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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

National Geographic Kids: If Stones Could Speak Book Review

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National Geographic Kids: If Stones Could Speak Book Review

About the Book: What are the secrets of the ancient stones? Were they a burial site, an ancient calendar, a sports stadium, a place of Druid worship... or even a site of sacrifice? World-renowned archaeologist Mike Parker-Pearson recently began a new quest to excavate the wider area around Stonehenge to answer these and many other questions. National Geographic helped sponsor their mission, and now Mike takes our young readers behind the scenes to experience this groundbreaking story first-hand, through the eyes of the experts.

Within the past three years, Mike and his team have revolutionized our understanding of Stonehenge by exploring the surrounding landscape for clues about the stones. The results have been breathtaking: the team recently unearthed the largest Neolithic village ever found in England. 

If Stones Could Speak brings young readers the inspirational story of the incredible discoveries now taking place at this World Historical Site. The informative and drama-driven text includes tales of dead bodies, cremations, feasting, and ancient rituals, as well as science like carbon dating. The images include some of those featured in National Geographic's cover story on the discoveries, for which the stones were "painted in light" at night with awe-inspiring results.

The expert text, stunning photography, and explanatory maps and illustrations will all help young readers see this ancient monument in totally new ways, and no doubt inspire future generations of archaeological explorers.

Our Take: Stone Henge has been a mystery for hundreds of years.  Where did it come from?  Who build it?  What was it for?  Is it a mystical porthole to another world or a human sacrifice alter?  This book takes a great stride into exploring the realities of Stone Henge and the possible history surrounding it.

This book is not only fantastic for kids, but for adults too.  I've been interested in Stone Henge since I was a youth and when reading this one with my kids I found it to be full of new and engaging information.  Its well-researched and serves as more of a field guide for the research that this team did around Stone Henge.  

This book would be great in any classroom or just for those interested in history.  We highly, highly recommend this one!

Handmade Underground Jewelry: 25 Fun Projects for All Occasions

Handmade Underground Jewelry: 25 Fun Projects for All Occasions

About the Book: Haute couture meets street culture in Handmade Underground Jewelry, where you'll find 25 cool jewelry projects to recreate the boutique look right in your own neighborhood. With basic skills that are easy to pick up and directions that echo the camaraderie of a craft group, the spirit of Handmade Underground Jewelry is fun, loose, experimental, and creative. Each chapter is devoted to a specific skill or technique, including beading, knotting, wire wrapping, and sewing. Plus, you'll learn how to combine techniques to make stunning pieces. For every project, you'll get

Step-by-step instructions and templates

Four-color photos and illustrations

Color charts and project variations with anecdotes

Helpful hints and cool ideas

From a vintage Whimsy Locket to a seared silk and seed bead bezel Nostalgia Brooch, the 25 projects in Handmade Underground Jewelry allow you to make truly unique pieces that look like they came straight out of a hip boutique, while still reflecting your personal style.

Our Take: One of my passions in life is to make jewelry.  It is one of my releases from stress, as many hobbies can be.  I buy books quite often for inspiration. I mean, we all need a little inspiration now and then don't we?!  Well, I did find this book inspiring for someone of my experience with beading and jewelry making skills, but I also think this book is ideal for new beader’s that would like to learn the basics.  The first 25 pages teaches you everything you'll need to know about how to construct a piece.  I truly wish I'd had this book 10 years ago when I was first learned about beading!  I spent countless hours trying and trying to figure things out that had someone with experience, or a decent book, shown me it would have saved me a lot of time.

As you get further in the book you'll find a lot of simple, yet beautiful projects to try.  25 of them to be exact.  The projects are very modern and a good reflection of what we are seeing currently in the jewelry shops and boutiques. For that matter, one of the mall stores I went into today had a piece that was nearly the same as one in this book.

I personally love the idea of incorporating feathers into my pieces.  I took that out of this book... I've never done it before and they told me step by step how to do it with ease!  I was very thankful for that!  I ran to my local craft store to buy a bag of them and instantly and made earrings full of personality. So,  hopefully this book will make you do just what I did....run to the store and buy a few things to incorporate into your bead stash and most importantly, spark your creativity.

-Holly, Book Legion

How to Buy: Amazon or Wiley Press

Upcycled Accessories: 25 Projects Using Repurposed Plastic

Upcycled Accessories: 25 Projects Using Repurposed Plastic

About the Book: Ever wondered what to do with all those plastic grocery bags you have piling up? Fusing bags to make plastic fabric that you then sew with is not an entirely new concept, but never before has a book improved upon the existing technique by giving you creative add-ins to make the finished pieces more unique with an added artistic flavor. You will be guided through instructions on fusing plastic, then through 25 stepped-out projects that feature techniques such as incorporating crayon shavings, paints, stencils and plastic tulle. The book also includes projects that feature collage, fabric appliqu? and permanent marker designs. The book marries two hot subjects: eco-craft and sewing, yet stands apart by focusing on using a genuinely recyclable material - plastic.

Our Take:  I'm just like everyone else in the world these days, trying to do my part to save our planet for future generations.  Well, there is a large movement, especially among the young, to repurpose everything.  This book tackles one of the most common items we all throw away....the plastic bag.  You know, the ones you put your groceries in.  The one every single store puts your new purchases in.  I personally get nearly one hundred a month. Before, I'd repurpose them in a mannerism I won't share here.  Let's just say a lot of mine made there way to a landfill courtesy of our catbox! 

This new book teaches you how to bond these old bags together to make them thicker and easier to deal with.  Not too difficult, I must say.  Once you can do that there are 25 projects to make.  First,  I suggest you tackle one of the straight forward and easy projects such as, the little robot toy.  After that you can learn to insert additives such as glitter, paint, tissue paper to make your plastic even more interesting!  I personally really loved the coasters. I mean, they are made out of plastic and keep your furniture free of rings!  They're Perfect, in my opinion.

