Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for January, 2011

Adopt ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2’ into Your Family Today

Monday, January 31st, 2011

BeverlyHillsChihuahua2_forweb.jpgPampered pets return the love when their humans find themselves in deep doodoo financially, in Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s release of Beverly Hills Chihuahua sequel Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, available Feb. 1 in a Blu-ray Combo Pack and on DVD. Chloe, Papi and their winning litter plan to bank their dog-show prize winnings in a Beverly Hills mortgage to keep their humans’ roof over all their heads.

Anthony Aranda (age eight), KIDS FIRST! film critic, gives the film his enthusiastic approval: “I really love this movie. It is so great!” See his full review on YouTube.

Fellow KIDS FIRST! film critic Makai Weber Colvin (age 9) – who says her dog enjoyed the film with her – tells why she gives Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 five out of five stars:

Do you love cute little dogs? Do you like adventure? Then you will love Beverly Hills Chihuahua II. The story has a surprise opening with a fancy wedding and party in a luxury mansion. The bride and groom wear the latest wedding styles of course, because this is Beverly Hills. It’s not long before Papi and Chloe have a family, a fuzzy litter of tiny fur-balls, and that’s when the fun really begins.

You’ll love all the dog fashions, and it’s exciting to see what they will wear next. But this movie is more than just cute little puppies dressed like Hollywood Stars — there’s an exciting adventure too. Papi’s owners need money to save their house and the family of Chihuahuas are going to help. I giggled the whole way through and I think you will too.

My favorite characters are the puppies because they always find trouble and that leads to funny things happening. Their mom, Chloe, gets mad at them for all the messes they make, but they are as cute and cuddly as your favorite teddy bear and you’ll just want to snuggle up with them. 

The Chihuahuas enter a dog show, which is basically a dog beauty contest. You guessed it, more dogs in colored tutus and more fun. If the Chihuahuas win, they will get money to save the house, but they’ll have to beat a prize poodle that has won three years in a row. I can’t tell you who wins, although the dog show is one of my favorite parts of the movie.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua II has a large cast of characters, starring more than just Chihuahuas–there’s poodles, miniature poodles, bulldogs, German shepherds and even some people too. Although most of the characters are the same as the first Beverly Hills Chihuahua, this movie is very different. The new storyline is interesting and keeps moving with lots of action. I loved the Beverly Hills Chihuahua II soundtrack. The runway music during the dog show matches each dog’s personality perfectly.

Chloe is voiced by Odette Yustman, Papi by George Lopez (the only returning cast member from Beverly Hills Chihuahua), and, some months after the nuptials that open the film, Papi Jr. by Zachary Gordon (if you’ve got a good ear for voices: Yes, he voiced AnthonyAranda.JPGthe adorable “Paws” in The Search for Santa Paws, but the talented youngster also has the lead in Diary of a Wimpy Kid on his credits). Morgan Fairchild is among the human faces in the film. Canine antics and a lot of cute doggie-costumes carry the film from one G-rated scene to the next.

Keep up with all our KIDS FIRST! film critics on our website http://www.kidsfirst.org/. And here, with his review of the film, is KIDS FIRST! film critic Anthony Aranda (age 8; shown in photo at right):

Anthony’s Review of ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2’

My name is Anthony Aranda and this is a review of Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. I love this movie. It is really great. My favorite part of the movie is when Papi and Chloe get married. I like that part the best because it looks like it is going to be a wedding for two people and then you see it’s really for the dogs. It is pretty funny. 

My favorite characters in the film are Papi, Chloe, and their kids. I like them because they all see the true importance of family and sticking together. One part that shows this is when all the dogs enter a dog show to try to save the family’s house. Another instance is when they help with a bank robbery. They prove to be true Chihuahua warriors. 

I really liked the music in the movie, too. My favorite song in the movie is called “This is my Paradise” sung by Bridgit Mendler. Every time it is on, I sing along. I also enjoy watching her on a Disney show called “Good Luck Charlie.”

I would recommend this movie for ages five and up. There are not a lot scary parts in the movie and it is really great. It made me laugh a lot. I recommend that you go out and see this movie as soon as it comes out on DVD.

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PR Tips for Indie Producers

Monday, January 31st, 2011

EvaMarieDamore_clipart.JPGKIDS FIRST! knows there’s a lot of good programming out there for kids and families. We also know it needs an audience to make it worthwhile. Active KIDS FIRST! supporter Eva Marie Damore shares tips with producers working in the independent realm on how to give their product its best shot at getting in front of that audience. Her firm, Damore Public Relations, has handled children’s CDs from Rhythm Child, Anni Zola and The SqueeGees, plus a preschool DVD from Cinema Werx.

