October 2009 Archives
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We thought it might be, at first, but then we thought again. IML'ers talk a lot about this on the You Said It pages and have even sent in questions to our Advice section. When you're a tween, you're kind of stuck in the middle of different kinds of entertainment. Much that's aimed at "kids" is still fun for you to watch, and even if you don't plan on watching, you may have to if you've got younger siblings. You might also feel pressure to focus on TV, movies, and music that's aimed at older tweens and teens even though you still like the "little kid" stuff (but are embarrassed to admit it). It's interesting to think about why certain things, especially characters, are seen as too immature. Can you still enjoy something even though the company that produced it has decided to market it most heavily to viewers who are younger than you?
That's why we say, go ahead and enjoy the new "Tinker Bell" movies! Last year, the first film served up a fun and fanciful version of Tink's origin story, introduced us to the fantasy world of Pixie Hollow (clearly the coolest neighborhood in Neverland), and offered a colorful cast of all new fairies. And actress Mae Whitman did a wonderful job with a tough assignment: voicing a character that people have loved for more than 50 years. Maybe you outgrew the princesses long ago (or were never into them in the first place), but these fairies are strong female characters who care about much more than when their prince will come.
Now Tink and her fairy friends are back in a new installment on DVD and Blu-ray, "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure." In the story, our favorite tinker gets an assignment befitting her talents: she's asked to construct the Autumn Scepter to hold the priceless Moonstone, a magical gem that is essential to producing the rare blue fairy dust, which nourishes the all-important Pixie Dust Tree. Got that? No? Well, don't worry, because this is all just an excuse for Tinker Bell to go off on a perilous and exciting adventure, meet some new friends (including a cute firefly named Blaze), and, hopefully, save the day just in the nick of time.
But even the adventure is secondary to the real heart of the movie: Tinker Bell's friendship with Terence, a handsome pixie dust fairy who's clearly crushing on her. This movie is, at its core, the story of two friends who love being together, often get on each other's nerves, occasionally fight, and sometimes need to break up for a while...Just like friends in the real world do. Friendship isn't an easy path to travel, as Tink learns. There are ups and downs, and stops and starts, but in the end true friends always get back together, because they remember the things that brought them together in the first place. Sound familiar?
The DVDs and Blu-ray discs feature some funny extras, including "bloopers" and a music video of Demi Lovato performing the movie's theme song, "Gift of a Friend." Check it out!
We hope you'll tune out the voices that tell you you're "too old for this stuff"...and even if you are, really truly, too old for this stuff, this is a great movie to watch with younger sibs or if you're babysitting.
IML's Rating: A
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- Combo costumes. Like "half devil, half angel." Or "zombie cheerleaders" and "dead prom queens." It's fun and easy to take something familiar and kind of boring, then give it a Halloween twist. Make something unique with an existing costume (a great use for hand-me-downs or borrowed ones) accented with lots of scary, gory stuff like fake blood, fangs, pale makeup, etc. For instance, you could buy a simple fairy costume and be an "Evil Fairy" with just a few extra touches!
- Time machine costumes. Every era has a look, it seems. 20's Flappers, 60's Hippies, 70's Disco Queens, and 80's New Wave/Punkers. These are fun costumes to put together because you can raid a relative's closet or thrift store for all the makings.
- Pun costumes. Play with words and have fun watching people guess what you are! We love the "Cereal Killer" idea one IML'er posted (a cereal box with knives sticking out of it). What can you do with things like "Pig Latin," "Anchorwoman," "Black-Eyed Pea," and "Butterfingers"?
- Black to basics costumes. Dress all in black and you'll be surprised by how you can turn yourself into a background for something simple yet hilarious. One IML'er posted about how she's using an all-black outfit and glow sticks to become a Human Stick Figure. Cover yourself in dryer lint and you're Static Cling. Wrap a fake cobweb around yourself, along with some plastic bugs, and you're a Spider Web. Tape socks all over your body and carry a laundry basket, and you're The Missing Sock Vortex. You get the gist!
For many people, coming up with a costume is too much pressure. Can you still have fun on Halloween if you don't dress up or feel like your costume is kinda lame? Well, that all depends on what this "holiday" means to you. It's something you can decide for yourself. If you see it as a chance to get dressed up, "be" someone (or something) else, and exercise your creative muscles, then that's great. If it's just about having fun with your friends and scoring loads of candy, that's great too. Maybe it's more appealing to you to stay home and hand out candy to younger kids. And in the end...it IS just a holiday that will be over before you know it.
Halloween can also be about helping children in other countries who don't have stuff like clean water, nutrition, health care, and education. Chances are, in the past you've done some collecting at Halloween for UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund. Now, UNICEF (and spokesperson Selena Gomez) has more options for young people to give as well as get, like creating your own "Trick-Or-Treat Online" page to collect donations from friends and family over the Internet, or ideas for hosting a Halloween party fundraiser. For more information, check out Trick-Or-Treat for UNICEF.