All you need for the book's projects is some plastic bags from a grocery store.  I'd recommend getting a variety so you will be able to use a variety of colors, maybe some things for inclusion, basic to moderate sewing skills, a sewing machine is ideal but I'd say all of these could be done by hand. I don't recommend it though, as it would just take a bit longer and who has the time?! But, hand sewing has the advantage of adding more character to your project.

I must comment that I've seen a few of these projects as products in some major retailers. So save yourself money and do it yourself (DIY)! Being in fashion and saving the world all at once?! Go super woman!

-Holly, Book Legion

Stick It!: 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects

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Stick It!: 99 DIY Duct Tape Projects

About the Book: Duct Tape: Dream designer material or simple adhesive used for binding purposes? Thanks to Stick It!, duct tape will become a valuable commodity in your house now that it can be coaxed into wacked-out wallets, wild wearables, punked-out paper goods, and funky jewelry that will bedazzle any outfit fit for all occasions! 

This invaluable guide—complete with folders and step-by-step directions—will lead you through 99 different craft projects so you’ll become your own ‘DT’ aficionado. Each project is leveled from: “Dude, my five-year-old sister could do that” to “Don’t even think about operating heavy machinery.” Told in an accessible “teen-speak” language hip tapesters will love, and reminiscent of Stitch ‘N Bitch and The Big Bad-Ass Book of Crafts, this book is appropriate for the new generation of cool and funky hand made craftsters. Read, unroll, and express your rockin’ self through creativity and, of course, duct tape!

Our Take:  The first time I encountered a Duct Tape wallet was in a little boutique. I was fascinated!  My father had always joked that anything could be fixed with Duct Tape, but I had always laughed at the idea.  Well, here was a wallet made completely of Duct Tape before my very eyes. How extraordinary!  I examined it and thought to myself "I'm not paying 40 dollars for this! I'll make it on my own with a 2 dollar roll of Duct Tape!"  I'm a DIY kind of girl, after all.

Well, here is an entire book with functional items made out of Duct Tape!  It has the wallet, which has now become a staple in most all the boutiques in my area, along with accessories, purses, and there is even a men's tie made of Duct Tape!  Everything from the very practical to the extremely eccentric.

I made my first wallet about 2 years ago and I was excited to have a reason to pull out my Duct Tape again!  After all I had bought nearly 10 different colors of it for wallet making.  I made several of the projects, like the necklaces, most of them were a quick make!  A book like this is always nice when you are a mother who doesn't have a lot of free time and want to make something quick!  Naturally some of them take a bit more time and more elbow grease but they are worth it for the amazing things you'll make!

-Holly, Book Legion
How to Buy: Amazon.com or Running Press

Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove Blu-Ray Review

Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove Blu-Ray Review

Synopsis: The fun and adventure are back! Fans of the Free Willy series will cheer this exciting family film about a baby orca who needs a friend and a girl who finds the courage to help him. After young Kirra (Bindi Irwin) leaves her Australian home to summer with her grandfather (Beau Bridges) in South Africa, she soon discovers a baby orca stranded in the lagoon near her grandfather’s rundown seaside amusement park. She names the lonely whale Willy--and embarks on a great quest to lead the little guy back to his anxious pod before her grandfather's greedy rival turns Willy into a captive, moneymaking attraction at his slick theme park. A little girl, a little orca and big, big fun and adventure!

Review: The Free Willy series really helped to define the ecologically conscious attitude of the 1990s.  This new re-launch of the previously popular franchise stars Bindi Irwin as Kirra.  You may recognize Bindi as the daughter of the late, great Steve Irwin.  We really loved Steve and all of the work he did for animals.  He is greatly missed.  It seems that his daughter has his passions, as she takes on a role in this fun kids film about animal captivity.

This is the 4th movie in the Free Willy franchise, and its been awhile since we've seen one of these released.  Its nice to see a resurgance in animal conservation interest.    Its been 13 years since we saw one of these films.  None of the original cast are featured in this film, but it has the similar premise of a captured whale that needs to be freed into the wild.  Bindi turns out to be a very talented young lady and has a great performance. 

This is a GREAT film for kids.  We highly recommend it, as family entertainment is hard to come by.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

The Blind Side DVD Review

The Blind Side DVD Review

Synopsis: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) knows little about family. Less about football. What the homeless teen knows are the streets and projects of Memphis. Well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) knows little about his world. Yet when she and Michael meet, he's found a home. And the Tuohys have found something just as life-changing: a beloved new son and brother. This real-life story of family and of Michael's growth into a blue-chip football star will have you cheering with its mix of gridiron action and heartwarming emotion. Share the remarkable journey of the college All-American and first-round NFL draft pick who was a winner before he ever stepped onto the playing field.

Review: I hate sports.  I hate sports movies.  The Blind Side was one of those films that turned me off right away in the trailers, but surprised me when watching it.  I found myself really getting into the characters and even rooting for them in the sports situations, which is very much unlike me.  The Blind Side is a great film.  The Oscars recognized Sandra Bullock for her acting ability in this film.  That made me stand up and take notice.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Precious this past year with heartstring dramas, and while the Blind Side did get a great amount of attention, I don't feel like it necessarily got all that it deserved.  Sandra Bullock really goes all-out in this film and delves into some great dramatic acting.  I've enjoyed her in more comedic roles in the past, like Demolition Man, but this time out she really showed her acting chops.

This is a great DVD and we recommend picking it up.  Its a nice family watch without being boring or too cliche.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Links: http://www.theblindsidemovie.com/dvd/index.html

Beauty and the Beast comes to Blu-Ray!

A Beloved Fairy Tale Is Restored To All New Heights On Blu-ray™!

Disney’s Academy Award®-Winning Animated Classic
Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition

On Blu-ray™+ DVD Combo Pack – October 5, 2010
And Standard Definition DVD - November 23, 2010

Burbank, Calif., March 29, 2010 – Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) proudly announces the Blu-ray high-definition debut of Disney’s animated masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast on October 5, 2010.  

