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Archive for October, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody: Amazing Script, Constantly Daring And Unexpected.

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his band mates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band.” Zoe C. adds, “This live-action, biographical or biopic film is electrifying! The music is absolutely incredible!… The actors are great. Rohan F. wraps it up with, “I like how they used lots of clips from that time by inserting televised shots of important moments. I also enjoyed the use of montages to Queen’s songs to show different things. The format never gets boring because there is a unique twist to each one.” See their full reviews below.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

https://youtu.be/VyVc0z9fwOM

Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band. Even though I only knew the most famous songs, that doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this film. It belongs to everyone, like Queen does.

The story follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the lead singer of Queen, and his rise to fame, but also his fall from grace. It sounds really simple, but the other aspects of the movie, such as the writing and acting, really set it apart from other similar films.

First, the script is amazing. Kudos to the script writer, Anthony McCarten. There are so many scenes in this movie that are genuinely full of tension particularly scenes showing the band arguing and practically any scene with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech). The writing really helps deliver tension in the darker scenes and make the more uplifting scenes really motivating. The writing makes you feel Freddie’s downward spiral. The scenes with Paul especially made me genuinely nervous. Because, you know he doesn’t care about Freddie and he just wants to leech off of him. All you want is for Freddie to cut ties with Paul. Thankfully, this movie isn’t a complete downer, as there are some genuinely heartwarming moments, especially in the beginning. Then, things get dark pretty quickly. It’s nice seeing the band get together and hang out. You genuinely believe in their friendship.

This movie also shows Freddie dealing with real issues – his race, his sexuality and not feeling like a disappointment to his parents. Life is complicated, whether or not you are rich and famous. We also got to give special attention to Freddie’s actor.  Rami Malek really is Freddie Mercury! It is so spot on that Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury look almost identical. That’s what I call amazing casting. While the rest of the cast is really great as well, Rami Malek completely steals the show.

This movie also excels at showing how destiny works in mysterious ways. For example, five minutes before Freddie asks to join to the band, the lead singer quits. I find that really interesting. To be honest, the only issue I have with this movie is the final scene. It’s a recreation of the Live Aid performance Queen did, which seems fine at first. However, the scene goes on forever. It is a good scene and I get why they made it so long, but after awhile I kept wondering how much longer the scene was going to last. That’s really my only issue with the film. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. Even if you’re not a huge Queen fan, I think you’ll enjoy this. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This live-action, biographical or biopic film is electrifying! The music is absolutely incredible! Of course, it’s the music from the British rock band Queen. I am familiar with the band’s music; because my mom is a 80s rock fan and I grew up listening to this and other bands. I do like and know the songs and enjoyed summer camps at “School of Rock” playing music from those bands.

The actors are great. The actor that plays Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek looks exactly like the real Freddie Mercury. He mimics his stage movements and reflects on the artist who loved music and art in general. The rest of the actors’ are flawless as well. At first, I didn’t think I would like this film, but when I watched it, I absolutely fell in love with it. It is amazing. At least half the songs that are in this film I didn’t even know were by Queen!

The story is narrated through Queen’s hit songs. It starts showing how Mercury joined a band that played at bars and became one of the most important rock bands in the world, creating iconic music. The film focuses on Mercury’s story and tells it with so much respect. Once he joins guitar player Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), they start composing songs. They got the attention of important music producers and record labels and became Queen. The film shows the creative process – how these songs were made, how the band members agree and disagree, go on tours and got tired of the routine of making albums and touring. At one point, we see Freddie Mercury becoming so popular and later kind of losing himself. But, the band members were a family and the movie shows those who always stood by his side as well as those who betrayed him. Freddie decided to go solo, but he reunites for the spectacular Live Aid Show in 1985 that was impeccably recreated.

The photography, production design and costumes reflect the look and feel of the 80s. They look exactly as they do in Queen’s music videos and live shows. The editing mixes the drama of Mercury’s life together with the songs really well and the camera work is remarkable. My favorite scenes are all those when music is involved, especially the operatic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” both written by Mercury.

I watched the film under my mom’s guidance. I don’t recommend this for kids under 13. The film shows, in a very elegant way, Mercury’s dark side and relationships in his life. There are no explicit scenes, but is definitively a movie for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. I definitely give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because it is amazing and actors and filmmakers have worked really hard to interpret and recreate an important moment in music history. I truly love this film and definitely recommend it. You are not going to want to miss this extraordinary film. It opens nationwide in theaters November 2, 2018 so, check it out.

