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, 2010


Monday, January 11th, 2010

While the entertainment industry has improved how it portrays high-risk behaviors, half the scenes examined in a study of films marketed to children showed unsafe behaviors, and the consequences of these behaviors were rarely shown. In the study, “Injury-Prevention Practices as Depicted in G- and PG-Rated Movies, 2003-2007,” published in the February issue of Pediatrics (appearing online Jan. 11), authors examined whether the depiction of injury-prevention practices in children’s movies has gotten better or worse over the past few years. Sixty-seven movies with a total of 958 person-scenes were examined, with 55 percent depicting children and 45 percent adults. Overall, study authors concluded that depictions of injury-prevention practices in G- and PG-rated movies have improved: 75 percent of boaters wore personal flotation devices, 56 percent of motor vehicle passengers were belted, 35 percent of pedestrians used crosswalks and 25 percent of bicyclists wore helmets. However, half the scenes depicted unsafe practices. In October 2009, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement on media violence that recommends parents actively monitor what their children are watching. Study authors conclude parents should highlight the depiction of unsafe behaviors in movies and educate children in following safe practices.
For more information contact the CDC Press Office at 404-639-3286, Lola Russell at [email protected] or Kristen Nordlund at [email protected] ]

DGA Announces Nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Films for 2009

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Directors Guild of America President Taylor Hackford today announced the five nominees for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2009.

“The DGA Award is especially meaningful to directors because it is decided solely by their peers – the men and women who have been in the same trenches and know exactly what goes into the crafting of a unique motion picture,” said Hackford. “The five nominees for this year have each expressed an indelible vision that transported audiences to vivid vistas of cinematic art. My heartiest congratulations to all of the nominees.”

The winner will be named at the 62nd Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 30, 2010, at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

The nominees are (in alphabetical order):


“The Hurt Locker”

(Summit Entertainment)

Ms. Bigelow’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Tony Mark

• First Assistant Director: David Ticotin

• First Assistant Director (Canadian Unit): Lee Cleary



(Twentieth Century Fox)

Mr. Cameron’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Colin Wilson

• First Assistant Director: Josh McLaglen

• Second Assistant Director/Additional Unit First Assistant Director: Maria Battle Campbell


“Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”


Mr. Daniels’ Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Tony Hernandez

• First Assistant Director: Chip Signore

• Second Assistant Director: Tracey Hinds

• Second Second Assistant Director: Michael “Boogie” Pinckney

• Additional Unit Production Manager: Patrick D. Gibbons

• Additional First Assistant Director: Tom Fatone

• Additional Second Assistant Directors: Kim Thompson, Mirashyam Blakeslee

• Location Manager: Gregory Routt


“Up In The Air”

(Paramount Pictures)

Mr. Reitman’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg

• First Assistant Director: Jason Blumenfeld

• Second Assistant Director: Sonia Bhalla

• Assistant Unit Production Manager: Samson Mucke

• Second Second Assistant Director: Joseph Payton

• Additional Second Assistant Director: Heather L. Hogan


“Inglourious Basterds”

(The Weinstein Company and Universal Pictures)

Mr. Tarantino’s Directorial Team:

• Unit Production Manager: Gregor Wilson

• Unit Production Manager (Germany): Michael Scheel

• First Assistant Director: Carlos Fidel

• Second Assistant Director: Miguel Angelo Pa

• Second Second Assistant Directors: Jill Moriarty, Tanja Däberitz

Avatar Review by Moving Pictures Magazine

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Reviewed by Rick Klaw
(December 2009)

Directed/Written by: James Cameron
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi

Twelve years after crafting the Oscar-winning best picture “Titanic” and nearly two decades since “Terminator 2,” director/screenwriter/producer James Cameron returns to the big screen and his science fiction roots with the much ballyhooed “Avatar.” Equipped with groundbreaking 3-D and graphics technology, Cameron’s nearly three-hour epic emerges as perhaps the most beautiful movie ever produced.

