Archive for July, 2018

Big Fish & Begonia – An Emotional Masterpiece. Artistically Magical and Thought Provoking

Friday, July 20th, 2018

It is a world within our world, yet unseen by any human, and the beings here control time and tide and the changing of the seasons. On the day Chun turns sixteen, she is transformed into a dolphin to explore the human world. She is rescued from a vortex by a human boy at the cost of his own life. Chun is so moved by the boy’s kindness and courage that she decides to give him life again. But to do this, she must protect the boy’s soul, a tiny fish, and nurture it to grow. Through adventure and sacrifice, love grows, yet now she must release him back to the sea, back to life in the human world. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sahiba K. comments, “An emotional masterpiece, Big Fish & Begonia is an artistically magical and thought provoking piece of anime. The animation is beautiful. I felt as if I was watching a classic painting come to life.” See her full review below.

Big Fish & Begonia
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

An emotional masterpiece, Big Fish & Begonia is an artistically magical and thought provoking piece of anime. The animation is beautiful. I felt as if I was watching a classic painting come to life. The story is unforgettable. Each scene left my heart yearning for the characters to succeed.

The story follows a humble, brave girl name Chun who dedicates her life to help a kind boy, Kun, who gives his life to save hers after she travels from her magical to his human world. She goes to great lengths to bring him back and gives him all her love and care. However, when a variety of obstacles threaten Kun’s survival, Chun risks everything to save him.

The animation is mystical and brings Chun’s fantastical land to life. The characters from Chun’s world are unique and their strange characteristics bring a special quality that is unlike other films. Many characters have a quirky addition such as antlers or a completely other-worldly face with multiple eyes. These subtle additions enhance the fresh and original elements the film specializes in. The backgrounds and scenery take the animation to the next level. The water and ocean play a huge role in the film and the animation transforms the water, displaying its beauty and importance. At night the ocean reflects the sky, its stars and the sublime hues present; while during the day it is almost invisible and many objects look like they are floating through air. One of the most notable animation feats is the scenery. In many favorite parts we see Chun running across landscapes and the camera captures her world in the most artistic way.

The emotions of this film left me in awe, showing the friendship and love these characters are capable of. In every scene, I was either smiling or in tears because of the sacrifices they make for each other and for each others’ happiness. The music enhances the mood of these scenes with a mysterious and peaceful quality.

The messages of Big Fish and Begonia are: 1. If your conscience is clear, it doesn’t matter what others think and 2. Follow your heart. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Check out Big Fish and Begonia on DVD August 7, 2018.

 

 

 

Dream Big: Engineering Our World – Informational and Inspiring!

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World is a first film of its kind for IMAX® and giant screen theaters that will transform how we think about engineering. From the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and shows how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. With its inspiring stories of human grit and aspiration, and extraordinary visuals for the world’s largest screens, DREAM BIG reveals the compassion and creativity that drive engineers to create better lives for people and a more sustainable future for us all. DREAM BIG is a MacGillivray Freeman film produced in partnership with American Society of Civil Engineers and presented by Bechtel Corporation. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “I have to say, the camera shots and angles are truly amazing. They capture massive cities and buildings beautifully. There is obviously lots of effort that went into editing this film and adding suitable background music.” See her full review below.

Dream Big: Engineering Our World
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This film is really informational and the camera shots are amazing. The only drawback is that it gets a bit boring after a while. There is so much information that isn’t all that interesting. This documentary would really appeal to those interested in architecture and engineering.

The film reveals stories about different engineers who all want to make the world a better place. They create buildings that won’t collapse in earthquakes and build bridges across rivers so people can get to school. It shows that engineering is an occupation that can really impact the world and make it a safer place.

Jeff Bridges, as narrator of the film, has the sort of deep voice that suits the documentary. Some of the information seems a bit random and doesn’t enhance the story. The best parts for me are when they tell the back stories of peoples’ lives and how difficult they are. After the engineers help them, I love seeing them so happy and having easier lives. Those are things that inspire people to want to become engineers.

I have to say, the camera shots and angles are truly amazing. They capture massive cities and buildings beautifully. There is obviously lots of effort that went into editing this film and adding suitable background music. These all really help the viewer picture engineering as an art, that is very helpful. They show majestic buildings that glow at night, roller coasters that give so much happiness and thrills, and bridges that help you access high areas and look down at the scenery or up at the beautiful stars.

My favorite scene is definitely the story about the engineers building a bridge across a river so kids could get to their school. Before the bridge, they literally risked their lives getting to school. Many people have drowned in the river, but they crossed it everyday in order to get an education. After the bridge is built everyone, including the children, is extremely excited and relieved. They are dancing, playing music and getting to school without risking their lives or getting wet. The bridge changed their lives.

The moral of this film is that engineering is a profession that helps people. This film shows that engineering is interesting and rewarding. However, I did find parts of it a bit boring, with the exhaustive information.  I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages of 11 to 18, as well as adults. If you are interested in engineering, you will definitely enjoy this documentary. It is available now on DVD so check it out.

