Archive for June, 2015

Jurassic World – The Park is Open – Breathtaking, Dramatic, Fearful

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

JurassicWorld.214211.jpgThis highly anticipated sequel to the original does not disappoint. It borders on horror with its realistic special effects so, be forewarned. It is breathtakingly beautiful in its cinematography and takes dinosaurs to the next level. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Reboots are one of the hardest things to pull off and not ruining the entire series it self. Director Colin Trevorrow and co-producer Steven Spielberg pull it off way over 100%.” Clayton P. adds, “Jurassic World is an action packed extravaganza that is an amazing 3D experience. Its part action, part disaster and part science fiction film.” See their full reviews below. 

Jurassic World

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

After over 20 years, the park is back. The dinosaurs are back. The breathtaking directing, producing, acting, camera shots, special affects and story is back too. Reboots are one of the hardest things to pull off and not ruining the entire series it self. Director Colin Trevorrow and co-producer Steven Spielberg pull it off way over 100%.

When I say this is dramatic, that is a under statement. Although it is not scary, at times every person in the audience shivers in thrill, fear and just excitement of what is going to happen next. A classic part of Spielberg is adding that comedy in what would be expected impossible places, but yet the comedy fits perfectly. In parts, there is romance and even adventure. Of course, who can forget, dinosaurs!

The story begins when Jurassic World, built around 30 to 40 years after the original Jurrasic Park closed down on the same island is a massive resort and theme park, with many dinosaurs, attractions and even a baby dinosaur petting zoo! (I want to go there!) Like all theme parks, management is trying to pop out with new attractions so people stay entertained/ Well they decide to go over-the-top with a genetically modified dinosaur Indominus Rex, which is a combination of many animals making it smart, powerful, fast, strong, big and over all a T Rex 2.0!

This film is just WOW! First, let’s talk about the camera shots. They are able to achieve 360 degree shots, 20 feet off the ground and close ups all in one. It is fantastic and perfectly timed too. The director doesn’t just do it for the sake of doing it, which I like. I think the acting is perfect. It is dramatic, action packed, romantic and much more. The actors, young and old all are perfect. The director and producers came through in a way that is beyond amazing. Steven Spielberg hasn’t stopped making films one of a kind and it is as if he brought back a feel from the original Jurassic Park.

I do want to mention the moral of the plot because it pretty much shows something we see time and time again, and people in the film see time and time again as well, that it is a BAD idea to make dinosaurs a attraction. Yet, it gets people to empty their wallets so the attractions makers do it. The moral is “When it fails, it fails. Don’t try to stretch out something that shouldn’t exist. (Because it’s dangerous)” Not only do people think it is a good idea to make a whole bunch of massive man-eating beasts a petting zoo, they also decide to make a dinosaur, that is pretty impossible to kill, an attraction. And then, they think, “Oh nothing bad will happen.”

I have to say that this is a rather violent film (pretty typical of the Jurassic series). It is border line horror because of how dramatic it is. It will give people chills. And, it is just not meant for younger kids. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for being a wonderful film. It is dramatic with revolutionary camera shots and crystal clear special effects. I am predicting now that this film will win at least one Oscar.

Jurassic World
By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Jurassic World is an action packed extravaganza that is an amazing 3D experience. Its part action, part disaster and part science fiction film.  Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, this recent installment of the Jurassic franchise is startling in its special effects imagery. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson.           

The Jurassic World theme park features fully functioning dinosaurs in their natural habitat. Attendance at the park is declining, so the owner commissions a new dinosaur attraction called Indominus Rex. The Indominus Rex is a genetically engineered dinosaur that has many attributes from other species. It was designed to put the WOW back into Jurassic World. The story concerns two brothers, Gray and Zack who go to Jurassic World to visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works at the park. When the boys are touring the park, they go off- road, just at the time when the Indominus Rex breaks out of his habitat.  The boys do not listen to the emergency announcement telling the visitors to return to the main building. Claire gets anxious about her nephews so she enlists the aid of the head animal trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to help her save the boys. Meanwhile, the head of security for InGen, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is trying to use the Indominus Rex and other fearsome dinosaurs at the park as weapons for the military.

