Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Saturday movie night with my best friend ended up being her choice out of my unseen movies pile! We love watching animation together and its been forever since we’ve actually sat down at home eating dinner together and just enjoy a movie.  Last movie we saw was in the theatres last year, Brave and it was totally awesome 😉 Rise of the Guardians was one that we believe we saw the preview of when we went to see Brave.

rise of the guardians posterDirector: Peter Ramsey

Voice Cast: Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Jude Law, Dakota Goyo

The Four Guardians have always taken care of the hopes and beliefs and happiness of all the kids around the world.  They consisted of a russian accent Santa Claus called North (Alec Baldwin), Easter Bunny called Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth Fairy called Tooth (Isla Fisher) and Sandman called Sandy who doesn’t talk.  When North sees that the Boogeyman called Pitch, has come out of hiding and used his darkness to try to take over the Earth, he calls up the Guardians for a meeting.  When asking advice from the moon, they see that they are to summon a 5th Guardian, who is a mischievous Jack Frost (Chris Pine). This comes as a surprise to both Jack Frost and the Guardians.  As Pitch launches his plan to come out of hiding and destroy every child’s dreams and happiness, the Guardians along with Jack Frost needs to find a way to work together and figure out how to stop him before its too late.

Was 2012 the year of awesome animated flicks? I loved The Lorax (although there was a fair share that didn’t).  I absolutely adored Brave and now I had so much fun with Rise of the Guardians! I just totally blame the promotional team for this one.  It was so awesome but yet the trailers, not for one second, made me want to go see this.

rise of the guardians guardians

This movie is definitely one that I found was really magical.  Its suitable for kids but gives the adults a good sense of adventure as well.  Its not dumb childish humor but actually rather witty dialogue.  Bringing in the mythical characters that a lot of children do (or adults have) believe in and setting them as the heroes of the story makes it very unique.  It also gives them a meaning as we are revealed that even our heroes before they become immortal have to earn their way to be who they are and each one had a life before this one.


All the characters were designed really well.  My best friend (and I) particularly loved how they made North have a Russian accent.  I thought that was really nifty and cool.  Easter Bunny was made all ninja style and he rocked the screen under Hugh Jackman’s voiceover. That makes sense since he has to jump and hop everywhere.  His interaction with everyone was most of the comic relief.  Chris Pine did a very good Jack Frost, although I almost didn’t even recognize his voice at first.  His story was the main focus throughout this flick so his character grew on me as it progressed.

rise of the guardians pitch

This flick had Pitch as the villain. I think he did so amazing.  For one, he has one of the best voices in the business and its actually sad that I don’t recall him doing any voice work before.  He rarely does bad guys but somehow I felt he was a good level of evil to make everything work out.

rise of the guardians sandy

One last thing that I really loved was the visuals.  The way the designed each of the “palaces” where the guardians lived were all very creative.  They each gave a beauty and imaginative.  The way the characters would use their magic and the colors they used were absolutely amazing.  I may have talked about this last but it was the big element that kept drawing me into the world of the Guardians.

This flick had a good amount of action to hold both children and adults but in no time did it feel that it was too intense or inappropriate for children at least.  They kept reminding us that we all have that child in us.  I’d recommend not only for a fun magical adventure but also that it carries a deeper meaning that we need to find our center.  No one will treat situations the same way but we all are unique and that gives us our advantage.

Daily Prompt/Tug of War: Fun Fiction or Pointless Lie?

I’ve been meaning to do a Daily Prompt for a while but this week has been really crazy…with the not using one letter..I was stuck staring at the screen all lunch hour and cursing that I didn’t carry a thesaurus with me ALL THE TIME.  Then the last few days, it was all topics that I could’ve answered with one paragraph.  Thursday’s topic I almost wanted to do but it would get a bit personal and I’m not one for jinxing a good situation, which I’m pretty happy with, although with seven days of nothing to do and $10,000 in my hands, I already know what I’d do it.  My 6 months plan could be immediate.  Doesn’t that sound vague but still quite sweet? In time, this will be revealed if all things go as planned.  You just have to stick around for a few more months.

