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This is exactly the news I was hoping for. After re-launching STAR WARS with the start of a sequel trilogy that began with his 2015 film, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, J.J. Abrams is returning to close-out the trilogy. This morning it was announced by Lucasfilm that Abrams is on-board to write and direct the currently-untitled STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.

Last year, I was very fortunate to be visiting Nintendo of America at their HQ in Redmond, Washington on the very day that the famed NES Classic was released. My oldest daughter and I were able to purchase the sought-after miniature system from the employee store for MSRP - $59.99. As time would soon show us, it was much more difficult (nearly impossible) for members of the general public to get their hands on a system without paying vastly inflated prices thanks to the secondary market. Adding insult to injury, it was announced earlier this year that the system was done, and that it's being followed-up by the SNES Classic, prompting many to believe that a repeat of last year was shaping up - especially after pre-orders for the SNES sold-out in minutes. Today comes news that Nintendo is planning to make things right.

As we speed toward the holiday season, Mattel's Hot Wheels division is on fire. With loads of new product offerings hitting stores, the team at Mattel has revved-up their new "Challenge Accepted" initiative to remind parents (and show new ones) that "Hot Wheels are more than just a toy - they're a tool that helps kids develop life skills." Already knowing that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is at play in the world of Hot Wheels, Challenge Accepted breaks down how skills and traits like problem solving, creativity, sportsmanship and confidence can get a boost from those famous 1:64-scale diecast cars. Check out the new commercial below to see what happens when a mother and son take off for some action in a real-life Redline...

The Rock Father™ is a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam

I was just thinking about how it's been over two years since The Rock Daughters™ and I filmed a video doing some in-home science experiments timed with the debut of Project Mc2 - an Emmy-nominated Netflix Original Series from MGA Entertainment. Time certainly does fly, and that's made clear by what hit my inbox this evening - news that Project Mc2 Part 5 is coming to Netflix on September 15, and that the cast and crew recently threw-down at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, California to unveil the new season alongside some of this fall's new additions to the growing toy line.

Friday, September 08 2017 15:42

Test Drive: Rockin the Road - 2017 Mazda6 GT

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When I really started working with cars on a frequent basis a few years back, Mazda was a nameplate that didn't immediately strike me as interesting. For some reason, the cars of their past were largely stuck in my head - images of the 1980s that I just couldn't shake. But once I had a real chance to experience what Mazda is now, I really became a fan. In fact, I love their CX series - with last year's CX-9 ranking among my favorite vehicles of the year. Now comes a look at the 2017 Mazda6 GT.

Ready to go into the night so you can save the day once more? Well, even if you aren't, I bet your kids are! Here at Rock Father HQ, we're always ready for some fun with PJ Masks, and with that I'm excited to tell you that I will once again be joining The Toy Insider for another #PJMasks Twitter Party! On Friday, September 15, 2017 from 11am-12pm EST we'll be talking about the latest PJ Masks toys from Just Play, many of which are rolling into stores right now - just in-time for Holiday 2017! It's important to note that you must RSVP to be eligible for prizes!

Kid Rock keeps riding that line between Detroit rock and Nashville twang, and on his latest single he's leaning back to that country side. “Tennessee Mountain Top” hits country radio beginning October 2, but the song arrived on digital platforms for sale and streaming today. Check it out in the player below and see what you think - personally, I'm digging it.

I've always been fairly straightforward in admitting my love of the Lexus brand. When it comes to their vehicles, my affection tend to be toward their cars, so when the folks at DriveShop delivered one of their bigger rides to Rock Father HQ on-loan from Lexus USA, I was excited to see what an SUV under the Lexus nameplate had to offer. As the name implies, the 2017 Lexus GX460 Luxury is just that - a luxurious option for some big hauling and power.

Thursday, September 07 2017 09:42

Enter the BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN Sweepstakes!

