Screening of The Little Prince at Jacob Burns Film Center

Lily and I attended a very special sneak- peak screening of the new film The Little Prince. This gorgeous stop motion animation film is inspired by the ever popular children’s book – The Little Prince.

Academy Award Wining Direct Mark Osbourne… a local neighbor up here in the burbs… takes us into a very relatable story but one with a lot of magic. The film was screened for a very special event at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, NY

The Little Prince is a story of a girl and her single mother. The mother works hard to provide the very best for the child – buying a house in the best school district, scheduling and over scheduling the child so she’s exposed to every single academic experience… all the while.. forgetting about the fun and color and emotion of life. A neighbor.. the Aviator… introduces the child to the world of the Little Prince.

This film is pure art work. From the ideas presented in visual and emotional capacity to the beautiful music and message of the film. It’s a MUST SEE.

I can’t even truly being to express the imagery and the emotion this film exudes… so I’ve attached the trailer for you to view.

This film sticks to you and inspires you and for kids… it opens up a new creative pathway and thinking outside the ‘scheduled’ box. This is a somber film, with a few humorous moments to break it up. It’s thought-provoking and the imagery is just stunning. The film opens with the narrator telling us a story of the first drawing he made as a child. _ it was of a boa constrictor eating an Elephant. Elephant was in the long narrow belly of the Boa and when the narrator presents this image to a class of his peers… they think it’s a hat. This film encourages us to look outside the box… or rather live our entire lives outside the box. Actually get rid of the box entirely! It’s a great reminder to stay forever young… and as a parent… to keep reminding our children that childhood is for creating and creativity and freedom and magic.

Before the screening we met Mark Osbourne and he chatted about the process and had a few of the original clay structures used for the film. Fun Fact : Director Mark Osbourne’s son is the voice of the Little prince in the film. His son was helping out when the film was being created and they loved it so much that they kept him in!

The Little prince runs 108 minutes and is rated PG.

After the screening we walked across the street to the Jacob Burns Media lab for an afternoon of crafting movie making, and digital creativity. The media Lab has some amazing digital creative programs for kids of all ages. Lily’s fave has always been the claymation station.

Swing by JACOB BURNS FILM CENTER to learn all about their amazing film schedule and Media Arts Lab.

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He Named Me Malala – A Review From a Parental Perspective #withMalala

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Lily’s 5th grade class read about Malala this year. She was inspired and would come home and tell us all about this modern-day hero. So when I was approached to be a media partner for the upcoming documentary – He Named Me Malala – airing on the NatGeo Channel on MONDAY February 29 at 8:00pm EST,   I had to jump onboard.

He Named Me Malala is a powerful documentary about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Peace Prize and she has proven to be this generations, hero in a very unconventional way. Unlike the heroes we see on the big screen – you know muscles, brawn, skin-tight outfits, capes, and magical transforming power, Malala’s strength and power lie in her words.

At the age of 11, living in Pakistan, she decided to start a blog. Yes… a blog. A blog where she talked about the Taliban regime and her support for girls to be educated. She gained fans and was shot down in public 3 times on a bus and left for dead.

He Named Me Malala tells this story and has real-time accounts of what happened, what has happened since, and gives the viewer not only the full play-by-play of Malala’s powerful story but also takes us into her culture and family.

I’m not going to go into a full review of the film, because you can read all about it all over the web. However, I would like to give you a parents perspective and whether or not you should watch this film with your child.  *Note: I said WITH your child. It’s a tough one to have a kid watch alone. 

Lily is 11. She’s in 5th grade. She has read the book and knows the story. She had lots of questions about the shooting and grasping the concept that girls are denied educational rights over boys. She had questions while reading the book and we answered them the best we could.

The film. The film is different. It’s visual and there are a lot of images that are tough to take in for young kids. The content is serious with visuals of the blood on the bus, her face after being shot, and imagery of local life in poverty ridden areas of Pakistan.

