Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for June, 2020

Lizzie Waterworth-Santo, Voice Actor Extraordinaire

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Enjoy our discussion with Lizzie Waterworth-Santo, a BAFTA nominated voice actor, playing characters in over 1,000 cartoon episodes in shows aired across the globe and, most recently, starring in the British stop-motion feature film Strike as Mungo, the mole with a goal.

Lizzie studied “English, Language & Communication” at King’s College, London and got her first break into the animation industry after landing two lead roles in the Nickelodeon cartoon “Four Eyes.” With 17 years experience voicing movies, cartoons, games and independent projects, Lizzie specializes in voicing authentic sounding children. Her distinct “boy’s voice” landed her the title role of “Horrid Henry” in the five-time BAFTA nominated British animation. Now in its fifth season and 250 episodes, “Horrid Henry” is the most popular show on the Nicktoons and Nickelodeon UK channels, and was the first children’s show to be acquired by Netflix for the UK.  Other shows Lizzie has lent voices to include “Bob the Builder,” Cbeebies “Alphablocks,” “The Backyardigans” (UK) and “Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps.”

With a personal BAFTA nomination in 2019 for Best Performer, and a passion for language and the voiceover industry, Lizzie speaks at numerous events about her  career, offering advice and techniques. She’s currently working with BAFTA Kids alongside children’s mental health charity Place2Be, encouraging children to develop their confidence, have fun with their voice, whilst they learn a new skill. She now lives near London with her husband and two children.

Interviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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My Spy * Love The Friendship That Develops Between JJ and Sophie

Friday, June 26th, 2020

A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lindalee R. comments, “I loved the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends.”

Tiana S. adds, “My Spy is a very entertaining and funny movie! The casting director, Anne McCarthy and Kellie Roy, picked the perfect people to play the roles in this film. The music selections are very upbeat and work perfectly in each scene.” Kori P. wraps it up with, “My Spy is a hilarious, action-filled film! My Spy mixes comedy and action in an way that comes off quite naturally. The stunts and effects are quite realistic. Another thing I couldn’t get enough of is the awesome chemistry between Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, the films two leads.” See their full reviews below.

My Spy
Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I thought My Spy was so good because I loved the friendship and love that develops between the characters JJ (Dave Bautista) and Sophie (Chloe Coleman)! They start off as strangers and then, throughout the movie, JJ teaches her how to be a good spy, and she teaches him how to be a kinder person as their relationship grows stronger and they become friends. Not only does JJ have a change of heart and but eventually he develops feelings for her mom.

My Spy is the story of a CIA agent who is secretly watching a family in order to try and get information connected to a big case he is on. One of the people he is watching is the little girl, Sophie, who discovers J.J. and that he is spying on her and her mom. In exchange for not revealing his secret, Sophie makes him teach her how to be a good spy.

One of my favorite parts of My Spy is when JJ goes on a date with Sophie‘s mom and starts dancing. Because his character is so serious and he’s such a large person, it’s very funny to see him trying to do all these trendy dances…because he does it so terribly! Honestly, it kind of reminded me of my dad dancing.

For those who like Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy you will love him in this movie. Chloe Coleman has a very bright acting future—she is such a kind person both on and off camera, and she has such an amazing on-camera presence.

A quick note to parents:  My Spy does contain some adult language (and in some songs played during the movie.) So while younger kids may enjoy it, parents should decide if their kids are mature enough to see a movie with moments of profanity.

My Spy is full of action, fun, comedy and love. I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, and adults will love it too! It’s available on Amazon Prime June 26, 2020! Don’t miss it.

My Spy
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

My Spy is a very entertaining and funny movie! The casting director, Anne McCarthy and Kellie Roy, picked the perfect people to play the roles in this film. The music selections are very upbeat and work perfectly in each scene.

My Spy tells the story of J.J. (Dave Bautista), a CIA agent who secretly spies on a family with his colleague Bobbi (Kristen Schaal) until their nine-year-old girl, Sophie Vale (Chloe Coleman) finds out what they are up to. Sophie blackmails J.J, into doing things for her so she’s not left alone or unable to attend certain events. J.J. decides to help Sophie so that she won’t tell anyone about him and blow his cover. They go on an adventure filled with drama and secret spy missions

The main characters are J.J. and Sophie Vale—she is my favorite character. She is so smart and funny. My favorite part of this movie is when J.J. and Sophie are walking away from an explosion and Sophie’s mom, Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley), is confused because they are walking slowly away instead of running. The special effects, such as the explosions, in this movie are so realistic. The music really drives the movie, and the right song plays at the right time. For example, in the beginning, J.J. is in a car chase and tries to find the perfect song for the car chase. I also enjoyed seeing the relationship between actors Coleman and Bautista on scene. You can tell they had fun filming it together, and you’ll have fun watching them on scene.

The message of My Spy is to trust people, even kids. Throughout the movie J.J. has to learn that he has people in his life that can help him. You have to let other people help in order to be successful or accomplish your goals— you never know what could happen if you work with others and let them in. Adults should look out for gun violence and effects that may be scary for younger kids. 

My Spy is a “spy-tastic” film that the whole family, especially older kids, will love! I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 10 to 18 years old. Adults will like it too. My Spy comes out on Amazon Prime Video on June 26, 2020.

My Spy
By Kori P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My Spy is a hilarious, action-filled film! My Spy mixes comedy and action in an way that comes off quite naturally. The stunts and effects are quite realistic. Another thing I couldn’t get enough of is the awesome chemistry between Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, the films two leads.

