Rediscovering the True Meaning of Home

March 28th, 2015

From Dreamworks comes a new animated feature, Home with an adorable misfit from another planet who lands on Earth, makes friends with the locals and everyone discovers the true meaning of the word Home. Starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin, this film is filled with music and humor and is perfect for you to share with the younger members of your family. KIDS FIRST! Critics Harmony M. comments, “The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone.” Madeline R. adds, “The message of this film is that family is important and it’s good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them.” See their full reviews and Gerry O’s interviews with cast and crew below.


By Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15

From DreamWorks, comes the delightful film Home. The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone. The film is about an alien species, called the Boov, that invade planet Earth in an attempt to hide from an evil monster called the Gorg. By doing so, the alien race makes themselves at home and relocates all the humans elsewhere. While all the humans are transported, a young girl named Tip gets left behind and later encounters a Boov named Oh. Oh and Tip join together in search of Tip’s mother who got taken away during previous alien invasion. A lot unfolds when Tip’s mother is not the only one who needs saving.

It is very enjoyable and even shocking to hear familiar voices in the film such as Jim Parsons who plays Oh, Rihanna who plays Tip, Steve Martin who plays Captain Smek and Jennifer Lopez who plays Lucy. Jim Parsons is delightful as the voice of Oh. They couldn’t have chosen a better actor for that role. Oh is an overly friendly, silly, trouble-making, outcast, who not only steals the hearts of the audience with his facial expressions and personality, but also with a voice that fits that perfectly. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will be so pleased to see his character, Sheldon in cartoon form. Home is Rihanna’s first role in an animation film. Considering that, her portrayal of the sassy and adventurous Tip are spot on.

I find it very unique that the Boovs change colors depending on their emotion, especially because I have not seen that feature in any other type of film. The dialogue is really funny because the Boovs speak with improper grammar which adds a comedic touch that all ages will love. The futuristic technology shown in the movie is fascinating, it will be especially appealing to the younger crowd.

The film is entertaining to watch and one I would enjoy watching again. Although the film is very good, it’s not good enough to be a new classic or one that will be very memorable in the long run. It is cute, friendly, very funny, has amazing messages and puts you in a good mood.  I recommend this uplifting film to people of all ages, especially between the ages of 5 and 11. Overall, I give the film a 4 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now.

By Madeline R. KIDS FIRST! Critics, Age 10

Home is a new animated family film from Dreamworks.  The screenplay was written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember and he film was directed by Tim Johnson.

I love this movie!  It is a fun, action-packed adventurous movie the whole family can enjoy together.

Home is about an alien named Oh who runs away from his own people, the Boovs who are trying to hide from the Gorg.  He lands on Earth and meets an adorable and feisty girl named Gratuity Tucci, who everyone calls Tip.  Oh and Tip form an unlikely friendship and go on an exciting adventure together to find Lucy, Tip’s mom.

Home features a star studded cast.  Jim Parsons is brilliant as the voice and personality of Oh and Steve Martin is hilarious as the voice of the Captain Smek, the cowardly leader of the Oh’s.   Rihanna plays the fun, yet determined Tip and Jennifer Lopez plays her sweet Mother, Lucy.

As a special bonus, both superstars perform original songs for the film which adds a lot of emotion and drama.  Be sure to listen for Rihanna’s new single “Towards the Sun” and Jennifer Lopez’s new song “Feel the Light”.

The animation is spectacular.  I love how Oh and Tip ride in Tip’s newly “fixed” car powered by multi-flavored slushis.  My favorite scene is when Tip tries to teach Oh jokes to help make him feel better.  She does the “Interrupting Cow” Knock Knock joke. It’s really funny because it takes him a while to get it!

The message of this film is that family is important and it’s good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them. Home is great for families of all ages, especially for families with kids between 4 and 14.  I give Home 5 out of 5 stars. I love it and think you will too!  Home is in theaters nationwide now.

There Came an Echo - Revolutionizing the Game Industry

March 16th, 2015

There Came An Echo (Video Game)
Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

This video game is truly revolutionizing the way you play a game. Instead of typing on a keyboard you say your command. There Came An Echo is the start of a voice command video game era.

The game is about four soldiers. Corrin is a genius and creates one of the most advanced program locks in the world. However he doesn’t know that someone could use it since it is designed for a quantum computer. Miranda is a bounty hunter type of soldier. She does what she can for money. Syll is a master hacker. Grace is a young, intelligent girl who is a rebel at everything she can be at. And then, there is Sam. You lead them and tell them where to go (literally tell them!), where to be and when to fire.

This game has very cool technology and it even works with accents! You can also customize the names of the characters and even the commands. At the moment, in version 1.0.3, you can play a firefight type of map where you battle wave after wave or play the exciting story. I love the fact you can play the entire game without touching your keyboard. However, I learned quickly that my soldiers don’t like when I scream at them and it is best to talk in your normal voice. I also strongly recommend using a headset. There are minor little glitches here and there like in any new game, but overall – what a great experience!

My favorite feature is to be able to change their names and the commands. I can change Miranda to be Yo-Yo if I wish, and also I can change the commands, so instead of “charge” I can say “race!” This lets you have a whole new varity of fun.

This game is rated “T” but has some strong language and, of course – it is a shooter game. So, I give it an age rating of 10 to 18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for wonderful ideas and wonderful technology and for revolutionizing the game industry.

