Archive for the 'TV' Category

Pete’s Christmas - A New Holiday Classic

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

PetesChristmas.jpgA new holiday film, Pete’s Christmas will  premiere Friday, Nov. 8 on the Hallmark Channel. When an overlooked middle child finds himself in the unexpected spotlight, he realizes his family’s terrible Christmas day keeps repeating. He decides to use his unique gift to give the holidays a makeover and his family a Christmas they will never forget. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B says, “This is a uplifting, coming of age film” and gives it 5 out of 5 stars. Gerry O adds “This movie is definitely a great holiday movie and a very loving movie at that!” Their full reviews are below.

“Pete’s Christmas”
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Video review available here.

This movie is definitely a great holiday movie and a very loving movie at that! It has so much comedy and a lot of other elements too. “Pete’s Christmas” is a movie the entire family just must see.

This movie has so much to love about it as well as many things to enjoy. It has comedy, romance, thrilling scenes, adventure, a heartwarming story and so much more.

The adventure begins when a young boy (Zachary Gordon) has a horrible, horrible Christmas. We are talking about no presents, no home cooked meal, getting beat up and a lot of other crazy stuff. His grandfather gives him a box and leaves. When he goes to bed, he wakes up on Christmas morning again.

The movie had very nice actors that play the emotions very well. You would never think they were acting. The directing is very smooth and clear. The camera work is also very nicely done. Overall, it is an amazing and very cool film.

My favorite scene has to be when the boy wakes up and thinks everyone is playing a big prank on him. It’s very funny and very, well, confusing too. It makes you want give him a hug.

I recommend it for kids ages 5 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Pete’s Christmas
by Keefer B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This is a uplifting, coming of age film. The story is about Pete (Zachary Gordon) a middle child who has the worst Christmas ever. He wakes up the next day and realizes…it’s Christmas day again and again and again… Will Pete fix Christmas and have the best day of his life or will he be stuck in the same day forever?

What I love about this film is the cinematography. The Christmas decorations and snow look amazing. The sets create a great atmosphere for the film. I also like the story. At first it seems cliché - boy has a bad day and has a chance to fix it - standard issue. However, the pacing is different. Instead of it being just a few days of Pete reliving the same day, it feels like months before he realizes that he can affect the outcome of his Christmas. At first I didn’t like this, but once I thought out it as a coming of age film I accepted the change. One think that distracted me is the writing. Don’t get me wrong, the dialog is fine. I just felt the set-up for the story to be a bit rushed. The writers want the story to go a certain way and force it by placing the pieces together instead of allowing the characters to live through this situation.

My favorite character is Grandpa (Bruce Dern). He’s a grumpy man who doesn’t want to get the cold shoulder this Christmas. I love how Bruce plays this role, how he wants to spend time with family. Sadly he wants Christmas to be like his deceased wife’s Christmases. In his mind, the family doesn’t celebrate it right.

My favorite scene is when Pete tells his dad why Grandpa judges their Christmas. I pick this scene for one reason - the reaction on the father’s face. He takes his time to roll through all the emotions and it’s just perfect.

The moral here is, “It’s not what you put in the box that matters. It’s what you take out.” No matter how much Pete recreates Christmas and gets what he wants, he stills feels that something is missing, something that is important in Christmas. Giving!

I rate this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 6 to 15-year-olds. Younger kids can enjoy the funny moments and the merriness. When you get a little bit older, you know the story is predictable but it is still a movie to get you into the Christmas spirit.

“The Hunters” Puts An Exciting Spin On The Classic “Snow White” Story (Airs Oct 25 on Hallmark Channel)

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

HuntersBanner2_400X200.jpg“The Hunters” is a modern day fairy tale adventure, based on the magical mirror from “Snow White,” and follows the brothers Flynn as they embark on an international quest to find their parents and save the world from the clutches of evil.  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. says, “The Hunters” is a great and thrilling movie for everyone! There is comedy, romance, action, adventure, thrilling scenes, a great and engaging story line and, of course, a puzzle to solve!” “The Hunters” is the fifth world premier film in Hallmark Channel’s new Friday night movie series, “Walden Family Theatre,” airing this Friday, October 25th at 8/7c on Hallmark Channel. See Gerry’s full review below.

“The Hunters”
Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Video Review available here.

