Archive for November, 2012

‘Skyfall’ Takes James Bond to New Heights

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Skyfall.jpgJames Bond audiences span the generations, so it’s a little strange to be faced with him being considered “too old” to be out in the field as a secret agent. Yet it doesn’t seem to diminish the charm and attraction of the character. KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Victoria Burns reviews Skyfall and thinks “this is one of the best” – and this 14-year-old has seen all of the James Bond movies.

It’s actually the villain who comes in for Victoria’s greatest praise. Javier Bardem, she says, plays the villain so well, “it’s just like he is him … I don’t know what he’s like outside that character, but I will forever remember him as Silva, that awesome villain – who should win an Oscar.”

The movie is directed by Sam Mendes, who did win an Oscar – as director of American Beauty, in 2000.

Skyfall
Reviewed by Victoria Burns
(See her full review on video.)

I recently watched Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, and it was amazing. I pride myself on being a fan of all James Bond movies – I’ve even seen them all – and I, personally, think this one is the best.

I really, really like the villain. That might sound a little weird, but as I explain, you’ll see why.

James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, has a new villain who is coming for M, played by (Dame) Judi Dench. For some reason, he just really wants to get revenge on M. He keeps hacking on her computer and sending her a message that says, “Think on your sins.” And that’s very confusing, because she doesn’t know what he’s trying to get her for.

On top of that, James Bond is being told that he’s too old to continue field work and M is being told that she’s too old to continue being head of MI6. Through the whole movie, James Bond has to find out why the new villain, Silva, played by Javier Bardem, is trying to kill M and get back at her.

This villain is no ordinary villain. He is incredibly smart, and he is an ex-agent of MI6, and he and M have some strange history. It’s really crazy, and you’ll find out if you see the movie.

Javier Bardem plays the best role. I’d never seen him act before, and he is just amazing. He plays that villain so well, it’s just like he is him. He engulfs that character; he becomes that character. I don’t know what he’s like outside that character, but I will forever remember him as Silva, that awesome villain – who should win an Oscar. (Just putting that out there.)

This movie is great. It causes James Bond to think back on his family, which he has problems with because, as we know, his family was killed. Skyfall is the place where his home is, and where most of the action goes down.

This movie is great. You should go see it. But I would only recommend it for ages 13 and up because there is some sexual content and there is a lot of violence. And that might not be suitable for younger ages. And it’s long, and you might not understand what’s going on if you don’t have a good understanding of countries and war and elements like that.

I give it five out of five stars because James Bond movies are the best. And I can’t wait for the next one to come out. I love how these movies always give you a sense that there’s going to be another one coming up, because you always want more and they continue to give you more. I love the James Bond movies because of that reason.

There was a new song specially written for this movie. It’s performed by Adele, and it’s called “Skyfall.” I love how, in the intro, it’s playing – in the long intro is this song playing. And the song is the title of the movie, and the song is amazing. I love Adele. And it perfectly goes with the storyline.

‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Scores Big

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

WreckItRalph_withMorgan.jpgOut of the video game and into … well, not real real life, but the big screen version of it. And gaining a huge following with non-gamers and gamers alike. The story, explains KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda, “… is all about a guy named Wreck-It Ralph who is tired of being a bad guy so he leaves his game to win a meda so, for once, he can be the hero.” The 10-year-old, who has been a KIDS FIRST! film critic for two years, notes he has seen a lot of movies and this one “is the best movie I have ever seen.” Raves echo from fellow KIDS FIRST! film critics: Raven Devanney, age 15, says, “It’s so original and funny!” Morgan Bertsch, age 8, says, “Everyone will find somone they can relate to …” And Cheyenne Nguyen, age 9, says, “… you feel like you are traveling with these characters and they are alive with feelings.”

Wreck-It Ralph
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See her full review on video.)

Wreck-It Ralph is a great Disney movie, with arcade games Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush and Game Central Station.

This is an animated movie about Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), who is one of the most famous bad guys in the arcade game. Ralph is very sensitive and is tired of being left out because he plays a bad guy. One day, Ralph goes “turbo,” escapes from his own game and wanders into other arcade games to gain hero status.

Fix-It Felix has to go find Ralph to get him back to the right game or else the owner will unplug their game machine. Fix-It Felix teams up with Hero’s Duty Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) to find Ralph. They go through 8-bit arcade games from the ’80s and ’90s to find Ralph. This is when we get to see old characters like Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario and Sugar Rush’s Vanellope.

All the famous arcade games characters come alive in this movie. The storyline connects all the characters so well. Watching this movie makes you feel like you are traveling with these characters and they are alive with feelings.

The special effects in this movie are out of this earth. They have almost 190 unique characters in all the game worlds. And Ralph is the character that pulls all the different game worlds together. It’s amazing to see the difference from the games in the ’80s to the current games. The 3-D really puts the characters right in front of your face like you are playing at the arcade.

