Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for June, 2020

KIDS FIRST! Chats with Angela C. Santomero, Chief Creative Officer, 9 Story Media Group

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

Join us as we interview a woman who has been changing the way kids watch TV for over 20 years. Angela C. Santomero is the Emmy Award-winning creator and Chief Creative Officer at 9 Story Media Group. She is the Angela C. Creator & Executive Producer of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Blue’s Clues, Wishenpoof, Creative Galaxy & Super Why and has created award-winning kids and family content for PBS, Nickelodeon, Amazon Studios and more!

With a Masters in Child Developmental Psychology from Columbia University-Teacher’s College, Angela’s vision for integrating educational curriculum into entertaining content for kids led her to co-create, executive produce and head write Nick Jr. ‘s landmark series, Blue’s Clues. Malcolm Gladwell referred to Blue’s Clues as “One of the stickiest TV shows EVER made,” in The Tipping Point.

Angela is the recipient of the prestigious Peabody Award for Outstanding Childrenʹs Programming. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Series at the 2019 Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Additionally, Ms. Santomero’s book PRESCHOOL CLUES: Raising Smart, Inspired, and Engaged Kids in a Screen-Filled World (Touchstone) was released April 2018. Her second book RADICAL KINDNESS: The Life Changing Power of Giving and Receiving was released in 2019.

Interview by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Ryan R., age 17

Social Media:

Twitter – @AngelasClues

Instagram – @AngelasClues

Website: www.angelasclues.com

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Lirit Rosenzweig Topaz – A Powerhouse in the World of Animation!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

We recently had privilege of talking with Lirit Rosenzweig Topaz who has 20 years experience as a producer of animation, TV shows, film, music videos and live events.  Ms. Rosenzweig Topaz is the founder and executive producer at Neko Productions, an animation studio based in Burbank, CA, and the founder and owner of FBF Animation, an online animation school that trains animators and concept artists all over the world. As executive producer of Neko, Lirit has worked on a large variety of projects for big brands such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Marvel Avengers, Harry Potter, Barbie and produced the animation in the feature film Ask Dr Ruth, which premiered at Sundance and Tribeca 2019.  The film has been distributed in theaters by Magnolia pictures and is currently streaming on Hulu. Come join us to discover what makes Lirit Rosenzweig Topaz tick and how she bacame such a powerhouse in the world of animation.

Interviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

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Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie * Fantastic Anime; Great Characters; Meaningful Stories

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Jibanyan, Whisper, and Nate travel back in time where they team up with a heroic Yo-kai named Hovernyan and Nate’s adolescent grandfather to stop an evil Yo-kai from taking over the world! Together, they fight Dame Dedtime and her evil Wicked Yo-kai minions to save the world from her evil plans. Can they discover the secret origin of the Yo-kai Watch and save humanity before time runs out!? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “This show’s animation is Japanese anime and is very neat and colorful.  The graphics are amazing and the voice-overs fit each character.  The graphics are similar to the TV show.  My favorite scene is when Hovernyan saves Nate and his grandfather from Dame Dedtime who is trying to kill them for rescuing Jibanyan. It is cool to see someone fight a mob of bad Yo-kai and then save people after surviving a huge attack like that.”  Ginebra Q. adds, “ Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie is such an entertaining film. I really like it. First off, the animation is out of this world. The animation has an intriguing aspect to it. Moreover, there is a large amount of imagination in this film. One can only wish that creatures like the ones in this movie really existed. Also, meaningful stories are always good to see and this one is definitely that.”  Justin Y. wraps it up with, “The script creates a story full of events and exciting fight scenes, which are the main focus of the film. By creating bizarre scenes of enlarging things at the beginning, the screenwriter catches the viewers’ eyes early on. Subsequent events are fast-paced, so presumably, young viewers will not get bored. Nevertheless, the story with “good fighting evil” brings little innovation to the table and renders predictable results. Moreover, a few minor details are not carefully planned for consistency.  For example, Nathaniel hesitates helping his friends in the factory, but at the beginning of the movie he saves Nate without hesitation.” See their full reviews below.

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie
Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I like Yo-Kai Watch: the Movie because it is very funny. The story line of this movie is quite unique.  I like that this film is not a sequence of the Yo-Kai Watch TV show.

Yo-Kai Watch: the Movie captures the fun of one of the hottest Japanese video game and collectible toy brands in the world.  This famous video game was created in 2013 and the show Yo-Kai Watch first aired in 2014.  The show has three seasons and a total of 214 episodes.
Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie is about a boy named Nate and his grandfather who can see the Yo-kai.  Yo-kai are mischievous creatures that become friends with Nate. Nate and Yo-kais Jibanyan and Whisper go back in time where they meet a heroic Yo-kai by the name of Hoveryan and Nate’s grandfather when he was a kid.  Together they take on evil Dame Dedtime, an old and ugly, evil lady and her evil Yo-kai minions.  This DVD is approximately one hour and thirty-five minutes.

