Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for September, 2012

‘Wallflower’ an Honest View of Teen Angst

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

PerksOfBeingAWallflower.jpgThe last time Stephen Chbosky wrote and directed a film, it garnered a nomination for Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (1995, The Four Corners of Nowhere). Based on the review by our KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Victoria Burns, age 14, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he wrote first as a novel and then a screenplay, has a rich awards future, too. “[T]his movie is amazing and will someday be a classic,” she says. “It is great to see a movie that beautifully shows some of the struggles that real teenagers go through and not sugar-coated.” It is in theaters as of Sept. 21.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Reviewed by Victoria Burns
(See her full review on video.)

I just watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower and I can honestly say that it is one of, if the, best movies I have ever seen. It was so pivotal that it almost made me cry,a nd that says a lot because I almost never cry. It is great to see a movie that beautifully shows some of the struggles that real teenagers go through and not sugar-coated.

This movie is very emotional and has great acting. I like the way that the flashback scenes are shown, by alternating from the present to the past and then showing the aftermath after the flashbacks. I had never seen Emma Watson in anything but the Harry Potter series, and she is amazing when she plays Sam; I had never seen her play a character like this. The movie is so good that no words can explain, so that I bought the book directly after I watched the movie.

I also love how, throughout the whole movie, most of the story is told as Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) writes letters anonymously to “A Friend” that doesn’t exist.

This movie is about a severely depressed and lonely boy, Charlie, who’s best friend killed himself before the school year started, so now Charlie has no friends and people think he is weird because he holds in and takes the pain of himself and all of the people he loves. Sometimes it all wells up and he has anxiety attacks. This year he is determined to make friends, and he meets the flamboyant Patrick (played by Ezra Miller) and his stepsister Sam (Emma Watson); they let him in and introduce him to a whole new world filled with fun, sadness and just plain life — plus, he falls in love with Sam along the way.

All of Charlie’s friends are seniors, and he makes a mistake that makes them go away for a while, but then he does something to make them love him even more than before.

I think that everyone should watch this movie. It’s nice how, whenever something bad or slightly inappropriate happens in the flashbacks, the scene hints at what is happening without blatantly showing it.

My favorite quote from the movie is when Charlie’s English teacher, Mr. Anderson (played by Paul Rudd), tells him, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I think it is so profound and absolutely true.

I would recommend this movie for eighth graders going into high school up to any adult. This movie can prepare teens to not keep emotions and experiences bottled up, because school can be painful and stressful. I give it five out of five stars because this movie is amazing and will someday be a classic.

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‘Trouble with the Curve’ Goes Straight to the Heart

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

TroubleWithTheCurve.jpgTrouble with the Curve stars Clint Eastwood doing what he does so well: playing a crusty old man. Likeable, of course. In fact, KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda, age 10, says Eastwood’s character, Gus, is his favorite in this movie. “[H]e is a good man that people should trust. He knows a lot about baseball and has a good heart.”

To older audiences, the storyline may be predictable and even familiar, but Trouble with the Curve has plenty of heart throughout to give it its own lifestrength. And, Anthony says, “The movie also has really good chemistry. Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams [who plays Gus’s daughter, Mickey] work very well together.”

Trouble with the Curve
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.)

Trouble with the Curve is great and funny. It is kind of like an older movie meant for older audiences, but I still think it is great.

This movie is about a man named Gus who is a baseball talent scout but he is losing his sight. He is old-fashioned and always relied on his sight and a feeling to pick good baseball players. Without his sight, he doesn’t know how to scout, and even though he is having trouble he won’t ask for help. His daughter comes to help him anyway and they have a good time together, but bad things happen, too.
The main characters in the movie are Gus and Mickey. Gus is played by Clint Eastwood and Mickey is played by Amy Adams. Amy Adams is in another movie that my little sister loves, called Enchanted, and I also really like her in The Muppets. My favorite character in this movie is Gus because he is a good man that people should trust. He knows a lot about baseball and has a good heart.

