Meet the Robinsons

Disney’s Meet the Robinsons doesn’t start out like a Disney wonder, but it ends that way. If you can make it through the first 3/4 of the movie, you’ll be greatly rewarded (incidentally, I found that “Bridge to Terabithia” was the same way . . . is Disney using a formula here?) The story is spotty at the beginning and not much really makes sense. It reminded me of “Alice in Wonderland” at first the way it shifted from one (as Windows Vista ads would say) “wow” to another but without any real plot development. But just when you think it’s a random remake of Fantasia, a very sweet and human story about dreams and invention comes into focus.

This is a great movie for kids, but also for grown-ups (hmmm I find myself saying that a lot lately). The graphics, of course, are stellarly cool. Watching the spaceship alone is a marvel worth the 10 dollar admission. But there is much to marvel at in this movie. It is so complicated in art and story that it is one I’ll be buying on DVD so my kids can watch it over and over. As they get older they will come to understand it’s message about belongingness and believing in your own dreams. There are a lot of surprises in this one, and they all serve to make you more brave about being human with yourself and others. What does being “human” mean? Hmmm. That’s another blog altogether, but trust me, you’ll get it when you see it.

The movie closes with a quotation from Walt and it is like a perfect espresso after a delightful meal. This is one cartoon that won’t fall by the wayside with “Barnyard” or “Over the Hedge.” While those movies are good, they aren’t great like “Meet the Robinsons.” Did I mention I liked it?

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
-Walt Disney

Postscript 11-23-2010: Re-watching “Meet the Robinsons” with my kids today I noticed the villain when discussing henchman says “not a good Minion.” Interesting that the henchman in two huge blockbusters recently: Despicable Me and Megamind both have a henchman named “Minion.” Coincidence?

The post Meet the Robinsons appeared first on Riley Film Reviews.

Talking Stars #40 – ‘Rom Coms’

Here’s a fun podcast I made with the help of my blog film critics cohorts. It sounds like we made a few new fans of ROM COMS!

Show Notes: What makes a good ROM COM? 4 blog film critics set out to discover the answer.
9AM – Pre show chatter. I will be aim to direct a running time of
50 mins or less.
*Segment One – Intro show and panel

Hosting – Damien of Riley Film Reviews
Darren – Movie Reviews 101
Kira – Film and TV 101
Audrey – 1001 Movies and Beyond
Zoe – Zobo With a Shotgun

*Segment Two – Panel Shares their Film(s) We’ll start with our first
pick and if we have time we’ll try a second. First a quick go around

“What makes a good ROM COM?” Then the reviews.



*Segment Three – Shameless Plugs/Current Projects (Go around)

*Segment Four – Host thanks the panel. Final word from Host then he
says: We are out.

We talked about the possibility of sharing 4 more ROM COMS on a future show.

Talking Stars #40 – ‘Rom Coms’ was published first at Talking Stars.

from Talking Stars

Keep Old Stuff

Keep old Curriculum 2To some this post is stating the obvious: keep your old materials for teaching. With all the “home makeover” shows on today, there is a definite emphasis on minimalism. Feng Shui and Hoarding are also a part of our modern vocabulary but throw all that away and keep old stuff! Remember encyclopedias? I kept a set. I don’t use them often but it’s a teaching opportunity to show the kids what life was like before the internet. We would consult World Book instead of Google. Kids get a sense of history that way. For example, compare the Apollo flight to the moon article in an encyclopedia to a Google search. Kids just don’t know there is a difference.

Keep old Curriculum 3Keep old textbooks that the District tells you to discard. I know so many teachers who regret getting rid of an old math series we used to use. I kept 21 of them! I wish I would have kept the 35 I once had. Another thing these are really good for is independent study. I sometimes get requests for independent study curriculum when kids are going to be out for weeks. When you have an old text, you can work with it and not risk losing the current texts. Of course, kids muct always have the option of taking home the current text per William’s act. These textx are great for small group work and even homework.

Keep old CurriculumMath manipulatives are notorious for being thrown out, as are Science kits. Both are golden to have around. I have noticed, for example, that many of my kids annot tell tradition time as in the hands of a clock. I got a hold of a kindergarten math kit a colleague had kept and I used it to teach time in about three sittings of 3 minutes each. Tis is helpful to all subjects and in all standards. You never know where it will pop up. Not to mention the kids that may think it’s cool to have an analog watch. Keep old stuff, I guarantee you’ll use it, Of course, some stuff must be thrown away. Someone said, it you don’t use it for 2 years, throw it away. I’ll leave that up to you.

