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Archive for December, 2012

DreamWorks Has Dreamed Up Some Exciting New Animations For 2013

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

croods.jpgKIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch, age 8, attended an exciting preview of three DreamWorks films scheduled to come out in 2013. All in 3D, Turbo, The Croods and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, are all sure to be box office hits. Morgan got to meet a lot of famous folks who were pleased to have such a lovely young interviewer.

Preview Event for Turbo, Mr. Peabody and Sherman and The Croods. All coming to the theaters 2013.
Review by Morgan Bertsch, age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

I had an amazing time. I got to see the previews of three of the movies coming out in 2013 brought to you by DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox all in 3D.

is the story about a snail that is tired of being slow and longs to be a racer. Turbo has a brother who of course doubts Turbo will do much of anything in the way of excitement. He gets the power of lightning fast speed after an accident. The Indianapolis 500 is in his future. The graphics are amazing. There are tons of new characters to meet. I think everyone will love this movie coming out July 19, 2013.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman
is about the smartest dog in the world who adopts a little boy. He takes him on many adventures in his time machine to teach him about the world. He gets to experience the past in real life. We learn that Sherman loves cake, like all kids, but this turns out to be a bad thing. This story is based on a series produced by Jay Ward, who did The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Tiffany Ward who is one of the Executive Producers on this animated feature film. She is very pretty and wonderful to talk to. I think that carrying on her father’s legacy is very cool. I can’t wait until November 1, 2013 when we all get to see this movie and on go on the many adventures. The preview leaves us wondering what will become of Sherman since he stole the time machine, has taken a classmate with him and lost her.

The Croods was very funny. It is a little strange because it is about some wild cavemen and women. They are afraid of everything outdoors. All the neighbors seem to disappear. The teenage daughter tries to date a stranger and the whole family flips out. When their cave is destroyed they must rely on him and their family to find a new home. In true DreamWorks style, the scenes were original, colorful and different from anything you have seen before. I got to talk to Chris Sanders, who is also the voice of Stitch from Lilo and Stitch. He is one of the writers of The Croods. He really loves to draw and told me that they took different parts of various animals and mixed them together to come up with the crazy creatures you see in this movie. I have met and chatted with Cloris Leachman, who once again did an incredible job. She is the voice of Gran the Grandmother. Gran is very cute and very hungry. Let’s just say they all need to learn some table manners or well, learn what a table is first. They are cavemen after all. We will be able to see this March 22, 2013 in theaters.

When we left the filming we got to eat at three different stations. Turbo’s station was all decked out with checkered racing stripes and Tacos were being served. Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s station had crepes to die for and The Croods had burlap table clothes and scrumptious omelets.

DreamWorks always manages to make our dreams appear on the big screen and it looks like 2013 will be an amazing, fun time at the movies. I am so looking forward to seeing all of them.

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Enter, Vote and Support KIDS FIRST!

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


SUPPORT KIDS FIRST! We know that Holiday Time is the #1 time for making tax-deductible donations to your favorite nonprofits. Please keep us in mind in your annual giving and consider making a contribution to KIDS FIRST!

TIME TO ENTER AND VOTE! KIDS FIRST! needs your help to choose the next group of Film Critics. 2013 will be the third year we welcome new faces to represent KIDS FIRST! to review tons of new feature films, DVDs and old classics. Our youth critics also attend Red Carpet Events and host our very own radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions on Voice America Kids. We are so excited to welcome these new faces – but don’t worry, you will still see many of our 2011 and 2012 critics next year!

There is still time to enter. If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still plenty of time to do it. Auditions are being accepted from any child ages 7-14. To enter, you will need to watch one of our search titles: Big Top Scooby-Doo!, E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial, 30th Anniversary, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Princess Bride, 25th Anniversary or Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups  (if you have a group that would like to have an event and enter, please contact us so we can help.)

