Archive for the 'Feature Film Reviews' Category

The Grinch (2018) : Funny, Cute, Reminds Us of the Real Spirit of Christmas

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming, and visually stunning, it’s a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Whoville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter, and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch … KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much.” Nathalia J. adds, “Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.” See their full reviews below.

The Grinch
Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much. He tries to spoil it for everyone in the very Christmassy town he lives in, Whoville. Meanwhile, a small Who child tries to catch Santa, so she can talk to him about something very important that she wants for Christmas. The Grinch is an orphan and never had a family Christmas. He used to sit at his window watching all the Whos playing and celebrating outside. This made him hate Christmas. Years later, he decides to try to stop it. The Whos are a species that are always incredibly jolly around Christmas, so it will be hard to take it away from them.

I like how the music is the same music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), but modernized with a hip-hop beat, complements to Danny Elfman. The way the Whos move around the town quickly is quite unique. Instead of roads, the Whos get around get on snowmobiles and sleds.  The main characters in this movie are, The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), the only person that hates Christmas and Cindy Lou, (Cameron Seely), the little-girl that is trying to catch Santa and talk to him.

The Grinch lives in a cave north of Whoville that is full of rooms with inventive passageways and elevators to move between them. It is clear that the Grinch is very inventive. For example, in the music room there is a thin pathway that leads to a massive organ for the Grinch to play and a tiny drum set, for Max, his faithful dog. The Grinch is always telling Max to stop playing because he is ruining the vibe, but eventually gives in. He does this most times Max wants something, showing he is not as mean a character as he pretends.

Max is my favorite character in this movie. He goes about his day using Rube Goldberg machines to help the Grinch get ready for his day. My favorite scene is when Cindy Lou is sliding down the hill to get to the postman and crashes into the Grinch. That scene is hilarious and cool at the same time, featuring lots of fast action and comedy. Another good scene is when the Grinch is choosing his clothes. Inside his closet, he has clothes that have tags on them that read, “sad, very sad, miserable, very miserable, Christmas or happy.” The happy pants are super clean while the very miserable pants look old and worn. This shows that the Grinch has been extremely sad lately.

The message of this film is that being together with friends and family is the only gift you ever need. Cindy Lou shows this through how forgiving she is, even though he steals their Christmas.  I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is a great family Christmas movie with a good message. This movie opens in theaters on November 9, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

What a touching moment! This full-length animated film intensely has you gazing at the screen, without a doubt. This enjoyable, wonderstruck, emotional, touching and kid-friendly movie is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier. Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.

The story follows a mean-spirited, cynical and grumpy Grinch who sets his eye on a mission, with his energetic dog Max, to destroy Christmas for one deplorable reason. The Grinch really hates Christmas, especially the loud, bright celebrations in Whoville. In order to get some peace and quiet, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Clause and you’ll have to wait to see how he steals Christmas from The Who’s. He doesn’t expect what happens when he meets a young girl names Cindy Lou. The Grinch realizes he is only afraid of one thing that has affected him his whole life.

The lead characters in this film are Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely), The Mayor of Whoville (Angela Lansbury), Izzy (Scarlett Estevez) and narrator (Pharrell Williams).

My favorite part of the film is when the grumpy and cruel Grinch changes his attitude and action choices. He has a change of heart and experiences his old ways to become happy and respectful as he feels valued (which is what everyone should feel). A quick theory of what happens is the small young girl changes the Grinch heart with a sentence, and that sentence changes everything.

This holiday film will definitely bring lots of laughs and humor. The film certainly provides positive messages about optimism, compassion and generosity. The animation deserves a big round of applause. It is jaw dropping, extraordinary, realistic to the story theme, beautiful and vibrant. The amazing animation is brought to life  by Cinzia Angelina (storyboard artist), Sylvia Deboissy (Character Designer/ Development Artist), Patrick Muylken (color designer) and many more.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 16, as well as adults. Truly, the whole family will enjoy the film. It is designed with so much reaction moments. Don’t miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide November 9, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – A Wondrous, Visual Experience

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

All Clara wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift from her late mother. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key-which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip, a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers, and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger, to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N., comments, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out. Zoe C. comments, “This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer adds, “Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.” See their full reviews below.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out.

