Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for September, 2013

KIDS FIRST! Accepting Submissions Now for Endorsements and Film Festival Entries

Monday, September 30th, 2013

KF_logo.JPGYou may submit your films, DVDs, Audio Recording, Games and Apps now through October 15 for a KIDS FIRST! Endorsement and now through October 30 for Film Festival entries. Screenplays may be submitted at any time. For more info or to enter, go here.

KIDS FIRST! has been supporting quality children’s media for 22 years and is the most highly respected media endorsement program in the country. Unlike an awards program which limits the number of winners, every title that meets our criteria and is approved by our kids’ juries receives an endorsement. Our base-line criteria includes:

  • NO gratuitous violence or abuse
  • NO inappropriate sexual behavior
  • NO bias in terms of race, gender, culture or religion
  • NO condescension toward children
  • NO replicable unsafe behavior

KIDS FIRST! Endorsed Titles Receive

  • The right to use the KIDS FIRST! endorsement seal and rating on all promotional and packaging materials..
  • A unique title landing page on the KIDS FIRST! website
  • featuring reviews by our jurors, your trailer or sample clip, cover art and link to your website to purchase.
  • Consideration for a KIDS FIRST! Best Award
  • Coverage on the KIDS FIRST! Radio Show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions (100,000 listeners/month)
  • Promoted in KIDS FIRST! News (45,000 readers/mo)
  • Promoted on KIDS FIRST! Social media (450,000 reach)

KIDS FIRST! recently announced their new partnership with John Wood who joins us as a judge for audio recordings. John brings his considerable experience of decades as a children’s audio reviewer and awards judge to the re-launch of our CD endorsement program.  Children’s recording artists, specializing in both music and spoken word, know the name of John Wood whose kidzmusic.com website is revered by anyone interested in great music and recordings for children. Parents concerned about the lyrics in current pop music and curious enough to venture beyond the blockbuster releases found at any box store know that kidzmusic offers great CDs for their kids.

With John Wood joining KIDS FIRST!, the prestigious KIDS FIRST! endorsement gives musicians and spoken word artists an opportunity to take advantage of the branding power that KIDS FIRST! offers them. What a great combination. The judging period runs September 1 to October 15, 2013. To submit your  music or spoken word recordings, go here.

KIDS FIRST! has supported quality children’s media since 1991 and is the most highly respected media endorsement program in the country. Unlike awards’ programs which limit the number of winners, every title that meets the KIDS FIRST! criteria and is approved by the judges, receives an endorsement. Once a title is endorsed, it receives its own unique landing page on the KIDS FIRST! website, with a review, a music or spoken word clip, the cover art and a link to purchase. Additionally, the reviews of endorsed media are promoted to the KIDS FIRST! media network throughout the year where they reach an audience of 3+ million.

KIDS FIRST! is a project of the 22-year-old, national nonprofit, Coalition for Quality Children’s Media whose mission is to teach children critical thinking skills so they can become informed media users and to promote quality children’s media to the general public.

KIDS FIRST! is supported by major entertainment companies including Walt Disney, Warner Brothers, AOL Kids, HDNet Movies, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal and Sony as well as Grand Magazine, Working Mother, National Association of Parenting Publications and Voice America Radio Network.

To submit a title, go to  http://www.kidsfirst.org/submit-a-title/kf-what-endorsement.html
For more information about John Wood go to http://www.kidsfirst.org/about-us/Board_Staff_Bios_John.Wood.html

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The Watsons Go to Birmingham – A Film With a Message

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

WGTB_165x300_V1.jpg“The Watsons Go to Birmingham” is an original movie presented by Walmart and P&G for Walden Family Theater premiering September 20 on Hallmark Channel. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B loves the acting in this film and the moral: “You can’t live your life in fear and live a good life.” His full review is below.

The Watsons go to Birmingham
by Keefer B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Video review available here:

This powerful, historical fiction takes place in 1963. The plot follows our protagonist Kenny (Bryce Clyde Jenkins) and his African American family from their house in Flint, Michigan to their family home in Birmingham, Alabama. While in Alabama, Kenny and his siblings are introduced to segregation and all its inhumanity.  In Michigan they lived free from sequestration except for what they experienced on TV. This film is seeded with real life situations and old black and white clips that are sewn together quite skillfully.