How Public Relations is Important to Independent Producers

As an independent producer launching a children’s DVD, CD or book, you hope to sell lots of product so you can become successful and profitable. It can be daunting when you find out there are so many components to factor in prior to launching a product: distribution, sales strategy, packaging, marketing and public relations.

These are difficult economic times and our natural instinct is to cut corners wherever we can. When creating your budget, public relations is an area you don’t want to cut; in fact, you want to make sure you allocate funds so that your product gets the national exposure it deserves. You might have the most innovative CD, DVD or book, but your target audience won’t know about it without a thorough public relations strategy. This can include a multi-media campaign consisting of consumer and parenting magazines, regional and local publications, newspaper, radio, television, news websites and blogs. An active social networking program is also vital to increasing your visibility with potential consumers. A fan page on Facebook and a twitter stream of what’s happening with the new product are great one-on-one connections for consumers.

A solid public relations campaign can increase product sales and visibility, and get your product recognized and in front of your target consumer, who’s already inundated with a myriad of children’s products. Below are four crucial steps independent producers should consider prior to launching a product.

1. Think smart and create a budget and timeline prior to launching your product. Whether you’re self-distributing or have an agency handling your product, you want to make sure you have a budget that covers pre- and post-production costs. Include miscellaneous expenses such as shipping and postage charges or extra packaging supplies. A timeline will remind you of critical deadlines for completed artwork, editing, packaging and distribution of final product.

2. Include marketing and publicity in your budget. A good publicist will discuss short and long-term strategies. Various consumer magazines have long lead editorial deadlines, so contacting the right editor three to six months prior to your product launch is crucial. Also, there are several award competitions your product might qualify for that your publicist can suggest for submission. Your publicist can explore interesting and creative “hooks” that will get your product to stand out from similar, related items. You may have an interesting story as to how your product came about or inspirations that led you to produce the CD or DVD or put fingers to a keyboard to write a book.

3. Have samples of your product available to media prior to its launch. Offer a free download from your upcoming CD so media can sample your musical style, a book galley for reviewers or a promo or trailer of your DVD.

4. Don’t be afraid to contact small, boutique PR firms for representation. Many of the smaller firms are headed by former corporate executives who came from larger PR firms. These executives are professional, media savvy and will give you — the client — the attention you and your product deserve.

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It’s ‘Open Season 3’ now on Blu-ray and DVD

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

OpenSeason3_forweb.jpgIt’s Open Season shenanigans at the circus, as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases Open Season 3 on Blu-ray and DVD. Bringing back two familiar voices from Open Season 2 (Crispin Glover as Fifi and Steve Schirripa as Roberto) as well as the same writer (David I. Stern), director Cody Cameron builds Boog’s latest adventures around his mishap in switching places with a grizzly bear in a Russian traveling circus. While Boog performs in the circus act, his friends Elliot, McSquizzy, Mr. Weenie (voiced by director Cameron) and the rest race against time to rescue Boog before the circus returns to Russia.

The DVD offers family-friendly (PG for some mild rude humor) entertainment, with some interactive extras such as the Runaway RV game. Seven-year-old KIDS FIRST! film critic Ny’Asia Bell reviews the film (click here to see her video review): 

Open Season
Reviewed by Ny’Asia Bell (age 7)
In this movie our furry friends are back. This time Boog has to go on the guys trip alone, because Elliot and the guys have other responsibilities. He gets very bored and decides to run away and join the circus. Where he meets another bear named Doug. They decide to switch places for one night, only Doug does not return.
Boog also meets Ursa the dancing bear. They fall in love. By this time Boog’s friends set out to rescue him from the circus. Even though Boog misses his friends, he does not want to leave Ursa. So what does he do! You will have to go see the movie for yourself to find out.
My favorite part is when the animals disguise themselves as circus animals to rescue Boog.

My favorite characters are Boog and Elliot because they both realized how important love, family and friendship is.NyAsiaBell_forweb.jpg
I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I thought it was very funny and entertaining.

I recommend this movie to kids of all ages. I think everyone will love it!
Click here to see Ny’Asia’s video review.                                                                                                      
And check out the Open Season 3 trailer for yourself, now live on Yahoo! Kids!

Photo: KIDS FIRST! film critic Ny’Asia Bell

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‘A Charlie Brown Valentine’ available on DVD

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

CharlieBrownValentine.JPGChildhood angst is perhaps never so strained as in the stresses of love, and Valentine’s Day brings that to the fore more than any other time of year. Charlie Brown, Charles M. Schultz’s beloved antihero, worries his way through 25 minutes of daydreams and despair in A Charlie Brown Valentine, helped along by the stalwart Linus and intermingling with the rest of the Peanuts gang as they, too, try to defeat disappointment.

