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Movie Review: Happy Feet Two



Mike Finkelstein’s body was overloaded today by a severe influx of cuteness when he was surrounded by fluffy baby penguins.  They ran up to him from all sides, hugged him all at once, and then sang him an array of today’s most popular Pop tunes.   He died happy.  Here is his review of “Happy Feet Two”.

PLOT: After the events of HAPPY FEET, Mumble (Elijah Wood) is all grown up and respected in his community.  But it turns out his son, Erik, is having the same problems he did figuring out how he fits in.  When severe ice shifts threaten to wipe out their entire society, it’s up to the father and son pair to save the day and see how important they really are, both in life and to each other, all with the help of a few old friends and a penguin who can fly.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: HAPPY FEET was both a critical and financial success for a number of reasons: it had astounding animation, a meaningful, direct storyline about trying to find your purpose in life, a fantastic voice cast (including the craziness that is Robin Williams) voicing some very memorable characters, and…oh yeah…you were basically surrounded from all sides by ridiculously cute, fluffy penguins that sing and dance!  Obviously, a sequel to such a movie is a no brainer, but while most of the above factors are mimicked successfully, HAPPY FEET TWO suffers from a huge case of sequel overload.

This time around, we have Mumble (Elijah Wood), now a father, trying to connect with his son, Erik.  Erik is having the same problems Mumble had when he was little—he can’t sing or dance, and feels like an outcast.  But as Mumble tries to get close to his son, a massive ice shift comes along and traps all the other penguins, including his wife, Gloria, without any food or water.

That in itself is enough for a movie, but we’re not finished yet…to add to that, as the rescue commences, Mumble has to deal with The Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), a hero penguin who can fly, overshadowing him in Erik’s eyes.  To add to that, Mumble has to save an Elephant Seal that he accidentally almost kills.  To add to THAT, everyone from Ramon to Sven to Lovelace has their own personal issues to deal with!  Oh, wait…I forgot to mention the complete side story of Will and Bill the Krill…but you see where I’m going with this…

Don’t get me wrong…HAPPY FEET TWO has a lot to keep you intact and entertained.  First off, the animation is gorgeous to watch.  George Miller took his time to craft everything meticulously, and it shows.  Also, for the first time in a very long time, the 3D is visually spectacular.  On ice, you felt like you were a part of the landscape.  Under water, whenever the Krill were on screen, right by the ‘camera’, I shrunk back in my seat because I felt like those scaly little things were going to touch me.

As for the characters, from the first frame, your senses are overloaded with cuteness, and you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  There are some great musical numbers (penguins still keeping up with pop culture), every time you see a familiar friend, you smile and laugh (although, most of that has to do with Robin Williams’ ridiculous improv), and Will and Bill were a welcome addition to the group.  While they didn’t really have much to do with any of the characters besides what seemed to be a forced lesson at the end, it was hysterical to listen to Matt Damon scream like a little girl and Brad Pitt say lines like “I’m gonna chew on something that has a FACE!”  You could tell they had a blast recording their parts, and we have fun with them.

But again, we get back to the problem of sequel overload.  Yes, everything was beautiful and cute and entertaining, but by the end of the movie, something was lacking.  We jumped around too often and had too way many strings to tie up, and the focus and message of the first film was nowhere to be found.  Instead, characters upon characters were trying to get their few precious moments of screen time, and we were treated to a number of different lessons about friendship and every little bit helps and the environment.  Sadly, it all just kind of gets lost in each other.

you have no soul, there is no way that you won’t enjoy HAPPY FEET TWO on some level.  The animation and 3D are stunning, and the characters are still just as fun as they were the last time around.  But, just like THE HANGOVER PART TWO, BATMAN AND ROBIN, and countless others before it, there are too many side plots to deal with in one two hour span.

On the other hand, just remember the cute and fluffy overload…


Mike’s LIKES:

1) CUTE FLUFFY PENGUINS: Oh. My. Goodness.  The cuteness level here is enough to take down a MMA fighter.  If you go in here and aren’t feeling all squishy and cuddly within 30 seconds, you have no soul.

