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Archive for March, 2014

Tinker Bell Saves the Pixie Dust in Disney’s new The Pirate Fairy

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

PIrateFairy.jpgDisney has a pretty good grasp on stories about fairies and pirates and their latest release, The Pirate Fairy certainly reflects that. Tinker Bell plays a leading role in coming to the rescue when mischievous fairy Zarina steals Blue Pixie Dust and flies away to join forces with the pirates of Skull Rock. “This movie is full of excitement the entire family should enjoy, ” claims KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kendyl P. and her twin, Kayla adds, “The message of this film is that you should not turn your back on your friends when you do something wrong.” See their full reviews below along with a link to their interviews with the cast members, director and producer at the premiere.

Disney’s The Pirate Fairy        
Reviewed by Kayla and Kendyl Powell, Age 12, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Premiere coverage here:
Video review here:

The fairies are coming, the fairies are coming. That’s right Disney’s The Pirate Fairy is a phenomenal film. This movie is full of excitement the entire family should enjoy. There are fairies for the girls, pirates and adventure for the boys and great comedy for the parents.

Disney’s The Pirate Fairy is about a pixie dust fairy name Zarina (Christina Hendricks) who has a lot of great ideas. Zarina wants to use some of her creativity to make new things for the town of Pixie Hallow. She makes a few mistakes and runkayla_powell_0237_rt_LR.jpgs off and becomes a Pirate Fairy. Zaina partners up with a pirate named James (Tom Hiddleston) who is actually the younger Captain Hook. Once again Zarina finds herself in a lot of trouble. Now it is up to Tinker Bell (Mae Whitman) and her friends to help save the day.

The message of this film is that you should not turn your back on your friends when you do something wrong. In the film, Zarina turns her back on her friends and then later regrets her actions and her friends continue to be there when she is in need. Zarina does not expect the other fairies to be nice to her after what she did to them. The voice actors, Christina Hendricks, Mae Whitman and Tom Hiddleston deliver spectacular performances and really bring their characters to life.

My favorite character is Tinkerbell because she is very determined to help her friend Zarina even though Zarina left and was the best friend at the time.

My other favorite character is Zarina because she likes to take charge and is really determined to kendyl_powell_0411_LR.jpgaccomplish her personal goals and ambitions. That’s what I like about her.

My favorite part of the film is when they play the Pixie Hallow games. I really enjoyed the figure skaters and all their cool tricks. I was awed by their performances.  

We recommend Disney’s Pirate Fairy for ages 4 to 10.  We give this movie 5 out of 5 SHINING STARS!!!!!! You can watch Disney’s Pirate Fairy in Movie Theaters on April 1st, 2014. Reviewed by Kendyl and Kayla Powell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics.

 photos: top – Kayla Powell, bottom – Kendyl Powell.

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Divergent – When Outcasts Have to Hide to Protect Themselves

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Divergent.jpgBased on the young adult novel by the same name, this PG-13 rated film follows the life of Tris who lives in a world divided by factions based on virtues. Tris learns she’s Divergent and won’t fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it’s too late. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D, age 16, commented, “I really like this film. I went into it not knowing anything about the book trilogy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased with the outcome.” For her full review, read below or click on the link to her video review.

Reviewed by Raven D., age 16, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Video review here.
Cast interviews here.

Based on the wildly successful novel by Veronica Roth, “Divergent” tells the story of teens struggling to find their place in post-war Chicago. Society is separated by factions based on personality traits and virtues in attempts to keep the peace and encourage the population to participate equally in maintaining a functioning community. When a person turns 16, she takes a test to determine what faction best suits her characteristics to help her decide whether she should stay in her home faction or move elsewhere. Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, is a modest girl from Abnegation, but her entire life is turned upside down when the test reveals something about her she didn’t know was possible. She is a Divergent, which means she does not fit into any category, therefore cannot be controlled and is a threat to the system. With the advice of an older faction member, she is warned not to tell a soul or her life will be at risk. Young Tris then decides to leave her home of Abnegation and transfer to Dauntless, a fiery group of individuals that show no fear and protect the people. There, she has to learn to fit in and test herself physically and mentally, all the while guarding a dark secret.

I really like this film. I went into it not knowing anything about the book trilogy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased with the outcome. The visuals are interesting because even though this film is set in the future and it features some advanced technology, everything is kept quite simple looking. There are, however, some flaws with the visuals and effects because at times it is very apparent that green screen is in use. The soundtrack is absolutely incredible. It features a variety of artist that I really enjoy and I’ve already downloaded music from the film because it is something I actually listen to on a daily basis which isn’t the case with me for most motion picture soundtracks.

