Up to date information about children’s entertainment - film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for January, 2008

Report from American Academy of Pediatrics on Early Exposure to Movie Smoking

Monday, January 7th, 2008

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report today suggesting that exposure to images of smoking in films early in life influence children’s choice to smoke when they become adolescents. In “Longitudinal Study of Viewing Smoking in Movies and Initiation of Smoking by Children,” researchers at Dartmouth Medical School interviewed children, ages 9 to 12, from 26 schools in New Hampshire and Vermont on what movies they had seen. Results from the baseline interview showed that each child already had seen an average of 37 out of 50 popular movies they were asked about, exposing them to an average of 150 smoking occurrences. About 80 percent of the children’s exposure was due to smoking images portrayed in youth-rated movies. Follow-up surveys assessing new exposure to movie smoking and smoking initiation were then administered to the children at two subsequent one-year intervals. By the second follow-up survey, 9.6 percent of the children had initiated smoking. The results indicated that the baseline measure of movie smoking exposure was as important as exposure measured at follow-up in predicting children’s smoking initiation, suggesting that the process which leads children to initiate smoking begins much earlier than adolescence. Overall, movie smoking may contribute to future tobacco use in at least one-third of elementary school-age children. For more information, contact Linda Titus-Ernstoff, PhD, at 603-653-3696, linda.titus-ernstoff@dartmouth.edu ]

In a related study, “Exposure to Smoking in Internationally Distributed American Movies and Youth Smoking in Germany: A Cross-cultural Cohort Study,” researchers found that smoking in internationally distributed U.S. movies predicted the likelihood that German adolescents would try smoking. The results mirror similar studies linking smoking in movies with U.S. adolescent tobacco use.

Netflix to Deliver HD Movies Through Broadband

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Have you hears that Netflix is partnering with LG Electronics to develop a broadband enabled set-top box that will deliver HD movies from the PC to the TV. Netflix, with 7 million subscribers who collectively watch more than 10 million movies and TV shows via Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” is destined for to success. Similar set-top boxes offered by Apple Inc., Vudu Inc. and Akimbo have not been successful. We will see…

Loved P.S. I Love You

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Kudos to romantic comedies. My 34-year-old daughter worked on the film, “P.S. I Love You” which was released theatrically a couple of weeks ago. In honor or her birthday, I went to see it last night at our local cinemaplex. Loved it. Hillary Swank plays a young widow, crushed by the lost of her handsome, funny, passionate and thoroughly-in-love with her husband Gerry played by Gerard Butler. Out of the blue, on her 30th birthday, she receives what is to become the first of 10 letters from her deceased husband designed to help her deal with her loss and start a new life for herself. Before he died, Gerry wrote these letters, knowing firsthand how she would deal with his passing and her life without him. As the weeks and seasons pass, more letters from Gerry appear, often delivered in strange and mysterious ways. One sending her off to sing Karoke, another to Ireland. Holly’s tough love mother is played by Kathy Bates, her best friends by Gina Gershon and Lisa Kudrow. They’re concerned that Gerry’s letters are holding Holly back from moving forward with her life but in truth they manage to accomplish exactly what he planned. Bring a bundle of tissues with you to see this. I found myself sitting there with tears streamiing down my face in the final minutes of the film. Overall, it’s a sweet message about love and letting go, about believing in yourself and pursuing your dreams all enhance to a wonderful soundtrack that I’ve got to order today!

It’s rated PG for sexual references and brief nudity. A man and a woman argue while they are in their underware. There is a brief male striptease and implied sex. There is a scene in a gay bar and wearing little clothing. A scene shot from behind of a man naked. A man and woman have a one night stand. There is profanity. There are many scenes with alcohol use.

UK Bans TV Ads for Junk Food

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

In an effort to combat childhood obesity, UK communications regulator Ofcom has officially instituted a band on TV ads for junk food, that is foods high in fat, salt, sugar and the like, on kid-targeted TV channels and between all kid’s programs, in this case kid-targeted is defined as TV for kids under 16-years-old. Under the new rules, TV shows are designated as for kids if the audience is comprised of a high percentage of viewers under 16 years. Broadcasters believe that this move will have the negative impact of preventing them from creating and producing quality programming because of the loss of ad revenues, which have been estimated to be upwards of US $80 million. Meanwhile, health conscious groups, who mark this new rule as a victory, continue to lobby for no junk-food ads at all on TV before 9p, and that these new rules don’t cover family-targeted shows, while others point out that junk food ads will continue to reach kids via other avenues such as the internet. This move follows the April 2007 ban on junk food ads in TV shows aimed at K7-9. A review of these new TV ad restrictions will be reviewed towards the end of 2008.

Britain implemented a ban on junk-food ads during TV shows for minors. The ban applies to 1) “foods high in fat, salt and sugar” and 2) shows that attract a “significantly higher than average proportion of viewers under the age of 16.” This follows a previous ban that applied to kids 9 or younger. The government also “plans to ban the use of celebrities and characters, such as cartoon heroes, to advertise unhealthy food.” Rationale: Controlling child obesity. Britons’ objections: 1) The ban doesn’t go far enough, because it doesn’t cover adult-oriented shows that some kids watch. 2) It should cover all shows that air before 9 p.m. 3) The government caved in to the financial greed of broadcasters and “the food industry.” (Related: The battle against junk food; the war on soda; regulating salt; the worst privacy invasions of 2007.)

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Best wishes to each and everyone of you for a healthy, safe and prosperous 2008. As many of you know, I have just returned from a glorious winter holiday in South America. My first trip there, and definitely a place I recommend to others. Rather than visiting Paris, visit Buenos Aires; rather than visiting London, try Rio de Janeiro. We visited some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen that seem to reach forever. Ihla Grande, Porto Belo, Punte del Este - and more. And, I found film festivals everywhere - from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo. Just wait as you see our plans to expand our partnerships this year to international venues.

While away, I have been tracking entertainment news from home. I see that writer-director, Brad Bird (”The Iron Giant,” “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”) has been in the news extoling the virtues of animation writers. Yesterday, I saw my first feature film of the year, the Disney sequel “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and hoped to see the new release, “P.S. I Love You” which my daughter worked on. Unfortunately, we purchased tickets for the 1:30 screening of the former and 4:00 of the latter and when we tried to get in to see “P.S. I Love You” there were no seats left. I have never seen our local UA/Regal Cinema so packed as it was New Year’s Day. As we left the theater, the line for tickets wrapped around the outside of the building - this in single digit temps! Who says that no one goes to the movies anymore.

Last, I turned to updates on the writer’s strike. Looks like Jay Leno’s show has been spotlighted as WGA West abandons pickets at all other locations the rest of this week in order to focus on NBC Studios because Jay returns to The Tonight Show tonight. Although Leno helped out the Guild in the early days of the strike, apparently there’s a rift between his show and the guild because of the WGA’s decision to make an interim agreement with David Letterman’s group allowing The Late Show and the Late Late Show to return to the air with scribes.

WGA Agrees To Allow Dave’s Late Night Shows To Return With Writers Jan. 2
Late Night Breakthrough; Dave Cooks Up WGA Deal That NBC & ABC Won’t Enjoy

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