Archive for January, 2011

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp – Save the Date – Summer 2011

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

JanetDavidson.JPGKids love movies. It’s part of their socializing experience. They also love being on-camera and are comfortable there. At the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp — a one-week summer day camp in its second year — we put what they love to good use.

We live in a visual world. Film, whether it’s on the big screen, your TV, the Internet, or even your smart phone, has an influencing factor on kids. At Boot Camp, kids ages 8 to 13 will learn how to look critically at different elements in a film, from directing and acting to cinematography, writing and art direction, and explore how they respond to these different elements while discovering what they mean to the success of the film.

The fun part is when kids learn to perform on camera! They will develop confidence and self esteem — skills that will carry them into the future, even if their goal is nowhere close to being a film critic. We are looking to discover the next Lisa Guerrero or Ryan Seacrest but it may be that we find the next Zac Efron or Dakota Fanning.

Boot Camp Director Janet Davidson brings her 30+ years experience as a director to teach Boot Campers performance skills. “The value of learning to perform in front of a camera is incomparable,” Ms. Davidson comments. “It will carry you in every walk of life.”

Your child may never want to perform in a film or critique a film, but film will be in his or her life. Learning to understanding the dynamics of how a film is appreciated helps develop strong critical thinking, writing and discussion skills. And, what a fun way to spend one week this summer!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp will be held during this summer in Los Angeles, New York City, Santa Fe (N.M.), Denver and Fort Worth (Texas). Register to receive KIDS FIRST! News and/or check the KIDS FIRST! website for more details.

(Photo: Director Janet Davidson)

‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole’

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

LegendOfTheGuardians_1.JPGWarner Bros. has released its Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole on DVD (Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3-D combo packs as well as single-disc DVD). It’s high-flying animated adventure for a family audience, and KIDS FIRST! reviewer Anthony Aranda (8 years old) gives it his two thumbs up as a film that’s “good for children, parents and grandparents.” (Watch his video review below.)

The story is based on the Kathryn Lasky novels Guardians of Ga’Hoole, and follows the adventures of owlet Soren as he discovers his favorite legends are more than just stories and he must bring his heroes back to his world to save the owls’ kingdoms from the Pure Ones. Its storytelling tradition is part of what captivated Aranda, who says, “I loved this story a lot. It was a story from father to son, from generation to generation of owls.”

Visually inspired, the film earned accolades for its spectacular landscapes and thrilling aerial chases (at least one critic put it on par with Avatar). It was directed by Zack Snyder, whose other film credits include 300 and Watchmen, and he imbues Legend with a similar intensity. As Aranda put it, recommending the film for ages five and up, “There are some scary parts in the movie that toddlers might not like.”

Voice talent adds depth to otherwise disappointingly mediocre dialog. Among the big-name stars voicing the characters are Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren (The Queen),  Geoffrey Rush (Academy Award-winner for Shine, but possibly better known more recently for Pirates of the Caribbean), Jim Sturgess (21), Abbie Cornish (TV’s “Robot Chicken”), Hugo Weaving (who voiced Megatron in the Transformers movies) and David Wenham (who previously worked with director Snyder on 300).