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

Archive for the 'New Releases' Category

Big Miracle – Inspiring Film Based on a True Story

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

BigMiracle_1.jpgNine-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic loved this film. Watch his video review or read below what he had to say:

“This is one of the best movies I have ever seen that is based on a true story.  This movie is really awesome because there were so many people that came together to save three whales. It was really heart-breaking because a lot of people put their own lives in danger to save the lives of the whales. This movie is all about Adam and Nathan who are out and see three whales that are trapped under the ice and can’t find their way to the ocean. There is a small hole that the whales keep using to breathe so first they try digging that whole to make it bigger. Adam’s friend Rachel comes to help save the whales and do everything she can. She asks the governor for help but he says no so she tells the news about what he said. The governor then decides to help. They have to work fast because the hole keeps freezing and getting smaller and the ice leading to the ocean keeps freezing over making the distance even longer.   Some of the main characters in the movie are Adam, Rachel, and Nathan. My favorite character is Nathan because he is such a funny character at first and then he really starts to care about the whales. He also starts to spend a lot of time with his grandfather because his grandfather likes to spend a lot of time around the ocean and helps animals in need.  My favorite part in the movie is when everyone started to dig the holes to help the whales breathe and get back to the ocean. I really like this part because it really shows how everyone cares about saving the whales and how much people love the whales. A part that was really funny was when the Governor had to help save the whales because Rachel told the news that he wouldn’t help. It was funny to see him shaking the hand of a guy dressed up as a whale. I would recommend this movie for all ages because it is a really good movie. There are not any violent parts in this movie. This movie is a little sad but overall a really great family movie. Go out and see this movie in theaters on February 3rd. Review by Anthony Aranda, age 9, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Barbie: A Perfect Christmas – A Hit with Younger Girls as Well as Their Older Sisters

Thursday, December 1st, 2011


If you want to have the perfect Christmas, you must see this movie! Three of our youth critics who watched it loved it. Here’s what they have to say:

This movie is about family fun, working it out, and knowing that your loved ones are there for you. It all takes place at Christmas with wonderful stories for you to come along! MakaiCcolvin.jpgThe music in this move is so cool and I really enjoyed listening to the lyrics. It is a musical, so be prepared for the most pop Christmas Music you can imagine. I think it is a lot of fun and even though it seems a little early, I am always ready for some Christmassy cheer.  My favorite part in this move is when they are sliding on the sled. Everyone is happy. It’s a wonderful scene with lots of Christmas joy and laughter.  The MakaiCcolvin.jpganimation in this movie is so detailed you can really see the wardrobe of the characters. My favorite photo is of Barbie’s sitter’s sparkly coat and boots. This outfit is very shiny and pretty, just my style. I enjoy fashion and that is one thing this Barbie movie delivers.  “Barbie: A Perfect Christmas” is best suited for ages 2 to 10. I’m not sure older kids will like it because sometimes, or most of the time, you grow out of Barbie. But I still like Barbie because of the fashion ideas I get from the movies. Girlie girls will love this movie, and maybe even some boys who enjoy fashion and good stories about Christmas and family. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars! Credit: Makai Weber Colvin, Age 10, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Video review here.

This movie is about Barbie and her three sisters Stacie, Chelsea, and Skipper. They are on their way to New York City to have the perfect Christmas with their Aunt Millicent. Due to a snowstorm, they have to land in Rochester Minnesota. There, they check in to the magical Tannenbaum Inn and they meet the amazing Christie Clauson, and the Elif familNy__Asia.jpgy. Do they make it to New York in time for Christmas? You must see this movie for yourself to find out. My favorite part is Skipper’s Christmas Concert, especially the opening act where the dogs are dancing. My favorite characters are Christie Clauson, because she loves Christmas aNy__Asia.jpgnd giving to others, and Barbie, because she loves her sisters and really tried to get them to New York to have the perfect Christmas. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars, because it’s the perfect holiday movie, and I recommend this movie to everyone. Reviewed by Ny’asia Bell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8. Video review here.

Barbie: A Perfect Christmas is an uplifting film that will put you in the mood for Christmas. It’s about Barbie’s plan to take her sisters, Skipper, Stacie and Chelsea to New York for the perfect Christmas, but a storm delays their plane flight, causing them to stay in a hotel a bit far from New York. If you want to find out how Barbie and her sisters improvise their plans so that they can still have a wonderful Christmas in the hotel, watch the movie to find out!