From the title, it’s really hard to predict what the movie will be about. Based on the title, I had an open mind. I only have one thing to say, I was pleasantly surprised! “The Hunters” is a great and thrilling movie for everyone!
I absolutely love how many things there is in this film! There is comedy, romance, action, adventure, thrilling scenes, a great and engaging story line and, of course, a puzzle to solve!

The adventure begins when three people are looking for some artifacts to build together a legendary item. When one turns on the others, everything goes wrong. The two kids of the couple who are searching for this item and their friend, go on a epic adventure to save the world and their parents!  If you want to find out if their parents are ok and if they were successful in this quest, you have to watch the film!

This film brings so many perks! It has especially great actors and the directing is also very good. The camerawork will impress you for sure – there are so many actions -  climbing and jumping and even some scary stuff. But, the picture if very clear and the storyline easy to follow!

I have to say that my favorite scene is when the older brother discovers his little brother has skipped school and he is very mad at him. I can greatly appreciate this scene. It has brotherly “love” or as I call it “bromance.” It’s extremely funny and will hit home with many viewers.

I recommend this movie to ages 8-18, because it is a very intense film. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars and wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually turn this movie into series. I know I will be watching out for that.

“Space Warriors” Is A Fun And Down-To-Earth Film For All Ages

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

spacewarriors_1.jpg“Space Warriors” is a live-action film about kids who attend Space Camp in Huntsville, AL. Though it is a fictional story, it is based on a real place and according to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., age 11, it “feels very real and positive.” All of our film critics agree that this is a fun and exciting film that inspired them to want to visit the real Space Camp. Adam C., Age 7, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic tells us that they even fact-checked the story with NASA “and it was plausible that this could have happened in real life.” Proving that it has multi-age and gender appeal, 13-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cassandra H. calls this “a fun and unexpectedly down-to-earth film for all ages.”

Airing on May 31, this Hallmark Channel Original Movie is perfect for the whole family. You can hear our discussion about this film on the KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions Radio Show. Check out Cassandra H.’s full review below and many of our Film Critic’s full video reviews as well.

“Space Warriors”

Reviewed by Cassandra H.

See Cassandra’s full video review by visiting

Space geeks will envy the rip-roaring adventures in the movie, “Space Warriors.” I was pleasantly surprised to see that the plot was simpler than I imagined. Before I watched the movie, the title made me cringe, suggesting that it was about teenagers battling aliens in a cheesy rampage through outer space. Clearly, I was wrong to judge a movie by its poster. “Space Warriors” is a fun and unexpectedly down-to-earth film for all ages.

Jimmy Hawkins (Thomas Horn, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”), the son of a retired NASA astronaut, is a complete astronomy geek. His dream is to go to space, and the opportunity arises in the form of Space Camp, where teams can compete for the chance to go to space. His parents, played by Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino, forbid him to join Space Camp fearing for his safety, but Jimmy joins anyway. At Space Camp he meets the brightest, nerdiest group of astronomy-lovers, called Space Warriors. They have to learn to work together as a team not only to win the competition, but to save the lives of three astronauts along the way as well.

Colonel Manley (Josh Lucas), one of the commanders at Space Camp, is one of my favorite characters – he’s witty and smart with just a touch of dry humor and sarcasm. Sean McNamara (“Soul Surfer”) is the director of “Space Warriors.” Along the same lines of “Soul Surfer,” this movie has many great themes that include teamwork, leadership, overcoming fear, thinking outside the box, making wise choices and most importantly, it shines a positive light on youth. The Space Warriors don’t let anyone look down on them because of their age – they prove to the entire world that age doesn’t matter as long as you have passion, a love of discovering, and an open mind.

The movie incorporates footage from history in outer space and was shot on-location at the Space Camp in Alabama. For science-lovers, this movie is the ultimate “easter egg” hunt, where geeks will want to shout and announce to other viewers, “That’s the actual footage of landing on the moon!” or “I’ve been on a moon-gravity stimulator just like that!” I found myself thinking that if I could go to a Space Camp that looks even half as fun as the one in the movie, it’d be the best summer of my life.

I recommend this movie for all ages, especially for aspiring scientists. I give it four out of five stars. “Space Warriors” will inspire viewers to look up and rekindle an excitement for learning about the unknown universe of space. Learn more about a world outside our own that we’ve barely begun to discover and catch “Space Warriors” on the Hallmark Channel, airing May 31!

Check out our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics full video reviews of Space Warriors!

Adam C.

Keefer B.

Gerry O.

Stacy and Valdi B.

