Category: Entertainment + Media

Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie: It’s alive! Again!

Everyone loves the heartwarming story of a boy and his dog. But when that boy is Victor Frankenstein and the dog is a reanimated but still loyal (and cute!) corpse, you know Tim Burton is involved. If you and your kids liked The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland, you might dig (up) Frankenweenie, too. If the story sounds familiar, it’s because Burton already made Frankenweenie— and it got him fired from Disney back in 1984. I remember it lovingly, as well as the short movie The Family Dog, which had the same hilarious bull terrier. Thanks to...

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Does your pre-schooler habla perro y gato?

Garfield and Odie, Ren and Stimpy, Sylvester and Hector–cartoon teams of cats and dogs have been used to teach kids a wide variety of lessons for decades. (Sometimes just how to beat each other up.) But now, the creative minds at HBO family are bringing us two new characters in a series of bilingual specials I know pre-schoolers will love.  In El Perro y El Gato, an energetic chihuahua and a perpetually hungry, very laid-back kitty are best friends who weave through a series of comical situations all the while teaching phrases in English and Spanish to your little ones. It’s bright and silly, and does...

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Prima Princessa presents Sleeping Beauty. Prepare for squeals.

Certainly the giggles and happy sounds coming from my 7 and 3 year old daughters as they watched the brand spankin’ new Prima Princessa DVD would be enough to convince any mama how fabulous it is. Even so, I figured as a self-proclaimed classical ballet snob, I would take a peek at it myself before I share it with you. Llet’s just say I may have let out a few squeals myself. We’ve been long fans of  the Prima Princessa series; its creators, moms Mary Kate Mellow and Stephanie Troeller, have done a fine job of offering ballet loving...

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Up All Night – is it worth staying up for?

Last night, like so many other moms, according to our Twitter stream, I pencilled in the premier of NBC’s new modern mom-com, Up All Night and set the DVR as back-up. As you can well imagine, 10PM is bloody late for me these days. So I propped some toothpicks into my eyes, Clockwork Orange Style, sat at up straight in my bed, cranked the AC, and prayed for a strong opening scene–something, anything, to tell me that this wouldn’t be the same old awful “dumb new parents” dreck that has failed for years. I got that opening scene. From...

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The Empire Strikes… a smart silhouette

I like Star Wars as much as the next mom. Okay, so maybe I like it a little more than the next mom, considering I can speak a little Huttese. I love that the Star Wars world is timeless, exciting, iconic, and fun, and I really love sharing it with my children. But I’m the first to admit that I’ve never thought of my favorite movie franchise as stylish or chic. But guess what? Now it kind of is. We’re Stormtrooper helmet over heels for this gorgeous trio of Star Wars posters from the handz shop on Etsy. All designs are...

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Math is hard? No way.

No sooner did Team Umizoomi launch on Nick Jr. last year that my preschooler fell in love. Madly and deeply. Let’s say she occasionally insists on being called Geo, her favorite color has gone from purple to blue, and best of all, she’s excited about math. That’s the kind of TV influence I can get behind. With one DVD out and another launching in time for your kid to get back-to-preschool, it’s a good way to help get your kid excited about “mighty math powers” too. While I don’t think every Noggin show lives up to the “preschool on...

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Party with Laurie Berkner

My kids and I fell for Laurie Berkner years ago while watching her appearances on Nickelodeon’s Jack’s Big Music Show. Her sweetness and likability, paired with her pretty voice and super-fun songs, translated so well to the screen, she made me feel a little less silly bopping along to Victor Vito because, hey, she was doing it too. It’s that kind of contagious enthusiasm that is all over her latest DVD release. In fact, it is so much fun, it’s a party.  {keep reading for a chance to win your own copy!} The Laurie Berkner Band’s new DVD release, Party Day!, features...

