Archive for December, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Edgy, Intense and Delivers a Lot of Thrills

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Rogueone.jpgFrom Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. Opening December 26, 2016, Rogue One is an American epic space opera film in the Star Wars Anthology, directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. It is a stand-alone sequel to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005) and a prequel to the original Star Wars film Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) ending at the point at which that film begins. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “… let me tell you, it is a must see and you don’t have to go to a galaxy far away to see it! It’s edgy, intense and delivers a lot of thrills.  Fans will not be disappointed with this new action packed film.” Nathaniel B. adds, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is definitely a great addition to the Star Wars saga. It has so many amazing things about it and is truly astonishing.” See their full reviews below and, be sure to watch Alejandra G.’s interview with Diego Luna who plays Cassian Andor.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
By KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Ryan R., Age 12

I just finished watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and, let me tell you, it is a must see and you don’t have to go to a galaxy far away to see it! It’s edgy, intense and delivers a lot of thrills.  Fans will not be disappointed with this new action packed film.

Meet Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a defiant and eager character  who takes on a desperate mission for the Rebellion to try to steal the plans of the Death Star so they can learn how to destroy it. The question is, will they find the plans and learn how to destroy it or will they fail? You have to see the movie to find out.

I relished watching this movie for its incredible CGI, story and characters. The CGI is amazing. For example, the details ofrogue.a.jpg the planets make them look so interesting, realistic and beautiful. Another example is K-2SO (my favorite character) who is completely created by CGI and yet, he looks like a real robot!  I also love K-2SO because his sarcastic humor and delivery is hilarious. He acts too smart for his own good and he steals the show. The story has many twists and turns, and it left me with a lot of “what ifs” and I enjoyed that. The new characters are ordinary but strong people who band together to help Jyn and you’ll end up liking and rooting for them. Each one is memorable in their own right.  I feel like the Star Wars movies are getting better and better.  There are some subtle references to previous Star Wars rogue.c.jpgfilms and some familiar faces. You might be asking, “who?” The answer is, go see the movie to find out!

I did not enjoy how the movie ends because, I felt they could have gone in another direction. But that is just my opinion. Overall, this film is amazing and I think you will definitely enjoy it.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to people who like spinoffs, family, Star Wars films and action / adventure movies. I recommend this for ages 8 to 18 as well as adults. Be aware there are a few intense scenes and some blood shown. It opens Friday, December 16, 2016 so make sure to check it out in a theater near you.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
By Nathaniel B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is definitely a great addition to the Star Wars saga. It has so many amazing things about rogue.d.jpgit and is truly astonishing.

As in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this film has a great female hero, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). She is the perfect person for this role. She is very silent in the beginning and doesn’t have as many lines as I thought she would, but it serves as a way to show her character’s personality. She seems angry inside and does not care about the Rebellion.

The music uses the Star Wars theme and, even though it is not the exact same music as in the other Star Wars movies, rogue.g.jpgit plays a critical role in making the film come alive. The music is dramatic at times and soft at others and really sets the moods, making scenes more dramatic, even when they aren’t that dramatic. The scenery also really makes you feel like you are on another world.

I love the special effects – the explosions, weapons, and spaceships are fantastic and are even better than the amazing special effects in the other Star Wars films. They look so real and are very interesting. The spaceships are the coolest of all the special effects. There are so many different kinds, it is hard to believe that someone put that much time, effort and creativity into designing imaginary rogue.h.jpgaircrafts.

As great as Rogue One is, it is violent and has a lot of death. The death is not bloody or gross in any way but it is still death. Just a warning, some characters that people might get attached to die and some people may get upset because they like that person, so brace for impact. This film feels more like a movie for grown-ups than some of the others in the saga, but it is still great for kids.

