Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for April, 2009

Star Trek on Store Shelves April 28

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Star Trek: The Original Series Season One -Starring one of the most endearing casts in television history led by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan and Nichelle Nichols, STAR TREK® is a worldwide phenomenon and served as a launching pad for numerous television series and feature films. These classic first season episodes started it all, introducing the world to Kirk, Spock and the rest of the Enterprise’s iconic crew. Blu-Ray. 24 hrs. 20 min.; $118.00; Ages 12-18. Paramount Home Entertainment.Star Trek: The Best of the Original SeriesSet in the 24th century and decades after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise, this new series is the long-awaited successor to the original “Star Trek” (1966). Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the all new Enterprise NCC 1701-D travels out to distant planets to seek out new life and to boldly go where no one has gone before. DVD. 201 min.; $14.98; Ages 12-18. Paramount Home Entertainment. Street Date: 4/28/09Star Trek: The Best of the Next Generation. Space…The FinalFrontierThese are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise. Its5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before !” The series is set in the 23rd century where Earth has survived World War III then moved on to explore the stars. DVD. 181min.; $14.98; Ages 12-18. Paramount Home Entertainment. Street Date: 4/28/09

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Habitat Heroes™ – Global, Social Networking web site for Young Eco-warriors

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Habitat Heroes™, the first global, social networking web site for young eco-warriors, will launch in time for Earth Day on April 22nd. Sharon Lowe, an Australian mother of three, created Habitat Heroes™ after observing her daughter’s online play. She had a desire to create an entertaining, yet worthwhile destination for children seeking to learn more about the earth, conservation, and preservation.

Lowe developed the site with the assistance of a top-notch panel of environmental experts.“The core of Habitat Heroes™ was formed around values my husband and I wish to instill in our children. Treating other living creatures, and our planet, with respect is of the utmost importance to us. Since computers are part of our children’s lives beginning at such a young age, I wanted to create an online destination where children could learn about these fundamentally important issues through things they enjoy, such as games and activities,” said Lowe.

Habitat Heroes™ is an interactive web destination where children can adopt an animal from an endangered species, and create a life for it, while also playing games, reading fun facts about the planet, and communicating with other young environmentalists. Children select and personalize animal avatars to represent them on the site, and decorate the habitats where their avatars live. The number of avatars for a specific species on the site corresponds to the number of members of that species existing in the real world. For instance, only 3600 members who sign-up can choose the black rhinoceros as their avatar, corresponding to the 3600 black rhinoceros in existence. The site will introduce a new endangered species once the old one is retired.

One of Habitat Heroes™ primary goals is to bring young environmentalists from around the globe together so that they can share their ideas for saving the planet. Animal avatars looking to socialize, or share their thoughts on the environment, can make friends at the local “Watering Hole” and communicate with them via chat boxes. Safety features have been built into the site and online chats are closely monitored. Parents also have the option to limit use of this function or any other aspect of the site.“As a mother, I make sure that everything my children do online is safe and worthwhile. I envision Habitat Heroes™ as an online destination where any child can have a truly engaging experience,” said Lowe.

On Habitat Heroes™, children can explore different continents and learn about environmental issues by touring a virtual map. Each continent also has its own games. Water Wheel is a game based on the real-life work of PlayPumps International, an organization that constructs merry-go-round water pumps for communities in sub-Saharan Africa. In this game, players virtually construct an irrigation system in an African village. In another game, located in India, Connectastrophe, children can explore and learn about natural disasters.In addition to traditional environmental concerns, Habitat Heroes™ also enlightens children about healthy eating and global cultures. Kids learn to make proper food choices at Scoops & Sprinkles, where they can assemble healthy frozen yogurt desserts, or by feeding their avatars sashimi and salads at the Chow House. They can learn about Indian heritage by playing dress-up with traditional saris and jewelry at the Sari Salon. These additional elements allow children to feel a connection – both social and geographic – with other world communities facing difficult environmental challenges.

Beyond the interactive features of the site, children can visit Habitat Heroes™ to find out more about environmental organizations as well as their favorite celebrity environmentalists and the causes that most interest them. Check out this site with your young ones for a fun and educational experience.