Disney’s most requested film, Beauty and the Beast, arrives for the first time on Blu-ray Hi-Def as the second installment to the company’s new Diamond Collection. The Blu-ray transformation reveals the magic, music and majesty of the film as never before experienced with state-of-the-art picture restoration, pristine 7.1 Digital Surround Sound and hours of additional viewing experiences that include behind the scenes features, deleted scenes, enhanced music tracks, immersive games and more.

The first of only two animated films ever to be nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture (the second is 2009’s Up), Beauty and the Beast earned six Academy Award® nominations and won two Oscars® in 1992 for Best Original Song (“Beauty and the Beast”) and Best Original Score.

Unavailable in any form since 2003, Beauty and the Beast will be released from the Disney vault for a limited time only, arriving on a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack (2 Blu-ray Discs + DVD) October 5, followed seven weeks later with the release of a 2-Disc standard definition DVD on November 23.

The Beauty and the Beast Blu-ray™ + DVD Combo Pack has a U.S. suggested retail price of $39.99 and the 2-Disc DVD set has a U.S. suggested retail price of $29.99.

Film Synopsis:

Set in and around a quaint French village during the late 18th century, Beauty and the Beast follows the fantastic adventures of Belle, a bright and beautiful young woman who finds escape from her ordinary life, and the advances of a boorish suitor, Gaston, by reading books. Meanwhile, off in a castle in the distance, a cruel young prince is cast under the spell of an enchantress who turns him into a tormented beast, while transforming his servants into animated household objects. In order to remove the curse, the Beast must discover a true love who will return his affection before the last petal falls from an enchanted rose. When Belle’s inventor father stumbles upon the Beast’s castle and is taken prisoner, Belle comes to the rescue and agrees to take her father’s place. With the help of the castle’s enchanted staff, she sees beneath the Beast’s exterior and discovers the heart and soul of a human prince.

Film Accolades:

Beauty and the Beast received two Academy Awards® for music in 1992, three Golden Globes® for Best Motion Picture, Best Original Score and Best Original Song in 1992, and two Grammy Awards in 1993. Listed as number seven on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Animated Films, Beauty and the Beast helped define Disney animation for a new generation as the second film in the “Disney Animation Renaissance” (1989-1999) which launched with The Little Mermaid and revitalized animated features by captivating mature audiences while still delighting young viewers.

Beauty and the Beast features a cast of top vocal talent. Veteran stage actress and singer Paige O’Hara is the voice of Belle, one of Disney’s most beloved and independent heroines, and Robby Benson (TV’s “American Dreams”) delivers a powerful portrayal of the Beast. Three-time Oscar®-nominated screen star (The Manchurian Candidate in 1963, The Picture of Dorian Grey in 1946, and Gaslight in 1945) and six-time Golden Globe® award winner (TV’s “Murder, She Wrote” in 1992, 1990, 1987 and 1985, The Manchurian Candidate in 1963, and The Picture of Dorian Grey in 1946), Angela Lansbury gives a bubbly performance as Mrs. Potts. The late Jerry Orbach (TV’s “Law and Order,” “House of Mouse”) shines as the voice of Lumiere, the passionate candelabra, and David Ogden-Stiers (TV’s “M*A*S*H,” Lilo & Stitch) is Cogsworth, the tightly-wound mantel clock who functions as the head of the household.  

Beauty and the Beast was also the first Disney animated film to inspire a Broadway stage production by the same name. Highlighting the film’s music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, seven new songs were written for the stage musical. Beauty… was nominated for nine Tony Awards in 1994 and ran on Broadway for 5,464 performances until 2007, becoming Broadway's sixth-longest running production in history. 

About Disney’s New Blu-ray™ Diamond Collection:
The new Blu-ray™ Diamond Collection represents The Walt Disney Studio’s most prestigious animated classics. The Collection will be comprised with many of Walt Disney’s most treasured animated classic titles to be released through 2016. These titles represent the highest level of picture and sound, feature groundbreaking, state-of-the-art immersive bonus content, and include unprecedented levels of interactivity, personalization and customization, made possible because of Blu-ray technology.

About Disney Combo Packs (Blu-ray + DVD in a single package):
To provide consumers with unprecedented quality, value and portability of their favorite Disney classics, in 2008 WDSHE pioneered the Combo Pack – a Blu-ray Disc plus a DVD in a single package. Current Disney Animated Classic titles available as Combo Packs include Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

About Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment:
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry, is the marketing, sales and distribution company for Walt Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax and Buena Vista product, which includes DVD, Blu-ray Disc™ and electronic distribution. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a division of The Walt Disney Studios.

Deadliest Catch: Season Five DVD Review

Deadliest Catch: Season Five DVD Review

Synopsis: The top-rated, Emmy®-winning hit series DEADLIEST CATCH takes viewers deep into the most brutal fishing seasons on the planet – red king crab and opilio crab. Brave the icy, black waters of the Bering Sea with Captains Sig Hansen, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, Phil Harris and Keith Colburn and their rugged crews daring to gamble high risk for high reward. Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe narrates as brutal storms, grueling hours, heavy injuries, violent tempers and fierce competition push these men over the edge.

Episodes: Everything on the Line, Red Skies in the Morning, Stay Focused or Die, Put up or Shut up, Long Haul Short, Fuses, Deadline, Down to the Wire , Payback Time, No Second Chances, Sea of Misery, Lockout, A Slap in the Face or a Kick in the Ass, End of the Earth, Bitter Tears, Multiple Mayday, Shipwrecked

Review: Discovery is famous for their fantastic reality television.  They shy away from absurd dating shows and get deep into various professions around the world.  Deadliest Catch is a show that follows the extreme lifestyle of sea fishermen.

Here is my issue.  I love animals..yes, even fish.   I'm a vegetarian.  I'm not an activist and I don't push my lifestyle choices on others, but watching guys fish isn't exactly my idea of a thrilling show.  Firstly, its pretty disgusting.  Have you ever smelled a fisherman?  Not good. We're talking about an extreme fishing show here.  I mean say that out loud.  I gave it a fair shake, though and it just didn't do anything for me.

