Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for March, 2013

Spanning the Generations, Parental Guidance Now Out On DVD/Blu-ray

Monday, March 25th, 2013

ParentalGuidance.jpg “Parental Guidance” seems to have something to appeal to every age group. A great film that even grandparents can really relate to. 13-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Brianna Hope Beaton, says “this is a good comedy that will keep you laughing” and Cheyenne Nguyen, our 9-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic points out that this film “has something for every age group to relate to.”

Rated PG, just like the title, this film is now available at all your favorite DVD resellers on DVD and Blu-ray.

“Parental Guidance”

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton

Click here to see Brianna’s full video review!

“Parental Guidance” is extremely funny and enjoyable. Artie Decker (Billy Crystal) is let go from his baseball announcing job which he truly loves. His only daughter, Alice Simmons (Marisa Tomei) and her husband Phil Simmons (Tom Everett Scott) get a chance to go on a vacation and need someone to look after their three school-age kids. Artie and his wife Diane Decker (Bette Midler) agree to look after them for a week and will do anything to not be the “other grandparents.” But their style of parenting clashes with Alice and her husband’s parenting ways.

This film keeps me laughing a lot and I must admit, shedding a few tears. My favorite character is Barker Simmons (Kyle Harrison Breitkopf). He has the cutest little face with red curly hair, and cracks me up with some of the things he does. The acting is really good and believable. I can actually see this plot happening in real life that’s how believable it is. I also like Harper Simmons (Bailee Madison) as she acts very well. She is so intense with her acting and so believable with her crying scenes.

I have two favorite scenes, one is when Harper has a mouthful of cake and then says to her mother, “yogurt is not like ice cream, you lied”; and second is when Artie is at the little league baseball game with his daughter and causes trouble because there is no 3 strike game rule.

Andy Fickman directs “Parental Guidance” and Lisa Addario along with Joe Syracuse writes this very funny script. Other talents include Jennifer Crystal Foley, Rhonda Griffis and the very funny Gedde Watanabe.

A lesson in this film is to live your life, love yourself and laugh a lot. I recommend “Parental Guidance” for ages 6 and up. This is a great film for the family and your friends to see. This is really good comedy that will keep you laughing. Get ready to laugh, cry and have a good time.

I give this film 5 out of 5 five stars.  I love the actors, the plot and comedy. Billy Crystal and Bette Midler are hilarious together with their style of parenting. Have some fun with your grandparents and see “Parental Guidance.” I’m sure you will love it.

“Parental Guidance”

Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

Click here to see Cheyenne’s full video review!

I love this movie; it has something for every age group to relate to. Artie (Billy Crystal) and Dianne (Bette Midler) are asked by their daughter Alice (Marisa Tomei) to watch her three kids for one week. Alice and her husband win a trip for two to celebrate their success. However, Alice wants Artie and Dianne to use her method of parenting, not the old school way that Artie and Dianne used to raise her. The children are Harper (Bailee Madison), Turner (Joshua Rush) and Barker (Kyle Breitkopf). They are not to have any sugar and live a very structured life. Each has their own issues. Artie and Dianne have to learn how to deal with their issues using the 21st century method.

Billy Crystal owns his character. I really see Billy Crystal as Artie I did not see any acting with this character. Bette Midler also does a great job as Diane, funny and great voice. Artie and Dianne’s lines seems like they are improvised, and their comic timing is awesome. The child actors are great too. Harper’s look of awkwardness when her crush asks her to his party is so true to life. Turner’s speech impediment is so real; I thought he really has the impediment. Barker is a riot; he has that face that looks as if he’s up to something.

The movie quality is very clear. The props for the smart house are awesome. One day we will all have a smart house and our parents will think it’s creepy. The small home town setting looks just like it’s in Fresno, California.

My favorite character is Turner. He is determined to overcome his speech impediment and defend himself with the bully. He does a great job of stuttering. The lesson in this movie is each generation has their own way of parenting. I rank this movie 5 out of 5 stars. This movie age range is 5 and up.

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Jack Is Not Your Typical Fairy Tale Hero

Monday, March 25th, 2013

JackGiantSlayer.jpg“Jack The Giant Slayer” isn’t your ordinary fairytale. In fact, it’s rated PG-13 for a reason; intense scenes, violence and brief inappropriate images. But if you love intense special effects, complicated twisting story lines and amazing animation, this might just be the best fairy tale you’ve seen on screen yet. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven Devanney, age 15, calls it “the familiar story of Jack and the Beanstalk with an entertaining twist.” Here is Raven’s review of “Jack The Giant Slayer.”

“Jack The Giant Slayer”

Reviewed by Raven Devanney

Click here to see Raven’s full video review!

“Jack The Giant Slayer” tells the familiar story of Jack and the Beanstalk with an entertaining twist. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) is a farm  boy who grew up hearing stories of a time long ago when giants and men were at war in the kingdom. You know that he goes to the market, comes back with magic beans, spills them and a giant beanstalk grows all the way up to a magic land, but here’s the twist. The Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) is captured by the giants and Jack, along with the kingdoms guardians, has to rescue her. But, they are betrayed by Roderick, the Princess’ elderly fiancée and the whole kingdom has to fight against the giants to save the land.

I really enjoyed this movie. I absolutely love the more modern twist on this age-old tale. One thing that I really enjoyed about the story line is when, at the end of the film, it shows the story being passed down from generation to generation and shows how the story gets “misinterpreted” into being the fairy tale we’ve all heard.

The CGI animation is very good. It isn’t one of those movies that blows me away with special effects and cinematography, but it is definitely well-made.

My favorite character is Jack because I really enjoy Nicholas Hoult in this film. He is the British actor who recently starred in “Warm Bodies” and has played supporting roles in many other films such as “X-Men: First Class” and “Clash of the Titans.” He has also starred in the British TV series “Skins” which I am absolutely obsessed with. I love his acting skills when it comes to conveying emotion in a very simple way. Not only do I love Nicholas Hoult, but I really enjoy the fact that Jack is just a farm boy and he is given the chance to prove himself as more than a commoner. He never gives up and he shows that he is clever and there is more to him than meets the eye.

I like that in the first few scenes of the movie it cuts back and forth between Jack and Princess Isabelle as children. It shows their parents reading them the stories of the days when giants and men fought in the kingdom and later in the film it cuts back and forth between the two arguing with their parents. I like these scenes because it shows that even though they were brought up in different ways and live completely different lives, they still have a lot in common.

One thing I want to mention is that the ending is very intense. It’s not necessarily scary, but it’s very suspenseful and I found myself sitting at the edge of my seat for the last 30 – 45 minutes. The film seems like its ending and I thought that there would be a second film to finish off the story, but then it continues to show the giants attacking the kingdom. This has its pros and cons. The good thing about putting the rescue of the Princess and the invasion of the city all into one film is that I honestly don’t think there is enough material to make a second film. The bad thing about this is I feel like the last half hour is very rushed and hectic. Everything happens really fast and I feel like something should have been embellished. Then again, it is an hour and 54 minutes so adding anything else would make the film to long.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars because it is very entertaining and is a wonderful adaptation of the fairytale that has been passed down for generations.  I think it’s suitable for ages 10 and up because there is no foul language or sexual scenes but there is action, suspense and violence. I think everyone will enjoy this movie because it has action, adventure, comedy, romance, fantasy, drama and it’s a classic story!

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Bindi Irwin Returns to Nim’s Island on the Hallmark Channel on March 15

Monday, March 11th, 2013

ReturnNimsIsland.jpgReturn To Nim’s Island, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, premieres on the Hallmark Channel on Friday, March 15, 2013. Following up on the success of Nim’s Island, this sequel  is a great platform for Bindi Irwin, through her portrayal of Nim, to introduce young people to the importance of protecting our earth and its fragile species.

According to Brianna Hope Beaton KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Nim teaches us “that you should do everything you can to help the marine and wildlife.” New KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cassandra Hsiao, “Return to Nim’s Island will take families on a spectacular expedition underwater, into dark mysterious caves, and up awfully steep cliffs.” And new KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jailene Arias agrees with the others that the main message in the film is “don’t give up!”

Check out these great video reviews from two of our new KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Cassandra Hsiao and Jailene Arias!

Return to Nim’s Island

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton

Click here to see Brianna’s full video review!

This film has lots of action, very funny and is definitely great for the whole family to see.

Let’s return to Nim’s Island to see how things are going with Nim (Bindi Irwin) and her Father (Matthew Lillard). One day they get a message that some people will be buying the island to build an attraction there, but Nim will not stand for it and comes up with some things to do to save what she calls home. She will do almost anything to protect the island and the animals that she loves so well. Everything is going fine until Edmund, (Toby Wallace), comes along to help but brings trouble. Will Nim get to keep and stay living at her personal resort or will she have to pack up and leave?

I really love this film. It’s the sequel to Nim’s Island. I love the underwater shoots and the humor. The cast does an incredible job in interacting with the animals and making it all believable. My favorite character is Nim because she is not afraid to speak her mind, and will not let anyone push her around. My favorite scene is when Nim is going on the zip line. It looks really cool to ride and I would love to do it. I love the music as it fits in perfectly with the scenes.

Brendan Maher directs Nim’s Island. Author of the Nim’s Island series, Wendy Orr, is the inspiration behind this film. Everyone does an amazing job – from the animals to all the cast – it makes an impact with an environmental message. The big message is that you should do everything you can to help the marine and wildlife, if you cannot, please do not harm it. Additionally, it emphasizes the idea to “never give up on what you want to do.”

I recommend, Return to Nim’s Island for ages 7 to 14. Parents will enjoy it as much as their kids. If you love the wild you will love this film.

I give this film an overwhelming 5 out of 5 stars. I love the adventure, cinematography, action and, of course, the humor.

Tune in to see the Return to Nim’s Island on March 15 on the Hallmark Channel 8pm EST / 7PM CT.

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‘Life of Pi’ A Great Story of Hope And Determination Now on DVD/Blu-ray

Monday, March 11th, 2013

LifeofPi.jpgLife of Pi received rave reviews in the theaters, nothing new for the multiple award-winning director Ang Lee, but part of the credit goes to advances in technology that enable the film’s special effects.

According to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Brianna Hope Beaton, age 13, “The visual effects are amazing.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Cheyenne Nguyen, age 9, says “The special effect of the tiger is the best part. It seems so real, I thought that the tiger is actually in the boat with Pi.” Click here to see Brianna and Cheyenne’s video review!

Experience the thrill and beauty of Life of Pi all over again! Now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Enter our KIDS FIRST! Critics Go Local Campaign, by submitting your review of Life of Pi and win free movie tickets or a free skin for your favorite mobile device. Go here for details.

Life of Pi

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton

This is truly an amazing story, with a great adventure that is hard to believe.

Pi (Suraj Sharma), an Indian boy, is on a ship with his family who is moving to Canada. One night, there is a terrible storm that sinks the ship and only Pi, a hyena, zebra, orangutan and a Bengal tiger whose name is Richard Parker survive. They are all in one of the small lifeboats trying to stay alive. After a while, it becomes only Pi and Richard Parker who are adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Pi is now trying to survive, but is in fear of Richard Parker.

Based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel, this adventure is created in 3-D and is one of my new favorites. The visual effects are amazing and capture the marine life really well, with all its beautiful colors. I like the way this film is set up like someone is telling it as a story; this really keeps my attention. One of my favorite scenes is when a big whale comes out of the ocean; it is so big and pretty to see. It is incredible. I also like the way we learn how the tiger is named Richard Parker. It is somewhat funny and unusual.

I would love to know how director Ang Lee directs all the animals in this film; it is truly amazing how they act. David Magee (screenplay writer) does a remarkable job transforming a great novel into an amazing script. Other members of the cast in Life of Pi include Vibish Sivakumar (Ravi Patel) and Rafe Spall (The Writer).