Bindi Irwin Returns to Nim’s Island on the Hallmark Channel on March 15

Monday, March 11th, 2013

ReturnNimsIsland.jpgReturn To Nim’s Island, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Friday, March 15, 2013. Following up on the success of Nim’s Island, this sequel  is a great platform for Bindi Irwin, through her portrayal of Nim, to introduce young people to the importance of protecting our earth and its fragile species.

According to Brianna Hope Beaton KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Nim teaches us “that you should do everything you can to help the marine and wildlife.” New KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cassandra Hsiao, “Return to Nim’s Island will take families on a spectacular expedition underwater, into dark mysterious caves, and up awfully steep cliffs.” And new KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jailene Arias agrees with the others that the main message in the film is “don’t give up!”

Check out these great video reviews from two of our new KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Cassandra Hsiao and Jailene Arias!

Return to Nim’s Island

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton

Click here to see Brianna’s full video review!

This film has lots of action, very funny and is definitely great for the whole family to see.

Let’s return to Nim’s Island to see how things are going with Nim (Bindi Irwin) and her Father (Matthew Lillard). One day they get a message that some people will be buying the island to build an attraction there, but Nim will not stand for it and comes up with some things to do to save what she calls home. She will do almost anything to protect the island and the animals that she loves so well. Everything is going fine until Edmund, (Toby Wallace), comes along to help but brings trouble. Will Nim get to keep and stay living at her personal resort or will she have to pack up and leave?

I really love this film. It’s the sequel to Nim’s Island. I love the underwater shoots and the humor. The cast does an incredible job in interacting with the animals and making it all believable. My favorite character is Nim because she is not afraid to speak her mind, and will not let anyone push her around. My favorite scene is when Nim is going on the zip line. It looks really cool to ride and I would love to do it. I love the music as it fits in perfectly with the scenes.

Brendan Maher directs Nim’s Island. Author of the Nim’s Island series, Wendy Orr, is the inspiration behind this film. Everyone does an amazing job - from the animals to all the cast - it makes an impact with an environmental message. The big message is that you should do everything you can to help the marine and wildlife, if you cannot, please do not harm it. Additionally, it emphasizes the idea to “never give up on what you want to do.”

I recommend, Return to Nim’s Island for ages 7 to 14. Parents will enjoy it as much as their kids. If you love the wild you will love this film.

I give this film an overwhelming 5 out of 5 stars. I love the adventure, cinematography, action and, of course, the humor.

Tune in to see the Return to Nim’s Island on March 15 on the Hallmark Channel 8pm EST / 7PM CT.

Because of Winn-Dixie Appearing This Month On HDNet Movies - kidScene

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
BecauseWinnDixie.jpgEveryone loves a dog story, but Because of Winn-Dixie is no ordinary take on cute pets. Instead, it is a story of love, hope, friendship and community that takes us beyond appearances and digs deeply into the characters that make up this heart-warming film. Winn-Dixie isn’t just a dog, he is a symbol of hope, a reminder that we are all responsible for one another.

Originally released in 2005, this timeless family film is appearing throughout this month, February 2013, on HDNet Movies - kidScene.

Because of Winn-Dixie

Reviewed by Raven Devanney

Click here for Raven’s full video review!

Because of Winn-Dixie is a fantastic adaptation from the bestselling novel Winn-Dixie. I think this movie is absolutely adorable. The cinematography is so perfect because it’s exactly how I imagined it would be when I read the novel. The colors and feel of the story are captured beautifully.

My favorite character is Gloria because she doesn’t hold any harsh judgment over anyone and is a great friend to Opal. I also like Ana Sophia’s character, Opal, because she is very kind and strong even when she is sad. I like the scene when Opal first finds Winn-Dixie because it is a chaotic and funny scene. I also enjoy watching the relationship grow between Opal and the preacher (her father.)

This movie is for all ages because it’s a cute, funny family film that deserves 5 out of 5 stars. Because of Winn-Dixie is one of the many classic films brought to your home by HDNet Movies - kidScene.

Because of Winn-Dixie

Reviewed by Camille Bajema

Click here for Camille’s full video review!

I love this film because it has a great message: Friendship. This film is an adaptation of the book Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo and is about a girl named Opal (Anna-Sophia Robb) and her dad, the Preacher (Jeff Daniels), who just moved to a completely new town.

