Archive for August, 2017

Logan Lucky – Great Plot, Exquisite Action Scenes And Comedic Jokes

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

West Virginia family man Jimmy Logan teams up with his one-armed brother Clyde and sister Mellie to steal money from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Jimmy also recruits demolition expert Joe Bang to help them break into the track’s underground system. Complications arise when a mix-up forces the crew to pull off the heist during a popular NASCAR race while also trying to dodge a relentless FBI agent. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha M. comments, “With such a divine plot, exquisite action scenes and comedic jokes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The more you watch it, the better it gets.” See her full review below.

Logan Lucky
By Samantha Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

This enticing film kept my eyes peeled for a full two hours. With such a divine plot, exquisite action scenes and comedic jokes, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The more you watch it, the better it gets.

Set in West Virginia, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) works at the Charlotte Motor Speedway as a heavy equipment operator. Unfortunately, he loses his job because of a leg injury. Trying to reverse a family curse of failure and poverty, Jimmy Logan works with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver), his sister Mellie (Riley Keogh) and his friends Joe (Daniel Craig) and Fish Bang (Jack Quaid) to rob the Speedway.

Channing Tatum portrays Jimmy exceptionally well, especially his desire to never give up. When the robbery needs to be moved up a week earlier in the midst of the Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, those events do not stop Jimmy from attaining his goals. Clyde Logan plays an Iraq war veteran who lost an arm and is very inspirational because he doesn’t let it affect his everyday life. Mellie Logan is the beautiful hairdresser who acts as a motherly figure to Jimmy’s daughter, Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie). Sadie is a confident girl who competes in beauty pageants and wins the audience over with her priceless smile. Every character is quite unique, so you are sure to relate to at least one of them.
Since the film is set in West Virginia, Southern accents are evident. It is great to see a film set in such a different social atmosphere. I enjoyed hearing the accents and it made me wonder if those same people might think California accents just as fascinating. My favorite part is when Jimmy uses a self tanner on his daughter. I am surprised that his ex-wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) allows this, since she is very strict and has full custody of their daughter. Sadie puts a bathing suit and goggles on while she tanning and it is hilarious.

The messages in this film are never give up, work with others and stay true to yourself. These are very inspirational, because the robbery couldn’t have taken place without a tremendous amount of teamwork and responsibility. If you want to achieve something, go for it, if that is what you truly want to do. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Since there is alcohol use, it is most suited for teens and adults. This film comes out in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 18, 2017. Go see it and find out if the Logans are truly lucky.

Leap! – A Wonderful Film with a Big Meaning about Never Giving up on Your Dreams

Friday, August 25th, 2017

An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina and flees her rural Brittany for Paris, where she passes for someone else and accedes to the position of pupil at the Grand Opera house. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “Leap! is a great film with a big meaning. This film teaches it all – honesty, perseverance and the importance of practice, family, believing in yourself, believing in your dreams and passion.” Sahiba K. adds, “A quick dive into the storyline and action captivated me from the beginning. The animation engrossed me with its beautiful and realistic settings of buildings, streets and skies. The designs of the characters’ outfits are unique and exquisite.” Dariana A. wraps it up with, “Leap! is a marvelous movie that is so inspirational. It has a classic plot of a dance movie, with amazing twists that keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more.” See their full reviews below.

Leap!
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Leap! is a great film with a big meaning. This film teaches it all – honesty, perseverance and the importance of practice, family, believing in yourself, believing in your dreams and passion. Felicie makes a lot of mistakes during her journey, which set her back, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing to push through.

The story begins when Felicie and her best friend, Victor escape from an orphanage. They take a train to Paris so that Felicie can attend a dance school there and Victor can become an inventor. They arrive in Paris without any money. During their journey, they encounter many challenges. As Felicie meets new people, a love conflict arises as well as a conflict with a wealthy lady who is pure evil and wants to crush Felicie’s dream.

A wealthy woman Regine (Kate McKinnon) is cruel, rude and arrogant, but a boy with a crush on Felicie protects her from Regine.  McKinnon makes Regine sound totally wicked in a bad but great way. The boy, Victor (Natt Wolf) is portrayed as a timid, but an optimistic and caring friend.