Next, complete the entry form and submit your written review. After that, you will upload your review and get out the vote. For full rules, instructions and links to the entry form and upload information, visit the 2013 KIDS FIRST! Film Critic landing page. There are also great tips and short online webinars to help to increase your chances of winning a Film Critic spot for next year.

Now it is time to vote! Whether you or one of your friends has auditioned, or if you just want to have a say about who will be the next KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, you will need to help get out the vote. Visit the 2013 Film Critic Search website and click on the tab “Browse & Vote Here.”  Scroll through the pages and watch the reviews. If you like a video, choose the star rating you think is appropriate and click on it (you will have to hover your mouse over the stars beneath the video to choose your rating.)

Vote for all your favorites, tell all your friends, post it to your social media sites and do it often. Voting closes on December 31, 2012 at midnight. Winners will be announced shortly after.

Please support of our Film Critics Program. Every little bit helps! Even if you can only contribute $5, we need your support. Your donation to KIDS FIRST! is always tax deductible, so help us to help kids. At KIDS FIRST! we believe that Smart Kids Make Smart Consumers. Please visit our fundraising page, or contact us directly, if you can help.

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‘Wimpy Kid: Dog Days’ Memories of Summer Laughs

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012


Greg 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! 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, loves when Rodrick tries to get the attention of a girl lifeguard, but gets mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from the other lifeguard, an older man. “Rodrick’s facial expression is priceless, 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.”

With memories of some of the best laughs of summer, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days comes out on DVD and blu-ray on December 18, 2012.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

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

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 goes 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.

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 okay to mess up. Just admit it, take responsibility and learn from it.

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

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

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julianna Noone
(See Julianna’s full review on video.)

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, when Greg’s older brother, Roderick, played brilliantly by Devon Bostick, tries to fake drowning so the pretty lifeguard 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.

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. 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. 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 Anthony’s full review on video.)

This movie is awesome. It has so many 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 are also really good.

This movie 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.

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. Everyone will think this movie is really funny and a great movie to watch with the whole family.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Reviewed by Julia Chestnut
(See Julia’s full review on video.)
(See Julia’s live interviews on location.)

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 finds 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.

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.

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.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift, Endearing As Ever, Coming To DVD and blu-ray

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

IceAge4DVDbluray.jpgThe Ice Age cometh again. The fourth in 20th Century Fox’s franchise, Continental Drift, is coming to us on DVD and blu-ray on December 11, 2012. The characters are as endearing as ever, with the familiar voices of Ray Romano (Manny), John Leguizamo (Sid) and Denis Leary (Diego), among others. New to the cast of characters this time out is Granny (voiced by Wanda Sykes), who makes a big hit with KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 9: “My favorite character in this movie is Granny. Everything about her is funny and unpredictable.”

On a more technical note, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Julianna Noone, age 12, observes, “The animation is so well done that the characters appear life-like as you can see the details in the sheen of their fur and the muscle movements.”

See the full review by Julianna Noone and Cheyenne Nguyen on video.

Ice Age: Continental Drift
Reviewed by Julianna Noone

HOLY CRAB! What a great movie! This film really kicks some pirate booty.
From Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox comes Ice Age: Continental Drift. This fantastic film is about a group of different families that come together to form their own herd, and together they overcome obstacles to stay together.
Once again, Manny (voiced by Ray Romano), Sid (voiced by John Leguizamo) and Diego (voiced by Denis Leary) set off on another wild adventure caused by Scrat’s continued chase of that elusive acorn. Along the way, they overcome pirates, sirens and many other life-and-death obstacles.

While I love all the characters and they are voiced by a terrific and funny set of actors, my favorite character is Granny (voiced by Wanda Sykes), who is a new addition to the cast. Granny is so hilarious and a little zany and crazy. Everyone thinks Granny has an imaginary friend, but as the movie goes along, we find out that the friend is not so imaginary. It’s a very precious moment in the movie.