The special effects in Jurassic World are really amazing.  The dinosaurs look totally real.  It must have taken a lot of time and money to create such realistic effects.  Especially in IMAX, all the special effects really pop.  My favorite part of the film is when Owen Grady “clicker” trains the velociraptors.  It’s so cool how they respond to him.  They look so real!   The film is also gently humorous.  There aren’t that many funny scenes, but when there is a funny scene, it’s well played.  The moral of film is how important family is, especially the bond between brothers.  Also, Jurassic World shows the danger of tampering with mother nature. Jurassic World is typical of the genre of big disaster movies with a lot of cliché elements.  Being a sequel, the film isn’t that unique story wise.  The acting is serviceable.  Some of the reactions aren’t believable in terms of the scare factor of Jurassic World. 

Jurassic World is appropriate for ages 12 to 18.  It is surprisingly gory and scary, so parents should accompany younger kids.  The film may not be appropriate for all kids under 13.  I give the film 4 out of 5 stars. 

The Legend of Longwood – A Thrilling Adventure Filled with Horses and a Plucky Heroine

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

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Crumbling castles, frightening spirits, beautiful horses and a plucky, fearless heroine all come together in this magical “quest” film, set in the starkly beautiful landscapes of rural Ireland. Mickey Miller is a thoroughly modern 12-year-old New Yorker who has little enthusiasm for her mother’s plan to take her and her little brother to start a new life Longwood, a windswept town in Ireland. However, their arrival coincides with the return of the Black Knight, a legendary ruler whose appearances always mean that something evil is going to happen. Realizing that she is directly linked to the story of the Black Knight, Mickey and her new friend Sean – along with Silver, the wildest, most untamable horse in the stalls of a nearby castle – set out to redeem the knight. But first she must save a precious herd of white horses and thwart the plans of a greedy, ambitious woman – a mighty handful even for the bravest girl! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., comments, “The Legend of Longwood is a wonderful dramatic story that will be enjoyed by most who sees it.” Carissa P. adds, “This movie is a very good watch, being both very heartwarming and captivating.” See their full reviews below.

The Legend of Longwood

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

It is not too common that a small production company makes a wonderful film with a nice story line, cast and nicely done overall. The Legend of Longwood is a wonderful dramatic story that will be enjoyed by most who sees it.

The main genre of this film is drama with a sense of adventure and fantasy thrown in. Also, they include from time to time a bit of comedy making the story enjoyable, yet thrilling.

The story begins when a young girl named Mickey (Lucy Morton) is torn away from New York where she lives with her family because they have to move to Ireland on almost the opposite side of the world. She arrives sad and depressed. To add to the problems of leaving New York, she leaves behind the memory of her passed away horse which is the only connection she has to her dad.  (If you want to find out more about he dad, you have got to watch the film!) She and her family settle in and she soon learns about a legend and starts a massive and dramatic adventure along with a discovery which leads to a very unexpected ending.

This film is a wonderful production with nicely executed shots and story plot. You never expect what happens so it is just a thrilling thing to watch. The director, Lisa Mulcahy, really excels at creating a compelling story with everything in perfect position. The only con I have is that the acting with some of the younger talent is a bit dull at times. Also, they move through conversations so fast that I missed important parts of the story, making me wondering what happened later.

My favorite scene is when a elderly lady tells Mickey the story of the, ‘Mysterious Black Knight’ which is a 300-year-old legend. It is shown through animated pictures and narration and becomes a very, if not the most, important part of the story.

This film really has nothing too mature for kids, so I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. I also give it 4 out of 5 stars because, although it is very nicely done in terms of directing, story and camera shots, it lacks somewhat in terms of acting skills and feels rushed at times.

