George Clooney is a TOTAL Fox..No, Really!

One of my favorite books growing up was Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you’re a fan of one Roald Dahl vehicle, then you most likely are a fan of others…like Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Recently, my friend over at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment sent me a copy of this stop-motion animation movie to review…and I’ll admit…I was totally stoked – as was DH. Pineapple…meh…but us?…OH YEAH! We’d hoped to see the film in the theater but parenting didn’t allow that particular outing, so this was a wonderful treat!

The movie did NOT disappoint. From the get-go, the animation is incredible. Just imagining the time and effort that went into the development of such intricate scenes and characters is mind-blowing. Director Wes Anderson did a great job of lining up some amazing talent for the film, including the always amazing (and apparently not aging – he is h.o.t.) George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and so many others. George plays the role of Mr. Fox, and Meryl is his wife, while Jason plays their incorrigible – always wanting to both flaunt his extraordinary uniqueness while fitting in (an impossible task) – son.

The quips and comments of even the supporting characters are hilarious and keep you on your toes but it’s Mr. Fox’s undeniable charm (is that Clooney bleeding through?…definitely) that will keep you glued to the screen. His cute “trademark whistle” combined with the characters’ proclivity to say “cuss” rather than actually cussing (i.e. “what the cuss just happened?”), kept DH and I laughing the entire film. Pineapple liked the animals, referring to them all as “puppies” until she had to head to the bath.

The premise of the story is this: Mr. Fox chooses to leave his life of crime (he’s a chicken thief) behind in order to settle down with his new family – Mrs. Fox informs him that she’s expecting little Ash while they are trapped in a cage. Although it’s clear he loves  his wife and son – though he seems to struggle to understand Ash and he obviously  wishes Mrs. Fox were a little bit more forgiving of his debonair nature – he feels constrained by the grips of familial responsibility. With this emotional dilemma in mind, he decides to perform both his last and the greatest heist ever: breaking into the farms of the three meanest and most successful farmers in town – Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Needless to say, when you have a fox in a henhouse the size of a stadium, the feathers are going to fly.

This movie may not be the best for super little ones (Pineapple is a wee bit young as yet) but older kids and the rest of the family will really enjoy the visual effects and the touching storyline (I swear DH cried even though he won’t admit it…ever…he’s a crier.)

This movie was so much fun and really, truly charming that I feel compelled to share it with you! The movie will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Tuesday, March 23 but the folks over at Fox have agreed to provide 3 copies of the film for me to give away to you lucky readers! YAY! I love this part! So here is all you have to do:

  • Leave a comment about the film (did you see it? do you wanna? how hot is George? I mean seriously…) = 1 entry
  • Follow PineappleBabble on Twitter and let me know that you do = 1 entry
  • Become a fan of PineappleBabble on Facebook and let me know that you did = 1 entry
  • Friend PineappleBabble on Facebook and let me know that you did = 1 entry

The winners will be selected at random (using Randomizer) on March 22, the day before the movie is available, so don’t forget to check back! And good luck!

XOXO Rachael

UPDATE: Although I wish I could give each and every one of you a copy of this film, alas, three had to be selected. Those three were chosen using Randomizer (as stated above). And without further ado…the winners are: commenter #92 Dawn L. Pasternack, commenter #33 Mandie, and commenter #52 Steph S. Congrats! Please email me your mailing address so the good people over at Fox can send you your movie.

Everyone else…be on the lookout for my Alvin & The Chipmunks – The Squeakquel giveaway – coming soon!

(another) GIVEAWAY! *Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithosonian”

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment sent me “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” a few weeks ago and, ‘I’m thinkin’…I’m thinkin’….’ it was pretty darned good!

Ben Stiller did a great job of bringing the comedy, again, and Amy Adams was adorable as Amelia Earhart. In general, the cast was great – Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais (as the smarmy museum curator) and Jonah Hill as the new security guard – who clearly ‘did not know who he was messing with.’

Larry (Stiller) is no longer a self-involved security guard but has achieved his inventors goals and begins the film hawking his ‘glow in the dark flashlight’ on television – ala Billy Mays. He’s wealthy and important but he doesn’t have as much time for his nighttime friends at the museum so he is caught unaware when he discovers they are to be shipped to storage at the Smithsonian. He promises to find a way to keep them out of storage and after a hilarious exchange with Brundon the NEW security guard he steals a uniform and tracks down his old pals.