I will give it to them..the show is well-produced and has great narration.  There is no problem there, its just the content thats not only somewhat disturbing, but rather dull.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

The Lord of the Rings Animated Film Blu-Ray Review

The Lord of the Rings Animated Film Blu-Ray Review

Synopsis: Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's revered Middle-earth saga captures the dark mood of the books extraordinarily well. The film covers the first half of the trilogy--"The Fellowship of the Ring" and the earlier part of "The Two Towers"--as Frodo (voiced by Christopher Guard), the cousin of Bilbo Baggins from "The Hobbit", is given the all-powerful ring sought by the evil Sauron of Mordor. So begins his adventure, as he must elude Mordor's black riders in an effort to prevent the ring from returning to its owner and thereby signaling the end of Middle-earth. Even with the mighty wizard Gandalf as his ally and faithful friends Merry, Sam, and Pippin by his side, Frodo is still up to his hobbit neck in peril.

Review: I've never seen the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings film.  Its kinda funny too, since I was so into fantasy stories as a kid, and in fact I read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit and loved them.  I just never was interested in watching these movies, I thought they'd be hoaky.  Then, after Peter Jackson's epic trilogy was released you might think I'd go back to give them a view.  Nope.  Now, I had heard that it was coming out on blu-ray and I'm finally sitting down to give it a chance.  I figured that 30 years later was just 30 years too long, but I was so wrong.

The Lord of the Rings animated film is epic.  I mean epic.  It is so absolutely fantastic both in voice acting and animation.  Bakshi's method of rotoscoping, where you animate over live action footage, really made the film amazing.  What surprised me is how dark and intense the film really is.  I figured it'd be watered down for children, but to the contrary it was some of the oldest feature film to really be geared towards adults.  It didn't talk down to the kids at all like most animated film does to this day.  It very closely follows the books and is quite the tribute to Tolkein's masterpiece.

Included in the blu-ray is a great documentary about Ralph Bakshi that goes into his history as an animator and how he made classic film like Fritz the Cat and the Lord of the Rings.  Its an interesting in-depth view of this pioneer in the industry.  The transfer to blu-ray is really fantastic.   There isn't any grain at all in the feature, though it does include some dust.  The colors really pop and the animation certainly doesn't look as dated as it truly is.   I highly recommend this one for any fan of the Lord of the Rings. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Links: www.warnerblu.com

Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies

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 Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies

About the Book: Your clear, compassionate guide to managing BPD — and living well
Looking for straightforward information on Borderline Personality Disorder? This easy-to-understand guide helps those who have BPD develop strategies for breaking the destructive cycle. This book also aids loved ones in accepting the disorder and offering support. Inside you'll find authoritative details on the causes of BPD and proven treatments, as well as advice on working with therapists, managing symptoms, and enjoying a full life.
  • Review the basics of BPD — discover the symptoms of BPD and the related emotional problems, as well as the cultural, biological, and psychological causes of the disease
  • Understand what goes wrong — explore impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, identity problems, relationship conflicts, black-and-white thinking, and difficulties in perception; and identify the areas where you may need help
  • Make the choice to change — find the right care provider, overcome common obstacles to change, set realistic goals, and improve your physical and emotional state
  • Evaluate treatments for BPD — learn about the current treatments that really work and develop a plan for addressing the core symptoms of BPD
  • If someone you love has BPD — see how to identify triggers, handle emotional upheavals, set clear boundaries, and encourage your loved one to seek therapy
Open the book and find:
  • The major characteristics of BPD
  • Who gets BPD — and why
  • Recent treatment advances
  • Illuminating case studies
  • Strategies for calming emotions and staying in control
  • A discussion of medication options
  • Ways to stay healthy during treatment
  • Tips for explaining BPD to others
  • Help for parents whose child exhibits symptoms
  • Treatment options that work and those you should avoid

Our Take: When you or someone that you love has a mood disorder like Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar disorder it will greatly affect your life.  In fact, it can control all aspects of it and drive you into a bad place.  One of the greatest tools that we have as people is the ability to educate and understand.  The more you learn about something, the more comfortable and confident you can feel about it.  The Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies book is a great place to start for learning about BPD. 

The great thing that I found about this book, as a person with BPD, is that it helps you to understand yourself.  It is a difficult task trying to sift through wordy and stuffy psychology books, especially when your attention span isn't so good.  The Dummies guide really lays things out in an open, clean and skim-friendly way.  This loose format doesn't indicate a loss of content, though.  Its well-informed, intelligent while still being easy to understand.  It gives you everything from symptoms to medications commonly used to various ways for you and your loved ones to deal with your disorder.

This book is highly recommend if you or a loved one experieces BPD, or if you're just interested in the subject.  Human psychology is a fascinating topic!  We will be exmaining more books on BPD here at the Legion this week, so stay tuned for that.

How to Buy: Amazon.com or the Wiley Site

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sherlock Holmes DVD Review

Sherlock Holmes DVD Review

Synopsis: The hangman did his job, Dr. Watson declared the condemned man dead...yet Lord Blackwood has emerged from the tomb to assert his deadly will over 1890 London. Is he in league with the forces of hell itself? Is the whole Empire in peril? It's a mystery macabre--and only Sherlock Holmes can master it. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law put memorable imprints on Holmes and Watson in this bold new reimagining that makes the legendary sleuth a daring man of action as well as a peerless man of intellect. Baffling clues, astonishing Holmesian deductions, nimble repartee, catch-your-breath scenes of one slam thing after another--director Guy Ritchie helms the excitement reintroducing the great detective to the world. Meet the new Sherlock Holmes!

Review: I remember when I heard that Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey, Jr. were working together to make Sherlock Holmes!  Wow!  Its really one of those marriages made in heaven.  Firstly, Guy Ritchie knows crime drama.  This guy is a master in the genre, with the exception of that Revolver movie.  Ugh.  Sherlock Holmes is not only a fanatstic groundwork for a new franchise, but its a high-quality blockbuster film.

