Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Geek Daddy Thanksgiving Giveaway: Win a FREE BIRDS Movie Prize Pack

When I first saw the trailers for the movie Free Birds I rolled my eyes and thought this Turkey-based Thanksgiving gimmick of a movie wasn't going to be very good.  After watching the movie my impression changed as I found it to be a humorous and fun family friendly adventure movie that is great addition to a Thanksgiving weekend's activities.  The adventures of two turkeys who use a secret government time machine to travel back to 1621 in an attempt to sway the Pilgrims to enjoy pizza at the first Thanksgiving dinner thus saving generations of turkeys from a fate of being placed on the dinner table as the main course every fourth Thursday in November.  This animated movie should join A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Planes, Trains &  Automobiles as must see viewing during this holiday.



You can find Free Birds to bring home to watch by shopping at Walmart for its exclusive DVD / plush toy combo that has just been released for the holidays this year.  As a Thanksgiving Treat for our A GEEK DADDY blog readers, we are also giving away a Free Birds DVD / Plush Toy Prize Pack to one lucky individual.  For a chance to win this  movie prize pack you must be a US or Canadian resident over 18 years old and submit one or all of the following entry methods to earn up to 3 entries prior to 11:59 pm EST on Sunday November 30, 2014:

Entry 1:  Follow @Geeky_Dad on Twitter & RT this Tweet
Entry 2:  Leave a comment below telling your funniest Thanksgiving moment

Entry 3: E-mail thegeekdaddy [at] yahoo [dot] com your name and mailing address.  Email subject line should be FREE BIRDS CONTEST

 All valid entries will be assigned a number and one number will be randomly selected to determine the winner.  E-mails will only be used to contact the winner and deleted following the selection of a winner.



About Free Birds

From the Academy Award®-Winning producer of Shrek* comes a hilarious animated adventure about two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who travel back in time in order to keep their species off the Thanksgiving menu. Featuring an all-star voice cast, including Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler, Free Birds is loaded with laughs and stuffed with fun for the whole family!

*Aron Warner, Animated Feature Film, 2001.

 DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but Fox Home Entertainment is responsible for fulfillment and delivery of the prize.  By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion.  If you win this prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Prize will be delivered by UPS or FedEx so no P.O. Boxes are allowed as mailing addresses. A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any financial compensation but did receive a review DVD for the blog and the prize that is being awarded to one of our readers for this contest.  A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this contest as a benefit to our readers. The opinions in this post are my own.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Marvel Provides a First Look at New Darth Vader Comic Book Series

Beginning in February 2015, Marvel Comics will begin publishing a monthly serial titled Darth Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith will be featured in his own ongoing series which begins at the ending of Star Wars: A New Hope ( aka Episode III, aka the original Star Wars movie) and will focus on the war with the Rebel Alliance from the Empire's perspective.

I'd been excited about Marvel Comics new Star Wars series until I recently saw that the first issues were priced at $4.99.  Buying these comics at $5 a pop on a regular basis was a prospect I was having some second thoughts about.  Fortunately, I found out that the issues will be regularly priced at $3.99 which while that is still somewhat pricey it is the current industry average for a comic book.  The reason for the price increase I noticed was that Issue #1 for both the new Star Wars and Darth Vaders series will be 48 pages while subsequent issues will be $3.99 for 32 pages.  For Darth Vader's launch in February it also appears that both Issue #1 and #2 will both be published that month to kick off the title.

Marvel recently announced that the Darth Vader series will be written by Kieron Gillen and its artwork will be by Salvador Larroca.  They also posted for fans the image below along with a gallery of artwork from the Darth Vader series on Marvel.com.  CLICK HERE to view the full gallery.


ISSUE #1 - 48 PGS./Rated T …$4.99
ISSUE #2 - 32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99
On sale in February 2015!