When Opal is sent to the Winn-Dixie grocery store to get macaroni and cheese, some white rice and two tomatoes, she finds a dog running wild through the store and names him Winn-Dixie, after the place she found him in. Opal befriends him and takes him home. Opal doesn’t have any friends yet and Winn-Dixie helps her fit into the new town, just like a true friend would.

My favorite scene in this film is when Opal makes friends with an old woman named Gloria (Cicely Tyson), and they have lunch together. I really like this scene because there’s a very nice bond between the two and this is when Opal meets her first human friend in Naomi. My favorite character is another one of Opal’s adult friends, Miss Franny, the town librarian. I like Miss Franny because she’s a kid at heart.

Because of Winn-Dixie is directed by Wayne Wang and produced by Kathleen Courtney.

I recommend this film to people of all ages because everyone can enjoy it, it has a great message, and in my opinion, this movie is just fantastic! I give this film five out of five stars because it’s an absolutely enthralling tale! Look for this classic family film on HDNet movies - kidScene this month!

The Black Stallion As Beautiful And Captivating As Ever

Monday, January 28th, 2013

blackstallion.jpgOriginally released in 1979, The Black Stallion is a classic film sure to please horse lovers and adventure seekers alike. It’s beautiful cinematography and captivating story have stood the test of time. The Black Stallion is perfect for the whole family, and as Brianna Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic sums it up, it is “appealing to the eye, inspirational and touching.” Don’t miss this exciting tale, playing throughout the month of February 2013, on HDnet Movies - kidScene.

The Black Stallion

Reviewed by Brianna Beaton, age 13, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Click here to see Brianna’s full video review!

This film is very appealing to the eye, inspirational and touching.

Alec Ramsey (Kelly Reno) is on a ship with his father and a very wild black Arabian stallion, which Alec calls Black. A terrible storm happens and only he and Black survive. They end up on a small island and Alec befriends Black. Some travelers stumble across the island and bring them to England, where retired horse trainer, Henry Dailey (Mickey Rooney) helps Alec train Black.

I like this film because of the cinematography and the plot. This is a beautiful story and there are a lot of scenes with great angles and close ups which catches my eye. Black is a very pretty, strong and fast horse. The acting is very believable and I can sometimes feel their emotions. My favorite character is Alex because he is able to earn the trust of Black and this is very hard to do. My favorite scene is when Alec is trying to get Black to like him so he gives him some food and after that he puts some food in his hand and then walks around the beach of the island to get the horse to follow him. After a while this turns into a game. If Black follows Alec then he will get some food.

Carroll Ballard directs The Black Stallion while Melissa Mathison along with Jeanne Rosenberg writes the screen play. Other actors in this film are Clarence Muse (Snoe), Hoyt Axton (Alec’s Father), and Ed McNamara (Jake).

A message in this film is that you can become friends with any person or any animal and it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old. Also, everything that happens happens for a reason.

I recommend, The Black Stallion for ages 7 to 14. Younger ages may be scared at some of the scenes, but if they are watching with this family, it may not be too scary. Of course, if you are a horse lover, this film is for you and you can add this to your collection.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. Some of the scenes are a little too short and has too little details, but even with that, this is still a great family film.

See how Alec and Black create their friendship in this 1979 film, The Black Stallion. It plays all month on HDNet movies kidScene.

‘Happily N’Ever After’ Gives Fun Twists to Classic Fairy Tales

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

HappilyNEverAfter.jpgSo you think you know your fairy tales? Happily N’Ever After, the 2006 animated movie airing in November on HDNet Movies kidScene, will teest your ability to keep them straight as it twists them into unexpected new relationships among the characters. Explains KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, “My favorite part of the movie is how the endings for each of the fairy tales could have changed. The twists and turns of each event could be different if the wizard [who watches over the fairy tales] is not there to monitor Fairy Tale Land.” While questioning whether the fairy tales will “ever have another happy ending again,” Morgan Bertsch, age 7, says, “From beginning to end, this is very funny.” Brianna Hope Beaton, age 13, gives the film four out of five stars “because of its humor and fantasy.”

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
(See her full review on video.)

So the real question is: Are you cheering for the villains or the princess? Who do you want to win?

Now is your big chance. This movie is about Cinderella, who has an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters. So you think you know this story and all the fairy tales? Well, guess again. This is not your ordinary Cinderella story. All the fairy tales are watched and taken care of by a wizard. But everyone needs a vacation, and when the wizard leaves, the fiasco begins.

