Archive for November, 2013

“Frozen” – Comedy, Romance, Adventure, Suspense, Thrillers, Fantasy and Much More!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Frozen2.jpgJust in time for the holidays and the winter season comes “Frozen,” based on the Hans Christian Anderson story The Snow Queen but, with a few twists of its own. Two young princesses face the test of their love when one, plagued by icy powers traps the kingdom in eternal winter. This is a wonderfully animated film from Disney’s Animation Studio that delivers a visual extravaganza from beginning to end. It’s one to share with your entire family this holiday season. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. points out that, “What makes this film amazing is the animation. They have created fantastic visuals. The way the ice and snow glisten and dance is spectacular. I also love the music.” Gerry Orz adds, “The movie has so much to love – comedy, romance, adventure, suspense, thrillers, fantasy and so, so much more.” See Keefer and Gerry’s full reviews below.

Frozen
By Keefer B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Video review available here:

This is a beautifully animated, musical, family Disney film. The story is about Princess Elsa (Idina Menzel), who was born with the power to manifest ice and snow, and her sister Anna (Kristen Bell). When Elsa accidentally turns their kingdom into an eternal winter, it is up to Anna to save the day with the help of a reindeer, snowman and a prince or two.

What makes this film amazing is the animation. They have created fantastic visuals. The way the ice and snow glisten and dance is spectacular. I also love the music. The songs that stand out in this film are the beginning song “Frozen Heart,” “Want to Build a Snowman,” and my favorite – “Let it Go.” All of these songs are brilliant. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel do a fantastic job singing and playing these two roles. Voice acting can be tough to pull off because you have to put all your emotion into your voice. Since they succeed, it makes the characters very believable and you can feel for these two sisters.

My favorite character is Elsa. You can feel the pain she’s going through. All she wants is to be with her sister but, because of her uncontrollable powers, she doesn’t want to hurt her. This is a well written role.

My favorite scene is when Elsa is running away and sings “Let it Go.” Where do I begin? First of all, this is the best animation in the film. We see her use the powers she’s been denying. Bravo to the animators in creating this visual enchantment. The song does what songs should do. It tells how the character feels in a musical form and is extraordinary. Add in the wonderful singing from Menzel and you have my favorite scene.

The message of the story is, love conquerors all. Elsa can’t control her powers. Whenever she is sad or mad, she creates a blizzard. She finally learns that the love of her sister is all she needs to gain control of her powers.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to kids ages 5 to 13. The younger kids will enjoy the princesses, the princes and the comedy reliefs.  This film opens in theaters on Thanksgiving day.

Frozen
Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
See full video review here:

I expected the movie to be kind of like “Tangled” with a main plot and a long, long quest. Well… I was almost right. “Frozen” is a great movie the whole family should see!

The movie has so much to love – comedy, romance, adventure, suspense, thrillers, fantasy and so, so much more. It also teaches us a valuable lesson of not being afraid to show who we are and put our “powers” to a good use.

The fun starts when two young royal sisters get into an accident. One has a magical power to summon ice. The magical girl hits her little sister, Anna. She lives but, has no memory of the magic and does not see her sister for many years. When Anna finally gets to see her sister, it turns into a tragedy.

The animation is so adorable and fitting for the actors. They play the voices very well. The two sisters, Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) sound so much alike. The other actors, like Josh Gad do fantastic as well. The film flows very nicely too. The graphics and animation look unbelievably real.
My favorite scene is when Elsa (the one with powers) runs away and builds her own ice castle. She is also my favorite character because she tries to protect her sister, but keeps messing up at it. The castle is built very nicely and it shows her true powers of being the “Snow Queen.” I wouldn’t mind living in a castle like that myself, if you know what I mean.

Since the movie is so kind, bright and educational, I recommend it to ages 4-18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson Deliver Stunning Performances in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Monday, November 25th, 2013

HungerGames.CF.jpgEagerly awaited, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” based on the book by Suzanne Collins comes out this weekend and, according to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jailene A, “is the most intense and amazing film of the year.” See Jailene’s full review below.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Reviewed by Jailene A.
Video Review available here

“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is the most intense and amazing film of the year. Catching Fire is the sequel to the amazing “Hunger Games.” This film shows how Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are, unfortunately, drawn once again to compete in a special 75th Hunger Games and how they are the reason for the rebellion in all the districts. Katniss has given people in the districts hope from her courage and that is brewing up to be a horrible thing for President Snow.

