Archive for May, 2016

If You Are a Marvel Fan, You Will Have the BEST TIME Watching Captain America: Civil War

Friday, May 6th, 2016

CaptainA.CQ.poster.jpgThe time has come!  Marvel’s latest super hero film lands in theaters just in time for summer viewing. Based on the Civil War comic series which pits two favorite characters against each other – Captain America and Iron Man – this film’s story unfolds in a two and a half hour epic that, according to our KIDS FIRST! reporters, is worth every minute. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Brandon C., comments, “I have never had as much of a great time as I had watching Captain America: Civil War. Is that a great amount of hyperbole? Probably yes. But, hear me out.” Gerry O. adds, “The length of the film is very long (142 minutes) with many characters and with that Captain America: Civil War still ends up being so far, one of the best films of 2016.” Ryan R. concludes with, “The movie Captain America Civil War is finally here and let me tell you, “It is awesome!” I loved watching this movie for its amazing special effects, the high impact action scenes and the acting.” See their full reviews below.

Captain America: Civil War
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Captain America: Civil War can easily be considered an action film, but it doesn’t stick to just that. The dramatic plot excites with careful writing and spectacular twists and turns. Of course, there can never be a superhero film without jokes here and there, but they don’t push it over the limit and keep the audience entertained.

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The length of the film is very long (142 minutes) with many characters and, with that Captain America: Civil War still ends up being so far, one of the best films of 2016.

Captain America: Civil War starts off with several Avengers attempting to stop the robbing of a strong bio-weapon. The mission’s going well, however, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) accidentally kills dozens of civilians. The avengers must now sign a document saying that the UN (United Nations) can dictate where and what to do. The event becomes a disaster when a bomb goes off outside their headquarters. The Avengers are now split. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) agrees to accept whatever the UN has to say and not interfere. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) wants to find the terrorist. Eventually, this split gets worse and worse. To find out who wins, what happens and who ignites the bomb, you need to watch the film.captain.g.jpg

The length of the film may be one big thing about it that some people will see as negative – two and a half hour run time can be trying. However, it perfectly fits this film. The plot unfolds as very thick, complex and long. To try to squeeze it in a shorter run time would make the story feel rushed and confusing. There are other negatives to this film. Much like Captain America: Winter Soldier, the fight scenes go way too fast. Camera shots are only a split second long in the most intense fight scenes, making it very hard to understand what’s going on. On top of that, there are a few plot holes in the film. And then, the viewer comes to the point that defeats all the other negatives: the final fight scenes. These fight scenes between characters combine exciting soundtrack, emotional acting, spectacaptain.d.jpgcular visual effects, smooth choreography and more. At times, up to 12 characters fight each other in the same scene and the end result is nothing less than epic!

My favorite scene features one of the fight sequences. It takes place in an airport with so many different superheroes including Black Panther, Spider man, Ant man, Iron Man, Captain America and many more. The feeling the viewer gets from it can only be called pure adrenaline. There many exciting moments in this film, but these perfectly put together fight scenes are easily the most exciting.

The film is not meant for young kids in the slightest. I recommend it to ages 13 through 18. I give it 5 out of 5 stars because, despite a few flaws – dramatic interactions between characters, emotional acting and nothing less than perfect fight scenes easily make up for those flaws.

Captain America: Civil War
Review by KIDS First! Film Critic, Ryan R. age 12


The movie Captain America Civil War is finally here and let me tell you, “It is awesome!” I loved watching this movie for its amazing special effects, the high impact action scenes and the acting. In this film, the government’s political interference regarding the Avengers’ activities and the repercussions that happen when they are trying to save lives causes Captain America and Iron Man to take opposing sides. The rift between them forces the other Avengers to choose sides, even though they don’t want to. Now are you behind Team Captain America or Team Iron Man?captain.c.jpg

Actors Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) and Paul Bettany (Vision) all give great performances that are dramatic, witty and comedic when necessary. Not to mention the stellar performances from the two newcomers Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spiderman.  Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Black Panther is very regal, strong and makes him one character not to mess with.  Tom Holland is an excellent choice for Spiderman.  I love how he portrays the character.  He is funny, clever and his interactions with Iron Man are great. I can’t wait to see the next Spiderman spinoff starring him. I also enjoyed the spcaptain.b.jpgecial effects, which are amazing and, in some instances, just jaw dropping!  The character’s costumes look fantastic as well.  The only characters I missed in this movie were The Hulk and Thor.