The animation in this film is spectacular! It is very detailed and their mouths move with the words they are saying so well the animated characters seem real. The voice acting is spot on. The voices are filled with emotion and an inspiration to the audience, including me.

My favorite part is when Felicie watches a ballerina at the French dance school. She takes just one look at the ballerina’s dance and knows she wants to dance and that she can dance. You can really see Felicie’s passion for dancing right there. The whole movie is all about passion and the movie will inspire viewers to follow their dreams.

The message of this film is to follow your dreams. It show how, in order to succeed, you have to work very hard, believe in yourself and have passion. Felicie is an exemplary role model.

Leap! is a very inspirational film with a very important lesson and a pleasure to watch. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults will love this movie as well. I really enjoyed watching this film. Definitely check this awesome movie out when it opens nationwide in theaters August 30, 2017.

Leap!
By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Leap!, directed by Eric Summer is a fun filled, adventurous experience! A quick dive into the storyline and action captivated me from the beginning. The animation engrossed me with its beautiful and realistic settings of buildings, streets and skies. The designs of the characters’ outfits are unique and exquisite.

The story follows two best friends, Felicie (Elle Fanning) and Victor (Dane DeHaan) who have tremendous dreams. Felicie yearns to be a ballerina and Victor, an inventor. Together they escape their home at an orphanage and arrive in Paris to pursue their ambitions.

Elle Fanning as Felicie’s voice communicate sadness when she sniffles, happiness as she squeals with joy and courage with a firm voice. Through Felicie’s voice, I connected to her. Dane Dehaan as Victor’s voice adds great joy and lightness to the film. The humor in his voice made me laugh out loud along with the audience.

The animation is the highlight of this film. The settings and surroundings are intricately detailed. When Felicie and Victor walk through the streets of Paris, the walls of the different buildings are covered with posters that have been ripped or worn down, the individual bricks or stones that make up the walls and street floors are covered with moss and miniscule cracks which adds to their realistic look. The architecture is angelic. The images of the Grand Opera house does true justice to the actual opera house. The ballet choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, wonderfully creates dance masterpieces. Although animated, I felt as if I was watching Felicie dance in real life. In one scene, two girls dance side by side and gracefully migrate from the stage to the chairs in the audience, to outside the stage. They use multiple areas as their stage and still look skillful and elegant.

My favorite part are the costumes. Designed to be sophisticated, from the ballerina’s tutus to the vest of the Director of Opera, they have beautiful flower prints with bright colors and are very visually appealing.

The messages of this film is “never give up on your dreams” and “persevere towards your goals.” I give 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It opens nationwide in theaters August 25, 2017 so, check it out.

Leap!
By Dariana Alvarez, KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 11

Leap! is a marvelous movie that is so inspirational. It has a classic plot of a dance movie, with amazing twists that keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more. Leap! has fantastic animation and shows some of the real struggles of being a ballerina. This film shows how hard work pays off and really motivates you to work as hard as the characters in the film. I love how it has cliches, but still kept me glued and wanting to know more.

The storyline is about an orphan girl, Felicie (Elle Fanning) and her best friend Victor (Dane DeHaan) who escape an orphanage to pursue their dreams. Felicie’s dream is to dance and she gets her own chance to pursue that.  Along the way, she faces challenges and setbacks that help her learn about her longing to dance.

Something really amazing about this film is that during the group dance scenes, they only show the dancers feet, while they dance on pointe. I love it because of how in sync all the feet are and how realistic the animated ballet shoes are. The one thing I didn’t like about the movie is how old some the characters sound compared to their age. For example, Felicie is 11 years old and is voiced by Elle Fanning whose voice sounds much older. In some scenes, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) who is much older than Felicie sounds younger than her. But, the animation is so beautifully unique and unlike anything I’ve seen in any other movie. My favorite scene is when Victor (Dane DeHaan) and Rudy (Tamir Kapelian) fight over Felicie and it turns into a very funny slap fight. My favorite character is Odette because she is the one who teaches Felicie how to dance and always believes in her no matter what happens.

I think there are two messages in this film.  The first is to follow your dreams because, if you can dream it, you can do it (shout out to Walt on this one). The second message is that practice makes perfect. This is what Felicie has to do in order to achieve her dream. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it is such a marvelous movie that I loved watching. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 because even my 17-year-old brother enjoyed it! You can find this film in a theatre near you on August 25.