This movie is a prequel to Star Wars 4, A New Hope (or number one if you are talking about the order of the films being rogye.b.jpgmade) and it comes after the Anakin, Qui Gon Jinn and younger Obi Wan Kenobi section of the saga. This film is called a Star Wars “story”, but it is one of the best Star Wars films yet. It explains many things and shows how different things in A New Hope happened. There is one particular part that I needed to have pointed out to me. I will not spoil it, but if you think during the movie about the name, A New Hope, then you should get it.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars because it adds important details to the previous Star Wars stories, is a great story on its own and is beautifully made. This film is suitable for ages 8 to 18 because it is great for older people but kind of scary for younger kids.  It opens in theaters on December 16, 2016 so, go check it out! You’ll be glad you did.

Holiday Films from N Circle Entertainment – Not Your Usual Ho Ho Ho!

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

NCircleHoliday.165.300_1.jpgThis holiday season, N Circle Entertainment brings you a wonderful collection of films on DVD that you can share with your loved ones of all ages. Beginning with The Little Prince: The Planet of Gargand and including Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab:  ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff and 14 more, it really is a treasure trove of shows. Take a look below.

The Little Prince: The Planet Gargand starts with the universe in great danger. The evil Snake has extinguished the stars, causing chaos and plunging the planets into darkness. The Little Prince must leave his Asteroid home and beloved friend, Rose, in his quest to outsmart the Snake and save the universe from doom.  Accompanied by his trusted companion, the Fox, the Little Prince travels from planet to planet, braving danger and discovering vast and enchanted worlds.  Will the extraordinary gifts of the Little Prince bring each of the planets back to life? And will he ever find his way home? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. comments, “I like how they include action without violence so it is suitable for younger kids. It is a series of three episodes of a television show that are all part of one big story. When my younger brother watched it, he said it was the best kid’s show he’d seen in a long time.” See his full review below.

The Little Prince: The Planet Gargand
By Rohan D. Foxe, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11



The Little Prince: The Planet Gargand
is a fun and playful animation for kids.  It is based on characters from a famous LittleP.The_Planet_of_Gargand.jpgbook by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry called The Little Prince. I like how they include action without violence so it is suitable for younger kids. It is a series of three episodes of a television show that are all part of one big story. When my younger brother watched it, he said it was the best kid’s show he’d seen in a long time.

The story is about the Little Prince’s adventure on the planet Gargand. When the prince arrives, he finds out that there is about to be a race and the winner will become the next Khagle. The Khagle is a person who delivers seeds to grow magic trees that give gifts to the children. If all the seeds are not delivered, then the planet will break apart into lots of small floating islands. Someone cheats in the race and Thery, a local who expected to win, doesn’t. He gets very angry at Dokan, his best friend because he thinks that it was him and then tries to steal the seeds so that he can be the Khagle. The Little Prince and his friend, the Fox must stop him and save the planet.

I like the cheery animation and the action in this film. I also enjoyed the expressions of the characters and the vivid colors. There are some inconsistencies when it suddenly changes from LittleP.jpgday to night at certain points that I didn’t like. My favorite part of the film is the race scene because it is energetic and exciting. It is action-filled and very fast-paced. It is also gripping because they had dreamed their entire lives of winning this competition and it is very important to them.

Brian Dow is the voice of Thery and James Beach voices Dokan. The Little Prince is voiced by Aidan Drummond and the Fox by Brian Drummond.  Their voices express the characters so well, it makes you believe they are the characters they play.LittleP2.jpg

This film has several moral message about how friendship is powerful and how you can do anything you put your mind to. It also shows that cheating does not pay off and good conquers evil.

The Little Prince: The Planet Gargand is a great animated film and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I think kids ages 3 to 10 would enjoy it and I also think adults would like watching it with their kids. It is now available on DVD and I think it would make a great Christmas gift for kids.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff
By Rohan Foxe, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff is a wonderful DVD that is educational and interesting and ThomasEdison_1.jpgstill very funny and entertaining. In it, some very colorful characters have a very important and exciting adventure. It also has an educational, original music video at the end of each episode.