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Sponsored message: Take the kids on a Smurfy adventure

This is a message from our sponsor, The Smurfs Movie The Smurfs are back! This time, they come to life in a live-action/computer-animated film that hits theaters nationwide on July 29. But it won’t be just your kids who will fall head over heels in love with this take on the popular 1980s cartoon; while they’re discovering The Smurfs for the first time, you’ll be reminiscing about the little blue creatures you already know and love. In the family-friendly film, a group of Smurfs land in New York City’s Central Park after evil wizard Gargamel and his cat, Azriel,...

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Sponsored Message: Take your kid to “The Smurfs” in 3-D

This is a message from our sponsor, The Smurfs Movie Every Saturday morning as a kid, you may have watched “The Smurfs,” the original 1980s animated series featuring all those little blue guys that taught life lessons and entertained kids in countries around the world. Now, you have the opportunity to share the Smurfy fun with your own children. Coming to the big screen in 3-D on July 29, “The Smurfs” stars Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays as a couple that helps the tiny creatures after they accidentally enter a portal outside their magical village and wind up in New...

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Pete the Cat is the new Goodnight Moon

I can’t get enough of Pete the Cat. My kids are enamored. Their classmates are all entranced by the magical feline. Every week, I choose a book for the kindergarten class. But no matter what I pick, Pete the Cat is always read. Well, more like sung. Here’s the backstory: James Dean, an artist in Atlanta with a cult-like following, paints super cool cat portraits. He teams up with Eric Litwin, a children’s musician and storyteller who gives Pete a voice (and some shoes).  They self publish Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. But it isn’t until...

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Cars 2 Review – The next Disney classic

If there’s any movie that my kids have been counting down the days to see, it’s definitely Cars 2, the long awaited sequel to the uber popular Cars movie that was first released when I only had one kid. Since then, we’ve watched it countless times, collected various iterations of Lightning McQueen and all his Radiator Springs gang, and wondered when are they going to make another one. Well, wait no more. The sequel is here, in 3D no less, and it’s definitely worth the wait. [don’t miss a fun glimpse at the red carpet after the jump] The...

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins is back, Jim Carrey-fied, and totally fun.

The 1937 book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, figured into my early years. Chances are that you (and your kids) know and love the book, too–it’s a classic. So when I learned it was going to turned into the movie Mr. Popper’s Penguins starring Jim Carrey, I got twitchy. Would it be Hollywood-ified like so many other books-turned-movies, with rapping penguins and a Miley Cyrus soundtrack? Would it be anything like the book? Answer: it’s not like the book. And that’s exactly why it’s going to become a classic in its own right. [catch a huge giveaway after the jump!] In...

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May the Fourth be with you on Star Wars Day!

Star Wars fans are nodding sagely at this headline and raising their glasses of blue milk. To the rest of you, maybe you noticed how “May the fourth” sounds like “May the Force?” Yeah. All it takes is one fabulous pun, and we Star Wars geeks see an opportunity for a full-on Boba Fete every time May 4 rolls around. And because you know that several of the Cool Mom contributors are–ahem–full time geeks, we bring you this round-up of some of our favorite Star Wars picks from Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech. Pretty Wicket, huh? First...

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The Children’s Choice Book Awards–One award show you don’t have to stay up until midnight for.

Here’s something we love: Now through April 29, you and your little ones can cast votes for the finalists in the Children’s Choice Book Awards. What a cool way to get your kid involved in picking new titles to grab from the library. The categories are sorted by age, plus there’s Illustrator or the Year and Author of the Year. Winners will be announced during Children’s Book Week and you can help. If you want to discover some new reading material for your early-reading kiddos, check out these finalists in the K through 2nd grade categories. Even Monsters Need...

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Tangled now on DVD. Let the hair puns begin.

When I took my six-year-old to see the newest Disney movie Tangled last Fall, I think I may have laughed, cried, and enjoyed it more than she did. Of course, I was also 40 weeks pregnant and hopped up on hormones. In honor of its DVD and Blu-Ray release this week, I grabbed my lucky press preview copy and hosted a little viewing with a couple of my daughter’s friends as well as my other children. And even without the hormones, I had the same reaction. So, if you’re still on the fence about this movie, here’s a little...