The moral of this film is “don’t jump to conclusions.” For example, when Bucky is accused of something, everyone in the government tries to kill him. Captain America tries to discover who did it, so he can prove the government wrong.  Another moral theme is “vengeance won’t make you feel whole and satisfied.” One of the Avengers learns this lesson at one point in the movie.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to people who like action, adventure, comic book-based and comedy movies. I recommend this film to kids ages 9 to18 and I think adults might like this as well. Some scenes may be a little intense for younger audiences. Make sure to see this film, which comes out May 6

Captain America: Civil War
By Brandon C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

After about eleven years of watching and reading Marvel – from comics to video games to movies to TV shows – I have never had as much of a great time as I had watching Captain America: Civil War. Is that a great amount of hyperbole? Prcaptain.f.jpgobably yes. But, hear me out.

Captain America: Civil War is based on the Civil War comic series which feature Marvel heroes Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) facing off in an incredible battle. The comic series had multiple issues and pulled several elite characters into it, creating an epic battle along with an epic concept. Captain America: Civil War does not disappoint.

The film’s plot revolves around the idea that there have been too many casualties surrounding The Avengers – including their battles in New York, Washington and Sokovia. The United Nations present the remaining superheroes (as Thor and Hulk have disappeared) with a document called the Sokovian Accords, which state that the heroes can do their jobs only when they are told to do so and if they act outside of their boundaries then they will be arrested. Tony Stark and several others agree to sign the document, while Steve Rogers declines to sign. The superheroes form their teams throughout the movie and they eventually clash in a captivating and entertaining battle.

Captain America: Civil War includes the debuts of great characters such as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland). I cannot say enough how incredible of a job Tom Holland does as Spider-Man, as he is just one of the many actors in this film that creates intrigue and entertainment with their characters. As far as the storyline goes, tcaptain.h.jpghe audience is presented with an excellent conflict which only furthers the anticipation as to who is going to win the battle. With other Marvel films, the good guys face the bad guy(s) and the good guys usually win. While some may get hurt, they usually end up fine at the end. In Captain America: Civil War, the audience does not have that luxury of just siding with “the good guys”. Both teams present great points and deliver spectacular dialogue that keeps the audience involved in whatever is going on.

Technically, Marvel Studios proves once again that it knows how to make a film. Everything, from the lighting, to the camera shot variety is darn perfect. While the introduction is a bit messy and hard to follow, it is a minor setback in an otherwise great film. On a personal note, the fight choreography is what stood out for me. I like realistic approaches to stories and films. In Captain America: Civil War, some of the fights feel almost too real as every punch and kick means something. Every blow and action creates a devastating impact that is so compelling you needed to just sit back in awe of what is transpiring.

In conclusion, Captain America: Civil War will get you on the edge of your seats and leave you fully entertained and satisfied. I believe the movie is intended for the other side of 13-year-olds, as the action scenes are very intense and the occasional cursing is rough as well. I give this movie 5 out of 5 Captain America shields because of its brutal fight scenes, beautiful story, flawless visuals and incredible dialogue.

Sing Street – Never Do Anything Halfway, Do it Right!

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

SingStreet.jpgThis touching film follows a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s who escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes. It touches on so many different themes while delivering a strong story about a boy and his music. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giselle T. comments, “This movie left me speechless. Its different components are what made the movie outstanding. It shows the life of the poor as well as how emotional the life of a teenager can be.” See her full review below.