This DVD contains six seasonal episodes of Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab that create one special holiday story. It features four kid geniuses who help a virtual Thomas Edison to solve every day and unusual problems using science. In the first episode, Stranger in a Strange Lab, the kids learn about wormholes from Albert Einstein so they can help Thomas Edison’s Friend, Bob, with an urgent, top-secret project. In the following episodes, which include Sturm und Drag, All the Heavy Lifting, Twas the Night Before Liftoff, Von Bolt Meets Santa, and And to all a Good Flight, they help him solve problems with his project using their scientific knowledge, scientific theories and the help of historic geniuses such as Isaac Newton, Pythagoras and George Cayley. Meanwhile, Thomas Edison’s steampunk robot, Van Bolt, digs deeper into Bob’s secrets to reveal his true identity and the real reason his project is so urgent.

This film is very funny and educational, teaching science, history and vocabulary in a very entertaining way. It also contains loads of cool fun facts. I really like how all the scientists that tesl.2.jpghelp the four kids are real scientists from history such as Albert Einstein. From watching this DVD, I learned that George Cayley created one of the first flying machine, how airplanes fly and the amount of time you can be in freezing temperatures before getting hypothermia or frostbit. I also learned that batteries die quicker in cold temperatures and how space suits work. My favorite part of the DVD is the original music videos at the end of every episode. They are funny, cool, and catchy and actually help to remember the facts!

I give this DVD five out of five stars because there was nothing I didn’t like about it. I recommend it for children age 5 to 13 and I think it would make great holiday viewing for kids that are interested in science and engineering. It is available on DVD now so go check it out.

NCirclexmas.2016..jpgOther Holiday DVDS from NCircle Entertainment include: The SnowmanWinterWonderland.jpg and The Snowman and the Snowdog, Gumby’s Artic Antics, Gaillou’s Holiday Movie, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas, Caillou’s Holiday Movie, Doozers Giant Gingerbread House, Mike the Knight: Mike’s Christmas Surprise, Naya’s Arctic Adventures: Meet Naya, Naya’s Arctic Adventures: Naya and Friends, Octonauts: The Great Penguin Race, Octonauts: The very Vegimal Christmas, The Cat in the Hat: Told from the Cold, Chloe’s Closet: Chloe’s Winter Wonderland and yo Gabba Gabba: Live! Holiday Show.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff Entertains and Educates

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

ThomasEdison_1.jpgThis DVD is a compilation of episodes from the popular TV series Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab. In this compilation, an old friend of Edison’s visits the lab and asks the Secret Lab Kids to help him with an urgent, top-secret project, they have to follow him through a wormhole to get to his own secret lab. Who could this mysterious friend be and what is this top secret project during the holiday season? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Rohan F. comments, “This film is very funny and educational, teaching science, history and vocabulary in a very entertaining way. It also contains loads of cool fun facts. I really like how all the scientists that help the four kids are real scientists from history such as Albert Einstein.” Imani B. added, “It is a very fun interactive movie that various kids will enjoy due to its learning experience. While watching, I felt as if I was being taught something new while celebrating the Christmas spirit.” See their full reviews below.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff
By Rohan Foxe, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff is a wonderful DVD that is educational and interesting and still very funny and entertaining. In it, some very colorful characters have a very important and exciting adventure. It also has an educational, original music video at the end of each episode.

This DVD contains six seasonal episodes of Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab that create one special holiday story. It features four kid geniuses who help a virtual Thomas Edison to solve every day and unusual problems using science. In the first episode, Stranger in a Strange Lab, the kids learn about wormholes from Albert Einstein so they can help Thomas Edison’s Friend, Bob, with an urgent, top-secret project. In the following episodes, which include Sturm und Drag, All the Heavy Lifting, Twas the Night Before Liftoff, Von Bolt Meets Santa, and And to all a Good Flight, they help him solve problems with his project using their scientific knowledge, scientific theories and the help of historic geniuses such as Isaac Newton, Pythagoras and George Cayley. Meanwhile, Thomas Edison’s steampunk robot, Van Bolt, digs deeper into Bob’s secrets to reveal his true identity and the real reason his project is so urgent.