Bohemian Rhapsody
By Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical film based on the life story of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the incredible British super-band Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody takes place when a young boy named Farrokh joins a college band which later becomes Queen, the band that revolutionized concerts with audience participation and became one of the biggest stadium bands in history. The movie mainly focuses on Freddie Mercury’s relationship with the band, his family and other people around him and how he remained true to his unique personality.

I like how they used lots of clips from that time by inserting televised shots of important moments. I also enjoyed the use of montages to Queen’s songs to show different things. The format never gets boring because there is a unique twist to each one. I especially enjoyed how they started the film by setting up for Live Aid, the most ambitious charity concert ever, and ended at Queen’s mind-blowing performance of that same concert. I also like how they used the running joke of lateness to show power throughout the band’s life.

The cinematography in the movie is wonderful. There are lots of shots showing the entire room which really helps you understand the locations. I particularly like the shots showing how low the ceiling is in the drummer’s room. There are some very emotional shots of Freddie communicating with his girlfriend using lights in their opposing apartments.

My favorite scene is when they try to sell their new song, Bohemian Rhapsody, to Ray Foster. I like this scene because it shows how the members of Queen really didn’t allow themselves to work the same way that other bands do. It shows that they wouldn’t use a formula to write any of their songs. I also enjoyed the scene when the band writes Bohemian Rhapsody, because there are lots of good jokes in it. They use simple digital transition effects that wouldn’t usually be in a professional movie to show how the band was different. These transition effects are also true to the 70s and 80s when the movie is set.

The moral of this film is to be yourself, even if you’re different. This moral is important to the story. It influences every decision Freddie Mercury makes and is an important part of his legacy. Freddie Mercury was a unique individual, but by staying true to himself, he gained acceptance in the world and became an icon.

They use mostly Queen songs (of course) and they use them well. There are a lot of cuts in the music, but they aren’t too noticeable. The songs that aren’t by Queen are used mainly as music the characters are listening to in the background.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to for ages 13 through 18, as well as adults. I believe lots of adults will enjoy it, especially those who were teen and young adults during this time. This film opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it.

Photo Credit: Alex Bailey; TM & © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.

 

 

Floogals: Project Birthday Cake: What a Fun Way to Learn How Things Work on Earth!

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Each day, Captain Fleeker, First Officer Flo, and Junior Boomer encounter something that sparks their curiosity, setting in motion the day’s research “project” and triggering an exciting adventure! In Floogals: Project Birthday Cake, Boomer’s built a little fizzerific food finder attachment for his Fizzer controls. It’s supposed to be able to sniff out food – a subject close to Boomer’s heart. Flying by a massive birthday cake the food finder goes out of control and Boomer crashes. The Floogals have to work out how to re-make the frosting and in the process find out what a birthday cake and decorations are for. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “These educational episodes are great for younger kids to learn practical things. It is also interesting to look at the human household and human items, from their smaller point of view.” Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “Think of this as a family sit-com. The Floogal characters are done in claymation. They take interest in particular objects located upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, the bathroom, kitchen and elsewhere. I like the originality of having the real-life backgrounds juxtaposing with the animated characters.” See their full reviews below.

Floogals: Project Birthday Cake
By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

These educational episodes are great for younger kids to learn practical things. The animation is colorful and detailed. The characters, besides the “hoomans” (humans) are unique looking creatures. It is also interesting to look at the human household and human items, from their smaller point of view.

In these episodes, there are three main alien-like characters. Their names are Captain Fleeker, Junior Boomer and First Officer Flo. They live hidden inside the hooman’s house. Fleeker, Boomer and Flo explore around house and try to learn more about the hooman ways. They encounter a birthday cake, some ice, a mirror, a banana, a toothbrush, sand, roller skates, a record player and a jewelry box.

Jules de Jongh voices Flo with authority and wisdom. Even though Flo isn’t the Captain, you can tell that she knows what she is talking about and that she is more mature than the other two boys. Junior Boomer is the complete opposite of Flo. His name fits him as he has a lot more to learn than Flo and Fleeker. Hugo Harold-Harrison aptly portrays, through his voice, that Junior Boomer is a lot younger and more immature.

They use a mix of animation and live camera shots for these episodes. This brings the Floogals to life as they venture outside their ship. It is interesting to look at the world we know so familiarly from a completely different point of view. To Fleeker, Boomer and Flo everything looks weird and abnormally large. It’s like entering a modern giant’s house.