My favorite character is surprisingly not one of the leads, but a supporting role. I like the character Will, played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes, who is a boy Tris meets during her training in Dauntless. Will is a sweet, kind-hearted person who is always very supportive of Tris and her friend Christina, played by Zoe Kravitz. He is very level headed and is someone you can always count on. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Lloyd-Hughes and I think he is perfect for the role of Will. The rest of the cast works very well together. Shailene Woodley does a great job portraying her emotions and showing Tris’s character development. She goes through quite a lot over the course of the film and Shailene is really able to embody Tris and show how she transforms from a timid, modest Abnegation, to a fearless young woman who is not defined by anyone or anything. The only problem I have with the casting is that Four, played by Theo James, is supposed to be 18 in the book series. However in the film, he appears to be in his mid 20’s, since Theo is 29 years old. He does a wonderful job playing his character, but it makes the romance between him and Tris really uncomfortable.

My favorite scene in the film is when Tris and the rest of the new members of Dauntless are heading back from playing a capture the flag like war game. They each strap up to a high-speed full body zip line that goes rocketing through the empty city. I think this scene is visually appealing even though it is very short and has really no importance to the film. The CGI and landscape in this scene is just well done.

Since I have not read this trilogy, I was a little let down with certain aspects of the film. In “Divergent” the film, the whole movie is mainly Tris training in Dauntless and it feels like the plot takes far too long to develop. The last 15-20 minutes of the film is where the action and the conflict begins to happen and then the movie is over. I found out that this is how the first book is written as well, but as someone who has very little prior knowledge of the series, it seems a bit odd. The second thing that threw me off was that it seems as if quite a bit of the dialogue is taken directly from the book. This is something that fans of the book will love since the films stays so true to the novel. However, from my point of view, a lot of the dialogue does not translate very well to the screen and appears a bit cheesy and forced at times. Like I said, this is really only an issue for me since I have not read the series nor was I a fan prior to watching the film. Overall, I was entertained despite these points.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 or for anyone who has read the novel. The movie gets a bit violent during training scenes and towards the end but is nothing too bad and if you’ve read the books you know what to expect. Overall I give Divergent 4 out of 5 stars because it is entertaining and I’m already eager for the next installment in the series. Plus I and all my friends that saw the film have been quoting the movie non-stop and making “Divergent” references in almost every conversation, so it clearly left its mark on us! Be sure to check out “Divergent” in theaters on March 21st.

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Muppets Most Wanted – An Adventure from Start to Finish

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

MuppetsMostWanted.jpgThe Muppets, with its perennial cast of beloved characters, come back to the silver screen this week with a new film from Walt Disney Pictures, “The Muppets Most Wanted.” The storyline finds The Muppets wrapped into an European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick. With a stellar cast headed off by Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey, we might all be crowding into the local theater to catch a glimpse of this PG-rated release. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jeremy P. (age 7) says, “This movie is so exciting and also very funny.” Gerry O. (age 11) adds, “I love this film. The idea is priceless and original…” Morgan B (age 9)  continues, “From beginning to end it’s a ton of fun for everybody. You are sure to leave with a smile on your face and a new quirky joke to tell everyone.” And Simone (age 13), sums it up, “This film is fantastic because it has the perfect combination of catchy songs and talented actors. It keeps you on the edge of your seat because you never know who was going to show up next.” Their full reviews are below along with a link to Keefer B’s cast interviews at the premiere. Enjoy.

Muppets Most Wanted
Reviewed by Jeremy Badour, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 7
Full video review here.

“Muppets Most Wanted” is a very suspenseful and entertaining movie.  There is a lot of fun singing and dancing throughout. The music director (Christophe Beck) does a great job choosing the right music at important moments in the film. Parts that are suspenseful have dramatic music to go along with it.

In the movie, “Muppets Most Wanted,” the Muppets go on a worldwide tour to become famous. They team up with Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) who sends Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmore) to jail and switches him with the world’s number one criminal, Constantine (Matt Vogel). Dominic and Constantine use The Muppets and their performances to try and steal the Crown Jewels.

This movie is so exciting and also very funny. It takes you to a lot of incredible places like Berlin, Germany; Madrid, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; and London, England. All the adventures keep you wondering where they will end up next and if the bad guys will get caught.  I also think it is cool the way the Muppets are so real in their roles with all of the other actors. There are a lot of awesome celebrities who have bit parts with the Muppets too, such as Salma Hayek, Lady Gaga, Usher and Celine Dion! There are many great parts in this film. My favorite part is when Constantine and Dominic Badguy break into a museum to steal a gold key and a gold locket. The key and locket help them disable traps so they can steal the crown jewels. I was so nervous and excited the whole time.