The story follows young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she recovers from her mother’s death. However, a spark of hope lightens Clara after seeing her late mother’s parting gift of a box with a hidden key. This key belongs to a parallel world, unlike anything, to which Clara must travel to obtain the key. With the help of budding soldier Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Clara learns of all obstacles that await, especially in the form of the menacing Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), leader of the Fourth Realm. Most importantly is a looming war that could preside over the three Realms that are at peace – Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets and are threatened by the Fourth Realm. In the three Realms resides Sugar Plum (Kiera Knightley) who is on same page as Clara and braves her up for the Fourth Realm as the fate of the Realms and her mother’s dying wish relies on it.

Mackenzie Foy, as Clara, well presents her character’s central struggle to find her inner place amidst all the tragedy, while also being hopeful and cheerful. The end result of this character development is a joy to watch and most definitely the movie’s best subplot, amongst all the other slumberous ones. Kiera Knightley, as Sugar Plum Fairy, regales with well-written comedic relief, but the timing of her intervention seems quite random and very over-the-top at times. Regardless, children, most of all, will find enjoyment with all the youthful energy. Jayden Fowora-Knight, as Philip, is my favorite character, despite this being only the second film he has appeared in. His charm and braveness add a relentless vigor to the character that never gets old. Helen Mirren, as Mother Ginger, likewise shines, despite her character suffering from a lack of screen time and character development. With what she is given, she shines with the menacing undertones that could mean good under the entire demeanor. Also, Misty Copeland’s cameo is full of entertainment with her ballet proficiency bringing a certain something to the stage without feeling like a forced addition. Instead, it feels more like a celebration of the Nutcracker’s roots and remains my favorite scene.

Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston expertly direct the visual flair with clear attention to every nook and cranny of the special effects and sound design. Despite this, the movie has flaws coming from the lack of a compelling story line, aside from Clara’s inner struggles.  Everything feels introduced way too quickly and without clear meaning. This leaves the movie feeling rather inconsequential and just an excuse to put the Nutcracker on the live screen. Still, the movie delivers an amazing awe to each scene’s production.

The message of the movie is to never lose yourself in sorrow and always connect with your family and friends during times of grief. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on November 2, 2018 so check it out.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater. I want to see it again. The film is inspired by the original story from German author E.T.A Hoffman, written in 1816 and the ballet by Tchaikovsky (1892).

The story is simple, but powerful in concept. This is the journey of Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is  dealing with the loss of her mother, trying to reconnect with the world and with her family, especially her father. On Christmas Eve, she receives a special gilt from her mother – a mysterious box. But, she is missing the key. With the help of Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), her godfather, she enters a world of mysteries with characters that will help her find the key. When she first enters, a cute mouse has the key, but is impossible to catch. She meets a Nutcracker soldier, Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who tells her about the realm of Flowers, the realm of Sweets and the realm of Snowflakes, but warns her about the dangerous fourth realm and Mother Ginger. But, Clara is determined to find the key and will do what it takes to find it.

This film has the power of captivating you. There are moments I was really afraid and others I was delighted and amused, depending on the characters in the scene. It has the power to be frightening, like in the fourth realm, with all kinds of circus characters. All the performances are amazing. Mackenzie Foy conveys innocence and courage at the same time and is just perfect for this role. She has an ethereal look and is a brave actress who did as many of her own stunts as can could. I love that she is a princess and a hero at the same time. Morgan Freeman adds gravitas to his role and a sense of wisdom. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez is so flamboyant and adds a nice touch to the cast. Keira Knightly is the perfect fairy. She has a special tone in her voice. Helen Mirren is also absolutely believable as Mother Ginger. There’s a mystery about her character and, despite her bad reputation, you want to know more about her. Actually, the only thing that bothered me in this film is that we don’t know her back story and why she is a villain when we first meet her.

I love the ballet and the fact that the filmmakers decided to incorporate dance into the story. Misty Copeland’s dancing is flawless. She is the first African American woman promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater. Although the story is simple, all the visual and camera work put you in a fascinating world you are exited to be part of. The costumes are beautiful and the art direction and production design deserve an Oscar nomination.

The message of this movie is about embracing your own courage and discovering yourself. I think this is very important for kids to learn and understand the answer to so many questions. So many times we underestimate the power we have to make the world a better place. I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 16. Unlock the mystery!

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

Do you remember The Nutcracker ballet? What about Cinderella? As I screened this film, both childhood memories came to mind. Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.

While you may know the story of The Nutcracker, your senses will be awakened by the colors, costumes, and scenery in this film. As with most Disney films, there is a theme of loss, yet it is also so alive!

Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is an amazing young protagonist. I found myself drawn to her curious nature and determination to live up to her mother’s curious nature. As a young girl, she plays a curious and adventurous spirit, who is also very mechanically inclined. She amazed me by her desire to succeed, and her courage.  She walks into dark spaces knowing she is enough, and encounters creatures who challenge her along a path of discovery. She encounters toy soldiers and magical mice – some of whom are not kind! Clara’s quick mind and wonderful, kind skills help her get through a lot of sticky situations!

Without giving too much away, the gist of the story is about a gift, presented by her Father, but left to her by her mother at Christmas. Her second gift is from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) at his annual holiday party, which leads her to a coveted key – which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. From one world to the next, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets, Clara and a soldier she meets named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key.

The Sugar Plum Fairy Sugar (Keira Knightley), we learn, is not to be trusted and at times, gets annoying with her over the top antics. But in the end, this film has all the feels (and reminds me of so many things) of a Victorian English Christmas, the beloved Russian ballet, lively forest creatures from Disney and the bond of family. Misty Copeland makes a magnificent addition to the film, showcasing her balletic perfection.

Hats off to the costumers and make-up artists! I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults. You should know this film deals with the death of a parent. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it! You’ll be glad you did.

Photos: ©Walt Disney Studios, All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Bohemian Rhapsody: Amazing Script, Constantly Daring And Unexpected.

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his band mates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band.” Zoe C. adds, “This live-action, biographical or biopic film is electrifying! The music is absolutely incredible!… The actors are great. Rohan F. wraps it up with, “I like how they used lots of clips from that time by inserting televised shots of important moments. I also enjoyed the use of montages to Queen’s songs to show different things. The format never gets boring because there is a unique twist to each one.” See their full reviews below.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

https://youtu.be/VyVc0z9fwOM

Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band. Even though I only knew the most famous songs, that doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this film. It belongs to everyone, like Queen does.

The story follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the lead singer of Queen, and his rise to fame, but also his fall from grace. It sounds really simple, but the other aspects of the movie, such as the writing and acting, really set it apart from other similar films.

First, the script is amazing. Kudos to the script writer, Anthony McCarten. There are so many scenes in this movie that are genuinely full of tension particularly scenes showing the band arguing and practically any scene with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech). The writing really helps deliver tension in the darker scenes and make the more uplifting scenes really motivating. The writing makes you feel Freddie’s downward spiral. The scenes with Paul especially made me genuinely nervous. Because, you know he doesn’t care about Freddie and he just wants to leech off of him. All you want is for Freddie to cut ties with Paul. Thankfully, this movie isn’t a complete downer, as there are some genuinely heartwarming moments, especially in the beginning. Then, things get dark pretty quickly. It’s nice seeing the band get together and hang out. You genuinely believe in their friendship.

This movie also shows Freddie dealing with real issues – his race, his sexuality and not feeling like a disappointment to his parents. Life is complicated, whether or not you are rich and famous. We also got to give special attention to Freddie’s actor.  Rami Malek really is Freddie Mercury! It is so spot on that Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury look almost identical. That’s what I call amazing casting. While the rest of the cast is really great as well, Rami Malek completely steals the show.

This movie also excels at showing how destiny works in mysterious ways. For example, five minutes before Freddie asks to join to the band, the lead singer quits. I find that really interesting. To be honest, the only issue I have with this movie is the final scene. It’s a recreation of the Live Aid performance Queen did, which seems fine at first. However, the scene goes on forever. It is a good scene and I get why they made it so long, but after awhile I kept wondering how much longer the scene was going to last. That’s really my only issue with the film. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. Even if you’re not a huge Queen fan, I think you’ll enjoy this. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This live-action, biographical or biopic film is electrifying! The music is absolutely incredible! Of course, it’s the music from the British rock band Queen. I am familiar with the band’s music; because my mom is a 80s rock fan and I grew up listening to this and other bands. I do like and know the songs and enjoyed summer camps at “School of Rock” playing music from those bands.

The actors are great. The actor that plays Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek looks exactly like the real Freddie Mercury. He mimics his stage movements and reflects on the artist who loved music and art in general. The rest of the actors’ are flawless as well. At first, I didn’t think I would like this film, but when I watched it, I absolutely fell in love with it. It is amazing. At least half the songs that are in this film I didn’t even know were by Queen!