This film is very funny and educational, teaching science, history and vocabulary in a very entertaining way. It also contains loads of cool fun facts. I really like how all the scientists that help the four kids are real scientists from history such as Albert Einstein. From watching this DVD, I learned that George Cayley created one of the first flying machine, how airplanes fly and the amount of time you can be in freezing temperatures before getting hypothermia or frostbit. I also learned that batteries die quicker in cold temperatures and how space suits work. My favorite part of the DVD is the original music videos at the end of every episode. They are funny, cool, and catchy and actually help to remember the facts!

I give this DVD five out of five stars because there was nothing I didn’t like about it. I recommend it for children age 5 to 13 and I think it would make great holiday viewing for kids that are interested in science and engineering. It is available on DVD now so go check it out.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: ‘Twas the Night Before Liftoff
By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

My overall thought about this film is very positive. It is a very fun interactive movie that various kids will enjoy due to its learning experience. While watching, I felt as if I was being taught something new while celebrating the Christmas spirit. You will definitely not be bored throughout the film.

The story is about a secret lab developed by Thomas Edison (Livingston Taylor) in a world that no one knows about. In that lab, a virtual version of Thomas was built along with a robot named Von Bolt. A long period of time passes and a young girl named Angie (Philipa Alexander) discovers the lab. An old friend of Edison comes to town and asks the Secret Lab Kids to help him. The viewer is invited to join the cast of Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab in solving the mystery of the secret project and the mysterious friend.

My favorite scenes would have to be the sudden sing along tunes. Each tune has a new lesson that is introduced at different times. Science is taught with touches of the Christmas spirit as well. I really admire how the writers create similarities between science and Christmas for kids to get them into the spirit of the holidays. For example, a song explains the scientific history of Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, but the characters also talk about what they want to do for Christmas. Another example is when Von Bot teaches the kids about the magic of Christmas and what it is really about. I felt as if I was being taught new information and opinions about science by the characters in the film, which I found positive and enjoyable.

Without giving away the ending, the moral message is to focus on the task at hand and work together as a team to get things done. At first, the characters have trouble realizing that they were given a special mission that needed to be completed by a certain time because they were so focused on the fact that Christmas was coming soon. I really like how the writers tried to not to make the message so repetitive since many children’s movies are. It really is a fun and calm, interactive movie to watch. I recommend this film for children ages 5 to 12 due to its childish, yet mature message and educational information. I also think parents would enjoy watching this along with their kids and they may even learn something new like I did. I rate this 5 out of 5 stars because of its merry Holiday spirit and interactive learning experiences. This DVD is available now so, go check it out.

KIDS FIRST! 2016 Holiday Gift Guide – DVDs

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

holiday_gift_guide_top_of_post_2.jpg Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be stressful. That’s why, KIDS FIRST! has created our annual Holiday Gift Guide featuring DVDs, games and music for your loved ones. We know you look for that perfect gift for your niece, nephew, sister-in-law and of course, your own kids and family members and, we’ve got your back! You most likely know what those closest to you want and need, but for those who you don’t see as often it’s more of a challenge. Check out our recommendations of DVDs, music and games to help you find the perfect Holiday gift. Many of these have been reviewed by our in-house team of youth KIDS FIRST! Film Critics and, if so, you will find their video review right next to the item. Of course, you can find many more reviews at www.kidsfirst.org and, if you order anything from Amazon, please use our Amazon Smile account so a part of your purchase helps to support the ongoing work of KIDS FIRST. Happy Holidays from all of us at KIDS FIRST! to all of you. Please feel free to share this with your peeps.

Click here for our 2016 KIDS FIRST! Holiday Gift Guide: http://slides.com/rannynm/deck-31

Super 4: Wonderful Story Lines And Exciting Characters, All Set In Medieval Times

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Super4.Kingsland.jpgEmbark on a series of adventures with the Super 4 as they travel throughout Kingsland, a world of chivalry, dragons, quests, tournaments and castles! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “This is set in medieval times, a period I always take joy in watching with its knights, dragons, castles and, of course, a catapult. The background and castles put you the mood to grab your sword and defend the castles.” Arjun N. adds, “This movie has a good message about people working as a team and that, as a team, they can solve any problem. The team is faced with various dangers and they work together to overcome these dangers.” See their full reviews below.