Anyways, so we come to today (or yesterday) topic and I had almost deleted it, when afterwards, DJ Matticus launched the second Tug of War in his awesome kingdom, using exactly that topic.  I’m always up for some fun and games. 🙂 Last time I had blast even though I really went the going out on a crazy limb and (almost) everyone came around to tell me I was crazy and disagreeing…I love the response!

Here is the topic worded in two ways:

Daily Prompt style –>The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

Matticus Kingdom style –>Is telling your children stories about the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus anImportant Part of Childhood/Growing Up or is it Not Important/Lying?

I’ve probably discussed this briefly before or at least I think I did.  *runs off to check past blogs* Okay, I was right..its right here! I’m not going to make you run to check it out unless you want to but I talked about it during my Christmas Marathon in the Polar Express review.

Here’s the excerpt from there:

P1200064Before that, I’d like to talk about the belief in Santa.  A child’s belief in Santa may be naive but it keeps that childhood happy spirit going.  It gives them hope and joy to find surprises.  Its magical how a little belief can make the little ones so happy.  Every year I watch my boyfriend’s niece and nephew open their presents.  When they were younger, they would have my boyfriend disguise as Santa Claus and play out the whole Santa Claus scene, now we just scurry them off into another room and have all the women make lots of noise to cover up while the guys move everything up and pretend that Santa visit. Its just amazing to see their faces light up when they walk into the living room and see a surprise pile of gifts for not only them but EVERYONE in the room.

So okay, maybe you can argue with me now and say, well, all the excitement is from the increased desire for gifts and thats why they look happy and amazed.  They get to open gifts and piles of them.  Which kid doesn’t want that? Its a dream come true, right?

Now, I want to talk about my mom.  I know you don’t care about my mom but hear me out.  My mom is one of those Chinese ladies whose been through a lot, just like a lot of other people.  At her age, she’s seen and learned from her past mistakes and experiences.  As I grew older, I started seeing my mom as being a very realistic person.  She doesn’t believe in fairy tales, the magic of Disney means nothing to her…life is about being happy but happiness is  in direct proportion with the amount of money we have.  Money may not equal happiness but it will equal comfort and being able to do most of the things one would like to do.  Its normal, I understand all that, even if I don’t really go by that with my life choices.  So you see, she is a very realistic woman.  But even though she knows its a bunch of baloney, she still brought me to see Santa every Christmas, even after I knew it wasn’t real either, she would still get me a little surprise something in the stocking hung on the fireplace.  I remember my eyes lighting up also because its the thought of surprising me and making me happy from my mom that made me feel amazing.  My mom actually did the whole thing with me: Easter had the local Easter egg hunts and chocolates, Hiding my tooth under my pillow and she’d actually save it in a jar and then put a dollar in its place.

seeing is believing

All these characters, Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy are all just fun and harmless.  Its all about the power of belief, faith with a touch of imagination.   Every child should experience the naivety of being able to believe in innocent characters.  There is no harm if it brings a smile on their face, especially if it can be turned into another family event.  If I have kids in the future, I would do that also.  Let them learn to believe 🙂

What do you think? Is these characters harmless fun or just pointless lies? If you do write up a post, link back to DJ Matticus and help your team win and earn respect in The Matticus Kingdom 🙂 I have the link up there! But I put it here on his name also.  Of course, if you can link back to mine so I can read your entry if you’d like or leave me a comment.  Love to hear your thoughts!

Christmas Marathon ends with Elf (2003)

In line with this, you can call me by my elf name- Cookie Plum-Pants.  Nice to meet you all.  I’m sure I can’t make any toys by the thousand at Santa’s workshop so I will result to testing for defective Jack in the Boxes and eating lots of candy. You can check out how to get your elf name HERE.  Lets start the last review in my Christmas Marathon!

