Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for August, 2012

‘Hope Springs’ an Intriguing Movie for Mature Teens and Up

Monday, August 13th, 2012

HopeSprings.jpgYes, old married couples can still be in love. It’s not the typical storyline for a Hollywood movie, but then there are not many mature actors of the caliber of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones who can generate the kind of appeal to make the story work. It’s also an unusual turn of events for a movie built so much around sex to be given a simple PG-13 rating. But as 14-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Victoria Burns points out in her review, below, the main concept is the love the husband and wife have for each other, and sex is intrinsically part of that love. “This movie makes me see the power in love and determination to sustain it,” observes Victoria, also sharing what the movie experience was like as a mother-daughter outing.

Hope Springs
Reviewed by Victoria Burns

I just watched Hope Springs and all I can say is, “Wow.”

I went to see this movie with my mom, and she was freaking out and covering my eyes in some parts. I thought it was funny and that she was overreacting. After the movie, I had to remind her that I am 14.

This movie is about a married couple of 31 years, Kay (played by Meryl Streep) and Arnold (played by Tommy Lee Jones), who love each other so much but have not been affectionate or intimate with each other in many years. They even sleep in separate rooms, and on anniversaries they get gifts not for each other but for the house.

Kay gets sad at the reality that she and her husband do not have a real relationship. So she gets a book about marriage and calls the couple’s counselor and schedules the intense therapy to fix her marriage. At first, Arnold refuses to go, but then reconsiders when Kate leaves without him, then reluctantly he goes with her because he does not want to lose her.

All throughout the movie, Arnold is uncomfortable with therapy, and especially the intimate tasks assigned by Dr. Fields (played by Steve Carell). While Kay really wants to have a “real” relationship, Arnold is tentative and they battle with this throughout the whole movie.

This movie is very sweet in a weird way because it is based around an older and very in love couple that struggles with intimacy, and I guess for a young audience that visual would gross them out.

The soundtrack in this movie reminded me of music in a silent film because music is included in most scenes, and it describes the scene even if the words are not there.

Tommy Lee Jones is very versatile as an actor. I have never seen him play a domestic character or anyone in a relationship; it is refreshing and he does a great job. Victoria_CU.jpg

This movie makes me see the power in love and determination to sustain it. My mother was shocked by some scenes but then laughed, so this would be a great movie for couples who are in a long relationship.

This is a very intriguing movie. I have not seen many with this concept, so I give it five out of five stars. I recommend this movie for mature 13-year-olds and up. This is a good movie for a mature crowd.

Photos: Hope Springs poster (top), Victoria Burns (bottom)

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‘The Lorax’ Speaks for the Trees on DVD

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Lorax_dvd_actsheet.jpgThe timeless appeal of Dr. Seuss brought people into theaters a few months ago when the movie The Lorax was released. Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, as of Aug. 7, it’s a good reason for a family night at home – with the additional attraction of fun activities. Recommending it for ages 6 to 18, KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, notes, “I like that the movie shows you how we can protect the Earth. This movie shows us how sometimes we forget that the Earth needs caring.” “It’s not only a great film for the entire family, but it also teaches everyone a great lession while being fun and entertaining,” syas KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Julianna Noone, age 12, also pointing out its vibrant colors, fantastic animation, singing fish and an overall great soundtrack – and Zac Efron and Taylor Swift voicing two of the main characters.

The Lorax
Reviewed by Julianna Noone 
(See her full review on video.)

Do you speak for the trees?  Well, even if you do or you don’t, you’ll enjoy this film.

The Lorax is adapted from the Dr. Seuss book of the same name.  This film is about a 12-year-old boy named Ted (voiced by Zac Efron) who will do anything for his dream girl, Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift).  All Audrey wants is a real tree and Ted is determined to get her one, even if that means discovering the story of the Lorax. 

My favorite characters are Grandma (voiced by Betty White) and Audrey. I like Grandma because she is really funny and, even though she seems a little out of it, she always knows what Ted is up to and she is just willing to help Ted no matter what. Also, Grandma is awesome with her tricks and skills on the snowboard.  I also like Audrey because she is so nice and so sweet and all she really wants is a real tree.

My favorite scene is when the fish are singing.  The fish are just so cute and always happy and singing.  They are just so adorable. 

The animation in this film is fantastic and the colors are so beautiful and vibrant.  I love the soundtrack to this movie as the music is great and adds so much to each and every scene.   As with most Dr. Seuss books/films, there is a great message in this film: to protect your environment and to not be so selfish and wasteful.  We should all do what we can to not pollute and harm the world we live in. Julianna.jpg
I rate this film five out of five stars because not only is this a great film for the entire family, but it also teaches everyone a great lesson while being fun and entertaining.   Look for this film on DVD and Blu-ray everywhere. 