The Legend of Longwood

Carissa P, KIDS FIRST! reviewer

This movie is a very good watch, being both very heartwarming and captivating. The film is full of lots of suspense and drama as the main protagonist, Mickey, aims to figure out the mystery of the new town she moved to.

In The Legend of Longwood, young teen Mickey Miller has to confront the mystery of the new Irish town her family has moved into. Upon moving, Mickey immediately gets sucked into the curse that the town of Longwood has been under for centuries. The 300-year-old curse concerns a man the people call a Black Knight, who is trying to find his lost baby daughter. Mickey has to try to understand how her amulet given to her by her dead father, the snooty rich palace woman her mother works for, and the seven palace horses all combine to stop the curse and save the town of Longwood.

The most impressive performance is given by Lucy Morton, the actress who plays the protagonist Mickey. Mickey displays extreme courage, integrity and perseverance throughout the whole film as she constantly gets reprimanded for seeking an end to the curse. Without Morton’s impressive range of emotions and slight nuances in body language, Mickey’s strong character would not be as evident. A strong performance is also given by Fiona Glascott, who plays the money-hungry antagonist named Caitlyn.

One moral of the movie is to have courage in the face of adversity. Mickey outdoes even the adults in trying to bring stability and peace to her town. This proves that even adults need to understand that perseverance and motivation are two key traits that all people need to have, no matter how dangerous or difficult a deed appears to be.

The creators of the film took very wise advantage of natural settings to portray Ireland in an honest manner. The locations of wild, grassy areas and woods are what make the film extremely realistic. Other careful touches that contribute positively to the film are the lighting techniques used to make each actors’ expressions easy to comprehend and the lack of overbearing music, which often overwhelm dialogues in some movies.

This movie is perfect for family movie night. Kids and parents could watch a very fascinating movie that is interesting from beginning to end. I recommend it for ages 10 to 15 since it has suspense that some younger kids would dislike. I give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is available now on DVD wherever DVDs are sold. 

Last Chance to Register for Santa Fe and Seattle Film Critics Boot Camps

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

KF.BootCamp.jpgKids First Film Critics Summer Boot Camps in Santa Fe and Seattle are almost full. Take a minute now to register your child in these two cities or, one of the three other cities we’ll be in this summer: New York City, Martha’s Vineyard and Washington DC. Taught by leading producers, directors and filmmakers, children ages 10 to15 will learn skills to become red carpet film critics and reporters through this unique star-making program.

Full and partial scholarships are available for local participants for all of the camps so, be sure to check those out.

In this camp, kids will learn a variety of behind-the-scenes skills of the film industry as they watch and critique the latest films, write and videotape reviews, develop on-camera interview techniques and have the opportunity to meet celebrities, directors and producers of some of their favorite films. Following the camp, campers will have the opportunity to join the Kids First film critic team of reporters.

Fourteen-year-old Kids First Film Critic Keefer C. Blakeslee comments, “My experience with Kids First has been a blast! I have walked the red carpet at movie premieres and interviewed stars such as my idol, Mel Brooks. KIDS FIRST! has really built my self-esteem for interviewing people, talking on camera and asking good questions about film.”

The Kids First Film Critic’s reviews reach more than seven million viewers monthly through partnerships with broadcast, print and online publications including Huffington Post, Kidzworld.com, GRAND Magazine, Kidsville News, Working Mother Magazine and many more.

Leading the star teaching team this year is founder and president of Kids First! and Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, Ranny Levy. Other guest teachers include documentary filmmaker, Nancy Kenney; former manager of outreach for Thirteen/WNET, Terry Solowey; and KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney.

The week long camps take place at the following locations:

June 15 – 19
Santa Fe Community College
Santa Fe, NM

June 22 – 26
B47 Studios
Seattle, WA 98119

July 27-31
Martha’s Vineyard Film Center
Vineyard Haven, MA

August 3 – 7
HITN
Brooklyn, NY

August 10-14
Discovery Communications
Silver Spring, MD

For more information and to register, go to http://www.kidsfirst.org or call 505.989.8076.

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