Archive for October, 2015

Inside Out (DVD) – Meet the Little Voices Inside Your Head

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

InsideOut.dvd.jpgThis Disney / Pixar film, Inside Out comes out on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital November 3. Our youth reporters have call it a “masterpiece” of animation and love the storyline which explores the bumpy road of pre-teens and the emotions they experience while growing up. It explores the emotions that a young girl, Riley experiences when her family moves cross country and she is torn away from everything that is familiar.  As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in a new city, turmoil ensues with her emotions. Although Riley’s main and most important emotion, Joy tries to keep things positive, her other emotions kick in as she tries to navigate a new city, new house and new school. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie J. comments, “We have a masterpiece on our hands. Pixar has done it again… I will gladly go on record by calling this one of the finest animated features to ever be created.” Ryan R. adds, “I love watching Inside Out because it is hilarious and enjoyable for all ages.” Samantha A. concludes with, “Something I really enjoy about this movie is that it’s a childish take on a more complex topic… One thing I learned from this movie is that you don’t always have to be happy. It’s good to express other feelings like sadness or anger.” See their full reviews below.

Inside Out (DVD/Blu-ray/Digital)
by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a masterpiece on our hands. Pixar has done it again. They already lay claim to two of the top 100 movies of all-time with Up and Wall-E and they have now added Inside Out to their mantelpiece. I will gladly go on record by calling this one of the finest animated features to ever be created. Why? Because it’s THE most innovative, imaginative and creative film to be made since 2008s Synecdoche, New York.

The beautiful thing about this movie is that both adults and children can enjoy it. As a matter of fact, I’d say that adults may enjoy it more, because they can have a more fundamental understanding of what this film is. It is 100 minutes of analogous brilliance, that changes our idea of what goes on in our heads. Is this idea fathomable or true? No. But the analogy provides the very product film was invented to produce: a stimulation of the imagination.

Children will enjoy the beautiful colors and the basic plot. What the children can understand is what they can relate to: growing up and adjusting to life as they enter puberty. They will laugh at things that SEEM funny or the more, for lack of better word, simple pieces of humor. But the true jokes, the pieces of humor that have the most intellect are the ones children won’t understand. I appreciate those the most because they’re fathomable. It’s the moment when you laugh, not because the joke is ridiculous, but because you can actually imagine that happening.

Amidst the hilarity there is also a certain depth of emotion. There is a tear-jerking moment, yes, but I mean more along the lines of nostalgia. The way the movie portrays the effects of the emotions and the rationalization that go along with them, conjure a desire to reflect on oneself in their pre-teen days. This film may literally get into the mind of a pre-teen, but the metaphorical representation is what seals the reflection. “I was like that?”, “Is that how I thought then…I that how I think now?” may be questions you find yourself asking yourself. These are the effects of a brilliant screenplay.

On a final and personal note, I’ll tell this short story. There is a scene in the film, where two officers are questioning a cloud in Imagination Land about her dead husband. Then, in the middle of the interrogation the cloud herself is killed as she is run through by our main character. One cop goes, “Hey wait…”, but as he says that, the other cop grabs him and says, “Forget it Jake, it’s Cloud Town.” Get it? It’s a parody of the famous final words from the classic 1974 noir, Chinatown. I’ll tell you, it wasn’t very comfortable being the only person in the theater laughing at that joke. It’s just one joke amongst many. Beyond the hilarity and, mainly due to the aforementioned reasons I explained, I happily give this instant classic 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 7 to 18.

This film will be released on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital on November 3 and its bonus features are very informative and engaging. They give wonderful insights to the making of the movie. The feature,  Story of the Story really tells you how much thinking went into this story. Mixed Emotions and Mapping the Mind go hand in hand as they provide both characterizations of the emotions and scientific findings pertaining to our emotions. There are also great features about the underrated parts of making this movie, like how the score was created and what the editing was like. My favorite of all of them, is the short film Lava which has become one of my favorite short films.