All is not well, however, when a NEW pharaoh shows up expecting to take over – and he’s soooo bad, he’s turning bad guy recruits away! Like these guys:

There are all sorts of new, interactive displays in the Smithsonian – such as the artwork (they get trapped in the sailor kissing the girl – I think D-day – picture in one scene), a cherub fountain (voiced by the Jonas Brothers), bobble head Einsteins, as well as a fast-talking and saucy Amelia Earhart (Adams).

I won’t give it all away but it’s action-packed, really cute and best of all, educational. Kiddos will get a kick out of the pharaohs, soldiers, cowboys, and other fun characters come to life.

Teddy R. (Robin Williams) is Larry’s guide, once again, dispensing indispensable wisdom and the movie ends on a definite hight note so no one has to go to bed worried or disappointed. It’s fun and funny and a great family film – perfect for the holidays.

The movie will be released on December 1 (that’s Tuesday) but if you pre-order the DVD on Walmart .com it’s only $9.98 AND there is FREE shipping.  Since the retail value is $29.98 – it’s 20 bucks off and you don’t even have to step into a store. You can check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/ygbmm7t

But for a limited time, you can enter to win your very own copy (OK, OK, I guess you could give it to the kids) which includes a gag reel, Curators of Comedy: Behind the Scenes with Ben Stiller, the Cherub Bootcamp, deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) and other fun features. 

It’s super simple to enter (just like all of my giveaways). All you need to do is tell me which character you liked from the movie – or which you’re hoping will show up again, if you haven’t seen it yet, and then become a fan of Pineapple Babble on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/yh7d7wf) – don’t forget to tell me you have!

Pineapple will pick 5 winners on December 1 (that’s Tuesday) – the day the movie will be released. So enter to win! And good luck!

WINNERS UPDATE: Winners of the Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian DVD are Kim, Heather Garland, Rob Laundry, Michelle Pendergrass, and DadLogic! CONGRATULATIONS! Please email me your addresses so I can get those shipped out to you. Hope you enjoy it!

HP Virtual Focus Group – Review Post #2

As I mentioned before, HP recently contacted me about participating in a ‘virtual focus group’ and since I accepted, they sent me comparable models of HP and Kodak photo/print/scanners. This is my second post evaluating the experience. If you’re thinking of getting a new printer that can ‘do it all’ this Christmas, I hope these posts will help!

In my previous post, I was still evaluating the merits of getting the printers unpacked and arranged in my home. I was also considering the very physical attributes of the printers – i.e. the Kodak printer is black and built like a tank while the HP printer is white and silver and doesn’t seem quite as indestructible. Well, the printing has begun and here are some initial thoughts:

  • These babies are WIRELESS (cue the hallelujah chorus!). That means that I can sit on my couch and print whatever I want without getting up (because let’s face it, I am WAY to active *snicker*). So, I can be typing away on my laptop in the kitchen and I don’t have to scramble into the office and plug the printer into the usb port to print my New Moon tickets. I just hit print – and voila! *sigh* Of course, if I really WANTED to plug them in, I could. But why on earth would anyone want to do that?!
  • I may have mentioned at some point that I do not like (aka LOATHE) reading directions. I like things to be intuitive. And these printers were not going to be the acception. So, setting them up for their wireless connectivity needed to be easy breasy. And…it kinda was. Both of them were very easy to connect to my network with the ‘connection wizard’ waving his magic wand all over the place, making my life that much easier. I love it when things are simple. Don’t you?
  • I could NOT figure out how to get the Kodak printer to print a picture. I know, I know – most likely a user error – and given that I loathe (LOATHE) directions, I usually do not even bother unpacking them. So, I could not figure out how to print a picture. Oh, I could print them on paper, just not on photo paper. Grrr.
  • And then I figured out that all I had to do was push in the tray. Oh. Hmm. Maybe I should have at least glanced at the instructions.
  • In the spirit of keeping things simple, in my opinion, HP has blown it out of the water. And maybe gone a WEE bit overboard. Kodak put a single icon on my desktop – when I click on the ‘Home Center’ it gives me options to print, buy supplies, copy and scan, tips and tricks and a mess of other stuff. HP on the other hand put 3 icons on my desktop – for shopping, a ‘Solution Center’ and then the program application. That’s a LOT of stuff on my desktop…but that’s what the delete button is for…so….
  • Where did HP get it SUPER right? In my widget toolbar on my desktop, there is now a little image of an HP printer. All I have to do to print a picture, is DRAG a copy of it to the top of the little printer. And it prints. That’s it. Easy – peasy – 1 – 2 – 3-sy. Seriously. Honestly, that is such an awesomely nifty little thing that for me, that it is a decision maker. Really, I know I say this a lot. But it is the LITTLE things that count.