Sing Street

By Giselle T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

This movie left me speechless. Its different components are what made the movie outstanding. It shows the life of the poor as well as how emotional the life of a teenager can be. The different personalities coming together and bonding show how distinctive all these young adults can be, while sharing such a powerful art.

Sing Street is about a teenage boy living in a rural neighborhood and how he copes with his hurdles. Throughout his difficult moments he meets a girl that brings out a whole new side of him. One of the kids in the band known as Eamon (Mark McKenna) involved his pet rabbits in all the meetings with the band. He haSings.a.jpgs this weird obsession with them and has about ten of them. It is hilarious how, everywhere he goes, he holds a bunny.

The location plays a huge part in this movie. It takes place in Ireland, in a poor community where everyone just looks forward to leaving for the city or sailing to London to find hope. The high school they go to is religious and only for males. It’s also very liberal in the sense kids smoke everywhere and do whatever they want at lunch, but it is very strict about uniform policies and respect. For instance, at one moment the main actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, referred to as Cosmo in the film, wears make up to school to make an image for himself with his band. The priest who is also the principal of the school, forces Cosmo physically to remove it.
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Most importantly, I found this movie to be very inspirational. One of its messages is “never do anything halfway, just do it right.” As mentioned earlier, Cosmo meets a girl, Raphina, who motivates him to do something for her when, in fact, he benefits from it the most. She helps him manage his problems. One of the things she says that will always stick in my mind is to not only be sad, but make your sadness happy. Although you are in a bad place, make the best out of it. Write a song or express it in some way. I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18 and rate it 5 out of 5 stars. Viewer discretion is advised due to explicit language and violence.

One Of The Greatest Minds Of All Time – Srinivasa Ramanujan

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Manwhoknew.jpgBased on the true story about an mathematician, unknown outside the academic community, it’s a story waiting to be told – almost a century after his death in 1920. Growing up poor in Madras, India, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. comments, “This live action feature film is incredible!  I fell in love with the main characters and enjoyed the true story. This biographical movie is very dramatic.” See her full review below.

The Man Who Knew Infinity
By Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

This live action feature film is incredible!  I fell in love with the main characters and enjoyed the true story. This biographical movie is very dramatic.

This movie is set during WWI and takes place in India and at Trinity College in Cambridge. Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) is 25 years old, lives in India and is recently married. He is an exceptional mathematician that receives mathematical Manwho.a.jpgformulas by meditating and in his sleep. His mentor encourages him to send his work to the professors at Trinity College.

Dr. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) is very impressed with Ramanujan’s work and tells him to come to England so Hardy can help create publications of his mathematical formulas. Ramanujan leaves India and travels to Cambridge, England, sadly leaving his mom and loving wife at home. When he arrives at Trinity College, he misses his family and the foods he was accustomed to having at home.

Making things more difficult, some of the professors are jealous of how smart Ramanujan is and are prejudiced because he is Indian. He comes up with many formulas, but Dr. Hardy says that no one will publish his work without proof of how he came up with the mathematical formulas since he only says, “It comes to me.”

manwho.b.jpgThroughout the film, the relationship between Dr. Hardy and Ramanujan develops into a very strong one.  Dr. Hardy, in particular, is transformed because of knowing and eventually caring for Ramanujan.  Dr. Hardy, a devout atheist, does not believe in God and doesn’t believe in anything that cannot be proven scientifically.  He does not understand how his student comes up with all of these formulas and struggles with Ramanujan being as brilliant as he appears to be.

This movie is amazing in so many ways and also very inspirational and emotional.  I couldn’t help but fall in love with Dev Patel’s version of Ramanujan’s character.  He is so extraordinary and seems like such a nice person who I would want to know and be friends with.  My favorite scene is when Ramanujan is meditating and is given another formula.  His excitement in receiving this information is contagious.

manwho.d.jpgThe settings and scenery are very appropriate for the time this takes place and made me feel as if it could be during WWI. The costumes are well thought out for scenes in both India and Cambridge, and they definitely fit the time period.