Inside Out (DVD/Blu-ray/Digital)
By KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Ryan R., age 11

I love watching Inside Out because it is hilarious and enjoyable for all ages. I also like that this movie sends out a positive message on how all five emotions have a role to help Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias).

This film is about five emotions Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. In the movie, Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Voiced by Phyllis Smith) need to find their way back to headquarters to save Riley from losing her personality and her emotions Joy and Sadness. Will they be able to save Riley or will Riley live a life without Joy and Sadness? If you want to know more you should go get this DVD.

I really like this Blu-ray/DVD combo because there are so many features. There are deleted scenes, trailers for upcoming movies, and many more. My favorite feature on the Blu-ray disc are two shorts. One is about Riley’s first date and it is hilarious and the other is called Lava which is about a lonely volcano. I love the song in that one. I love deleted scenes because I enjoy seeing them explain why a particular scene wasn’t in the final cut of the movie.

I enjoy this film so much because of the talented voice acting. My favorite character is Joy voiced by Amy Poehler.  I love how she portrays the voice of this character and makes the character sound so ecstatic. I like the jokes that her character makes and how she sounds so optimistic. Another reason why she is my favorite character is because she is like me – we are always happy and we both look on the positive side of things. If you need a positive role model, Joy is that!

The moral lesson of this film is that you need to feel every emotion in life. You just can’t be happy in all situations and experiencing each emotion is a good thing. Sadness shows Riley how to be empathetic. Disgust is honest because Disgust tells her whether something is good or not. Fear protects Riley from being hurt. Anger is there to make sure that Riley is not run over. This movie shows how you need to feel all these emotions in order to be a balanced person. It sounds like therapy but it’s not. It’s really fun.

I recommend this to kids ages 3 to 18 and I think adults will  like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like animated family and adventure movies. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend the DVD combo pack for all the extra features it includes. 

Inside Out
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13 

When you think of a Disney/Pixar film, you think of a film that resembles a fairy tale story. I am extremely surprised by Inside Out. Not only did it make me laugh and almost cry, but it was intense and the ending was so unexpected.

This, of course, has great comedy that kids of all ages will enjoy and adults as well. However, it isn’t all fun and games. There is a lot of drama in this film, much more than I expected, and there is plenty of action too. But, it is all mixed together very nicely to keep audience entertained. 

The story is about a young girl named Riley. She is an 11-year-old hockey fan and overall happy kid. Her family moves to San Francisco and she has to leave her old life behind. In her head, where her emotions control her personality, Sadness and Joy accidently get launched out the hub, where they control her. They have to travel extremely far back to the hub. Will it be too late when they get there? Her only emotions at work are fear, disgust, and anger! 

This film is nothing but beautiful and thought provoking. The idea is so original, and the way they pull it off is right on target. The animation is exquisite. I love how they animate and illustrate each emotion to represent its character, down to the smallest detail. There is no possibility left behind. The story takes many twists and turns, making sure the viewer never anticipates the ending. The directing and producing are wonderful. The camera shots are amazing and really explore the scenes and the world around the characters.               

My favorite scene is when Riley’s emotions first come to life. She is a newborn and her first emotion is Joy, then Sadness and the rest come afterwards. The thing I like about this most is that it shows that Riley is different. Usually a baby is immediately sad, not joyful. But this shows Riley is really a happy and cheerful girl. It is a very important scene and really takes a look at Riley herself, deeper than the viewer originally thinks when they first see it.  

The only thing parents should be worried about in this movie is that it might be a bit too dramatic for little kids and it might be difficult for them to understand the concept of these emotions. So, I recommend it for ages four to eighteen and I give it five out of five stars because, over all, it is a beautifully executed original story.

The Inside Out DVD Combo includes a blu-ray disc, a blu-ray bonus feature disc and a regular DVD with bonus features. Bonus materials on DVD deserve a special mention. If you would like to see the movie with the comments from the creators, you can turn that feature on and immediately see the story from a different prospective. I most liked the fact how you are truly discovering the hidden story behind the one on the screen.