Way to go Iridium Studios – I’m sure we will see many more wonderful things from you and your wonderful founder Jason Wishnov. For more info go to Iridium Studios.

Russell Madness – A Hilarious, Adventurous Film Perfect for Sharing with Younger Kids

March 5th, 2015

RussellMadness.jpgThis film tells the story of Russell, an undersized but big-hearted terrier who dreams of having a family of his own. After running away from his pet story, Russell gets taken in by The Ferraros, a family desperate to revive their grandfather’s pro wrestling arena. That’s when they discover their new pet pooch has incredible wrestling skills and the conflicts evolve from there. Starring John Ratzenberger, Mason Vale Cotton and Crystal the Monkey, this PG rated film is something to share with your kids and grandkids. KIDS FIRST! Critics Gerry O., age 12 comments, “Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.” See his full review and interviews with the cast and crew below.
Russell Madness

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

This film is hilarious, adventurous and much more! It will appeal to kids as well as adults and has a very unique idea. Russell Madness is a perfect family story that will be enjoyed by many. Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.

The story starts when a family moves back to Oregon to take over an old wrestling ring which belonged to the family for a long time. It is a bit run down, but a new generation opens it back up. Then, during a first match, something very interesting happens. A dog named Russell (completely by coincidence) comes into the ring where a big tough and strong wrestler is. What happens next is absolutely unexpected and surprising.

This film is stupendous! Something I really like about it is that Russell’s coach is a monkey named Hunk. And yes, it is a talking monkey, played by a very smart and adorable monkey named Crystal, except for the talking parts of course, which I think is a great and smart idea. The acting is wonderful and the whole film has that perfect amount of cheesiness, cuteness and positivity to make it a wonderful family film. Also, the jokes are original and hilarious.

My favorite scene is about the family’s first encounter with Hunk. Hunk tells them to take in Russell as a family dog and offers to train Russell to be a wrestler. But, his price is many things doing with bananas. It is funny and an important scene in the movie.

I recommend for kids ages 5 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic acting, production, directing, and unbelievable animal training. Don’t miss it when it comes on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital March 10.

Enroll Now for KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camps in Denver, DC, New York City/Brooklyn, Martha’s Vineyard, Santa Fe and Seattle

March 2nd, 2015

Amazon_film_critic_banner.jpgIf you have a 10 to 15-year-old in your life who loves films and dreams of being on the red carpet, KIDS FIRST! has the perfect opportunity. Your tween can participate in the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp during Spring Break spring at Reel Kids in Denver and this summer in New York City/Brooklyn at HITN, Martha’s Vineyard at Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, Santa Fe, NM at Santa Fe Community College, Seattle, WA at B-47 Studios and Silver Spring, MD at Discovery Communications for an experience they will never forget.

Give your child the opportunity to build self confidence and learn more about behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry as they critique the latest films, learn to write reviews, practice interview techniques, improve on-camera skills, visit with industry professionals and are coached by seasoned professionals. All campers will have the opportunity to join the KIDS FIRST! Film Critic team of reporters.

For more information, go to

The Duff - Hilarious, Yet Deep. Worthy Of A Second Viewing

February 25th, 2015

TheDuff.jpgBullying takes all forms in high school. This film shows Mae Whitman as a high school senior whose world is shattered when she learns the student body knows her at “The DUFF” (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier, more popular friends. Despite the words of caution from her favorite teacher, she puts aside the potential distraction of her crush, Toby and enlists Wesley, a slick but charming jock, to help reinvent herself. KIDS FIRST! Critic Harmony M. comments, “Being a high school student myself, I was really surprised at how relatable the movie is, especially to today’s generation of teenagers.” Read her full review below.

The Duff
by Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Critic

The comedic movie, The Duff, is hilarious, relatable and worth watching. The film is about high-school senior Bianca, played by Mae Whitman, who finds out that she is the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her attractive group of friends. Determined to change her DUFF image and impress her crush Toby, she turns to her popular neighbor Wesley Rush, played by Robbie Amell, to give her a complete makeover. Through her journey of transformation, she gains self confidence and shows the school that everybody is a DUFF.

Not only do I enjoy that the movie starts off fast, but I really like that it starts with a cool, graphic newspaper clip that explains high school and the different types of people in high school. Being a high school student myself, I was really surprised at how relatable the movie is, especially to today’s generation of teenagers. It doesn’t just portray the generic, stereotypical high school student that is so outdated. The movie has a lot of familiar celebrity stars that I enjoyed seeing. The performances by Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Allison Janney and Ken Jeong are especially hilarious and very entertaining.

The movie is hilarious, yet deep. Most comedy movies are really funny, yet pointless or lack an overall message. I laughed so often and even shed a tear in a heartfelt scene. The facial expressions are priceless and memorable. I respect this film for being extremely funny while also having a deep, motivational moral lesson and theme. I enjoyed the plot and moral of the story as much the comedy. The movie has a lot of references that are very comical. One example is an episode of the Simpsons that the movie shows. The movie also has really entertaining graphics that make the movie even more unique, some of this include labels and an interactive screen effect.

This film is one I will watch multiple times and tell my friends to watch, yet I do not recommend it as a family movie. The film may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 due to inappropriate language and actions. I definitely recommend the movie for teenagers in high school, especially girls. I recommend the movie to ages between 13 and 18. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. Check it out as it is in theater now.