There are a couple of really good messages in this film. One is that your true friends will always believe in you and will do anything to help when you need them. The second message is a reminder to always tell people you love them and don’t take them for granted. Kermit experiences both of these in the end of the movie when his friends surprise him by standing up for him. It made me feel really good inside.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because it is very funny and exciting. I think younger children might find some parts of this movie too scary so I recommend it for kids ages 7 to 18.

Muppets Most Wanted
Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Full video review available here.

I did not know what to expect from this movie. Believe it or not, this was my first experience with the Muppets. I kind of thought it would be a show for little kids, but boy was I wrong. “Muppets Most Wanted” is a great family movie many people would enjoy.

This film has quite a bit to love. It has action, adventure, comedy, mystery, suspense, thrill, romance, history and of course everyone’s favorite, The Muppets.

The adventure begins when Kermit and the Muppets are about to begin a world tour. However at their first destination, something terrible happens to Kermit. If you want to find out what happens, you got to watch the film.

I love this film. The idea is priceless and original and of course, just the concept of Muppets is fun. The directing is fantastic – the Muppets move, run, kiss, jump and fall smoothly and realistically. The Muppets are hilarious. The voice talent also are fantastic. You can’t loose with a cast that includes Ty Burrell, Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey just to name a few.

My favorite scene is when there is a crime at a famous European museum. The European agency and the CIA are at the scene. Two of the agents are seeing who has the bigger badge. It looks like a the French agent wins but, 5 minutes later, A UPS guy (What is he doing here by the way?) comes with a big box. The CIA agent pulls a rope and a gigantic badge is there. It’s funny, lighthearted and the idea alone is kind of ironic.

This film is meant for younger kids but is a bit of violence in it. So I recommend it for ages 9 to 18.  I also give it 5 out of 5 stars.

I’m sure that this new Muppet adventure will very quickly become a favorite among families everywhere and I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for our beloved Kermit and Piggy – will they finally get married and perhaps go on their honeymoon? Stay tuned.

Muppets Most Wanted
Reviewed by Simone Sharrieff, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Full video review available here.

The Muppets Most Wanted is a fantastic movie packed with comedy and excitement. The crowd was laughing so loudly that sometimes it was hard to hear the movie. This film is fantastic because it has the perfect combination of catchy songs and talented actors. It keeps you on the edge of your seat because you never know who was going to show up next.

The Muppets are back for the eighth time and before they finish catching up with each other, they meet Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais.)  Dominic convinces the Muppets to go out on a world tour. At the same time Constantine, the world’s most dangerous frog, escapes from prison and hatches an evil plan to hide his identity. Constantine kidnaps Kermit and takes over Kermit’s identity. Kermit is mistaken for Constantine and is sent to prison. This leaves Constantine free to steal the crown jewels of England. It is up to the Muppets to save Kermit and stop Constantine before the world’s most beloved puppets become the world’s most wanted criminals.

The scene where the inmates put on a show in prison is hilarious. It’s my favorite part of the movie. Watching scary looking men sing and dance like they are on Broadway is priceless.  I also enjoyed watching Constantine act like he is Kermit. You will laugh out loud when you see what happens to him as he gets ready to go on stage during a musical performance.

All the actors do an amazing job in this movie. One actor who really stands out for me is Ty Burrell who plays Jean Pierre. His witty comments and funny attitude really add to the comedy. My favorite actress in this movie is Tina Fey who plays Nadya. What makes her performance great is that on the outside she is so strict, but on the inside she is really very warm and caring. Her accent is so realistic that I thought she was actually from Russia.

The message of this movie is that true friends will always be there for you no matter how bad things get. “The Muppets Most Wanted” is perfect for both boys and girls ages 8 to 16 and I give it five out of five shimmering stars. You definitely don’t want to miss this one.

The Muppets Most Wanted
Reviewed by Morgan B., age 9, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Full video review available here.

It’s time to think green. It’s March and we have Saint Patrick’s Day, the beginning of spring and March 21st Kermit will be on the big screen once again in The Muppets sequel “Muppets Most Wanted.”

Can you say World Tour? Kermit finds he’s been confused with the world’s most dangerous frog “Constantine.” Constantine has a diabolic plot that involves fleeing a Siberian Russian Gulag and taking the Muppets from Kermit. He needs a good cover while he and his side kick #2 use them as a cover to steal the crown jewels. First, he and #2 must travel the world unraveling the clues. They need to find a way to open the secrete passage way into the Tower of London where the jewels are kept.