Munk (Wallace Shawn) and Mombo (Andy Dick), his assistants, are left in charge. Mombo is bored of the same old fairy tale endings and wants to shake things up a bit. He gets his wish when the evil stepmother steals the wizard’s wand.

Cinderella’s evil stepmother Frieda wants to be Queen. She is taking over. She wants to give evil a fighting chance. All your fairy tales begin to fade and the villains start winning. Rumpelstiltskin gets to keep the baby. Sleeping beauty doesn’t wake up with a kiss. Jack gets stepped on by the giant. Rapunzel is not saved by her Prince Charming and Cinderella doesn’t last till midnight. The villains from all the fairy tales are running wild.

Cinderella (Sarah Michelle Gellar), now known as Ella, goes on a search for Prince Charming (Patrick Warburton), hoping that he can fight her evil stepmother and get the wizard’s wand back. Of course, she has help from Mombo and Munk, who also want to find it before their boss returns home. Rick (Freddie Prinze Jr.), the servant for the prince, is jealous and tries to help Ella. They meet the seven dwarves, witches, all the big bad wolves, goblins, giants and more.

How will they save the day and will the fairy tales ever have another happy ending again?

When Ella and Rick find the seven dwarves, this is my favorite part. From beginning to end, this is very funny. I also enjoyed the Monster Mash dance.

The graphics are great and they do a super job with the fast-action scenes. There are new characters, and the old ones are all different from the original versions.

Will she get what she wants? Will she want what she gets? This was my favorite song in the movie.

Be careful what you wish for. Keep your eyes open because happiness could be right in front of you. You can change your destiny.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Cinderella) and Freddie Prinze Jr. are really married and they have a daughter and last month added a new baby boy to their family. See, fairy tales do come true.

I give this movie five ***** because it is cute, funny, original and has all my favorites in it.

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

(See her full review on video.)

Today, I am reviewing Happily N’Ever After. This movie combines a lot of fairy tales in one movie with a twisted ending.

This movie is about the wizard (George Carlin) who manages Fairy Tale Land. He has two helpers, Mambo (Andy Dick) and Munk (Wallace Shawn). There’s a book of fairy tales, and the wizard has to watch and see through the crystal ball to make sure the endings are exactly the same as the fairy tale stories. The wizard constantly has to check with the crystal ball to make sure the good and the bad are in balance so the stories will get their happy endings.

In Happily N’Ever After, all the characters are different from the fairy tales. Ella (voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar) is like Cinderella, being bullied by her stepmother (Sigourney Weaver) and her ugly stepsisters. However, in this movie there is a kitchen helper name Rick. He secretly loves Ella.

My favorite part of movie is how the endings for each of the fairy tales could have changed. The twists and turns of each event could be different if the wizard is not there to monitor Fairy Tale Land.

I am confused at times because there are so many different fairy tales going on. It’s hard for kids my age keep up with the jokes that go with the different fairy tales. The adults seem to enjoy the jokes a lot more than the kids.

The message in this movie is happy endings come in many different forms.

The Fairy Tale Land visuals are above average. The characters’ design and the voice over make the characters come alive. The music is average; most of the songs are not very catchy.

The only part I did not like is there are too many stories going on in one movie.

My favorite character is Fairy Godmother. She is so forgetful but very funny. She reminds me of my grandmother.
I rank this movie four out of five stars  

I give this an age range of 5 and up.

Happily N’Ever After
Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

Happily N’Ever After is a good family film that I enjoyed watching.

Ella (voice of Sarah Gellar) figures out that her stepmother (voice of Sigourney Weaver) wants to take over Fairy Tale Land and is out to crush her storybook existence. She is now fighting to get Fairy Tale Land back, and [get] who she thinks is supposed to be her true love, the prince.

I like this film because it’s a twist from the classic Cinderella story. The story plot is easy to understand and enjoyable. The animation is good. My favorite part is when the narrator pauses the film to give you information on a specific character and how he feels about the character. This is really cool.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 13. If you like Cinderella and fairy tales, you’ll love this film.

Overall, I give Happily N’Ever After four out of five stars because of its humor and fantasy.

Tune in to see Happily N’Ever After as it plays all month on HDNet Movies kidScene.

