Archive for the 'Film Screenings' Category

Raven Calls Warm Bodies a Hilarious “Zomedy!”

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

WarmBodies.jpgWhen we imagine a post-apocalyptic world, it usually includes a lot of broken down buildings, stray dogs and a bunch of raggedy and tough survivors, but rarely zombies! Warm Bodies, rated PG-13, is a hilarious look at what could be, a world in which humans are uncommon and zombies roam the land looking for fresh bodies to eat.

This may not sound appealing, but according to 15-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Raven Devanney, it’s actually quite hilarious. A quirky romance/comedy/horror film, it stands to remind us of the true meaning of humanity and the importance of staying connected with others.

Warm Bodies

Reviewed by Raven Devanney

Click here to see Raven’s full video review!

The newest addition to the Zombie, Romance, Comedy and Horror genre. I call it, a Zombromance, or a Zomedy! It’s set in a post apocalyptic world consisting of zombies, bonies and a small population of humans. When a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) meets a Human girl named Julie, he starts to feel like there is more to life than just being the walking dead. He begins to cure himself, retrain himself to talk and become more human. He inspires more zombies to try to cure themselves, and slowly they begin to become more human. Will R and Julie defy the odds and stay together, or will the fact that one of them is a zombie keep them apart?

I absolutely adore this movie. I will definitely see it over and over again. When I think of zombie movies I think of nasty rotting creatures and lots of blood and gore. Naturally the zombies eat people in this movie, but it is filmed in such a way that brought a sense of humor to the whole thing and the blood was very minimal. Even the zombies don’t look that bad. In fact, Nicholas Hoult makes one attractive zombie! I like the lighting and sets in this film a lot. You can definitely tell that it is a post apocalyptic world, but the zombies still try to maintain somewhat consistent routines. I thought it was cool too see zombie security guards and janitors. Although they weren’t doing much, you still got the sense that there was some humanity left in them.

My favorite character is R because he is such a sweetheart. He goes against his urge to eat people to save Julie and he proves that he is more than just a mindless flesh eater. Even though he is relearning how to speak, he is still quite slow so he can only mutter out simple words and phrases. Nicholas Hoult does a fantastic job keeping this character dull and Zombie-like, while still giving glimpses of his emotions and personality. This movie shows that R still has completely normal thoughts, he just can’t express them, as if he is trapped in his own mind. R voiced over most of the movie and it was hilarious to hear what he was thinking, compared to what he was actually able to do. He made me laugh even in more intense situations, making him my absolute favorite character.

I can’t say I have a favorite scene because this whole movie is incredibly well done. I do love all the times that R and his Zombie friend M or “Marcus” interact. They try to communicate and connect and it’s so funny and touching to see their friendship show even though it’s challenging for them to express it. I also really enjoy the seen when Julie (Teresa Palmer) and her friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton) give R a makeover. R is so reluctant to have makeup put on him, which I thought was funny because most teenage boys are. The music in this scene was particularly funny and entertaining and it is a memorable scene.

I think there are so many underlying messages in this film, but the one that stands out to me most is that we need to take the time to connect with our surroundings and the people in our lives. In this film it shows a flashback to the world before the zombie outbreak, and R is saying that back then everyone could connect, but in the flashback everyone is on their phones texting or playing video games. It is a really strong reminder that we are so wired and constantly tuned into technology that we often forget to be with our family and connect with our loved ones

I recommend this film for ages 13 and up because teens and even adults will love this movie, but kids under the age of 13 may find it to be too mature. I give Warm Bodies 10 out of 10 stars so go check it out at a theater near you!

If You Like Horror Films And Ghosts, Don’t Miss Mama

Monday, January 28th, 2013

MAMA.JPGJust out in theaters on January 20, 2013, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney bravely went to see a screening of the new thriller/chiller, Mama. This PG-13 rated movie isn’t for everyone, but if your a fan of horror, and like to be scared silly, you shouldn’t miss it. Though not the most original film, it packs a heavy fear-factor for every ghost-loving movie goer.


Reviewed by Raven Devanney, age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Click here to see Raven’s full video review!

