Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for October, 2019

Raising Dion * Mix of Drama, Fantasy and Sci-Fi That Captures Your Imagination

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Raising Dion is an American superhero science fiction web television series that premiered October 4, 2019 on Netflix. It is based on the 2015 comic book and short film of the same name by Dennis Liu. Raising Dion follows the story of a woman who raises her son Dion after the death of her husband Mark. The normal dramas of raising a son as a single mom are amplified when Dion starts to manifest several magical, superhero-like abilities. Nicole must now keep her son’s gifts secret with the help of Mark’s best friend Pat, and protect Dion from antagonists out to exploit him while figuring out the origin of his abilities. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “The series is a mix of genres: drama, fantasy and sci-fi. Through the evolution of the series or each “issue” (what each episode is called), audiences learn more about Dion’s father and where his powers come from. The first episodes are more family-oriented, but the sci-fi elements and supernatural aspects increase toward the later episodes in the first season. Getting close to the end of season one is when it becomes really exciting.” See her full review below.

Raising Dion
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed Raising Dion because there are lots of themes about finding your place and bullying that are well represented. The story tries to deal with so many different elements that it loses focus, especially during the first episodes. Still, I’m curious to see what will happen in the second season, and that is a good thing because I ended up wanting to see more. 

Netflix delivers a TV series with a little bit of everything for the whole family: Raising Dion. As its name states, it’s about family. This is a story of a single mom, Nicole (Alisha Wainwright) raising her son Dion (Ja’shia Young) with superhero-like powers.  For Nicole, to be the mom of a kid with powers is a struggle, more than being just fun.  The series centers on Dion’s journey of adapting to a normal life. The series is produced by actor Michael B. Jordan who plays Marc, Dion’s father, a scientist who passed away tragically during a storm. Pat, Marc’s best friend, becomes a best friend for Nicole and Dion’s mentor. 

The series is a mix of genres: drama, fantasy and sci-fi. Through the evolution of the series or each “issue” (what each episode is called), audiences learn more about Dion’s father and where his powers come from. The first episodes are more family-oriented, but the sci-fi elements and supernatural aspects increase toward the later episodes in the first season. Getting close to the end of season one is when it becomes really exciting.

The series has a very realistic look, and the special effects are well done. I love the work of the actors:  their performances are natural. The kids’ acting is quite well done. Ja’shia Young makes Dion a very believable superhero. He is a good son and a good student and that will be very relatable for so many kids. Sammi Haney plays Esperanza, Dion’s best friend. She is smart and sweet, and she doesn’t feel “less than” because she in a wheelchair. In real life and in character Sammi has brittle bone disease, and supports awareness, acceptance and love for people with disabilities. Kudos to the creators of the show for including actors with disabilities.

Raising Dion is very good for young audiences. The message of the series is to find the powers within yourself, learn how to use them wisely and embrace them.

I rate Raising Dion 4 of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and adults as well.  You can find it on Netflix.

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Tall Girl * Coming-Of-Age Story Dealing With Insecurity, Relationships, High School ++

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Tall Girl is the 2019 Netflix original comedy about Jodi, the tallest girl in her school, who has never quite felt comfortable in her own statuesque skin. All of that changes when she falls for the handsome (and equally tall) foreign exchange student Stig who, of course, gets Jodi’s quirky, best, male friend Dunkleman and his hippie mom as a host family. As a result, Jodi gets embroiled in a surprising love triangle, which helps her realize she’s far more than her insecurities about her height have led her to believe. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abigail Zoe L. comments, “Netflix’s new movie Tall Girl is a wonderful coming-of-age story that touched my heart. It is really a perfect teen movie, as it deals with insecurity, friendships, relationships, high school, bullying and finding the confidence to believe in oneself.” See her full review below.

Tall Girl
By Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Netflix’s new movie Tall Girl is a wonderful coming-of-age story that touched my heart. It is really a perfect teen movie, as it deals with insecurity, friendships, relationships, high school, bullying and finding the confidence to believe in oneself.

What I particularly like about the film is that it has a great positive message that, even if you can’t change something about yourself, you should embrace your uniqueness since that is what makes you special. For instance, the main character Jodi, played by the amazingly multi-talented Ava Michelle, is very tall at 6 foot 1 inch, and has been bullied her whole life because of it.  Kids tease Jodi in school with comments like, “How’s the weather up there?,” which naturally hurts her feelings. However, one day, a tall and handsome foreign exchange student Stig (Luke Eisner) comes to her high school and takes an interest in Jodi. This relationship along with her best friend Dunkleman (Griffin Gluck) and her beauty queen sister Harper (Sabrina Carpenter) help Jodi find the confidence to believe in and truly accept herself.

My favorite scene is when Jodi and Stig sing the song “Stand Tall” together. It is an original song that Luke Eisner wrote with his band Viola about his father fighting cancer. The song incorporates perfectly into this movie with new lyrics by both Luke and Ava that they recorded in a bathroom. There is also a lot of humor in the movie. Specifically, Dunkleman is very funny and does impressions of Kevin Hart and other people.

The talent is off the charts in this movie.  Luke Eisner is incredibly handsome and has the smoothness of a young George Clooney. His Swedish is authentic and I just can’t get his gorgeous voice out of my head now. Ava Michelle’s voice is wonderful too; together they harmonize on a couple of songs that I just love listening to. Ava is also a great pianist. I also found Griffin’s humor hysterical and, after interviewing him with other actors from the cast, I could immediately see that he has stellar improv chops. Sabrina Carpenter perfectly captures a high school beauty queen. I don’t think there’s anything that Sabrina Carpenter cannot do!

