Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Kong: Skull Island – A Breathtaking Visual Treat

Friday, March 10th, 2017

A diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unites to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Kong: Skull Island is a fun sci-fi movie which is a breathtaking visual treat. I really found the direction and special effects to be fantastic in this movie. This will appeal to all those sci-fi fans.” See his full review below.

Kong: Skull Island
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Kong: Skull Island is a fun sci-fi movie which is a breathtaking visual treat. I really found the direction and special effects to be fantastic in this movie. This will appeal to all those sci-fi fans.

This movie is about a diverse group of travelers which includes former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), an anti-war photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman), a seismologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), and an army led by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) who head to Skull Island. Upon arriving, they are attacked by Kong, a huge gorilla, who destroys their helicopters and splits the team up. Packard wants revenge for the men he lost in the helicopter crashes and he wants to kill Kong. Conrad and Weaver realize a bigger threat known as the Skullcrawlers lurk beneath them. The only one who can protect them is Kong and only he can ensure the team’s safety in escaping the island.

Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad heroically represents a soldier. Brie Larson as Mason Weaver is very impressive as a bold photographer. John C Reilly as Hank Marlow, a war veteran, is my favorite character in the movie due to his comic relief and interesting backstory. Samuel L Jackson as Preston Packard brilliantly expresses his revenge with his angry facial expressions.

The direction of the movie by Jordan Vogt-Roberts is unique and really captures the vibe of the 1970s. His filmmaking emphasizes on the smaller things more than the big things, and this is an interesting new concept. This is primarily used whenever we see Kong especially in the first Kong encounter. The focus is more on Kong’s face than just his whole body, and this adds tension. Also, the special effects by Chris Brenczewski really add detail to the monsters, and makes them look real. The scene that I liked the most is the final fight scene between Kong and a big Skullcrawler. It is absolutely a blast and, the fact that it is a hand to hand combat scene made it particularly fun to watch. My only problem with the film is the characterization. While all the talent gives pretty believable performances, somehow their characters feel like bland stereotypes. I didn’t find myself caring for anyone other than John C. Reily’s character who has some interesting story beats.

The movie’s message is to not mess with nature because if these travelers didn’t attack Kong’s territory, then he wouldn’t have attacked them in the first place. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 years. It may be too scary for younger audiences due to the intense action and language. This film opens in theaters on March 10th, so go and check it out.

 

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Musical On Tour!

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast features the animated film’s Academy Award®-winning score with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.

The original creators of the Broadway production are together again for this new touring production!  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tre’ana H. comments, “Beauty And The Beast is a phenomenal musical based on the original classic story. It draws you in and makes you a part of the scene.” See her full review below.

 

For a full tour schedule, sheck out http://www.beautyandthebeastontour.com.

 

Beauty and The Beast, The Musical

By Tre’ana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Beauty And The Beast is a phenomenal musical based on the original classic story. It draws you in and makes you a part of the scene. I enjoyed this because it is filled with drama, thrills, romance and some action. The rose is symbolic with its blue, gloomy background and the transformation is great. Will the rose be back with love or sadness?  This musical touched my heart because of its message – you should treat people the way you want to be treated. The director, Rob Roth takes you through turns and twists but the outcome is grand. I appreciated this musical because it is hilarious and interesting.

 

The beast (Sam Hartley) is a prince who is spoiled, selfish and lonely. When the spell is cast upon him he becomes a mean man. Belle’s father goes into the forest trying to attend the inventor’s competition and gets lost in the forest. The wolves try to eat him but he stumbles upon a castle where the servants let him in. The beast are very cruel to Belle’s father and put him in the dungeon. Belle (Brooke Quintana) tracks down her father to the horrible beast castle and he agrees to let her father go if she will take his place as a hostage. What an amazing thing to do? Will he kill her or let her survive?

 

The beast costume is gothic and eerie.  The townspeople and servant costumes are illuminating with bright colors that captivate you. The lighting design by Natasha Katz excels in every scene. The set designs by Stanley A. Meyer are mysterious, colorful and gloomy. The music by Kevin Francis Finn is truly breathtaking.

 

The message of the musical is to treat people fairly and, if you can help someone, extend that extra hand and you will be blessed.

 

My favorite scene is when the beast turns into a human and floats above the stage and transforms into a young man. This is fantastic! You will not believe it!

 

I recommend this play for ages 8 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is full of excitement. I really enjoyed it and you will too, so put this astonishing musical on your todo list.  You will not be disappointed.

 

Million Dollar Arm – A Game Changer in More Ways Than One

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Based on a true story, Million Dollar Arm follows JB Bernstein, a once-successful sports agent who finds his career teetering on the edge. Sports films generally carry an important social message in them and this film does that and more. “Once JB finds the boys he is looking for, it becomes less about business, and more about friendship,” comments KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D, age 16. Brianna B, age 14 adds, “I absolutely love this film. A big part of why I like it so much is because it’s based on a true story that is so inspirational.” Their full reviews are below.

Million Dollar Arm
Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Video review here:

Million Dollar Arm tells the true story of a sports agent and three young men from small villages in India as they make baseball history. Jon Hamm plays a sports agent named JB whose business is teetering on either making it big or failing completely. When his big plan of managing a major league NFL player falls through, all seems lost. That is until one night when he finds himself watching Indian cricket with his friend and gets a brilliant idea. Cricket is such a huge sport in India. He wondered what would happen if he found two cricket players, brought them to America and trained them for major league baseball. His idea seemed foolproof, he would make baseball history by recruiting the first Indian players plus, he would get an entirely new following of Indian fans. Once JB finds the boys he is looking for, it becomes less about business, and more about friendship.

