Archive for June, 2011

KF Boot Camp at Disney Studios is Closing Fast

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

KF_FilmCritics_218x225.jpgYou have one last chance to sign up your child for our second annual KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Boot Camp taking place July 11-15 on the Disney lot in Burbank, Calif. It’s little more than a week away, and only three slots are open – so act now and click through to register your 8- to 13-year-old for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Boot Camp takes the interest kids naturally have in movies and builds an enriching curriculum that teaches valuable visual literacy skills. Watching the latest Disney film – including the new 3-D versio of the classic The Lion King! – will help them gain broader perspective; the kids will learn why and how movies create the impressions they do. Disney experts will also share information about upcoming 3-D technology, and some of the stars from PROM will meet with the Boot Camp-ers for interviews. Slated movies include Winnie the Pooh, The Lion King 3D, PROM, Phineas and Ferb and the all-new Muppets movie.

Filmmaker and Boot Camp director Janet Davidson, a member of hte Directors Guild, will lead the kids in exploring individual elements of filmmaking, from directing and acting to cinematography, writing and art direction. The campers will liearn to write film reviews and review films on camera – and the reviews will be broadcast nationally. We think you’ll agree that this is truly “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Second ‘Wimpy’ Movie Scores Another Hit

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

DiaryOfAWimpyKidRodrickRules_poster.jpgRecent theatrical release Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is available today from Fox on Blu-ray and DVD for home viewing. The Wimpy series continues to connect with kdis, and KIDS FIRST! film critic Raven Devanney (age 13) – who recently interviewed the movie’s star Zachary Godeon – shares why:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Reviewed by Raven Devanney
(and see her review on video)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules is a fantastic sequel in the Wimpy series. This film is a super fun adaptation from the popular book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I really enjoy that it shows the relationship between Greg and Rodrick, because it shows the ups and downs of being siblings.RavenDevanney.JPG

I especially like the fact that I related to this movie so much. I have a brother, like Greg, and I’m also a middle-schooler. I feel that this film truly captures a lot of the real struggles of middle school life.

My favorite character is Greg Heffley, played by Zachary Gordon, because he gets into so many funny embarrassing situations. I had the privilege to talk with him in a recent interview. His favorite scene is when he and Rodrick run from their coach over the dumpster, because it was so fun to do. This is also my favorite scene because when Rodrick and Greg are pranking all the people and running from their coach at the gas station, they really bond.

This wonderful movie is for everyone because it is funny for an audience of many different age groups.

Overall I give Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules two thumbs up.

Photos: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules poster (top), Raven Devanney (bottom)

‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ Rates a ‘Great’ from KF Film Critic

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

HowlsMovingCastle.jpgHowl’s Moving Castle, from the renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki (who also wrote the screenplay adaptation from the novel of the same name), was nominated for numerous film awards followiong its theatrical release in 2004. Among its wins was Animation of the Year from the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival. The film is presented in July on HDNet KidScene. KIDS FIRST! film critic Sam Connan (age 12) gives us the low-down on it, with high praise:

Howl’s Moving Castle
Reviewed by Sam Connan
(and see his review on video)SamConnan.JPG

I just finished watching Howl’s Moving Castle and I thought it was a wonderful movie. I’ve seen it before and I still think it’s a wonderful movie. It’s about a young girl named Sophie who gets turned into an old woman by the evil Witch of the Waste. She seeks the help of a wizard named Howl, but the problem is that she can’t tell anybody about this curse that she’s under.

There are a lot of references to war in this. Howl is against the war. He doesn’t care what flag the ship is flying or what uniform the soldiers are wearing, he just wants the war to end. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody; he just wants a peaceful resolution.

Hayao Miyazaki is the man who directed and animated this film, and he did an absolutely wonderful job. Each frame is like its own piece of art, and when it’s all strung together, it makes a beautiful movie.

The music is also very good.

I would recommend this for all ages. For littler kids, there are no real scary parts, and there’s a lot of colors and excitement and funny parts. And for older kids and adults, it’s a very interesting plot line.

If I had to characterize this, which would be very hard to do because it’s a very unique kind of movie, I would categorize this in the “great” category. I would put it up with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings – not that it’s anything like them, but it’s just as wonderful as them.

All in all, I would have to give this a three out of three stars, which is a very hard ranking to get.