While Charlie Brown obsesses over getting a Valentine’s card from the little red-haired girl he admires from afar, he’s insensitive to Peppermint Patty’s efforts to pull his attention to her; Sally continues to chase Linus in spite of his avowed disinterest in her; and Lucy hangs over an oblivious Schroeder but has no patience for anyone else smitten with an overwhelming crush. Snoopy is the counterbalance as he outdoes himself on gimcrack verse typical of Valentine’s Day cards, with messages in rhyme even very young viewers would find silly. But, as always, he’s the hero of the occasion – this time, ending up with a wheelbarrow overflowing with the desired missives.

A second feature on the Warner Home Video DVD release is Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown. A two-second glimpse on TV of a girl in the crowd at a football game sends Charlie Brown on a quest to find her. Tireless in tracking her down, he’s still too timid to speak directly to her; Linus stands in for him at every turn, and ultimately finds he shares something special with her and leaves Charlie Brown out in the cold.

Although made as TV specials (2002 and 1981 respectively), the stories retain the quality of comic strips, pieced together into a cartoon storybook. There are elements of each story that date them – will young viewers even understand what a mechanical pencil sharpener is, that Charlie Brown gets his sleeve caught in and ends up bringing onto himself the worst kind of attention when he most desperately wants to make a good impression? However, the characters are timeless – drawn in simple strokes and developed with uncomplicated personalities that give all viewers someone they can identify with. And Charlie Brown continues to muse on the deep philosophical questions of life in language children, too, can relate to: “I was almost happy yesterday” and “Just when you think everything is perfect, life deals you a blow.”

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‘The Dogfather’ Streets on DVD Jan. 18

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Dogfather.JPGImage Entertainment gives us The Dogfather next week, when it releases the 2010 film on DVD. Directed by Richard Boddington, it stars Chris Parnell, who may be a familiar face from his prolific TV work in shows such as “30 Rock” and “Big Lake.” But who’s watching him when there’s a slobbery bulldog pulling at your heartstrings and you’ve got tears of laughter blurring your vision? Nine-year-old KIDS FIRST! film critic Makai Weber Colvin tells it best …

Get Ready to Laugh with ‘The Dogfather’
By Makai Weber Colvin

Do you like to laugh and laugh until your side hurts? I do, and that why I like the film The Dogfather. The story is about a bulldog named Sonny that is a rich man’s pet. The rich man is a gangster Boss. The men in the gang have to call him “Godfather” and they have to call Sonny “Dogfather.” When the Godfather feeds Sonny a meatball from his hand, Sonny accidentally eats the ruby ring off the Godfather’s finger along with the meatball. When the Godfather sees the ring is gone, he thinks Sonny has turned against him. Sonny gets scared and runs. The Godfather tells two of his men, “Get Sonny and my ring back dead or alive.” And the chase for Sonny is on!

Sonny gets hauled off to the pound, where a boy with a heart problem wants to adopt him. The pound has a lot of cute fluffy little dogs, but the boy wants the big drooling bulldog. The boy really loves Sonny and his mother loves him too, but the boy’s father can’t seem to get along with him.

My favorite character in Dogfather is the bulldog Sonny. He’s a great comedian. He plays goofy jokes on people. The funniest part is when Sonny leaves a surprise in his new owner’s shoe. When the father takes Sonny for a walk, Sonny pulls so hard, it’s actually the dog walking the man.

Things get super silly when the father tries playing his own tricks. He builds a doghouse for Sonny that looks like a prison. But Sonny ends up sleeping in the father’s bed and guess where the father sleeps?

The Italian gangsters chasing Sonny talk with Italian accents and they’re not too smart but really funny, even though they’re bad guys. They walk around so cool except they are afraid of a tiny puppy.  It’s silly. Who would be afraid of a puppy?

The Dogfather soundtrack helps make a happy and exciting mood. I found myself smiling and laughing during the whole movie. It’s just plain ridiculous and I love a movie that lets me feel like that.

MakaiColvin.JPGI recommend this film for kids of all ages. I think parents and kids would enjoy watching it together, as long as the grownups don’t mind a few poop jokes. Will the two Italian gangsters catch Sonny? Where is the Godfather’s ring? Will then father let the little boy keep Sonny the slobbery bulldog as his pet? If you’re ready for some good laughs and a brilliant story, get this movie on DVD today! (streets 1/18/11)

Photo: Makai Weber Colvin

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