Archive for the 'DVDs Released' Category

The Rack Pack: Enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness

Monday, October 8th, 2018

A children’s storybook author reminisces about his childhood adventures with his brothers and friends. In a time before kids spent hours watching television, on the computer, playing video games and texting, they went to the park to play with their friends. As military brats, these kids lived their own adventures. They lived a different sort of childhood that challenged their imaginations to soar to a different level. Following in their parents footsteps, they pretended to be soldiers as they played army in the woods. Life seemed simpler back then, until danger came to town. In our story, a cynical man comes across a Civil War General’s old map that may lead to long lost treasure buried deep in a mining tunnel. The kids come across the man and his team and learn about the treasure. Our heroes come up with a plan to try to find it first. ​Things take a serious turn when the kids are discovered. The thieves up their status and become kidnappers as they take one of the children’s fathers hostage. The kids, in full army gear, set out for a rescue mission. As they learn more about each other they form a bond of brotherhood and friendship called …THE RACK PACK. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “This is sure to be a enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness.”  Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror adds, “The Rack Pack is a funny film that pays respect to our military, all while expressing independence for the youth. I appreciate the diversity and persistence of these school-aged children.” See their full reviews below.

The Rack Pack
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Rack Pack makes fun of its goofy 80s vibe, but ultimately falls a bit flat with its underdeveloped plot. However, the acting and cohesive script provide vibrant energy. This is sure to be a enjoyable watch for anyone looking for that nostalgic 80s goodness.

The story follows the adventures of military nerd brothers Darrell (Nico Ford), Gerald (Hunter Lee Manning), and Loren (Wyatt Walter). Their escapades take a dangerous turn when they come under the contact of a Civil War treasure map. To compete, the cynical duo Ted (C. Thomas Howell) and DJ (Nick Vernon) race to obtain the map and sell it to criminals. However, the boys slip themselves to the thieves leading to their own dad (David Schifter) getting involved and kidnapped. In a race against time, the boys must save both their dad and map all while earning the legendary name The Rack Pack.

Nico Ford, as Darrell, excels with his sharp, yet reckless thinking. His banter with Tammy also add one of the movie’s funniest dynamics as she continuously dupes him. Hunter Lee Manning, as Gerald, sells the eldest brother dynamic with his wise mentorship even if he can come across as disloyal. As well as Wyatt Walter, as Loren, who wonderfully presents his cute youngest brother self always following his elders into trouble. David Schfiter, as Mr. Rackley, excels with his fatherly presence as he holds the family together through tough times and is always willing to take risks to save lives.  C. Thomas Howell and Nick Vernon, as Ted and DJ, allow for a charismatic villainous presence, with DJ being my favorite character as his comedic timing was perfectly handled. Last but not least, Cece Kelly, as Tammy, accelerates a fun side-plot as her biting remarks never got old.

Thomas J. Churchill talentedly directs the movie with great 80s gags and adventure with the Goonies being a big influence. My favorite scene is when the boys attempt to stop the duo’s perilous plans which result in some truly hilarious scenes as they rely on outsmarting than violent means. However, my problems with this movie stem from the plot of the movie in general which feels devoid of any emotional appeal or development. At times, it feels like there is zero plot. Thankfully, the movie’s quirky characters are able to hold attention as their wise cracks always bring something new to the table.

The message of the movie to always trust in your team as the Rack Pack always powers through and fights for what is right. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 10 as some scenes can come across as intense. The movie is available on DVD, so check it out.

The Rack Pack
By Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror

The Rack Pack is a funny film that pays respect to our military, all while expressing independence for the youth. I appreciate the diversity and persistence of these school-aged children. Yes, some rules are broken, pranks occur and sometimes a skunk just needs to let one rip. But, overall this movie makes your inner child smile. One of the most appealing things is finding out who the pack includes and why they were given this name. I like that there’s a bit of rebellious behavior, taking charge of adults and how the humor is all kid-friendly.

The film flows well. I like seeing the diversity in both race and genders, when it comes to forming a team – on both the child and adult side. I was drawn in from the beginning to the end. There are various characters and scenes that involve bullying. Some of that goes unresolved or are dealt with retaliation. There are moments when kids get revenge on adult thieves, but it is handled in a more imaginary and comedic way.

As a viewer, I wanted to see how the kids would find the villain and recover the treasure. The way the kids handle the situation lines up with what a tween or young teen would do if they were trying to confront a thief. I found the production value of this film above average for a lower budget film. I watched an online screener which included bonus footage showing bloopers and behind the scenes content on which was enjoyable.

The message of this film is that children can join forces and fight for not only their community, but for being respectful human beings. Children of all types can be their own advocates and fight for what they believe in. I think those are compelling messages to learn.