That’s all for now – I’ll keep printing away. So far I’ve done some document printing, photo printing and a wee bit of scanning…but I’m considering a project for the holidays. A couple of them actually. And I need to find some little cards to put my handmade earrings on…so they look fancy. Ooooh – projects, projects, projects! YAY!

 

HP Virtual Focus Group – Review Post #1

HP recently contacted me to participate in a virtual focus group, comparing an HP printer/scanner/photo printer with a comparable Kodak offering. I agreed, so they sent me two printers: the Kodak ESP 7 and the HP Photosmart C6380. Over the next few weeks I will be posting my thoughts about these printers. I’ll also share some snippets from DH, given that he’s sharing his house with these machines for the next few weeks and has some things to say about it! You can also follow my tweets at the hashtag #PrintWithMe, if you feel so inclined.

If you’re looking for a quality photo printer/scanner and just all-around printer, I’m hoping this series of posts will help you make a decision. If you have any questions about my process or any specific questions about them that you’d like to ask me, I’m happy to answer those to the best of my ability. So…let’s get started!

PACKAGING

I’m gonna go ahead and admit that if I were buying these based on packaging alone, the HP would win. The box is black, smaller than the Kodak box, and the graphics are cool. I also like the fact that the product packaging seems a bit more streamlined. It just looks sleek. Bearing that in mind, Kodak just says “photo” to me and that is some powerful brand imaging.

THINKIN’ OUTSIDE THE BOX

When I pulled the products out of the box, I jotted down some of my and DH’s immediate thoughts and impressions – this is what they were:

Kodak

DH: It looks like a tank!

Me: It’s a monster! It’s huge! And it weighs a ton! I think it may be bulletproof – which isn’t a bad thing when you have a toddler…

Me: It looks like one of those old TV sets – the kind inside the big wooden box with the teeny tiny screen right in the middle…hehehe.

Me: It says on the box that you can “save (on average) $110/yr on ink” and that makes it the “cheapest in the industry.” Is that true? And what is the industry? All printers or just photo printers? Hmmm…

General thoughts: Although it looks like one of those black boxes from an airplane, it feels sturdy and solid. I think it could take a beating and steam right ahead. Because it’s so heavy, I wouldn’t think about moving it around in my house too often, though – once it found a spot, it would stay put. It also had a LOT of packaging – a box for the ink cartridges, plastic wrapping for the 2 cords, manuals and a disc. Not to mention the protective packaging for the printer itself. I did appreciate that the tape tips which held the scanner and other protective items in place were folded down, making them easier to remove. I know that’s kind of silly – but really, it’s the little things that count, right?

HP

Me: Ohh – the HP is lighter – it’s not nearly as heavy!

DH: It looks sleeker – something about the white and grey/chrome-ish color.

Me: Yeah – it looks more stylish and less intimidating for some reason. I’m wondering what would happen if I dropped it.

DH: Don’t drop it!

Me: I’m not, silly…I’m just curious.

General thoughts: Though the HP printer is taller, it had less packaging. All of the items in the box were compactly presented and the cartridges are much tinier and ‘streamlined.’ The cord was left to fend for itself without being wrapped in plastic – which is just fine with me. Although I would say the Kodak printer is more minimalist, the HP just seems more stylish and approachable. I’m not as intimidated to take a crack at it – so to speak (I swear I’m not going to drop it just for experment’s sake…not yet). Of interesting note – at least to me – the tape tips were also folded down on this printer, making it easy to remove all of the protective items. That’s just common courtesy, folks.

OVERVIEW FOR POST #1

I’m just at the gazing stage – I haven’t taken these babies out for a cruise around the lake/ride around the block, yet. And the reality is, you can paint a Yugo gunmetal grey, install leather seats, and put a speedy fin on it – but it’s still just a Yugo. Though we often make snap decisions based on the looks of  a product (and unfortunately sometimes people…but that’s a different post), style doesn’t really mean anything when compared with functionality.

Next post coming soon!