This movie contains a lot of musical numbers emphasizing the spirit of Christmas. Barbie and her sisters face many obstacles in the movie, but I found it inspiring how they always resolved their problems by having an optimistic mindset, which led them to come together in the end. Therefore, the essential message of this movie is that if you think positively and keep all of your options open, your goal may come true! On the contrary, the animation of the characters in the movie is a bit rigid.Gabriella3.jpg

I recommend this film for children ages 4 and up. This movie will appeal more to little kids because it is very straightforward and cheerful. Even if young children can’t understand the plot of the movie, they will still enjoy the music and singing. This family film will spread the Christmas spirit and bring children and their parents closer together for the Holidays!Credit: Gabriella Chu, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. Video review here

Christmas DVDs You Might Not Be Aware Of

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

211189.jpgThe Littlest Angel, based on the fifteenth best-selling children’s book of all time, tells the story of a young boy who arrives in heaven before his time.  Have you ever wondered what Heaven looks like? The Littlest Angel is an adaptation from the book The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell. The movie is about a clumsy angel who has difficulty adjusting to Heaven because his wings are not developed yet. He is very homesick, so he goes on an adventure with his dog to Earth to retrieve his treasure box containing things that are precious to him. Will the littlest angel complete his mission despite his clumsiness? Watch the movie to find out. All of the characters have such different personalities, so it’s comical to watch them interact with one another. I also thought the voices of the characters were well suited to their personalities. The movie is very jubilant and shows that you should treat people the way you want to be treated. For example, the littlest angel was kind to everyone, including those who didn’t initially like him, so he earned respect. The movie also shows that practice makes perfect, but perhaps the essential message of the movie is that it’s the thought that counts which makes a gift valuable.  I recommend this movie to all ages, but I think it suits more for children 3 and up. I enjoyed the CGI animation of the movie because it is simple, and the facial expressions of the characters are easily readable and adorable, so everyone can understand it. Credit: Gabriella Chu, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Watch Gabriella’s video review here.  Gabriella3.jpg211175.jpg

Looking for something new to watch this holiday season? “The Dog Who Saved Christmas” features the voice talent of Mario Lopez (“Dancing With the Stars,” “Saved By the Bell”) as Zeus, a mischievous yellow Labrador who appears to be less than the dependable guard dog the Bannister family needs.  What happens when a Christmas present goes horribly wrong? Find out along with the Bannister family when they adopt a K-9 watchdog who does not even know how to bark! An All-star cast is sure to impress with names such as Gary Valentine (“King of Queens”), Elisa Donovan (“Clueless; Sabrina the Teenage Witch”), Charlie Stewart (“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”) and many more. With the holiday season approaching, the Bannister family agrees they need either an alarm or a watchdog to keep their new house secure. Zeus sadly is no watchdog. While the kids fight to keep their loving dog Zeus, Zeus tries to prove himself to his new family. The poor dog is constantly reminded he cannot bark by his new mother Belinda and two hilarious talking mice who share his new home. After failing a mock-burglar test and breaking the Bannister family’s gift to their Grandma, Zeus has run out of chances to prove himself worthy of protecting his family. But just as the Bannister’s leave to spend Christmas Eve with their Grandma, and begin saying their goodbyes to their Pound bound mutt, Zeus is given one more chance to prove himself. With the threat of two robbers and no family around Zeus must snatch the chance to be a hero, he even gets help from an unexpected source to defeat the criminals. This fast-paced comedy is a perfect addition to the holiday season, and will become a family-friendly tradition for future Christmases to come.

211184.jpgAlso, look for The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation with the same talent.

Hugo – A Treat from the Master!

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Hugo.jpgMasterful Martin Scorsese has transformed the wonderful book, The Invention of Hugo Caberet by Brian Selznick into a film that is truly a gift to all of us this Holiday season. The story itself is similar to Scorsese’s own life story. Here are what two of our 14-year-old critics have to say about it.
Hugo is the thrilling story about Hugo Cabaret (Asa Butterfield), the orphan clockmaker who, with help from Isabelle Melies (Chloe Moretz), fixes an automaton that was created by magician and filmmaker George Melies (Ben Kingsley). I thought this movie was great, particularly the scenery which takes place in Paris. I also loved the soundtrack, which really helps set the mood. The acting is great, especially considering that Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz are only 13- and 14-years-old. They do a fantastic job. The only thing I don’t like is that the movie takes place in Paris, but the people have English, not French, accents. I recommend this film for ages seven and up because  some themes may go above younger kids’ heads. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

By Daniel Menegaz, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Hugo is about a little boy, no more than ten or eleven, who works at the train station running the clocks. Hugo and his dad are clockmakers, until his dad dies when he (Hugo) is very young. His grandpa takes him into the clocks at the train station, but leaves him there after a short amount of time. All Hugo wants to do is fix the automaton he and his dad were fixing…

Daniel.JonalMusicSM.jpgThe movie is amazing, the acting is great. I have to hand it to the two main characters: Hugo (Asa Butterfield) and Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), both are children, my age or younger, and they portrayed the characters very well.

