Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for April, 2012

‘Flicka: Country Pride’ Scores on All Counts

Monday, April 30th, 2012

FlickaCountryPride.jpgA horse with a big heart, wide-open-space scenery and great country music, all packaged in a heartwarming tale of good overcoming adversity – this is a movie that has it all. Released May 1 from 20th Century Fox in a Walmart and Sam’s Club exclusive (and also in a Flicka collection available on amazon.com), it has our KIDS FIRST! youth critics Brianna Beaton (age 12) and Julianna Noone (age 12) also singing its praises. The bond between horse and rider is one of the special aspects that touches Brianna most, and she shares the insight that the bond is what “allows them to trust each other to ride and compete.” “… Flicka plays an important role in helping people overcome obstacles in their lives,” observes Julianna, sharing the movie’s important message that “if you always give your best effort, the outcome doesn’t really matter because you gave it your all.”

Clint Black, country music superstar and Grammy Award winner, stars alongside wife Lisa Hartman. The Blu-ray and DVD includes a never-before-seen music video as well as  two behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of the film that give more insight on the singer’s involvement with the Flicka franchise. 

Flicka: Country Pride
Reviewed by Brianna Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

This is a very moving and touching film with great country music.

I truly like this film because of all the bonding it has between a horse and her rider. They bond quickly, which allows them to trust each other to ride and compete. The acting by everyone is really good; however Stephanie Meyers (Siobhan Williams) acts extremely well and she stands out from the rest. It really makes me not like Stephanie because of how well she is portraying this mean character. The cinematography gives you great pictures of Flicka with her amazing jumping capabilities and allows you to appreciate this beautiful horse. I love the countryside — it is soooo pretty and you can see why someone would just absolutely love being in the country with nature. It’s a very relaxing atmosphere.

Flicka: Country Pride is a sequel to Flicka 2. It tells the story of Kelly (Kacey Rohl) and a wild mustang whose name is Flicka. They quickly bond and Kelly hopes to get Flicka into an upcoming competition. But the competition is fast approaching, and Kelly faces the additional stress of a rival trainer who plays dirty along with a growing fear of having to sell the stable. Then Toby (country singer Clint Black) gets involved to save the day. Good

Directed by Michael Damian (Flicka 2, Marley & Me), Flicka: Country Pride also has great country music by Clint Black that will definitely satisfy your craving for great country music. Even though I’m not a big country music fan, the music is still pleasant to listen to. My favorite part of the film is when Flicka first appears — she is so pretty.BriannaBeaton.jpg

In watching this film, I feel a great message would be to never lose hope. Always keep in sight your dreams and what you believe in. Be determined and focused!

Although this is mainly a family film, it is rated G and I recommend it to ages 5 to 12. This will definitely appeal to all horse lovers at heart.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because, while it certainly has a good plot, it is just a tad drawn out and I kind of knew what to expect.

Flicka: Country Pride is absolutely a good film and I can almost promise that you will enjoy it as much as I do. It gallops onto DVD the first of May. So go gather up everyone and enjoy this family film.

Flicka: Country Pride
Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See her full review on video.)

Flicka: Country Pride is a great film for the entire family. This film stars Kacey Rohl (Red Riding Hood) as Kelly, Lisa Hartman (Back To You and Me) as Lindy, country music star Clint Black (Flicka 2) as Toby, Max Lloyd Jones (Girl Fight) as Briggs and Siobhan Williams (Radio Rebel) as Stephanie.

This is a wonderful and heartwarming story about a family struggling to overcome a tragedy and difficult times and how they work through this, with the help of some friends. This film is about a very special horse — Flicka, a beautiful black mustang — and the special bond the wild horse builds with Kelly. After Kelly’s father dies, she shuts everyone out of her life, but Flicka slowly breaks her down and gives her some hope.

Flicka comes into Kelly’s life along with her owner, Toby, who becomes the new stable manager after Kelly’s father dies. Just as Flicka does for Kelly, Toby is there for Lindy, Kelly’s mom, when she needs it the most.

One of my favorite scenes is when Kelly and Stephanie battle in a riding competition over a boy they are fighting over. In this scene, Stephanie repeatedly tries to kick Kelly and knock her off her horse and win no matter what. This backfires on her, though, as it is Stephanie who falls off her horse. My other favorite scene is when Toby is working in his new office and reads the writing on the wall: “If you give it your all you’ve already won.” This is a phrase that Kelly’s dad liked to use and follow, and it reminds Kelly of her father. It’s a touching point in the movie and is very moving. It’s a good message for everyone to try and follow, in that if you always give your best effort, the outcome doesn’t really matter because you gave it your all.

My favorite character is Flicka because, even though Flicka is a horse, in this film as well as the first two films Flicka plays an important role in helping people overcome obstacles in their lives.Julianna.jpg

The film is shot on location in British Columbia, Canada, and the countryside is beautiful and makes you want to go outside and go horseback riding. The stunt coordinator, Kirk Jarrett, did a great job in setting the action scenes on the horses. The riding scenes were well shot and fun to watch.

