Author Archives: Scott Malchus

DVD Review: “Monte Carlo”

Things I learned from watching Monte Carlo, now available on DVD, with my 12-year-old daughter:

1. This movie is nothing like The Lizzie McGuire Movie. The film ads for Monte Carlo gave the impression that this is strictly a film about a small town American girl in Europe who looks like a rich heiress and they switch identities, essentially the plot of the Hillary Duff Lizzie movie from 2003. Instead, Selena Gomez’s Grace is small town girl who wants nothing to do with assuming the identity of the bitchy heiress she’s a doppelganger for. She gets roped into the shenanigans by her best friend. Additionally, Grace only continues the charade when she realizes that the heiress is in Monte Carlo to help promote the opening of a school for underprivileged children. Sure, identity theft is a pretty serious offense, but since it’s for a worthy cause, the adults let it slide.

2. Selena Gomez is actually a pretty good actress given the right material. This is the second film of hers I’ve watched in which she’s been out of the shadow of Disney. Her acting on the hit sitcom, Wizards of Waverly Place, can get pretty grating and Gomez’s character is selfish and mean. In Monte Carlo, the young actress is allowed to play naïve and nice, for a change, and she holds her own against more established actors like co-stars, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy.

3. Hey, this movie isn’t just about Gomez’s character. Meester and Cassidy share the same amount of screen time and follow their own story arcs over the course of the film. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t know this from the film’s marketing campaign when it was released in theaters. Instead of promoting this as a romantic comedy about three young women on a trip to Europe, it was aimed squarely at the young Disney crowd. A shame because Meester and Cassidy are two winning actresses and their time on screen is quite appealing. Which leads me to….

4. Leighton Meester is very, very charming and should be given more opportunities to play in romantic comedies. I’m afraid that her role on Gossip Girl may get her pegged as a certain type of character actress. In Monte Carlo, Meester provides a lot of the emotional growth you expect from a character in a movie. Her character, Meg, goes from uptight college student with some emotional issues, to someone you fall in love with by the film’s conclusion.

5. Did you know that Cory Monteith (Glee) is in this film? Neither did I! The guy only stars on one of the most successful pop culture phenomena in the past ten years and he was no where to be found in the TV ads! And this isn’t a case of the young man popping up in a cameo early in the film. Monteith’s Owen plays an integral role in the entire plot involving Cassidy’s Emma. Monteith is sturdy in his performance and makes a cute companion to Cassidy.

6. Andie McDowell still acts. Alright, that last one was a little snarky. I was surprised to see the once leading actress relegated to the “mom” role. She’s such a fine actress, adding much more depth to her few scenes than was probably on the page. I wish she did more acting. Oh wait, she’s in Footloose, isn’t she, playing… the mom. Somebody please write her an intelligent, mature romantic comedy right away.

To wrap this up, Monte Carlo is a safe, fun movie that you can watch with your daughter, whether she’s twelve or fifteen. For me, a dad who’s seeing some of his father/daughter time diminishing as she gets older and her interests don’t include her dad, it was nice that we got to bond over this movie. It’s even nicer that Monte Carlo is delightful and provided enough laughs and emotional moments to occupy an hour and a half.

By the way, I said that I’d get a quote from my daughter for this review. All I could get out of her was, “I liked it. I’d watch that again.” I guess that’s all you need to know.

DVD Review: “Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer”

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is a sweet family movie that is entertaining enough for the little ones, but has enough charm and slapstick humor to keep you parents entertained while watching it with the kids. Based on the Judy Moody book series, by Megan McDonald (she also co-wrote the screenplay), the film isn’t nearly as bad as the national critics let on after its release over the summer. In fact, at home in the comfort of your own living room, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer makes for a pleasant family movie night the next time one of those rolls around in your house.

Young Jordana Beatty takes on the lead role of Judy Moody, and the girl has the right combination of spunk and charisma to carry the whole movie. In the film, it’s the summer after third grade and Judy has great plans for two months of thrills and excitement. She gathers her best friends to lay out her plans, but learns that two of them, Rocky (Garret Strong) and Jessica (Ashley Boettcher) will be gone for the entire season. Rocky is attending circus camp and Jessica will be out of the country with her mom. That leaves Judy to try and figure out an adventure for her and the last of their foursome, Frank (Preston Bailey). She’s not happy. Frank is probably the least exciting of the four and truth be told, it’s kind of obvious that Judy has a crush on Rocky.

