Archive for September, 2011

Welcome a Wonderful Elephant Named Babar into Your Home

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Babar_BestFriendsForever.jpgSince his first appearance in French children’s literature in 1931 and introduction in English to England and America in 1933, Babar has become a global favorite whose attraction spans cultures and generations. Babar the Classic Series: Best Friends Forever is the latest Babar film, recently released on DVD. KIDS FIRST! film critic Makai Weber Colvin (age 9) gives it her highest rating.

Babar the Classic Series: Best Friends Forever
Reviewed by Makai Weber Colvin

Hi. I’m Makai Weber Colvin for KIDS FIRST! and I’m reviewing the movie Babar. This movie is about an elephant king named Babar. The movie follows Babar as he tells his kids stories about his own childhood.MakaiColvin_180x250.jpg

Each story is told as a chapter and teaches a lesson, for example showing the children how to learn from their mistakes. My favorite scene in the movie is when the old lady, Madame, teaches Babar how to get along in the big city.

The animation is simple and pleasant. I call it “old school” because the style reminds me of an older cartoon style, like it is drawn by hand and not a computer.  The voices in Babar are so friendly, I feel like I am chatting with my own friends.

I think all ages can enjoy this movie, although older teens and tweens might get bored with the chapters and lessons. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.

Photos: Babar the Classic Series: Best Friends Forever poster (top), Makai Weber Colvin (bottom)

Sports Fan or Not, ‘Moneyball’ Scores Big

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Moneyball.jpgWith Columbia Pictures’ Moneyball opening in theaters today, KIDS FIRST! film critic Jonah Menegaz (age 13) scoops a preview for our KIDS FIRST! community. Yes, the movie’s got Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman onscreen, but Menegaz point to the cinematography as also worth paying attention to. Fellow KIDS FIRST! film critics Daniel Menegaz (age 13) and Gabriella Chu (age 14) make it unanimous: Moneyball scores a hit on all counts.

Moneyball
Reviewed by Jonah Menegaz

Moneyball is a great movie, starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as Peter Brand. Together, the two completely recreate how baseball is looked at and how it changed [as to] how the players are picked.MenegazJonah_275x375.jpg

Since I am not a sporty person, I don’t like baseball very much and it kind of bores me, but this movie was fantastic and very interesting. I thought the acting was great and the actors got into their characters, and it kept me wondering what will happen next. I also thought the DP (director of photography) was awesome and how [the movie] displayed shots that set the mood for the scene. I also thought it was really cool how they used real footage from when the game was actually being played.

This movie was rightfully rated PG-13 because of the language — there was often cussing — and I think this movie is great for kids 11 and up. Overall, this is an excellent movie and you should go see it!

Moneyball
Reviewed by Daniel Menegaz

Moneyball is the invigorating true story about the rise of the OaklandMenegazDaniel_275x370.jpg A’s — a baseball team with a tiny budget. Starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, the duo try to re-invent the game of baseball by using a new way of recruiting players. 

The movie was serious at times, but the comic relief is very funny. I thought it was really clever when they used real footage of baseball games in the film, as well as recreating games. The acting was also spot on. Considering I’m not the biggest baseball fan, this movie was actually really good.

I think the age group is about ten and up because, aside from two or three curse words, all of the subject matter was appropriate. Over all, I would give Moneyball 4 out of 5 stars.

Moneyball
Reviewed by Gabriella Chu

If you are a baseball fan, then Moneyball is an inspirational movie for you. It’s about a baseball team manager, Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, who tries his best to repair the Oakland A’s baseball team with his constrained budget. He hires a Yale graduate, Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, who teaches him to use statistics to compare baseball players among each other, instead of the conventional method of following his instincts to decide which players to choose and keep. If you’re wondering whether Beane’s uncommon and distrusted method will help his baseball team win more games, watch the movie to find out!GabriellaChu_3.jpg

I think this movie is inspirational because its messages are very straightforward. The movie shows that sticking to the status quo is not always the best decision you can make, and it’s not money that makes something worthwhile, but it’s the journey that counts. Brad Pitt’s acting is exceptional, and the strong personality and ambition his character possesses emphasizes these messages.

Besides a few well-timed flashbacks, the director made the movie seem more like a book told through visuals, and not so much as a film. In addition, if Peter Brand didn’t exist as a character in the movie, there would be no story to the film.

I recommend this movie to teens 13 and up because there is some cursing, but nothing too serious. Moneyball tells a splendid story, and will be sure to delight baseball fans.  

Photo, top to bottom: Moneyball poster, Jonah Menegaz, Daniel Menegaz, Gabriella Chu 

20-Year Anniversary on KIDS FIRST!’s Evolving Journey

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

KF_BestAwards_forwebsite.jpgTwenty years ago, Ranny Levy brought to life a vision of how to make kids and parents aware of quality videos that were available, and promote the value of media literacy with education and outreach. It’s a vision we celebrate daily now at KIDS FIRST! and share with millions around the world. And this past Saturday, we put it in a more festive milieu with a KIDS FIRST! 20th Anniversary Celebration in the organization’s hometown of Santa Fe, N.M.

To a mixed crowd that included some of KIDS FIRST!’s original supporters (who’ve stayed committed over two decades) as well as others who have joined them on the board of directors over the years, three of the inaugural roster of KIDS FIRST! youth film critics (who put their now-seasoned media skills to work interviewing valued attendees at the evening party – stay tuned for their video of that occasion) and the organization’s dedicated staff, KIDS FIRST! unveiled a short video highlighting milestones and accomplishments of its journey so far … 

Sit back for 10 minutes and enjoy this video scrapbook of “KIDS FIRST! Celebrates 20 Years! – An Overnight Success,” from the first corporate sponsor that got on board (John Hendricks of Discovery Communications) to recent Boot Camp directed by filmmaker Janet Davidson, with fun clips of KIDS FIRST! youth film critics interviewing talent at Disney Studios on the honey-colored carpet for the Winnie the Pooh premiere.

Mixing, mingling and making plans for the next 20 years were:
Ranny Levy, founder and president;
Trustees Nancy Kenney and Jane Peacock;
Board members Ed Greene, Ph.D.; Kimbirly Orr; Jere Rae-Mansfield, of Monterey Media; Jay Reinbold, of Warner Bros.; Margaret Tritch; Harold Weitzberg;
Sponsors Eileen Potrock, of Kenn Viselmann Productions; Gay Dillingham, of Earthstone; Geoffrey Selzer, of Luminous Publishing; Hope Atterbury, of Site Awareness; Katie Gladstone, of HDNet Movies; and Terri Lynn Link, of KidVid Entertainment;
Other key supporter Janet Davidson;
KIDS FIRST! youth  film critics Makai Colvin, Sam Connan and Raven Devanney along with their parents, whose dedication was also valuable in making the program so successful; and
KIDS FIRST! staff Ann Church, Sam Levy, Lauren Longworth, RaeAnne Marsh and Michelle Roybal.

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