 

Molang: Season 1 – Each Episode Is Overrun With Happiness

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Join Molang, a round, fluffy, and happy rabbit, and his friend, Piu Piu, a poised, timid, and reserved yellow chick, as they explore everyday life. Molang savors every moment of his life, imbuing it with joy and wonder. He pays attention to the smallest details, giving meaning to even the tiniest things. Molang puts his heart into his actions, and he has a huge heart. Even when he does absolutely nothing, he does it well! Piu Piu, on the other hand, doesn’t t like calling attention to himself. He likes to do things carefully and well. When unexpected situations arise (and Molang’s unpredictable behavior often causes such situations to occur!), Piu Piu can become quickly unsettled, even panicked. Despite their many differences, Molang and Piu Piu enjoy a unique friendship. They have amazing times together ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary. From finding themselves in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean to riding camels in the desert, Molang and Piu Piu experience unexpected situations. Throughout it all though, every single moment with these two is filled with happiness. Embark on 52 unforgettable adventures with Molang and Piu Piu! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sahiba K. comments, “Molang and Piu Piu’s innocent demeanor makes them lovable characters that I rooted for every step of the way. Their love for each other and their society made me fall in love with both of them.” Samantha M. adds, “This delightful series had me laughing the entire time. I enjoyed it tremendously, because there is no dialogue.” Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror sums it up with, “. The animation in this program is amazing and fun. The fluffy thick lines make it very kid-friendly and hold the attention of the viewer.” See their full reviews below.

Molang: Season 1
By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Molang: Season 1 is full of fun and laughter! Molang and Piu Piu’s innocent demeanor makes them lovable characters that I rooted for every step of the way. Their love for each other and their society made me fall in love with both of them. Each episode is overrun with happiness which made me smile nonstop.

The story follows the everyday life of a fluffy rabbit named Molang and its best friend Piu Piu the chicken. On their journeys together, Molang and Piu Piu face different situations and find creative ways to help others and fix their unique problems. Together, they happily enjoy the surprises their lives bring.

There is no dialogue in this show, but the animation and music easily make it understandable. The animation is bright and rounded giving it a soft and calming feeling. During the daytime, the trees, hills and grass are radiant shades of yellows, greens, pinks and oranges. It adds to the brightness of the mood when Molang and Piu Piu are adventuring through their world. During the night, the aura changes as the colors turn soft shades of purples and blues. The hills, trees, snow, sand and nature are drawn with different colorful patterns as are the walls, floors and ceilings which adds a playful and cheerful feeling. The character’s expressions easily convey their thoughts and increase the visual appeal.

The music spoke to me as the dialogue would. Throughout the different episodes, the music changes whenever the situations change. For example, when Molang and Piu Piu are going to the beach or on vacation, the music becomes lively and venturesome. When they run into a problem, the music transforms to a slow rhythm. The music imbued the feelings of Molang and Piu Piu into me. It made me feel a part of their journey.

My favorite part of this show is the character, Molang the bunny. Molang never gets worried and always remains calm when everything seems to be going wrong for Piu Piu. Molang is quick to think of ideas and does anything to help others. Therefore, Molang took a spot in my heart.

The messages of the show address the importance of friendship, teamwork, kindness, loving everybody and helping those in need. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Check out Molang: Season 1 on DVD when it is released on August 15, 2017.

Molang: Season 1
By Samantha Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

This delightful series had me laughing the entire time. I enjoyed it tremendously, because there is no dialogue. Each episode is filled with multiple adventures, so you will never be bored!

You are invited to join Molang and Piu Piu as they explore what life has to offer. Molang is a big, ecstatic rabbit, who finds ways to enjoy his life in every circumstance. Piu Piu is his best friend, a small, shy little chick who is dragged along on every adventure and is often frightened by the unexpected situations they both face. These best friends are completely opposite, but both manage to experience happiness in every situation.

Bruno Gueracague, the sound coordinator, composed an extremely catchy, opening song. While there are 52 episodes, it only takes two to get it stuck in your head, which is a great way for kids to remember the series. Marie-Caroline Villand, one of the series’ directors, successfully communicates themes of happiness and friendship to kids, no matter their culture or dialect. The absence of dialogue leaves the interpretation up to the audience, which gives something for everyone to relate to.