My favorite scene is when they first discover the birthday cake. Their facial expressions are so in awe of this great smelling piece of art in front of them. The birthday cake is based on outer space and looks very delicious and colorful. This is my favorite scene because it really is where the Floogals come to life.

There isn’t a moral or message in these episodes. Their main purpose is to educate younger viewers about the properties of everyday items and how to use them. For example, in the episode “Project Ice,” the Floogals teach viewers that ice can be used to keep things cool, but when it gets hot, it melts back into water.

This DVD offers great learning tools for younger viewers. I recommend it for ages 3 to 5 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for the effort put into it. It is available on DVD now, so check it out!

Floogals: Project Birthday Cake
By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Small alien life forms, the Floogals, explore life in an everyday home setting with a particular family, where they discover certain human objects such as birthday cake, ice (for beverages), roller skates and a record player. The most fascinating and unusual part of this series is the background setup – the house is life action as wel     l as the family members (mother, father, and kids). Think of this as a family sit-com. The Floogal characters are done in claymation. They take interest in particular objects located upstairs, downstairs, in the basement, the bathroom, kitchen and elsewhere.

I like the originality of having the real-life backgrounds juxtaposing with the animated characters. The episode with the record player is particularly funny, since it is an older generational way of listening to music. Young children might be as clueless as the Floogals with regards to this “strange object,” moreso than any other object they explore.  

This DVD consists of approximately nine, 8 minute episodes. I recommend this for ages 3 to 6 who will find it really fascinating for expanding their imagination (with every room the Floogals explore) and keep their attention with the pastel-type colors. Curious slightly older kids might tune in for the same reasons.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars.

 

 

 

 

Johnny English Strikes Again: Entertaining. Holds Up To Success Of The Previous Films

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Johnny English Strikes Again is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much loved accidental secret agent. The new adventure begins when a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, leaving Johnny English as the Secret Service’s last hope. Called out of retirement, English dives head first into action with the mission to find the mastermind hacker. As a man with few skills and analog methods, Johnny English must overcome the challenges of modern technology to make this mission a success. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Leah R. comments, “This entertaining film …is very funny. Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.” Raquel Y. adds, “Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn’t a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again.” See their full reviews below.

Johnny English Strikes Again
By Leah R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age, 11

This entertaining film, written by William Davies and directed by David Kerr, is very funny. The main character, Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.

The film is about a cyber attack, which exposes the identities of all of Great Britain’s undercover spies. Johnny English is a retired spy, currently working as a teacher, and he comes out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker who did it.  When he was a spy, he used old gadgets, but now they use more digital things like tablets and smart phones. Since Johnny doesn’t know how to use them, he just throws them at his targets instead.

The actor playing Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson, is very good. Every time he fights someone, it looks quite realistic. He is hilarious when he dances in the middle of the dance floor and doesn’t stop the whole night.  Also, the gadgets he uses, like his magnetic boots and his exoskeleton suit make the film even more exciting. My favorite part of this film is that Johnny English is a teacher and he teaches the kids how to be spies instead of teaching them normal school subjects.

The soundtrack is excellent and so are the sets. They make it feel as if it’s a real spy movie. All of the crazy things that you expect to happen in a spy movie happen here, plus even more. The special effects and stunts make each scene that much more fun to watch.

As fun as this film is, you should know that people are violent with each other and there is one inappropriate scene when Johnny’s pants fall down and you see his rear end. The violent parts are not bloody or gory. They are just normal fight scenes like you would see in any funny spy movie. There is some humor that younger kids may not understand or might find disturbing, but I think older kids and adults will definitely be amused. As thrilling as all of the stunts are, they are dangerously unrealistic and not the kind of thing you would want a young child thinking they should try.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is available in theaters on October 26, 2018, so look for it.

Johnny English Strikes Again
By Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn’t a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again. This is a “cannot miss” film that everyone is sure to love.

The storyline follows the Prime Minister of London (Emma Thompson) who calls Special Agent English (Rowan Atkinson) back into action after a cyber-attack leaks the identities of all the undercover agents working for the MI7. English must stop the hacker in order to save the people of London.

My favorite part about this film is when English is practicing his mission using a virtual reality simulation. The simulation is said to be highly “immersive.” While English is running through the simulation, he makes his way out of headquarters and into the streets of London, causing havoc for the people of London. I also found it interesting how well Johnny’s old fashion ways comes into play numerous times throughout the film.

The director, David Kerr, makes a huge play on irony by making the bad guy a super high-tech professional, with special agent English not tech savvy at all. Luckily for Johnny, his lack of knowledge about technology helps him for the better.