ElfELF (2003)

Director: Jon Favreau

Cast: Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen

Buddy (Will Ferrell) was raised in the North Pole at Santa’s workshop, mostly by Papa Elf.  After knowing that he is actually human, the reason why he can’t perform the elf responsibilities as well as the other elves, he learns that his father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan) is in New York City. He sets out to find his father and tell him about his existence and try to get him off the naughty list.  His habits are not the same as a big bustling city and he doesn’t understand the human ways. His ways leads to some humorous turnouts but also he searches for his true self in a city that has forgotten what Christmas spirit is.

This Christmas flick is always the finale of my Christmas marathon, mostly because its a really awesome movie and its one of my boyfriend’s favorites.  Its funny in a really silly way. I don’t usually buy a lot of that humor but for this, it manages to get quite a lot of laughs.  The more I see it, the more I enjoy it.  Will Ferrell is one of those actors whose humor isn’t always my type of humor, however, in this one, his role as a human raised in an elf world and adapting back to his own life really was amazing.  He did a fantastic job at it.  Humor is a very subjective aspect, what works for one person may not work for another, plus this one does it in a very nice family comedy.  Plus, it has one of my favorite actresses: Zooey Deschanel.  She’s just a sweetheart and when she sings “Baby, Its Cold Outside” or “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, its just so awesome.

Similar to Polar Express, its circled around Christmas spirit.  The concept of believing is the focus: If you believe, you don’t necessarily have to see it.  Christmas is getting very commercialized and I feel that more and more every year, so to me, this movie touches a very important aspect.  Family, humor, music and altogether Christmas spirit: just a great mix for a Christmas flick.

Sorry for the late review.  I got right to it after I had a moment.  Hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas celebration with family and friends.


Christmas Marathon: Polar Express (2004)

After an extremely late night partying on Christmas eve with my family and finally getting back to sleep at around 3am, which is extremely late for me, my boyfriend and I both sat down to watch this beautiful flick.  One of the two we always leave for Christmas Day to see.  While he has decided to nap a bit to continue our feasting tonight, I’m taking a moment to sit down and write this.

Before that, I’d like to talk about the how the belief in Santa.  A child’s belief in Santa may be naive but it keeps that childhood happy spirit going.  It gives them hope and joy to find surprises.  Its magical how a little belief can make the little ones so happy.  Every year I watch my boyfriend’s niece and nephew open their presents.  When they were younger, they would have my boyfriend disguise as Santa Claus and play out the whole Santa Claus scene, now we just scurry them off into another room and have all the women make lots of noise to cover up the guys moving everything up and pretending that Santa visit. Its just amazing to see their faces light up when they walk into the living room and see a surprise pile of gifts for not only them but EVERYONE in the room.

This movie ties in exactly to that feeling, the idea of believing.

Polar ExpressPOLAR EXPRESS (2004)

Director: Robert Zemeckis (A Christmas Carol)

Cast: Tom Hanks, Eddie Deezen, Nona Gaye, Peter Scolari

Its Christmas Eve and we zoom into a little boy (Tom Hanks) and his family.  We learn through a conversation with  his parents and his younger sister Sarah that he doubts Santa’s existence.  In the middle of the night, he hears a loud sound and goes outside and there he sees a magical train called Polar Express.  He is invited by the Conductor (Tom Hanks). Unsure at first, still he decides to board the train that is supposed to reach North Pole.  There he meets a little girl (Nona Gaye) who believes in Santa and thinks its the most wonderful experience to go and Billy (Peter Scolari), a little boy who feels lonely and scared.  During the path, they meet have obstacles to get to the final destination to actually witness Santa’s liftoff to start his night long task of delivering gifts.  Its a story of belief, faith and trust.

A movie that amazes me every time because of its values that it tries to carry out.  Even as an adult now, its so crucial to believe and have faith and trust even though it can be hard at times.  Especially when we have something as imaginary as Santa Claus, who appears to accomplish the impossible.  However, this flick attempts to bring this whole idea alive to show that when you believe, thats when you will feel and sense certain things that could fade away.  It shows us that belief can easily be forgotten if we don’t hold on to it.