The movie also has really good chemistry. Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams work very well together. He kind of seems like a grumpy old man and she is kind of sweet.

My favorite part in this movie is when Mickey meets a new guy who can throw a really good curve ball and, since she really loves baseball, they become really good friends.

I would recommend this movie for ages 10 and up because my brother says that the movie was a little too old for him and he’s seven. The movie also has some inappropriate language and situations that are too old for kids under 10.

Go out and see this movie in theaters; it comes out on September 21st.

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Epic Love Story ‘Titanic’ Now on DVD and Blu-ray

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Titanic3D_DVD.jpgTitanic, newly released from Paramount on DVD and Blu-ray 3-D and digital, didn’t completely sweep the Academy Awards in 1998 – it only took 11 of the Oscar statuettes. Among them: Best Picture, a Best Director for James Cameron and a Best Cinematography for Russell Carpenter. Some of that sweeping cinematography has been enhanced in the Blu-ray 3-D version, so if you are among those with a 3-D home TV, you’re in luck. If not, you won’t be disappointed with the regular Blu-ray version and, of course, home surround-sound can do a nice job on its Oscar-winning Best Sound.

Seasoned KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Raven Devanney, age 15, calls Titanic a “romantic masterpiece.” The film evokes strong emotion partly because of the real-life tragedy it recreates but also thanks to the intimate love story Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet bring to life. That the film is 15 years old does not diminish its impact. Says Raven, “… even though I’ve seen it about a billion times, I still get choked up.” On a scale of one to five, she rates it a five only because higher numbers aren’t available.

 Reviewed by Raven Devanney
(See her full review on video.)

Titanic is my favorite movie by far. This romantic masterpiece starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet tells a tale of love, loss and tragedy. I remember the first time I watched Titanic. I was 7 years old, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This was the first film that really made me cry, and even though I’ve seen it about a billion times, I still get choked up.

This movie is beautifully done. I love that the cinematography is so grand and breathtaking even though the film came out in 1997. I especially love the way they capture the Titanic in all its glory. I’m a total history geek when it comes to the Titanic. I’ve seen every documentary and read every book there is to read about the Titanic, so the fact that they used actual footage of the wreckage of Titanic was really cool.

My favorite characters are Rose and Jack, of course! They defy the rules of their different social statuses and are in true love. Not only are those characters great, but Kate and Leonardo do a masterful job in these roles. I love the whole movie, but my favorite scene would have to be when Rose and Jack are running through the ship away from the butler after the drawing scene. It lightens the mood of the film before the sinking and is quite funny. Plus, you almost get a mini tour of the ship. I also admire the final few scenes in which the ship is sinking. The way it is captured is amazing. It’s the perfect mix of chaos and emotion, which really conveys the tragedy in a brilliant way.

Like I said, this film is very tragic, and that fact that it was an actual event makes it even more sad. I would recommend this film for all ages, even though it is sad and slightly inappropriate. I watched it when I was 7 and nothing bothered me. This is a must-see movie, and I give it five out of five stars. I’d give it more if I could! Titanic is in stores now on DVD and Blu-ray, so be sure to add it to your home movie collection today!

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‘Finding Nemo’ Rides the Waves Again in 3-D

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

FindingNemo3D.jpgFinding Nemo, the 2003 film that captured hearts and won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2004, has gotten a studio makeover and has been filling theaters in its 3-D version. “I thought the 3-D was cool,” says KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Anthony Aranda, age 10, who goes on to say there wasn’t enough of it: “… but they needed to add more 3-D parts to the movie.”

Fellow youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, was captivated by the cinematography and visual effects, sharing, “The clear and crisp color with 3-D is magical. It feels like I am snorkeling and ready to touch these sea creatures.” Morgan Bertsch, age 7, also thinks the 3-D makes all the characters really come to life. “It is amazing. It makes you feel like you are really in the ocean. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

The father’s long journey from the safety of his coral reef home through the vastness of the ocean to where Nemo had been taken in Australia is fraught with danger and even earns him fame among the other creatures of the sea. He gains a sidekick early on his quest whose short-term memory loss balances the mood with heavy doses of humor.