The music in this movie ranges from the ’80s, with Kool and the Gang, to current pop stars like Rihanna. This is a big range of music.

The message in this movie is, become whatever you want to be just because you really want it. Ralph was programmed to be a bad guy, but he feels that he can be a good person, too, and this pushes him to go for what he wants.

My favorite character is Vanellope Von Schweetz. Her attitude makes her very funny and spunky.
 
I rank this movie five out of five stars.  

I give this an age range of 5 and up.

Wreck-It Ralph 
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch

(See her full review on video.)

KIDS FIRST! brings you the newest Disney animated movie, Wreck-It Ralph.

With names like John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla and Mindy Kaling, the expectations for this movie are high. They are definitely met.

The animation is done in 3-D and brings the action to life. It is very detailed, colorful and original. The characters are amazing. There are new ones and old favorites you will be sure to recognize. This is gamer heaven.

Every gamer dreams of the day they can actually be in the game they are playing, and this movie tries to make that a reality. We get to see what goes on inside video games and what they do when you are not playing them.

Ralph decides he is tired of being the bad guy and wants to be the hero. All he wants is a medal to make everyone love him. This proves to be easy — but keeping it is a challenge when a small girl decides she wants it more. Ralph is not getting it back until he helps her. This adventure has spectacular reach-out-and-touch scenery and awakens all your senses.

Sugar Rush is an amazing candy land that had every kind imaginable. Even the cars are made of candy. There are mysteries and a big race at stake. Warning: You will crave candy, so be sure to have some on hand. King Candy, Sour Bill, Vanellope and all the racers are fantastic.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Calhoun and her gang are on a bug hunt. You do not want these bugs in your house. She comes with her own great adventure.

Fix-It Felix and his golden hammer are on the hunt to fix Ralph.

I think this movie is fantastic because several stories are going on at once, and that makes it a perfect movie for everyone. It is easy to keep track of everything that is going on, and just when you think you know what is happening, there are more surprises and a new character you will love.

Wreck It Ralph keeps you laughing. The stories of love and friendship make your heart leap. The emotional ride is complete, with believable characters full of human traits as well as flaws. It makes you stop and think about the way we all threat each other and how we should open our eyes and be aware of other people’s feelings. Everyone will find someone they can relate to and an arcade game they will want to go out and play.

The age range is 4 and up. There are a few scary bugs, but otherwise the candy scenes will make them love this movie.

 I give it five ***** twinkling stars.

Wreck-it Ralph
Reviewed by Raven Devanney
(
See her full review on video.)

Wreck it Ralph – featuring the voices of Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman – is a breath of fresh air. It’s so original and funny! You’d be crazy to miss this epic adventure.

I absolutely love this movie! It’s so clever; there are so many hilarious references of older movies; and the comedy reaches out to children, teens and adults. Not only were my brother and I laughing throughout the film, but my parents were, too. The animation is amazing because the way the characters move and act really portrays the fact that they are from a video game. I especially love the way the do-gooders dance and move about, because it’s very abrupt and choppy and it gives them all a virtual feel.

I love all of the characters so much because they all have their own funny little quirks. I like Ralph because, even though he is the bad guy, he isn’t a bad guy and he proves that when he helps Vanellope. I also like Vanellope because she is supposedly a glitch but she never lets that stop her. She is adorable and determined and says some of the funniest things! I really enjoyed Fix it Felix Jr. because he is so innocent. And last but not least, I love King Candy! He is the ruler of Sugar Rush and he is so wacky. He reminds me a lot of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.

I don’t have a favorite scene because I love this whole film. But there are so many funny one-liners and jokes that I love. Also, the references to other films are hilarious. For instance, outside of the Candy King’s castle there are Oreos marching, and they are singing the song that the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz sing. It is very funny.

Wreck-it Ralph teaches you that you aren’t a label and that everyone is unique. It shows that you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone; you just have to believe in yourself. I recommend this film for all ages because it is so cute, funny, touching and original and has some killer 3-D scenes. Wreck-it Ralph is in theaters near you starting November 2nd, so grab your 3-D glasses and check it out!

Wreck-It Ralph
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

This movie, to me, is the best movie I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot of movies, so that is saying something. It has easily become my favorite. It has such a good story line and makes me laugh a lot. Another thing that I like about this movie is the 3-D, which makes it look really cool and made me want to see more.

This movie is all about a guy named Wreck-It Ralph who is tired of being a bad guy so he leaves his game to win a medal so, for once, he can be the hero. First, he goes to a game called Hero’s Duty, but, while in that game, he ends up flying into a different game called Sugar Rush. When he is in that game, he makes a new friend named Vanellope.