The story is narrated through Queen’s hit songs. It starts showing how Mercury joined a band that played at bars and became one of the most important rock bands in the world, creating iconic music. The film focuses on Mercury’s story and tells it with so much respect. Once he joins guitar player Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), they start composing songs. They got the attention of important music producers and record labels and became Queen. The film shows the creative process – how these songs were made, how the band members agree and disagree, go on tours and got tired of the routine of making albums and touring. At one point, we see Freddie Mercury becoming so popular and later kind of losing himself. But, the band members were a family and the movie shows those who always stood by his side as well as those who betrayed him. Freddie decided to go solo, but he reunites for the spectacular Live Aid Show in 1985 that was impeccably recreated.

The photography, production design and costumes reflect the look and feel of the 80s. They look exactly as they do in Queen’s music videos and live shows. The editing mixes the drama of Mercury’s life together with the songs really well and the camera work is remarkable. My favorite scenes are all those when music is involved, especially the operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” both written by Mercury.

I watched the film under my mom’s guidance. I don’t recommend this for kids under 13. The film shows, in a very elegant way, Mercury’s dark side and relationships in his life. There are no explicit scenes, but is definitively a movie for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. I definitely give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because it is amazing and actors and filmmakers have worked really hard to interpret and recreate an important moment in music history. I truly love this film and definitely recommend it. You are not going to want to miss this extraordinary film. It opens nationwide in theaters November 2, 2018 so, check it out.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical film based on the life story of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the incredible British super-band Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody takes place when a young boy named Farrokh joins a college band which later becomes Queen, the band that revolutionized concerts with audience participation and became one of the biggest stadium bands in history. The movie mainly focuses on Freddie Mercury’s relationship with the band, his family and other people around him and how he remained true to his unique personality.

I like how they used lots of clips from that time by inserting televised shots of important moments. I also enjoyed the use of montages to Queen’s songs to show different things. The format never gets boring because there is a unique twist to each one. I especially enjoyed how they started the film by setting up for Live Aid, the most ambitious charity concert ever, and ended at Queen’s mind-blowing performance of that same concert. I also like how they used the running joke of lateness to show power throughout the band’s life.

The cinematography in the movie is wonderful. There are lots of shots showing the entire room which really helps you understand the locations. I particularly like the shots showing how low the ceiling is in the drummer’s room. There are some very emotional shots of Freddie communicating with his girlfriend using lights in their opposing apartments.

My favorite scene is when they try to sell their new song, Bohemian Rhapsody, to Ray Foster. I like this scene because it shows how the members of Queen really didn’t allow themselves to work the same way that other bands do. It shows that they wouldn’t use a formula to write any of their songs. I also enjoyed the scene when the band writes Bohemian Rhapsody, because there are lots of good jokes in it. They use simple digital transition effects that wouldn’t usually be in a professional movie to show how the band was different. These transition effects are also true to the 70s and 80s when the movie is set.

The moral of this film is to be yourself, even if you’re different. This moral is important to the story. It influences every decision Freddie Mercury makes and is an important part of his legacy. Freddie Mercury was a unique individual, but by staying true to himself, he gained acceptance in the world and became an icon.

They use mostly Queen songs (of course) and they use them well. There are a lot of cuts in the music, but they aren’t too noticeable. The songs that aren’t by Queen are used mainly as music the characters are listening to in the background.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to for ages 13 through 18, as well as adults. I believe lots of adults will enjoy it, especially those who were teen and young adults during this time. This film opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it.

Photo Credit: Alex Bailey; TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

 

 

Johnny English Strikes Again: Entertaining. Holds Up To Success Of The Previous Films

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Johnny English Strikes Again is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much loved accidental secret agent. The new adventure begins when a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, leaving Johnny English as the Secret Service’s last hope. Called out of retirement, English dives head first into action with the mission to find the mastermind hacker. As a man with few skills and analog methods, Johnny English must overcome the challenges of modern technology to make this mission a success. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Leah R. comments, “This entertaining film …is very funny. Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.” Raquel Y. adds, “Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn’t a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again.” See their full reviews below.

Johnny English Strikes Again
By Leah R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age, 11

This entertaining film, written by William Davies and directed by David Kerr, is very funny. The main character, Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.