I give this film five out of five stars because it is entertaining, informational and has a very interesting plot. I recommend this movie for ages 12 to 18. It may be difficult for younger audiences to follow, but I do believe that people should watch this movie to learn about other cultures and times and, of course, they should enjoy this very inspirational true story.

Lily’s Driftwood Bay – Starring the Adorable Lily and an Unlikely Cast of Characters

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

LilysDriftwood.jpgThis adorable new show certainly charmed our KIDS FIRST! reporters. It follows the life of the adorable Lily, a five-year-old who lives with her dad and she creates a cast of characters in her imagination that live in Driftwood Bay. Lily’s imagination is quite the thing. Every day, she finds a new treasure on the beach which sparks her to create interesting things. Accompanied by Gull, the clever seagull, a new adventure begins as they go across the way to Driftwood Bay. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “Ah, to sit and look out over the sandy beach at the ocean every day, then your pet gull cries out, “Look, look!” and you spot something buried in the sand.” Jasmyn D. adds, “Lily’s Driftwood Bay is a cute and adorable show that all children will love! The animated characters are so cute because they look like a child colored them. Lily’s character is very dainty and her personality is as bright as the sun.” See their full reviews below.

Lily’s Driftwood Bay: Meet Lily
By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Ah, to sit and look out over the sandy beach at the ocean every day, then your pet gull cries out, “Look, look!” and you spot something buried in the sand. Every day is a new find and a new adventure for Lily who leaves the world and goes off into her imagination to Driftwood Bay, an adorable little place for her to play and discover a use for her new treasure.

The cast of characters are unique, cute and quirky, looking just like something a child would dream up. It includes Captain Salty, the dog with a sailing ship.  Bull who is made from messy balls of string and squeaky mice.  Lord Stag is a puffin. lily.a.pngHatsie is the train conductor and we meet lots of whales. Lily, with her red hair and a cute Irish accent looks like a paper doll and is my favorite character.  I love how she can take a small found object from the beach and think of so many different uses for it. Then, it is turns into a grand adventure.

I laughed so hard while watching the episode Bulls Might Fly. Lord Stag and Bull actually try to hang guild. Everyone has doubts, but you are in for grand and shocking surprise. It shows that even though you might be afraid to do something, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

The lessons learned in these fun stories are easy for young kids to understand. Lessons such as, you should tell the truth. Even if you break something, you can get help in fixing it. A boat is too big to fix by yourself. When you lose something, it is easier to find with help from others, especially if you can’t sleep without it. You should always apologize if you are wrong.  Friendship is important. Be creative and use your imagination. Always put things back where they belong, so you can find them later.

This collection of short episodes is perfect for children as young as two. They are only ten minutes long and are quite easy to follow. I enjoyed watching all ten episodes, but I was just getting into them when they ended. For older kids, they may be too repetitive because the beginning and the end are the same in every episode. I recommend this DVD for ages 2 to 7 and give it 4 out of 5 shining starfish!

Lily’s Driftwood Bay: Meet Lily
By Jasmyn D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Lily’s Driftwood Bay: Meet Lily is a cute and adorable show that all children will love! The animated characters are so cute because they look like a child colored them. Lily’s character is very dainty and her persoLily.b.jpgnality is as bright as the sun. She seems so outgoing and loves an adventure. The opening captures your attention immediately where you see Lily making things out of objects she finds at the beach.