 I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend this film as well as the first two Flicka films for ages 5 to 105. Kids of all ages, particularly horse lovers, will enjoy these wholesome family-friendly films. Look for this film on DVD and Blu-ray starting May 1st. I can’t wait to watch this film again!

Photos: Flicka: Country Pride poster (top), Brianna Beaton (middle, Julianna Noone (bottom)

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App Lets Users Rage against Bad Food and Learn Good Nutrition

Monday, April 30th, 2012

SmashYourFood_app.JPGWith great gross-out that kids thoroughly enjoy, “Smash Your Food” won First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” contest. The iPad application from Octave Media International, LLC, can be downloaded from iTunes. KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Brianna Beaton (age 12) shares why making a mess with food is so educational – and what other advantages it offers to parents.

Smash Your Food
App reviewed by Brianna Beaton

“Smash Your Food” is an educational app that teaches you about healthy food habits. I really don’t know how much sugar, salt and oil there is in the everyday foods we eat, but “Smash Your Food” teaches you.

This app displays a particular food and then you guess how much sugar, salt and oil there is in it. After you guess how much it has, then you can SMASH it. It then tells you the actual amount. It is so real with the videos and sound effects (squishing, popping).

It is definitely an eye-opener as you will learn what not to eat, and it helps with your nutrition. “Smash Your Food” is a fun way for kids to learn about foods, such as sweets that add to your calorie consumption. It has about 40 foods that you can SMASH, from doughnuts, junk food and soda to entire full meals. It is high-definition Video – and real food is used.

I’m not sure if it tells you your daily allotted dose, but I would like to see that.BriannaBeaton.jpg

This app is good for ages about four to teens. Adults will also enjoy it because they may not know how much [of the nutritional elements] is in a food. It has different levels and sends parents e-mails on how well their child is doing with the app.

I really enjoy this app and get to learn at the same time. I give this app 5 out of 5 stars

Photo: “Smash Your Food” (top), Brianna Beaton (bottom)

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Stop-Motion Slapstick with ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Done in stop-motion animation by the same studio that brought us Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, Aardman Animations, The Pirates! Band of Misfits features some well-known voices in Hugh Grant (as The Pirate Captain), Salma Hayek (as Cutlass Liz) and Jeremy Piven (as Black Bellamy). Seasoned KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda (age 9) reviews the film for us here, and will be presenting his review in person on next Tuesday’s edition of KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions, streaming live on VoiceAmerica Kids.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

This movie was great. I loved it because it has a ton of action and funny parts. This movie is all about the pirate captain and his crew who are trying to win the pirate captain award, so he goes and tries to steal money from other ships but that doesn’t work out well.

The main characters in the movie are the pirate captain, his crew, Queen Elizabeth, Charles Darwin and Polly. My favorite character is the pirate captain because he is really funny and always, ALWAYS does the opposite thing of what his crew says.

My favorite part in the movie is when the monkey and Charles Darwin are falling down a hole, and when the monkey is falling the cards he is holding make this word, aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

I would recommend this movie for ages five and up because there are some violent parts that younger kids might not like. Go out and see this in a theater near you on April 27.

Photo: The Pirates! Band of Misfits poster (top), Anthony Aranda (bottom)

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PBS KIDS Tops the Age 2-5 Ratings for February

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

PBS_vert.jpgPBS KIDS is hitting the right note for both kids and their moms, according to the latest Nielsen NPower national program ratings. In February, PBS KIDS‘ weekday block of preschool programming took four of the top spots for kids ages two to five, with “Curious George” at number one, “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!” and “Super Why!” tied for second place and “Dinosaur Train” placing fourth. Online viewing was also at a record high; in fact, February marked the first time PBSKIDS.org was the number one kids site for both unique viewers and videos viewed.

Building on February’s momentum, PBS KIDS presented a special “Cat in the Hat-A-Thon” in March in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s 108th birthday, which also scored high ratings: More than 2.2 million kids from age 2 on up to pre-teen 11-year-olds tuned in to PBS stations across the country for a two-hour marathon of the hit program “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!”  Interest seemed to be running high, as unique visits to “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!” website rose 80 percent during the 10-day period leading up to the marathon. Video streams also spiked: From February 21 to March 2, there were more than 12 million video streams for the program online and on the PBS KIDS Video App, available free on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

“In addition to our success with the preschool audience, PBS KIDS was also number one among moms in February, with six shows in the top 10.  “Curious George,” “Sesame Street,” “Super Why!,” “Thomas & Friends” and “Dinosaur Train” took the top five slots and “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That!” placed seventh,” says Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president of Children’s Media at PBS.

