James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance. Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.
As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.
He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.
Learn more here.
At SXSW earlier this month, Rian Johnson mentioned that a special "score-only" edition of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was on the way. This weekend it did arrive, hitting as a digital-exclusive via the Movies Anywhere service, and it's only available for a limited time. Playing like a silent film, this presents a unique way to experience the latest chapter of the Star Wars Saga, with John Williams' score taking center stage. To unlock the score-only version of the film, simply sign-up for Movies Anywhere and link your digital retailer account where you purchased your digital copy. They haven't said when this limited time window will expire, but Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is now available on digital and arrives on Blu-ray & 4K on Tuesday, March 27th. Check out a teaser for the score-only version below!
As we continue to fly through 2018, toys with a "surprise" or "reveal" are still proving to be a massive success. With more hitting the shelves each and every month, we're starting to see some new spins on things, and from Zuru Toys comes an action-packed take on the genre: Smashers. With an assortment sent here for review in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father™ HQ, we had a chance to go hands-on with Series One, fully embracing the tagline - "Smash the Ball & Collect 'Em All!" as each new Smash Ball was cracked open to reveal a micro-collectible figure inside. Take a look at the video below to see how the action unfolded...
With the recent news that Toys "R" Us has filed for liquidation in the U.S., there's been much discussion on what the future will hold for toymakers, the ever-changing retail landscape, and most importantly - the 33,000+ jobs currently at stake. While some are trying to craft a save that could keep the Toys "R" Us brand afloat in some manner (such as an investment group led by MGA Entertainment's Issac Larian - just one player in the mix), others are looking to the future by taking pages out of the past. Now things have gotten a little weirder as Ellia Kassoff of Strategic Brands, LLC has entered the fold with a bold claim: "We're going to save the toy industry!" His plan? To resurrect KB Toys.
Last month, while browsing the massive Funko booth at the 115th North American International Toy Fair in New York City, one of my favorite finds was the new line of SNL POP! Vinyl Figures. The first wave will bring forth characters from some classic sketches - from Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg doing "Dick in a Box" to Will Ferrell breaking out some "more cowbell" as Gene Frenkle, there's even Tom Hanks' recent cult icon, David S. Pumpkins. But out of all the characters being brought into plastic for the POP! series, there isn't one that's scene more airtime than Bill Hader's Stefon. Since Hader recently made his return to Saturday Night Live to host for the first time, Stefon returned with him, and that makes this the right time to let you know that if you're a fan, you probably need his POP! These are available for pre-order now via my affiliates at Entertainment Earth, and will be up soon on the official Funko Shop.
At last, the final trailer and poster for Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War have arrived. Tickets for the film, now being released on April 27, also went on-sale, setting a one-day record on Fandango (an affiliate) as the Marvel Cinematic Universe just continues to grow with each additional film. With Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther both having been released in the past six months, audiences are primed for what may go down as the ultimate superhero battle as the Avengers come together with the Guardians of the Galaxy to face-off against the sinister Thanos. See the trailer below!
Unlike most of what I consider to be the "B-list" holidays, St. Patrick's Day is one I don't mind, and one that doesn't get it's due. It's likely because of its unfortunate scheduling, falling between two of the bigger names on the B-list: Valentine's and Easter. It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned that St. Patrick's Day is even stripped of its name in some schools, with "Shamrock Day" of "Clover Day" taking over. All that said, for me this day means corned beef and mint, and when I'm an a hurry, that means The Fast-Food St. Patrick's Day™ is in full-effect. I get a Reuben sandwich from Arby's (they have the meats!) along with a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's. It's extra convenient locally, as the two typically-warring fast-food icons are located next to each other. The video below documents my 2018 pilgrimage, right down to the inexplicable 7-minute wait for my Shamrock Shake. Enjoy!