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Legally Blondes – An Interview With Becky and Milly Rosso

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Calling all “Legally Blonde” fans, fans of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody,” or even fans of fun, family films that keep you laughing! Now is the time to enjoy the third film in the “Legally Blonde” franchise, entitled “Legally Blondes.” The beauty of this title is that it’s enjoyable enough to entertain teens and adults, but also appeals to younger children. The lack of no offensive content makes it a perfect full-family film.In “Legally Blondes,” when Elle Woods’ young, blonde cousins Annie and Izzy (Milly and Becky Rosso) moved from England to California, they thought their pink clothes, small dogs and street smarts would make them instantly fit in and feel at home. However, they find they are miles away from the uniform fashions and money-focused power structure of their new prep school. When the school’s reigning forces turn on the girls and try to frame them for a crime, Izzy and Annie must use their cleverness and charm to clear their names and show the school that in the classroom or the courtroom, they should never underestimate the power of blondes!Becky and Milly, the fabulous main characters in the film, not only have beautiful faces, but also beautiful personalities. They are great role models for young viewers. Here is their take on their acting careers:1. You have been thrown into the world of acting pretty suddenly. What is the most challenging part of acting that you have discovered?Becky – It takes me a while to practice and get into character.Milly – It’s hard for me to act confident on set when I’m feeling a bit insecure.2. How do you prepare for a film in comparison to filming for a television episode?Becky – You have to be ready to portray any part of a script at any sequence since filming is out of order. I loved the live audience on Fridays with Zac and Cody where there was great energy and you could feed off the audience energy.Milly – In television there is a short script, generally one day, so you don’t get as much character development.3. What was your reaction when you were first cast for Legally Blondes?Becky – The “Legally Blonde” movies are some of our favorite films and we are “so thrilled.”Millly – “We are honored to carry on the franchise.”4. What was the most enjoyable part of making the film for you?Becky – It was great playing a character I liked. The script was very funny and clever. Milly – It was fun going to all the different locations – Queen Mary and the mansion and Rodeo Drive.5. How did you grow personally and professionally during the filmmaking process?Becky – It helped make me more confident as I met challenges, and I became more educated on the filming process.Milly – It helped me become less shy around people of all ages. The difficult process helped me learn more about filming.6. What’s the best piece of advice can you offer to aspiring actors?Becky – Be prepared and be professional. Listen to the director and enjoy the experience. Milly – Don’t get discouraged. Set long term goals for yourself and don’t compare yourself to others.7. What new projects are you working on?Becky and Milly – A pilot of Disney channel which hopefully will become a series.8. Where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?Becky – Happy in whatever I do. Hopefully acting. Milly – I hope I’m an actor surrounded by friends and family.9. Is there anything you would like to add?Becky – “Legally Blondes” is a great film for a younger audience. It’s funny and sweet. Milly – We’re from England and so much appreciate the kindness of Americans.Look for this DVD in stores on April 28th!

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NBC Meteorologist Janice Huff Joins Cyberchase