Downey brings his ususal wit and charm to the role of Sherlock Holmes, making him a slightly shady and disturbed version of the character.  Jude Law does a great job of playing up the straight man trying to keep Holmes on the narrow as Watson.  The film is so enjoyable that its just sad.  It seems like everything Downey touches these days turns to gold.  I won't spoil the story, but whats great is after this huge mystery we find out that none of it really matters, because there are behind the scenes workings you won't realize until the end, in true Sherlock Holmes fashion.  This is the Batman Begins of the new franchise and I having a feeling that the inevitable Sherlock Holmes 2 will be their 'Dark Knight', so to speak.

The DVD is a nice release, but I can't in good conscience recommend it over the blu-ray.  If you don't have a blu-ray player, this DVD is great.  The movie is a must-own, but if you have the option, certainly pick-up the blu-ray!  And don't forget about the BD Live Event!  You can read our report on that HERE.

Rating: a strong 5 out of 5 Stars

Video: Watch the trailer HERE

Links: http://sherlock-holmes-movie.warnerbros.com/dvd/index.html 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Blu-Ray Review

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Blu-Ray Review

Synopsis: The box office smash hit Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel sings and shakes its way to Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo Pack, “Squeak-Along” double DVD, and DVD Single Disc March 30th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. A follow-up to 2007’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, Chipmunk singing sensations Alvin, Simon and Theodore are back for an encore in this hilarious “squeakquel” packed with over an hour more of music. The Squeak-Along bonus content includes new sing-alongs such as Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” teaches audiences how to dance like the Chipmunks with the “Shake Your Groove Thing” dance instructional video, games and more nutty fun for the whole family!

Review: I have read a few bad reviews about not only the first film, but the er..well, squeakquel.  I hadn't watched the first film until we got this one to review.  My kids (ages 6 and 7) both enjoyed the first one, so I thought I'd pop their copy in to check-out.  After all, I used to enjoy the Saturday morning cartoon as a kid, maybe I'd dig this new incarnation.....

I have to say that these are adorable films.  I know that some adult critics don't enjoy them, but honestly why should they?  These are geared towards children.  They don't talk down to kids either, they are legitimately entertaining.  The squeakquel features the chipettes, which were always one of my favorite aspects of the show.  Alvin, Simon and Theodore are just as I remember them...charming and fun.  Dave is played by the great Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) and he does a bang-up job, as usual. 

The blu-ray / DVD combo pack is definately the way to go!  The transfer into high-definition is enjoyable and since this is the type of film that the entire family can enjoy, its preferable to have a DVD copy for the kids to watch.  Of course by watch I mean scratch and ruin!  And this way we still have our family blu-ray copy safe and sound!  Pick this one up..it'd make a great Easter Basket gift!

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

IMAX Under the Sea Blu-Ray+ DVD Combo Pack Review

IMAX Under the Sea Blu-Ray+ DVD Combo Pack Review
 You can own this DVD today

Synopsis: Imagine a world of incredible color and beauty. Of crabs wearing jellyfish for hats. Of fish disguised as frogs, stones and shag carpets. Of a kaleidoscope of life dancing and weaving, floating and darting in an underwater wonderland. Now, go explore it! Howard Hall and his filmmaking team, who brought you Deep Sea and Into the Deep, take you into tropical waters alive with adventure: the Great Barrier Reef and other South Pacific realms.

Narrated by Jim Carrey and featuring astonishing camerawork, this amazing film brings you face to fin with Nature's marvels, from the terrible grandeur (and terrible teeth) of a Great White to the comic antics of a lovestruck cuttlefish. Excitement and fun run deep Under the Sea!

Review: I've seen a number of these underwater nature blu-ray releases.  They're always interesting and beautiful, but they have to try hard to distinguish themselves.  This release scored Jim Carrey as the narrator, which is a great start.  Of course, Carrey isn't cracking jokes, he's very seriously detailing the dangers to the aquatic ecosystem and what is happening with ocean warming and our affect on ocean life.

The 45 minute feature was an IMAX filmed event that is like candy for your HD-tv.   The combo pack features a digital copy and a DVD, so we gave the kids the DVD copy to watch in their room and scratch up, while we keep our nice family blu-ray copy safe and sound.

We recommend this title for anyone interested in nature, homeschoolers or classrooms.  Its a great release with wonderful information and visuals.  The blu-ray takes viewers through five expeditions from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Sabrina The Teenage Witch: The Complete Sixth Season DVD Review

Sabrina The Teenage Witch: The Complete Sixth Season DVD Review

Synopsis: This year, half-witch teen, Sabrina, decides to make some changes in her life, including attending college and living away from home like a normal freshman. Ecstatic to finally be on her own, she discovers that college life isn’t all she’d imagined and find out how difficult it will be to keep the fact that she’s a witch a secret from her unfriendly new roommates.

Review: Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a great show.  Ok, maybe it wasn't the deepest of plots nad perhaps the comedy didn't vary terribly from episode to episode, but it was entertaining as all out.   Sabrina and her bizzare talking cat Salem managed to keep us tuning in week after week throughout the 1990s and early turn of the millenium.

This DVD represents all 22 episodes of the 6th season of the show, which aired in 2001-02.  The show has moved by this point to the college years format where Sabrina works at the school newspaper and is trying to launch her serious career as a writer.  Of course, she is constantly struggling with using her powers and getting into all sorts of trouble.  I really enjoyed the format change and the new characters that it brought.  This really helped to keep the show fresh and alive when it moved to the WB.  Famous guests this season include Usher, Sisquo and Adrienne Barbeau!

This is the first time that this season is availabe on DVD.  There is just one more to go before the entire series is available.  There are absolutely no extras on this DVD set, but we're hoping that for the 7th and final season DVD release they will manange to add something!  We definately recommend this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

An A-Z Guide to Food Additives: Never Eat What You Can't Pronounce

An A-Z Guide to Food Additives: Never Eat What You Can't Pronounce

About the Book: Cochineal extract, diacetyl, teriary butylhydroquinone, BHA, HFCS, MSG--it’s not just knowing how to pronounce what’s in your food, it's knowing what it does and how it can affect you that matters most. But with so many processed foods on the supermarket shelves and additives showing up in the most unlikely foods, that’s certainly a tall order. An A-Z Guide to Food Additives will help consumers avoid undesirable food additives and show them which additives do no harm and may even be nutritious. 