Mama tells the story of two young sisters, Lily and Victoria, who are abandoned in the woods for five years. When the girls are found and taken into custody by their uncle and his girlfriend Annabelle, everyone begins to wonder how these toddlers could have survived for so long on their own. The girls’ strange behavior leads Annabell to believe that the girls weren’t alone in the woods after all, and in fact, a troubled ghost called Mama was caring for them. But when they leave the forest, they don’t leave Mama.

I really enjoy this movie. It is definitely scary to watch, but when it is over it doesn’t leave you feeling afraid. I’m convinced this movie is a mix between The Woman in Black and The Possession. It has a very similar ghost with the same motives as The Woman in Black, and has the same creepy bugs from The Possession. The ending is especially similar to The Woman in Black. No spoiler alerts or anything, but you think all will be fine but it’s not. I guess you shouldn’t go to a horror film if you’re looking for a happy ending.

I like the cinematography, and the use of lighting and sound track, to set the ominous mood for this film. The dull colors and grey wash of the scenery really helps the spook level of the movie. The one thing I have a real problem with was the animation of Mama’s face in the last few scenes. This is supposed to be the height of the horror, the film’s climax, but Mama’s face was so unrealistic that it pulls me out of my horrified trance and I am no longer scared.

My favorite character is Annabell (Jessica Chastain), because she isn’t too enthusiastic about suddenly having to take on a motherly role, especially since the girls have serious social problems. Her boyfriend, the main caretaker of the kids, gets seriously injured, leaving Annabell in charge. I love watching her relationship develop into love for Lily and Victoria, and when Mama comes to play, she does a wonderful job showing her fear.

My favorite scene is in the very beginning of the movie, when it shows how one-year-old Lily and three-year-old Victoria end up in the woods. It is a very twisted scene, but I like how they show the girls adapting to their new surroundings. They adapt through crayon drawings on the walls, which is very creative.

I give Mama 4 out of 5 stars because it was definitely thrilling, but since it was so similar to some other films in this genre, I have to take a point away for lack of originality. I recommend Mama for ages 13 and up because of it’s intense content. If you’re into anything Horror, Thriller or ghost related, then you’ll love Mama so go check it out!

Monsters Inc Monsters Come To Life in 3D

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

monstersincPixar Studios has taken one of the favorite films of the past decade and made it even more fun by adding 3D. For kids who haven’t seen the original, and for everyone who would like to see it again, Monsters Inc 3D is still showing in theaters across the country. Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, says adding 3D makes “the monsters seem much bigger, and scarier, and funnier.”

Click here to listen to the KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions Radio Show on Voice America Kids, where our film critics discuss this film and many others.

Monsters Inc 3D
Reveiwed by Morgan Bertsch

Click here to see Morgan’s full video review!

One of Pixar’s all-time favorite movies, Monster Inc. is in theaters now in 3D. Monstropolis is the home to monsters. They get all their electricity from the screams of children. Each child has a different door to their closet and when the monsters go in the children scream and they save these in special containers. The monsters are competing to see who gets the most screams. The monsters are scared of children.

When a child gets out and into the scream factory, craziness happens. Sulley (John Goodman) is to blame for this accident. He has a side kick named Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) who has only one eye. They must hide the child and get her back home. She is a little confused and calls Sully, Kitty and he calls her Boo. A monster named Randall Boggs (James Coburn) is Boo’s monster and he wants to find her and steal all her screams. He not only wants to win the contest, he wants to take over the company. There are others on his side and once you watch it the mystery will be revealed.

My favorite character is Boo because she is so cute, with the sweetest voice and funniest outfit. She thinks scaring is fun. I love the part when Boo runs into the other monster children and fits right in. They were adorable and you cannot say that about many monsters. She is always pulling at your heart strings and you root for her throughout the movie.

The 3D graphics brought the colors out and the monsters in and closer to you. The monsters seem much bigger, and scarier, and funnier. The music is catchy and fits in with all the different scenes and moods of the movie. There are funny, sad, scary and happy times with the music to match.

Watch this 3D version so you will be ready for Monster University coming out next summer. I can hardly wait. The age range is 5 and up because the monster are scary after all. Adults will find it fun and will remember when they first saw this movie.

