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This morning, MGA Entertainment (MGAE) announced that they're launching the world's first-ever unboxing video booth as they celebrate the official release of L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise on September 29 in Hollywood, CA. They've also announced that on the same date they will launch "Unboxed," which they tout as "a new digital content series that gives fans a behind the scenes look at its most popular brands." Coincidentally, UNBOXED is also the name of a digital content series here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine, one that's been running since 2015 (see 55 episodes of UNBOXED on YouTube), featuring toys from a variety of makers, including MGA Entertainment. We'll talk more about that in a minute.

For a character that first hit screens more than 40 years ago, it's interesting to note just how hard it is to get the look of Chewbacca just right. Licensees have now had four decades to work on their Chewie products, yet in certain categories, nailing the proper look of the STAR WARS galaxy's most famous Wookiee is still a real problem. In fairness, any character or creature with full-body hair is challenging to pull-off, but I'd argue that the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon deserves a lot more care than he gets. That said, here's a look at an assortment of different "Chewbacca" costumes that are available for purchase right now. From 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE to 2017's STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, Chewie's had a variety of looks (and we may see a different one in Ron Howard's Untitled Han Solo Movie next year), but most of these look nothing like the Porg's beloved friend. 

I despise Snapchat on many levels, particularly in that it managed to convince millions of people that vertical video is acceptable. This is 100% false, and if video is presented in any format other than landscape (widescreen) or square (like an old tv), that is incorrect. Most folks wouldn't hang their television vertically because tall-and-skinny video is painful to watch. But, in an effort to capture the tainted eyes of those millions, Facebook and Instagram also went vertical via "stories," solidifying their Snapchat clones with filters as well. Why am I ranting about this again, you ask? Because THE DARKNESS has released a new music video for "Southbound Trains," and unfortunately it's done in a snapchat style... which means they've either got black bars on the sides, or have to place multiple vertical images next to each other to fill-out the properly-configured widescreen player. I love THE DARKNESS, but this is just annoying.

Monday, September 25 2017 09:31

"Celebrating David Bowie" Tour Announces 2018 Dates...

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Tribute tours have become big business in recent years, with artists ranging from Michael Jackson to Ronnie James Dio being celebrated in new productions. Celebrating David Bowie is one of the newer ones, and after a series of shows this year, they've announced a Celebrating David Bowie Tour for 2018, with dates announced for Europe and North America. "What might a David Bowie 2018 tour setlist consist of?" That's one of the questions about to be answered as Celebrating David Bowie keeps David's music alive with musicians who worked closely with him throughout his career and other top musicians greatly influenced by him. 

Iconic western bootmaker, Justin® Boot Company, a division of H.H. Brown Shoe Company, has announced a partnership with multi-media superstar, Reba McEntire. The premiere REBA by Justin™ collection launches Holiday 2017 at select retailers nationwide.

As a guy whose earliest years were well-documents on his parents' Super 8mm camera (which I'd later use for "filmmaking" purposes), I will forever hold a place in my heart for Kodak, and as the film company continues to reinvent itself in both film and digital worlds, today comes news of a partnership that will see some vibrant Kodak imagery come back into the toy department this fall.  Cra-Z-Art has entered into a strategic brand licensing agreement with Eastman Kodak Company to produce and distribute puzzles in the U.S. The puzzles will feature beautiful photo imagery and be available in various size piece counts from 100 to 2000. Those puzzles will be Made in the USA.

Modern film marketing has really ruined the element of surprise for the audience. It's important to remember that back in the 80s, you could just show a paw sticking out of gift box and that was the poster for GREMLINS - they didn't have to reveal the awesomeness of the creatures before audiences were in theater seats. Now, audiences are pretty much handed everything, and in the case of BETTER WATCH OUT, the film has a twist that is straight-up presented right there in all of the marketing. In fact, it's built around it, and as a moviegoer, it would've been much cooler to see the change unfold for the first time on-screen. Alas, a new trailer recently arrived for the new holiday film BETTER WATCH OUT (a holiday-comedy horror-hybrid) that's not only probably NSFW (unless you work somewhere cool), and definitely not for kids. It does look fun, though - almost a "Home Alone" for the days we live in. Check this out!

Friday, September 22 2017 10:07

Toy Review: Funko DC Heroes Batman 1966 Action Figures

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When I first heard that Funko would be tackling the 1966 Batman license with a new set of 3.75" action figures, I'd imagined an approach on-par with the Reaction line that they'd worked on with Super7 for awhile. Having only glanced at the pictures in passing, the packaging artwork registered, and again I was thinking that these were going to be in the vintage Kenner style - "5POA" as some call it, with toys designed as they would've been in decades past. I would've dug that on its own, but shame on me for not noticing how detailed the line really is, with super-articulated figures that you have to see for yourself (like me) to truly appreciate. We have a few of these, and I can tell you that this is one cool line.