There isn’t anything about this film that I didn’t like. From its special effects, to props to acting, everything fits together nicely, creating a great film that audiences will enjoy. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters  October 26, 2018, so look for it.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Documentary Giving Insight Into Struggles of African Children

Monday, October 15th, 2018

A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character’s journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Talia J. comments, “Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children.” See her full review below.

Liyana
By Talia Jacnuk, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children.

Liyana is about five Swaziland orphans who, under the guidance of storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, create their own fictional character that embarks on a journey to save her brothers. The story directly correlates to the struggles they are experiencing and their own dreams. The character they create, named Liyana is fully animated throughout the film.

This film is one that everyone needs to watch. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own lives and take a lot of things for granted. This film highlights the struggles of these orphaned African children. Some of them don’t even remember anything about their parents. The film really open your eyes to an unfamiliar place and allows you to connect on a personal level with some of their struggles. This documentary is not intended to pity the children in any way, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. I find these children completely inspiring, because they are prepared to do anything to make their dreams come true. They live their lives everyday with happiness and passion.

The animation is quite unique in many ways. It is very still and the characters rarely move. It’s a very interesting way to animate. I have never seen anything quite like this. It’s intriguing to see the subtle movements of the characters and the subtle sound effects in the background. The orphans that the film revolves around are storytellers of the film. I love hearing them express the characters. They occasionally make sounds to portray the weather such as thunder and then make sounds representing actions of the animated character Liyana. Overall, the sound and music in this film feels quite lively and upbeat. The music brings a huge cultural aspect to the film because the lyrics are in their native tongue. The music is quite beautiful and expresses African heritage.

This film takes you on a whirlwind of emotion. People hear about horrific events on the news, but don’t really find a personal connection to the struggles that people around the world face. This film provides a personal account on how children deal with disease and family issues. By show the audience real people dealing with their struggles, this film can help spread the word about people around the world needing help and teach us that their problems are not just something to flip through as you change TB channels.

Definitely put this film on your watch list. It deals with some harsh topics such as disease and abuse, but it does so in a sensitive way. I recommend this film for ages of 12 to 18, as well as adults. The story is fascinating and the realness of the film gives us insight into the lives of African orphans. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It comes out on October 9 so go check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

First Man: The Man Behind One Of The Most Famous Events In Human History

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie explores the sacrifices and the cost – on Armstrong and on the nation – of one of the most dangerous missions in history. Written by Academy Award® winner Josh Singer (Spotlight), the drama is produced by Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (The Twilight Saga, The Fault in Our Stars) through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner, alongside Chazelle and Gosling. Isaac Klausner (The Fault in Our Stars) executive produces. DreamWorks Pictures co-finances the film. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Along with its main focus on the intense, action-packed mission, First Man explores many avenues that include dramatic and intense moments which spawn from the heart-wrenching grief of losing a child to the intricate and beautiful romance with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy). Much of the movie has emotions that are quite far from being out of this world, specifically in its massive focus on the family.” Arjun N. adds, “First Man is a visually stunning and up-close account of the Apollo 11 mission. Excellent acting and innovative directing excel this personal focus, as one of a well-built dramatic journey.” See their full reviews below.

First Man
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Easily one of the most famous events in human history is centered on a singular man, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). Behind the Apollo Mission that landed the first human on the moon, Neil is a man with conflicts, a man with a history and a man with a mission.

Along with its main focus on the intense, action-packed mission, First Man explores many avenues that include dramatic and intense moments which spawn from the heart-wrenching grief of losing a child to the intricate and beautiful romance with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy). Much of the movie has emotions that are quite far from being out of this world, specifically in its massive focus on the family.

The film begins up close and personal, watching Armstrong in his daring mission on the rocket-propelled plane, the X-15. Immediately, the story shows just how dangerous space exploration can be and how close those who brave exploring the final frontier get to never returning home. It follows Neil and his story intimately from the X-15 mission to the loss of three astronauts (close friends of Neil’s) in Apollo 1, the near-lethal mission of Gemini 8 and, of course, the incredibly daring mission of Apollo 11, that landed the first people on the Moon. Throughout these milestones in space exploration, the story pauses to look at the relations and life of Neil, truly unveiling the blueprints showing who he was as a man.