Doozers: Spookypalooza – Slightly Spooky for the Halloween Season With Great Messages

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Doozers.Spooky.jpgThis DVD features four STEM-based adventures from the Doozers, a TV show produced by Jim Henson Productions and released by N Circle Entertainment. It’s Spookypalooza! The time of year when all Doozers get together to spook each other. The Pod Squad makes the spookiest pumpkin ever, a cool Pumpkin Doozer made by stacking three pumpkins together. But when their new invention starts rolling all around town, the Doozers have to find a way to reign in their spooky creation! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “The moral lesson of this DVD is “If you collaborate with others, you can accomplish anything.” See his full review below.

Doozers: Spookypalooza

By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST!  Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed this DVD. In this cute, animated show, we meet four characters who work for The Doozer Pod Squad. They make kids understand how to work together as a team. There are four episodes included in this DVD.

I like this show because it talks about the importance of working together. The characters are all very cute and I like that they talk about creativity and how you can make anything when you work together as a team and don’t give up.

I like this show so much that the only thing I don’t like is how short the episodes are. I wish that the episodes were a little longer.

My favorite character is Daisy Wheel Doozer (voiced by Millie Davis), because she is the nicest and youngest character. I can relate to her since we are both the youngest amongst our peers. I like that she can do most of the stuff on her own and I’m the same way.

The moral lesson of this DVD is “If you collaborate with others, you can accomplish anything.” I say that because, when The Doozers have a goal, they work together to accomplish it. This helps kids understand that it is okay to work together and it will help kids learn how to collaborate with others.

In terms of features on the DVD, you can select individual episodes to watch or you can select “play all.” You can also fast forward or rewind the movie.

I recommend this to kids who like adventure and educational shows. It’s perfect for kids ages 3 to 8. Kids above that age may find it a bit boring. For that age, I give this show 5 out of 5 stars. This is a really great show and it is available now on DVD.

Doozers Spookypalooza

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Jim Henson’s three inch green charters, the Doozers from the wonderful Fraggle Rock adventures can now be found on a new DVD.

Perfect for the fall season this DVD contains four episodes including Spookypalooza where we learn how to get three pumpkins on top of each other using imagination and creative tools. Things do not always go as planned but eventually life always works itself out.

  • Legend of Doozer Creek is another Halloween theme which we learn how the Doozers celebrate their fall holiday. There is a crazy sphinx who loves to jump out and scare Doozers. The magic wizard and the Doozers must do what they can to stop him.
  • Mystery Box is impossible to open. The Doozrers have to use their heads and come with many ideas to crack this mystery.
  • Doozers of a Dippleplant finds them gardening to try and break a record for the biggest plant. In the process they lean much and much more.
  • Be-leaf It asks the question, “What are leaves good for?”

My favorite story is Legend of Doozer Creek. It is told like a fairy tale and I love fairy tales. It has a great story line which leads the Doozers on an adventure. They learn a unique way to solve a problem. What would you do if a crazy sphinx was on the loose?

The animation is colorful and the story lines are easy to follow. The writers have a great imagination. Jim Henson and this team always seem to know what kids will enjoy and kids are sure to enjoy this new DVD. You might not have the tools that the Doozers use but it encourages you to want to build something. It made me feel like there is never a problem that with a little thought and creativity cannot be solved.

The voice-overs are great because the voices of the characters are so cute. They match the little green Doozers perfectly. They have different personalities and qualities which all work together.

My favorite character is Molly Bolt who is so cute I just want to hug her. She is smart, thoughtful and always encouraging. She exemplifies the theme of Lets do, do, do it and lend a hand.

I recommend this DVD for ages 2 to 7. This is definitely for younger kids. Since it is four short stories, it is easy to watch just one episode or all depending on the child. This is a fun family friendly movie. I give this DVD 4 Spooky pumpkins out of 5.