The high ratings, online and mobile content usage attest to PBS KIDS’ focus on serving children wherever they live, learn, and play – whether on TV, online, through mobile devices, in the classroom, and with a new line of educational toys. And PBS KIDS also offers a lot of coloring activities parents can download for their child, built around their favorite PBS KIDS series.


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Fun Romp with Adorable Star in Disneynature’s ‘Chimpanzee’

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Chimpanzee.jpgIt’s unanimous. Both of our KIDS FIRST! youth film critics who reviewed Disneynature’s documentary Chimpanzee (see below) loved the film – and the chimps it depicts. Talia Rashba (age 11) says, “If you aren’t a fan of chimpanzees now, then this film will make you love them!” Brianna Beaton (age 12) calls the film “amazing” and “heartwarming” as she shares, “I absolutely love how it captures the bond between a loving mother (Isha) and her adorable young son (Oscar).” And it’s spiced with humor, thanks to narrator Tim Allen. The film starts its theatrical run on April 20.

Reviewed by Brianna Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

This is a very heartwarming and lovable film.

I absolutely love how it captures the bond between a loving mother (Isha) and her adorable young son (Oscar). Tim Allen narrates this amazing, heartwarming film, and boy is he doing it well! I like how he uses humor and is really describing the chimpanzees’ actions. My favorite scene is when Oscar is trying to open a nut with several tree limbs that fail, but then, after much determination, he realizes that the rock is the right tool to use to crack it open. I really enjoy the music; it captures the feeling of what is going on. When it is suspense, the music is suspenseful. When the rival groups are fighting for territory, the music is really dramatic. The cinematography is extremely well-done, with tons of close-ups of nature and Oscar. It gives you a feel of what the forest is like.

Chimpanzee is a documentary set in the deep forests of Africa. It tells the story of Oscar, a young and playful chimpanzee that has a good life with his friends and family. Oscar is curious and wants to learn everything he can. But when separated from his mother Isha, during a fight for territory between their group and a rival group, the learning stops and he has to look out for himself. When everyone else he knows is rejecting him, the one person that you would never expect to take him in does — and changes his life forever.

BriannaBeaton.jpgAlastair Fothergill (African Cats and Earth) and Mark Linfield (Earth) share in directing this nature film. It’s giving you an up-close and personal experience of what the chimpanzee life is all about. During this film, you will see that chimpanzees have needs and feelings just like humans do.

Chimpanzee is great for ages 7 and up. During the battle seen, it may be a little too much for younger ages.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because of all the touching scenes between Oscar and his fellow chimpanzees. It left me wanting to know more and more about Oscar. 

Chimpanzee is genuinely a great film and I’m sure you will enjoy it as well. It swings into theaters on April 20th, just in time for Earth Day, so please go and check it out.

Reviewed by Talia Rashba

This is the best nature movie ever! I had a wild adventure in the beautiful African rainforest, watching a group of chimpanzees live their lives. This movie has no human characters – the real stars of the movie are actual chimps that live in the rainforst off the coast of West Africa.

This film is a documentary, so the story is very real. We meet a little chimp named Oscar, and his mom Isha, who live in the forest with a group of several other chimps. We see their everyday life and how they interact with each other. When they get attacked by a group of rival chimps, Oscar is left all alone until someone comes to help him.

Oscar is a fun, playful and adorable little chimp who always stays by his mother’s side. When you first look at little Oscar, you will instantly fall in love with him. He sometimes gets confused, especially when he is searching for food. This makes for some very laughable moments.

Isha, Oscar’s mother, is a very loving and protective parent who will do anything to keep her son safe. Freddie is the leader of the troop and is very dependable and strong. He protects and guards the group and he knows how to do everything that they need.

Chimpanzee is narrated by actor Tim Allen. You might recognize him as the voice of Buzz Lightyear from all three Toy Story movies. He definitely adds a lot of humor to the film and he helps explain a lot of what is happening with the animals.

There are SO MANY amazing parts to this movie. The rainforest is absolutely gorgeous, and the way they get close-ups of tiny creatures and plants is outstanding. Just the way they capture raindrops falling onto a leaf or a mushroom blew my mind. The directors of this movie are the same ones who made the award-winning film Earth, and I think they did an excellent job with this movie as well. TaliaRashbaCU.jpg
Chimpanzee is rated G, and I think that it is a great film for children and adults from ages four to 100. There are, however, some scenes that may be too intense for very young children.

If you aren’t a fan of chimpanzees now, then this film will make you love them! You will see just how smart they are and how much they are really like us. I thought this movie was so terrific that I am giving it a 5 out of 5 stars! This film will teach you so much about the life of a chimpanzee.

You can see this incredible film in theaters April 20th! An extra bonus is that if you see this movie during opening week, Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute, an organization that helps save chimpanzees all over the world. You DO NOT want to miss seeing this movie!

Photos: Chimpanzee poster (top), Brianna Beaton (middle), Talia Rashba (bottom) 

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