2) 3D: I am not a fan of 3D at all, but here, it was damn good.  The images were vivid and came to life right in front of me.  I even jumped back at one point!  Oh, and at the end, my friends and I were having fun trying to pop the bubbles…

2) BILL AND WILL THE KRILL: Yes, it was filler, but some of those lines made me laugh my ass off.  Knowing it was Brad Pitt and Matt Damon voicing them made it even better.  I couldn’t stop imagining Damon screaming like a little girl in the sound booth.

3) ROBIN WILLIAMS: The man is a genius in all realms of acting.  He has some of the best moments as Lovelace and Ramon, and the movie is 20 times better because he is in it.


1) LOST A BIT OF FOCUS: HAPPY FEET has a direct storyline that never falters: Mumble and him finding out who he is.  Here, we are a little more scattered: Erik, Mumble and Erik, Sven, Ramon and Carmen, Will and Bill, global warming, etc.  In other sequels, it would have been a case of overload.  Here, it takes a far back seat to cuteness, visuals, and just being a kid’s movie.

2) POLITICAL STATEMENT?: It didn’t bother me, but I’m very curious if the relationship of Will and Bill the Krill is going to  cause any controversy…Comment below after you see it and let us know what you think!


1) The film will be released along with “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat”, the first of a group of Looney Tunes shorts to be released in front of Warner Bros films.

2) Elizabeth Daily, who voiced Mumble’s son, Erik, is known for playing a number of animated characters, including baby Mumble in HAPPY FEET, Tommy Pickles from “Rugrats”, and Buttercup in “Powerpuff Girls”.


Who Is This Brian Balthazar Guy, Anyway?

Did you see Brian on TV today? Wondering who he is? Here’s much more than you wanted to know. They leave the part out that he loves a well mixed Dark And Stormy, but let’s keep things professional…




You may have seen Brian Balthazar on television this morning, heard him on the radio, or read about some recent developments in the world of media and pop culture. But who the hell is this guy? Brian Balthazar leads a double – triple – okay, maybe quadruple life. Part journalist, actor and comic, he appears on many TV shows as a guest, but is also a developer and creator of several television shows behind the scenes. This when he’s not renovating homes and making snacks for his websites, and

After launching the fourth hour of the Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, he turned his attention to cable television, overseeing the direction and development of several shows on HGTV, including Flip or Flop, Love It Or List It, Christina On The Coast, House Hunters, Hit Properties with Nathan Morris, Flea Market Flip and dozens more.

As a comic he served as the opening act for Russell Brand In New York City and the MTV series Man and Wife featuring hype man Fatman Scoop.  He has performed at The Comic Strip, Caroline’s On Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club and more.Wendy Williams Show Feb 2013

In addition to being a frequent guest on “The Wendy Williams Show,” (he co-hosted several times during Williams’ three week break) and appearing on the “Today” show, where he guest co-hosted with Jenna Hager-Bush,  Brian has frequently been seen co-hosting the syndicated TV gossip show Page Six TV.

Additionally, he was the sideline reporter for HGTV’s Rose Parade Coverage, hosted the HGTV Special I Bought A Famous House, and has appeared on CBS’s The Talk, HLN’s Showbiz Tonight, MSNBC’s Caught On Camera, The Joy Behar Show, and more.

Brian Balthazar Kathie Lee Hoda

An appearance on the fourth hour of the TODAY show with Kathie Lee and Hoda.

He has also been an emcee for many notable events and sponsors, including work as a brand ambassador for Bombay Company, the co-host of the Miss Tennessee and Miss Mississippi USA pageants, and a red carpet host at the Daytime Emmy Awards.

You may also have seen Brian in some viral videos, most notably a recent parody of Bird Box, and a satirical look at House Hunters’ Writers’ Room.

HGTV – House Hunters Writer’s Room from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

 Brian Balthazar Bombay

Appearing in a series of videos for Bombay Company.


Brian has provided analysis, interviews and helped co-host the Tony Awards backstage show. He also followed all the backstage madness at the launch of Fashion Week in New York City while co-hosting the Red Dress Event. He has been a roving reporter for the Dr. Oz show. Earlier in his career he was a features reporter and contributor on NBC, MSNBC, United Airlines In-Flight Entertainment and more.