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"How deep into the darkness will you let Bruce Wayne descend?" That's just one of the questions posited in BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN, the latest chapter from the award-winning studio behind Batman - The Telltale Series. It's a new story in which both Bruce Wayne and Batman will be forced into precarious new roles. The Riddler has returned to terrorize Gotham City, but his gruesome puzzles merely foreshadow an even greater crisis. With the arrival of a ruthless federal agent and the return of a still nascent Joker, Batman must navigate uneasy alliances while Bruce Wayne undertakes a perilous series of deceptions. Now, The Rock Father™ andd EMG have teamed-up to hail this new game with a sweepstakes in which you could win big with a tricked-out new Alienware PC, or STEAM Codes for BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN. Will you take a chance?

As we fast-approach the holiday season, more news is rolling in on 2017's fresh batch of seasonal cheer, and one big piece is the debut of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You. Based on Mariah's 1994 song and the book that it inspired, All I Want for Christmas is You is an all-new animated feature  that follows little Mariah as she chases her dream of having a puppy of her very own, making her ultimate wish for Christmas come true. The film comes home for the holidays on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and On Demand on November 14, 2017 from Universal 1440 Entertainment. Check out the first trailer below!

Microsoft Education Workshop's STEM Saturdays are part of a Microsoft initiative to host a range of free hands-on educational programs through the Microsoft Store. Today it was revealed that Mattel's iconic Hot Wheels brand will be a part of the program, with Hot Wheels getting "hacked" as participants get to learn about forces in motion. The program begins September 9, 2017, and runs every Saturday through the end of the month.  

Thursday, September 07 2017 07:57

Watch: POWERMAN 5000 - "Sid Vicious in a Dress"

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I had a chance to catch POWERMAN 5000 live last year at a small club here in Illinois, and let me tell you - they put on just as electrifying a show now as they did nearly two decades ago as "When Worlds Collide" was blowing up the radio. The lineup has evolved, but the magic is still there, and on October 27 the band will unleash their latest album, NEW WAVE. This week brings us the first single and video from the new record, with "Sid Vicious in a Dress" streaming below. Beware there is some NSFW imagery there, particularly a moment with a baseball bat - something I tend to be familiar with. Crank it up!

[Updated 9/18/2017 - 11pm CST - Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection]

There's a big problem at Geoffrey's house, and if you follow the toy industry or the retail sector in general, then you've no doubt seen it coming for years. Retail is a challenging space to begin with, and when you look at specialty retail, the landscape gets even bumpier. When it comes to toys, there's only one major toy store left in the United States, and that's New Jersey-based Toys "R" Us. While they've had their share of issues over the years, one thing that's really bothered me has been the involvement of Bain Capital Partners since 2005, at which time they, along with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust took part in a leveraged buyout of of the iconic toy retailer. There's a lineage here in which Bain Capital has notoriously taken successful companies, saddled them with debt, and eventually flushed them down the toilet, all while the "partners" make out like bandits. One such victim was KB Toys, who Bain targeted as a profitable business with over $1.4B of annual sales. Strapped with debt, bankruptcy followed, and eventually KB was dead. History has been known to repeat itself, and it looks like Toys "R" Us could be the next victim. After all, Bain is playing the same game right now with another retailer - Gymboree, who was acquired in 2010 and filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

I gotta say - I wasn't sure if I should file this one under "Toys & Games" or "Family Music," and the reason is that it's both. On the surface we have an announcement that Baconstein is coming - a "plush posable action figure" that will become available this Friday. But then we have the fact that Baconstein is the nemesis of Gustafer Yellowgold, who has a new record coming out... also this Friday. Check out a commercial for this delicious-looking figure below...

Wednesday, September 06 2017 10:57

Michael Jackson SCREAM Arrives in-time for Halloween...

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I often cite that the first record I distinctly recall asking my parents to buy me was Michael Jackson's THRILLER. I still have my well-worn vinyl album from 1982, and while I've played Jackson's works for The Rock Daughters since birth, it's really been over the course of just the past few months that they've really started to enjoy them. Now, with the Halloween season soon to be here, Epic/Legacy Recordings in collaboration with The Estate of Michael Jackson, will release Michael Jackson SCREAM, a collection of hits inspired by Michael's love for season, available beginning September 29, 2017.

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