This show’s animation is Japanese anime and is very neat and colorful.  The graphics are amazing and the voice-overs fit each character.  The graphics are similar to the TV show.  My favorite scene is when Hovernyan saves Nate and his grandfather from Dame Dedtime who is trying to kill them for rescuing Jibanyan. It is cool to see someone fight a mob of bad Yo-kai and then save people after surviving a huge attack like that.  

The moral of this movie is that having friends is a positive thing; everybody needs a friend.  Nate’s grandfather said he didn’t need friends and yet, all the Yo-kai want to be his friend.  When he needs help the most, the Yo-kai are there to catch him when he falls to help him.

I give Yo-Kai Watch: the Movie 5 out 5 stars and recommend it ages 6 to 18, plus adults. This movies is available on DVD now, so look for it.

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie
By Ginebra Q., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie is such an entertaining film. I really like it. First off, the animation is out of this world. The animation has an intriguing aspect to it. Moreover, there is a large amount of imagination in this film. One can only wish that creatures like the ones in this movie really existed. Also, meaningful stories are always good to see and this one is definitely that.

Nate Adams (Johnny Yong Bosch) is “the chosen one” in this film. There are magical creatures called Yo-Kai and only Nate can see them. In this story the bad Yo-Kai are up to no good, so Nate and his friends team up against them. This is a good plot, although a bit typical. However, this story has some unique and interesting twists to it, with some humor mixed in as well.

As Nate and his friends unite, they make some puns that will surely get a smile from the audience. The effects in this film are so colorful and they really stick out. Furthermore, I love how each Yo-Kai is unique. Humans can relate in a way, since no two humans are exactly the same. In addition, plot twists really develop the storyline and make it even more interesting. One of my favorite characters is Whisper, one of the Yo-Kai. He is silly, but very friendly and loves helping. The best part of this film is the battle between Nate and his friends and the bad Yo-Kai. There is so much action that, if you blink, you might miss something of importance. Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie does not fail to keep your attention. 

This film has many messages about friendship, teamwork and perseverance. We see the characters learn about teamwork and how essential friendship and determination are. The mood if this movie is hopeful.

I give Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 11. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie
By Justin Yu, KIDS FIRST! Reviewer, Age 14


Although I’m not an anime fan, Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie definitely held my interest. The cute Yo-kai and Nate keep me engaged and curious to know what their next actions would be. 

The film is centered around Nate Adams, his grandfather and their Yo-Kai. The movie begins in Nate’s home town, Springdale, where suddenly things become enlarged. Megnnyan is enlarging everything and tells Nate that the world is in trouble.  Confused, Nate goes to his Grandma’s house where a Yo-kai leads him to Hovernyan who tells Nate that they must go back in time to find his Grandpa and his Yo-kai Watch, so they can fight the Wicked who are trying to destroy everything. 

The script creates a story full of events and exciting fight scenes, which are the main focus of the film. By creating bizarre scenes of enlarging things at the beginning, the screenwriter catches the viewers’ eyes early on. Subsequent events are fast-paced, so presumably, young viewers will not get bored. Nevertheless, the story with “good fighting evil” brings little innovation to the table and renders predictable results. Moreover, a few minor details are not carefully planned for consistency.  For example, Nathaniel hesitates helping his friends in the factory, but at the beginning of the movie he saves Nate without hesitation. 


My favorite part is the ending when all of the Yo-kai combine their powers to fight the Wicked. Whisper is my favorite character; the actions and his dialogue are hilarious. In one scene, Whisper is flying around trying to find Master Yada who is standing right in front of him.  One thing that stands out is the animation, which is some of the best anime that I have seen. The scenery and characters are very detailed and colorful and the action scenes are high-octane, with well matched background music.


Yo-Kai Watch: The Movie definitely meets the KIDS FIRST! criteria. I give it 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 11. Since fighting scenes in films were my favorites as a young boy, I think boys would prefer this over girls. The primary message is that when people work together as a team, they can overcome many obstacles and achieve almost anything. This is a very positive and powerful message for the film’s target audience.    