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

CYBERCHASE, the only math series for children on American TV will be premiering new episodes starting on April 20, featuring NBC-TV meteorologist Janice Huff as part of its seventh-season Weather Watchers initiative that helps kids learn more and get motivated about climate change.CYBERCHASE’s Weather Watchers episodes explore real-world math connections in a context that encourages kids to take action and seek answers to our environmental problems. The Weather Watchers initiative features five math and weather-themed episodes, including four new premieres, an interactive Web game on pbskidsgo.org/cyberchase, a hands-on activity booklet, tips for parents and teachers, and other outreach efforts.The CYBERCHASE episodes embed math concepts in situations where the CyberSquad measures physical properties, quantifies atmospheric conditions and makes predictions to get out of jams. Janice Huff will be featured on the first two premiere week episodes, April 20 and 21 (check local listings). In three live-action shortform videos for Weather Watchers, to debut on CYBERCHASE Online and the PBS KIDS GO! broadband player, Cyberchase goes behind the scenes with meteorologist Janice Huff, the voice of Stormy Gale in the Weather Watchers episodes, and real kids engage in weather-related activities that motivate viewers to “try this at home!”The Cyberchase Weather Watchers programs are:·               “Gone with the Fog” (April 20, new! Check local listings) The Cybersquad must figure out the mysteries of dew point to make a daring rescue under the cover of fog.  Math topics:  Algebraic Thinking, measurement.  Weather topic:  Fog·                “The Emperor Has Snow Clothes” (April 21, new! Check local listings) Hacker turns the Emperor of Penguia into an icy statue, and the kids have to track a powerful storm so they can avoid it and save the Emperor from a frozen fate.  Math topic: Algebraic thinking.  Weather topic:  Tracking Storms·               “The X Factor” (April 22, EARTH DAY, new! check local listings) One tiny, seemingly harmless act multiplied hundreds of times creates a huge problem in Perfectamundo, and the CyberSquad must use that same power of multiplication to find a solution.  Math topic: Power of Multiplication.  Weather topic:  Climate Change.·               “Blowin’ In The Wind” (April 23, new! check local listings) The key to curing Motherboard’s virus may be at the windiest place in the Northern Frontier, and the CyberSquad must measure and compare wind speeds to find it.  Math topic: Measurement.  Weather topic:  Wind Speed.·               “Digit’s B-Day Surprise” (April 24, encore.  Check local listings) In a misunderstanding about a surprise b-day party, Hacker nearly convinces Digit to join his team!  Math topic: Measurement.  Weather topic:  Evaporative cooling.

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Fifteen Aspiring Young Filmmakers Will Have Their Work Featured on National TV – Deadline April 20, 2009

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

In response to the phenomenally successful first round of qubopics premieres, qubo, the TV and online entertainment service for children and families, will again select user-generated short animated films to debut on national TV.   Between now and April 30, 2009, aspiring young filmmakers can create mini animated movies at qubo.com using the innovative storytelling web application called ZIMMER TWINS.  Fifteen films will be selected by qubo to be professionally adapted into fully animated mini movies and screened on national TV this summer on qubo Channel as well as on qubo’s broadcast blocks on NBC, ION Television and Telemundo.

Launched on qubo.com in the fall of 2007, the Zimmer Twins, Edgar and Eva, are animated characters featured in interactive cartoons that kids can create from scratch, modify and share with their friends in a rich, safe web environment.  The ZIMMER TWINS section on qubo.com includes storytelling tools, pre-made animated clips and simple editing instructions that tap into kids’ inherent love of stories.  The clips and storytelling prompts explore classic kid themes like science, animals, magic and adventure.  The animation interface is designed around the basic elements of sentence structure, and reinforces reading, grammar, and writing techniques. After creating their stories, users can post and share their creations and even vote for their favorite user-created submissions online.  In 2007, the ZIMMER TWINS won the International Interactive Emmy® Award.

Last fall, nearly 25,000 children logged in to qubo.com to create nearly 50,000 qubopic ZIMMER TWINS films.  Qubo selected twelve stellar user-generated animations to be adapted into professionally animated films, converting them into high-resolution video with broadcast quality color, music and sound effects.  Qubo also enlisted actors to record the character voices and narration created by the filmmakers in their text bubble script. The qubopics were broadcast on qubo Channel and on qubo’s broadcast blocks between December 2008 and February 2009.

            Since the first round of qubopic ZIMMER TWINS film began premiering on qubo, the number of films and users has virtually doubled. An additional 66,000 ZIMMER TWINS films have been created on qubo.com in the past few months with more than 110,000 original user-generated animated films now posted on qubo’s site.  The number of registered users has more than doubled since December to reach more than 53,000!   Beyond driving a huge influx of  traffic to qubo.com, another measure of the qubopic initiative’s success are the feature stories that were garnered for the twelve young filmmakers among their local media.

“We were thrilled with the response to our first round of qubopic premieres and can’t think of a better way to honor and thank our viewers than by launching a second effort,” said  Rick Rodriguez, president and general manager, qubo.  “We are proud to showcase the creativity of these talented children on our air. The ZIMMER TWINS helps reinforce qubo’s mission of engaging children’s minds while promoting reading and literacy.”      ZIMMER TWINS is created by zinc Roe design, a company that specializes in advanced flash development and new media projects for children and youth. The property is licensed to qubo by Bejuba! Entertainment Inc.

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