Finding Nemo 3D
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See the full review by Cheyenne and Morgan Bertsch on video.

Watching Finding Nemo 3D by Disney-Pixar is like you are snorkeling and looking through your goggles and enjoying the colorful fish and sea life.

This story is about Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), an overprotective father of Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould), a clown fish with a defective fin.

It all starts with Coral and Marlin, Nemo’s mom and dad looking at all 400 eggs and trying to determine names for each of the eggs.  Suddenly, a barracuda comes to the coral and knocks Marlin unconscious.  When Marlin wakes up, the reef is empty; with no fish around, the only egg left under the coral is Nemo.  Marlin becomes a very protective dad and will not let Nemo out of his sight.  However, Nemo is the opposite of his dad.  He always wants to swim into the unknown.

On the first day of school, Nemo wanders off outside the reef and is captured by a dentist.  This starts Marlin’s journey to find his son.  He swims as fast as he can and asks for help finding Nemo.  The only fish that stops to help Marlin is Dory (voice by Ellen DeGeneres).  Dory has a big heart and always positive.  The only problem is she has short-term memory loss.

The story line is the father and son love, unpredictable and very funny.  There are so many punch lines in this movie that will keep you laughing throughout the movie.

The clear and crisp color with 3-D is magical.  It feels like I am snorkeling and ready to touch these sea creatures.  I can see the layers of rainbow coral reef, several rows of teeth in the mouth of Bruce the shark, the pelican’s beak, and jellyfish seem so soft and real.  The best 3-D part is with the whale and the krill swimming toward the audience.

I love how production and design make Dory velvety, Marlin and Nemo soft and gummy.  The rest of the fish are metallic, typical scaly fish.  This makes Dory, Marlin and Nemo more lovable. The sound effects of water sloshing and crashing are very realistic.

The only part I did not like is what happens to Nemo’s mom.  Will Disney come back with Nemo reunited with his mom?

The lessons in this movie are Marlin deals with his fear and swims all the way to Australia to find his son, Nemo, and he learns to have faith.

My favorite character is Dory with her big heart and Crush the laid-back father turtle and his children.

The message of this movie is listens to your parents — they only try to protect you and give you good advice.  Parents are alive longer so they know a lot more than their children.

I rank this movie five out of five stars. 

I give this film an age range of 3 and up.

Finding Nemo 3D
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
(See his full review on video.

I just finished watching a new twist on an all-time favorite Disney classic movie called Finding Nemo 3D. This movie is all about a fish named Nemo whose dad is bringing him to school. His dad gets too worried, though, and goes after Nemo. This makes Nemo mad, so he goes to open water, touches a boat and gets captured by divers. Then his dad has to go on a big adventure to save him.

The main characters in this movie are Nemo, Dory, and Marlin.  My favorite character is Dory because she is a really funny character and she helps Marlin go to Sydney to find his son. She also loves meeting new people but a second later she forgets them, which makes her really funny.   

My favorite part in this movie is when Dory sees a little jellyfish and names it Squishy and she gets stung and says, “Ouch! Bad Squishy, bad!” and then a big bunch of jellyfish come out and she bounces on the top so Marlin gets an idea so he says whoever gets to the end of the jellyfish wins. So they race through the jellyfish, but Dory gets stung so Marlin has to go save her. Luckily, he does, but that makes him pass out.

If I were to rate this movie with stars, I would give it seven out of 10 because I thought the 3-D was cool but they needed to add more 3-D parts to the movie. I’ve seen this movie too many times, so the fact that it didn’t have a lot of 3-D made it kind of boring to me.

I would recommend this movie for all ages, because it is a good classic movie that everyone is able to watch. Go out and see this movie when it comes out in theaters.  

