Up to date information about children’s entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Mark Your Calendars: Here are the New DVDs for Kids and Families Coming out this Month

Here’s a quick reference for you of new DVDs for your preschool to teen kids that will be showing up on the retail shelves this month. There are some great new films such as the Oscar-winner, Blindside (which I absolutely loved) and the Oscar-nominated Fantastic Mr. Fox, great stand-bys such as Strawberry Shortcake and Sesame Street and a new indie film from monterey media called Jake’s Corner – one of the 30 films you should know about but probably don’t because – it’s an indie!

Age: Preschool

Barney Egg-cellent Adventure. Your search for tee-riffic fun with Barney & Friends™ is over! Baskets full of egg-citement abound when Mother Goose, a nest full of eggs and a mysterious, carrot-eating visitor bring super-Dino adventures to the whole family. Hop along for the super-dee-duper adventures with Barney and his friends! Episodes include: “Rabbits,” “Mother Goose” and “Ducks and Fish.” DVD. 42 min.; $14.98; Ages 2-5. Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. Street: 3/2/10
Bob the Builder: Heavy Duty Diggers. See Bob the Builder and the Can-Do Crew like never before through the power of CG animation! Bob and the team are hard at work in their new location in Harbor Town where Lofty leads the construction of a new ocean pier and transforms an old shack into a surf school; Scratch, the newest addition to the Top Team, is digging his way into all sorts of adventures with Scoop at the museum; and Scrambler attempts to build a tree house at the school by himself. Grab your hard hat and get ready to find out why the fun is in getting it done! DVD. 46 min.; $14.98; Ages 2-5. Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. Streets 3/23/10.

Sesame Street: Abby in Wonderland. Follow Abby and Elmo down the rabbit hole in this enchanting re-imagining of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Elmo the Rabbit is late, late, late and has rushed away with Abby’s wand in his back pocket. Abby must follow Elmo into Wonderland to get it back. Will the Counterpillar or Rose-ita the Rose help her? Can she turn to Grover the Mad Hatter or Cheshire Cookie Cat for sound advice? Join Abby, Elmo, and more Sesame Street friends in this whimsical adventure that’s fun for the whole family! DVD. 41 min.; $14.98; Ages 2-5. Sesame Street and Warner Home Video. Streets: 1-5-10

Strawberry Shortcake: The Berryfest Princess Movie. The berrylicious fun continues when Strawberry Shortcake™ takes the crown in an all-new movie adventure. In the latest CGI installment featuring the character’s new look, Berry Bitty City is preparing for the annual Spring festival, and Strawberry Shortcake has just been appointed Berryfest Princess of the joyous celebration. Along with her berry best friends, they must work together to ensure the festival and parade are the sweetest events the town has ever seen. DVD. 68 min.; $19.98; Ages 2-5. Streets: 3/2/10 Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Thomas & Friends Runaway Kite. There’s a kite on the loose, and Thomas must catch it before the wind blows it from Sodor. With Gordon, Charlie and Toby by his side, Thomas learns that a helping hand keeps him right on track when it comes to rescuing kites, saving a swarm of bees and preventing railway disasters from taking flight! Hop on board for a high-flying ride with Thomas & Friends™ in these all-new, never-before-seen train adventures! DVD. 46 min.; $14.98; Ages 2-5. Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. Mar 3/2/10

Age: Early Readers to Grade School

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. 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. When a concert mishap lands Dave in the hospital, the Chipmunks take a break from superstardom and enroll in school to fit in with kids their age. But they soon face some stiff competition when they meet the Chipettes – a beautiful, talented trio of chipmunks discovered by Ian, the boys’ evil ex-manager! DVD. 89 min.; $29.98; Ages 5-8. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Streets: 3/30/10

Fantastic Mr. Fox. 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”). 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! DVD. 97 min.; $29.98; Ages 5-8. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Streets: 3/23/10

Age: Grade School

Jakes Corner. Written and Directed by Jeff Santo (“This Old Cub” which honored his father, Ron Santo) and starring Richard Tyson and Academy AwardR Nominee Diane Ladd, and with music by and co-starring 5 Time Grammy Winner B.J. Thomas, Jake’s Corner tells the story of an ex-football star, Johnny Dunn, who walked away from the game early in his career to live a relatively secluded life far from the spotlight in a small, desert town he owns called Jake’s Corner. Johnny’s quiet life is altered dramatically when his young nephew, Spence comes to live with him due to a family tragedy. DVD. 97 min.; $26.95; Ages 8-12. Monterey Media.

Where the Wild Things Are. “Let the wild rumpus start!” Nine-year-old Max runs away from home and sails across the sea to become king of the land Where the Wild Things Are. King Max rules a wondrous realm of gigantic fuzzy monsters – but being king may not be as carefree as it looks! Filmmaker Spike Jonze directs a magical, visually astonishing film version of Maurice Sendak’s celebrated children’s classic, starring an amazing cast of screen veterans and featuring young Max Records in a fierce and sensitive performance as Max. Explore the joyous, complicated and wildly imaginative wild rumpus of the time and place we call childhood. DVD. 101 min.; $28.98; Ages 8-12. Warner Home Video. Streets: 3/2/10

Age: Jr. High and High School

The Blind Side. Teenager Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock). Learning that the young man is one of her daughter’s classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael – wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter – come out of the cold. Without a moment’s hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. And as the family helps Michael fulfill his potential, both on and off the football field, Michael’s presence in the Tuohys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. DVD. 128 min.; $28.98; Ages 8-12. Warner Home Video. Streets: 3/23/10.

The Brothers Warner. Of the major studios, one was family. Harry, Albert, Sam, Jack – the Warner brothers – turned a storefront that used a sheet for a screen into a dream factory rooted in the credo of educate, entertain and enlighten. In this fascinating documentary, filmmaker (and Harry’s granddaughter) Cass Warner Sperling tells a story of sibling rivalry, social conscience and the silver screen. It’s a story of pioneering (risking all for Talkies) and politics (standing alone in Hollywood against the Nazis), of reels (“The Public Enemy,” “Casablanca” and more) and rifts (including a shocking family betrayal). It’s a story told from the inside (via rare family archives) by those who lived it (among them such stars as Dennis Hopper, Debbie Reynolds, Tab Hunter and more) and from the outside by film historians. The people, the pictures, the tales untold on camera until now – “The Brothers Warner” educates, enlightens, entertains, reveals. DVD. 94 min.; $19.98; Ages 12-18. Warner Home Video.

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