The main characters in this movie are Wreck-It Ralph, Fix-It Felix Jr., and Vanellope. My favorite characters are Wreck It Ralph and Vanellope because, first, Wreck-it Ralph is a nice guy but can do mean things. He also doesn’t like be treated meanly so he leaves his game to try to win another game to earn a medal. He does finally win a medal, but then it gets stolen. That’s when Vanellope comes in. She is a really nice girl except she was mean to Ralph for a little bit. She has a glitch in her so everybody says she is a freak, but really she is a good person.

My favorite part is when Vanellope is making a car with Ralph and he wrecks everything. But when the car is complete, she really loves the car. I think it is really cool how it is just like a mini game. You will have to watch to see what I mean!

I recommend this movie for ages 4 and up because there are some things that could scare a younger audience. But mostly it’s just really cool, and I think it is a great family movie that kids and parents will both enjoy. Go out and see this movie in theaters.

Photo: KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Morgan Bertsch at the premiere of Wreck-It Ralph

‘Fun Size’ Fits Almost All

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

FunSize.jpgDesigned to appeal to teenagers, Fun Size contains elements that age is known for starting to pay attention to – a lot of profanity, drinking (scenes show underage drinking) and sexuality – which earned it a PG-13 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Our KIDS FIRST! youth film critics put their age recommendation a tad younger (10 and 11), and note the very positive message underlying the action: “The message in this movie is family – no matter how annoying your family members are, they are still the people that we care the most about and we will give up anything to be with them,” says Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8. “This movie is about friendships, relationships, life changes, family bonds and growing up,” says Morgan Bertsch, also age 8. Costumes and believable characters get their most positive comments.

Fun Size
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See her full review on video.)

Fun Size will make Halloween more fun with teenagers.

This comedy movie is about a senior in high school, named Wren (Victoria Justice), her mom Joy (Chelsea Handler) and her brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll).

A high school senior, Wren is looking forward to college to be away from her family. She also wishes she can be away from her little brat brother. Wren’s mother, Joy, wants her to babysit her little brother, Albert, on Halloween night. The mom wants to go an adult party with her boyfriend. Wren is also invited to the party of the year by her high school crush, so Wren wants to rush her brother home from trick-or-treating and put him to bed so she can go to her own party. However, Albert disappears into the crowd so he doesn’t have to go home. The adventure begins when Wren and her best friend, April, along with Peng and Roosevelt, begin their search for little Albert.

There are so many fun characters in this movie. All the make-up and costumes in this movie are epic. Albert’s Spiderman costume is so original with one arm missing. Wren’s costume is so cute without showing too much skin. Some of the characters in this movie do not need costumes for Halloween — they look naturally scary.

The special effects in this movie are above average. Some of the scenes are so real and scary. There are so many flashback scenes and music that all ages can relate to.
 
All the actors in this movie are so awesome. The boys are true nerds and the girls are so beautiful. This makes it so real.

The setting with the teenage friends, personal and sibling problems are very understandable. I can relate to the same feelings between my brother and me.

The best scene is with Albert at the end. He’s always a little terror but a lovable one.

The message in this movie is family — no matter how annoying your family members are, they are still the people that we care the most about and we will give up anything to be with them. And be careful what you wish for.

My favorite character is Albert. He does not know how to express himself until he is in deep trouble.

I rank this movie five out of five stars  

I recommend this to ages 10 and up.

Fun Size
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch

Fun Size is a run-around-town teenager movie that presents trouble for our heroine around every corner. The story starts with Wren, played by Victoria Justice, having to change her Halloween plans and babysit her brother because her mother, played by Chelsea Handler, has a date. Albert is a disturbed little boy because his father died a few months before the story takes place and this is the first Halloween that Albert and his father won’t be together. That’s why Wren has to babysit this year.

The challenges start when Albert gets lost in a flood of trick-or-treaters. Wren must find Albert and return home before her mother returns from her party, and that is much more difficult than the group can imagine. Albert has some fun, crazy adventures for a little kid and he loves his pranks.

This movie is about friendships, relationships, life changes, family bonds and growing up. I understand the PG-13 rating, as there are inappropriate parts for us little kids, but I don’t know what they are. There were a couple of times Mom covered my eyes, but I did hear some questionable language and I didn’t think you could drink alcohol until you were 21.

Our foursome of Wren, Peng, April and Roosevelt are continually hounded by the Hulk and Julius Caesar until the showdown at the chicken shack. I know I’m only 7, but even I know that you don’t bring a drumstick to a gun fight.

My favorite part was the end of the movie with Albert. I also really enjoyed the costumes. They were colorful, creative and gave me some great ideas for Halloween this year. So if you’re still undecided about what you are going to do this year, you might accidentally stumble across that next really great costume idea. While you are at it, grab some popcorn and a soda and a couple of Fun Size candy bars, because you preens and teens will enjoy this movie. Little kids and adults probably won’t like this as much.