My favorite scene is when Manny, Sid, Diego and Granny are having hallucinations that are unique to each of them. Sid’s is about a female sloth; Diego sees Shira, a female pirate and also a sabertooth tiger; Granny sees a muscular sloth; and finally Manny sees his wife, Ellie (voiced by Queen Latifah), who says to him, “Manny, you were right, you’re always right.” Manny hears that and he snaps out of his hallucination because he knows that Ellie would never say that to him. It’s such a funny moment in the film, but also saves them all from dying.

The music is very catchy and fits the movie well. My favorite song is at the very end, because it’s about family and it is an adorable song. The animation is so well done that the characters appear life-like as you can see the details in the sheen of their fur and the muscle movements.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars as it is funny, well written and has a great message for the audience. It is a perfect movie for everyone in your herd.

Always remember, stick with your herd because they always have your back, no matter what.

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

Ice Age: Continental Drift is an adventure and comedy animation. Ice Age 4 picks up where Scrat still does not catch that acorn, and the result of his chasing after the acorn is the continent drifts apart.

Manny (voiced by Ray Romano) is an over-protective father trying to keep his teenage daughter, Peaches (voiced by Keke Palmer), from hanging out with the bad group of mammoths. However, Peaches is desperate to prove that she is cool so she can hang out with the cool kids.

Manny and his daughter have a fight in front of her friends, and the last thing Peaches says to her father is, “I wish you were not my father.” This is when the earth shakes; Manny, Diego and Sid are separated from the rest of the pack. They encounter ice pirates and many different sea creatures.

They all are homesick and want to find a way home. However, the ice pirate wants to capture them as prisoners. Manny and his gang have to come up with a plan to escape from the pirates and use his ice ship to go home.

This movie has a lot of jokes that make me laugh throughout the movie. The love story between Diego and the white tiger Shira (voiced by Jennifer Lopez) is so cute.

The message of this movie is the importance of family and we do not have a choice to pick who is in our family.

My favorite character in this movie is Granny. Everything about her is funny and unpredictable. One thing that I did not like is there are too many new characters. I would like to see more of Granny.

I rank this movie 5 out of 5 stars because it’s exciting, funny and all the characters are so strong and different. I recommend this movie for ages 3 to 18.

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Santa’s Pups Teach The True Meaning Of Holiday Spirit

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Santa’s pups are at it again in Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups, available now on DVD and blu-ray. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Anthony Aranda, says this DVD is full of great holiday songs, “so good it has been stuck in my head for three days!” Santa Paws 2 teaches everyone about the true meaning of Holiday Spirit, with lots of music and mayhem throughout. Make sure it is on your holiday shopping list for all your puppy loving friends and family!

Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
Reviewed by Anthony Aranda
See Anthony’s full review on video.

SantaPaws2.1.jpgThis movie is all about some pups being taught some lessons since birth. Some of the lessons make them curious like the one about some magic crystals. They think that they are ready to be like their dad so they steal one from Eddie (the elf dog). At the same time Mrs. Claus is flying to town so they hitch a ride and want to try to grant wishes. They give some good wishes, but then they accidentally grant a very bad wish, and everyone starts to lose their Christmas spirit.

The main characters in the movie are Mrs. Claus, Eli (Santa’s head Elf), The Reynolds family and the pups. My favorite character is Mrs. Claus because she cares a lot about others and loves all the Christmas spirit in the world. She is really good with kids and shows them all about Christmas spirit. I also really like the pups because they want to grant wishes, but it doesn’t work out so well, so they have to help save Christmas for the world.

My favorite part in the movie is all the singing. I love movies that have a lot of music in them and I think that helps to make them more enjoyable to others too. The best musical number in the movie is when Mrs. Claus is in jail with some people she met and sings a really good song. It is so good it has been stuck in my head for three days! It makes me want to see the movie over and over again until I memorize the words.

I would recommend this movie for all ages because it is a really good movie and I think everyone will like it. It has mostly singing that is all about Christmas, joy and cheer. I guess that there were some things that just might scare you but I think you will be alright. It is a really great holiday movie. Go out and buy this movie on DVD and blu-ray now! Anthony Aranda, age 10, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

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