Aside from that, this one has beautiful animation and a wonderful plot to add to all the characters they introduce.  The majority of the characters don’t have a name and we only know them for the roles they do.  Tom Hanks voices 6 of the characters and does a phenomenal job at it.  He can be a palette of different emotions portrayed on all the characters.  There was a bit of singing and music everywhere which helped lift up the mood.  One word on the director though, he’s also the director of another movie I watched for this Christmas marathon.  Also starring one actor voicing multiple parts in an animation, called Disney’s A Christmas Carol (you can click HERE to see that). He seems particularly skilled at doing Christmas movies and using this one actor multiple parts concept.  Very fun and unique way to arrange the voices of an animation.  Plus the animated characters actually sometimes resemble a bit of the actor voicing them.

One of my favorite characters in this has to be the Conductor of the train.  That character seems to be so insightful.  I’d like to quote a few that I liked:

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” -Conductor, Polar Express

“The thing about trains… it doesn’t matter where they’re going. What matters is deciding to get on.”- Conductor, Polar Express

Was the belief of Santa a part of your childhood?


Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

Merry Christmas to everyone! I’m giving you all a huge virtual hug on this beautiful holiday!

You all have been ever so supportive to me. Awards, comments, likes throughout the last few months and helped my little blog soar and made me feel very awesome! Especially during my Christmas month around here.  I work hard to bring you the best that I can and you all have rewarded me with little gestures.  Honestly, sometimes you all like the posts that I sometimes think will be horrible, for this, I want to give you all happy happy gifts!

For this, I’m going to give you all some nice treats that I’ve found while my many hours spent in front of the computer.  I aim to put smiles on everyone’s face!

First up, I’d like to introduce you to a very awesome piano and cello instrumental music group called The Piano Guys. You do very awesome covers.

Rudolph (with the awesome piano playing technique) with one of the members!

Following, I can’t leave out their other member with his cello and wonderful landscape playing Carol of the Bells!

After some wonderful music, I just heard on the radio that Santa is going to drop by Montreal a bit past 9pm.  How do we know that?

Through a little nifty tool called NORAD Santa Tracker.  You can check it out here: noradsanta.org/en/track.html

Maybe it’ll be useful to get the little ones in bed earlier…maybe for some in other time zones, this is already too late but there is always next year 🙂

I was going to end this off with something that I did, singing and piano.  But I will try to do something for tomorrow…I still have some baking and last minute wrapping of gifts before I need to leave in AN HOUR (picture my eyes bulging out and saying Oh my goodness!) for my boyfriend’s family dinner.



What is Your Elf Name?

I’ve been reading comments from a lot of other bloggers whose asked about their favorite Christmas movie.  Elf has been a lot of people’s favorite Christmas movie.  Today I just read a review by Tyson @ Head In A Vice of Elf.  Mine will be going up on Christmas Day since its the last one I watch.

Meanwhile, I’d like to share this quickly with you.  Its a post I saw shared on my Facebook by my friend, originally posted from a local radio station The Beat 92.5.

What`s Your Elf Name


My elf name is Cookie Plum-Pants.  Whats yours?

Share it with me in the comments! Fun little game, right?

Christmas Marathon: Prep and Landing (2009) + Naughty vs. Nice (2011)

A special one right here.  I don’t own it but I saw that I could stream it online and I’ve been trying to make it work since last Sunday.  On Friday night, it finally worked for 1st and 2nd.  So I will do a double review as they are both TV shorts.  Lets go!

prep and landingPREP AND LANDING

This is a story about Wayne, who has worked on the Prep and Landing elite team for Santa.  Lets explain to you what Prep and Landing elite team is though because you probably don’t know.  They are the elves who go with their little technology to scan and prepare the house for Santa before he lands, then they give him the location as to where to land and voila! Success for Santa and makes each stop zero mistakes.  However, this Christmas, he get a new rookie partner, Lanny because his long awaited promotion was given instead to his partner who he trained.  He gets a bit bitter about it.  During the Prep and Landing mission, he messes up his training for Lanny, who is really clumsy and ends up messing things up on his end and they get discovered and in delay.  With a snow storm raging in the background, they need to find a way to get Santa back to this little boy’s house or else he won’t get any Christmas gifts from Santa.  Lanny ends up teaching Wayne the meaning of Christmas and brings back the spirit he once had when he first started in this team.

