Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for September, 2015

The Intern – Beats All Expectations! Absolutely Fab!

Friday, September 25th, 2015

TheIntern.jpgThe Intern stars Robert De Niro as 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker who discovers that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Harmony M (age 16) comments, “Add The Intern to your list of “must-watch” movies because this delightful comedy beats all expectations.”
Mia A. (age 11) adds, “I love the relationship between Jules and Ben because it is realistic and heartwarming. Ben is funny without trying to be, is friendly and kind and would make a very good grandpa or Dad. “ See their full reviews below.

The Intern
By Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Add The Intern to your list of “must-watch” movies because this delightful comedy beats all expectations. The film is about charming, 70-year-old Ben Whittaker, played by Robert De Niro, and his quest to join the work force after already being retired. Upon receiving the position of a senior intern at an online fashion website, he finds himself bonding with all the other young co-workers and is immediately loved by everyone. Ben is then assigned to intern for the owner of the company, Jules Ostin, and their opposite personalities create a bond between them that helps them through their lives.

The film’s outstanding choice of actors really impacts the quality of the movie because if Robert De Niro didn’t play Ben, I wouldn’t have been as attached to his character. The character development is the biggest aspect of the movie and, since they use great actors, they successfully win the hearts of the audience and build a bond with the viewer instantly.

I am really impressed with the comedy because I feel as though comedies these days are too desperate to be funny and it’s really obvious. They often throw in as many famous people as they can and have an under-developed plot to make the movie feel like a joke that should not be taken seriously. The Intern, however, is hilarious while remaining sophisticated. It is surprisingly funny and I caught myself cracking up all the time. The plot is very well developed and includes plot twists and a climax that I honestly would not expect.

The ending is fulfilling which saved me from my fear of being left hanging or disappointed since the whole movie leading up to it is amazing. The film is enjoyable for people of all interests, ages and genders because it’s an all around feel-good movie that you don’t need to be in a certain mood to watch.

The dialogue is insanely natural and realistic which makes it hard for me to believe that the lines are from a script. The little details like facial expressions or even a comment said under a character’s breath really made the movie authentic. I also enjoyed the amazing storyline and moral messages.

I will definitely watch this film again and encourage my friends and family to watch it as well because it is worth seeing. This film is best suited for ages of 13 to 18 as well as adult and I give it 4 ½ out of 5 stars. Check it out coming to theaters near you on September 25th!

The Intern
By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Intern, directed by Nancy Meyers, is very funny and entertaining. While this film is not action packed or suspenseful, I enjoyed every minute and genuinely cared about the characters.

The story is about a retired widow named Ben (Robert De Niro) who is looking for something to fill the empty spaces in his life, so he becomes an intern at a fashion industry business. He ends up interning for Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) and tags along while she lives her crazy life. It is hard for her to be a wife, mother, run an online fashion business and do everything well. The Intern is what I like to call a “mutt genre,” combining more than one genre in one movie – in this case it is comedy and drama.

I love the relationship between Jules and Ben because it is realistic and heartwarming. Ben is funny without trying to be, is friendly and kind and would make a very good grandpa or Dad. My mom says that Robert De Niro is in a lot of what our family calls “shoot ‘em up, kill ‘em up” movies. He must be a really good actor because the character he plays in this movie, Ben is so kind and sensitive.

I have been a big Anne Hathaway fan since Ella Enchanted was released and this is one of my favorite movies that she has been in. She is completely believable as Jules. My favorite character though is Becky (Christina Scherer) because she is hilarious in a dramatically funny kind of way. I hope that she will be in other movies because I can easily become a fan. The acting is very strong and all the actors pull together a perfectly wonderful film which I appreciate.

The message to this story is that there will always be someone in life to help you through your problems. Jules is surprised that the person who helps her is not who she thought it would be. Family is not always blood related, your closet family can be anyone, even friends.

I recommend The Intern for ages 12 to 18 due to mild language and suggestive and awkward touching. I rate it 5 out of 5 sparkling golden stars. If you are looking for an entertaining movie that is easy to watch, go see The Intern in theatres near you starting September 25.

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Hotel Transylvania 2 – Loving, Forgiving and Just A Little Bit Crazy

Friday, September 25th, 2015

HotelT2.jpgThis sequel to Adam Sandler’s successful Hotel Transylvania picks up with Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel. Starring the voice talent of Sandler, Andy Samberg and Selena Gomez, it opens September 25. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. (age 13) comments, “This animated movie directed by Genndy Tartakosky is truly hilarious and left the audience and me laughing out loud. If you didn’t enjoy the original Hotel Transylvania very much, give this sequel another try because I truly believe this movie is much better than the original. “ Mia A. (age 11) adds, “I enjoyed Hotel Transylvania 2 better than the original movie because the writing is funnier and the plot more intriguing. “ See their full reviews below.