I think the cast really worked well together and their characters were believable even if all of the situations they are in were not.

The age range is 11 and up.

I give it four out of five twinkling stars.

Fun Size will be in theaters October 26th.

Ride the Waves with ‘Chasing Mavericks’

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

ChasingMavericks.jpgThere’s something about surfing movies that is always inspirational. The majesty of the ocean, the skill of surfers riding the waves. Add another powerful element – a father-son type of bonding – and the result is a movie that seems to resonate across gender and age. Chasing Mavericks is based on a true story, and comes across as authentic. Says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 7, “There are so many awesome footages of the waves and the surfing culture that the audience can really enjoy watching while learning.” Mogan Bertsch, age 7, calls the cinematography “hypnotizing,” and says, “You don’t have to surf to enjoy the movie, but it could open your eyes to a glimpse of what some of these amazing athletes will do for the sport.”

Chasing Mavericks
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See her full review on video.)

Today I am reviewing Chasing Mavericks. This movie is based on a true story that will inspire the audience.

Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) is raised by a single mom (Elisabeth Shue) who is never around. He almost died from drowning when he was younger and Frosty Hesson (the local surfing legend) saved him. Since that day, Jay follows Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). He notices that Frosty would go out very early in the morning sometimes. One day, Jay follows Frosty to see what he’s doing out so early in the morning. On this trip, Jay discovers the secret place where some local surfer legends surf. Frosty tells him that the biggest wave will come to this spot one day. He asks Frosty to help him train to ride the biggest waves.

During the training process, many life events happen and it ends up that Jay is helping Frosty as much as Frosty is helping him. They build a father-and-son bonding.

This movie has so many different emotions. There are relationship between Jay and his mom, Jay and his first crush, Jay and his best friend and Jay and his father-figure neighbor.

There are so many awesome footages of the waves and the surfing culture that the audience can really enjoy watching while learning.

The music is so perfect with all the scenes, especially with the skateboarders and surfers. The sceneries of the ’80s and a small-town lifestyle are awesome to see.

The special effects in this movie are above average. The big wipe-out captured in this movie is like no other pictures taken.

The message in this movie is never give up. Sometimes it is so much work to achieve your goals, but if you are practicing every day you will be better than yesterday.

My favorite characters are Jay and Frosty. Jay is so friendly and never holds grudges. He always forgives. Frosty is a great surfer with a big heart.

I rank this movie five out of five stars  

I give this an age range of 7 and up.

Chasing Mavericks
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch

I got to go to the prescreening of Chasing Mavericks.

So the surf is up and we are heading to the ocean for this amazing movie. The movie is based on the real-life experience of Jay Moriarty, played by newcomer Jonny Weston. Jay moves to Santa Cruz, Calif., when he is 9 and learns to surf from a boy he befriends. He is drawn to the waves and the ocean. He counts the seconds between the breakers for fun.

Once he learns to surf and has made a name for himself as a good local surfer, he meets a legendary big-wave surfer named Frosty Hesson, played by Gerard Butler. Small world — he happens to be a neighbor across the street. One night, Jay hears noise and a commotion at Frosty’s house. He looks out his window and his attention is caught when Frosty brings out his bullet. A bullet is an oversized long-board that you need to ride a maverick. A maverick is a huge wave situation created by a storm system. When the conditions are right, you can find places in the world were the surf gets to be 30 or 40 feet high. It is like a four- or five-story building of water looking to squish anything that gets in its way. Yes, hello, that includes surfers, boat, kayakers and nearly any other water craft vehicle known — but for people like Jay, Frosty and the other maverick surfers, it’s what makes up their dreams.

The cinematography is hypnotizing. Some of the shots of the ocean and surfing are more than incredible. Your eyes are glued to the screen from the beginning to the end, and you can make a really strong connection to surfers and surfing as a lifestyle. Some people call it sour surfing, and Jay Moriarty was the youngest and the best.

In the movie, they show the relationship between Jay and Frosty as being only a few weeks of training seasons, but in real life Frosty trained Jay for years before his first attempt at riding a maverick. These waves can be 50 feet high and are very dangerous. There are so many things that can go wrong. Having us believe that all the training happened in one small stretch of weeks would be impossible but that’s just Hollywood telling the story.

Go watch this touching story and bring a friend but leave the boards outside. You don’t have to surf to enjoy the movie, but it could open your eyes to a glimpse of what some of these amazing athletes will do for the sport. Once you see it, you will know why, once you start, the ocean is always calling you to back to play again. I think I would love to learn to surf but I will stick with the small waves.

The age range is 9 and up, but really the photography in the movie will keep anybody entertained.

I give it four-and-a-half out of five twinkling stars.

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