Houdini – Insightful with a Great Moral Message

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Houdini.jpgThis DVD reveals the life story of Harry Houdini starting from his early childhood. It reveals some of Harry’s difficulties in pursuing his dream and how meeting the Great Tesla changed everything for him. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “I can relate to him because we both have dreams and we both find ways to pursuit them. He had a lot of motivation.” See his full review below.

Houdini

By KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Ryan R., age 11

I really enjoy this film. I liked this story because the plot of the movie shows how you can do anything when you put your mind to do it. I also like that it shows that, even though Harry isn’t great, he doesn’t give up. This film is an hour long and doesn’t feel rushed. I like that this movie has a nice message along with a nice plot.

The story of Houdini takes place in 1866. It is about a boy named Harry, who dreams of becoming a magician. He gets an opportunity to go to New York to win a contest. If he wins, he will get to perform in New York. The problem is he needs help and so, another magician helps him out.

Something I don’t like is that are no bonus features on the DVD. There are only chapters. I was surprised to find that out. The movie just begins with no introduction to the features. Other than that, I really loved it.

The message of this film is “to follow your dreams and never give up when the challenge gets hard.” I say that because Harry first had problems with performing magic. But, he always wanted to be a magician and he never gave up. He went to New York to practice so he could achieve his goals. And, if you want to know more, you should need to watch see this DVD.

My favorite character is Harry because he reminds me of myself. He reminds me of myself when I took a chance to do KIDS FIRST! I can relate to him because we both have dreams and we both find ways to pursuit them. He had a lot of motivation.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this to kids ages 4 to 18. I think some adults may like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like action and adventure movies.

This film is truly an enjoyable experience just to watch! Director Brad Bird has outdone himself making this master piece. From the perfect cast, to the original story, it is just breathtaking to watch. The cinematography is perfect. It is not too modest but not to forced either. The acting is spot on. George, Britt and the rest of the cast have great chemistry. They joke with other, pull us into their drama and make us believe their story. The relationship between the main characters vacillates. At times you’re sad; at other times happy times in seeing these heartwarming relationships develop. Disney has outdone itself so many times, but again they have surprises us with a very original and nicely created film based on Walt’s original vision of Tomorrow.

My favorite scene is when Casey, Frank and a girl named Athena (watch the film to learn more about this very special character) go to Paris where they launch something out of the Eiffel tower! It is action packed, funny and just stunning to watch. The special effects are out of this world and perfectly executed.

There are so many moral messages, but the main one is – Nothing is impossible and never stop questioning the world around you. In this film, Casey never stops asking questions and, because of this, a very surprising thing happens.

With the release of Tomorrowland on Blu-Ray and DVD, there are a whole bunch of cool and interesting bonus features. My favorite thing is that most of them are narrated by Brad Bird. These include the first day they started shooting, deleted scenes, Brad Bird vs. Weather (that was my favorite!) and even an exclusive animated short showing the creation of Tomorrowland!

This film has very few scenes that are too mature for younger kids so, I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I also give this 5 out of 5 stars as this film is truly one of the greatest family films of the year.

This film is truly an enjoyable experience just to watch! Director Brad Bird has outdone himself making this master piece. From the perfect cast, to the original story, it is just breathtaking to watch. The cinematography is perfect. It is not too modest but not to forced either. The acting is spot on. George, Britt and the rest of the cast have great chemistry. They joke with other, pull us into their drama and make us believe their story. The relationship between the main characters vacillates. At times you’re sad; at other times happy times in seeing these heartwarming relationships develop. Disney has outdone itself so many times, but again they have surprises us with a very original and nicely created film based on Walt’s original vision of Tomorrow.

My favorite scene is when Casey, Frank and a girl named Athena (watch the film to learn more about this very special character) go to Paris where they launch something out of the Eiffel tower! It is action packed, funny and just stunning to watch. The special effects are out of this world and perfectly executed.