Avatar; courtesy WETA and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
A Na’vi warrior races into battle on a thanator, a fearsome panther-like creature native to Pandora; courtesy WETA and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

In the far future, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a wounded and paralyzed former U.S. Marine, travels to Pandora, a lush, jungle-covered extraterrestrial moon and home to a sentient humanoid race, the Na’vi. Approximately 10-feet tall with tails and sparkling blue skin, the Na’vi fight when a human corporation, backed by battalions of Marines, attempts to remove the indigenous people from their native lands.

Unable to breathe the air on Pandora, human scientists create genetically-bred human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. Jake participates in the Avatar program, which enables him to walk again though a new body. Sent deep into Pandora’s jungles as a scout, Jake encounters many of Pandora’s varied beauties and dangers.

Avatar; photo by Mark Fellman and WETA, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Worthington: Jake (Sam Worthington) meets his avatar, a genetically engineered hybrid of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora; photo by Mark Fellman and WETA, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Complete with contrived dialogue and a telegraphed plot, the hackneyed tale derives, almost fully-formed, via the 1950s and the far more compelling fiction of Jack Vance and Robert Heinlein. Offering little in character originality, Cameron borrows heavily from his previous sci-fi endeavors. Even one of his former stars, Sigourney Weaver, returns as the head scientist for the Avatar project. The adequate acting rarely excels and at times even devolves into stereotype.

The world of the Na’vi, while intriguing, offers little that hasn’t been portrayed before. To his credit, the excellent combat scenes serve to remind filmgoers that Cameron belongs among the top tier of all-time action directors. None of this matters though. The true essence of “Avatar” rests with the impressive visual effects.

No stranger to special effects, Cameron created new advancements in that arena with several of his previous films, including both “Terminators,” “The Abyss” and “Titanic.” The 3-D and visual effects of “Avatar” far exceed anything previously seen. The extensive trailers fail to properly showcase the extent of the dazzling imagery, and offer only a glimpse of why this feature needs to be seen in the theater. Even with the lengthy running time, due primarily to the visuals, the movie doesn’t feel overly long.

Avatar; photo by Mark Fellman, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
As an epic battle approaches, Jake (Sam Worthington, left), Grace (Sigourney Weaver), Trudy (Michelle Rodriguez) and Norm (Joel David Moore) plan their next move; photo by Mark Fellman, courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Unlike most directors, Cameron, for the most part, uses the 3-D subtly. Realistic sweat dripping of faces enhances the tension. By giving depth, a large ship interior becomes massive. The projection screens used on the ships are fully integrated and interact seamlessly with the crew. Lighter-than-air creatures have depth and mass. All these little touches breathe life into the very alien world of “Avatar.”

The attractive Na’vi, conceived using a technology similar to that which created Gollum (in “Lord of the Rings”) and Peter Jackson’s giant ape in “King Kong,” retain a human-ness while simultaneously basking in their uniqueness. The entire Pandora landscape abounds in a lushness of detail, from the tiniest creatures to the humongous floating mountains.

By fully embracing and understanding current technologies, Cameron has created a visual delight unlike any previous movie. Even with the story flaws, the drop-dead gorgeous “Avatar” provides unforgettable entertainment.

Photo (top): Neytiri (Zoë Saldana, right) teaches Jake (Sam Worthington) the skills he’ll need to survive on Pandora; courtesy WETA and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.


Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Thanks to Dhari Gray for this:

May this New Year be one of joy, abundance, good-will, peace and gracefulness.

May we have the courage to look for a blessing in every moment, and the audacity to celebrate it.

May compassion reign in our hearts and kindness ring through every word. May our waking dreams be filled
with joy, creativity and passionate pursuits. May our hearts and minds be joined as one; unified within, and so without.

May we remember we are all children of the Earth; kindred spirits, brothers and sisters, members of the great family of love.

May we choose love over fear; unity and harmony over separation and discord. May we have the strength to claim our authentic power; standing true in word, action and deed, and with firm resolve BE the change we wish to see in the world!

May our children see the light of love in our eyes. May our elders be honored for the wisdom each bears. May every heart trust that we are each divinely endowed with the birth-right to thrive, and wake each day celebrating the Great-Full-Ness of life.

May we remember heaven is within our hearts, opening our eyes to the sacred in all things. May we breathe thanks into each moment, and with reverence honor all of the gifts this life brings.

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