The post Keep Old Stuff appeared first on Dynamite Lesson Plan.

Masterminds 3/5 – Funny, quirky odd comedy based on true story

Many times I am wrong about a movie based on its trailer. I thought this would be a battle of “great minds” that presented as a serio-comic SNL type of film. It only partly held my attention then. I discovered it’s much more. It’s the true story of a bank robbing trailer park denizen with ideals much higher than his IQ. Zach Galfinakis was born to play this part. While the movie has some problems, it’s basically an excuse to crack a few beers and laugh it up. It works on that level.

Masterminds“A guard at an armored car company in the Southern U.S. organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history. Based on the October 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery.” -IMDB


Kristen Wiig Kelly
Kate McKinnon Jandice
Zach Galifianakis David Ghantt
Jason Sudeikis Mike McKinney

Directed by

Jared Hess

Written by

Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer

Other Info

Action, Comedy, Crime
Fri 30 Sep 2016 UTC
IMDB Rating: 5.8

Kristen Wiig does a great job in this film as well. They are both comedy heavyweights in my opinion. From the early scenes where they fall in love to where they do the deed and get caught for it, you’ll be laughing every minute. The plot isn’t complicated and the characters really aren’t very believable. It lost points with me because I read it was far afield from the actual story. Artistic license you know? Don’t go in expecting much and I’ll recommend it to anyone.

The post Masterminds 3/5 – Funny, quirky odd comedy based on true story appeared first on Riley Film Reviews.

Talking Stars #39 – ‘Split’

The team discusses this movie that attempts to portray disassociative identity disorder. It’s a discussion film that is for sure.

Basic show outline:


Brief synopsis


First Thoughts (5 Words Review) (Trying Something new building on Kira’s idea last week)

SOFT SPOILER Talk (Because it’s hard to talk about this film without spoilers)



“Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, and must try and escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.” -IMDB


James McAvoy Dennis/Patricia/Hedwig/The Beast/Kevin Wendell Crumb/Barry/Orwell/Jade
Anya Taylor-Joy Casey Cooke
Haley Lu Richardson Claire Benoit
Jessica Sula Marcia

Directed by

M. Night Shyamalan

Written by

M. Night Shyamalan

Other Info

Horror, Thriller


Fri 20 Jan 2017 UTC


IMDB Rating: 7.5

Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy Future horror star?)

Dr Franklin

Other two girls

(Those shouldn’t take long)


James McAvoy characters/performance

Favourite of Kevin’s personalities?

The End Credits Impact?

Marks out of 24 or 5?

Where does this rank in the M Night Films (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water,

Last Airbender, The Happening, After Earth and The Visit).

Talking Stars #39 – ‘Split’ was published first at Talking Stars.

Opportunity Awaits You, Relax and Take it Today

If you don’t grab opportunity, someone richer and smarter will. I tell my students that they can go to college. Many voices in their lives tell them otherwise.

We of education and a measure of success owe it to the youth today to provide them with a vision.

Furthermore, hope for college and a life beyond. In the 1980’s, it was possible to finish high school and start a lifelong career. Since then the factory system along with the assembly line has died. The service jobs are all still there but they don’t pay enough to pay the bills. Uneducated people in the service industry end up renting rooms with other low paid people and the family unit suffers all around.

I have a respect for those in the service industry but it is a lie to tell our young students today that is all they need to have the American life they see on tv and the silver screen. We’re raising dropouts who know the good life as they have perceived it. They don’t understand that a cool sports car is owned by people who have a college degree more than those who deal drugs.

We need to tell them our success stories.

Even if we never lived in a poverty situation, everyone who is educated and thriving in our society has a story. When we tell kids our story, we are fighting against ignorance and propaganda. We are providing a clear light in a hazy grey universe.

Take a ten year old’s mind for instance, I teach this age of child as my job. Ten year olds are immediate creatures. This means, they want the reward now. The further away the reward, the less interested they become. I show them stairs and explain They are on the 4th grade step. Every step is another one closer to their dream. Have them visualize their dream. Nurture their dream with them.

We should never forget that where there is no dream, the people will die.

After all, as great as we think our careers are, would we do them for free? I know I wouldn’t. We need to get kids the buy in that any person would have. If we don’t we will see more and more kids drop out. As I said before, there really is no dream anymore for the uneducated. They may get lucky but I am talking the law of averages. We owe it to them to wake them up. I know it can feel tiring when they don’t respond right away. Strain to do it, you can sleep when they’re older, educated, and successful.

Your thoughts?