George Lucas Hasn't Retired Just Yet ... New Movie Coming to Theaters January 23, 2015

George Lucas may have handed over the reins to the Star Wars universe to Disney but he hasn't completely retired from the movie business just yet.  A brand new film scripted and produced by Lucas is hitting movie theaters on January 23, 2015.  STRANGE MAGIC is a zany fairy tale of a musical inspired by "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Popular songs from the last six decades will be spun into a tale that features goblins, elves, and fairies embarking on misadventures in a battle to win control of a powerful potion.  Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic is providing the animation and visual effects for a story written by George Lucas with Disney's Touchstone Pictures production company distributing and marketing the movie. 

Check out this trailer for Strange Magic:


This movie appears to be a family focused movie more in the vein of DreamWorks flicks like Shrek and Rise of the Guardians then the format of Disney / Pixar animated movies.  Interestingly, Touchstone Pictures distributes the live action movies created by DreamWorks while 20th Century Fox distributes the animated family focused movies.  With rumors that DreamWorks Studios may be up for sale could this be a test to see how well their animated movie format plays under the Touchstone banner if it were to join the Disney family of companies?

Anyhow if you are looking for a movie to take the kids to go see for a family outing in January you may want to keep this movie on your radar screen.  For more information, visit the movie's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/StrangeMagic

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Little Girls will be Thrilled - Disney bringing Live Action Cinderella Movie to the Silver Screen in March of 2015



Ever since my daughter watched Disney's classic animated movie Cinderella for the first time, she has been totally enamored with this fairy tale princess.  She tells everyone the highlight of her life (all five years of it so far) has been being able to meet Cinderella at DisneyLand.  In fact, when she had the chance to meet Cinderella she proudly showed off the t-shirt she was wearing with the character's portrait vibrantly displayed on it and exclaimed "I'm your biggest fan!"  So you know she's going to be excited when a brand new Cinderella movie sashays into theaters on March 13, 2015.


Cinderella will be directed by Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh (THOR, HAMLET) and star Lily James (DOWNTOWN ABBEY) as Cinderella, Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (BLUE JASMINE, ELIZABETH) as the evil stepmother, Richard Madden (GAME OF THRONES) as Prince Charming and Academy Award nominee Helena Bonham Carter (THE KINGS SPEECH, ALICE IN WONDERLAND) as the fairy godmother.  The movie's producers are promising this live action feature film will bring to life the timeless images from Disney's 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually dazzling spectacle for a whole new generation.

Check out this trailer from the upcoming movie:


You know I'd be the worst dad in the world if I didn't take my little princess to see this new adaption of Cinderella.  After watching the animated Disney version of this fairy tale with my daughter more times then I can count, something new that she'll enjoy is definitely going to be appreciated in our household.  Fortunately from the looks of the trailer this movie appears to be actually a decent film to watch for both the princesses and the parents in the audience.

So the question is will my son want to go along to see the new #Cinderella movie theater?  I'm not sure though he does appear to be plotting something with Anastasia, Drisella and Lady Tremaine?


For more information about the movie, visit movies.disney.com/cinderella/

A Fun Family Game Night Courtesy of Imagine Toys

We've been switching back and forth between having Family Movie Nights and Family Game Nights on Friday evenings.  Starting off the weekend with a focus on some fun quality time together is a nice way to depressurize from the stresses that work, school and the hustle of everyday life can throw at a family throughout the week.  We tried out two new games during our most recent family fun night that were provided courtesy of our friends at IMAGINE TOYS.

 
Imagine Toys is a specialty toy store with a focus on providing quality toys that encourage children to use their imaginations.  They offer unique toys that promote creativity, educational learning, and athletics which normally won't be found at a mass-market store.  They provided A GEEK DADDY Blog with the Ice Age DVD Game and Inching Along board game to enjoy for one of our Family Game Nights.