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HOP will make you smile, crave candy, and want to kiss Russell Brand (I did all three)

It’s interesting how few movies there are about the magic of Easter. In fact–wait, are there any? Regardless, HOP, the adorable new Easter film, would jump to the top of the list anyway. [don’t miss the scoop on Russell Brand and James Marsden after the jump!] HOP is a big dish of eye candy. E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) lives on Easter Island (get it?) with his dad, the Easter Bunny, who sounds a whole lot like Hugh Laurie. E.B. wants to be a drummer, so when he learns he’s in line to take over as boss bunny, he...

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The new super cool Disney celebrity ads – Princesses, queens, and octopi, O my

Mirror, mirror, on the wall: What does the Evil Queen look like after all? For the third time, Disney has commissioned photographer Annie Leibovitz to turn beloved animated characters into spectacular dreamscape images for their ad campaign. While we don’t tend to cover ad campaigns, we kind of love this one.  Especially now that we’re finally seeing Disney villains! [see the cool celebs as Disney character images after the jump] The model choices might surprise you. Belle is played by Penelope Cruz, and her transformed Beast is Jeff Bridges, looking a whole lot better than he did in True...

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Celebrate Black History Month in good company

Having just observed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day last month, my kids are familiar with this major figure in black history. But I want them to know that history goes well beyond one man (or woman), and the fact that February is also Black History Month gives me a good excuse.  To give me a hand, I’ve been turning to the Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD series, always a great resource for finding age-appropriate and smart stories for my kids. Here are a whole bunch that are perfect for starting conversations around Black History Month. Duke Ellington and More...

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Go ask Alice

For all the eye-goggling special effects and “3D everything” in kids’ movies nowadays, the 60-year-old Alice in Wonderland will still leave your kids’ mouths agape as it still does mine, no funny glasses needed. If you want to take your kids down the rabbit hole, now is a great time to do it because the Disney vault has opened to let a shinier, brighter and Blu-ray’d Alice out for a little while. Walt Disney’s Alice in Wonderland’s 60th Anniversary Edition may be a familiar story to most, but I was blown away with how gorgeous this remastered version looks, from...

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SAVE ELMO!

Here’s the bad news: In the next few days, Congress will vote on a bill that could completely eliminate all federal funding for public broadcasting. That’s not an exaggeration. Here’s the good news: There’s still time to save Elmo. The government spends only $1.35 per person per year to provide us with PBS, NPR, and the 1000+ local stations that are enjoyed  by 170 million Americans each month. If you’re one of them, then you’re probably as scared as we are at the thought of losing Super Why, All Things Considered, all the wonderful local programming, and of course...

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All the bestest animated Christmas movies all together

To me the holidays is nothing without our annual viewing of Rudolph. Herbie! The Abominable Snowman! The Isle of Misfit Toys who aren’t quite misfits! It’s all pure magic. So who’s with me in jumping for joy that this year, A four-DVD series of some of the best animated Christmas classics are are bundled together and out on Blu-ray. The Original Christmas Classics features four of the greatest animated classics — or at least three of the greatest. I’m not as big a fan of 1992’s Frosty Returns, but I sure do love the original Frosty the Snowman, Santa...

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Prima Princessa presents the Nutcracker on PBS

One of my all time favorite holiday shows is the Nutcracker Ballet, but I didn’t imagined I would get tickets to see it with my toddler for quite a long time–like, ten years, at least. Performances are expensive in New York! Which is one of the reasons that Cool Mom Picks has been fans of the mom-created Prima Princessa series of dance videos, and especially Prima Princessa Presents The Nutcracker. Well good news: Now it’s free. Prima Princessa Ballerina will be airing on PBS this December so set your DVRs and get ready to be charmed. It tells the...

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Mo Willems gets animated

The list of children’s books I’ve loved to read to my kids is l-o-n-g though I’ve always had a particular fondness for the books of author and illustrator Mo Willems. Unless you live under a rock, or a pile of newborn diapers, you are probably familiar with such stories as Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. These are the kinds of fun and playful storybooks you should, and probably will, read out loud over and over (and over) again.  Do I think such engaging children’s books really need to be put to video to...

