Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for October, 2015

He Named Me Malala – Inspirational, Educational and Eye-Opening. A Must-See for Today’s Youth

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

HeNamedMalala.jpgDavis Guggenheim, known for his award-winning documentaries An Inconvenient Truth and Waiting for Superman, brings to the screen the incredible life story of Malala Yousafzai and offers insight into the life of this young woman. At the heart of this film are the interviews that show us the impact of Malala’s father and family in creating who she is. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. comments, “This movie is very inspirational, educational and makes me realize how fortunate I am to have an education and not have to worry about the safety of my life or family.” See her full review below.

He Named Me Malala
By: Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

“There is a moment when one should choose to be silent, or to stand up.”  -Malala

This movie is very inspirational, educational and makes me realize how fortunate I am to have an education and not have to worry about the safety of my life or family.

He Named Me Malala, is a documentary about Malala Yousafzai who takes huge risks to stand up for girls’ rights to receive an education in Pakistan.  When Malala is 15 years old she makes public speeches about how she doesn’t think the Taliban is doing the right thing by blocking girls from getting an education.  One morning on the way to school, members of the Taliban board Malala’s school bus, ask for her by name and try to assassinate her.  Malala is shot on the left side of her head and she miraculously survives.  After her recovery, she continues to put her own life in danger by speaking out against the Taliban.  Fast forward to 2014, at age 17, Malala is the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The relationship between Malala and her father, Ziuddin Yousafzai is very strong and shown throughout the film.  Malala says that she and her dad have two different bodies but they share one soul. They both speak out and help each other to have a voice.  Ziuddin named his daughter after a historical Afghanistan woman who courageously went onto the battlefield to fight for freedom.  Similarities are shown between the two Malalas, both strong young women willing to take a stand.

My favorite scene is at the beginning of the movie when Malala is at her home with her brothers and Dad having conversations like any tight-knit family.  This scene offers some comedic relief between Malala and her brothers and this scene shows she has a normal life.

The message of He Named Me Malala is that we should stand up for what’s right and what you believe in, no matter the consequences. That can be really difficult.  Malala really shows what she believes in and she says that there is a moment when one should choose to stand and she does. She chooses to speak out.  The movie states, “When you educate a girl, it changes our world.”  Thanks to Malala, more girls are getting educated and our world will be a better place because of it.

I rate this documentary 5 out of 5 stars because it is very inspirational and shows how one person can really make a difference in our world. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 because it is intense and has actual news footage of murders done by the Taliban.   This film is in theaters now so go check it out.

Share this page on:

The Martian – One Of The Best Movies Of This Decade

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

TheMartian.jpgThis 2015 space odyssey delivers an emotional survival story filled with humor and love Matt Damon’s performance really steals the show and the direction by Ridley Scott is perhaps his best in years. Based on the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, we are drawn in by the humanness of the situation when Astronaut Mark Watney is left behind by his crew and finds himself stranded and alone on a hostile planet. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie J. comments, “The sheer message and theme of this movie and the way they’re presented is what gives this movie its greatness. It’s a movie that explores the human condition and has something positive to say about it.” Keefer B. adds, “This film executes this kind of story in a novel way… Not only is it a captivating scenario that keeps you on the edge of your seat but, the protagonist is incredibly likable and complex.” See their full reviews below.

The Martian
By Willie J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Ridley Scott turns in his finest film since Blade Runner. The Martian is such a touching film, that its flaws can be easily overlooked and forgotten. The sheer message and theme of this movie and the way they’re presented is what gives this movie its greatness. It’s a movie that explores the human condition and has something positive to say about it. We need that in today’s cinema and I thank the cast and crew of this movie for giving us this gem. It’s an experience worth having.

The Martian stars Matt Damon in one of his career best performances as an astronaut who gets stuck on Mars when his teams leaves him behind, thinking he’s dead after he is struck by debris in the middle of a storm. When he is able to get in touch with NASA, their higher-ups and a few other organizations, rally up to rescue him. I have to tell you that is NOT like Gravity. It is not a one-man show, though Damon does have significant screen time. There is an entire supporting ensemble that provides serviceable and strong performances. And yet, despite the acting of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, and Michael Peña, Matt Damon does steal the show. He is very committed with every character choice and really inhabits the man he’s portraying. Damon doesn’t layer him with underlying sadness or anxiety, instead he shows us the determination of a man who has weighed his options, and has chosen to do something about his situation. Towards the end, when he finally breaks down, it hits us harder. We get choked up seeing this person who has stayed strong for so long and then finally lets out what he’s been holding back. It’s a powerful thing.