This little TV short was made by Disney.  I actually had almost bought it 2 weeks back.  I may actually do that if I find it at a reasonable price.  I did like this movie.  It was a bit like the Arthur Christmas deal of looking at the team behind Santa and how things operate rather than the actual Santa being the big shot and  delivering all the gifts by himself.  Its gives us the somewhat realistic view of how he gets everything done.  How does he know that a house is ready for him: no burning log in the fireplace, exact spot for the gift, no one is awake in the house, no dogs run out and start barking (or attacking), etc.  Well, its because they have the Prep and Landing team to take care of these details and makes his settings perfect for him. I think its a pretty cute short animation.  I enjoyed it quite a bit.


The second movie of Prep and Landing is called Naughty vs. Nice.  We start this time looking at the Coal Team. They are the team responsible for the confirmation of naughty kids and whether they deserve that lump of coal at Christmas.  They also are the ones who actually deliver it to them.  However, we start with one year that they did do that and a little kid wakes up and takes their device called the Fruitcake.  This device controls to the main system data of who is naughty and who is nice.  This makes them send in Wayne and Lanny to take care of it but with one extra elf for additional help.  This elf is called Noel and happens to be Wayne’s strong younger brother, who is also a coal elf.  Of course, they have some family baggage with each other.  When they get there, they meet an evil child disguised and have the whole house set to trap them and get the password to enter into the system to change their name back from naughty to nice list.  In the process of this rescue and getting back the Fruitcake, accidents happen and spins everything out of balance and they need to fix it all up before everyone goes onto the naughty list and they system overloads.

I did enjoy this one also. I’d have to say that it has some nice fun moments.  It is a short so its quick to the point and the story is pretty simple.  I probably gave you more plot than I should have but I’m sure there is still a lot to enjoy even with that.  With the brothers thrown into the mix, they try to put the idea of family and the love for siblings in the picture.  It worked for me at least.  Thats what Christmas is about, right? Being with family and the ones we love and then we throw in a little Santa and the elves magic and whip up this little short flick.

For all (or most) of my Canadian bloggers, if you’d like to stream it, you can do that on watch.ctv.ca.  It should be available throughout Canada.  You just have to search through the Video Library and the Holiday Features and find both of these movies.  Its about 20 minutes for one movie.

Christmas Marathon: Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (2011)

Ice_Age_A_Mammoth_ChristmasMy first reaction to this was WAIT! it was a TV short.  That’s what happens when you don’t have cable or satellite TV.  All I have is my beautiful HD bunny ears.  I upgraded them last year to be able to catch my normal public television broadcasting channels.  They were pretty awesome because now I get a fuzzy NBC and CBS.  And you wonder why I buy all my movies, right?


Cast: Ray Ramano, Queen Latifah, Dennis Leary, John Leguizamo

A Mammoth Christmas is the about Christmas in the Ice Age world.  We start by seeing Manny’s heirloom rock that will lead Santa to know where his family is.  Sid has his wonderful ideas as usual and throws in the idea of decorating a Christmas tree a la Ice Age style with worms as tinsels and fish skeletons as ornaments. In the process, of course he destroys it, as he does to everything else.  Its here that Manny  makes up the idea of Santa’s naughty list and then Peaches (his daughter) overhears that he doesn’t believe in Santa.  With this, Sid goes with Peaches  along with the two possum brothers, Eddie and Crash to go to North Pole to find Santa to take themselves off the naughty list and to prove that Santa exists.  Along the way, we meet Prancer, a flying magical reindeer and the infamous Santa Claus.