There are a few moments of emotional relief like the beautiful relationship she has with her father who, contradictory to the stereotype of Pakistani men, supports and fuels Malala’s women’s right’s movement, and another moment when Malala is caught looking at pictures of David Beckham online. I mean… who can blame her right. But overall, this film is intense. Especially for kids who have not been exposed to any context or real life experience similar to the Pakistani terrain, culture, and imagery in this context and storyline.

He Named Me Malala is a PG-13 film. And this is an appropriate rating. If your child is watching PG-13 movies already, then you should watch this because this film with its ( very few) graphic visuals and true change-makers- story that’s happening right now. At least this film has a better message than other PG-13 flicks where zombies are eating people or snakes have invading a plane or even 6 o’clock the news.

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This said, it is an important documentary that should be watched by kids in Middle and High School. The mature content will resonate and may even work as a call to action for some kids.

He Named Me Malala is an important documentary and PARENTS… you …WE… should watch it. To know the truth and to know what’s happening and to know that our children will be inspired by this strong change-maker.

What does the name MALALA mean? We learn from the film that – Malala’s father – who is a significant part of inspiring his daughter to fight for what she believes in,  named his first born -fueled with power from the beginning. Malala is named after the Pastun Joan of Arc of sorts –  Malalai of Maiwand,  who fought and gave her own life while she  encouraged Afghan soldiers to stand up against British colonialists.

He Named Me Malala will be shown commercial free on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC channel on Monday February 29 at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT.

Another way to support this amazing story and cause is to tweet #withMalala! Between now and 3/10 and 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala Fund for every tweet tagged #withMalala. It’s never been easier to support the Fund and girls’ education globally. Tell all your friends to get on board too!

Please tweet this message —>  @thenewyorkmom & I are standing #withMalala Please RT this message to have @21CF donate $1 to @Malalafund 4 supporting girls right to edu! 

*Thanks for swinging by and supporting this powerful story!  You guys are awesome!*

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Acapella Star Wars Theme Sung by Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and Cast of Star Wars

The highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens Thursday and people are going NUTS over this film. I have never seen a single Star Wars film but might just have give in and catch this latest installation.

Jimmy Fallon in his true genius style had released an acapella versions of the Star Wars theme… with The Roots and the cast of the film. It’s pretty brilliant! We’re talking… Adam Driver with that seriously impressive baritone! and Brienne of Tarth!

Enjoy!

 

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The Peanuts Movie Review and a Special Visit With Blue Sky

Good Grief Charlie Brown! … you’ve done it again!

The Peanuts Movie came out over the weekend and in true Chuck Brown style… my review is a bit late!

We saw the special media screening last week but our screening had an added bonus. The kids and I were invited to a very special event with the Blue Sky animators of the film. Really cool right!

Lily was most impressed, Thomas just wanted to eat the clay. We had a session in claymation and learned how to make Snoopy. And Lily came home and tried to recreate what she had learned. Her little artsy mind was fed!

We also met one of the animators who created Snoopy for the film and he taught us how to draw The Flying Ace! Lily even had her drawing signed by him. Tyler Carter… thanks for hangin with us!!

Thomas basically ate his way through the entire event! This was such a treat for us to get access to the Blue Sky animators. I mean.. who gets to do that!

Like most of us who have these sweet memories of Charlie Brown and his whole gang of Peanuts, I was not expecting much from The Peanuts Movie. A 3D animation film with glossy images and shiny pictures in 2015 was going to ruin my nostalgic memories of this band o characters… the simple whimsy of their daily shenanigans, the complex underlying themes of life that they offered… in our cynical era of political correctness!

The Peanuts Movie was a win for me.

It’s like seeing old friends. and introducing them to your kids and your kids love them. Thomas and Lily both just loved it with laugh-out-loud belly laughs throughout the film!

The Peanuts Movie starts out with the kids at school taking a standardized test. Yes testing! But it unfolds into an everyday story about kids, school, crushes, honestly, teamwork and these great characters that we all know in our own lives. Kids are flying kites, riding bikes and still charging .05 cents for psychiatric advice.