I really enjoyed seeing the Muppets in many different settings around the world. It just proves the Muppets are loved every where they go. My favorite scene is when Kermit tries to get Constantine away from Miss Piggy at their wedding. That’s right, there is a huge wedding between Kermit and Miss Piggy, kind of. Miss Piggy has the most beautiful dress and Kermit looks so handsome in his tuxedo. We were lucky enough to see this movie at the El Capitan in Hollywood, California. They have the costumes and props on display there including her elegant wedding dress.

I was a bit disappointed that Miss Piggy didn’t give anybody her famous “Hi yea” karate chop. My favorite character of course is Miss Piggy. She’s unbeatable in her duet with Celine Dion. There are so many guest appearances I can’t even list them all here. You’ll have to see the movie to see who all shows up for cameo appearances.

The cast itself is awesome. Ricky Gervais is brilliant as Dominick Badguy (pronounced as Bad G; it’s French). I love Tina Fey as Nadya. She is adorable and has a great singing voice. Ty Burrell as Inspector Napoleon is very funny.

In true Muppet fashion the music is terrific and I enjoyed the “Sequel” song in the beginning of the movie. It’s the best. It is wonderful seeing the whole Muppet gang back together again.

From beginning to end it’s a ton of fun for everybody. You are sure to leave with a smile on your face and a new quirky joke to tell everyone.

I recommend this to ages 5 to 18 because all your favorite Muppets make an appearance in the movie at some point in time. I give this movie 5 out of 5 twinkling stars.

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A Beloved 60s-Era Cartoon Finds New Life In 3D Animation

Monday, March 17th, 2014

00Mr.Peabody.jpgMr. Peabody, an icon of my childhood, is a business titan, inventor, scientist, gourmand, two-time Olympic medalist and genius – who also happens to be a dog.  In this feature film, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time in his WABAC machine to to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., age 11 says, “I love how they take twenty five-minute shows that had old, colored 2-D animation and turn it into modern 3D animation with the use of modern technology.” Jeremy B., age 7, adds, “(This) is a great movie!  The characters scripts are funny and the 3D animation is incredible.” And Haley P., age 11, sums it up, “I like this movie because there is back-to-back on-going adventure.” Their full reviews are below.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Full video review available here.
Talent interviews here.

I saw the trailers and I expected it to be more concentrated on time travel and not have much of a story line. Well there is. A fantastic one at that! “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a wonderful story about a dog who adopts a boy.

The film also has lots of animated things to love – like history, comedy, romance, suspense and so much more. To make it even better – characters come to live thanks to the brilliant voice-over actors such as Ty Burrel and Max Charles.

The film starts when a young puppy is growing up in different shelters. From a very early age he shows everyone how very special he is. He is intelligent, athletic and smooth. He wins many prizes, but his greatest adventure happens when he adopts a boy. Together they go through multiple adventures and troubles but able to stay together.

I love so much about this film. The film itself is fantastic! I love how they take twenty five-minute shows that had old, colored 2-D animation and turn it into modern 3D animation with the use of modern technology.

My favorite scene is when they show the story of how Mr. Peabody adopts Sherman. They show points throughout Sherman’s little life of great moments, like his first step in 1709.  Then it shows how he finds Sherman. That is definitely a sweet and loving part!

This movie has a bit of violence in it, therefore I recommend it to ages 5-18. I also believe that adults who admired this cartoon kids, will love this new version of these beloved characters. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Reviewed by Haley P. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Video review available here.

The movie “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is absolutely fantastic!  This movie is about an exceptionally smart dog that adopts a boy because, when he was a kid, no one would adopt him. Mr. Peabody makes a time machine called the WABAC so Sherman can learn all about history. They travel to different time periods all over the world. However, when Sherman tries to impress his classmate, Penny, to prove he is no different from her, things go terribly wrong because he shows Penny the WABAC.

I like this movie because there is back-to-back on-going adventure.  Sherman and Penny almost kill themselves while in Italy when Penny tricks him into taking Leonardo Da Vincci’s flying machine without permission.  They soar through the air but eventually crash after Sherman loses confidence in himself about flying the machine.  Mr. Peabody and Sherman also have to save Penny in Egypt before she marries King Tut. The wildest scene is when they all end up in the middle of the Trojan War!  It is a disaster waiting to happen. I love the way this movie mixes history with fun such as when Sherman takes Penny back in time to prove to Penny that George Washington did tell him he didn’t really chopped down the cherry tree.  It’s like getting a fun history lesson without having to be bored in school.