I love action films. There’s something about being covered in dirt and playing outdoors or “members only” zone where you can just let loose and be yourself. Self evaluation, action and adventures are a big part of this film. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. I do suggest parental guidance since there are some mild examples of fighting and weapons. Reviewed by Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.

 

 

Digimon Adventure Tri: Coexistence – Graphics and Action that Draw You In!

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

The Adventure Continues. The arrival of the super powerful Meicoomon starts a countdown to the real world’s collapse. The Digi-Destined are cast out of the Digital World, and even after returning to the real world, are driven away by people, due to their partnerships with the Digimon. Meanwhile, a cruel fate appears imminent for Kari, who has a more honest and sensitive spirit than anyone. KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Kimbirly M. comments, “With the well-known Japanese anime style, Digimon-tri has sharp-edge graphics and action sequences that draw the viewers in.” See the rest of her review below.

Digimon Adventure-Tri: Coexistence
By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

With the well-known Japanese anime style, Digimon-tri has sharp-edge graphics and action sequences that draw the viewers in. We see them dealing with educational and social struggles similar to those that many have to deal with, but with friends helping out.

This is a continuation of the popular Digimon-tri series. The storyline, generally about dark forces taking over, flows well. There are no lagging sequences that would bore the viewer. One becomes empathetic with the protagonist Kari and even the evil force overtaking Meicoomon. The vocabulary and concepts are appropriate for its intended age group and could further enhance vocabulary and concepts that the viewer may not understand. It portrays pro-social models such as when Kari feels that she might be responsible for a specific situation and one of the others reassures her that this definitely isn’t the case. This entire series is very good at displaying consequences of both negative and positive behaviors. There are also good models of problem solving such as when a Digimon character decides on an action and another vehemently opposes it. The rest of the group has to come to a general consensus to make a final determination.

The underlying message is about seeking out others when you are experiencing tough times. Life has complicated challenges, but you can overcome them. You should be aware that there are two things that make this more appropriate for older viewers. First, a character pulls out a gun, but there is no blast. And second, we see a powerful being shaped like a naked woman, although there are no graphic features. For that reason, I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as young adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I would raise the highest age to 25 if I could, because it is so thought-provoking and intelligent. The DVD allows you to select specific scenes and has a bonus feature interview. Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Rarity – Lessons, Morals And Fun All in One Bundle

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Friendship Is In Fashion!  Welcome to the Carousel Boutique, home of Ponyville’s own fashionista — not to mention Spike’s #1 crush — Rarity! But in addition to being up-to-date on the latest trends and styles, Rarity is particularly known for her generosity. See for yourself, as Rarity, along with her best friends, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy and, of course, Spike, prepare for the Grand Galloping Gala, search for the loveliest of gems, investigate crimes, and more! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “I love how My Little Pony always teaches kids different lessons and morals in an interesting scenario. It is always intriguing to watch. These episodes teach deep messages that are crucial to know.” Elle S. KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer adds, “This very wildly entertaining series is based off a sassy and sophisticated pony, Rarity. It’s easy to consider her as a fan favorite, because she is a trend setter, go getter and very creative character.” See their full reviews below.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Rarity
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love how My Little Pony always teaches kids different lessons and morals in an interesting scenario. It is always intriguing to watch. These episodes teach deep messages that are crucial to know.

This DVD is mainly about Rarity and some of the challenges she goes through. The other ponies make appearances and help her through her problems, but sometimes they are the cause. It is fascinating to see all of the ponies’ different takes on how the problems should be solved. They each have unique personalities, which sometimes clash, but may also be beneficial. This DVD is perfect to teach many great morals.

Rarity is either super confident or super stressed out. Tabith St. Germain, the voice of Rarity,  articulates these emotions really well, while maintaining the sophisticated character that Rarity is. St. Germain is the perfect voice for this character. Fluttershy (Andrea Libman) is the kind of character who is very quiet, sounds very timid and doesn’t use very much expression. Even though she is quite reserved, you can still sense her emotions. With the help of animating Fluttershy’s face, we are able to see Fluttershy’s emotions. Libman’s voice over goes from very quiet and reserved to a whole other range of emotions.

Rarity’s costumes are quite beautiful. They are unique to her personality, but with a little twist. I love the dresses that she comes up with, as well as the “ugly” dresses that the ponies closely monitor the making of. I thought it was so interesting to see the ponies’ characteristics and personalities come out even more in the ugly dress.

My favorite scene in this DVD is when Rarity shows off the dresses she likes in her fashion show and, when asked who is the designer, she confidently struts out in a dress of her own. On the contrary, everyone hates the other dresses she showed the first time when she shamefully came out as the designer. I love this scene because, she is so happy to be the designer of her work the second time. The first time she tried to please her friends and that made a huge mess of her work.