Making matters worse, Judy’s parents have to leave town suddenly and her Aunt Opal (Heather Graham), a spacey “artist,” will be taking care her and her little brother, the ever popular Stink (Paris Mosteller). After this quick set up, the movie falls into an episodic pace, with Judy and Frank trying to come up with “thrill points,” i.e. exciting stunts, that will rival the things Rocky and Jessica are doing on their trips. Most of the thrill points backfire (the roller coaster one is particularly gross), leaving Judy to finally take Frank seriously when he talks about searching for Bigfoot. Judy, Frank, Stink and Aunt Opal spend the last half hour speeding around in search of the elusive Yeti.

While not on par with some other family movies available, Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer is still an easy watch, especially if you have children under the age of 10. They’ll be entertained, for sure, and laugh each time Stink opens his mouth. The film was directed with a sure hand by John Schultz, who also helmed the likable Aliens in the Attic. Graham provides stability as the primary adult in the movie and all of the kid actors are quite good. But really, the only performance that matters is Beatty’s. As she has to live up to the imaginations of children who adore the Judy Moody books, she does a great job and really makes the movie fun to watch.

The DVD release comes with the following bonus features: Join The Toad-Pee Club, Flippin’ Out With The Cast, Camryn’s “WAIT AND SEE” Music Video, 10 Things You Need To Know About Judy Moody, Judy Moody’s Guide To Making A Movie, Deleted Scenes and the Theatrical Trailer.

Dadnabbit Contest! “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” on DVD

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment presents the continuation of summer fun and thrill points as JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER, the irresistible family comedy based on the best-selling book series, arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on October 11.

The first film adaptation of the beloved children’s book series, JUDY MOODY AND THE NOT BUMMER SUMMER, by Megan McDonald with illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, is a delightfully, laugh-out-loud hilarious treat for adventure-loving kids, tweens and adults. The film stars newcomer Jordana Beatty (Superman Returns)  as Judy Moody along with Heather Graham (The Hangover), Jaleel White (Psych,Family Matters), Preston Bailey (Dexter) and Parris Mosteller (Worst Week).  John Schultz (Aliens in the Attic) directs from a screenplay by Megan McDonald and Kathy Waugh (Big and Small).

In celebration of the October 11th release of Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, Dadnabbit has 2 DVD’s of the movie available for giveaway. In addition, we have some really neat crafts ideas that you can do with you children. Read to the bottom to find out how you can win!

Judy Moody and her cool Aunt Opal have fun making art from garbage. You too can make cool things from common items you find around your house! If you want to be crafty like Judy and Opal, here is a list of some fun, easy things you can create from items found in your kitchen.

MACARONI JEWLERY

Making jewelry from macaroni is both fun and easy! All you need is some rubbing alcohol, food dye, dry macaroni, some bowls to mix in, and string. Once you’ve mixed the rubbing alcohol and food dye to the color you like, drop the macaroni in and let it soak until you like the hue. Take the macaroni out of the dye, and let it dry, then use yarn or string to make necklaces, bracelets, crowns, and more!

PAINTED TOAST

PLAYDOUGH

Some people might find toast a little dry, but this activity will surely remedy that! All you need is a little milk, some food coloring, a new paintbrush, white bread, and a toaster. Mix a few drops of food coloring with the milk, then use the paintbrush to paint whatever you want (animals, friends, designs, etc.) on the bread. Then simply put the bread in the toaster, and toast it! It’s safe to eat, so you can use it for a sandwich, butter it, or even make colorful French toast!

Everyone remembers Play-doh from when they were a kid, and now you can make your own non-toxic playdough at home! You need flour, warm water, salt, vegetable oil, cream of tartar and food coloring. You can add scented oils if you’d like, to make the different colors smell like different things. All you do is mix all of the ingredients together in a pot over low heat until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pot. Let the playdough cool until it is cold enough to handle, and then enjoy playing with it!

HOMEMADE BUBBLES

Making your own bubble solution and wands is fun for kids of any age. All you need is dishwashing liquid, glycerin, and water. Gently mix the dishwasing liqud, glycerin and water together, then, use common household items (like funnels, fly swatters and cookie cutters) to blow bubbles. This simple recipe can provide hours of fun!

 

KOOL-AID FINGER PAINTS

Finger painting is so much fun, but sometimes finding safe paints for your kids to use is hard. The simple solution? Make your own! Mix flour, Kool-Aid, salt, boiling water and oil together. Then all you have to do is let the mixture cool until it’s safe to finger paint with!

Awesome stuff, huh? Interested in winning a copy? Great, all you have to do is email your name and address to me (Malchus@popdose.com). Two names will be drawn by the 14th and notified. Winners must live in the United States or Canada. Good luck!!