And remember, unless someone like you cares to do anything, it’s not going to get better. No, it’s not.   I am the Lorax and I speak for the trees.

The Lorax
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

If you love nature and like to laugh, The Lorax in 3-D is a must see.

This movie is about a 12-year-old little boy who’s searching for a gift for a high school girl he has a crush on. In the search for the gift, Ted learns about nature and the Lorax. The Lorax is the guardian of the forest.

The voice-overs are by Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Danny De Vito and Betty White.

I like that the movie shows you how we can protect the Earth.  This movie shows us how sometimes we forget that the Earth needs caring.CheyenneNguyen.jpg

I give this movie five stars out of five stars and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18.

Photos, top to bottom: The Lorax poster and activity page, Julianna Noone, Cheyenne Nguyen

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‘Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ Is All Laughs

Monday, August 6th, 2012

WimpyKidDogDays.jpgGreg Heffley leaves the worries of school for the pressures of summer vacation in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, and gives our KIDS FIRST! youth film critics plenty of laughs. Julia Chestnut, age 12, says, “Greg is funny and always finding himself in embarrassing situations that are so hilarious …” Some favorite scenes: For Brianna Beaton, age 12, it’s the pot roast covered in dog slobber from Greg’s escapade rescuing his little brother’s blanket … “and his mom and two brothers don’t know and start eating the pot roast. It is so gross and funny.” Julianna Noone, age 12 – who also interviews stars Zachary Gordon and Robert Capron – singles out when Rodrick tries to get the attention of a girl life guard but gets mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from the other life guard – an older man. “Rodrick’s facial expression is pricelss, and this scene is just so funny I could not stop laughing.” Anthony Aranda, age 10, likes the doubles tennis match Greg gets into: “He gets hit a lot of times with a tennis ball in different places, which is really funny.”  

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Brianna Beaton
(See her full review on video.)

The film Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is very entertaining and hilarious to watch. It’s really a good film with lots of funny scenes and great messages.

School is finally out, and the perfect summer to Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon) is to stay inside and play video games all day. On the other hand, his dad, Frank Heffley (Steve Zahn), decides he’s had enough of his son’s laziness and takes away his video games for the rest of the summer. With Greg’s main plans for summer canceled, he has to figure out what to do with the rest of his summer break.

There are several reasons of why I love this film, one being that, in the beginning, it’s going from the book’s characters to real-life characters. Also, I am laughing at almost every scene. I really enjoy it and think the acting is good. My favorite part is when Sweetie, the family’s new dog, gets hold of Greg’s little brother’s blanket, Tingie. Greg happens to use his mom’s pot roast to get it back. Once he gets it back, he also gets the pot roast back — but it is full of dog slobber. Greg’s dad cleans up the pot roast to serve it for dinner but it still has some slobber on it, and his mom and his two brothers don’t know and start eating the pot roast. It is so gross and funny.

David Bowers does an amazing job on directing this hilarious film. Also doing a great job are the writers Gabe Sachs (screenplay) and Maya Forbes. The other actors are Robert Capron, playing Rowley Jefferson; Devon Bostick, playing Rodrick Heffley; and Peyton List, playing Holly Hills.BriannaBeaton.jpg

I found a couple of great messages in this film. One is to always tell the truth. Greg lies to his dad that he had a job, he lies to the different desk clerks at the country club about his name, and he lies to Holly that he is a member at the country club. It like a lying Macarena, but in the end it all catches up to him. Also, sometimes it’s OK to mess up. Just admit it, take responsibility and learn from it.

I recommend Diary of a Wimpy Kid for ages 5 to 15, but the whole family should enjoy it, too.

I give this film five out of five stars because it is very very funny, has a great message and is, basically, good for the whole family to enjoy. It will keep you laughing.

Make sure you go check out Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days when it comes out in theaters on Friday, the 3rd of August.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julianna Noone

(See her full review on video.)

Looking to squeeze in some summer fun before heading back to school? Well then, head to your local movie theater and see
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.

This film is the third in this popular series and is based on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which are written by Jeff Kinney. These books are about the ups and downs of growing up and trying to deal with school, family and relationships. The stories are so well written and relatable that you can’t help but love the books and the movies.