Our Flying Ace, Snoopy is still battling the Red Baron, with the 3D animation… now the battles are real and full of action and adventure! Charlie Brown, our loveable loser, is trying to impress the new girl in school and tries a myriad of talents to get her attention. While he executes them all very impressively, it always seems to fall apart when in front of the girl. Nothing has changed with the gang and that is refreshing.

Fans of the original cartoon versions will miss some of the grit and squiggly lines of the original series. But I think this film does Charles Schultz proud for sure.

The Peanuts Movie is rated G and has a running time of 1hour and 32 minutes.

 

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Disney’s Cinderella – A Classic Tale

Magic is in the air and it’s being delivered to us on a glass slipper though Disney’s Cinderella. While Anna and Elsa have cornered the Disney princess market, our classic princess in blue – Cinderella – gets introduced to a new crop of little ones who have heard tales of this princess but only from the nostalgia stories of their mothers.

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Disney’s new film Cinderella opens in theatres March 13 and audiences are in for a treat. This live action film has all the magic of a Disney classic. While it’s not a musical, the story stays to the classic storyline and story telling cadence with very little newness. And I like that.

There is no reinventing of the princess, no surprise ending, nothing you don’t expect. The mom dies, the dad marries, he dies, the stepmother is wicked, the sisters ugly, fairy godmother,dashing prince, there are mice and a pumpkin and the clock strikes midnight and the glass slipper, the search for the perfect fit, the happily every after… all of it. All the scenes arrive just like clock work.

Cinderella, played by the beautiful Lily James of Downton Abbey fame, is perfect in the role. Her tiny waist, and i mean tiny itty waist, skipping through the film holds your attention the entire time. She’s too nice for her own good and at times you do want to just impart some feminist knowledge on her, but this is Cinderella and we have to play it out.

The Prince, played by Richard Madden of Game of Thrones fame, is aloof and handsome and there is the scene with a close up of his gorgeous blue eyes…and the whole audience melts.

The fairy Godmother, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is delivered in a Johnny Depp meets Helena meets Fairy Godmother type of way. Which totally works.

Cate Blanchett and her soul piercing glares – it’s like she’s telling me her entire character study with her eyes. And her gowns, she was killing it with her costume changes, Those greens in all those silky shades were to die!

Kenneth Branagh directed this film and the british Shakespearean stamp is certainly imprinted throughout. From the actors, to the dialogue, the style and nuances. This is a beautiful, classic film which is nothing short of magic. Kids will enjoy this story and the grandeur of it while parents will appreciate the fine acting.

On the flip side – Don’t go see this film if you are expecting a strong, courages princess who writes her own destiny. It’s not for the feminists in the group. There are heaving bosoms, small bosoms, but they heave and will be noticed by kids, there is the helpless Cinderella who never ever stands up for herself except at the end – you know this story – but even that is a whimper of a stand up. Still we wanted her to say something rotten.. anything rotten to her stepmother and when she finally did the entire audience applauded. Tears and all.The prince is aloof, handsome and eye candy. It’s a fairytale and that’s what you are going to get.

This is also not a musical and has very little humor. So young kids who are expecting a Frozen style delivery of film won’t appreciate the quality and storytelling here.

I personally enjoyed the film for the design, the fashion, the acting, the actors, the simple expected beauty of what Cinderella should be.

Will Cinderella overthrow Elsa and Anna… probably not. But she’s here to stay for sure.

||Cinderella opens March 13 Running time 1hour 45 minutes and it’s rated PG ||

 

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The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides 2014 ~ coming soon

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Tis the season for gift giving and I am super excited to announce the FIRST ever official real- deal Holiday Gift Guide from The New York Mom.

How exciting you guys!

I have tons of tips and suggestions and ideas and all sorts of fun goodies coming up for the next few weeks. Gifts for kids, for moms, for dads, techy gifts, foodie gifts, gifts for young, gifts for old… i got you covered!

Soooo keep it where ya got it!

Happy gifting y’all!!

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Google Glass Mothers Day Video will have you in tears!