The storyline is about a CIA agent, JJ (Dave Bautista) and his partner Bobbi (Kristen Schaal) whose newest mission is to surveil a single mother, Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and her 9-year-old daughter Sophie (Chloe Coleman), who they think might be connected to the criminals they’re after. JJ and Bobbi rent a room in the same apartment complex as the people they’re surveilancing and implant cameras in Kate and Sophie’s apartment. Sophie finds one of the cameras and tracks down it down, leading her to JJ and Bobbi. She then blackmails JJ into doing her favors and training her to become a spy, while they develop a father-daughter relationship, and Sophie tries pairing JJ with her mom.

This film has incredible stunts and special effects! In the opening scene, there’s a huge gun fight as JJ walks out of an exploding building as the criminals inside perish. The star of this film is none other than former wrestler Dave Bautista. Bautista’s performance is terrific, in his second high profile film role, after his recurring role in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. My Spy is directed by Peter Segal (Naked Gun, The Final Insult, Tommy Boy, Get Smart). My personal favorite part of this movie is when while JJ is training Sophie on how to distract an enemy, Sophie distracts JJ by knocking over the fish bowl, almost killing JJ’s pet fish Blueberry. Luckily JJ has a glass of water on the table and Blueberry survives.

The message of My Spy is that it’s okay to open up to people. JJ develops a relationship with Sophie, Kate and Bobbi when he opens up to Sophie about how his ex-fiancé left him after he returned from the army. There is mild adult humor and mild cursing in this film that parents should know about.

I give My Spy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It’s available on Amazon Prime June 26, 2020! Don’t miss it.

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Entrepreneur Matthew Bakal Talks about Atom Tickets’ Innovative Ticketing for Cinema Fans

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Enjoy Benjamin P.’s interview with Matthew Bakal, co-founder and chairman, Atom Tickets.  Matthew has a unique background that includes extensive experience on both the creative and financial sides of the media business.

Matthew has worked for Warner Bros., Mandate Pictures, Good Universe and IBM entertainment consulting. He has structured financial deals that balance creative ambitions with bottom line prudence. Previously at Lionsgate Entertainment, he oversaw day-to-day business development opportunities and strategic initiatives. Matthew wants more people to see more movies, and he thinks there should be an easier way for the industry to match movie supply with consumer demand. All this experience contributed to the spark that has become Atom and our successful capital raise. Matthew holds an AB in English and American Literature from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Matthew’s favorite movie is Caddyshack. But maybe Airplane. Or perhaps Animal House.

Atom Tickets is an award-winning startup based in Santa Monica, California, the heart of “Silicon Beach.” Atom Tickets changes the way people go to the movies with its revolutionary social movie ticketing app and website.

Backed by Lionsgate, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fidelity Management & Research Company, Atom Tickets is enabled on more than 20,000 screens across the U.S. including AMC Theatres, Cinemark, Harkins Theatres, National Amusements’ Showcase Cinemas and many more. Atom’s user-friendly and socially driven interface allows movie lovers to search for films instantly, invite friends, buy tickets, pre-order concessions and enjoy a VIP experience at the theater. The platform’s innovative marketing solutions and young, diverse user-base help studios, exhibitors and brands reach their target audience and maximize revenue opportunities. Bloomberg, Forbes, USA Today, Variety and TechCrunch are just a few of the influential media outlets covering how Atom makes it easier than ever to go to the movies. https://www.atomtickets.com/

Interview by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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What Does a Neuroscientist Do in Hollywood? Dr. Barry Sandrew Shares His Secrets

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Barry Sandrew, a member of the Board of Advisors at Immersive Hollywood, which is a section of Digital Hollywood, and a Harvard/MGH neuroscientist. Dr. Sandrew is an internationally recognized expert in digital imaging and visual effects pioneer.

He has over 33 patents and decades of feature film & TV accomplishments including productions for all the major Hollywood studios, TV networks and several cable networks. In 2000 Dr. Sandrew established the first and longest operating VFX studio in India. He produced all color compositing & VFX for Spielberg’s first digital animated feature, We’re Back, A Dinosaur Story, VFX for Scorsese’s The Aviator, HBO’s Entourage, oversaw creative and technical teams in the 3D conversion of Alice in Wonderland, the Shrek trilogy and oh so much more!!!

Interview by Katherine S., and Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics

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Blake J. Harris, author of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Sunday, June 21st, 2020

Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Blake J. Harris, the two-time bestselling author of Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation (2014) and The History Of The Future: Oculus, Facebook and the Revolution that Swept Virtual Reality (2019).

His first book, Console Wars, is currently being adapted for television by Legendary Entertainment with producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Scott Rudin. In addition to serving as an executive producer on that adaptation, Harris also directed the upcoming Console Wars documentary, which will be released in 2020 on CBS All Access.

Harris has written for ESPN, IGN, Fast Company, /Film, Complex and The AV Club; and he appears twice per month on Paul Scheer’s award-winning How Did This Get Made? podcast.   

Based on more than 200 interviews with former Sega and Nintendo employees, Console Wars is the tale of how Tom Kalinske miraculously turned an industry punch line into a market leader. Blake J. Harris brings into focus the warriors, the strategies, and the battles and explores how they transformed popular culture forever. Ultimately, Console Wars is the story of how a humble family man, with an extraordinary imagination and a gift for turning problems into competitive advantages, inspired a team of underdogs to slay a giant and, as a result, give birth to a $60 billion industry.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Author’s Page – Amazon
World According to G

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