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Avengers: Endgame – A Cinematic Roller Coaster Ride for Everyone

Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers — Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner — must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos — the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “This movie takes you on an epic, wild ride filled with action, laughter, love, heartache and tears.  As a superhero lover, there is nothing more thrilling than watching this movie – all three hours of it.” Zoe C. adds, “Avengers: Endgame is the epic conclusion of 11 years of films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is nothing less but spectacular! It is a constellation of the biggest Hollywood stars in one event that is entertaining, heartfelt and fun at the same time.” KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer wraps it up with, “. I’m not going to lie, Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film release from Marvel, is a cinematic roller coaster ride for everyone. I laughed. I cried. I loved every pop culture reference. Let us remember, I am not the target audience and I can’t wait to see it again.” See their full reviews below.

Avengers: Endgame
By Katherine S.,KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Can you say “epic”? This movie takes you on an epic, wild ride filled with action, laughter, love, heartache and tears.  As a superhero lover, there is nothing more thrilling than watching this movie – all three hours of it. Bringing all of the Marvel characters together in one movie is simply brilliant.

Avengers: Endgame is based on an awesome journey, post Thanos destruction, of half the Universe.  The Avengers are not used to losing, as they did when we last watched them together, so, they come up with a plan to finally defeat Thanos and save the Universe.

If you haven’t seen many Marvel movies, I recommend watching all of them – each worthy of a 4- or 5-star rating.  In Avengers: Endgame, we see many of the same characters as in other Avenger films.  Tony Stark (aka Ironman), played by Robert Downey Jr., and Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), played by Chris Evans, are probably on the screen the most. The special effects are out of this world. The sound effects make the theatre seats rattle, and the new costumes are super sleek.  My favorite character is Rocket because he is a funny, outspoken, genetically-engineered, spaceship-flying raccoon.  My favorite  scene is when Thor appears in a way we have never seen him before, and it made me laugh out loud. 

The message of Avengers: Endgame is about the characters’ hunger for the old days, teamwork and determination. Without the team and their determination, they are nothing.  Together they are able to be good and do good. Be aware that this movie has some mild profanity, intense violence (stabbings, decapitation, sliced throat, impalement, explosions), alcohol drinking and other risky behavior that kids might replicate.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 10 to 18, and for adults, for sure. Avengers: Endgame is in theaters on April 26, 2019.

Avengers: Endgame
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Avengers: Endgame is the epic conclusion of 11 years of films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is nothing less but spectacular! It is a constellation of the biggest Hollywood stars in one event that is entertaining, heartfelt and fun at the same time.

The basic premise is: the remaining super heroes from the previous film Avengers: Infinity War fight together against evil Thanos to restore peace based on their faith on humankind.

The story develops in three acts. Act 1 is very dramatic and gives the actors the opportunity to develop their characters in scenes that are not action related. We see the most human side of these heroes here. This Avengers film has the best acting of all. Among my favorites performers are Robert Downey Jr. who plays Iron Man and steals the show. Chris Evans, as Captain America, carries the spirit of the team and is always very enthusiastic. Brie Larson brings a lot of gravitas. I can’t mention other favorites, because it would be a spoiler. In this act the Avengers reflect about what might happen if they could turn back time and do things differently. We see how these characters react to loss and hope.

In Act 2 we see the action plan. The movie deals with the concept of time travel and references a lot of films also developed around concepts of present, past and future. During this act, the movie gets a little slow, despite the fun and dramatic action scenes. There are flashbacks and you need to follow carefully to figure out what happens. Even though this film’s run time is three hours, it’s necessary to fit everything in needed to develop the story.

The finale is a total extravaganza and makes this film a unique and total experience. The special affects are fantastic, especially in the Act 3 when we see most of the action scenes and intense battles. The music is very orchestral, but of course it includes contemporary pop and rock songs.

There are so many surprises that make the whole experience very enjoyable. There are also so many details and, although you don’t need to see the previous films to enjoy this one, there is a lot that is directly connected with the previous films, specifically Avengers: Infinity War.

The message of this film is: the world is in our hands and we have to do something to preserve it. We can have a second chance as long as we want to accomplish something. This is part of the beauty of Avengers: Endgame – a lot messages will resonate and touch you like no other super heroes movie does. I am very sad this is the last film, so there will not be another one like this one.

I recommend Avengers: Endgame to ages 10 to 18. This is not as violent as Infinity War, but obviously parental guidance is important younger viewers. Avengers: Endgame opens nationwide on April 26, 2019. Look for it!

Avengers: Endgame
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is in full force, as is the promotion for what is expected to be a record-breaking film release. I’m not going to lie, Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film release from Marvel, is a cinematic roller coaster ride for everyone. I laughed. I cried. I loved every pop culture reference. Let us remember, I am not the target audience and I can’t wait to see it again.

As in past MCU films, the Avengers are a tight group of superheroes who are like a family and showcase the heart of family throughout time in this film. At the end of Avengers: Infinity Wars, the snap heard throughout the universe ended lives and destroyed families like nothing before. How Thanos (Josh Brolin), the villain, could win vs. our super heroes stymied many. The end credit scenes in Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), gave us a bit of a hint about who would live to save the day, but what would bring our heroes together? Again, it’s Thanos. The use of time and space is a creative set-up for this film and, without delivering spoilers, it truly has to be seen to be believed.

There is a great historical thread and deep family themes throughout the film. In many ways, it is funnier than the Guardians of the Galaxy films, too. There is a single frame in the film screaming girl power, and we learn more about the back story of many characters including Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The film is an epic conclusion to a well-told story over the last ten years.

Note. This film is a full three hours long. Avoid the over-sized soft drinks or you will miss the action scenes within the film. You simply must see every frame within the last hour. If you don’t have the “Run Pee” app, now is a good time to download it!

I give this film 5 of 5 stars for the casting, costumes, special effects, family themes, humor, awesome comedic pop culture references, make-up (men and women) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 8 to 18. I caution younger viewing due to fight scenes which may be disturbing to younger children. Be sure to look for Stan Lee – it has been confirmed this is his last film appearance. May he rest in eternal peace, protected by the Marvel Universe.

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.

Mama

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!

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.

Announcing our 2013 KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Finalists!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Amazon_film_critic_banner.jpgWe Proudly Announce Our Finalists for the 2013 KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search. Twelve of these young people will become the face and voice of KIDS FIRST! for the next year. They will be doing video reviews, hosting our Voice America Kids radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions, attend pre-screenings, red carpet events and more.

The film critics program helps to support our mission of media literacy, proving that SMART KIDS MAKE SMART CONSUMERS. In order to keep our program alive, and make sure that these opportunities are open to all kids, we need your help. Please make your tax-deductible donation in support of these important programs aimed at kids, by kids. Any amount helps, click here now, or contact us to donate by check.

The 2013 Finalist are (in alphabetical order by first name):

  1. Adam Chernick

  2. Canela Roey

  3. Carson Boman

  4. Casey Holmes

  5. Cassandra Hsiao

  6. Charlee Boman

  7. Colin Davies

  8. Cordelia Holland Foist

  9. Gerry Orz

  10. Jaheem Toombs

  11. Jailene Arias

  12. Johntae Lipscomb

  13. Keefer C. Blakeslee

  14. Molly Jackson

  15. Morgaine Sapphire Hunter

  16. Patrick Nguyen

  17. Stacy-Love Belizaire

  18. Talin Polka

  19. Valdi-Agaelle Belizaire

To see the finalists entry videos, click here! Pick your favorites and check back on the KIDS FIRST! website on or around January 31 to see if who won!

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