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The Hub brings back Fraggles, Lemon Meringue, and Kevin + Winnie

Just when you thought your kids could live on PBS and Nick Jr alone, along comes a whole new TV network designed just for kids. And uh, their TV-loving families. Or as I always say, if it weren’t for Elmo, I might never get to take a shower. Launching today is The Hub TV channel, a collaboration between Discovery Kids and Hasbro, so make no mistake, there will be merchandising-a-plenty. The programming will feature DK fare like their family-oriented game shows which I always like, along with (here’s the Hasbro part) animated flashback favorites like Strawberry Shortcake, My Little...

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Classic children’s books that help you listen with your eyes

Love it or hate it ( and we know the book is a bit polarizing with our readers!), there’s a reason Goodnight Moon has been around since the late 1940’s and is still a favorite today; there is something calming and beautiful about the repetitive, rhythmic prose that kids totally connect with. In a genius move, Scholastic Storybook Treasures has put out this classic on video, along with several others, but with a twist; they not only show the words on the screen, along with the original classic artwork, but there is an ASL presenter in front of the...

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Dan Zanes rides the XM waves to your radio

Family-friendly Grammy-nominated musician extraordinaire Dan Zanes apparently had a secret desire to be a disc jockey. Which is a coincidence, because I had a secret desire to hear awesome radio music that wasn’t pure dreck (mainstream kid music) or me fake-sneezing during naughty words (my music). So we both get our wish. Rocketship Beach Radio with Dan Zanes will feature music from the Sirius XM archives, as well as hits from Dan’s own collection and his albums, including the recent 76 Trombones album based on a catalog of Broadway favorites. Add in Dan’s spectacular storytelling and lighthearted chatting, and...

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3D movies now (duh) more for kids

You’d think it would stand to reason that companies would understand that most of the movie-goers to animated 3D movies are, you know, kids. And yet, until last month, any cinema showing a RealD 3D movie offered just one (ginormous) size of 3D glasses for your viewing pleasure. But now it’s kind of cool that you can hit the movies and leave the cries of Mommy, they’re too big, they keep falling! behind; RealD now offers kid-sized specs for the little ones. They come in the same sanitary single-pair wrapping as their adult-sized counterparts, but are sized to be...

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Living on a Shoestring? Not such a bad thing.

My biggest complaint about fashion magazines, besides the perfume samples, is… well, the perfume samples. But I also hate it when my eyes fall in love with cuteness before hitting the huge price tag printed below. Shoestring Magazine solves both problems: It’s online, and therefore not smelly, and it is devoted to, and I quote, “resourcefulness, the look for less, and attainable, affordable luxuries.” Sound good? Well, it is. Shoestring has well-written and fashion savvy articles on nearly all the topics that I want to hear about– from lifestyle to DIY to Kids & Pets, which, grouped together, cracks...

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Five stars for Toy Story 3

This weekend, I finally managed to wrangle my kids–and a few of their friends — to see Toy Story 3. Now before you read any further, I must first disclose a major bias: In my mind, Pixar’s John Lasseter can do little wrong. I walked in wanting to like it. And loved it. Toy Story 3 opens with little Andy all grown up and packing for college, while Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the gang, now relegated to a toy chest of old playthings, contemplate their possible fate including retirement up in the attic, or a visit to the...

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A little father’s day gift for all the new dads of the world, no gift wrap required

When we discovered the movie Being Dad last August, Mir gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. She loved this look at 40 normal, often funny new dads (no “touchy-feely over-earnestness”) and a few experts confessing the real scoop on newborns in a way that will appeal to even the dads who will pick up your copy of What to Expect when hell freezes over. This weekend, in honor of Father’s Day, you can watch the next version of the movie totally free. Just click over to this link at indie movies online and voila – the sequel, Being Dad UK...

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