION ME—Exclusively for iPhone® and iPad® — Personalize photos of friends and family by turning them into Minions. Pictures can be customized with glasses, bowties, hats and hairstyles to make it really hilarious! Send it to your friends with a Minion laugh.

o MINION DOMINION APP—Exclusively for iPhone® and iPad® Control a Minion by turning, tilting, rotating and shaking your phone. Tap the screen to make him speak, tap it again to hear him laugh. Or do battle with the two-player “minion mash up.” Download to your iPhone and see who can inflict the most damage on the other’s minion.

o Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.

o Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the movie.

o Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to mobile devices or to stream from anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy exclusive content on the go, anytime, anywhere.

o Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray™ player with your device’s easy and intuitive keyboard to facilitate such Blu-ray™ features as chatting with friends and sending messages.

BONUS FEATURES AVAILABLE ON DVD AND ALL VERSIONS:

· The World of Despicable Me

· Despicable Beats—Director Chris Renaud talks about the cool factor of renowned music producer Pharrell Williams.

· Gru’s Rocket Builder—In an all-new game, Vector has stolen some of the most famous landmarks from around the world and replaced them with the pieces to Gru’s rocket. Players must return all the stolen landmarks to the correct countries in order to build their own rockets before Vector hacks into the system and steals the rocket plans. The reward for completing the rocket is a launch to the moon!

· A Global Effort—Learn all about the global effort behind Despicable Me. A director from France and another from the USA, plus an American and English cast created a movie in France, with artists from all over the world for a truly international movie!

· Commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, featuring the Minions!

Visit www.despicableme.com for the latest updates.

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DVD Review: Bedtime Stories

Hi all…

When Bedtime Stories was released in the theater on Christmas Day 2008, everybody in my family wanted to go see it. Though Adam Sandler is a bit hit or miss for me (I enjoyed movies like Click, The Longest Yard, Mr. Deeds and 50 First Dates, but had no interest in Little Nicky, The Waterboy, or Happy Gilmore), Disney + Sandler seems to be a pretty good combination for family fare.

[rating:2.5/4]

The story of Bedtime Stories revolves around hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson (Sandler), his sister Wendy (Courtney Cox), Wendy’s friend Jill (Keri Russell), and his niece and nephew Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit) and niece Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling). Wendy asks Skeeter to babysit her two kids in the evenings while she’s out of town for a job interview. And Skeeter hasn’t seen the kids for a while, so he doesn’t quite know how to relate to them. But eventually he starts telling bedtime stories to them before bed, and finds that certain aspects of the stories start coming true…

The movie started more than a bit slowly for me. Jill’s character comes across as a heck of a fuddy duddy. And Sandler is just playing the same big kid role that he’s played in nearly all of his movies so far. But once the kids get involved, it starts to warm up quickly. The kids and their crazy guinea pig Bugsy (for his big bug eyes) bring us out of the Sandler zone back into the Disney zone.

Surrounding the kids, Sandler, and Russell are a slew of cool and just plain wacky characters played by a great cast. Jonathan Price plays Wendy & Skeeter’s dad and acts as the narrator for the story. Guy Pearce plays Kendall, the self-absorbed apparent heir to the hotel dynasty of Barry Nottingham (Richard Griffiths, playing an eccentric germaphobe). And he’s dating Nottingham’s daughter, Violet (Teresa Palmer). Skeeter’s best friend is Mickey, played by the always insane Russell Brand. Lucy Lawless plays the heartless Aspen, front desk clerk and co-conspirator with Kendall. And Rob Schneider (Chief Running Mouth) is always fun, playing a fast talking horse salesman (and later a pickpocket) who gives Skeeter a horse, painted red and named “Ferrari”.

Though the movie delves into the absurd on a number of occasions, anything can happen in a story – and the fact that sometimes happy endings do happen in real life and that dreams can come true are kind of the morals of the film. That’s some of the magic of a Disney production. Without fail their kid-friendly offerings provide some sort of moral guidance to the viewer.

This DVD set included a triple-play of movie offerings: a Blu-ray version, a DVD version, and a Digital Copy. Though I wasn’t able to view the Blu-ray version, it should come in handy as Blu-ray becomes more prevalent and we upgrade our aging DVD player. However, it’s nice to see this sort of packaging start to appear. You have a variety of choices and aren’t limited to a single distribution.

In addition to the movie, the DVD also included a number of bonus features.

“Until Gravity Do Us Part” focused on the visual effects used for the space arena story towards the end of the film. The set featured a huge green screen and a combination of zero-gravity techniques (including a huge tuning-fork-shaped-device where the actors strapped in to film the zero-g fight). Seeing Adam Sandler and Guy Pierce filming this scene was impressive. It’s always interesting to see what goes into some of these more complex fight scenes.

“To All the Little People” introduces us to the kids – Skeeter’s nephew Patrick (Jonathan Morgan Heit) and niece Bobbi (Laura Ann Kesling). Sandler and Keri Russell appeared to have a great time working with them and vice versa. Sandler is a big kid anyway, so he fit in beautifully. The kids seemed to enjoy working with Russell Brand. Of course, he’s just a big kid too.

In “It’s Bugsy” we meet the three guinea pigs used to film the part of “Bugsy” – the guinea pig with googly eyes. He’s really one of the stars of the film, so it was fun to see behind the scenes footage of the actors with the guinea pigs. (Having had a guinea pig in the past, I was impressed that the sounds made by the animated version and the real version all sounded very realistic.)

As with all Sandler movies, there had to be an outtakes reel. In “Laughter is Contagious: Outtakes” we see what goes on during, between, and after takes when you have fun actors, kids, and animals working together. Nobody can remember their lines.

“Cutting Room Floor: Deleted Scenes” included twelve scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut. Most of them were fairly short, but didn’t really add much to the film. My favorite was the “Broadway Musical (Extended)”, which makes me giggle thinking of Guy Pierce (star of films like Memento) singing, dancing and generally stealing the show.

“Dylan & Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite!” is basically a Blu-ray commercial starring the cast of The Suite Life.

I think my two girls (ages 4 and 8) enjoyed Bedtime Stories more than my wife or I, but this was definitely up their alley. It’s nice to see Disney staying true to form and creating imaginative, kid-friendly productions. Be sure to check it out at your local rental store or online. We’ll give it 2.5 out of 4 stars.

–Fitz

p.s. Check out Bedtime Stories at your local rental store or at Amazon:

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