What sticks out in mind about this movie is that it is of the utmost importance to believe in yourself. The movie also reminds us to never trade your integrity by just hanging out with the popular crowd.

This film has several fantastic, timeless moral messages including “accepting and believing in yourself and don’t compromise your integrity.” It’s perfect for teen audiences. I believe both boys and girls will like this movie and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 as there is some kissing in it. I give Tall Girl 4.5 out of 5 stars and can’t wait to see it again! It premieres on Netflix on September 13, 2019. Look for it.

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The Addams Family * Thoroughly Hilarious Watch. Excellent Voice Actors. Funny Script!

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Members of the mysterious and spooky Addams family — Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester and Grandma — are readily preparing for a visit from their even creepier relatives. But trouble soon arises when shady TV personality Margaux Needler realizes that the Addams’ eerie hilltop mansion is standing in the way of her dream to sell all the houses in the neighborhood. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Addams Family is a thoroughly hilarious watch for families. Even adults can have fun as the film boasts humor for all ages. Excellent voice acting and consistently funny script impress. It truly has something for everyone. However, the animation does leave a bit more to be desired; as I felt elements lack refinement and detail, especially compared to current animation.” See his full review below.

The Addams Family
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Addams Family is a thoroughly hilarious watch for families. Even adults can have fun as the film boasts humor for all ages. Excellent voice acting and consistently funny script impress. It truly has something for everyone.

(L to R) Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams, Conrad Vernon as the voice of Lurch, Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams, Nick Kroll as the voice of Uncle Fester, and Finn Wolfhard as the voice of Pugsley in THE ADDAMS FAMILY, directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The story follows the iconic family in their first animated adventure. Being the kookiest family on the block, several homeowners lend massive disgust for their unconventional ways, teaming up to bring them down. Amidst this is a funny and iconic tale about what it means to be a good neighbor.

The Addams family cast all boast great performances. Oscar Isaac, as Gomez, presents his patriarchal side and his interactions with Pugsley provide great humor. Likewise, Charlize Theron, as Morticia, who cares greatly for Wednesday. Pugsley and Wednesday, played respectively by Finn Wolfhard and Chloe Grace Moretz, are a lot of fun to watch together as they do not get along. Wednesday is my favorite character because her over-analytical self is always enjoyable to watch. Also, Snoop Dogg’s cameo is well worth price of admission; it’s truly unexpected and works.

Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, known for films such as Shrek 2, aptly direct this film. However, the animation does leave a bit more to be desired; as I felt elements lack refinement and detail, especially compared to current animation. My favorite scene is when Lurch, a creature alike Frankenstein, sings. It’s truly hilarious and works amidst his roster of piano playing. The film loses traction once, focusing on the homeowners who lack the characterization of the Addams. Also, Pugsley feels rather undeveloped when compared to Wednesday. I feel that more time could have been devoted to characterizing him.

Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams (left) and Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams (right) in THE ADDAMS FAMILY, directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The message of this film is about accepting others for who they are and learning to resolve differences. Even though The Addams Family is played for outlandish humor, the film realizes the importance of this message and hopes for everyone to accept one another. I give The Addams Family 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 due to its macabre humor. The movie releases in theaters on October 11, 2019, so check it out.

The Addams Family is a thoroughly hilarious watch for families. Even adults can have fun as the film boasts humor for all ages. Excellent voice acting and consistently funny script impress. It truly has something for everyone.

The story follows the iconic family in their first animated adventure. Being the kookiest family on the block, several homeowners lend massive disgust for their unconventional ways, teaming up to bring them down. Amidst this is a funny and iconic tale about what it means to be a good neighbor.

The Addams family cast all boast great performances. Oscar Isaac, as Gomez, presents his patriarchal side and his interactions with Pugsley provide great humor. Likewise, Charlize Theron, as Morticia, who cares greatly for Wednesday. Pugsley and Wednesday, played respectively by Finn Wolfhard and Chloe Grace Moretz, are a lot of fun to watch together as they do not get along. Wednesday is my favorite character because her over-analytical self is always enjoyable to watch. Also, Snoop Dogg’s cameo is well worth price of admission; it’s truly unexpected and works.

Charlize Theron as the voice of Morticia Addams (left) and Oscar Isaac as the voice of Gomez Addams (right) in THE ADDAMS FAMILY, directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2019 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon, known for films such as Shrek 2, aptly direct this film. However, the animation does leave a bit more to be desired, as I felt elements lack refinement and detail, especially compared to current animation. My favorite scene is when Lurch, a creature alike Frankenstein, sings. It’s truly hilarious and works amidst his roster of piano playing. The film loses traction once, focusing on the homeowners who lack the characterization of the Addams. Also, Pugsley feels rather undeveloped when compared to Wednesday. I feel that more time could have been devoted to characterizing him.

The message of this film is about accepting others for who they are and learning to resolve differences. Even though The Addams Family is played for outlandish humor, the film realizes the importance of this message and hopes for everyone to accept one another. I give The Addams Family 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 due to its macabre humor. The movie releases in theaters on October 11, 2019, so check it out.

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