Hotel Transylvania 2
By Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This animated movie directed by Genndy Tartakosky is truly hilarious and left the audience and me laughing out loud. If you didn’t enjoy the original Hotel Transylvania very much, give this sequel another try because I truly believe this movie is much better than the original.

By far my favorite character is Dracula (Adam Sandler), because he is such a special character. He is so loving, forgiving and maybe just a little crazy sometimes. This movie makes me want to have a grandfather like him because he is so powerful and loving. A continuous joke is Dracula trying to get used to his cell phone. His fingernails are too long to type with so he is always frustrated with this new technology.

The relationship between Dracula and his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez) is so beautiful and memorable. With very exciting news, Mavis is pregnant! It’s a boy! The strong bond between baby Dennis and his “Vampa” (vampire grandpa) Dracula, is my absolute favorite relationship through this whole movie because their love is so strong even though it is hard for Dracula to accept that his grandson is half human. Dracula is concerned that his grandson hasn’t indicated that he is going to be a vampire, so he takes five of his hotel friends to try to scare the fangs out of Dennis. They go on this ridiculous adventure to do whatever it takes to get Dennis’s fangs showing. Will Dennis be more like his mother who is a vampire, or stay a human like his father?

Adam Sandler puts his own spin on this movie. As co-writer of the screenplay, his goofy short songs pop up throughout the movie. Not only are the song lyrics funny, but they are also relatable and entertaining for the audience because he takes commonly known songs such as twinkle twinkle and alters the words to be slightly inappropriate and silly.

The special effects are outstanding and I enjoyed all of the different things they do with the animation. I watched this film in 3D and loved how it makes the characters and settings pop and makes each setting special. In the scene where Dracula leads Dennis and some other monster guests on a crazy adventure, there are so many special effects that it becomes total chaos.

The message of this film is that no matter how different someone else is, they could be the best thing that ever happens to you, so love them no matter how different they are. This film really makes me realize how crucial to accept others.

The character Blobby, a gelatinous blob, is definitely a crowd pleaser and the younger audiences laughed out loud at his silly antics. The target audience for Hotel Transylvania 2 is anyone who wants to laugh and have a good time. I recommend this movie for ages 5 to 18 because some of the scenes might be a little scary for some young children. I recommend seeing this movie in 3D as well because it is a very cool experience and give it 5 out of 5 stars because this movie is truly hilarious.

Hotel Transylvania 2

By Mia A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Hotel Transylvania 2, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, is super entertaining! This animated movie is definitely a comedy filled with many funny lines and actions.

This movie is about Mavis (Selena Gomez) and her husband Jonathan (Andy Samberg). Mavis is pregnant and has a baby boy. Will Mavis’s baby boy fulfill the expectation of being a vampire or will he be just a simple human?

I love the animation and watching it in 3D really helps everything pop and come to life. I watched the behind the scene video clips and realized how much hard work went into making this movie, including the detailed animation and the voice-overs for the characters. There are so many details in this film from designing every tree, sign and rock to creating a certain mood.

I enjoyed Hotel Transylvania 2 better than the original movie because the writing is funnier and the plot more intriguing. After seeing the sequel it made me realize how much more I cared about the characters in Hotel Transylvania 2 than I did in the original. If you were disappointed in the original, give number 2 a chance because it might just change your mind.

The moral of this story is that people you care about are going to grow up and you have to eventually let them go. This is a very good moral that can teach many people.

Adam Sandler is amazing in his roll as the voice of Dracula. While all the voice actors are good, Adam Sandler is particularly funny. My favorite line of Dracula’s says is his response to Dennis when he says, “Blah blah blah.” Dracula replies, “I do not say ‘blah blah blah!'” in a funny voice. My favorite character in this movie is Wayne The Werewolf because he is so funny. My favorite line said by Wayne is,” We don’t need to hunt anymore; we have pop tarts!”

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 vampires because all of the comedy, animation and great performances by the voice actors. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 because there are some parts in the film that could be scary to younger kids. This movie is a very funny film with amazing animation, so make sure to see Hotel Transylvania 2 in theatres September 25.

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Gumby: The Complete 50s Series – A Throwback that Still Charms

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Gumby.Complete.jpgGumby: The Complete 50s Series comes with a Gumby bendable toy. What’s not to enjoy about that? Gumby and Pokey, television’s legendary claymation, live one great fantasy after another in a timeless world of magic and wonder. This fun-loving duo can dive into any book for adventures near and far, from Toyland to the Wild West, to the moon and back. Gumby, an everyman hero, who captivates our hearts, always leaves a place better than how he found it. As the theme song says, “If you’ve got a heart, then Gumby’s a part of you.” The complete Gumby Show has been re-mastered from its original camera rolls and soundtracks with the brilliant colors and full-length formats as first aired in the 1950s. These imaginative, surrealistic, stop motion animated masterpieces bring back this classic series that will delight both children and adults. Some trivia: Each show called for 60 artists and technicians animating about two minutes of film for every eight working hours. Gumby and his peeps were moved up to 9,000 times in a six minute show. That’s dedication!