All the characters are great! Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), Sherman (Max Charles), Penny (Ariel Winter) are my favorites because they play their part exactly like what you would see in real life. The animation is outstanding and the 3D special effects make everything pop right out which keeps you drawn into the movie.

The moral of this story is no matter who your parents are listening will keep you out of trouble. This movie is perfect for ages 5 through18. Both boys and girls will enjoy it because it is animated, adventurous and best of all, in 3D. I give it five out of five dazzling stars!  Mr. Peabody and Sherman will be released in theaters on March 7, 2014.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D
Reviewed by Jeremy B.KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 7
Video review available here.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman 3D” is a great movie!  The characters scripts are funny and the 3D animation is incredible. The images pop right off the screen and I loved it.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a film about a Nobel Prize-winning dog named Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) who adopts a human boy named Sherman (Max Charles). Together they travel to different time periods to learn about important historical events.  When Sherman uses the time machine without permission he accidentally rips a hole in the space/time continuum.  Mr. Peabody and Sherman must team up to fix the hole.

This movie is so exciting.  I really like all the adventures that the characters go on.  They travel to amazing time periods such as Ancient Egypt, Italy during the 1500’s and Troy during the Trojan War. It has a lot of educational facts throughout.  Even the jokes are based upon facts from the different time periods.  While I found the jokes to be really funny, I think that young children might not understand them. Older children and adults that know a lot about history will understand more of the jokes and find them hilarious.

Along with being educational, this film is also very adventurous. My favorite part is when Mr. Peabody and Sherman travel to Troy and fight in the Trojan War.  It is so funny to see little Sherman fighting with the huge Greek warriors. I loved the animation and the special effects with the Trojan horse. At one point it looks like the horse is rolling straight toward you and is going to squish you. I loved that!

I also love the message in this film.  It shows that families can come in all different sizes and varieties. It teaches us that it if someone’s family is different than yours, it is not right to treat them badly or tease them.  Sherman experiences being bullied by a classmate because his family is different. This happens a lot in the real world, but in the end it is important to learn that it doesn’t matter what others think.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.  It is adventurous, funny and educational.  I recommend this film for kids ages 9 and up.  Mr. Peabody talks really fast and uses big words which might be difficult for some younger kids to follow and understand.

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The Son of God – A Modern Version of the Story of Jesus

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

214019_1.jpgWith Lent starting tomorrow, this film is timely and appropriate for Christians. The life story of Jesus is told from his humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jailene A., age 13 says, “This is the most eye-opening, magnificent film I have ever seen.” See her full review below.

The Son of God
Reviewed by Jailene A.
Full video review here.

This is the most eye-opening, magnificent film I have ever seen. “The Son of God” is about the story of Jesus. This movie modernizes the scriptures of the Bible along with showing everyone the miracles of Jesus. This movie really touched me because of the intensity and power it contains. From the minute Jesus is born, this movie shows every sin he forgives to the crucifixion and resurrection of the Holy Spirit. This movie will make you want to learn more about the Bible and everything about religion. I think the entire cast does such a great job portraying such powerful characters and I think everyone should watch this movie.

This movie has so many qualities that make it great but a key quality is the incredible location where they shot the movie. The movie is filmed in Morocco which is an incredible touch because it really makes the surroundings look like Jerusalem. I really like how Diogo Morgado, who plays Jesus in the film, really got into character and prepared fr such a powerful role.
My favorite character is Mary Magdalene because of her bravery and intense courage. She was one of Jesus’ disciples. She is the first one to find out that Jesus has resurrected and she never had one doubt about who Jesus was. I admire her loyalty and I think she doesn’t get as much recognition as she should.

My favorite scene is when Jesus gets into Peter’s boat and Peter says that there are no fish in the lake anymore. Jesus puts his hands in the ocean and in a matter of seconds; Peter’s net is filled with tons of fish. Peter asks what they are going to do and Jesus says that they are going to change the world. I think this is the best scene because of how touching and inspirational it is. It really shows that if you have faith and believe in the Son of God, anything is possible. This scene is the start of something powerful and I loved it.

I recommend this movie for audiences 13 and over because of the intense and bloody depiction of the Crucifixion and other violent scenes. This movie is very touching and inspirational. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed it a lot and it makes me want to know more about the life of Jesus and more of his miracles. This movie is in theaters February 28, 2014 so make sure you check it out!

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