The animation is adorable and leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The characters are incredibly cute, which makes them very relatable. I could not stop watching the series, because I love the unique friendship that Molang and Piu Piu share. My favorite episode is, “The Goldfish.” Molang and Piu Piu try to get the goldfish’s attention and have a disco party, which is hilarious. The fish loves the party, so next time you want your fish’s attention, make sure to involve a disco ball!

The themes of the series are happiness, friendship, respect and unity. It is important to maintain great friendships, live your life to the fullest, care for one another and stick together.

I give this series a 5 out of 5 stars, recommend it to kids ages 3 to 18 and believe that adults will enjoy it too. I could not stop laughing, because it is funny seeing animals act as people in everyday situations. Check out Molang: Season 1 on DVD now, because it will undoubtedly make you laugh.

Molang Season One
By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Juror, Adult

Molang is about a very cute relationship between Molang, a joyful rabbit and Piu Piu, a reluctant chick. Their dynamic is adorable and together they go on many adventures and have great fun. The animation in this program is amazing and fun. The fluffy thick lines make it very kid-friendly and hold the attention of the viewer. There are many episodes on this DVD and my favorite is called “The Underground Walk.” In this episode, the duo goes on an underground tour and, due to their mischievous behavior and lack of discipline, they get lost from the tour group and must work together to find their way out of the tunnels. I like this episode because you really get a good taste of why they work so well together and you get the feeling that maybe without each other they could not accomplish as much. I recommend this for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

The Trip to Spain – Entertaining, Lighthearted Deadpan Comedy

Friday, August 25th, 2017

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a six-part episodic road trip through Spain, sampling the restaurants, eateries, and sights along the way. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tristan T. comments, “entertaining and light-hearted.  The writer/director, Michael Winterbottom leaves the audience with an ending that encourages some interesting discussion as well as making me want to go grab a late night snack!” See his full review below.

The Trip to Spain
By Tristan Tierce, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I surprised myself by actually enjoying this film.  It is entertaining and light-hearted.  The writer/director, Michael Winterbottom leaves the audience with an ending that encourages some interesting discussion as well as making me want to go grab a late night snack!

The Trip to Spain is a deadpan comedy about two friends, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, playing themselves, traveling across Spain, writing about food while they take in culture and talk about life. This is the third in a series of “trip” films and aired at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.  What I find interesting is Michael Winterbottom never actually wrote a script. It is more of an outline explaining where each scene takes place, who is in it and what subjects will be discussed.  Most of the lines are improvised by the actors.

The Trip to Spain is shot on location which allows for some magnificent cinematography.  There are numerous  breathtaking views from the many restaurants they visit.  One thing I found annoying was the abrupt cuts the camera takes to show locals eating or sitting around.  I found it unnecessary and actually distracting from the plot.

I enjoy dry, deadpan humor.  I also think the many impressions Steve and Rob do throughout the film are fun to watch.  Obviously I cannot relate when they make references to their 50-year-old selves, but I often laughed at the situational humor.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Because of the content and dry humor, I think older teens and adults will appreciate it most.  It is playing in theaters now so, go check it out.

The Day Henry Met: Season 1 – Creative, Imaginative and Fun!

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Henry is a 4-year-old boy who always wants to learn and find out more. In each episode, Henry has a friendly chat with whatever he meets and discovers something new… “Hello, Whale. How do you stay under water for so long? Hello, Car. What makes you go so fast? Hello, Moon. Why do you only come out at night?” No matter what Henry meets, they’re always delighted to talk, laugh and share their amazing world with him. After finding out so many amazing things about his new friends, Henry lets his imagination run wild and imagines himself… As a knight rescuing the missing sword… As a singer performing in a band… As a deep sea diver swimming along sea creatures… As a fireman rescuing others… As an astronaut flying to the moon… And more! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha M. comments, “I enjoyed watching Henry act as an inquisitive 4-year-old. I am a little jealous because he is so intelligent and I wish I was that intelligent when I was 4!” Jolleen M. adds, “This DVD is very educational and cute. It is simply amazing that a child can enjoy watching a film while learning so much at the same time.” Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror wraps it up with, “I think this show really inspires adventure and curiosity. I love how it makes every small event seem so fun and worthwhile.” See their full reviews below.