The film is about a cyber attack, which exposes the identities of all of Great Britain’s undercover spies. Johnny English is a retired spy, currently working as a teacher, and he comes out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker who did it.  When he was a spy, he used old gadgets, but now they use more digital things like tablets and smart phones. Since Johnny doesn’t know how to use them, he just throws them at his targets instead.

The actor playing Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson, is very good. Every time he fights someone, it looks quite realistic. He is hilarious when he dances in the middle of the dance floor and doesn’t stop the whole night.  Also, the gadgets he uses, like his magnetic boots and his exoskeleton suit make the film even more exciting. My favorite part of this film is that Johnny English is a teacher and he teaches the kids how to be spies instead of teaching them normal school subjects.

The soundtrack is excellent and so are the sets. They make it feel as if it’s a real spy movie. All of the crazy things that you expect to happen in a spy movie happen here, plus even more. The special effects and stunts make each scene that much more fun to watch.

As fun as this film is, you should know that people are violent with each other and there is one inappropriate scene when Johnny’s pants fall down and you see his rear end. The violent parts are not bloody or gory. They are just normal fight scenes like you would see in any funny spy movie. There is some humor that younger kids may not understand or might find disturbing, but I think older kids and adults will definitely be amused. As thrilling as all of the stunts are, they are dangerously unrealistic and not the kind of thing you would want a young child thinking they should try.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is available in theaters on October 26, 2018, so look for it.

Johnny English Strikes Again
By Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn’t a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again. This is a “cannot miss” film that everyone is sure to love.

The storyline follows the Prime Minister of London (Emma Thompson) who calls Special Agent English (Rowan Atkinson) back into action after a cyber-attack leaks the identities of all the undercover agents working for the MI7. English must stop the hacker in order to save the people of London.

My favorite part about this film is when English is practicing his mission using a virtual reality simulation. The simulation is said to be highly “immersive.” While English is running through the simulation, he makes his way out of headquarters and into the streets of London, causing havoc for the people of London. I also found it interesting how well Johnny’s old fashion ways comes into play numerous times throughout the film.

The director, David Kerr, makes a huge play on irony by making the bad guy a super high-tech professional, with special agent English not tech savvy at all. Luckily for Johnny, his lack of knowledge about technology helps him for the better.

There isn’t anything about this film that I didn’t like. From its special effects, to props to acting, everything fits together nicely, creating a great film that audiences will enjoy. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters  October 26, 2018, so look for it.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Documentary Giving Insight Into Struggles of African Children

Monday, October 15th, 2018

A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Talia J. comments, “Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children.” See her full review below.

Liyana
By Talia Jacnuk, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children.

Liyana is about five Swaziland orphans who, under the guidance of storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, create their own fictional character that embarks on a journey to save her brothers. The story directly correlates to the struggles they are experiencing and their own dreams. The character they create, named Liyana is fully animated throughout the film.

This film is one that everyone needs to watch. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own lives and take a lot of things for granted. This film highlights the struggles of these orphaned African children. Some of them don’t even remember anything about their parents. The film really open your eyes to an unfamiliar place and allows you to connect on a personal level with some of their struggles. This documentary is not intended to pity the children in any way, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. I find these children completely inspiring, because they are prepared to do anything to make their dreams come true. They live their lives everyday with happiness and passion.

The animation is quite unique in many ways. It is very still and the characters rarely move. It’s a very interesting way to animate. I have never seen anything quite like this. It’s intriguing to see the subtle movements of the characters and the subtle sound effects in the background. The orphans that the film revolves around are storytellers of the film. I love hearing them express the characters. They occasionally make sounds to portray the weather such as thunder and then make sounds representing actions of the animated character Liyana. Overall, the sound and music in this film feels quite lively and upbeat. The music brings a huge cultural aspect to the film because the lyrics are in their native tongue. The music is quite beautiful and expresses African heritage.

This film takes you on a whirlwind of emotion. People hear about horrific events on the news, but don’t really find a personal connection to the struggles that people around the world face. This film provides a personal account on how children deal with disease and family issues. By show the audience real people dealing with their struggles, this film can help spread the word about people around the world needing help and teach us that their problems are not just something to flip through as you change TB channels.

Definitely put this film on your watch list. It deals with some harsh topics such as disease and abuse, but it does so in a sensitive way. I recommend this film for ages of 12 to 18, as well as adults. The story is fascinating and the realness of the film gives us insight into the lives of African orphans. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It comes out on October 9 so go check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook
Loading Search...