Designed to fit in a purse or pocket, this little book will serve as an "additive translator" when navigating through the landmine field of additives or ingredients that may cause allergic reactions like headaches, fatigue, and breathing difficulties or those that cause bloating or make one hyperactive. Included are safety ratings to 300 ingredients and reference charts of such additives as those that may potentially cause cancer or allergic reactions or that should be limited for sodium-sensitive individuals. There is also essential nutrition advice, hints on what to look for when reading those unreadable ingredient labels, and even tips on buying fresh produce in order to avoid pesticides.

Our Take: With all the talk today about high-fructose corn syrup and is it or isn't it good for you, well it has a lot of people thinking about what is truly good for you in your food.  I've that found people are noticing all these names of stuff in their food and they have no idea what any of it is. Who knows what Alginate is for example? ...And if it is something they ought to be eating or not? Well, the A-Z Guide of Food Additives book says 'never eat what you can't pronounce.'  While that is a good general philosophy, some things that you can't pronounce aren't so bad for you. I'm sure we can all agree upon that.  Sure, you can pronounce baking soda but Alginate is simply brown seaweed.  It is used as a thickener in a lot of the products we use on a daily basis. In this book where they rate things from an A to an F on how good for you, Alginate is given an A+.

This is book is even small enough to fit in your pocket or your purse. So, when you go do your grocery shopping you can look up all those fancy names and make your own decision on whether you are going to buy a product or not.  Who can resist that?

At the end of this book there is a section that I found very eye opening.  It lists the ingredients that are potential cancer-causing food additives, additives that may provoke allergic reactions, additives that may cause gastrointestinal effects plus much more.  I found this book and it's information to be absolutely wonderful and so helpful in my quest for true health.  Now, I can go buy something processed and feel confident that everything in it is something I can ingest.  I mean, we can't all make everything from scratch every single night, so its nice to know what we have for options that meet our modern sensibilities. 


How to Buy: Amazon.com or the Conari Press Website

Fantastic Mr. Fox Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

Fantastic Mr. Fox Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

Synopsis: Academy Award-winning Hollywood heavyweights George Clooney (Up In The Air) and Meryl Streep (It’s Complicated) lend their voices to the hilarious, heartwarming and dazzling stop-motion animated adventure from visionary director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenebaums) Fantastic Mr. Fox, arriving as a Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo Pack and on DVD March 23 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. In there-imagined classic family tale, Mr. and Mrs. Fox (Clooney and Streep) live a happy home life with their eccentric son Ash (Jason Schwartzman: The Darjeeling Limited) and visiting nephew Kristopherson. That is until Mr. Fox slips into his sneaky, old ways and plots the greatest heist the animal world has ever seen. When mean old farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean join forces to surround Mr. Fox and his family, they don’t realize they are not dealing with any old fox – it’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and he has a fantastic master plan to save the day!

Review: When I first saw the trailer for this film it looked creepy to me.  I don't know what it was about the animation style, but it was just unsettling.  I was forced to look deeper into the film, though, thanks to an amazing cast.  With names like George Clooney, Bill Murray, Jason Schwarzman and Meryl Streep lending their voices to the characters, I figured that there must be something worthwhile about this film.  Not only did that turn out to be true, but there is something magical, as well.

The stop motion animation that was used has a very retro feel.  Its certainly not in-tune with modern quality stop motion, but its clearly not intended to be.  This is more of a throwback to something that you might have seen back in the 1960s.  The films soundtrack matches the odd feel.  Its a lot of banjo music.  Yep, banjo music.  Its just one of the most bizarre films I've seen in some time.  Considering that its a Roald Dahl tale, that kinda works.

I recommend checking this one out.  You won't see anything like it anytime soon.  Its most certainly unique!  The blu-ray transfer looks great and it comes in a combo pack with the DVD and a digital copy for your iPod!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Monday, March 29, 2010

National Geographic Kids: Weird But True! Book Review

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About the Book: At last, all those weird but true facts that readers of National Geographic Kids love so much are collected into a fun-filled book that you'll come back to again and again!

Weird But True is based on the hugely popular magazine page of quirky, fun facts that many readers of National Geographic Kids magazine turn to first. Why? Well did you know that...

* Peanut butter can be converted into a diamond?

* The world's oldest pet goldfish lived to be 43 years old?

* The world's longest soap bubble was as long as four school buses?

* On Neptune, the wind blows up to 1,243 miles an hour?

* An elephant's tooth can weigh as much as a bowling ball?

All of the facts in this handy book will amaze friends and family: Animals Superpowers, Chills and Thrills, Eat or Be Eaten, Mini and Mega, Wild and Crazy, and much, much more. Adjacent pages for such facts present a one-paragraph explanation of how that fact is possible or why it is so.
Wacky facts, fascinating information, and lively art combine in this easy-to-browse, casual reference book that is sure to give young readers hours of fun.

Our Take: We like to shake things up here on Book Legion and throw in reviews of kids books, along with adults titles.  I know that I appreciate that, as a parent.  I'm always looking for fun and educational books for my own kids.  A great place to start is always National Geographic Kids!  This newest title is 'Weird But True!' 

This could easily be a boring book with factoid after factoid thrown out at us about how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie-roll pop, but instead its a great small sized softcover book with full-color images with one to three facts on each page.  This book will easily keep the attention of anyone from a young kid to an adult just sitting around killing time.

A few of the more interesting facts include that a peanut isn't actually a nut and that spiders have clear blood.   I learned more in five minutes of flipping through this book that I normally would in reading an entire trivia book, because each fact is well sectioned off and it gives you time to absorb them with the related image.  It sounds simple, but it works!  This would make a great Easter basket stuffer!

How to Buy: The National Geographic Store

Kick Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie Book Review

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About the Book: Kick-Ass, the bestselling comic book series by Mark Millar (writer of the graphic novel Wanted, which became a smash-hit movie) and artist John Romita Jr., is now an eagerly awaited film, and this is the essential companion book!