Gumby: The Complete 50s Series
By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! juror

This series really took me back to my childhood. Although I wasn’t born when Gumby first aired, I remember watching the show as a young child. This one is fully re-mastered with the original 50s soundtrack and is just like the classic claymation cartoon that I remember. There are not a lot of special effects and modern day bells and whistles but if there were, it wouldn’t be Gumby. The extras are entertaining and interesting. My favorites are the Photo Gallery and the First Pilot Episode with no sound. The pilot episode was never aired so I was quite thrilled to watch it. My 11-year-old son said he prefers sound but he’s used to more modern day cartoons.  In the photo gallery the music is a fun and lively touch. Other extras included the making of the Gumby.com spot, which is interesting although very brief. Also it includes Gumbasia, a theatrical short featuring similar claymation charactors that Clokey created in 1955. It is just a bunch of different playdough shapes moving to music but I like it because it is unique and adds something to the DVD.  I give this 4 out of 5 stars because of its entertainment value.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

After more than 60 years since Gumby was first created, we are brought back to the good times of the original, and my opinion the best of the iconic Gumby and Pokey characters. Gumby is all about fun and comedy. You watch Gumby not for drama or romance. There is lots of action and fantasy, since it is all about Gumby’s fun adventures. Art Clokey (creator of Gumby) does a fantastic job writing fun and unique episodes.

I love each of the characters for the fun and silly adventures they undertake and how unique each one is. Even small characters have their own personality which I love. Not many shows today pay so much attention to each character. I think Art Clokey has done a mind blowing job making these shows. He created some cool special effect techniques such as one episode with a rocket ship where he has scratched each frame so it looks like flames. Techniques like this were used in films for decades afterwards. The stop motion animation itself is very smooth and impressive, particularly since it was made 60 years ago!

My favorite episode is the first one, when Gumby goes to the moon and his Dad needs to save him. I love it because it starts off Gumby’s career and is kind of the birth of Gumby. This also includes the rocket special effects mentioned above. The episode is really a joy to watch, not to mention that it was so symbolic for those times when everything was about space travel.

People that enjoyed Gumby growing up will be happy to share their passion with a new generation. After all, Gumby is meant for kids. Ages seven to eighteen would probably enjoy the series more than younger kids and would be able appreciate the beauty of the clay animation. I give it five out of five stars because, what they did was way ahead of their time with the special effects, unique stories, wonderful characters and more. Can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Gumby! (They are creating some entirely new episodes)

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Cinderella – This Magical Ride is Now Available On DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Cinderella.imdb.jpgAvailabe now on DVD/Digital/Digital comes Disney’s live-action Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Lily James, Cate Blanchette and Richard Madden. The story takes off when Cinderella’s father unexpectedly passes away and young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella’s fortune begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger in the woods. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. Comments, “I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars for all of its incredible sets, details and costumes. I recommend it for ages 3 to 19 because this film would appeal to all ages.” Keefer B. adds, “Breathtaking. This new and improved version of the beloved fairy tale reminds audiences that there is still magic in the world..” See their full reviews below.

By Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Disney’s Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh is fantastic! Now available on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital, this movie is about a girl named Ella (Lily James) who ends up living with her stepmother (Cate Blanchet) and stepsisters (Sophia McShera and Holliday Grainger). Ella is treated like a servant until one night when the prince holds a ball that changes her life.

Ella is a kind and courageous girl who cares about everyone and everything. One of her mother’s sayings was, “have courage and be kind.”  This is a good message to use in life. I think Ella as a character is a good role model. She stands up for what she believes in and is always very kind.  This film is very detailed and precious. The costumes in Cinderella are amazing and breath-taking.

All the costumes were very stylish and fit the time period. Every sparkle, seam and ruffle on every costume were perfectly in place.  Ella’s ball gown is spectacular and has very vibrant colors. In general, all the colors in the sets and costumes light up the film.

All the actors played their parts perfectly. They are so into their characters that they seem real. The actors fit together as a cast like family which helps make the whole film more believable. My favorite character is the Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter). She is so funny and has a bubbly personality. She really looks and acts like a Fairy Godmother. All the special effects seem real. In one scene, a pumpkin turns into a carriage and it looks like magic.