My kids really enjoy the Ice Age movies so this was a great pick for a game night selection.  You are provided with some really nice playing pieces that depict some of the popular characters from this animated movie series which must be moved across a game board depicting a frozen tundra in search of acorns hidden under the thawing ice...be careful though as your opponents can move around Rudy the T-Rex and if he catches your character it is back to Start for you.  The number of spaces you can move in your quest to grab up all the acorns that are colored the same as your starting spot is determined on how well a player completes on-screen games that are randomly generated by the DVD included with the game.  In addition to the games the DVD also features humorous segments featuring the cast of characters from the Ice Age movies.

The television sequences involve 8 interactive carnival arcades style games of skill and chance that are randomly generated and have various outcomes so that players can't predict how to beat the challenge. Incorporating the dvd aspects into the game provides an extra dimension to its play but doesn't overpower to board game elements and strategy.  So while you aren't turning off the television for the night when it comes to the Ice Age  DVD Game, players aren't focused on the television for the entire game as they also have to focus on things taking place on its tiled board like finding their acorns and avoiding Rudy.





The Ice Age DVD game is for children 5 years and older and is for 2 to 4 players.  This game amused and entertained my 5 year old twins for an hour.  Go nuts with this game during your next family game night!

The next game we played was called Inching Along.  This game was dreamed up by a teacher to help kids learn basic math and measuring skills.  It is aimed for kids in kindergarten through second grade.  My twins are about 2 months into kindergarten and the game was just a little too advanced for them as we started getting into the game play.  I have a feeling they'll be ready to play it closer to the end of the school year which was somewhat disappointing because they really were excited about the artwork for the game board and pieces and interested in using the ruler that comes along with the game...but alas their counting and math skills were just not up to par once we started playing the game. So we put it aside for later on but it is a game we will absolutely be bringing back out of the closet in the future.



Inching Along has a nighttime camping theme and I just have to say again has very impressive artwork and a great game layout.  To get from the start to finish players must pull a card with instructions on it then follow those directions to measure lines and translate those measurements into numbers to know how many spaced for their characters to move forward or backward on the hiking trail.  It is a very original concept that reinforces educational lessons in a fun manner for children.



Both Ice Age DVD Game and Inching Along get A Geek Daddy nod of approval for being fun opportunities to promote creative and educational play.  For more information about Imagine Toys visit www.imaginetoys.com

DISCLAIMER Imagine Toys provided A Geek Daddy Blog with a $50 credit to purchase products from its website to use for a family game night.  There was no obligation to write a positive review about Imagine Toys or the products sold from it.  The opinions in this post are my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Star Wars Command: The Battle of Hoth

Just before the first snow storm of this winter hit our town, A Geek Daddy Blog received a surprise box of goodies from our friends at Hasbro filled with the company's newest line of toys called Star Wars Command for us to play with and test out.  These Star Wars Command toys are like the little green plastic army men of my youth but instead of pretending to fight in World War II you are transported to the Star Wars Universe to play out  your favorite scenes from the franchise's movies or television episodes.  They have themed toy sets ranging from the brand new animated series Star Wars: Rebels (which is my son's favorite tv show) to Empire Strikes Back (which is my favorite movie).


So as the snow started coming down you know my five year old son and I couldn't resist going out in the backyard and recreating the Battle of Hoth.  My son's rebel troopers put up a valiant fight led by Chewbacca and Han Solo but they just were no match against Dad's powerful legion of AT-ATs and snow troopers.  In the end though a mysterious snow ball from outer space knocked out the approaching Geek Daddy armada allowing the rebels to slip away to battle another day.

My son had a blast playing with these toys and I was whisked back to acting like a kid myself for a few moments while we enjoyed playing Star Wars in the snow.  Then it was time for dinner and a return to the real world; but as we were packing up I took a moment to appreciate this moment of father-son fun and bonding that we often don't get enough time for in the everyday hustle and bustle of life.  Next I realized it probably wasn't the best move to play with white colored toys in the snow...we'll be finding a few of these figures after the snow melts.  Fortunately, a number of the rebels including Han Solo, Chewbacca and R2D2 were made of blue, brown and orange colored plastic and easily stood out in the frozen tundra of our patio.