For A&E network, Brian appeared in an episode of Biography about Jim Carrey. He also provided play by play of some of film’s greatest car chases for a documentary about, well, car chases. (Ask his family and they will tell you: NO one would have expected to see him in a show about cars. We’ll leave it at that.)


Before ‘finding himself’ professionally, Brian was a singer on a ship, a publicist for a trance medium, an insurance customer service rep, waiter, bartender, activities director, substitute teacher, website programmer, pianist at a camp for spoiled children, and college mascot. None of them worked out. Let’s hope this does.

To contact Brian, email

To check out his video clips from NBC, HLN, and MSNBC, click HERE…

And – become his friend on facebook!

For a more extensive listing of his TV appearances visit his IMDB page.

And he’s apparently getting better about Twitter. So he says. He’s @BrianBalthazar.

Thanks for reading POP GOES THE WEEK!

For his TV Appearances, Click on the TV APPEARANCES page.

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POP in the Kitchen! The Perfect Snack and Cocktail Pairings.



POP Goes The Week’s Brian Balthazar is part of the all new Food Network Kitchen App! Cook LIVE alongside Brian as he makes get party food and the drinks that go perfectly with them!

Hey everyone! I’m so excited for this – I was thrilled to be a part of the new app, which is an all new way to cook with your favorite chefs and cooking experts. In the app, you can get the recipe and ingredients and recipe in advance, check the live class schedule, then cook at the very same time as your instructor!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to do a live snack and cocktail pairing, which you can still watch – and cook along with me! Trust me, these all start out as live, which means anything can happen! (I have an adventure with the broiler in one of them!)

Download the app here.

For my recipes, I made a pulled pork toast with queso, sour cream radishes and green onions, along with a smoky mezcal paloma.

Pulled Pork Toasts with Sour Cream, Queso, Radishes and Green onions, garnished with cilantro. The recipe is literally those ingredients stacked onto baguette slices!

In another class, I make lavender honey that gets drizzled right on top of baked brie with herbs, then use that same lavender honey for my own interpretation of a “Bees Knees” cocktail that I call a “Bees Knees Breeze.” I came up with the variation because the original recipe, simply gin, honey and lemon was just TOO strong for me and I found myself always getting plastered!

Check out the gallery of what I made, all available on the FNK app!

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I hope you can check them out, AND all your favorite instructors like Bobby Flay, Giada de Laurentiis and Ree Drummond!



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‘Saved By The Bell’ Cast Reunited For 30th Anniversary – And I’m So Excited



If you think your high school experience feels like ancient history then it won’t bring you any comfort to know that Saved By The Bell debuted 30 years ago!

Back in 1989, Saved By The Bell hit the small screen and quickly became a television staple. Over the course of its four seasons, the sitcom followed Zach Morris and his unique blend of friends as they navigated the tricky waters of high school. Everyone had a favorite Bayside Tiger and the series spawned many memorable scenes…but you are a liar if you didn’t say your favorite scene was where Jessie broke down crying after coming to terms with her caffeine pill addiction while crying out the most iconic line ever, “I’m so excited…I’m so excited…I’m so…scared”


In any event, some of Bayside’s most memorable students reunited over the weekend to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the hit sitcom. Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zach Morris), Tiffany Thiessen (Kelly Kapowski), Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie Spano) all gathered together to hit us right in the nostalgia. Notably missing were Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle) and Dustin Diamond (Screech). Berkley wrote on her Instagram “FRIENDS FOREVER!!!” along with some sweet and fun hashtags. Lopez upped the ante and posted a video recapping the fun time the gang had as they reminisced on the days way back when. WHY WASN’T THIS TELEVISED?!? Many are speculating the reunion to be the beginnings of a reboot or revival but nothing of the sort has yet been confirmed.



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FRIENDS FOREVER #spousestoo!!!❤️❤️❤️#imsoexcited #buddybands #love #friends #family #life #magic

A post shared by Elizabeth Berkley Lauren (@elizberkley) on



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Credit card roulette comin up! #OldSchool

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