This is a TV short so its about 25 mins or so.  Seeing as its a short, it actually does accomplish quite a bit and makes it easy to get into especially when it brings up all the Christmas traditions we know customized to Ice Age.  Even if I’m not a big fan of Ice Age, (and my review on the 4th one proves it.  You can check that out HERE if you’re interested) this one was alright.  It had a nice Christmas spirit going.  I can see how certain Ice Age fans would appreciate it and maybe get some new fans.  Just a nice relaxing kids movie to put in your DVD or Blu-ray or catch on TV to end off your night and get some family time.

I always wonder after How I Train a Dragon Christmas movie and now this one, why I ever pick up these movies.  Its not that they are bad and some times, its actually quite fun and lighthearted watch but still, to spend money on a 20-30 minute Christmas special (that is not a classic) is a bit silly in my book.  However, here they are, sitting in my movie collection.  The things we do, right?

So ICE AGE, do you dig it? Which movie (out of the 4 and this one) do you like? Have you seen this Christmas special?

Christmas Marathon: A Wish for Wings That Work (1991)


A part of my childhood was occupied by Opus and Bill.  This one was first aired on TV. Its one of the few that I haven’t grown to love as much when I grew up, although I did only get a hands on the DVD last year.  I watch it every year though because I think that the voice work is quite good.  Its a bit strange though, so I’m not sure whether Opus was popular.

The movie is quite short at about 30mins for the whole movie.  For those who don’t know, Opus is a penguin who wants to fly.  Its his absolute dream and for Christmas, he decides that its what he wants from Santa the most.  Bill is a cat that Opus rescued from a mad scientist (something like that) and he’s quite bizarre but very loyal to Opus.  He doesn’t really talk but makes random sounds.  We also have a fun cast with a pig called Truffles who thinks he’s a rhinoceros.  We have the Ducks who are like the clowns of the movie.

I can’t really say too much about the plot in case you do see it.  It is a fun movie and I think in particular, kids would enjoy it a lot.  I actually went to check out who did the voices, since I learned that even Robin Williams had a voice in the movie as a kiwi whose wife ran off with an albatross (silly, eh? I know).  That role was short but so hilarious.  Other than that, we have Joe Alsakey who did the voice for a movie I had looked at in Halloween, Casper as one of the three uncles, Stinkie.

Its definitely something that kids would enjoy a lot.  The characters are adorable and the story is really nice.  Opus and Bill has a nice duo dynamic.  I’d say this is a good holiday movie.

Have you ever seen this? Who knew about Opus and Bill before this?

Elves Invasion at the Mall!

Last Sunday, I had went to another mall to do some photo shooting and managed to actually get some shopping in as well.  It was crazy weekend full of people doing Christmas shopping.  I’m just happy that I made it out of there alive.

This mall had very interesting theme.  It was mostly elves decorating.  They even had a little hut with an elf telling stories to little children while Santa was in the next area seeing the rest of the children in line and giving them candy canes and chatting.

Its always nice to see the amount of energy around a mall during Christmas, even though I’m not a huge fan of crowds.

This mall is called Promenades St-Bruno.  Its in a suburban city about 15 minutes drive from my place.  I thought the decor was pretty  neat.  They had frosted trees with little elves all over decorating it.  I especially loved the drooping flowers with little colourful crystal balls hanging down.  Its super cute!

Its a short post today.  Just got back from dragonboat practice and exhausted.  I’ll be back tomorrow with two Christmas marathon movie reviews (hopefully).  This weekend will be busy so I hope to get at least one post in each day.  I’m heading for a day trip crossing over to the States to shop! Apparently, I was made aware of what a Turducken is and I’m down to buy it and try that out! Wonder if its good…anyone know? Please tell me!

In the meantime, hope you enjoy the pictures from last weekend!   I promise you more soon..especially with Weekly Photo Challenge coming up tomorrow.