What I love about this amazing film is the amazing wardrobe, hair and makeup. The incredible Trish Summerville, costume designer for the film, captures the vision perfectly in turning the book into a movie. Hair and makeup are bold and extravagant as well.  I also like how well the cast works together and how well the film turns out overall. I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games series.

My favorite character is Katniss. There are lots of intriguing characters in this movie but what makes Katniss different are her incredible traits – her intelligence and her creativity are just a few. Katniss knows she needs to make alliances to stay alive and she quickly learns skills from them all. Jennifer Lawrence plays an amazing Katniss Everdeen.

My favorite scene is when Katniss is on Caesar’s talk show and reveals the incredible dress by spinning. The dress transforms from a pure white wedding gown to an incredible black fiery mocking jay dress with wings. It is truly stunning.

This movie will make you cry and laugh. You’ll just love it. I definitely cannot wait for the next one to come out. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars.

KIDS FIRST! recommends this movie for ages 12 to 18 because of some of the intense scenes of violence and gore, some suggestive attire and profanity.

“Planes” – A Visual Spectacle and a Wonderful Family Film! Now on DVD/Blu-ray

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Planes.jpgIf you thought “Cars” was brilliant, then you’ll be sure to love their latest animated adventure, “Planes” which comes out on DVD/Blu-ray November 19. It’s an action-packed comedy about a small plane with big dreams. The only problem is that the plane, Dusty is a crop-duster who’s afraid of heights!  As you can imagine, this makes it very difficult for him to achieve his dreams.  With the help of his best friends Dusty’s future turns a bit brighter. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Brianna Hope B says, “It is a great film. It has hope, adventure and good humor.” Her full review is below.

“Planes” Reviewed by Brianna Hope B.
Video Review available here:

This film is too cute, funny and has great animation.
Dusty, (Dane Cook-Voice) is a basic crop-dusting plane with big dreams of competing in an aerial race. However he is afraid of heights, yes that’s right, heights! In order for him to even get up the nerve to compete and pursue his dreams; he needs the help of his mentor, Skipper, (Stacy Keach-Voice) and his friends.

“Planes” has a good story line and I really like it. It has hope, adventure and good humor with comedians Brad Garrett (Chug-Voice), Sinbad (Roper-Voice) and many more. All the voice actors do a great job portraying their characters. Of course, the 3D animation is spectacular with great detail and lots of lively colors. My favorite scene is when Skipper starts training Dusty and Chug and Dottie (Terri Hatcher-Voice) are talking too loud for Dusty to concentrate. Skipper yells at them to be quiet and they straighten up immediately, but keep talking. This is really funny. My favorite character is Roper, because he says and does the funniest things. He always seems to be rambling about something and is funny.

Writer, Jeffrey M. Howard, writes a comedic script that gives kids something to enjoy and feel good about. Another well known comedian voice cast who I enjoyed in this film is Cedric the Entertainer (Leadbottom-Voice).

As Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”  I really like this and believe this message is demonstrated throughout the film.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 13. Kids who love Disney animation films will love this one as it is similar to other Disney films. It’s also a great film for the family to see although older teens may not be too interested in it.

I give “Planes” 4 out of 5 stars because I would like to see more originality and uniqueness, but overall it is a great film and I really enjoy watching it. I know you will too.

Pete’s Christmas – A New Holiday Classic

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

PetesChristmas.jpgA new holiday film, Pete’s Christmas will  premiere Friday, Nov. 8 on the Hallmark Channel. When an overlooked middle child finds himself in the unexpected spotlight, he realizes his family’s terrible Christmas day keeps repeating. He decides to use his unique gift to give the holidays a makeover and his family a Christmas they will never forget. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B says, “This is a uplifting, coming of age film” and gives it 5 out of 5 stars. Gerry O adds “This movie is definitely a great holiday movie and a very loving movie at that!” Their full reviews are below.