I give this movie 5 twinkling stars because it was even better with the 3D than the original movie. This movie will stand the test of time. Be sure to watch until the very end for the must see out-takes. Morgan Bertsch, age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Parental Guidance Spans The Generations

Monday, December 31st, 2012

pg.jpgParental Guidance, rated PG, is truly a film for the whole family. A hilarious vision of how families relate to one another, kids, parents and grandparents. Starring the fabulous talents of Bette Midler and Billy Crystal, this film has a long range appeal.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 8-year-old Morgan Bertsch, says this story has an important moral: “if everyone works together things will come out all right” and Victoria Burns, 14-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic says that people will like this film because they “can relate to the differences between parents and grandparents.”

Our very own Cheyenne Nguyen, 9-year old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, was able to interview some of the talent on this film. Click here to see her wonderful video interviews!

Parental Guidance
Reviewed by Victoria Burns
Click here to see Victoria’s full video review!

This is an experience! It was interesting to see different styles of parenting, from generation to generation. This movie gives an unusual perspective on parenting, whether it be by using a smart house, or screaming at teachers; this movie is enlightening.

When I stepped in the theater to see the movie, I did not know what to expect. It is hilarious! I can relate to the strange transition from what parents would let a children do and grandparents that let children do anything. This movie follows the Simmons family who believe in a more, “I’ll let you consider the consequences and make the right choice” type of parenting; and the parents that never get to have time alone together. So when the inventor father: Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) is nominated for an award out of state, he and his wife Alice (Marisa Tomei) decide to take this trip for some much needed alone time. They call Phil’s parents to watch them, but they are away on vacation; Alice dreads to ask her judgmental parents, but they say yes. Let the games begin.

Meet Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) a newly fired baseball announcer and his wife Diane (Bette Midler), a retired weather girl. These grandparents’ main goal is to make their grandchildren love them, and to no longer be the “other grandparents.” They are being entrusted to care for three children: Harper (Bailee Madison), 12 going on 50 and an aspiring violinist; Turner (Joshua Rush), a shy boy with a stutter; and Barker (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf), the youngest with a hard time making real friends, so he has an imaginary one. This is a new type of environment for Artie and Diane, who try their best to do a good job, but cannot because their daughter will not release her hold and go with her husband. We see how Diane and Artie form a relationship with their grandchildren, and Artie and Alice rekindle theirs also.

Personally, I would probably only watch this movie once because these types of movies are entertaining but become tiring quickly. I think that children and most adults would enjoy it because of the comedy aspect. This movie also is not too long so younger children will not get restless. I recommend this movie for ages six and up because they can relate to the differences between parents and grandparents. I give this movie four and a half stars out of five because I do not usually favor quirky family comedies. This is a good movie and a great movie to watch with your family. Victoria Burns, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Parental Guidance
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
Click here to see Morgan’s full video review!

The preview of this movie was very cute. It is a story about a mom and dad who want to go on a vacation together. The question is, who will watch the three children. They decide to ask the grandparents. The favorite grandparents are busy and cannot come so they have to call the other grandparents. “RI” is a new house that is all computerized and the dad’s project. The technology is very confusing to the grandparents. It is a very cool house that everyone will want to own.

Marisa Tomei is a mother, trying to juggle a family and a job. She is trying to do the best job she can but there are many choices of how to raise your children. Tom Everett Scott plays dad, who just wants his wife to be proud of him and misses spending time with her alone. The kids are adorable. I love the kangaroo. Barker has a strong grip and doesn’t want his mother to leave. This will have you laughing. Harper is an amazing violist and the perfect big sister. Turner has issues but learns to overcome them. The old grandparents do not always understand the way their daughter is raising her children. They do not follow her rules. When they find out they are not the favorites they decide it is time to take action and make the children love them. Even I know sugar makes kids crazy. Cake any one?

My favorite scene was when they play kick the can. Playing in the rain is always fun; add a game and it is funtastic. My favorite character was the grandmother because Bette Midler stood up for her granddaughter. She was funny and even had a scene with her famous singing voice. The grandfather, Billy Crystal, would be great to hang out with because he loves baseball and so do I. He believes in this movie so much that he also signed on as a producer.

