Tag Archives: movies in bed

Movies in Bed: Maleficent

MaleficentPost by Mark T. Locker.

Disney has been on quite the roll lately. It doesn’t hurt that they have gobbled up a number of hugely popular dynasties recently, from Star Wars to Pixar to Marvel. This time, however, Disney is not riding on the coattails of any of these, but rather on a retelling of one of their classic retellings of a classic fairy tale. I am talking, of course, about Maleficent, the dark and dramatic Sleeping Beauty spinoff, told from the perspective of Maleficent, who was so cruelly portrayed in the 1959 cartoon version. In the new telling of the story, we learn that Maleficent was a lovely and kind queen of the moors, cruelly betrayed by the greed of men. The king, her former childhood friend, is the real villain here.

Angelina plays the title role, and does a great job, although there are an awful lot of close-ups of her eyes watching through shadows. Perhaps this is some sort of tribute to the original; I don’t know because I haven’t seen it. Beyond that, though, it is a lovely movie. It has a lot of darkness; you would too if you’d been treated as Maleficent had. But Sleeping Beauty brings a brightness and joy to everything and everyone she encounters.

Don’t look for any hackneyed old plot points in this movie! Disney seems to be all about turning all the tired old clichés on their heads; especially the ones they’ve been guilty of perpetuating in the past. Now available on DVD, it’s a great movie to watch with the kids on a chilly autumn evening.

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Movies in Bed: Earth to Echo

Earth-to-Echo-NLB

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we tend to crumple at the sight of a snowflake or a frosted window pane. Therefore, I was prepared to stay home when the first icy pellets hit my porch and the call came in that my son’s school was canceled. I still had work to do, but without any actual snow for him to play it, I was pressed to come up with activities to keep him entertained. By two o’clock in the afternoon, we were all feeling stretched so I suggested we find a movie to watch!

The moment the cover for Earth to Echo popped up on the screen, he knew that was the movie he wanted to see. He was not disappointed.

Earth to Echo is part E.T., part Cloverfield, part Goonies. Three adolescent boys are losing their homes to a freeway project. For their last night together, they decide to go on a big adventure. When their phones go all haywire, they realize, eventually, that they are suddenly showing them a map, guiding them to something out in the Nevada desert. Determined to record the whole event, they head out in the darkness on bikes, equipped with Go Pro cameras, spy cameras, smartphones. What they find is just the first piece of a puzzle that will lead them through deserts, danger, and strangers eager to get their hands on the little robotic alien nicknamed “Echo”.

This is a great fun and exciting movie for elementary age kids. Lots of action without any violence, and a satisfying, if bittersweet ending that will leave them pleased.

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Movies in Bed: Curious George Halloween Boo Fest

curious george

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Well, today’s the big day! Happy Halloween, everyone! From the moment school begins, the witches and ghosts and skeletons come out. The black-dyed cheesecloth gets wrapped around old bones and bags of candy appear across from rows and rows of scythes. And many people enjoy watching scary, scary movies after darkness falls. I like watching scary, scary movies. They don’t tend to really scare me for the most part. I suppose I could still watch these movies, but now I’m a parent I have to wait until the kid is in bed and the likelihood of having enough energy to watch a whole movie on a weeknight is very, very slim. And my little boy is not a fan of scary movies. Not even kind of scary movies. The Dreamworks Halloween special “Night of the Living Carrots”, which is about carrots possessed by weird alien glowing stuff, was way too scary to watch. Mostly I think it’s because they turn people into zombie-like things. Zombies scare the bejeezus out of him.

So now for most of my Halloween fix has to come from such decidedly un-scary programming as Curious George’s Halloween Boo Fest! The SCARY bit is about a scarecrow named No Noggin who KICKS PEOPLESHATS OFF THEIR HEADS There is also a pumpkin contest. By the way, in case you are worried, No Noggin is not real. There is something else behind the hats going missing. Hint: it’s not scary and it’s totally implausible. So if you have a little kid, you can give this hour-long Curious George special a try. It’s probably available streaming via PBS for a couple more days.

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Movies in Bed: Star Wars is baaaack!

star-wars-rebels

Post by Mark T. Locker.

If you or a loved one is a fan of any or all of the Star Wars universe, chances are you have been following the events that have begun since Disney acquired the franchise in 2012. Of course, there are a whole bunch of new movies coming out which is a great way to make a zillion dollars for the company. Seriously, they could have a movie about Han and Leia enjoying a quiet domestic life and it would make $100 million. But now there is another addition to the Star Wars universe. The Disney Channel has begun airing a new series called Star Wars: Rebels which is a computer-animated cartoon series, reminiscent of the Clone Wars cartoons. This one is set after the Revenge of the Sith and before the original movies, A New Hope. The first episode is called Sparks of Rebellion. This series promises to tell the story of what happens between when the Empire takes over the galaxy, or universe, or whatever, and when the Rebel Alliance fights back.

You get to meet a bunch of new droids, aliens, and humanoids. I’ll bet you that there will be a whole mess of new toys coming out soon, probably just in time for Christmas. It airs at 9 pm, which is good as it is clearly aimed at older viewers. One character mentions kicking someone’s a—and there is no shortage of killing. It’s interesting to see these cartoons which are actually way more violent than the first three movies ever were; everything there was mostly theatrical. I think this cartoon shows promise and is definitely a good time-filler while we await the next Star Wars movie, but is definitely geared toward kids who are a bit older.

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Movies in Bed: Getting ready for the Apocolypse

doomsday preppers-charles p rogers

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Doomsday Preppers National Geographic Channel

I’m not a fan of most reality television shows; usually there is too much petty interpersonal drama, too much focus on people who seem to be terrible human beings. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, however. One of which has been survival shows like Dual Survival which offers a look at survival skills put to the test in a variety of environments. This is sort of the flip side of that coin.

Doomsday Preppers looks into the lives of people who are very serious in their attempts to prepare for the end of days. It’s a fascinating show. There seem to be two kinds of preppers: those who want to have the skills and resources to survive off the grid for extended periods of times and those who are mostly arming themselves for the inevitable marauders coming for their supplies (or, as I see it, people in need of help). I think some of these people have been watching too much Walking Dead. On the other hand, it’s pretty reasonable to want to be prepared for a major natural disaster. I’m going to stop short of creating homemade explosives to keep out unwanted people.

Each featured individual or family has a different predicted end of times, from massive climate change to global pandemics, to governmental collapse, which inspires them to prepare. Each also has a unique focus to their skill set, from raising massive amounts of rabbits to sophisticated communication systems. Very interesting watching.

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