For being small injected plastic molded figurines these Star Wars Command toys have some nice sculpts and detail to them.  Recommended age for these micro-figure battle sets are for children 4 years old and up.



#CommandtheForce with the Star Wars Command battle packs. They come in a variety of sizes ranging in price from $4.99 for a play set that includes 9 figures to $59.99 for the Star Destroyer set that includes a gigantic vehicle that shoots out energy blast balls to devastate your opponent's army.

While we had a great time playing out the Battle of Hoth together, the toy set that my son really wants to get his hands on is the Star Wars: Rebels - Jedi Duel battle pack.  This includes all his favorite characters from the tv show: Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, Sabine Wren, Zeb Orrelios, and C1-1OP "Chopper" plus bad guy The Inquisitor and a few stormtroopers to boot.  Plus it has two vehicles included the PHANTOM space ship and an AT-DP armored walker.  We've decided to hold this battle pack aside for a little while though because it is just too valuable to use as a reward, or bribe, when the need may arise.  My son doesn't know we have this in hand so he'll be thrilled when we eventually give it to him.


For more information about the Star Wars Command toys visit starwars.hasbro.com

DISCLAIMER:  Hasbro provided A GEEK DADDY Blog with complimentary Star Wars Command toys with an approximate retail value of $50.  These toys were provided with no obligation to provide a positive review regarding them.  The views and opinions in this post are my own.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is What GIVING to The Salvation Army Looks Like

Win Fun Prizes While Helping The Salvation Army Make Positive Change for Those in Need by Participating in the #SharetheMostGood Social Media Contest


Three Rochester Michigan area landmarks are joining together this holiday season to help The Salvation Army, a faith-based non-profit organization that helps give hope to people in need, with its 2014 Red Kettle fundraising campaign.  November 12th through December 31, 2014 stop by Meadow Brook Hall, Royal Park Hotel or the Village of Rochester Hills to make a donation to The Salvation Army's Eastern Michigan Division and take a selfie while you are making your gift.  Post your photo on Facebook or Instagram with the caption "This is what GIVING looks like @" tagging the participating venue you are at and including the #ShareTheMostGood hashtag.  Participants will be eligible to win one of three grand prizes:  a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic Meadow Brook Hall, a one-night stay and breakfast for two at the Royal Park Hotel or a $150 gift card to the Village of Rochester Hills.

Specific Contest Details

Participants must post a photo giving to Meadow Brook Hall’s toy drive, purchasing a dessert or a gingerbread brick for $10 at the Royal Park Hotel or donating to a red kettle at the Village of Rochester Hills. Submissions must be photographed at one of the three participating locations and then posted to Facebook or Instagram.

Gingerbread House @ the Royal Park Hotel
The post must include #SharetheMostGood and one of the following tags:
  • @theVillageofRochesterHills
  • @RoyalParkHotel
  • @MeadowBrookHallandGarden

Village of Rochester Hills

One winner from each location will be selected at random and announced via Meadow Brook Hall, Royal Park Hotel and Village of Rochester Hills social media on the following dates:

Wednesday, Jan. 7 – The Village of Rochester Hills
Thursday, Jan. 8 – Royal Park Hotel
Friday, Jan. 9 – Meadow Brook Hall

Meadow Brook Hall
Donations to The Salvation Army assist people throughout the year providing food, shelter, and vital human services to those in need across Metro Detroit and throughout Michigan.  Because Need Knows No Season, The Salvation Army provides support to those in need 365 days a year.

For more information about The Salvation Army's Eastern Michigan District visit www.salmich.org or call 877-SAL-MICH.  A donation to The Salvation Army's 2014 Red Kettle campaign is tax deductible.