This film stars Zachary Gordon, who does a great job once again as the main character, Greg Heffley, and Robert Capron as his lovable friend, Rowley Jefferson. This film starts out with Greg and Rowley finishing the school year and planning out their summer vacation. There’s only one problem, as usual for Greg: Nothing goes as planned. Follow along as Greg and Rowley try to make it through the dog days of summer.

My favorite character is Greg because he is funny and means well even when he makes mistakes. Deep down, he just wants everyone to like him. It is hard choosing one scene as my favorite, because most of the scenes at the country club are absolutely hysterical, but I was able to choose one. That’s when Greg’s older brother, Roderick, played brilliantly by Devon Bostick, tries to fake drowning so the pretty life guard will save him. The problem is, she doesn’t even notice him, so an older, hairy man dives into the pool, pulls him out and performs mouth to mouth on him. Roderick’s facial expression is priceless, and this scene is just so funny, I could not stop laughing. Julianna.jpg

Not only is this movie well written and very funny, but it has a really strong cast that help bring to life the Heffley family and make this an enjoyable film that the entire family can relate to and enjoy. The movie also has a great message in it about growing up and learning from your mistakes. Overall, I love this fabulous film and urge you to take your family and go see this film today.

I rate this film five out of five stars, as I think this is a film your entire family will love as much as I do. Go see this film, opening in theaters on August 3rd. Trust me, you will love it!

And remember, a man who makes no mistakes is a man who hasn’t learned anything.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

This movie is awesome. It has so much funny parts in the movie. It was hilarious. This movie is based on the third and fourth book of the
Wimpy Kid series, The Last Straw and Dog Days, which I thought were also really good.

This move is all about a person named Greg Heffley who is ready for summer. He has a lot of plans to have a lot of fun, but everything seems to go wrong. He is acting really lazy because all he is doing is playing video games and trying to impress a girl named Holly Hills. Rowley invites him to the country club where they can go swimming, play tennis and play golf.

The main characters in this movie are Greg, Greg’s family, Holly Hills and her family, and Rowley and his family. My favorite character in the movie is Greg because he is really funny and is kind of like me. He also does a lot of stuff to get out of spending time with his family. He will go do something else even if he doesn’t really want to so that he can get away from them. AnthonyAranda_190x250.jpg

My favorite part in the movie is when Rowley invites Greg to the country club and he meets Holly Hills. He has to play a tennis game with Rowley against Holly Hills and his mortal enemy, Patty Farrell. He gets hit a lot of times with a tennis ball in different places, which is really funny. Rowley gets hit a few times, too, but it is mostly Greg who keeps getting hit. It made me laugh a lot.

I would recommend this movie for ages 5 and up because this movie is rated PG and there is only one scary part in the movie that younger children might not like. I think everyone would really think this movie is really funny and a great movie to watch with the whole family. Go out and see this movie in theaters now!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julia Chestnut

I LOVE this movie. It is full of comedy and it makes you laugh the entire movie.

School is out and summer is waiting, and Greg (played by Zachary Gordon) is ready for summer and can’t wait to just play video games. Slowly, everything starts to go wrong. He finds himself sneaking into a country club each day to try and hang out with Holly Hills (played by Peyton List).My favorite part is when Greg gets called into the pool by his little brother and Greg finds out that he is peeing and then all the other little kids are peeing and then his little brother splashes the water with pee in it on Greg. It is so funny!Zachary Gordon plays Greg Heffley. He and Robert Capron are the stars in this movie, and they play best friends. Greg is funny and always finding himself in embarrassing situations that are so hilarious to the viewers watching!

Robert Capron plays his part very well as Rowley Jefferson. He is Greg’s best friend in this movie, but Rowley always embarrasses Greg in front of a big group of people. Rowley is funny and comes from a loving family and is a great best friend to everyone. He can connect with everyone. When he gets made fun of, he doesn’t care and he doesn’t let them get in his way of things.JuliaChestnut.JPG

Peyton List plays her part very well, too. She plays Holly Hills. In the movie, Greg likes Holly and tries to hang out with her for a while. He sneaks into the country club each day to hang out with Holly. I can see why Greg likes Holly — she is a very cute girl and is nice. She helps with everything and she is never selfish. She never looks at the bad side of people; she only looks at the good side. She is a great friend to everybody.

The movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is great! I give it five out of five stars. It is so funny and full of comedy. I would recommend ages 8-12. If you want to see how funny and what happens during Greg’s summer, find this movie at a theater near you.

Photos, top to bottom: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Brianna Beaton, Julianna Noone, Anthony Aranda, Julie Chestnut

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