While incredible in revealing a massive side of this well-known historical event, the film attempts to focus so much on a story that has little to tell. The length clocks in at just under two and a half hours, which feels very stretched after the adrenaline of the exciting opening scene wears off. Neil Armstrong is portrayed as a deep man with little visual emotions mixed with dramatic internal conflicts. While this decision allows for excellent character design, it makes him rather boring at times. It seems the writers wished to divide First Man into three stories – one, the story of Neil as a man; two, the story of Neil as a father and three, the story of Neil as an astronaut. All three have their pros and their cons, but mixed together, the film becomes daunting and stretched.

The cinematography, sadly could have been better. Only a handful of camera shots do not shake. In most shots, the camera moves constantly or jitters. In the beginning, with the X-15 mission, this effect adds to the entertainment of the film. The audience quickly becomes sucked into the important and lethal mission with dangers at every corner. After two hours of shaky camera shots, that excitement changes to annoyance. While a mix would be ideal, and in more intensive scenes a camera shake would be appropriate, having the entire runtime featuring shakiness as well as many blurry shots, looks amateur and comes off as poor execution of what should be an interesting and captivating story.

However, the film does go beyond the moon in many ways – predominantly, in the acting. Neil Armstrong has deep faults and that stands as a challenge to any actor. Ryan Gosling nails the role in what turns out as an Oscar©-worthy performance of the famous astronaut. Others, including Claire Foy, also deliver extraordinary performances bringing each character to life. Despite the fact that no one can hear you scream in space, the sound design really belongs out of the world due to the quality and complexity of the sound effects. Much of First Man contains loud, intricate sound effects that vary and cover a massive spectrum. Perhaps more powerful would have been the use of silence in the most dramatic moments, sending chills to the entire audience.

My favorite scene is one of these moments of eerie silence. In this scene, three members of the Apollo 1 mission do a test in the Apollo capsule. It goes horribly wrong and the interior of the capsule catches on fire, sadly, resulting in losing the lives of all three. Yet, the film takes this a step further, as the three fallen heroes are not new in this scene. The viewer gets time to like them, understand them and befriend them – just as Neil did in real life. This makes their sudden and dramatic loss nothing short of shocking and cold, replicating the real-life impact it had on Armstrong.

Although, First Man has a strong beginning, a strong ending and many high points throughout, it also has many mistakes and things that could be improved that simply negate the extraordinary story of this story. For that reason, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The story is quite intensive and is best suited for older audiences that will understand the impact of the events so I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. This film opens nationwide in theaters on October 12, 2018 so, look for it. If you are a fan of space exploration, it is sure to make an impact, but even if you aren’t you will learn something new.

First Man
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

First Man is a visually stunning and up-close account of the Apollo 11 mission. Excellent acting and innovative directing excel this personal focus, as one of a well-built dramatic journey. Anyone interested in space studies or even cinematic craft must check this out.

The story follows the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) in the 1960s on his journey to becoming the first man to walk on the moon. More so, an exploration of the sacrifices and costs that the journey had upon Armstrong’s personal life and the nation itself, during one of the nation’s most desperate and dangerous missions.

Ryan Gosling, as Neil Armstrong, is my favorite character with near-perfect representation of Neil’s reclusive, yet adventurous self. His struggles to overcome the death of his daughter Karen and fellow crewmates offer the movie’s best share of emotions and present a newfound inspirational look into this real-life pioneer. Claire Foy, as Janet Armstrong, excels with her bitter opinions on her husband’s involvement in the Apollo program. Her intense wariness effectively presents the instability that the Armstrong family faced during such tough times. Corey Stall, as Buzz Aldrin, respectfully acts out the childlike, but intellectual aspects of his real-life counterpart. Jason Clarke, as Edward Higgins White, impressively presents a good friend in need to Neil, contributing to the success of NASA’s missions with his tragic accident being handled all the more respectively.

Damien Chazelle expertly directs the movie with an innovative handheld approach steered by cinematographer Linus Sandgren that captures the paranoia, but wondrous awe of each voyage into space. This approach can become a little disorienting at times and requires an adjustment factor. My favorite scene is the Agena voyage, as it distinguishes itself from the Apollo 11 landing, by focusing on NASA’s most miniscule attempts to catch up with the Soviet Union. As a result, the mission comes with its huge share of bumps, which are helped by the cringe-inducing sound design and a self-contained terror within the astronauts involved.

The message of the movie is that success never comes without sacrifice and failure, but most of all, perseverance. Armstrong sets a strong persevering mentality and example towards dealing with any obstacle as he seeks to support his family peacefully and the mission safely. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of infrequent intense scenes and language. The movie releases in theaters on October 12, 2018 so check it out.

Photos: ©2018 Universal. All rights reserved.

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