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Oh, do I know that look... the one around 22-seconds into the "Official Origin Trailer" for Warner Bros.' forthcoming Wonder Woman. It's the look of a little girl with a certain streak... a little bit mischievous, and certainly adventurous. Wonder Woman is en route to theaters on June 2, and it's already secured a spot on our most-anticipated list here at Rock Father HQ - an entry in what's shaping up to be a massive year at the movies. Check this out...

Last month at New York Toy Fair, countless toymakers rolled-out a preview of what's in-store for the rest of 2017 and beyond. Among the toys that we're most interested in here at Rock Father HQ are those in the new Vampirina collection by Just Play. On the surface, the ingredients for success are there in that it's the latest Disney Junior series from Doc McStuffins creator, Chris Nee, based on the hit Vampirina Ballerina books by Anne Marie Pace. For Disney, the characters have been updated with a look more in-line with what preschoolers and elementary-aged kids have come to expect. While I think that my girls are gonna be all over this, I see so much potential -- this coming from a guy that's Halloween-obsessed, and has written stories about supernatural beings a time (or two) in the past. With a storyline following an immigrant family (of vampires, no less) that has moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania, there's some topical issues at hand (new kid in town, dealing with differences, etc.), but on the toy front, what's coming is just so cool...

Thursday, March 09 2017 11:00

Music Video Debut: Red Yarn - "Mockingbird"

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When it comes to family music, one of the most unique artists in the genre comes to us from Portland. Red Yarn has been spinning his sonic tale for a few years now, blending his vibrant brand of folk-infused Americana with a live show that features puppetry and storytelling. Now, with the release of his latest album, Born in the Deep Woods, Red Yarn completes his Deep Woods Trilogy, "an epic song cycle exploring the roots and branches of American folk music." Today, I'm happy to share the new video for "Mockingbird," a beautiful clip that includes Red Yarn rocking out with his 3-year-old son. I dig it, and think you will too. Check it out!

Last month, while the folks at Mazda USA were in Southern California doing an unveiling of some of their upcoming rides for 2017, I was here in Northern Illinois enjoying one of their most recent releases - the 2016.5 Mazda CX-5 GT AWD. Now, I think a lot of readers might not be familiar with a mid-model-year update, as it's far less common these days as it used to be. Quite simply, the CX-5 received some updates to carry the '16 into '17, and hence the 2016.5 moniker. Thanks to the unseasonably warm temperatures and some suburbs-to-city adventures I had planned (the Nintendo Switch launch, for one), I was able to spend a solid week with the car, giving it a hands-on evaluation in several conditions. More importantly, I got some real family time in this one, using one of its Mazda siblings (and one of my favorite cars of the past year) for some comparison... the CX-9.

When it comes to imaginative play, my friends at The Step2 Company are always on top of the game in coming up with new ways to expand the horizons of children. For 2017, one of the most unique new offerings is the All Around Playtime Patio with Canopy™, a new style of kid's playhouse that's wheelchair accessible, and exceptionally spacious in combining multiple play options into one affordable package. To celebrate the coming of warmer weather and getting kids back outside, The Rock Father™ and Step2 have teamed-up once again, and we're giving you the chance to win one of these for your yard! It's Made in the USA (Ohio!) of US and imported parts. Check it out...

Presented in collaboration with Life of Dad and The Walt Disney Company.

Not long into the first act of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Moana, there’s a scene where the young Polynesian princess (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho) flat-out disobeys her father. As the leader of the island of Motunui, Chief Tui Waialiki (Temuera Morrison) maintains a firm, yet humble demeanor - looking after the care of his people, though nothing is more important to him than the well-being of his daughter.

It's another big year for the TRANSFORMERS franchise, with Transformers: The Last Knight heading to theaters this summer, and plenty of small-screen animated adventures yet to come. On the toy front, New York Toy Fair presented a host of new characters, but the reveals keep coming. At the Australian Toy Fair, Hasbro unleashed a first-look at their Transformers Generations Titans Return Misfire and Slugslinger, part of the Fall 2017 deluxe assortment. Take a look at the gallery below!