The message of this DVD is all about working with other people, knowing you can’t please everyone and forgiveness. Rarity learns all these lessons through her mistakes and the help of her friends. This DVD is very helpful for children experiencing problems of their own or just for learning new things. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. This is available now on DVD so, look for it.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Rarity
By Elle Stuart, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

This very wildly entertaining series is based off a sassy and sophisticated pony, Rarity. It’s easy to consider her as a fan favorite, because she is a trend setter, go getter and very creative character. There are plenty of cameos of primary cast members, so this DVD appeals to a wide audience. The show has so many characters with powers, big personalities and lots of problem solving that children will enjoy. All the characters encounter circumstances and challenges, yet remain positive, honest, fair and friendly.

This DVD starts out by showing us a very patient Rarity going through drastic measures to prepare for an upcoming fashion show. Things don’t go as planned. Most people will relate to putting others first or being flat out embarrassed which makes this completely relatable. Episode 2 is filled with suspense and action. Rarity is in sudden danger due to some greedy diamond dogs that want to strip her of her magical advantages. You won’t believe how she strategically deals with these dogs. Episode 3 is about mystery and fashion. Lastly, episodes 4 and 5 really tie together nicely because they focus on internal beauty and lasting relationships.

The production is bright and colorful with excellent animation. The menu allows you to play separate episodes or all at once. It is only available in English as there are no other language choices to make. There are no bonus features. It does teach some practical skills such as sewing in Episode One. Episodes Two through Five address lots of pro-social behaviors and fashionable commentary. The comedic timing is extraordinarily entertaining as are the fun songs about friendship. The message of this show is about being true to your self, accepting of change and to learn more about what is pleasing inside of you.

I rate this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12.  There are lessons to be learned in every episode, a fun sing-a-long and an overall loving and joyous show.

 

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 – Action Packed Star Wars Like Universe With Thrills Around Every Corner

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Alisa Knows What to Do! is based on the extremely popular Russian science-fiction novels by famous Russian author Kir Bulychiov about a young girl from the future, Alisa Salazar. This animated series weaves a tale about the adventures of a group of teenagers living at the end of the 21st century. The world has changed yet the burning questions that occupied people at the beginning of the century are still pertinent today. Alisa and her friends not only battle evil and injustice but they are also concerned with global problems like the natural balance, both on the planet and in space.

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1, directed by Olga Baulina, is an action packed, Star Wars like universe where thrills are around every corner! Each episode seems as if I am watching a movie, with high depths of emotion, mystery, humor, and untold tales. The animation is realistic in some aspects yet surreal in others forming the futuristic universe of a myriad of planets and species.

The story follows a group of five teenagers who can’t seem to escape trouble, in or out of school. When their daily actions lead them to trouble, or Alisa becomes entangled in one of her father’s scientific cases, they work together to solve the case in front of them. Through a series of hysterical events and intense scenes, each teenager’s unique personality plays a role in their exciting victory.

The animation is a combination of a variety of elements because of its realistic yet science fictional story. On Earth, the humans are life-like with their facial features but their hair and outfits are an original, special addition to the teenagers. The city has skyscrapers with soft and circular edges forming distinctive spires. However, these obscure features are contrasted with the familiar bushes and trees decorating the streets. Each episode also consists of a journey to a different planet. On these journeys the clips of space are the most naturalistic, with beautiful hues of all different colors and millions of stars decorating the night like glitter. Once they land on the planet, any familiarity with our world today diminishes and a new surprising and imaginative world is created. These were my favorite parts of the shows because even though there is a world like ours, there are a variety of other ones in this episode which are fascinating and captivating to watch.

Although the story and animation are original and engaging aspects, the dialogue and jokes can be cliche at times which takes away from the story. However, there are an abundance of humorous scenes and dialogue which made me smile and relate to these characters.

The messages of Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 are countless but some of the most pertinent are to being different is wonderful, and teamwork can help you in any situation. I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Be sure to check out Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 on DVD June 13, 2018.