The Cinematography is eye-catching, in the middle of winter, the shots they take from the clocks, or just in the train station are great. What is a movie without a sound track? This movie’s music sets the scene up very well, making you think you know what is about to happen.

I recommend this movie to people 7 and up, it doesn’t have much violence or language or anything like that. Overall I rate this move 8.5 out of 10.

Credit: Jonah Menegaz, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Kate Middleton Sets a New Standard for Princesses, Time for Charm School Young Ladies

Monday, September 12th, 2011

BarbiePrincessCharm_1.jpgBarbie™: Princess Charm School stars Barbie as the “common” girl Blair, who wins the lottery and goes to a princess charm school. It’s full of mystery, as we find out that Blair is the real missing princess and she and her new princess friends are able to find the missing magic crown in time to stop the crowning of the wrong princess. It is a good exhibition of teamwork and people from different walks of life working together.

Here’s what our youth jurors thought about it. “Super. Awesome. Great.” “We all like Blair Willows because she is nice, pretty and independent.” “The fairies were cool.” “The music rocks, makes us want to get up and dance.” “We learn not to be mean or you’ll be embarrassed.” The kids have lots of favorite parts: the music, when Blair comes home and plays with her little sister, when the lottery winner is picked, when she met the fairy, when she changed clothes in the locker, when Blair’s make-up is messed up after the carriage hits a bump.

Wonderful Preschool DVDs – Just in time for Back to School

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

WubbzyFireEngine_1.jpgWOW! WOW! WUBBZY!: WUBBZY & THE FIRE ENGINE, the latest release from the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy series, lends itself easily to children questioning and using concepts in play. The story lines venture a bit from reality but they are amusing and fun. Each episode holds a simple story with educational, social and entertainment benefits. Wubbzy and the Fire Engine takes a look at public service and the desire to help others. Though Wubbzy goes about things the wrong way, it allows children to learn from their mistakes and ask questions about how they can help. Overall it is very entertaining and provides a vehicle for parents to discuss topics brought up in the episodes. The characters are very appealing to kids. OUr kid jurors remarked about what was taking place on-screen. “That’s a fire truck!” “That’s funny,” were said in response to jelly jars smashing and splashing on the characters. Kids wanted to watch again. They later acted out character roles from the Wuzzleburg Express episode. Many of them danced along to the songs between the episodes. Two children played fire trucks after observing the Wubbzy and the Fire Engine episode incorporating storylines into their play and readily talking to their parents about what they saw. The children were happy and laughed frequently at the activity on the screen.

Chuggington.jpgCHUGGINGTON: IT’S TRAINING TIME is another preschool fave with our kid and adult jurors. We watch young trains who are in training learning to help out in whatever way best suits them. They learn how to do things, but not all are good at evert task. Throughout the learning process they ask questions, practicing what they have learned and fixing mistakes they made. This offers excellent modeling for little ones to begin doing the same.  In “Training Time for Harrison,” an “adult” train wants to pull the royal coach and puts obstacles in the way of other trains so that he will get the job first. He learns that even he has things to learn and can be a better train. The trains show how working together and supporting each other makes things so much easier. In “Watch Out Wilson,” Wilson needs special mirrors to help him back up. He is afraid the other trains will make fun of him, but instead they cheer and say how much they like his mirrors. This series has wonderful production values, is brightly colored and fun to watch. Our youth jurors were smiling, laughing, playing and talking with each other as they watched it. Many wanted to watch certain parts again. They like the opening song and some sing or dance along. One child even pulled out a box of trains and several children took them and played while watching. “Mommy, see that train, that one. He’s funny.” Kids talked about it and came back to watch a second time. Children all appear genuinely engaged by the episodes. It was equally appealing to kids familiar with Chuggington as with the kids who were seeing it for the first time. The children played nicely together and seemed to want to be helpful and include each other in their play.

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