“Pete’s Christmas”
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Video review available here.

This movie is definitely a great holiday movie and a very loving movie at that! It has so much comedy and a lot of other elements too. “Pete’s Christmas” is a movie the entire family just must see.

This movie has so much to love about it as well as many things to enjoy. It has comedy, romance, thrilling scenes, adventure, a heartwarming story and so much more.

The adventure begins when a young boy (Zachary Gordon) has a horrible, horrible Christmas. We are talking about no presents, no home cooked meal, getting beat up and a lot of other crazy stuff. His grandfather gives him a box and leaves. When he goes to bed, he wakes up on Christmas morning again.

The movie had very nice actors that play the emotions very well. You would never think they were acting. The directing is very smooth and clear. The camera work is also very nicely done. Overall, it is an amazing and very cool film.

My favorite scene has to be when the boy wakes up and thinks everyone is playing a big prank on him. It’s very funny and very, well, confusing too. It makes you want give him a hug.

I recommend it for kids ages 5 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Pete’s Christmas
by Keefer B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This is a uplifting, coming of age film. The story is about Pete (Zachary Gordon) a middle child who has the worst Christmas ever. He wakes up the next day and realizes…it’s Christmas day again and again and again… Will Pete fix Christmas and have the best day of his life or will he be stuck in the same day forever?

What I love about this film is the cinematography. The Christmas decorations and snow look amazing. The sets create a great atmosphere for the film. I also like the story. At first it seems cliché – boy has a bad day and has a chance to fix it – standard issue. However, the pacing is different. Instead of it being just a few days of Pete reliving the same day, it feels like months before he realizes that he can affect the outcome of his Christmas. At first I didn’t like this, but once I thought out it as a coming of age film I accepted the change. One think that distracted me is the writing. Don’t get me wrong, the dialog is fine. I just felt the set-up for the story to be a bit rushed. The writers want the story to go a certain way and force it by placing the pieces together instead of allowing the characters to live through this situation.

My favorite character is Grandpa (Bruce Dern). He’s a grumpy man who doesn’t want to get the cold shoulder this Christmas. I love how Bruce plays this role, how he wants to spend time with family. Sadly he wants Christmas to be like his deceased wife’s Christmases. In his mind, the family doesn’t celebrate it right.

My favorite scene is when Pete tells his dad why Grandpa judges their Christmas. I pick this scene for one reason – the reaction on the father’s face. He takes his time to roll through all the emotions and it’s just perfect.

The moral here is, “It’s not what you put in the box that matters. It’s what you take out.” No matter how much Pete recreates Christmas and gets what he wants, he stills feels that something is missing, something that is important in Christmas. Giving!

I rate this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 6 to 15-year-olds. Younger kids can enjoy the funny moments and the merriness. When you get a little bit older, you know the story is predictable but it is still a movie to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Register Now for LA Mini-Boot Camp on November 16

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

KFFC.2014.Banner.3.5.jpgFor kids wishing to enter our 2014 Film Critics Search Competition, we are offering a mini-boot camp in Los Angeles on November 16 in partnership with A&B Productions, Paramount and Disney. Hurry, as you must register by November 12.

We also have a live audition in New York on December 14 thanks to our partner KiDz HuB and Microsoft. There is a screening of the film “Christmas Bounty” the night before, one of the films selected to review. For details, please visit the search landing page.

Does your child love films and love being on camera? Here’s a chance for him or her to become a star as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Our annual Film Critic Search Competition is now underway. The national competition is open to all U.S. children, ages 7 to 15. To enter, submit your child’s written and videotaped review of one of the five Official Competition Films then, get their friends and family to vote. Your child could be one of twelve winners who will review all the newest films rated PG-13 or younger, interview celebrities on and off the Red Carpet and appear on our #1 rated weekly radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions on the Voice America Kids Network.

