Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for February, 2011

Pop Programming, YLAs and the American Lifestyle

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Telemundo_JacquelineHern__ndez.jpgEntertainment programming – TV, movies and music – is affected by changes in population demographics. So the results of a national “Generation YLA” study released by Telemundo Communications Group, Inc. & Subsidiaries – a division of NBCUniversal that leads the industry in the production and distribution of high-quality Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world – provide a hint of how programming choices for young adults (ages 18-34) will play out in the near future. And, by extension, how the trickle-down effect may evolve in such culturally aware productions as Dora the Explorer.

Young Latino Americans in the 18-34 age range constitute one of the fastest-growing segments of the United States population, predicted to be the greatest single demographics group of population growth nationally in the next 40 years. However, in spite of an increasing awareness of their ethnic heritage, more than one-third (37 percent) of the survey participants embrace a cross-cultural identity. And nearly half (48 percent) describe their BFFs as an equal mix of Latinos and Americans.

Language – the ever-evolving slang vernacular – may take on Latino notes due to the popular use of “Spanglish” among these culturally mixed groups of friends. The impact on language in pop culture may also be heightened by YLAs’ immersion in mobile technology. Not only is mobile usage reported among 87 percent of survey respondents, but multi-tasking in today’s wired environment is also strong. Overall, language was shown to break boundaries rather than cement them, with approximately 50 percent of YLAs preferring to speak Spanish with their families but three-quarters preferring to communicate in English at work and at school.

Jacqueline Hernandez (pictured), Telemundo’s chief operating officer, made the results public last week at a presentation held at the Paley Center for Media in New York at which she and Raul E. Cisneros, chief of media relations for the U.S. Census Bureau, spoke.

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Love the Love Story ‘Gnomeo & Juliet’

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

GnomeoAndJuliet.jpgThe latest rendering of Shakespeare’s classic love story “Romeo and Juliet” comes to animated life on the silver screen with impish gnomes as the central characters. KIDS FIRST! film critic Ny’Asia Bell (8 years old) shares her review of the movie now playing in your local theaters. (See her video on YouTube.)

Gnomeo & Juliet
Reviewed by Ny’Asia Bell

I really like this movie. It was cute, fun and action-packed. My family and I laughed a lot, and I loved all the music by Elton John, especially the song “Crocodile Rock.” We were dancing in our seats!
This is the kid’s version of the William Shakespeare classic love story “Romeo and Juliet,” but made for kids.  I think what makes this movie so cute is the majority of  the characters are garden gnomes that come to life when the humans aren’t looking.
I enjoyed all the characters. I thought they all did a great job, but I do have my favorites. Gnomeo, voiced by James McAvoy, was very adventurous and ready to accept any challenge. Juliet, voiced by Emily Blunt, was an attractive, brave, tough little cookie NyAsiaBell_forweb.jpgwhose father, Lord Redbrick voiced by Michael Caine,  is an over-protective father. He reminds me of my father! Finally, Nanette the frog, voiced by Ashley Jensen —  I think she brought a lot of humor to this movie. I particularly liked her red lips and long eyelashes.
I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I thought it was hilarious, and cute. I recommend this movie to kids 5 and up, because it does have a few violent scenes. So If you want to laugh and listen to good music at the same time,. you must see this one!
I want to give a special thanks to everyone at Studio Movie Grill in Holcomb Bridge (Atlanta area) for allowing my family and me to see this movie at their beautiful theater.

PHOTO: Ny’Asia Bell

See Ny’Asia’s video on YouTube.

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‘Hoodwinked’ on DVD, Gives Different Views of Little Red Riding Hood’s Story

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Hoodwinked_dvd2.JPGHoodwinked, released on DVD by Vivendi Entertainment, earned a nomination for a Saturn Award  in 2006 as Best Animated Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, from its theatrical release. KIDS FIRST! film critic Gabriella Chu (age 14) tells us about the movie. (See her video on YouTube.)

Reviewed by Gabriella Chu

This movie is sweet and funny. It made me laugh out loud a couple of times. The movie’s message isn’t new – “don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, the message is delivered with a lot of creativity and originality by  presenting the points of view of each of the characters.

You would expect Hoodwinked to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood and it does, but with a new angle. The movie starts off with Red delivering goods to her Granny, but once she arrives home, she sees a wolf disguised as her Grandma, her grandma is tied up and locked in the closet, and then a crazy woodsman breaks into their house screaming with an ax in his hand. As crazy as it sounds, there is an interesting explanation for everything that happened at this scene. The movie adds a lot of twists to the original story of Little Red Riding Hood as it depicts the viewpoints of all of the characters involved at the scene to keep you guessing what really happened. When you piece the different perspectives of the characters in the movie together, you will be shocked at the true story!

Hoodwinked stars the voice talent of Anne Hathaway as Red, Glenn Close as Granny, James Belushi as the woodsman and Patrick Warburton as the wolf. The movie is written and directed by Cory Edwards, Todd Edwards, and Tony Leech.

The animation of the movie didn’t wow me when I compare it to films such as Shrek, Ice Age, Toy Story and similar. GabriellaChu_3_1.jpgOn the other hand, the voice talent is great. Anne Hathaway does a great job at portraying Red’s character as a tough yet charming girl, especially in the scene when she is about to perform kung-fu on the wolf. Glenn Close’s voice is a perfect match for the grandmother.

I recommend this movie to children ages 7 and up. Younger kids may not be able to understand some of the jokes. This is a fun family film and something I would enjoy watching with my friends. It is a sweet comedy with an interesting plot! 

PHOTO: Gabriella Chu

See Gabriella’s video on YouTube.

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Make Tracks for the New ‘Chuggington’ DVD, Released Feb. 8

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Chuggington_LetsRideTheRails.JPGSix episodes of chuggers Wilson, Koko and Brewster come together on today’s Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD release Chuggington: Let’s Ride the Rails, along with some fun extras in a memory game and a coloring book. The appealing stars may look like train engines, but they act even more appealingly like children: eager to learn new skills but not quite getting them right on the first try or not quite remembering all the instructions.

The playfulness of their world’s pastel coloring and simplified sets disguises the factual information presented as play.

“Braking Brewster” builds up from a short lesson in how a hopper car works … subtly establishing what a “hopper car” is in the first place. Education at its most effortless – almost by osmosis. The lesson Brewster and Wilson are supposed to learn – that it’s “always harder going downhill with a heavy load” – is driven home by showing what happens when that warning is ignored. And what saves the day is taking an observation of action in an earlier situation and applying it to the new one.

Box cars are the train lesson of “Clunky Wilson.” The behavioral one centers on Wilson’s attempt to ignore the squeaky sound in his wheels and the shimmy that keeps getting worse. It’s an easy parallel to people not wanting to ask for help because they’d first have to admit there was something wrong. And although young kids may not know what a “suspension spring” is, just hearing real-world terms helps give them a basis on which future learning can be built. (A quick repair took care of Wilson, and he learned that needing a repair is a perfectly normal part of his life.)

It’s all simple and straightforward, in short tales suited to the young – short – attention spans of kids age 2-5. And not a hint of condescension.

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