This season contains ten episodes and runs approximately 75 minutes long. Lily’s Driftwood Bay is a Northern Irish children’s television series that premiered on Nick Jr. in the UK and Ireland in 2014. Creator Colin Williams really has made something special that I truly believe children will love as they follow Lily on her fun adventures with her friends Gull, Salty, Hatsie and more. Every day the sea washes up a new treasure which sparks Lily’s imagination about what might be happening on Driftwood Bay. The voice talent also excels. Orlagh O’Keefe is the voice of Lily. Peter Mullan voices Salty the dog. Paul Currie is the voice of Gull. Tameka Empson voices Hatsie the Hen. Many  of these voice over actors Lily.e.jpghave been in major movies or TV shows. Peter Mullan appeared in Hercules, The Jungle Book, Harry Potter and War Horse. Paul Currie is best known for Big City Park and Big and Small.

The show is very interactive and well suited for its audience. My favorite scenes in the show are when Lily comes back with new things. It’s not a show I would watch and I’m a teenager and it’s more suited for kids ages 4 to 7. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and think that  girls will like it more than boys since it is a bit girly. The DVD is available now so, go check it out.

Against the Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti – Love Seeing All the Animals!

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

AgainstTheWild2.jpgFor bickering siblings Ryan and Emma, it was going to be a fun weekend visit with their dad at his job in Africa. But when their small plane crash-lands in the Serengeti, they have only each other along with their fellow passenger, a Malamute named Chinook to rely on. The rescue teams are searching and brother, sister and one courageous dog have to learn how to conquer their fears and trust each other in the most beautiful yet untamed wilderness of all. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “There are tons of animals and it was really fun to see them in their natural habitats. We see lions, elephants, snakes, monkeys, giraffes and so many more. I learned a lot too.” See her full review below.

Against The Wild 2: Survive the Serengeti
By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed this film. At first, I was a little worried that there would be no animals. I hate when movies advertise animals and there aren’t any in the film. I was wrong! There are tons of animals and it was really fun to see them in their natural habitats. We see lions, elephants, snakes, monkeys, giraffes and so many more. I learned a lot too. I actually had no idea that lions and hyenas are afraid of fire. All of these majestic, friendly and not so friendly animals were my favorite part of this film.

I really enjoyed this film. At first, I was a little worried that there would be no animals. I hate when movies advertise animals and there aren’t any in the film. I was wrong! There are tons of animals and it was really fun to see them in their Against.a.jpgnatural habitats. We see lions, elephants, snakes, monkeys, giraffes and so many more. I learned a lot too. I actually had no idea that lions and hyenas are afraid of fire. All of these majestic, friendly and not so friendly animals were my favorite part of this film.

This film revolves about a brother and sister, Ryan (John Paul Ruttan) and Emma (Ella Ballentine). They take an airplane to see their father and their plane gets shot down over the Serengeti. With the pilot injured and no one else to help them except a Malamute dog called Chinook, they have to rely on each other for survival.

My favorite character in this film is Emma because she is upbeat and tries her hardest to be positive, even though it is difficult. She is also a little scared and I could definitely relate to tAgainst.b.jpghat.  Emma and Ryan desperately want to go home to mom and dad. She portrays the character well and shows a bit of girl power, humor, wit and courage.

My favorite scene is when we see an aerial view of zebras, wildebeest and giraffes from the plane. This was an incredible scene because we got to learn more about the animals.

Some things about this movie bothered me. Emma had a cut on her face which moved from scene to scene. In one shot, it was on her left cheek and then, it was on the right. ContinAgainst.c.jpguity is a big deal on a film and this was a goof. Also, I found some of the fire scenes and, there are many, a little worrisome. I kept thinking, “Please, stop and clear all the grass away so you do not start a brush fire.” I thought more could have been done with content of the kids’ backpacks and what could help them. It lacked teaching and educational moments, to me. But, overall, I loved the film and seeing the cool animals.
This film is suitable for ages 6 to 18. My mom and dad liked it so, I think other adults would enjoy it as well. Younger children might find the lions, crocodiles and hyenas frightening because they all are all real and scary looking. I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars as it felt as if I was on a safari in the Serengeti in Africa.

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