There are so many moral messages, but the main one is – Nothing is impossible and never stop questioning the world around you. In this film, Casey never stops asking questions and, because of this, a very surprising thing happens.
With the release of Tomorrowland on Blu-Ray and DVD, there are a whole bunch of cool and interesting bonus features. My favorite thing is that most of them are narrated by Brad Bird. These include the first day they started shooting, deleted scenes, Brad Bird vs. Weather (that was my favorite!) and even an exclusive animated short showing the creation of Tomorrowland!

This film has very few scenes that are too mature for younger kids so, I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I also give this 5 out of 5 stars as this film is truly one of the greatest family films of the year.

Tomorowland

By Miles T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This futuristic film has an advanced plot and is full of surprises. It uses a lot of special effects, green screen work and wires and contains a lot of action! This film is about a teenage girl who has glimpsed the future and is determined to figure out how to get there.

My favorite character is Frank Walker played by George Cloony. In the movie, he is very funny and sarcastic. I like this character because it seems like he has no hope, but then something happens and he is suddenly soaked in hope. I love everyone in the cast because their acting is so good and their work with ropes and harnesses and special effects is nothing short of amazing. The action looks very real.

I was very confused at the start of the movie because it does not give you a lot of information and I was not sure where the movie was going. I think that they did not have any idea how to start the movie so they chose to do it as if it was a documentary. It has that feel to it. However, it got less confusing as it developed and the actors and all the action scenes are fun and exciting.  The ending is the best part because it leaves you hopeful and, now I want to see Tomorrowland 2.

Definitely get the DVD because there are a lot of fun extra scenes they had to cut out of the movie. I wish they had left these scenes in the movie because it would been less confusing. But, thankfully, most of it is saved and is now part of the extras. Also, the extras show how the movie was made.  It looks like it was difficult for the actors and took a lot of takes. Brad Bird (Director) exercised his wild imagination and excelled in making things look realistic.  I understand that he was an animator before he was a Director and had specific ideas about how he wanted everything to look.  Well, he succeeded as everything looks beautiful and interesting.

I recommend this movie for ages 6 to 18 up because it shows some violence. I rate this 4.5 out of 5 stars. I hope you enjoy the movie!

Aladdin (Diamond Edition) – One of Disney’s Greatest

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Aladdin.jpgThe Aladdin Diamond Edition is available now on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital. Climb aboard for a magical carpet ride with nonstop laughs, action-packed adventure and Academy Award(R)-winning music that will make your heart soar (1992: Best Music, Original Song, “A Whole New World,” Original Score). Now for the first time ever, a whole new world of Disney’s ALADDIN is revealed in a whole new way on Blu-ray and Digital HD — with never-before-seen bonus! With the help of a hysterically funny, shape-shifting, 10,000-year-old Genie, street-smart commoner Aladdin and clever, confident Princess Jasmine join forces against the evil sorcerer Jafar to put an end to his plans to take over the kingdom! Starring Robin Williams, Linda Larkin and Scott Weinger. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “…one of the greatest is Aladdin with flying carpets, magical Genies, giant talking sand monsters. Aladdin is beloved by me along with millions of others and it will be loved by many more with this new Diamond DVD.” Haley P. adds, “Aladdin has so many jokes that it makes you laugh, but also has quite a few dramatic scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat with relationships sprouting into wonderful romance. And, it is all wrapped together in one fantastic adventure.“ See their full reviews below.

Aladdin (Diamond Edition)

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Disney has so many classics, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, but one of the greatest is Aladdin with flying carpets, magical Genies, giant talking sand monsters. Aladdin is beloved by me along with millions of others and it will be loved by many more with this new Diamond DVD.

Aladdin has so many jokes that it makes you laugh, but also has quite a few dramatic scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat with relationships sprouting into wonderful romance. And, it is all wrapped together in one fantastic adventure.