I found this film very pleasing. I didn’t know much about it and wasn’t quite sure what to expect but, once I got into it, I was very touched. The cinematography is very well executed and, during the portion of the film that is shot in India, the landscape and culture are captured beautifully. Even the slums and run down villages are filmed in a way that makes you feel as if you are under the sweltering heat of the sun or in the chaotic mix of vendors and civilians on the crowded streets. The music in this film is fantastic. It features the essence of Indian music with a twist of modern American pop, making it perfect for this multicultural film.

My favorite character is Amit played by Pitobash. He is recruited early on in the film, almost by accident, to be an assistant and translator for JB. He is one of the funniest characters because he is so polite and hospitable to JB and his recruiting team but he often gets himself into funny situations while trying to accommodate everyone. In one scene, Alan Arkin’s character Ray says something along the lines of “…this guy has juice” as a way to express the potential he saw in a player. However, Amit overhears this and immediately goes sprinting away to find his boss some juice to drink. It is quite hilarious. My favorite scene is when Amit, Rinku and Dinesh come to America for the first time. They have spent their entire lives in small villages in India so you can imagine their adjustment to the extravagant LA lifestyle JB is living. There is such a funny scene when they all get into an elevator for the first time and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) is so impressed by its motion sensors that he repeatedly sticks his hand in between the doors right as they close just to see the “magic” of them automatically opening again.

I was very touched by this film. Not only does it show the historical achievement of the first Indian major league baseball players but, it also made me laugh out loud and tugged on my heart strings. JB starts out viewing the boys as his project, a way to make a lot of money and propel himself forward in the sports industry, but soon he realizes that they are so much more than just a paycheck. As he lets his defensiveness down, he sees how kind, funny and talented they each are and an unforgettable bond is formed between them. Because of this, I give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Million Dollar Arm hits a homerun into theaters on May 16th so be sure to check it out at a theater near you!

Million Dollar Arm
Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.
Video review available here.

Disney’s Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story that is very inspirational, funny and great to see.

Sports Agent, JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm), needs to find other clients that will bring in the money. He is on the verge of a big break and without this deal he is broke. JB comes up with a strategy of getting Asian cricket players to play for a Major League Baseball team in the United States. He travels to India and holds auditions to see who will win the prize money and make the Baseball try outs. Rinku (Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi)) and Dinesh (Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire)) is able to beat out thousands of other kids for the chance to play on a major league team. Will they make it?

I absolutely love this film. A big part of why I like it so much is because it’s based on a true story that is so inspirational. It shows that you can dream, work hard and with dedication you can fulfill those dreams. I love the little bits of comedy, they are unexpected and funny. My favorite character is Amit Rohan (Pitobash), because he is very funny, excited about everything and always lightens the scene. One of the filming locations is set in India. It gives us an up close view of how the people live there, how the children play and their culture. I like the music; it really represents the emotions that are displaying on the screen. In a scene when the mood is happy, the music is upbeat and exciting. My favorite scene is when Rinku is auditioning for the baseball tryouts; he stands like a flamingo prior to pitching the ball which I have never seen anyone do this before and it’s really funny to see.

One message I found is when you support people, they need to see that you care about what they do. That means going to their practices, motivating them and letting them know you are there for them.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18 and anyone who loves the game of baseball. It is a great family film. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Jodorowsky’s Dune – Inspiring and Meaningful

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Here is a remarkable film about the cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky whose ambitious attempts to create a film based on Frank Herbert’s seminal science fiction novel, “Dune,” failed but ultimately changed modern science fiction filmmaking forever. The names dropped in this film are nothing short of fantastic and the story insightful – not just for the world of filmmaking but life in general. When is a failure not a failure? “When I first started watching this film, I thought it was a story about a director but, it is completely different, unexpected and unique,” comments KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O, age 12. His full review is below.

Jodorowsky’s Dune
Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Video review available here.

What an inspirational and meaningful story. When I first started watching this film, I thought it was a story about a director but, it is completely different, unexpected and unique. It is the marvelous story about Jodorowsky’s Dune journey.

This documentary has tons to offer if you are a sci-fi fan or simply interested in inspirational stories. It is thrilling, funny and interesting, especially for cinema enthusiasts like me. I also believe that anyone who loves classics will enjoy it as well. The documentary is unique and different, in its own way.

The story is about a “French Steven Spielberg” named Alejandro Jodorowsky who made famous and mind-blowing films that always had a deeper meaning behind them. He had a dream of making a movie based on the famous book “Dune” by Frank Herbert. We join this extremely inspiring adventure where he tries to make this film but sadly fails after two years of hard work. Fortunately, his work is not wasted as it became the basis for many sci-fi movies that followed thus making Jodorowsky’s dream become bigger than he could have ever imagined.

I absolute loved this documentary. The angles of the camera are very different, never fixed on one person or one place, which makes it look like you are there in the same room with the people that are talking. It includes narration by people that helped make the film which fits really nicely. The director also includes clips from some of the films that used some of Jodorowsky’s ideas to support what the narrator is discussing. That made me want to watch those films. The layout is unique and clean because it shows the passing of time. Since the film was never made, they animated the drawings to give you an idea of how it would have look had it been finished. That, in turn, made me want to watch it over and over again. The story inspired me and will inspire others.

My favorite part is when they talk about the very opening scene. The scene opens in a galaxy than zooms in on a specific area. For the 70s, this was very advanced and hard to do. Since they drew it, the animators made it come to life in the documentary. Also, at the end, the film shows how this work inspired other producers to create similar shots. There is a secret meaning, which I love, and that is advanced and was never before done.

This movie has a lot of adult content and terminology so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.