Secondly, the film has an amazing tone. With a soundtrack filled with Gloria Gaynor, ABBA, and David Bowie, the fun of this movie won’t go understated. The soundtrack compliments the numerous comedic moments that come at a rate that could have this film labeled as a sci-fi comedy. It is funny and entertaining and will have you dancing or humming along. It’s good Scott gave this movie this tone because it matches the lasting message he wants us to have – that even though the situation is bad, a combination of survival instincts and intelligence can get us through it. And, with the love and care of others, a seemingly insurmountable situation becomes surmountable.

I’ll tell you my favorite part. There is a moment in the movie when NASA is having trouble getting supplies to our protagonist and the issues are being broadcast. A major science organization is watching it from China, and they decide to help out NASA. There are no hard feelings, ill will, prideful rejections or rivalries going on. The Chinese organization asks for nothing in return. It is just two organization banning together for the same cause. It is beautiful and speaks volumes, especially considering the public perception of American-Chinese relations.

Now there are those who may say that the tone demeans the more dramatic moments, but I disagree. The dramatic moments in this movie aren’t really all that dramatic anyway. They’re more like lighthearted drama if anything. There is one moment in the movie in which we abruptly and rather un-smoothly get shown the inevitable “problem” within the film. The Debbie Downer that the protagonist must overcome to make his victory that much sweeter. I’ll admit, it isn’t presented in the best way, but that’s not the most dramatic part of the film. That comes at the time our main character believes he’s about to go home. That moment is built not by the tone of the film, but by the performance of Matt Damon.

As a matter of fact, the only criticism other than the aforementioned is the pacing of the movie. It’s about 10 minutes too long. There are many throwaway scenes, scenes that aren’t necessary and could be done without whether because they’re repetitive, or just get in the way of Scott getting to his point quicker and more effectively. The problems ensue towards the end as well, when the pacing suffers and so does the tension. It is so close to being what it should have been, but I wasn’t hanging on as much as I could or should have. That’s because of the moment of comedic relief that is added and the same with many of the scenes I mentioned. There are some scenes that are necessary, or helpful, but could be trimmed down.

Nonetheless, the flaws are minor and able to be overlooked. The Martian is still one of the best movies of this decade. With that said, I give this movie 5 out 5 stars and, due to some surprisingly frequent language, I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It opens October 2 at a theater near you. Please go see it.

Share this page on:

The Walk – Phenomenal and a Bit Terrifying

Monday, October 5th, 2015

TheWalk_1.jpgThis film is based on the true story of high-wire artist Philippe Petit who recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lainey A. comments, “This live action feature film directed by Robert Zemeckis is phenomenal!  There is nothing about it that I don’t like.” See her full review below.

The Walk
By: Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This live action feature film directed by Robert Zemeckis is phenomenal!  There is nothing about it that I don’t like.

The Walk is set in 1974 and is about a high-wire artist named Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who lives in Paris.  He sees a photo in a magazine for the construction of the Twin Towers in NYC and gets the inspiration to walk a tight rope connecting the two buildings.  This is highly illegal and very dangerous. He meets a girl named Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon) who falls in love with him and supports him in following his dream.  He finds a mentor and father figure in Pappa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and 5 other accomplices who support him in this life or death adventure.  The Walk is based on a true story.

The Walk is a drama/thriller with a spice of romance and comedy.  Also it is a true story and that makes it even cooler and much more intense!  This is also an educational movie because I didn’t know much about high-wire artists until I watched this movie. I learned that there is a lot of science and math involved in how the wire is secured to provide safety for the walker.

My favorite character is Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) because, he is just flat-out amazing and super believable!  My favorite scene is when Philippe is facing his biggest dream of tightrope walking between the twin towers. They were 140 feet apart and 110 stories high! This scene is so realistic and exhilarating that my palms were sweaty and I noticed audience members squirming in their seats.   Philippe said that high-wire artists are never supposed to look down when tightrope walking.  Does he heed his own advice? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

The Walk has jaw-dropping special effects.  The opening scenes in Paris are completely in black and white except for an occasional pop of color which sets a nostalgic mood.  The Twin Towers were already gone when this movie was filmed, so it’s interesting that they were able to make this look so realistic. This part is truly fantastic!  Watching it in 3D makes it so lifelike and adds to the intensity of the viewing experience.

I recommend The Walk for ages 11 to 18 due to the suspense and some mild language.   Hands down, I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars because it is so amazing! The special effects can’t be beat and the acting is super strong! I loved this movie and it is definitely on my favorites list!  You can see this movie On Imax on September 30th and everywhere else on October 9.

Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest