Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for December, 2011

Laugh along with the Chipmunks in ‘Chipwrecked’

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Chipwrecked.jpgAlvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is good for a lot of laughs for audiences of all ages. That’s the word from seasoned KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda (age 9). His review gives you a taste of what to expect from this Twentieth Century Fox release that’s in theaters now.

Kids aged six to 14, if you’d like a chance to be a KIDS FIRST! youth film critic, there are still a few days left to enter the KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search. Get your submission in by midnight, Dec. 31.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

I am reviewing a really funny movie called Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. This is awesome because there is a lot of action in the movie and everything the Chipmunks and Chipettes do is so funny.

This movie is all about Dave, the Chipmunks and the Chipettes, who go on vacation and have a really big adventure. They go on a cruise ship, and Alvin keeps causing lots of trouble on the ship (like always). Alvin comes up with a really great idea to fly on top of a kite. All of the other Chipmunks and Chipettes are holding the kite while Alvin is flying, but the wind picks up too hard. They start to fly away and Simon tries to help by tying the kite to Dave’s chair (while he is sleeping). This still doesn’t work and the chair and the chipmunks start to move down the deck of the ship. Eventually, the kite slips off the chair and the chair flips over. Dave wakes up to see the Chipmunks and the Chipettes fly away on the kite.

Some of the main characters in the movie are Dave, the Chipmunks (Alvin, Simon and Theodore), the Chipettes (Eleanor, Jeanette and Brittany), Zoe and Ian. My favorite character is Alvin because he is always having fun and causing lots of trouble. I also like him because, in the end, he learns that he can still have fun while being responsible.

My favorite part in the movie is when the Chipmunks and Chipettes meet Zoe when they are stranded on the island. She invites them to meet her friends, and when they get there they see that her friends are a bunch of sports balls. It’s really funny because it seems like she is a little crazy since she has been on the island for so long. We figure out later that there are spiders on the island that change a person’s personality and make them act differently. Later in the movie, Simon gets bitten by one of the spiders and then he starts acting like someone else. It is really funny. AnthonyAranda_190x250.jpg

I would recommend this movie for all ages because it is super funny and there was no violence or parts that would scare anyone. It also shows how much family means and that most families would do anything for each other. Go out and see this movie.

Photos: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked poster (top); Anthony Aranda (bottom)

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There’s a Lot of Love in ‘War Horse’

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

WarHorse.jpgAs 15-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Gabriella Chu points out in her review of Walt Disney Studios release War Horse, war does not impact only the human participants. “It has a severe effect … on animals, too.” In addition to viewing the film’s screening at its red carpet event in New York, Gabriella – as a KIDS FIRST! youth film critic – had the opportunity to interview Michael Morpurgo, the author of the book on which the film is based. Gabriella’s insightful review will resonate with adults as well as with her fellow teens.

War Horse
Reviewed by Gabriella Chu
(See her full review on video.)

The acclaimed War Horse play and children’s book is now on the big screen! War Horse is a heartwarming tale about a father who buys a horse for his son on a whim. His son, Albert (played by Jeremy Irvine), develops an unbreakable bond with his horse, Joey. However, World War I approaches, and Joey is drafted into the military. Will the two ever reunite?

The movie has a charming story. When I interviewed the author of the children’s book War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, he told me that his book shows how war does not produce a severe effect on only people but on animals, too, specifically horses. It is interesting watching director Steven Spielberg’s translation of that theme into film. One notable scene shows the horse, Joey, galloping fiercely through no man’s land but then forced to slow down after he is tangled in a bunch of wires. After intense war, both opposing sides come together to detangle the horse! I found it touching because it shows that it takes both sides to solve a problem, and when the movie shows both soldiers cutting the wires from the horse, I thought of it as a symbol, like they were ending their conflict between each other. The cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, filmed the scene beautifully, which helped produce such an emotional effect on the audience.

The cinematography in general is wonderful, especially when Kaminski zooms in on the feet of the horses and the faces of the horses as they gallop across the vast fields. Most of the beauty of the movie comes from the horses, and I think the horse trainers did an impeccable job, particularly Zelie Bullen, who trained the main horse, Joey. GabriellaChu_3_1.jpg

I recommend this movie to teens ages 13 and up. It is a pleasant family film because it is not too brutal, yet it still packs in all of the action and intensity of war. The movie is a bit slow in the beginning, so younger teens may get bored, but it quickly picks up the pace as the war begins. This is a moving tale to watch and will bring the entire family together for the holidays.

Photos: War Horse poster (top), Gabriella Chu (bottom)

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‘Tintin’ a Best Adventure Movie

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

AdventuresOfTintin.jpgNine-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda has seen and reviewed a lot of movies during this past year, since being named one of the winners of the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search, and while he’s given many a positive recommendation, this is the first to earn the raves he gives The Adventures of Tintin: “… one of the best adventure movies that I have ever seen.” Featuring the extremely life-like animaiton of The Polar Express, the movie is another triumph for acclaimed filmmakers Steven Spielberg, who directed, and Peter Jackson, who produced. It opens in theaters today.