Friday, September 22 2017 08:20

The Toy Insider's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide is Here!

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Over the past few weeks, the ramp-up to the holiday season has kicked-in, and with that comes speculation on what will be the hottest toys for 2017. Each fall, retailers, experts and speculators alike weigh-in with their hot toy lists, but the two best are ones I'm very partial to: The Toy Insider's Holiday Gift Guide and THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine's Holiday Wish Guide™ (coming soon). As a member of The Toy Insider Parent Panel, for the second year I've contributed a "Rock Father Pick" to their guide, joining my colleagues in highlighting a favorite from the 42 toys featured in the Hot 20, STEM 10 and Tech 12 lists. But that's just the start of things! Beyond those 42 toys, this year's print guide features more than 230 toys from nearly 100 different manufacturers, and an additional 150 toys can be found online, representing more than 130 toy companies in total (you won't find a more comprehensive list). Look for the print guide in the November issue of Family Circle magazine, on newsstands on October 10th. Preview the 42 top picks below!

Each year, it seems that there's a "new" collection of Frank Sinatra holiday music, and for 2017 that tradition continues with ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS, a new compilation from Frank Sinatra Enterprises and Capitol/UMe. Ultimate Christmas features 20 festive and warm holiday classics from Sinatra's Capitol and Reprise catalogs. The new collection also honors the Sinatra Family's holiday traditions with Frank joined by his children, Nancy, Tina and Frank Jr., on three songs. Ultimate Christmas is available now for preorder in CD, digital, and 180-gram 2LP black vinyl editions, as well as a limited 2LP white vinyl edition exclusively offered for preorder on the Sinatra Store and UDiscover Music. The album arrives on October 6.

Wednesday, September 20 2017 23:59

Buyer's Remorse: Samsung Activewash Washer & Dryer

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Writing about consumer products is a large part of what I do here at THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. My opinions are always 100% honest and straightforward, and when something isn't right - I let people know about it. Whether I receive free product for review or pay for it myself, the standards are the same because bad products hurt consumers. I don't like seeing people being taken advantage of, and I'm certainly not going to put up with that myself. American families work hard for their money, and my wife and I are a prime example of that. What's very concerning is how short a lifespan many of our high-dollar purchases have, and frankly, I'm tired of being fleeced. Today I'm going to tell you about the worst purchase I've made in the last year or so - a heavily-advertised (remember those commercials with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell?) Samsung Activewash Washer and Dryer Pair from Best Buy. Our "new" washer and dryer are essentially junk - products whose performance has defeated the reason they were purchased in the first place. It started with that infamous Samsung recall...

Tuesday, September 19 2017 23:49

Get Ready to Play with ABC's THE TOY BOX Season Two!

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This past spring, I had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of ABC's latest competition series, THE TOY BOX. Now, the series is back for a second season in which a new crop of inventors will present their toy concepts to a panel of judges in hopes of making it to the end, in which the grand prize winner will see their toy manufactured by Mattel, to be sold exclusively at Toys "R" Us. For Season Two, THE TOY BOX has been retooled - gone are the "industry mentors," and instead of facing just one panel of kid judges, contestants will face a rotating panel of five kids. The only returning judge from Season One is apparently, Noah Ritter. Like the first season, the episodes will be airing out of numeric order as they work toward the endgame, but for the purpose of my previews, I'll be labeling them by week. Curious what's on-deck for the first two episodes? Here's a preview...

On September 22, RCA will release the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE, and today we've got the official music video for Sia's new track, "Rainbow." Sung by Sia’s character, Songbird Serenade, in the upcoming film (in theaters October 6), the official video for the song was directed by Daniel Askill, featuring Maddie Ziegler, with choreography by Ryan Heffington. Check it out below...

RICK AND MORTY is one of those shows (like GAME OF THRONES, BREAKING BAD, etc.) that people keep telling me that I have to see, yet I just haven't caught an episode of. I know it's big, and I've seen the toys start making their way out to stores, but I'd never seen any of it - not even a preview - until this hit my inbox. I've written much about metal covers of popular themes in the past, but they're generally not officially-sanctioned. This one is. Check out the metal version of the RICK AND MORTY theme song below, created by Jason Suecof from Time + Space and Alex Rudinger. I dig it...

We all knew it was coming, and as I pointed out earlier this month, we know who's largely to blame: Iconic toy retailer Toys "R" Us has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, and will soon take similar steps (CCAA) in Canada. In the later hours of September 18, 2017, Toys "R" Us made it official, voluntarily filing for relief in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, and sharing the news via press release. It's important to note that while this news is serious, companies restructure and emerge from Chapter 11 all the time, though the companies with ownership stake in Toys "R" Us - particularly Bain Capital - leave much to be desired.

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