As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.
As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.

"Strange Magic" casts no spell

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A simple bit advice, handed down to me by my Grandma Lu a long time ago, has stuck with me. Although I should have heeded it more often that I have, thankfully I haven’t made as many missteps as some people in Hollywood have.

I get it, to be able to get a hit, you have to stick your neck out. And if you stick it out there enough times, you will get a smack on the head that will hurt. George Lucas, the mastermind behind "Star Wars" and "American Graffiti," has his bumps and bruises. He also has millions of dollars and lives on a ranch.

"Strange Magic," a music-filled fairy tale animated in perfection, is a prime example that just because you have the ability to make a film, does not mean you should.

The DVD released earlier this week features Evan Rachel Wood as Marianne, who finds love in an unlikely place … the bog, where Alan Cumming voices the Bog King.

My colleague Matt Mueller reviewed the film from Touchstone Pictures – Disney was smart enough not to put the Disney label on this animated tale.

"Did I see a new animated movie called ‘Strange Magic’ last night? Did that actually happen, or did I grind up DVD copies of ‘FernGully’ and ‘Moulin Rouge,’ snort up the resulting powder and go on a mind-boggling 90-minute feverish rock opera pixie nightmare?" Mueller wrote.

I can’t argue with Mueller, that the general audience would have to really watch, really hard to find something enduring in the film.

Maybe I’m too harsh. As the tagline says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does too. If you need to sing along to songs you have heard and see a little love story to feel better about your own life … then, by all means. Love this movie, love yourself, shine above all else. Life is too short to be gloomy all the time.

Sing, dance, love life and give your cash to people who don’t need it.

For those of you that want an honest review, then know an audience that…

Picking the top station in the market isn't as easy as just picking up the remote control.
Picking the top station in the market isn't as easy as just picking up the remote control. (Photo:

Announcing sweeps winners isn't easy

Numbers are what they are. They allow for a way to communicate a level of measurement of something.

At its very core, mass media obsesses over the numbers related to everything. I think it goes back to its engineering roots. In some shops, the numbers has become a full-time job.

The latest numbers are the ratings for the May sweeps, which wrapped up on Wednesday night. As always, the top headlines depend on how these numbers are presented. For the past years of coverage by, the focus has always deferred to sign-on to sign-off. We take the point-of-view of the viewer and the headlines don’t have to fit another PR spin zone, just like when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had to mention WTMJ in the main headline even if the better story was another station winning the 10 p.m. newscast.

Some background

─ The ratings numbers come from Nielsen, a company that focuses on media data gathering and has pretty much bought out every other company that has tried to do the same thing. In-fact, just a few years ago, it purchased Arbitron, which was an older firm that measured radio.

─ Nielsen will only make its numbers available to the stations and clients that pay for them. This has always been a bit of contention in Milwaukee, where The Milwaukee Journal owned the largest newspaper and finalized that with the takeover of the Sentinel, as it owned the two radio stations with WTMJ-AM 620 and WLWK-FM 94.5 The Lake. This was in addition to the now-measured WTMJ-TV Ch. 4, the NBC affiliate in the market.

So, when reporters and columnists at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or at 620 WTMJ wanted to report on the television sweeps periods, the information was available to them by way of WTMJ-TV management.

─  The stations pay for Nielsen to do the ratings. The fees paid by the stations allow the sales staff to share how one show may be performing better than another. Some buyers, at the national levels, may only purchase advertisements on the No. 1 or No. 2 st…

WISN-TV anchor Craig McKee is leaving Milwaukee for Cincinnati.
WISN-TV anchor Craig McKee is leaving Milwaukee for Cincinnati.

McKee out at WISN-TV 12

WISN-TV Ch. 12 announced Monday that evening anchor Craig McKee is headed to Cincinnati. According to Jan Wade, president and general manager, McKee's last day on the air in Milwaukee will be Friday.

McKee, who joined the staff at the ABC affiliate when anchor Toya Washington reduced her hours to spend more time with her family, is eagerly awaited by the team at WCPO-TV.

McKee will join the anchor team of Carol Williams, Tanya O’Rourke, Julie Dolan, Chief Meteorologist Steve Raleigh and Sports Director John Popovich on "9 On Your Side" for weekday newscasts.

It is funny, while traveling across the country, by seeing how so many different stations use channel branding. In Milwaukee, at one time, WTMJ-TV Ch. 4 was "On Your Side."

"We’re getting just the right person to complement an already strong anchor team," Alex Bongiorono, news director at WCPO, said in a statement.

"Craig’s extensive and diverse background from the combat field to the anchor desk brings together a unique style of anchoring and reporting to the Tri-State."

McKee’s first day at WCPO-TV in Cincinnati will be June 8.

"Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy" is a feature-length DVD from Disney Junior.
"Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy" is a feature-length DVD from Disney Junior.

Review: Not all Disney princesses the same

There’s plenty to tend to when you are royalty. Don’t believe it? You’d only have to look as far as Disney Junior’s "Sofia the First."

"Sofia the First: The Curse of Princess Ivy" is a feature-length adventure that ultimately illustrates how unselfishly putting the needs of others before oneself can be truly magical.

It’s like that whole thing when Spock takes on all the radiation unleashed from the clash with Kahn to save the crew in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn." Well, it is like that but without the aliens, radiation, Ricardo Montalban and spaceships.

Sofia learns some hard lessons of people, evil intent and kindness in her third time out in a DVD special of the popular cable television series. To steal from Marvel’s Spider-Man, "With great power, comes great responsibility." Sofia learns this lesson too well when Amber is spying on her and sees that her special Amulet of Avalor lets her communicate with animals. When Amber confronts Sofia, she learns the amulet is magical.

When Sofia has the amulet, she hears the sweet tones of Wayne Brady as Clover, but when the jewelry is missing, Brady is back to his jibberish and pantomime ways that made him successful in "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Amber waits for Sofia to sleep to have her turn with the trinket. Amber tries to summon the Disney Princess Rapunzel, but gets Princess Ivy instead. With a color scheme right out of the Disney villain book of Cruella Deville, Ivy lets her black and white butterflies all over the kingdom like some death plague.

But don’t fret, it isn’t the butterflies we need to be wary of. We should be scared that Mandy Moore reprises her role of Rapunzel, sings her own song and helps Sofia and Amber vanquish the evil Ivy before it is too late.

Seriously, this DVD featuring the special movie event from Disney Junior in November of last year, is a pretty good film. And the princesses in your household will surely be entertained. I poke fun at it only because Tim Gunn of "…