Public voting determines the finalists and a panel of celebrity judges select the winners which will be announced on or around January 15, 2014.  Past competitions have generated more than 11 million votes for the child contestants – a number in line with “Dancing with the Stars” or “American Idol.”  Judges for this year’s competition include: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters, HDNet Movies and Magnolia Pictures; Ben Lyons, film critic for the show, EXTRA and frequent contributor to ‘Good Morning America’; Thelma Adams, a Yahoo! Contributing Editor whose column “Thelma Adams on Reel Women” runs on AMC Filmcritic.com; George Pennacchio, entertainment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News team in Los Angeles KABC-TV.

The Official Competition Films include:  Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Iron Man: Heroes United, Dear Dumb Diary and Christmas Bounty. All films are available this fall in DVD/Blu-ray or online at Amazon.com.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program, now in its fourth year, teaches kids to be critical viewers and users of media. Reviews by the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics reach an audience of more than 4+ million every month through broadcast, print and online media companies such as Voice America Kids Network, HDNet Movies kidScene, WorkingMother.com, GrandMagazine.com, LA Parent, Colorado Parent, Westchester Family and more. Coaching is available to every child entering the competition in the form of guidelines, tips and webinars on the campaign’s website. Although the competition is restricted to 12 winners, every child who enters wins by learning valuable skills and has a chance to shine! Every contestant will receive a free skin for their mobile device from Zing Revolution.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics have made a name for themselves in Hollywood, interviewing talent on the red carpet and off and reporting about the latest films rated PG-13 or younger. More than 750 video film reviews have been posted to the KIDS FIRST! YouTube Channel in the last 30 months, with over a quarter of a million views. The youth reporters have covered more than 300 films and events including: Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, Planes, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Gravity, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Epic, Jobs, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Planes, Turbo, Grown Ups 2, Despicable Me 2, The Lone Ranger, Man of Steel, After Earth and many more. They have interviewed John Lasseter (Pixar), Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Mel Brooks, Duane “the Rock” Johnson, Josh Hutcherson, Ang Lee, Kirk De Micco, Selena Gomez, Nick Cannon and more.

Recent research shows that, during their school age years, most U.S. children spend more hours watching media than the hours they spend in school. Not all children’s media is bad; in fact, many programs can help increase a child’s cognitive, social and behavioral skills. Fundamental to KIDS FIRST! mission is teaching children to make critical media choices so that they seek out and use media in a beneficial way.  The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics program is part of a national outreach effort to promote the concept of critical media viewing to thousands of children and families nationwide by sharing the skills they develop by reviewing media on a weekly basis.

As for the winners, here are what some of the KIDS FIRST!  Film Critics’ parents have to say about their participation:

“First and foremost, thank you for giving Brianna the opportunity to participate in such an amazing opportunity.  This experience has definitely helped her with her confidence level and has enhanced her critical thinking skills.” Parents of Brianna Hope Beaton

Gerry is now 11 and his vocabulary, public speaking ability and interviewing skills have increased drastically. Our young filmmaker truly blossomed under guidance of KIDS FIRST! Parents of Gerry O.

“Camille’s writing skills have improved and she is more comfortable and articulate in front of the camera while I’ve become more confident behind the camera. Overall, KIDS FIRST! has been a fabulous experience for Camille and myself and I highly recommend this program to other families who have children interested in becoming film critics!” Parent of Camille Bajema

“The bonus part of being KIDS FIRST! Film Critics are conducting red carpet interviews; attending press junket, watching all the new movie releases before they hit theaters. My daughter and I truly enjoy and proud to be part of KIDS FIRST! family. This journey has propelled Cheyenne to the next level in communication, reviewing and writing skills.” Parent of Cheyenne Nguyen

KIDS FIRST! is a project of the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media.

KIDS FIRST! evaluates, rates and endorses children’s films, DVDs, CDs, TV shows, apps and games using volunteer, community-based juries of adults and children from diverse backgrounds and offers a variety of means to showcase and enhance consumer awareness of sponsored products.

Industry supporters of the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Campaign include Amazon.com, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, ARC Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Walt Disney Home Entertainment . Campaign support also comes from national nonprofit organizations that include the National Education Association and the National Council of Women’s Organizations, with a cumulative membership of over 17 million.

Check out the following links.
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