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The CD has some moving, broody, romantic songs, especially "Meet Me On The Equinox" by Death Cab For Cutie and "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina. (Actually, "Satellite Heart" is the only song that to us has a truly Bella feel to it, and not just because it's sung by a woman.) Our favorite is Ok Go's "Shooting The Moon," which is more upbeat on the surface but has a sweet, sad undertone to it. What's interesting about this collection of songs is knowing that Stephenie Meyer listens to music while she writes and creates her own "playlists" for the novels, and she lists these on her website. The only band that makes it onto both the soundtrack and Stephenie's "New Moon" playlist is Muse, who she's already talked about as artists who inspire her (and whose awesome "Supermassive Black Hole" provides the backdrop for the "Twilight" movie's baseball scene).
So why, you may ask, are these not the same lists? Well, keep in mind that when a movie soundtrack is put together, a lot of people get their 2 cents. The director, for sure. The producers, probably. Stephenie Meyer, hopefully. And then there's a music coordinator who finds the songs and get the rights to use them. Usually, this person has relationships with other music industry professionals who know that getting on the soundtrack of what's going to be a gigantically huge movie is a major score. So it's pretty political, with lots of trading favors and promises.
The experience of reading a book, or seeing a movie, is specific to each and every person. It's going to be a little different for you than for your best friend, even if you both loved it. For us, none of the songs on this soundtrack really captured how we saw the big moments in "New Moon." But you may feel otherwise. At the very least, you might enjoy this soundtrack for the songs on their own and because it will remind you of the movie once you see it. It might be even more fun to create your own soundtrack with choices that reflect your personal take on the "Twilight" stories.
And if you like to write, too...do you write to music? What artists and songs inspire you the most?
IML's Rating: B+
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In "The Unfinished Angel" (HarperCollins Children's Books), author Sharon Creech lets a real "live" angel do the talking. And what talking he/she does! The first thing you'll notice (and love) about the book is the funny, not-quite-grammatical voice of this unnamed being, who's lived for centuries in an ancient stone tower in a tiny Alpine village. Our angel feels untrained and without a mission, doing what he/she can to help the locals but generally fed up with people, until a young American girl named Zola moves to town with her father. Zola is unique in many ways, including her ability to see and hear the angel...and in the end, inspire the angel to make some extraordinary things happen.
"The Unfinished Angel" will make you giggle and wonder if maybe there's an angel in your neighborhood, "flishing" into the heads of people as they sleep and making things generally okay. We love that this angel has insecurities and pet peeves just like everyone else. Zola's character is so interesting and entertaining, we wish we understood a little more about her and where she's coming from. It actually feels like this book could be longer and the story more involved, especially with such wonderful personalities populating it. But if you're feeling unlucky or just kind of annoyed by life, this is one quick read that will lift your spirits and help you discover the magic in seemingly small acts of kindness.
IML's Rating: B+
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Here's a kinda-sad, kinda-scary factoid: today's kids spend twice as much time indoors as their parents did. Considering your mom and dad didn't have computers, video games, or a thousand TV channels at their disposal, that sounds about right. These things are cool and often valuable additions to our lives, so does it matter if we're not outdoors as much as we could be? According to the National Wildlife Federation, that means we're losing a connection to the natural world that can benefit our minds and bodies as well as school performance and family togetherness.
The NWF wants you to get out of the darn house, so they've teamed with the upcoming feature film "Where the Wild Things Are" to launch Be Out There™, a national campaign to get families and kids to spend daily time outdoors for their health, happiness and well-being. Directed by Spike Jonze and based on Maurice Sendak's classic book, "Where the Wild Things Are" is the story of a young boy who feels misunderstood at home and escapes to the island of the Wild Things. Be Out There™ aims to show kids how they can connect with nature in their neighborhoods, schools, and communities, and view the outdoors as a play space where it's ok to just be - free to imagine, discover, and daydream.
You can visit www.BeOutThere.org to get ideas for outdoor fun, download a National Wildlife Federation "Where The Wild Things Are" poster, and find out how to be part of National Wild Rumpus Day.
Do you think you spend enough time playing outside? What's your favorite outdoor game or activity (that's not a sport)? Tell us, and maybe it'll inspire other IML'ers to create a wild rumpus!
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- Stay current on news about the recent natural disasters on websites like www.unicef.org. Share your knowledge with friends and family. The very least we can all do is be aware of what's happening.
- Donate your own money. Look at what you have saved up. Can you spare $10? Then encourage family members to follow your example and collect "pledges" to create a lump donation to relief efforts (even if it's a small one, more like a glob). Websites like www.unicef.org, www.redcross.org, and www.greatergood.org all collect donations for disaster relief efforts.
- Do something fun with friends that will raise a little money. A lemonade stand, a garage sale, things like that. Make a Saturday out of it and you'll be surprised at what a good time you'll have. Read more of IML's tips for fundraising.
- Find out if your church, temple, or community center is organizing relief efforts and ask how you can help. Someone might be collecting money, clothes, supplies, etc. to send overseas.