Monday, March 06 2017 22:34

Music Video: The Bunny The Bear - "I Am Free"

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I've been writing about The Bunny The Bear for ages - so long that some of the writings were lost on sites that pre-date this one, though my first mention of the band here as "The Rock Father" dates back to 2011. One thing that particularly resonates (and is always reinforced thanks to social media) is that TBTB frontman Matthew Tybor became a "Rock Father" himself at almost the same time that I did - his son and my oldest daughter being the same age. In those years there has been some personal struggle, and for Tybor, the situation has at points been more dire. Those life experiences have shaped the band's latest album, The Way We Rust, and the new single, "I Am Free," is a prime example. Check out the new video and some background below...

Monday, March 06 2017 21:29

Preview - Star Wars Rebels "Double Agent Droid"

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This Saturday, the crew of the Ghost have a new issue at hand when Chopper and AP-5 team up to infiltrate an Imperial station to steal needed codes. Thing is, an Imperial specialist turns the droids against the crew to cause chaos, and that's not good. Check out this preview of "Double Agent Droid," the next all-new episode of Star Wars Rebels, airing this SATURDAY, MARCH 11 (8:30 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney XD.

As spring approaches, it's not too early to be thinking ahead to late summer - the heart of BBQ season. As those backyard parties really start to get going, looming in the distance is a really big one - and it's turning the "backyard BBQ party" into a full-blown traveling comedy and music festival.  Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy have teamed up to create RFD-TV presents Jeff & Larry’s Backyard BBQ Festivalcoming to multiple cities this summer, promoted exclusively by Live Nation. 

What a month for award show screw-ups, right? Not a month prior to the massive mess that closed out this year's Academy Awards, a technical problem managed to botch what should've been (and to an extent, still was) an explosive performance by Metallica with Lady Gaga. While a fan tried fixing the audio using another live recording of "Moth Into Flame" to replace James Hetfield's missing vocals (since scrubbed from most of the internet), today we have the real deal, thanks to newly-released dress rehearsal footage. Yes, it's always awkward to hear the canned "crowd noise" that bookends these things - especially devoid of audience - but I think this performance is entertaining, and it sounds great when heard as it should've been during the 59th Annual Grammy Awards last month. Check this out...

When it comes to "unboxings," I usually don't post them if it's not myself or The Rock Daughters™ doing the unboxing and reviewing. Exceptions are to be made, and this is one of those - just because the toys in question are just pretty cool. Here we have the team from DC Collectibles doing an unboxing via Facebook Live of two new sets - the Batman: The Animated Series "Expressions Pack," and the DC Rebirth Justice League DC Icons 7-pack set. Check out the video below...

Nothing at all against Emily Blunt (she's lovely and married to Jim Halpert John Krasinski), but I thought I had Mary Poppins cast perfectly back in December of 2015. My choice: Star Wars' Daisy Ridley.  Alas, my choice was overruled by the powers that be, and Mary Poppins Returns has come to life under the direction of Rob Marshall with Blunt in the title role, alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. Today we've got the first photo of Ms. Blunt as Ms. Poppins. Take a look!

Star Wars Rebels is truly some fantastic storytelling, and a series that our whole family enjoys watching together each week. That said, I was excited when the news hit my inbox that production is underway on the fourth season of the acclaimed animated series from Lucasfilm. The fourth season is scheduled to premiere on Disney XD later this year continuing the thrilling and inspiring galactic adventures of the Ghost crew.

Growing up, the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was the big hook for me in terms of gaming, and a system that began a long history with the famed brand. From there, I had the Super Nintendo (SNES), Virtual Boy (first-day buyer, sadly), Game Boy Color, N64, GameCube and Wii. While we skipped the WiiU, The Rock Daughters™ have the 3DS XL and there's an NES Classic here in my office. With the latter two in mind, something I've mentioned before (most recently, here) really applies -  the trip I took with our oldest daughter last November to Nintendo's North American Headquarters in Redmond, Washington, has created another pair of lifelong fans. Addie spreads the Nintendo gospel daily, and little sister follows-suit. While we were able to see a short preview of the Nintendo Switch when we were visiting Nintendo HQ, we didn't get to go hands-on... something that changed recently as I headed into Chicago proper for a preview event ahead of the official launch. With the next chapter of Nintendo's legacy about to begin, here's some thoughts after experiencing the Nintendo Switch for myself. It should be noted that these are first impressions based on a few hours of play, as I have not received a review unit to thoroughly evaluate here at HQ