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Wednesday, December 28 2016 16:45

Netflix: 10 Things to Stream During Winter Break

Netflix Stream TeamThe holiday season is almost behind us, but as we overlap the end of one year and the beginning of another, chances are the kids are on winter break and the drone of "I'm bored" just may be lurking.  It may not be lurking just for the kids, but also for the adults that care for them, and that's why when the time comes to settle in for some visual entertainment, one need look no further than Netflix. As part of my gig for the Netflix #StreamTeam, I'm always on the lookout for some interesting things - not just the obvious, but some "Rock Father Picks" that might be hidden a little deeper in the Netflix library. Here's a little of everything - perfect for streaming on winter break!

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Netflix Stream TeamAs we get ready to turn the page on November and go full-steam-ahead into December, time spent with family will come into clearer focus as the year comes to a close. For many, spending time with family also means catching up with some favorite fictional families, and this past month brought the long-awaited return of the Gilmores, who came to Netflix with Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. In the interest of full-disclosure, despite my gig as a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I've never seen Gilmore Girls, though in one of my past lives, Alexis Bledel's name was at one time thrown around in casting meetings for something I'd written that didn't end up being produced. Weird how things work out. But as fictional families go, one that I'm particularly excited about is back again for new adventures on December 9 when Season Two of Fuller House begins streaming. But have you ever noticed that most on-screen families are comfortingly unusual, and possibly less functionally-dysfunctional than the reality that they mirror? Here's a few interesting family choices that await you on Netflix.... and many of them will now be available whenever you want, online and off...

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Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK is a film that I've had a real connection with this year, having attended its red carpet premiere in Los Angeles, and getting a chance to sit down with Director Jon Favreau and much of the principal cast back in April. Promotional activities aside, it's a fantastic film that I love immensely, and one that I'd been looking forward to sharing with my own family after returning to Illinois. Favreau's direction from a screenplay by Justin Marks was able to hit all the right notes in such a dramatic way that I found myself moved in an unexpected manner. Visually stunning and with a real focus on family, it's one of 2016's best, and audiences certainly agree, propelling it to box office success well-beyond what anyone had predicted. Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, we decided it was time for another movie night in the backyard here at Rock Father HQ, just as we've done with films such as ZOOTOPIA and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS over the all-too-short summer break. Together with some good friends, it was time to turn our backyard into a Jungle...

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One of this year's biggest films is coming home... Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK will be available early on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on August 23, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on August 30 (a 3D Blu-ray will be released later this year - date TBA). In addition to being one of my favorites of 2016 thus far, I was fortunate to have attended it's red carpet premiere and conducted interviews with Director Jon Favreau and much of the cast back in April (see all coverage here). Check out all the features on the in-home release below...

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"I think it's very close to what Rudyard Kipling envisioned, which was an enormous leap in his imagination -- a child literally living with and talking with animals." That's how Sir Ben Kingsley described his first impressions of Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK as he joined a group of 25 writers for some discussion leading into the film's record-breaking recent release. "With all respect to its predecessor in the '60's, that was an animated cartoon child talking to animated cartoons, but this is a little boy, and we are blessed with him. Neel [Sethi] is amazing! What you see is he's with animals, which is wonderful!" In the film, Sir Ben provides the voice of Bagheera, a black panther that helps raise Mowgli, serving somewhat as an overseer after placing the young man-cub in the care of wolves Rashka (voiced by Lupita Nyong'o) and Akela (voiced by Giancarlo Esposito). "I didn't see him as a father figure at all," recalls Sir Ben, "But I did see him in military terms as if I was training a young cadet into how to survive in, in particular circumstances. "

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Friday, April 15 2016 08:00

Film Review: Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK

As I said upon leaving the World Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre, Disney's THE JUNGLE BOOK is an unexpectedly astonishing and beautiful film, not only in terms of visuals, but in terms of content and weight. To say it must be seen on the big screen and in 3D is an undeniable truth, a testament to the technological marvel created under the direction of filmmaker Jon Favreau (ELF, IRON MAN) - a modern digital film that pushes the boundaries of what can be done with photo-realistic CG to new heights, but also retains the feel of an organic, handmade film. Despite my unabashed appreciation for much of Favreau's back catalog, when the film was first announced a few years back, I must admit that I was apprehensive as to how, exactly, it would play out. As a fan of the 1967 original (reviewed here), and as a moviegoer that's sometimes burnt by the overuse of CG, how could it be done? Fortunately, many of these same issues had been considered and addressed early-on in the process, and the end result is wonderful. Could THE JUNGLE BOOK be every bit as good, if not better than the classic that inspired it? I say yes.

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