‘Jumanji’ a Thrilling Ride on HDNet Movies kidScene

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Jumanji.jpgThe very intriguing desing and artwork of a board game they unearth tempt a young brother and sister to sit down with it and play the game - too late discovering the magic they’ve unleashed. The incidents depicted on the board become real and they must play through the dangers that include stampeding animals that threaten their very life. “… this adventure will give the entire family a ride,” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Raven Devanney, age 15, who says the film - airing throughout November on HDNet Movies kidScene - is a long-time favorite of hers. Julianna Noone, age 12, although warning the film might be a little scary for very young kids, says it “is absolutely hysterical and it’s just very entertaining.”

Robin Williams was much better known as a comedian before taking this role as the Indiana Jones-type adventurer who, with his counterpart Sarah, helps the kids survive the game’s dangers. Much of the film’s character comes from its special effects, for which it won the Saturn Award from the Academy of Sci Fi, Fantasy & Horror Films in 1996.

Reviewed by Raven Devanney
(See her full review on video.)

Jumanji tells the story of two children who encounter a mysterious board game that comes to life. Starring Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt and Jonathan Hyde, this adventure will give the entire family a ride.

I’ve loved Jumanji for a very long time, and it’s still a classic favorite for me. Even though this film came out in 1995, the cinematography is still wonderful. And even though a lot of the animals use animatronics, it’s still very real and thrilling. My favorite character would have to be Alan Parrish played by Robin Williams, because he gets sucked into the world of Jumanji, and when he is released 26 years later he has to come to the realization that times have changed. Plus, Robin Williams is hilarious in this film!

I have several favorite scenes. My first would have to be the very beginning of the film which was centuries ago. It’s very dark and it gives a taste of the horror and thrills that the movie has in store. I also like the scene when giant human-eating monster plants grow out of the fireplace. I just remember that part as being very suspenseful. And last but not least, I like the scene when Van Pelt manhunter came out of the game. Actually, I just like the character Van Pelt in general. He is played by Jonathan Hyde, who was also in Titanic.

Overall, I give Jumanji four out of five stars and recommend it for ages 6+ because it’s such a fun movie, but also has some suspenseful situations.

Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See her full review on video.)

Ready for Family Game Night to take you on a great adventure? Well, then, you have chosen the right film in Jumanji.

This film is about a boy named Alan Parrish (played by Robin Williams) and his friend Sarah Whittle (played by Bonnie Hunt), and how they find a mysterious board game called “Jumanji.” Follow along as this board game changes their lives and how, years later, they must play the game again with another set of kids named Judy (played by Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (played by Bradley Pierce), and how they try to outwit the game’s powerful forces.

My favorite character is Judy because she is brave and determined to make sure that everyone stays safe and alive from this game. My favorite scene is when Peter and Judy are petrified after they’ve released Alan and a lion from the game. It was absolutely hilarious – they started screaming and freaking out. They’re, like, “Oh my gosh, there’s this cave man who just came out from this random board game.” It was absolutely hysterical, because they got so scared they hid in the towel closet. Hilarious.

I thought the special effects in this movie were great. It was really funny. They did a great job. The animated animals were so cool; they looked actually real, but they weren’t.

I think that this movie is for ages 6 and up, because it might be a little frightening – stampeding animals coming at you, crushing your car while people are in it, and these crazy monkeys attacking you, but also this guy chasing people with a gun.

I think that this movie is rated five out of five stars because it is absolutely hysterical and it’s just very entertaining. I’ve loved it for years and years.

Look for this and other great films on HDNet Movies kidScene this month. And remember: In the jungle, you must wait until the dice reads five or eight.

‘Space Camp’ Blasts onto HDNet Movies kidScene’s September Programming

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

SpaceCamp.jpgA 26-year-old film about space exploration is bound to have technical aspects that haven’t aged well, but Space Camp delivers on several other levels. “Even though this movie is a little outdated, being made in 1986, I still found myself at the end of my chair wondering what was going to happen next!” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Jennifer Huntoon, age 14. The film about a miscellaneous group of kids at space camp who find themselves launched in to space for real was nominated in 1987 for the Young Artist Award for Exceptional Feature Film - Family Entertainment - Drama. “I love all the characters,” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Camille Bajema, age 10, who shares that what strikes her most is when “the kids are put into an adult situation and have to work as a team.” And 11-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Talia Rashba shares another positive - the humor. “The jokes are funny and easy to understand,” she says.

Space Camp, airing throughout September, is one of the many movies brought to your home by HDNet Movies kidScene, a daily programming block specifically for kids and families from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET and every Friday night at 7 p.m.

Space Camp
Reviewed by Talia Rashba
(See her full review on video.)