What would happen if you tried to be a superhero? What would happen when an ordinary kid in a spandex costume comes face-to-face with the criminal underworld? Comic book fan and high school student Dave Lizewski, aka the self-styled vigilante Kick-Ass, is about to find out... and it’s going to get really, really violent!

Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie features creator Mark Millar's unique commentary on the conversion of his bestselling comic to the big screen, with hundreds of movie photos! Adults only

Our Take: If you read comic books and you're up on the buzz, then you've heard of Kick-Ass.   Its a creator-owned comic book that was put out under the Marvel 'Icon' imprint.  It features the writing of Mark Millar and the art of the great John Romita, Jr.  The basic idea behind the comic is what would happen if regular people, with no super powers, became heroes.  The result is a mix of mania and violence that takes the reader on a great ride.  The book had an amazing amount of attitude.  I remember one of the first ads I saw for the book had the tagline "Fuck Crime".

This book 'Creating the Comic, Making the Movie' delves into the behind the scenes details of what has happened in this new franchise.  I didn't realize this, but Kick-Ass was almost immediately being worked on as a feature film.   This book is ultra-detailed, far more than I figured it'd be.  These types of books are usually little fluff pieces, but this is a 175 page jam-packed look into the comic and film.  It features everything from commentary from writer Mark Millar to story boards from the film and sketches from John Romita, Jr.

I wouldn't normally feature a movie companion book, but this one goes above and beyond the norm.  If you're a fan of Kick-Ass, you'll need this one.  If you're not into it yet, pick this one up and see why you should be! 

How to Buy: the Titan Books website

The First Easter Rabbit DVD Review

The First Easter Rabbit DVD Review

Synopsis: Did you know that without the help of Santa Claus, there might not be an Easter Bunny at all? That's the sweetly surprising story told in this animated family favorite from Rankin/Bass Productions that has enchanted generations.

Academy Award winner Burl Ives narrates and Robert Morse, Stan Freberg, and Paul Frees provide character voices in a fanciful, tuneful, and color-splashed tale. Stuffy the Rabbit is a cuddly toy who magically comes to life and journeys to Easter Valley, an enchanted realm where it's always springtime, even thought it's not far from Santa's house. From there, the Bunny hopes to bring the first-ever basket of Easter goodies to children. But a cold-hearted ice creature named Zero refuses to allow such happiness. If he has his way, he'll freeze out Easter celebrations forever!

Review: Rankin Bass are famous for such treasured kids classics as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Mad Monster Party and even animated classics like the Last Unicorn.  One of their lesser-known specials is 'The First Easter Rabbit'.  Now, we get a remastered deluxe edition DVD release of this timeless classic.

The animation isn't terribly advanced and the story is...weird.  Basically it starts out like the Velveteen Rabbit and then it all travels to the North Pole where Stuff the Rabbit learns to be the Easter Bunny.  Santa gets involved during his Xmas downtime and insanity ensues.  Honestly, it was a valiant effort to give Easter its own personality outside of religion.

The picture is fantastic on this remastered DVD.  The colors are vibrant and pop right off the screen.  There are no scratches or dust anywhere!  The kids were very pleased with the games added to the disc.   We definately recommend this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Uncommon History of Common Things Book Review

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 An Uncommon History of Common Things Book Review

About the Book: Sometime about 30,000 years ago, somebody stuck a sharp rock into a split stick—and presto! The axe was born. Our inquisitive species just loves tinkering, testing, and pushing the limits, and this delightfully different book is a freewheeling reference to hundreds of customs, notions, and inventions that reflect human ingenuity throughout history.

From hand tools to holidays to weapons to washing machines, An Uncommon History of Common Things features hundreds of colorful illustrations, timelines, sidebars, and more as it explores just about every subject under the sun. Who knew that indoor plumbing has been around for 4,600 years, but punctuation, capital letters, and the handy spaces between written words only date back to the Dark Ages? Or that ancient soldiers baked a kind of pizza on their shields—when they weren’t busy flying kites to frighten their foes?

Every page of this quirky compendium catalogs something fascinating, surprising, or serendipitous. A lively, incomparably browsable read for history buffs, pop culture lovers, and anyone who relishes the odd and extraordinary details hidden in the everyday, it will inform, amuse, astonish—and alter the way you think about the clever creatures we call humans.

Our Take: National Geographic wows us again with this hardcover book on some of the most interesting bits of trivia you may have ever had the pleasure to stumble upon.   I know that I'm always looking for interesting fun facts and trivia.

The first thing that strikes me about this book is the layout.  Its hardcover, as I previously mentioend, with a dust jacket.  The inside is laid out quite nicely with many illustrations and sections to make for easy and light reading.  You can tackle one item at a time or entire chapters.  The book is divide up into various sections with info about foods, American culture, signs and much more.   Do you know the true origins of football?  How about what witch hazel does?  Did you know that velcro isn't actually allowed to be called velcro?  Did you know that a form of cereal has been consumed for breakfast for over 17,000 years?!   I'm telling you, this book is absolutely amazing!

This quirky and interesting book is chock-full of juicy tidbits and fun knowlege that will make any history buff jump for joy!   We HIGHLY recommend picking this one up immediately.  Its great for any teacher of all ages or anyone interested in trivia!

How to Buy: Amazon.com or the National Geographic Website

Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

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 Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

Synopsis: Andy heads off to cowboy camp leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al's Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody. At Al's apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called Woody's Roundup, and he meets the other prized toys from that show, Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye the Horse, and Stinky Pete the Prospector. Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear and the other toys from Andy's room, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex and Hamm spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody before Andy returns.

Bonus Features include: BE Live, Director commentary, Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Characters, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station, Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists, Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Pinocchio, The Movie Vanishes, Pixar's Zoetrop, Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft

Review: The format of blu-ray high definition was made for films like Toy Story 2.  Its the way that technologically advanced films like this one were meant to be enjoyed.  I've been waiting a long time to get all of the Pixar films released on blu-ray...the most of which is Toy Story and Toy Story 2.  We just reviewed Toy Story on blu-ray, now we're taking a look at the fantastic sequel.