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‘Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar’ Is Barbie-Glamour Tweak on Twain

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

BarbiePrincessAndPopstar_2.JPGMark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper gets a glamorous modern makeover in the new DVD release from Universal Studios, Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar. While Twain contrasted two opposites – a prince, which everyone would want to be, and a pauper, which was not so attractive – Universal’s two heroines both live a life that every young girl thinks she wants. But glamour isn’t necessarily all it seems to be. As KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8, observes in her review, below, “There are always things that you would want to change, but accepting who you are will make you a happy person.” Viewing the film also may make you a happy person. “The dance moves are amazing and make me want to stand up and dance along with the movie,” says 7-year-old KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Morgan Bertsch, describing the music and singing as “fun and upbeat.”

Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
See her full review on video.)

The story follows two girls, Tori and Keira. Tori is the princess who wishes she was a popstar and Keira is the popstar longing to be a princess. Interesting fact: Did you know that the original author of The Prince and the Pauper is Mark Twain of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn fame? Whoo — say that five times fast! The original story was published in 1881. The Prince and the Pauper Tom Sawyer Huckleberry FinnTori, the princess, is the classic blonde Barbie who is bored of her royal life. Keira, the popstar, is the brunette Barbie who dreams of being a princess. When the two of them meet, they magically trade places. But it’s not all that it appears, as the pop star’s manager, Crider, has plans to steal the spotlight from Keira. The girls have to figure out a way to stop his evil plot and never forget the show must go on.


I’ve always been a big fan of the Barbie franchise and I love what they have done in this movie. The music and singing is fun and upbeat, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” They have many different songs. I loved learning to sing the words. The dance moves are amazing and make me want to stand up and dance along with the movie. The live animation and the great set designs make me feel like I was really at a live concert.

If given the choice, I would choose to be the Barbie popstar. Whoops, sorry — I’d prefer to be Morgan because you learn in this story that it’s best to be who you are. Hmm, Morgan the Pretty Princess Pop Star sounds kind of fun, though!

My favorite part of the movie is when she finds a crystal diamond gardenia. Wait till you see what it can do. The dogs are the cutest. Although they can talk I would like to hear more of what they have to say. I love all the different hair colors and styles. The dresses are incredible and amazing. I wish I could twirl and just change clothes like Barbie or at least borrow that magic microphone for the day. I also love all the glitter and sparkles. No Barbie movie is complete until the glitter sparkle ending.

The ages for this movie are 4 and up or anybody who’s a fan of Barbie. This is a must-own for your collection. I give it five twinkling stars.

This DVD is scheduled to be available September 2012 in celebration of Universal’s 100th anniversary. Thank You Universal for all your great movies!

Barbie: The Princess & the Popstar
Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen
(See her full review on video.)

This movie is full of great songs and dance. Princess Tori is a big fan of popstar Keira. They finally meet at the Princess Castle and hit it off right away. They start talking and the princess wishes to be a popstar and the popstar wishes to be the princess for a day. Then they realized they look so much alike and try on each other clothes and pretend to each other.

Princess Tori and Keira are so much alike that they can fool a lot of people around them. Except for Princess Tori’s two younger sisters; they knew right away it wasn’t their sister. Tori and Keira share many secrets. One of the secrets is overheard by Keira’s evil manager. This is when all bad things start to happen. They must overcome a lot of obstacles in the process of getting their lives back.

The awesome songs and dances in this movie are put together like magic. All the songs are well-known songs and the dance moves so cool. It makes me want to get up and dance to all the songs. The cartoon quality is very clear, it’s like watching real-life people dancing. The details to the hair and make-up on each character are so real. Great storyline; most little girls dream of being a princess or a popstar.

This really shows the daily routine of a princess and a popstar. Only a small portion of their daily lives are good to have, the rest of their daily routines are hard work. It’s not what most people would want for their lives.

My favorite character is Princess Tori’s dog, Vanessa. She is so wise and cute.

The message of this movie is be happy with what you are. There are always things that you would like to change, but accepting who you are will make you a happy person.

I rank this movie five out of five stars. I give this an age range of 3 to 10.

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