The Adventures of Tintin
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

This movie is really cool. This movie is one of the best adventure movies that I have ever seen. It kept me on the edge of my seat.

This movie is all about Tintin, who sees a model of a boat called the Unicorn, which has a secret passage to find a riddle. There are three models, and if he finds all three and holds them up to the sun he would see a clue to find out where the real Unicorn sank so that he can find all the treasure. Tintin goes on this adventure with his dog, Snowy, and meets Captain Haddock, who helps him along the way.

Some of the main characters in the movie are Tintin, Snowy, Captain Haddock and Inspector Thompson. My favorite character is Captain Haddock because he is a really funny character. Sometimes when he drinks he breaks down doors, and he doesn’t really know what water is because he is always drinking alcohol. I also like Tintin because he loves adventure and is always solving mysteries.

My favorite part in the movie is when Tintin, Snowy and Captain Haddock are on an airplane and are running out of fuel. They are going to pour alcohol into the fuel tank so Captain Haddock gets on top of the airplane — but he accidently left the alcohol inside of the plane. Since he always drinks alcohol, he burps inside of the fuel tank and that makes the engine start going really fast! That was really funny!

I would recommend this movie for all ages 6 and up because kids any younger would probably think tAnthonyAranda_190x250.jpghis movie is kind of scary. The movie also references alcohol and has some violence. They have sword fighting, big machines that shoot guns, and bottles being thrown at people. The scenes are really cool action scenes but not appropriate for everyone. Go out and see this movie in theaters on December 21st.

For more information about this year’s KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search (submission deadline of midnight Dec. 31 coming up soon), visit http://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/2011FilmCriticsCampaign.html.

Photos: The Adventures of Tintin poster (top), Anthony Aranda (bottom)

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Buy in to Fun with ‘We Bought a Zoo’

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

WeBoughtAZoo.jpgNo need for the usual “suspension of disbelief” to enjoy this family entertainment offering from Twentieth Century Fox, as this rather whimsical premise is based on the real experiences of a real family. Nine-year-old Anthony Aranda, enjoying the perks of a film critic as one of last year’s KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search winners, got to preview the movie prior to its upcoming release on Dec. 23. (The KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search for next year’s youth film critics is open through Dec. 31.) The movie has its sad parts, KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony shares, but many more funny parts that kept him laughing.

We Bought a Zoo
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

Hello, everyone. My name is Anthony Aranda from KIDS FIRST! and I am reviewing a really cool movie called We Bought a Zoo. I really like this movie; it is kind of funny, a little sad, but really cool.

This movie is all about Benjamin Mee, played by Matt Damon, who is living with his family in the city trying to deal with the death of his wife and raise his two kids. His son Dylan is not doing so well and keeps getting into trouble. Dylan finally gets expelled and so they have to find him a new school. Benjamin decides that it’s time for them to move and start a new life, and they find a really cool house out of the city and want to buy it. But they soon realize that this house comes with a zoo. His daughter Rosie loves the house, though, so they decide to give it a try.

Some of the main characters in the movie are Benjamin Mee, Kelly Foster, Duncan, Dylan and Rosie. My favorite character is Benjamin because he is a really funny character. When he gets mad he does some really funny stuff like throwing a tantrum all by himself, which kept me laughing. He is also a really good dad even though he doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing.

My favorite part in the movie is when Benjamin Mee is inside the porcupine pit and he thinks they are nice at first but then the porcupine starts running after him and he jumps over the fence and lands on pointy stuff. So when they try to take them off he keeps screaming! That was really funny.AnthonyAranda_190x250.jpg

I would recommend this movie for ages 10 and up because there are some scary parts in this movie that younger kids might not like. The movie is sad because the mom dies and the family is still trying to deal with that. The pictures that Dylan draws are kind of violent and scary and there is also some kissing in the movie that is not appropriative for younger viewers. Go out and see this movie in theaters on December 23rd.

Photos: We Bought a Zoo poster (top), Anthony Aranda (bottom)

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Deadline Nearing to Enter KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Search, but Voting Deadline Extended

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

KF_FilmCritics_218x225.jpgYes, there’s still time – and it’s fun and easy to enter. KIDS FIRST! is looking for eight kids aged six to 14 who love movies and love to talk about them to be the KIDS FIRST! youth film critics for 2012. You’ve been reading, all this year, reviews and interviews by the 2011 KIDS FIRST! youth film critics – and seeing their enthusiasm shine through in the video versions. That’s the experience KIDS FIRST! is now offering to a new roster of KIDS FIRST! youth film critics.

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 it and create a video of yourself reviewing it, and submit your entry by midnight, Dec. 31. Post your video on our partner site WonderWorldTV for public voting. The new voting deadline is Jan. 15.

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. EVERYONE IS WELCOMED TO VOTE – VISIT OFTEN TO SEE THE LATEST ENTRIES. Last year’s contest generated 11 million votes! Then, in late January, we’ll announce the winners.  

The eight KIDS FIRST! Film Critics 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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