Super 4: Welcome to Kingsland
By Morgan B., Kids First Film Critic, Age 12

I love this DVD with its seven, fun-filled episodes with wonderful story lines, exciting characters and fun animation. The animation is similar to what LEGO movies use, but it is different and transports you to a new place.

The stories usually start off at King’s castle and the characters leaving on an adventure. The PLAYMOBIL characters are super4.a.jpgyoung, quirky and still trying to figure out their abilities. They all have clothing that matches their various characters which adds to making them look realistic. The Super 4 leader is a prince who is the brave knight, Alex (Damien Ferrette). A rambunctious and quirky pirate, Ruby (Laetitia Lefebvre) has their backs at all times although she is a bit of a thief. A shy and adorable fairy, Twinkle (Sarah Natochenny) is still learning how to use her magic wand. An intelligent and boastful scientist, Gene (Franck Lorrain) stands out from the others because he is a scientist from the future. Also, there is a silly girly girl, Leonora Princess (Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld) who loves her brother but can be a bit of a burden at times. She is very kind and clever and tries to help the Super 4 save the day and the kingdom.

This is set in medieval times, a period I always take joy in watching with its knights, dragons, castles and, of course, a catapult. The background and castles put you the mood to grab your sword and defend the castles. Gene makes this a unique story line. His futuristic vehicle with computers, wheels and an engine sure beats walking or riding horseback. He always tells the viewers facts and science knowledge to help them solve the super4.b.jpgproblems.

The voice talent are perfectly matched for their characters. The fairy is a bit high pitched perhaps but, one thing I like is that you can always tell who is talking because their voices are re all so distinct. The episode “Princely Wedding” is humorous because the Princess is put under a love spell and falls in love with the Black Knight and Super 4 must figure out what is going on. She wants nothing to do with them because she is madly in love and will not listen to anyone, but her “love” is a sworn enemy of the kingdom. She is a girly girl, so this episode is totally out of character for her. I smiled from ear to ear in the “Baby Dragon” episode when Gene, the mature scientist, is singing a lullaby and is attached to the baby.

The lesson learned here is that we all need each other to conquer problems. You should never give up as there are always different ways to look at things. When you do, you can find a solution. I recommend this to kids age 5 to 12. The episodes are short enough to keep young ones’ attention and the unique animation, story lines and science information will entertain older kids.  I give this 5 out of 5 super PLAYMOBIL stars. You can find this DVD wherever DVDs are sold.

Super 4: Welcome to Kingsland
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Super4 is a decent Playmobile series that is more suitable for younger kids. The voice acting kept me in interested, but, the childish jokes were definitely not suited for teens. Also, the CGI is not as sophisticated. Despite that, it is very super4.c.jpgwatchable by a younger audience.

The story line follows the adventures of four characters who go on adventures in Kingsland. The four characters include Prince Alexander (Damien Ferrette), Twinkle the fairy (Sarah Natochenny), Ruby the pirate (Laetitia Lefebvre) and Gene the scientist (Franck Lorrain). The team face certain challenges such as opposing kingdoms and dragons in six different episodes.

Damien Ferrette delivers a decent performance as Prince Alexander and expresses the character’s adventurous side quite well. Sarah Natochenny plays a fun Twinkle the fairy, showing the magical side of the character well. Ruby the Pirate (Laetitia Lefebvre) presents a very believable pirate that likes to steal. Gene the Scientist (Franck Lorrain) is the most interesting character due to his intelligence and wittiness.

The movie’s CGI is not as sophisticated as most of today’s animated TV shows, which bothered me a little. Most movies super4.d.jpgtoday, such as the Pixar movies have realistic animations of the characters. The animation here seems a bit choppy and the characters are not very detailed. Despite this, I appreciate the efforts of the animation team because the characters are very well done. My favorite part would be the scenes involving the dragons. I think that the dragons are a great, fantastical element.

This movie has a good message about people working as a team and that, as a team, they can solve any problem. The team is faced with various dangers and they work together to overcome these dangers. This show would appeal more to anyone interested in Playmobil line of toys. I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8 years old. This series is available on DVD so, go check it out.

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