Archive for June, 2015

1913: Seeds of Conflict – Eye-Opening and Enlightening

Monday, June 29th, 2015

1913.SeedsConflict.jpgBreaking new ground and laying bare old myths, this PBS program, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ben Loeterman, explores the little-known history of Palestine during the latter part of the Ottoman Empire, a time of relative harmony between Arabs and Jews. Living side by side in the multi-lingual, cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims intermingled with a cultural fluidity enjoyed by all. How did this land of milk and honey, so diverse and rich in culture, become the site of today’s bitter and seemingly intractable struggle? Was there a turning point when things could have been different? Weaving the raveled threads of Arab and Jewish narratives back together, “1913: SEEDS OF CONFLICT” provides new and fascinating insights into events that took place in Palestine which presaged a century of unrest. KIDS FIRST! juror, Juanita S. comments, “I enjoyed the film because it gave me answers to some questions I have about the conflict between Jewish and Arabic people.” See her full review below.

1913 Seeds of Conflict
Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! adult juror

The film is very eye opening about a very old and difficult conflict between Arabs and Jews and who owns Palestine. I enjoyed the film because it gave me answers to some questions I have about the conflict between Jewish and Arabic people.  It enlightened me about the geography.  I was not aware of the area called Ottoman and what was the Ottoman rule.

The film opens with the re-discovery of a film from 1913 that documents a time in history that few people know about.  I have often wondered what is the cause of this hatred between Jewish and Arab people?

The actors who portray the characters, Albert Antebi, a Sephardic Jew known as the Jewish “pasha”, Ruhi al-Khaalidi, the scion of a Palestine family and Jerusalem’s elected representative to the Ottoman Parliament, Khalil Sakdkini, a Christian schoolmaster and voice for Palestinian culture and Arthur Ruppin, a German Zionist who opens the Palestine Office to strategize the shape of a Jewish homeland that was to come are very authentic and speak in the native language.

I had to pay attention and read the subtitles.  Normally, I really do not like films with subtitles. However, 1913 Seeds of Conflict has very interesting and historical information.  The ending leaves you thinking about how something very small can trigger something very enormous.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. The film meets the baseline KIDS FIRST! criteria and I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. PBS Distribution is releasing it on DVD on June 30.

Max – Heartwarming Story About Man’s Best Friend

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Max.214210.jpgNot all dogs are created equal. This story features a U.S. Marine dog that served in  Afghanistan and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. When he returns to the U.S., he has issues not uncommon to humans who’ve experienced similar experiences. This original story will pull on the heart-strings of any animal lover. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Max is truly an inspirational adventure many will love and enjoy.”

Max
Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This movie is about a marine who faces challenges on and off the battlefield. However, this marine is not a human. This marine is a dog, a dog that inspires many.  Max is truly an inspirational adventure many will love and enjoy.

This movie is truly a thriller with a pinch of mystery, however in the form of an adventure that is full of dramatic scenes. There is action with a sparkle of romance spicing up the story as well. At the end, and at its core, it is an inspirational and heartwarming story.

Max starts off when a soldier named Kyle, his squad and his search dog Max are heading to a town in Afghanistan to do their mission. On the way there, they get ambushed and Kyle passes away. Max is traumatized and develops post dramatic stress disorder. The only person who seems to have a positive affect on Max different is Kyle’s younger brother. Soon the two bond and start an epic adventure that holds a answer to a mysterious question. If you want to know what it is you have to watch the film!

This film tells an original story and very nicely too. Actors of all species are wonderful in portraying their parts and showing all the varied emotions of those characters. The director makes the story unfold smoothly. I think that some parts of the film are a little bit stretched out. However, Max will make you laugh, cry, gasp and awe. It is a joy to watch.

My favorite scene is when Max and Kyle’s little brother, Justin are just starting to get to know each other. Justin brings Max to his group of friends and they race down the hill together. Justin quickly picks up speed and not only does Max easily follow but, he also guides Justin down a safe path. I like the scene because it’s really the first time that Max and Justin work as one and it shows the full range of skills that Max has.

This film is rather violent and also has some very mature scenes. The story itself is sad at times and it does contain a bit of gore and intense violence, so I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. For even with its minor imperfections, the creators did a wonderful job showing a heartwarming  and original story that generation after generation can be inspired by.

Inside Out

By Tre’ana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Inside Out is a Disney / Pixar film that is filled with emotions tied up like a shoe lace. It captures some comedic moments and connects you to to your inner self. It makes you become more aware and in touch with your conscience.

The movie is about a girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) who lives in Minnesota with her parents. Due to some circumstances, the family relocates to San Francisco. Riley starts to have different emotions going on throughout this tenacious move. She misses her friends; she is starting at a new school. Her emotions are all over the place. These five emotions in Riley’s brain are Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). These emotions play a very important role in her life and keep her balanced. When one is out of whack it definitely affects her mood. She goes through so many obstacles as a pre-teen which is very trying. I can relate because I am also eleven and I am very in touch with my emotions and pre-teen feelings. It touches on so many ideas that are realistic in my everyday life.

The director and writer Pete Docter does an outstanding job creating the visual effects of these animated characters and their emotions. The bright colors and costumes distinguish each emotion’s individuality. The pitch of their voice captivates and draws you into their character. Each emotion has a unique personality.

My favorite part of this movie is when Disgust says, “What does this button mean?” It is Puberty! I can relate because this is the next phase of my life that I am approaching.

I recommend this movie for ages 8 to 18 and I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it connects to an older audience even though it is targeted to a younger audience. I think younger children can see this, but the parent will have to give them some explanation after the movie. I really enjoyed it because I could relate to this movie. Inside Out comes out Friday, June 19, 2015. Go and check it out.