The Day Henry Met: Season 1
By Samantha Marcus, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

This creative animated series left me feeling intrigued the entire time. I enjoyed watching Henry act as an inquisitive 4-year-old. I am a little jealous because he is so intelligent and I wish I was that intelligent when I was 4! Throughout the series, I couldn’t wait to see what Henry would encounter next.

Henry is a young boy who desires to learn something new in his everyday life. In each episode, Henry meets a new object and his imagination comes to life when he puts the object to use. He finds a soccer ball and acts as a referee, finds a shield and acts as a knight and even acts as a deep sea diver, swimming alongside marine life. The best part is, Henry builds so many friendships and everyone he meets is eager to help him find the answers to his questions.

Steve Austin, the series animator, makes the setting and characters look incredibly realistic, since they aren’t picture-perfect. The animation looks pencil sketched, which makes the series more relatable, since nothing in life is perfect. Susan Broe, the series producer, incorporates a multitude of family-friendly themes to make this series fun for everyone to watch.

The music in the series is centralized with an orchestra, which is very calming for young kids and was for me also. It’s very unique, which I greatly admire, because most TV shows today have similar types of music. My favorite episode is called, “A Parrot.” Henry meets a parrot, begins talking to him and finds out it’s his 101st birthday. He tells Henry about his famous grandfather parrot, which is hilarious because parrots aren’t usually famous. It reminded me of going into pet stores and seeing talking parrots.

The message of the series is to explore everything life has to offer and to be nice to everyone you meet. Henry is grateful for his life and treats everyone with compassion and respect, which is what everyone should do. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars, recommend it to kids ages 6 to18 and adults would enjoy it too. I love how every object comes to life in Henry’s imagination and the unique plot had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This comes out on DVD August 15, 2017. I can’t wait to watch Season 2.

The Day Henry Met: Season 1
By Jolleen Mejia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This DVD is very educational and cute. It is simply amazing that a child can enjoy watching a film while learning so much at the same time. A child can acquire so many positive traits and behaviors from watching this show. The animation is so cute. I have never seen this style of animation before.

In this show, Henry meets a new object every day and goes on adventures learning more about them. He helps his object friends with their problems and learns the correct way to act in different situations. He learns to be fair, honest and kind. The show is somewhat predictable and not as original as some educational kids’ shows. I love the plot of Henry meeting a new object. That is very original.

One interesting thing is that all of the objects (trees, clouds, pillars) have eyes on them. The eyes are huge and wide, even on Henry. Another thing is that everything is always moving. For example, all the trees in the background sway in the wind. There are tiny details like that which make everything seem a bit more life like.

My favorite episode is “The Day Henry Met a Football.” In this episode, there is Henry, two boots and a football. The two boots argue with each other about who is the best. The two boots play a game together with the football and eventually get super tired. Then they start arguing that they aren’t the best. This reminds me of when me and my brother argue and it made me laugh. I wonder if the boots are siblings as well.

There are multiple message in the stories. The most common ones are about being honest, kind to others, playing fair and facing your fears. These are all very important and good to teach to children at an early age.

This DVD is great for young children who are ready to learn. I recommend it ages 3 to 7 and give it 3 out of 5 stars. The animation is super cute and unique, but the stories are not all that original. Still this is a wonderful DVD and is available now, so check it out!

The Day Henry Met: Season 1
By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Juror

This is truly a neat little program. This show is exactly as it sounds. It’s all about Henry meeting all kinds of people and things. He goes on tons of wacky adventures and I loved every minute of it. The art is goofy and feels as if it came from a child. I believe that is appealing to children who think that they too could create such a little journey. My favorite episode is “The Day Henry Met… A Panda.” It may because I love pandas, haha. In this episode, Henry helps a panda at the zoo search for its cousin and, in turn, becomes a zookeeper for the day. it’s very fun seeing him meet all the zoo animals and create a friendship with the panda as they search together. I think this show really inspires adventure and curiosity. I love how it makes every small event seem so fun and worthwhile. I recommend this DVD for ages 3 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

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