There was a gap of 5 years between the release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and it really does show in the fluidity of the characters.  When you see them talk in high definition Toy Story is great, but Toy Story 2 is miles ahead in quality.  I can't even imagine what Toy Story 3 will be like!  The image is so crisp that this 11 year old film looks brand new again.

The blu-ray is packed with extras, including great sneak peeks at Toy Story 3, coming to theaters this June.   The combo pack is a really nice situation, because you can let the kids abscond with the DVD and keep the blu-ray nice for the family.

Rating: 6 out of 5 Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

 Toy Story 2 Blu-Ray / DVD Combo Pack Review

Synopsis: Andy heads off to cowboy camp leaving his toys to their own devices. Things shift into high gear when an obsessive toy collector named Al McWhiggin (owner of Al's Toy Barn) kidnaps Woody. At Al's apartment, Woody discovers that he is a highly valued collectible from a 1950s TV show called Woody's Roundup, and he meets the other prized toys from that show, Jessie the Cowgirl, Bullseye the Horse, and Stinky Pete the Prospector. Back at the scene of the crime, Buzz Lightyear and the other toys from Andy's room, Mr. Potato Head, Slinky Dog, Rex and Hamm spring into action to rescue their pal from winding up as a museum piece. The toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get Woody before Andy returns.

Bonus Features include: BE Live, Director commentary, Toy Story 3 Sneak Peek: The Characters, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station, Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists, Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Pinocchio, The Movie Vanishes, Pixar's Zoetrop, Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft

Review: The format of blu-ray high definition was made for films like Toy Story 2.  Its the way that technologically advanced films like this one were meant to be enjoyed.  I've been waiting a long time to get all of the Pixar films released on blu-ray...the most of which is Toy Story and Toy Story 2.  We just reviewed Toy Story on blu-ray, now we're taking a look at the fantastic sequel.

There was a gap of 5 years between the release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and it really does show in the fluidity of the characters.  When you see them talk in high definition Toy Story is great, but Toy Story 2 is miles ahead in quality.  I can't even imagine what Toy Story 3 will be like!  The image is so crisp that this 11 year old film looks brand new again.

The blu-ray is packed with extras, including great sneak peeks at Toy Story 3, coming to theaters this June.   The combo pack is a really nice situation, because you can let the kids abscond with the DVD and keep the blu-ray nice for the family.

Rating: 6 out of 5 Stars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies DVD Review

Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies DVD Review 

Synopsis: In Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies, Granny tries to recruit a substitute for the Easter Bunny when he falls ill. Someone has to help deliver Easter baskets and so Bugs Bunny and his pals all volunteer. Each character auditions for Granny. Which Looney Tunes character makes the best Easter Bunny? Viewers will be surprised! Portions of legendary Looney Tunes cartoon shorts are cleverly mixed into the plot of this delightful special including Birds Anonymous, For Scent-imental Reasons, Knighty Knight Bugs, Sahara Hare, Robin Hood Daffy, Rabbit of Seville, Hillbilly Hare and Tweety’s Circus.

Aside from the special, the DVD will also include a bonus short titled His Hare Raising Tale  and three menu-based puzzle games.

Review: This Easter special aired back in the 1970s and was comprised of a little bit of new footage and older cartoon reels.  The basic plot is that Granny needs help from Bugs to distribute Easter Eggs.  She does to the WB lot where Bugs is working on cartoons and has to sit through several 3 minute shorts.  These are edited vintage shorts from the Looney Toons catalog.

This is a great DVD release.  Whenever they take old tv specials and put them on DVD it really excites me.  These are often lost and overlooked for release, so for Looney Toons fans to now have this in their library is quite a treat.  Its enjoyable as any Looney Toons release and we highly recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mezco to make 'Kick-Ass' Figures and Merch...

“Kick-Ass”, the action-adventure movie from Lionsgate and Matthew Vaughn, is a twisted high-octane adventure that redefines the “super hero” genre, based on the popular comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

Kick-Ass, a.k.a. Dave Lizewski is an average teenager and avid comic-book fan, who decides to become a real-life superhero, Kick-Ass! With no actual super powers, his life is forever changed as he encounters the violent, real-crime world of common thugs, drug lords and underworld mobsters.

Kick-Ass 1/12 scale 6” action figure that captures the essence of “Kick-Ass” armed with two billy-clubs, and wearing signature suit and mask.

Hit-Girl, a.k.a. Mindy Mc Cready is an 11 year-old pig-tailing wearing waif with the fighting skills of a ninja. This little super hero proves she has some real kick- ass skills.

The 1/12 Scale action figure features Hit-Girl in her signature plaid skirt, purple wig and cape. Armed with a pair of butterfly knives, and her double Gitano bladed mindy stick.

Ships October 2010.

Mezco will also be offering a plethora of related Kick-Ass merchandise, from magnet sets and water bottles to sticker sheets and shot glasses. Look for them in finer retailers when the film hits theaters on April 16th, 2010.

Almost Alice CD Review

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Almost Alice CD Review 

About the CD: Out of the rabbit hole from Wonderland comes 15 NEW tracks from today's MADdest artists. Almost Alice features a unique collection of today's favorite alternative artists and the next round of superstars bubbling up from the underground. This is a companion piece to Danny Elfman's soundtrack score. Modern rock and alternative artists have long been inspired by the classic Alice in Wonderland tale and the cultural impact of Tim Burton. Almost Alice is the musical expression of those influences.

Our Take:  We're really mixed on our feelings for this soundtrack.  The Danny Elfman score was a home-run, but this one is hit and miss.  It features great performances inspired by the movie from a few bands like Franz Ferdinand Robert Smith.  The soundtrack also features what is, in our opinions, horrible music.  Low points include tracks from Owl City, Wolfmother and Avril Lavigne.  To be fair, we're not fans of their normal music either.

This CD is great for collectible purposes, but only about half of it is audible.  The other half can be used to drive away unwanted neighbors or attract stray dogs!