The moral is, if everyone works together things will come out all right. Sometimes it takes a little time to understand someone else’s ways. All ages will love this movie from the young 5 to the elder 105. It is about different ages all trying to understand each other, learn from each other and getting to place of being a happy family. I give this movie 5 twinkling stars. It was cute, funny and made for everyone. Morgan Bertsch, age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Want more? Click here for video reviews of Parental Guidance from Cheyenne Nguyen and Julia Chestnut!

Les Miserables Hits All The Right Notes

Monday, December 31st, 2012


True to the original Broadway story, Les Miserables will have fans singing out loud in their seats. If you’ve never seen the original you are in for a real treat, but if you know every song like many fans do, you may find yourself wishing you had the theater to yourself. According to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney, “it stays so true to the play it is unbelievable,” however, the one change is “they made the movie easier to understand and follow.”

Les Miserables is about a very dark time in history and not recommended for young children. Rated PG-13, Raven recommends it for everyone over age 13 “because of the dark period it is set in and the violence and cruelty that occurs.” Go see Les Miserables in theaters now, but beware, someone in the seat next to you just may burst into song!

Les Miserable
Reviewed by Raven Devanney
Click here to see Raven’s full video review!

The epic musical, Les Miserables (Les Mis), tells the story of a man named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) set during the dawn of the French Revolution. After serving 19 years as a slave, because he stole a loaf of bread, he breaks parole and spends years reinventing himself as a new man. Jean is being hunted by officer Javert played by Russell Crowe, who swears he will not rest until Jean is behind bars. While running from Javert, Jean Valjean finds himself caring for a factory worker’s young daughter, Cosette. The young child changes his life forever.

Les Miserables is honestly one of the greatest films I have ever seen. This film is almost three hours long, and I still wanted it to go on longer. A very well known Broadway musical and it stays so true to the play it is unbelievable. Not a single word is off. The one thing that changes for the better though, is they made the movie easier to understand and follow. I have been a huge fan of Les Mis for a long time and I know almost every single song by heart. I was trying so hard not to start singing along with the film, the musical score was amazing. The whole film is better than I could have ever hoped for and seeing this tale up on the big screen was phenomenal!

The visuals and special effects are truly breathtaking. Set in France at the beginning of the French Revolution, when life for the poor was awful and life for the rich was grand. They capture the hard times of the streets perfectly by using dark colors and wonderful lighting contrasts. I love seeing the world of Les Mis on a grand scale and it is exactly as I imagined it. I love this entire movie so much that when it was over I immediately wanted to see it again. I’m definitely going to see it again when it comes out in theaters. I have so many scenes that I love so much, but my favorites are the Lovely Ladies and the Master of the House. I like the Lovely Ladies scene because that’s where Fantine, Cosette’s mother, turns to the streets as a home after losing her job at the factory. It is a wonderful musical number and Anne Hathaway’s performance is amazing! It is so historically accurate showing how people would do anything to make a quick penny from selling their teeth, to chopping off their hair, it was hard for everyone. I also love the Master of the House scene because it is so hilarious. It has Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the innkeeper and his wife. They con people into staying the night at their inn, then trick them into never leaving. They are so crafty and hilarious and they rob everyone blind. This scene is so clever and hilarious. Sacha and Helena make an amazing duo.

I love all of the characters equally, but I’ll only pick a few to talk about. Jean Valjean is a truly amazing character and Hugh Jackman brings him to life so well. Hugh’s talents are really shown off during this film and I am very impressed by him. Fantine, played by the remarkable Anne Hathaway, is a very memorable character. Anne is perfect as Fantine and this is, in my opinion, her best role. The last character that I really enjoyed is Eponine played by Samantha Barks. Eponine sings all of my favorite Les Mis songs and her incredible duo of A Little Fall of Rain with Eddie Redmayne. A little fun fact is that Samantha Marks played Eponine in the Broadway version of Les Mis.

I give Les Miserables 5 out of 5 stars because it is truly the most amazing film I’ve seen in a long time and it far surpasses my expectations. This film is definitely for ages 13 and up because of the dark period it is set in and the violence and cruelty that occurs. Raven Devanney, age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

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