 

Skyscraper – Entertaining, towering pace and consistent acting led by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson

Friday, July 13th, 2018

FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Sawyer now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in Hong Kong he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building…above the fire line. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Skyscraper is an entertaining, yet derivative homage to the 80s action era. A towering pace and consistent acting provide for a memorable summer detour.” Alejandra G. adds, “This science fiction film grabbed my attention from the beginning, because of its very interesting plot and fascinating storyline. It made me feel driven to discover what would happen at the end.” See their full reviews below.

Skyscraper
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Skyscraper is an entertaining, yet derivative homage to 80s action films. A towering pace and consistent acting provide for a memorable summer detour. This is sure to be a worthwhile watch for any action movie fans.

The movie follows former hostage negotiator Will (Dwayne Johnson), who now accesses building security after a tragic misfire left him as an amputee. While analyzing the world’s tallest and safest building, terrorists led by Kores (Roland Møller) mysteriously access building schematics to take control. However, things reach an all time low for Will once Kores takes Will’s family hostage and frames him for the infiltration. With everything left to lose, Will must push past his setbacks in order to sort out this mess and save his family.

Dwayne Johnson, as Will, is my favorite character due to his ever-present charisma and even relate-ability with his physical struggles. His love and determination for his family also make the movie all the more intense. Neve Campbell, as Sarah, is just as believable with her determination to the family and has more nuances than just resorting to a damsel in distress. Chin Han, as Zhao, brings a mysterious layer to his involvement with the skyscraper as his business is not what it seems. Roland Møller, as Kores, gives Dwayne Johnson a run for his money in terms of strength and is a formidable yet clichéd threat for him. However, his vibrant expressions are enough to lighten his clichéd dialogue. Noah Cottrell and McKenna Roberts, as Henry and Georgia, complete the pack as the cute twins of Will and Sarah, whose combined braveness helps forward the family dynamic. However, Henry’s asthma seems a little too situational at times.

Dwayne Johnson, as Will, is my favorite character due to his ever-present charisma and even relate-ability with his physical struggles. His love and determination for his family also make the movie all the more intense. Neve Campbell, as Sarah, is just as believable with her determination to the family and has more nuances than just resorting to a damsel in distress. Chin Han, as Zhao, brings a mysterious layer to his involvement with the skyscraper as his business is not what it seems. Roland Møller, as Kores, gives Dwayne Johnson a run for his money in terms of strength and is a formidable yet clichéd threat for him. However, his vibrant expressions are enough to lighten his clichéd dialogue. Noah Cottrell and McKenna Roberts, as Henry and Georgia, complete the pack as the cute twins of Will and Sarah, whose combined braveness helps forward the family dynamic. However, Henry’s asthma seems a little too situational at times.

Rawson Marshall Thurber’s direction brings out a brisk pace with fresh new takes at fisticuffs and shootouts alike many 80s action movies. However, a few of the scenes lack in originality, feeling like a borderline copy of other action films. My favorite scene is the opening hostage negotiation, as it sets a thrilling and unexpected array of events, even if it is not set in the main skyscraper centerpiece. The other flaw is that it could have used more nuances in the scenarios as opposed to having such a predictable plot with unsurprising twists. At times, it feels more like a parody than a movie, with unintentionally funny scenes. However, the fact that it never takes itself too seriously adds to its quality and creates pure escapism.

The movie’s message is to never judge a man by his impediments, as pure willpower can defy many obstacles. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action and language. The movie releases in theaters July 13, 2018, so check it out.

Skyscraper
By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This science fiction film grabbed my attention from the beginning, because of its very interesting plot and fascinating storyline. It made me feel driven to discover what would happen at the end. From the beginning of the film, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, because it has a combination of topics that I love seeing in movies – action and suspense! These drew me in. I wanted to finally find out what the outcome of the movie would be. I also liked it because I admire Dwayne Johnson’s exceptional work as an actor. He is very expressive with his actions and makes the audience empathize with what he is going through. Because of that, I always follow the movies he works in.

Skyscraper is about a past FBI leader and war veteran called Will Ford who is now managing security programs for skyscrapers. He’s been sent on a once-in-a-lifetime work opportunity to establish security measures for the tallest and safest building in the world, located in China. Suddenly, the skyscraper turns into flames and the security measures fail. He is the primary suspect since he is the only one authorized to control the security. As the story progresses, Will must find those responsible for the destruction in order to clear his name and somehow rescue his family who are trapped inside the building, above the fire line.

My favorite scene in this film is when Will runs away from the authorities, climbs up the construction equipment, moves it so that it will point at a floor close to the fire line, and jumps towards a broken window. I love this scene because it shows what a man is capable of doing for his family’s welfare. He risks his life in order to save them from the fire that is threatening their lives. Aside from that, I was astonished at all the special effects used to create this action sequence. The post production of this scene is flawless. It all seems as if it really happens. You don’t notice the editing at all.

The main message of this film is that family comes before anything else. Some people are driven to do the impossible because of the love they feel towards their family. In this film, Will’s devotion to his wife and kids is very impressive and is admirable. It sends a very family oriented message and teaches a valuable lesson that can be applied to anyone’s life. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and up. The film is available now in theaters so, check it out.

Photos Copyright: © 2018 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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