A big message I found is to never lose hope no matter where you are in life. Pi is in the middle of the ocean for many, many days with a big storm and a tiger, but through it all he never loses hope to be rescued.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to adults. Younger ages may be a little frightened when they see some of the animal scenes, but other than that, this is a must-see. You can enjoy it with your family and friends.

I give Life of Pi five out of five stars. I love the message and the visual effects. This is a great story of hope and determination. Believe the unbelievable and see the amazing adventure in Life of Pi.

Life of Pi

Reviewed by Cheyenne Nguyen

Life of Pi is the most amazing 3-D-quality movie that shows underwater footage and sea life.

Life of Pi is based on a popular novel by Yann Martel that sold over 7 million copies. It’s about a boy name Piscine Patel, known as Pi (Suraj Sharma). He has a good life growing up in his father’s zoo in Pondicherry, a French colony. Due to hard times, they have to close down the zoo and move some of the animals to Canada with them.

The move to Canada is in a big Japanese cargo ship, and all the animals are at the bottom of the ship. The big storm hits the ship and sinks the ship. The survivors are Pi, the tiger (Richard Parker), zebra, hyena, orangutan and a rat. They are all in a small lifeboat from the cargo ship. After several days, the only two survivors are Pi and Richard Parker. They are afraid of each other but need each other to survive.

There are so many scenes with great cinematography. The most memorable ones are the underwater footage, and the sinking of the cargo ship is so real and clear. The 3-D brings out the glowing of the jelly fish and the blue whale vividly.

The special effect of the tiger is the best part. It seems so real, I thought that the tiger is actually in the boat with Pi.

The part I did not like is when the animals are fighting each other. It’s too hard to watch the survival of the fittest.

The acting in this movie is so great. Suraj shows a lot of emotions with his eyes, and he stays in his character, and the audience can feel his emotions. It’s so amazing to see his weight loss as the days go by at sea.

My favorite character is Richard Parker. He helps Pi survive the shipwreck and at times he seems more human than creature.

The lesson in this movie is anything is possible. Pi survives over seven months in the Pacific Ocean with just faith and Richard Parker.

I rank this movie four out of five stars. I give this movie an age range of 8 and up.

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Scooby-Doo And The Gang Have A New Mystery On Their Hands

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013


Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang return to solve another mystery! In this feature length release, Scooby-Doo! Mask Of The Blue Falcon, Brianna Hope Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, explains that the characters are true to classic Scooby-Doo form, but just a bit more updated. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Cheyenne Nguyen, calls this “a great mystery and a surprise ending. Just released on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultraviolet from the folks at Warner Home Video.

Check out this great video review by Cheyenne Nguyen!

Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton

Click here for Brianna’s full video review!

This animated film is very comical; action packed and is good to watch with the whole family.

Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker-voice) and the gang are out on another adventure. They all go to a comic convention that is held in California to see the Blue Falcon and the Dog Wonder. But while there they come under attack by Mr. Hyde, who is Blue Falcon’s arch enemy. He keeps appearing, disappearing, reappearing and creating destruction all over town. The gang has to solve another mystery. Will they discover who the crook really is or will they come up empty handed?

I absolutely love this film because I love Scooby-Doo. The animation and the cinematography are very lively and colorful with great detail. I like how the previous voices of the past Scooby-Doo films are included in this production. My favorite character in this film, and all the other Scooby-Doo films, is Scooby-Doo. I like him because he is funny, he speaks his mind and he is the one that usually finds the hardest clues.

Michael Ryan, wrote an amazing script with great humor and mystery. Characters Velma (Mindy Cohn), Shaggy and Scooby are right on with the classic Scooby-Doo films but more up-to-date. Director, Michael Goguen does a very good job on making this film possible and directing it.

A message that I found in this film is that the person inside of you is what really matters. Not what you wear, who you are around or what you have. Also, you can be anything you want to be no matter what people say or do. Just work hard and put your mind to it.

I recommend Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon to ages 7 to 15. This is also a great film for the family to get together and watch. People who love Scooby-Doo mysteries, will definitely love and adore this film.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It really has a great story line that flows smoothly and has me smiling and laughing a lot. I truly love watching this great mystery film.

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