I thought this movie pretty good. It was entertaining, filled with drama, and there is a lot of good information about space presented in the film.

Space Camp is about a group of kids who come to a camp at the NASA headquarters to learn all about space. Each of the kids is assigned a position in the space shuttle by an astronaut named Andie. When the group goes with Andie to the space shuttle for a simulation, they accidentally get launched up into space, and they have to figure out how to get back home before they run out of oxygen.

Andie (Kate Capshaw) is a famous astronaut who teaches the kids about operating the space shuttle. She is an encouraging and helpful teacher who pushes each one of them to work to the best of their ability. Kathryn (Lea Thompson) is one of the kids attending the space camp. She is very smart and knows a lot about space. She is assigned the position of the pilot and she is expected to do everything right. Tish (Kelly Preston) is another teenage girl at the space camp. She is friendly, pretty, girly and actually smarter then she acts. Rudy (Larry B. Scott) is an older camper who loves science but he thinks he is terrible at it. He is nice, funny and very friendly. He ends up studying very hard and becomes a really good scientist. Max (Joaquin Phoenix, credited as Leaf Phoenix) is the youngest kid in the group, and he actually wasn’t even supposed to be in the camp because of his age. All he ever wanted to do in life is go up in space. When the group gets introduced to a space robot named Jinx, Max steals it and forms a close friendship with it. And lastly, Kevin (Tate Donovan) is a bad teenage boy who doesn’t care about space camp at all. He doesn’t even want to be there, but he has no choice.

What is not that great in Space Camp are the special effects and animation. When the characters go up into space, it almost looks like they are a cut-out picture. Nothing looks very realistic to me at all. I know that technology has come a long way since 1986, so that is why these things don’t look that professional.

What is good in the movie is the humor. The jokes are funny and easy to understand. The characters are also a good part of the movie. You really get to know them and enjoy their performances.

This movie is rated PG, but it does have some bad language in it and some pretty intense scenes. Because of this, I think this movie would only be good for kids who are 10 years old up until 14 years. Since this is a classic movie, the family may enjoy sitting down and watching it together. I am giving Space Camp a three out of five stars. My overall impression is that it is worth a look.

Space Camp
Reviewed by Camille Bajema
See her full review on video.)

Many parts of this film are very suspenseful and kept me on the edge of my seat!

This film is about five kids — Kevin, Kathryn, Tish, Rudy and Max played by Tate Donovan, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, Larry B. Scott and Leaf Phoenix — who go to a camp to train like astronauts. The director of the camp is a strict astronaut named Andie, played by Kate Capshaw. Things get really exciting when they actually explore a real spaceship. A mechanical creature that NASA creates hears Max say that he wishes he could really go up in space, so he controls the spaceship to take off while the kids and Andie are still inside! This is my favorite scene in the movie because the kids are put into an adult situation and have to work as a team. Many exciting, suspenseful things happen while they’re in space!

I love all of the characters. Kevin is a teenage boy who is always on the lookout for cute girls; Kathryn is a very determined young woman who wants to become the first woman shuttle commander; Tish is a girlie girl, yet very smart; Rudy is a super smart and energetic teenage boy; and Max is the youngest of the group, yet very determined to show Andie how grown-up he is. My favorite character would have to be Tish. I like her best because although she’s super girlie, she’s super smart. It shows that girls who are pretty can also be smart, too!

This movie is written by Clifford Green and Casey Mitchell and directed by Harry Winer.

I recommend this film for ages 11 and up because there is some inappropriate language. Also, this film is almost two hours long and might be hard for a younger child to sit through.

I give this film four out of five stars because at some points it gets a little boring and, because it’s an older movie, the special effects are really cheesy! Look for this classic family film on HDNet movies, kidScene throughout September!

Space Camp
Reviewed by Jennifer Huntoon
See her full review on video.)

I just finished watching the movie Space Camp. In this movie, we follow a group of kids that cannot work together who attend space camp! But when they are accidentally launched into space, they are forced to settle their differences so they can return to Earth. The campers we follow are Kathryn Fairly (Lea Thompson), Tish Ambrosei (Kelly Preston), Rudy Tyler (Larry B. Scott), Max (Joaquin Phoenix, credited as Leaf Phoenix) and Kevin Donaldson (Tate Donovan).