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1
By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Based on the Russian science fiction novels by well-known Russian author Kir Bulychiov, this is the story of a young teen form the future (end of 21st century) and her group of friends. The characters are quite unique with their brightly colored outfits, hairstyles and personalities. Kids will enjoy watching them in their adventures. The group of teens go on adventures, solving mysteries and battling evil. The animated series is fun and futuristic and, even has moments of edge of your seat excitement! I really like that this series is not only fun to watch, but also teaches about global problems of today. The group of friends are very concerned with global problems on the planet and in space. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 thru 14. This will be a hit with kids this summer and has over 10 hours of fun that will entertain them.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest – Blends Entertainment Into Science Education

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

Unknown to the world, Thomas Edison built a secret lab where he invented a virtual version of himself and a steampunk robot named Von Bolt. Years later, Angie, a twelve-year-old science prodigy, discovers the lab. Join Angie and friends as they learn and explore a variety of science topics from a shark s sense of smell to plants and pollinator s roles to radioactive decay to DNA and more! While visiting one of Kent s relatives, the kids come up with a great idea for attracting more tourists to his restaurant – the only catch is that it also attracts a very big shark with very big teeth! What will the Secret Lab Kids do? Guided by fun-loving Edison, Angie and friends will show just how fun science can be! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Talia J. comments, “I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9…” Eden T. adds, “I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end!” Izzy C. wraps it up with, “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot.” See their full reviews below.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest
By Talia Jacnuk, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is an entertaining DVD that helps children find fun in learning about science related topics.

This DVD contains eight episodes. The series follows a group of children who find the famous scientist Thomas Edison’s secret lab, where he built a virtual version of himself as well as a robot named Von Bolt. Each episode includes a science related topic that teaches us about things such as DNA or a shark’s sense of smell.

This is the second DVD I have watched from this series and, I must say, they are lots of fun. The episodes are very informative and perfect for kids interested in science. There are a couple of different famous scientists that appear in the episodes, including John B. Watson and Charles Darwin. They help teach the kids about the different topics. It’s nice seeing a children’s DVD that is both funny and informative. There are lots of silly jokes embed throughout the episodes, which makes the episodes much more humorous. I am not in the target age for this DVD, but I would thoroughly enjoy it if I was younger. Believe it or not, I actually learned some things about sharks that I had no idea about! The episodes are short and sweet, which helps hold the audience’s attention. Some children’s TV shows tend to drag on for a long time, but these episodes are a perfect length at less than 15 minutes long.

I absolutely love the fun songs in this DVD. In each episode, there is a music video at the end of the episode. The songs are very upbeat and usually have a very catchy tune. The songs relate to what is being taught or something that relates to the episode we just watched. The songs bring lots of lightness to the series, which is perfect for a younger audience. The songs definitely will get the kids up and dancing.

The animation brings a lot of character to the show. When animated programs have an overwhelming amount of colors and precision detail, it’s difficult for children to focus on what the show is trying to teach. This series has calm, relaxing colors and pretty basic looking characters. I think that helps kids stay focused.

I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is out now so, look for it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest
By Izzy Cruz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot. I watched this DVD during my summer  break and learned a lot from watching it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab is an animated TV series that teaches science to kids through entertaining episodes that are filled with adventure and fun. Thomas Edison is a hologram and the main characters can talk to him. The shows are all about science, but they are also funny and have lots of interesting characters who learn about science or are expert scientists. There is a group of kids named Angie, JD, Kent and Nicky who are the stars of the show. They are kids who are just a little bit older than me and work very well as a team, figuring out problems.

In each episode there are different stories and every single one explains how something works.  When I watched the shows, I learned how something works or why it happens. The stories taught me a lot and they also have lots of factoids, which I really like. I love factoids! The lessons are very good. I think watching these shows can actually help kids understand what is taught in their science classes in school.

The animation is a bit simple compared to other flashy, animated shows. Also there are music videos between the episodes, which I found a little bit bizarre. But, they sort of wrap up the lesson that was taught in the previous episode.

Even though I learned a lot from this DVD, I also had fun. That is what makes it so easy to watch a bunch of these episodes in a row. This DVD definitely kept me entertained for a long time. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: The Sharkest
By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

This DVD is a collection of episodes from the slightly odd TV series, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab. It includes lots of science, but makes it interesting enough that you are not be bored. It features Thomas Edison as a hologram, a robot called Van Bolt and kids named JD, Angie, Nicky and Kent.

In each of the eight episodes, the kids find a problem that seems unsolvable such as when their hamster starts growing rapidly in “Mutant Mascot.” They go through the Virtual Reality Window, which instantly transports them to a scientist who helps them. They usually end up finding a scientific solution.

Even though the whole series is built upon facts, the unrealistic parts make for some of the appeal. The talking shark in “It’s Always Sharkest” is so amusing that you will not care about the strangeness. The giant slime monster in “Slime Time!” is also fun.

The scientific factoids are explained clearly so you will not forget them easily! Unlike actual teachers, the characters do not talking directly to you. I find it easier to learn when I feel “invisible.” Other kids might feel this way as well.

I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end! I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. If you are a kid who loves science or a parent who wants your child to learn something, check this out! It’s available now in the usual places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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