Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for October, 2011

Kids Get the Chance to Shine as Film Critics Through KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

KF_FilmCritics_218x225.jpgKIDS FIRST! has just launched the Film Critics Search for eight lucky kids who will be 2012’s KIDS FIRST! youth film critics. You’ve been reading, all this year, reviews and interviews by last year’s winners – and seeing their enthusiasm shine through on the video versions. That experience is now open to a new roster of KIDS FIRST! youth film critics.

Kids aged six to 14 who love movies and love to talk about them – universal attributes, right, parent? – have the chance of a lifetime as KIDS FIRST! opens our second annual Film Critics Search on Oct. 25.

Choose one of these titles: Happy Feet; Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer; GLEE, Season 2; Spy Kids: All the Time in the World; and Barbie: A Perfect Christmas.

Watch the movie, write a review of the movie and create a video of yourself reveiwing the movie, and submit your entry by midnight, Dec. 31. We’ll post the video on our partner site at WonderWorldTV.

The guidelines and the tips we’ve put together for you on our website are full of suggestions to help you.

Finalists will be chosen by public voting, so tell your friends to be sure to visit www.wonderworldtv.com/kidsfirst often to vote their favorite. Last year’s contest generated 11 million votes! Then, on or about Jan. 11, we’ll announce the winners.  

The eight KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Search winners will experience life as a film critic for 12 months — being among the first to view new theatrical releases and writing blogs and reviews for KIDS FIRST! and our media partners, and even attending red carpet events and interviewing the celebrities there. Wow! And not only is it a blast, it’s educationally sound – we don’t expect everyone who enters to pursue a career as a film critic, but the skills the child learns simply by entering the campaign are useful. And the winners are coached by leading professionals who help them develop skills that will last them a lifetime.

In the final selection, the eight winners will be chosen from the finalists by our panel of distinguished judges: Thelma Adams, who was the film critic at Us Weekly for 11 years following six years at the New York Post and whose debut novel, Playdate, was an O Magazine pick; Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures; Ben Lyons, E! film critic and frequent contributor to “Good Morning America”; and George Pennacchio, the entertainment reporter for “ABC7 Eyewitness News” and host of ABC7’s “Evening at the Academy Awards” pre-show and post-show, whose career has been studded with three Emmy Awards, the Publicists Guild of America’s Press Award and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, North America’s largest critics group.

Campaign support comes from national nonprofit organizations that include the National Council of Women’s Organizations, with a cumulative 17+ million members, and the National Education Association. And our thanks also to our industry supporters: Amazon.com, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Feature Films for Families, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video and WonderWorld Entertainment.

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Fundertainment – Where Movies Make Money for Schools

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

fundertainment_155x259.jpgFundraising needs of schools meets marketing opportunity for studios in a program that makes it easy for families to add to their home DVD collections. Fundertainment, which launched this month, is the brainchild of Brian Boquecosa. “With [so] many schools out there losing funding … this would really help – and help the entertainment industry as well,” he says. Once the idea had gotten into his head – to help a good cause simultaneously with running a successful business – he left his position with Warner Bros. to develop it.

The billions of dollars consumers spend on DVD and Blu-ray copies of movies attests to the popularity of the product. Fundertainment’s program enables schools to tap into this established market – without any up-front cost or obligation. Students do the selling, as is common with school fundraising efforts, but the selling is done online – not door-to-door. “We want to keep kids safe,” says Boquecosa.

What movies are available? That’s part of what the schools can determine on their own Fundertainment landing page – they can limit the selection to PG-13 or whatever ratings they feel are appropriate. Schools receive up to 50 percent of the sales.

Studios involved at launch are Warner Bros. and Sony, with Ingram Entertainment helping to fill in the gaps with other studios. Boquecosa believes that, now that the site is launched and studios can see how the program works, more studios will join. “We’re trying to go direct, so we can offer better pricing [to the schools],” he says.

Schools sign an agreement to participate as a year-round fundraiser, and Fundertainment helps them explain the program to the students – including the additional incentives it offers them for meeting different sales goals. Each school aggregates its orders and, twice a month, submits the order to Fundertainment. Fundertainment then sends the product back, packaged per student to make it a hassle-free distribution for the school administration. Boquecosa’s ten years in the home entertainment industry and five years dealing with fulfillment and distribution gave him the logistical savvy to build the business model, and bouncing ideas around with friends heavily involved in fundraising for their children’s schools gave him the insights to make the process easier for the schools.

Presented at the California State PTA Convention in April and the National PTA Convention in June, the program generated tremendous interest.

“U.S. consumers spend an estimated $2 billion annually on purchasing products to support school fundraising initiatives,” Boquecosa says. “We feel we are a great option for people who are looking to get the most attractive product for their charitable dollar.”

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Laugh with ‘The Big Year’ – and Tune in to #2-rated ‘KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions’

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

TheBigYear.jpgOne of last year’s Film Critic Search winners, KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda (age 9) continues a very full schedule of film reviews with the review, below, of The Big Year (“It is a really funny movie,” he says). Aranda often joins Raven Devanney (age 13) – a fellow KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Search winner and host of “KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions” – on the weekly radio show of KIDS FIRST! interviews and reviews on Voice America Kids.

“KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions,” which launched a few short weeks ago, is already one of the chart leaders on Voice America Kids, reaching the number 2 spot in September. “Life at Eleven” was on top, and “Voyage Earth” was the third-most tuned-in show. The ratings are based on unique hits, not drive-bys, and we thank our wide KIDS FIRST! family for this support. “These are listeners who stick around and actually listen to content, whether it’s in the archives or on the date of new show releases,” explains Perry Damone, program director of Voice America Kids Channel. And he adds, “The kids are amazing.”

The Big Year
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
See his full review on video.)

This is a great movie because it has a lot of interesting facts about a lot of different birds. It is a really funny movie.

The movie is about three men who are trying to win a contest called “The Big Year.” They have to find the most different kinds of birds in one year. Kenny Bostick (played by Owen Wilson) is one of the characters in the movie and he won the contest last year. He really wants to win again and beat his own record. Brad Harris (Jack Black) and Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) really want to beat Bostick, so they team up to help each other so one of them could win. AnthonyAranda_190x250.jpg

The main characters in the movie are Bostick, Harris and Preissler. My favorite character in the movie is Harris. I like Harris because he tries really hard to beat Bostick and he doesn’t give up. He is also a really funny character and made me laugh a lot. For example, when a girl he likes ends up breaking up with her boyfriend, he does a victory dance on his front porch. Then he says that he feels really bad for her (even though he doesn’t). It is pretty funny.

I would recommend this movie for ages six and up because it has some mild language that is not appropriate for younger children. A lot of people would like this movie, though, because there are a lot of funny parts. Go out and see it in theaters!

Photos: The Big Year poster (top), Anthony Aranda (bottom)

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GLEE Promises $1,000,000 to At-Risk Music Programs

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Glee_GiveANote.jpgGLEE invites everyone across America to lend their voices – and their votes – for their favorite videos in the GLEE “Give a Note” campaign to help save music and arts programs in public schools.

One dollar for every GLEE Season 2 Blu-ray and DVD sold goes toward the $1 million guaranteed commitment. The GLEE “Give a Note” campaign was creatd by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in partnership with the National Association for Music Education to help save music and arts programs in public schools. With more than 300 public schools nationwide submitting videos for grant consideration, your vote will be critical in determining the outcome.

After a month-long submission phase this past September, each video entry is up on http://www.gleegiveanote.org/ – and now you can cast your vote to decide the finalists. Visit http://www.gleegiveanote.org/ to view videos and vote once per day until voting ends on November 8, 2011, at midnight. The schools receiving the most votes will move on to a final selection made by the National Association for Music Education, which ranks among the world’s largest arts education organizations and marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education, from preschool through graduate school. In December, the winning schools will be announced, with three grand prizes of $50,000 each, 10 first prizes of $25,000 each, and 60 second prizes of $10,000 each.
For more information, including official rules, visit http://www.gleegiveanote.com/. GLEE Season 2 Blu-ray and DVD is now available in stores everywhere. Glee.jpg

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Real Boxing, Real Heartwarming, ‘Real Steel’

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

RealSteel.jpgLove boxing and rooting for the underdog? Even those squeamish about seeing real people get bloodied can pretty much relax about the violence in this robot-boxing movie released by Walt Disney Studios Pictures. Add an engaging kid for extra depth to the storyline, and here’s a movie that’s proving its mettle at the box office. Thirteen-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Jonah Menegaz calls it “magic.”

Real Steel
Reviewed by Jonah Menegaz

Real steel. What do you think of when you hear those two words? For some, it’s just “steal”; for others, it’s a competition to see which robot is left standing. Real Steel is a movie starring Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a broke, unlucky dad trying to bond with his son again. Oh, and yes, there are robots beating the metal off each other, too. At first, Charlie keeps losing robot battles and has no money to pay his debts. Then he has to spend the summer with his son and is not a very loving father. But when his son goes with him to find parts for a new robot and finds a Level 2 sparring robot with a shadow function, the magic begins.

Shawn Levy is the director of this movie, and he works great with kids and just about everyone else, too. The movie was wonderfully acted and scripted. Not to mention that the concept of boxing robots is pretty cool. I also thought the special effects were unbelievable — the robots looked completely real. But I’d have to say one thing they could have improved on was what a robot looked like after being hit. The robots could have been dented and scratched a little more and not so good-looking after a couple blows to the head. The music set the mood and carried the emotion in the movie. (What would a movie be without a good soundtrack?)

Overall, this movie is about 4 out of 5 stars, but I would only recommend this movie for around 11-12 and up because of the bad example the characters set. A kid would have to be able to know that he/she can’t go home and start punching things.

Go out and see Real Steel!MenegazJonah_275x375.jpg

And check out the KIDS FIRST! website for the review by Jonah’s brother and fellow KF youth film critic Daniel Menegaz.

Photos: Real Steel poster (top), Jonah Menegaz (bottom)

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