Photos: Howl’s Moving Castle poster (top), Sam Connan (bottom)

Howl’s Moving Castle is one of many film classics being brought to your home by HDNet Movies, a KIDS FIRST! sponsor. HDNet Movies offers subscribers a premium movie viewing experience in true HD, including the best classics of the 1950s-1970s, favorites from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films. Additionally, HDNet Movies offers kidScene, a morning and Friday night programming block specifically for kids and families. HDNet Movies kidScene can be followed at hdnetmovies.com and via Facebook at facebook.com/HDNetMovies.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available in the U.S. via AT&T U-verse, Charter, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight and Verizon FiOS.

Zachary Gordon Talks with KF Film Critic Raven Devanney

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

ZacharyGordon_WimpyKid_2cropped.jpgThe Not-So-Wimpy Wimpy Star Zachary Gordon
By Raven Devanney

I was given the chance to talk to 13-year-old actor Zachary Gordon, who plays Greg Heffley in both Diary of a Wimpy Kid one and two [2010’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and 2011’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules].

Zachary said his passion for acting provides an escape from the real world and is a fun experience. I was able to relate to him because both of us love acting for the same reasons.

He is able to relate to Greg Heffley because both Zachary and Greg love video games and have older siblings. Zachary has two older brothers and is able to understand Greg’s pain.

Zachary said his favorite scene to work on is the one where he was running away from the coach after playing a prank on him, and he ran over a dumpster. In between takes, he said, he was able to relax in the dumpster of fake “trash.”  RavenDevanney.JPG

He said he read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book and told his mom he wanted to make a movie adaptation of the book before he had even heard about the Wimpy auditions. When he got the part, he was able to use some of his own ideas — which I think is very cool! 

The most difficult scene to prepare for was the talent show because he had to wear a tight body suit, which became very uncomfortable after a while.

Zachary said he has met so many amazing people and his cast has become a family away from home. The kid cast would play games like treasure hunts on set. He is happy say that he has kept in touch with his cast mates and is hoping that there will be more films in the Wimpy series.

This film has been great for Zachary’s career and he is looking forward to new doors opening up!

Photos: Zachary Gordon in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (top), Raven Devanney (bottom)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 21.

From Book to Screen, ‘Judy Moody’ Triumphs

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

JudyMoodyAndTheNotBummerSummer.jpgDuring the lead-up to today’s theatrical release of Relativity Media’s Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, KIDS FIRST! film critic Gabriella Chu enjoyed the rare opportunity of a sit-down chat to interview the movie’s star, Jordana Beatty, and the author who penned the books that the film is based on, Megan McDonald. As a long-time fan of the Judy Moody series, 14-year-old Chu brought a special appreciation to those interviews as well as to the review that follows here.

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer
Reviewed by Gabriella Chu
(also on video)

GabriellaChu_3.jpgGet ready to have an exhilirating ride this summer! The renowned author Megan McDonald has brought her Judy Moody series to life on screen! The movie tells the story of a third-grader named Judy Moody who plans to have the most thrilling summer of her life, until she finds out that her best friends are going away to exotic camps. She is bummed out because she does not think she can have a fun summer without her friends, but she changes her mind when awesome Aunt Opal comes to stay for the summer. She realizes that a fun summer does not always mean going away to foreign places, but instead, imagination is the key. If you’re wondering how wild Judy Moody’s imagination is, go see for yourself!

The acclaimed writer of the Judy Moody series, Megan McDonald, is also the screenwriter of the movie. Her imagination went wild. Aunt Opal and Judy Moody are always thinking of such creative, cool, hilarious and brilliant ways to have fun. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. From scene to scene, the movie is like a rollercoaster ride. It is so much fun and you can never predict what Judy Moody is going to do next. By the time you finish the movie, you don’t even know what passed. She has so many wonderful ideas that you cannot keep track of all of them. Jordana Beatty, who stars as Judy Moody, fits her character’s personality and appearance like a glove. Literally, director John Schultz used the set, wardrobe, animation and bright pops of color to bring Judy Moody’s world to life.

This movie will inspire you to have a magical summer or it may bring back happy childhood memories. It is perfect for all ages. I highly recommend it for you to watch with your entire family, but it is also a fantastic choice to go see with friends.

Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer will be in theaters nationwide on June 10. Don’t miss it!

Photos: Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer poster (top), Gabriella Chu (bottom)
View Gabriella Chu’s interviews with Jordana Beatty and with Megan McDonald.

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