The DVD of this movie includes some cool bonus features. One of the bonus features is Frozen Fever, a Frozen short (based on the feature film Frozen). In this film, it’s Anna’s birthday and Elsa helps out. Another feature is Ella’s furry friends. This feature is about working with all the animals in the movie. Also there’s a bonus feature about the ballroom scene which made me realize how much work they put into these scenes.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars for all of its incredible sets, details and costumes. I recommend it for ages 3 to 19 because this film would appeal to all ages but, there is a lizard guy who is weird and a little creepy that younger kids might not enjoy so much. Cinderella truly is spectacular and now it’s available on DVD/Blue-Ray/Digital.

Reviewed by Keefer C. B., KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 14

Breathtaking. This new and improved version of the beloved fairy tale reminds audiences that there is still magic in the world. Ella (Lilly James) lives with her wicked step-mother (Cate Blanchett) and her daughters. She wants to go to the ball so she can reunite with “Kit” aka Prince Charming (Richard Madden). She does this with a little help from her fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter).

There have been many versions of this story and I believe most of us know it by heart. With that said, the film brings innovative contributions to the story. We learn more about Ella as a person and the struggles she goes through. More is explained about the motivation of the step mother. Even the Prince is given a story arc of his own. Because of this. the characters and their relationships are stronger. The filmmakers took this fairy tale we all know and added new aspects to the story that audiences can experience and enjoy.

The special effects and costumes are the highlight of the film. These are visuals that only the magic of Disney can conjure. You are transported into th fairy tale. The best scene that shows off these phenomenal effects is the scene with Ella and her Fairy Godmother preparing her for the ball. It’s simply gorgeous from the mice turning into horses to the pumpkin transformation into the carriage. Fun Fact: In the original Cinderella movie, the transition of Cinderella into her dress was Walt Disney’s favorite piece of animation sequence ever to be put to paper. If he was alive today to see the transformation in this film, he would be speechless. Costumes like Ella’s dress and glass slipper are enchanting. I adore the little touches like the butterflies clinging onto the dress.

My favorite character is Lady Tremaine, Ella’s wicked step mother. With a character so cruel, you need an actress who can pull it off. Enters Blanchett and her sinful performance. A good villain is a character you hate and yet love. She is one of those villains. With her evil smile and her corrupt laugh, you can tell she is having fun with the role. Also, like the other characters, she has a well developed story arc. You have more of an understanding why this character is mean to Ella, even if you don’t agree with her.

Moral of the story is “have courage and be kind.” These are the words that Ella’s mother shares on her death bed and Ella lives by. Throughout this movie, Ella experiences a lot of anguish such as loosing loved ones and having her step mother treat her like a servant. However Ella never forgets those words. She does cry and mourn, like any human being, but she never becomes bitter.

I give this 5 out of 5 pumpkins and recommend this to 4 through 18-year-olds. It’s perfect for the whole family to adore. This film is proof that Disney has not lost its touch bringing magic to the big screen. In theaters now.

This live action feature film directed by Wes Ball is an epic movie that takes you through a truly exhilarating adventure.  As an avid science fiction fan, I couldn’t wait to watch this sequel.  The special effects are phenomenal makes me wonder how they make each setting so realistic.  If you love non-stop action, Maze Runners: The Scorch Trials is a very intense film that will not disappoint you.

While the plot is enjoyable, I do recommended that you want to watch the first movie, The Maze Runner, before watching this sequel. The storyline is quite complex and might be confusing to follow if you’re unfamiliar with the original film or book.  In this film, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the Gladers try to escape the organization WCKD whose main purpose is to find a cure for “the Flare,” a plague that turns people into zombie-like creature known as Cranks.  The Gladers have to face new and unbelievable obstacles that come their way in order to survive in the Scorch, a desolate wasteland that is uninhabitable by humans.

My favorite scene is full of amazing special effects!  Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and Thomas try to escape a “crazy” Crank infestation through a dilapidated city-scape. Having just met, they need to rely on each other for their own survival and that’s what makes this scene really special.

My favorite actor in The Scorch Trials is Dylan O’Brien because his character, Thomas, is very believable in this role.  O’Brien is surrounded by a strong supporting cast of Gladers.  Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) really portray their parts well and it seems like they all actually care about each other.

The Gladers make sacrifices and come together as a family to insure each other’s survival.  The message is that people are at their strongest when working together.

The target audience for this movie is any teen that enjoys fast action, science fiction thrillers.  While the movie only lasts two hours, it feels like longer because there are few breaks in the action.  The ending of the movie is a total cliffhanger, leaving me on the edge of my seat and sets the audience up for the third sequel, The Death Cure.  I recommend this movie for ages 13 to 18 due to its intensity.  I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it is well put together and the special effects can’t be beat.

This movie opens in theaters September 18 so don’t miss it.

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