Google Glass just released an ad/video that tugs on your heartstrings like no other. The video was shot entirely with google glass and follows a man – a son-  traveling from the US to India to see his mom. SEEDS  was created by the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts as part of the Glass Creative Collective.

I’m telling you now… get the tissues out!

There are so many reasons this appeals to me. I’m from India. I love seeing the colors, the head shakes,the cultural references, the journey, the food, the ambiance,the colors,the flight to india,  the reactions… all of it. This is a very sweet video and I hope you take a second to watch it.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

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Film Review – After Earth

My friend Kristen McEntyre Ryan attended the premiere of Will Smith’s new summer flick – After Earth and provided this review for you …my readers.

I frequently tell my kids, when my husband does something particularly charming and fatherly, “I picked that daddy for you.” Do you suppose that the gorgeous and talented Jada Pinkett Smith says the same thing as she gazes on her ever-adorable husband and precious kiddos?

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We had the opportunity to be in the same room with Will and Jaden Smith, thanks to The Moms’ Mamarazzi event for the Smiths’ new movie, After Earth. We’ve probably all said, “They can’t be that cute in real life.” Sorry, mamas. They are every bit as funny, genuine and, well, family-ish as you imagined.

After Earth is the story of a father and son who end up on earth 1,000 years after humanity fled the planet. The uptight father, played by Will Smith, must loosen his grip and rely on his son to save the day, and the son will do anything to make his dad proud.

Jaden Smith said his father’s best advice is to take big projects one brick at a time. “All you have to do today is lay one perfect brick,” Will Smith said. “Then, when you look back, you’ll have the Great Wall of China.”

This is a terrific movie for Dad and the kids to see together, provided they’re brave enough for PG13-style scary aliens and loud noises. We didn’t try to test our 7-year old’s mettle, and it was the right decision. No mom wants to be up all night with a freaked-out kid after deliberately scaring them half to death. 

See After Earth with the big kids and Dad — or, better yet — give movie tickets for Father’s Day and enjoy that quiet house for a couple of hours. You can catch the movie when it comes out on DVD. We think they’ll want to see it again.

 

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Vampires over the Weekend

I have a love affair with New York City.

Even though I moved to New York after college a decade ago, I feel like I grew up here. Matt and I got married, I went through a gazillion dance gigs, and even gazillioner auditions, I built my dance company, we had many successes, I met some fascinating people who I am so glad to call friends, I ate at the best restaurants and learned all about AMAZING food and farm to table agriculture, we had Lincoln Duncan our Newfoundland, we had Lily,we lost Lily, we got Lily back,  we lost Lincoln Duncan our Newfoundland, we had Jonah our Saint Bernard, we had Thom.

We lived and we grew up and continue to grow.

I feel as if New York City has held my hand through all of this and even though New York can have a bad rep… us New York peeps know that this city is one that holds you up and keeps you inspired even when the going gets ..not going.

I am such a fan of the band Vampire Weekend and their new song STEP has the best music video. It’s how I see New York… in black and white and as a sweet dear friend who’s walking with you in the rain. There’s always a beautiful nostalgic romance to this city.

I hope you enjoy this gorgeous song and music video as much as I do.

I could get lost in this video.

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New York International Children’s Film Festival

Guess what time it is!

The 16th Annual New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF) This event  runs from March 1-24th.

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 The nation’s largest festival for kids and teens will present four weeks of ground-breaking and thought-provoking new works for ages 3-18, with 100 new films, opening and closing galas, premieres, six short film programs, filmmaker Q&As, filmmaking workshops, A-list jury, audience voting, and the NYICFF Awards Ceremony. NYICFF is an Oscar®–qualifying festival –recipients of NYICFF’s jury prizes are eligible for Oscar® consideration in the Best Animated and Live Action Short Film categories.

Films are shown at locations all throughout New York City – Asia Society and Museum, DGA Theater, Elinor Bunim Munroe Film Center, French Institute Alliance Française, IFC Center, Scholastic Theater, SVA Theatre

Films usually sell out so I recommend purchasing your tickets soon.

For more information visit www.gkids.com or call 212-349-0330

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