The story begins when a Middle Eastern princess decides she had enough of being stuck in her palace and goes out into the city for once in her life. She goes to the market and gets in a little bit of trouble, thanks to a poor young man named Aladdin. Sadly, he is accused of kidnapping the princess. Now in jail, he and another man manage to escape to go find a massive treasure and most importantly – a Genie bottle. The Genie (our favorite Robin Williams) comes out and grants Aladdin three wishes – now Aladdin can decide what he wants to do.

Aladdin is such a fantastic and entertaining film. The animation is just mind blowing. How good it is, considering that it was made over 20 years ago, how full of emotion the voice actors ate, it is quite different than many other famous Disney animations. With such a famous cast, it is truly a masterpiece. And, quite nostalgic to hear Robin Williams’ so recognizable voice as this is one of his most iconic roles. It really shows how he entertained the world with laughter for so many years. The soundtrack in Aladdin is incredible. Each song is catchy and kind of gets stuck in your head (I will show you the woooorld!) and so many of them are now classic songs that people of different generations sing.

This special Diamond edition of Aladdin comes with quite a few bonus features. In one of my favorites, conversations with the casts, I found out a lot of interesting facts such as Scott Weinger, the voice of Aladdin, actually didn’t know how to sing when he auditioned for it at the age of 15! There are also several deleted scenes, showing how different they originally planned the film and even a deleted song that was done by Jafar, (Jonathon Freeman)!

My favorite scene is when Aladdin releases Genie for the first time and he quickly gets out of his small bottle (he is rather big). I love his first line, “10,000 years will give you such a crick in the neck!” I love this scene because instead of ranting about something, he just does his first line as a pretty funny joke, which forever brought this lovable special character into our lives.

Aladdin has something similar to the other Disney animated films in that they are meant for the whole family. So, I recommend it for ages 7 to 18. I wouldn’t show it to kids younger than seven because there are a few dramatic scenes that might be frightening for then. It isn’t exactly bright and fun throughout the whole film. I give it five out of five stars because this is truly a classic and I love every aspect of it, especially our wonderful Genie who we miss every day.

Aladdin
Reviewed by Haley P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Aladdin is an amazing classic and one of my favorites.  It is a wonderful fairy tale that makes you want to see more even after it is finished.

This movie is about a boy named Aladdin (Scott Weinger) with his pet monkey named Abu (Frank Welker) who are considered street rats in the town.  Then there is the Sultan (Douglas Seale), his daughter, Princess Jasmine (Linda Larkin), his evil advisor, Jafar (Jonathan Freeman) who live in the Palace and also a genie (Robin Williams).  The Sultan tells his daughter, Princes Jasmine that she has to find someone to marry. She is tired of being forced to stay in the palace and wants to live her life without her father telling her what to do and who to marry.  She sneaks away from the palace.  When she gets into trouble at the marketplace, Aladdin rescues her and they run off together.  However, Aladdin gets thrown in jail by Jafar, and caught up into his evil plot to take over the land with the help of a genie in a lamp.

My favorite part is when Aladdin rubs the lamp and the genie appears.  He starts singing a song about all the things he can do.  I also liked the part where Jafar steals the lamp and wishes the genie to turn him into a Sultan.  The parrot then shoves crackers into the original Sultan’s mouth as payback.  It was hysterical.

My favorite character is Abu because he is always saving Aladdin when he gets into trouble.  He is an awesome sidekick, even though he keeps trying to steal everything.  All the characters do an amazing job of playing their parts. The animation was fabulous. It really made the movie come alive!  The moral of the story is no matter how many lies you tell, the truth will always come out.

There is even a bonus feature that shows a deleted song made for Jafar named “My Finest Hour.”  The producers and directors discussed for a while about a part in the movie where Jafar would have his own song.  However, they decided not to use it.  I liked song because it puts more emphasis on how evil Jafar really is.

I think this movie is good for ages 5 through 18. Both boys and girls will watch this movie because it has the fairytale for the girls and the action for the boys. If you don’t have this movie, you will be missing out on something special.  I give this movie a 5 out of 5 dazzling stars. Aladdin is now available on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital so check it out.