Even though this movie is a little outdated, being made in 1986, I still found myself at the end of my chair wondering what was going to happen next! This suspense was delivered from good acting, cool scenes and intense music. There are several scenes that I can’t get out of my head, but these two were my favorite: My first favorite is when Max has to go out in space and help Andie get oxygen. I love this scene because Max is the youngest kid out of his group and he goes out in space all by himself! My other favorite scene is when Kathryn has to fly the shuttle into “white sand” to land and return to Earth.

I would give Space Camp three stars out of five and recommend it to kids around the age 7. I think adults would also enjoy this film with their families. This is an HDNet movie so watch for it with your family all September long on kidScene!

Photo: Space Camp poster

‘Teacher’s Pet’ Good Morning Viewing on HDNet Movies kidScene

Monday, July 30th, 2012

TeachersPet_small.jpgA little dog wants to be a real boy. That premise behind the story of Teacher’s Pet, an animated film that Disney released in 2004, may parallel an animated feature from Disney’s earlier day: the 1940 classic Pinocchio. In fact, KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Morgan Bertsch, age 7, points it out: “Our story begins with the little dog Spot and his crazy idea that he wants to be a real boy. Shameless plug of Pinocchio on the TV while Spot is singing is very creative.” Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, shares one element that makes this movie special: “I love the catchy songs they have in this movie, especially the one that has all 50 states in alphabetical order and tells you something about each state.”

Teacher’s Pet, which will air in the morning on Aug. 4, 10 and 16, is one of the many movies brought to your home by HDNet Movies kidScene, a daily programming block specifically for kids and families from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET every Friday night at 7 p.m.

Teacher’s Pet
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See her full review on video.)

Disney’s Teacher’s Pet is a cleverly scripted animation that both children and adults will enjoy.

Spot Helperman (voiced by Nathan Lane) is a canine dog that wants to be a human as a boy. To make his dreams come true, the dog puts his ears in a beanie and puts on a pair of glasses and pants. Spot becomes Scott and follows Leonard to school during the day.

On the last day of school, they learn that there’s a mad scientist named Ivan Krank (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) who can turn animals into humans. He lives in Florida, and it just happens that Leonard’s mom, who is his 4th grade teacher, is nominated to go to Florida to compete as a finalist in a teacher contest.

Spot has to go through a lot of twists and turns to travel to Florida with Leonard and his mother to fulfill his destiny as a boy with Dr. Krank.

I love the catchy songs they have in this movie, especially the one that has all 50 states in alphabetical order and tells you something about each state.

This animated movie is flashy and has a lot of fun colors. It’s very funny when they make references to other Disney animation classics.CheyenneNguyen.jpg
My favorite character is the cat because he is so cute and talks like he has braces.

The message from this movie is to accept who you are and happiness will follow. Being someone else does not guarantee happiness.

I would like to see some of the other pets in this movie be featured more, especially the house bird.

I rank this movie 4 out of 5 stars, for an age range of 5-10.

Look for this classic family film on HDNet Movies kidScene this month!

Teachers Pet
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
See her full review on video.)

Teacher’s Pet is another great Disney animated creation! Teacher’s Pet is playing all month long on HDNet Movies kidScene.

Our story begins with the little dog Spot and his crazy idea that he wants to be a real boy. Shameless plug of Pinocchio on the TV while Spot is singing is very creative. Spot is voiced by Nathan Lane. His voice gives a great feel to the character of Spot.

Spot is a dog that can talk and read, so he gets this crazy idea to dress up as a boy and go to school with his owner, Leonard (voiced by Shaun Fleming). While at school, Spot sees his opportunity to change into a real boy in Florida.

My favorite part is when Spot the dog has to sneak his way onto the Florida vacation past Leonard’s mom, who doesn’t know Leonard can talk. She thinks she left Spot at home. Leonard’s mom is voiced by Debra Jo Rupp.

In Florida, Spot meets the wacko scientist Dr. Ivan Krank (voiced by Kelsey Grammer). The wacko claims he can turn any animal into a real person. That’s very confusing and really weird but just the thing Spot is looking to do.MorganBertsch.jpg
It’s a catchy musical with fun characters that’s enjoyable and animated. The songs are wonderful and educational. Some of them stuck in my head for days and I just love to sing along with them. If you want your kids to lean their states in alphabetical order, then this movie gets bonus points.

I give it 5 twinkling stars, for ages 5 and up.

Photos: Teacher’s Pet poster (top), Cheyenne Nguyen (middle), Morgan Bertsch (bottom)

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