What I love about the film is the outstanding acting. The kids couldn’t be better. The characters go through so much they’re able to express a lot of emotion and does it show! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there have been a lot of films about segregation this year; 42, Lee Daniels The Butler and more to come. What makes this film stand out is that the story is from 10-year-old Kenny’s perspective. When we view the world through a black adult’s eyes, we know they’ve probably experienced segregation. From a child’s level, we see they can’t comprehend why they’re treated poorly because of their skin color. That’s what makes it more powerful.

My favorite character is Kenny. I relate to him because he’s sort of a nerd, kindhearted and in this film, confused. I like to see how he deals with the different situations he’s placed in. Jenkins does a tremendous job portraying this character.

My favorite scene is when Kenny almost drowns. Kenny is swimming in the lake and gets sucked down into a whirlpool. Luckily, his brother Byron (Harrison Knight) saves him. This scene is intense and I got a little teary-eyed when Byron embraces Kenny and won’t let go.

The moral is, “You can’t live your life in fear and live a good life.” After the drowning incident Kenny thinks the whirlpool (Whir Poo) is out to get him so he magnifies emotional situations to the point of over-whelming dread.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for 9-year-olds and up. I think this film is very educational. It’s a perfect film to show younger audiences and it has that family element to it that makes it entertaining.

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“Dear Dumb Diary” – Sure To Charm Your School-Aged Kids

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

213124.jpgBased on the best selling series “Dear Dumb Diary” by Jim Benton, this made for TV movie airs September 6 on the Hallmark Channel. “You might think it is a girl’s movie but I enjoyed it and so did my twelve year old brother,” comments KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Adam C, age 8. Adam’s full review follows along with Jailene’s video review. Check them out!

Dear Dumb Diary
Video Review by Jailene A. here.
Reviewed by Adam C., Age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Video review available here.

If you enjoy comedy mixed with great musical numbers then you will love “Dear Dumb Diary.”  “Dear Dumb Diary” is about a girl named Jamie Kelly who attends Mackeral Middle School and dreams of being popular and of having the boy of her dreams, Hudson, love her.  She writes all of her secrets and dreams in her diary.  She is jealous of a beautiful girl named Angeline who she feels gets more attention from Hudson than Jamie feels she deserves.

My favorite character in the movie is Jamie Kelly (Emily Alyn Lind).  She is easy to relate to as most teenagers have insecurities and lots of dreams of how their life could be better.  Jamie keeps her room really messy and only cleans it when she wants to find her missing diary. She is funny and has a great sense of humor.  Emily is a very talented girl and does a wonderful job of acting, singing and dancing in this movie.

The musical numbers in “Dear Dumb Diary” are well choreographed and very entertaining.  They add a great deal to the movie because it keeps the viewer’s attention and adds an extra dimension to this already excellent movie.

My favorite part of the movie is actually a musical number.  It is the musical number where Jamie sings that there are too many beautiful people in the world and they need to leave to give the ordinary people a chance to shine.  The ordinary people put all of the beautiful people on a small yellow school bus and send them away.

The film has many positive messages that can apply to all age ranges.  The first is “do not judge a book by its cover.”  Angeline, who Jamie feels is mean in the movie because she is so beautiful, actually covers for her and returns her diary without reading a single word of it.  Jamie, even though she wants to shine and be the winner in the Jump-A-Thon, helps Angeline who doesn’t know how to jump.

Jamie and her best friend Isabella do this because Angeline has many sponsors and will enable the school to hire the art teacher back and provide many extracurricular activities for the school. Isabella and Jamie show maturity in putting the greater good of the school before their own personal glory.   Jamie’s best friend Isabella collects for a fake charity so she can get money to buy herself contacts.  In the end, Jamie and Isabella start a charity that helps less fortunate children to get glasses. Throughout the movie, Jamie is learning the lesson that inner beauty is very important.

I give this movie five out of five stars.  It’s a great family movie appropriate for ages 7 to 18. You might think it is a girl’s movie but I enjoyed it and so did my twelve year old brother. I feel the music and dancing help this movie appeal to a wider audience range.  It is airing on the Hallmark Channel on September 6 and will also be available for purchase at Wal-Mart on September 10.

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