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Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales * Excellent Animation, Fun Characters, Really Good Lessons

Monday, June 8th, 2020

Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu are four young dinosaurs growing up in the Cretaceous period. Life is always an adventure: new volcanoes are popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratopses roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky and the big bad Gigantosaurus reigns over it all! On this exciting DVD, join Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu as they explore the world of Cretacia. Embark on a mission to help find a lost egg s missing parents. Join the four friends as they venture out on a sleepover at the lake and camp among the herds in the desert. The adventures don t end there! Race with Mazu to see a once-in-a-lifetime comet and join Bill as he becomes invisible during a game of hide and seek. Enjoy these adventures and more with our Dino pals! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like the Gigantosaurus Dino Tales DVD because it is very entertaining and funny.  This show amuses younger children as well as older children like me.” Bailey Rae F., adds, “What stands out in these animated episodes are the minute details of each dinosaur and the positive relationship between the four characters. The dinosaurs are very distinguished so that the viewer can determine their various types. The lead character Rocky pretends to be very brave, but his friend assures him that it’s okay to have fears. The character Bill shows his loyalty as a friend. Mazu and Tiny are committed to their friendship. It’s also fun that the dinosaurs have human-like qualities, making them anthropomorphic.” Arjun N. wraps it up with, “The animation is easily the most impressive feature here. The character models appear swiftly, and the environments fully capture the Cretaceous aesthetic. The episodic plots follow similar patterns, and the characters lack distinct personalities. The antagonists are all juvenile bullies. Granted this show is made for preschoolers, so this will not be as obvious to them as it is to an older viewer such as me. “The Island” is the one episode that really stands out for me, featuring a touching plot about friendship as Bill helps Rocky face his fear of swimming.” See their full reviews below.

Gigantosaurus Dino Tales
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11


I like the Gigantosaurus Dino Tales DVD because it is very entertaining and funny.  This show amuses younger children as well as older children like myself.

This DVD is a compilation of eight funny episodes with each episode a duration of 11 minutes approximately.  The episodes do not follow a sequence.  Each one has its individual story line. This DVD is about four “dino” friends, named Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu, who explore the world of Cretacia, where they live and make missions along the way.  This show is very entertaining for young audience, keeping their attention their entire time.

The graphics are very bright and colorful.  I especially like the jungle background.  The voice-over talents suit each character.  The music is appealing, especially the theme song.  The episodes are short and interesting.  My favorite episode is “Mazu’s Comet,” which is about Mazu wanting to see a comet with his name, because he is actually named after the comet.  This is a special day for him because the comet only passes by every 100 hundred years.  He makes a telescope, but the lens of the telescope breaks, so he scavenges to find a new lens in the desert.  He only has a limited time to get back to the mountain to watch the comet.  Finally, he finds the lens he needs but he gets distracted by another dinosaur in need of assistance and forgets all about the lens that he needs to see this special comet.  He travels back without the lens and keeps helping more fellow dinosaurs along the way.  When he finally arrives at the mountain he realizes that he forgot his lens. All the dinosaurs that Mazu helped along the way help him get his lens back and Mazu watches the comet successfully. My favorite character is Rocky because he is very adventurous dinosaur.    

The moral of this DVD is that “teamwork makes the dream work,” while having fun together.  There is nothing like having a strong bond with our closest best friends to experience adventures together while exploring our surroundings or hometown.

I give Gigantosaurus Dino Tales DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults can watch this DVD with their children as well.  This DVD is available now so look for it!

Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales
By Bailey Rae Fenderson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

What I like about DVD is seeing all the characters of different types that all get along as great friends. I like how they work together as a team to solve problems. I also love the animation.

This DVD is a collection of episodes from the TV show by the same name. The story line is four young dinosaurs growing up in the Cretaceous period where there is a new adventure every day from volcanoes popping up, to meteor showers lighting up the night sky to all the various dinosaurs that you might run into at any time. The young dinosaurs, Rocky, Bill, Tiny and Mazu invite the audience to join them in their adventures.

What stands out in these animated episodes are the minute details of each dinosaur and the positive relationship between the four characters. The dinosaurs are very distinguished so that the viewer can determine their various types. The lead character Rocky pretends to be very brave, but his friend assures him that it’s okay to have fears. The character Bill shows his loyalty as a friend. Mazu and Tiny are committed to their friendship. It’s also fun that the dinosaurs have human-like qualities, making them anthropomorphic.

The message of this DVD is to demonstrate friendship, acceptance and compassion. The episodes focus on taking care of one another and being thoughtful. I learned to continue to value my friends and enjoy fun times together. I also learned how to pronounce some of the difficult names of dinosaurs.

I give Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages w to 5. It is available now on DVD or digital, so look for it.

Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Gigantosaurus: Dino Tales is an English dubbed collection of episodes from the titular French CGI-animated preschool series. Kids learning through early childhood education will find plenty of great messages and funny characters. Most of the episodes follow a repetitive structure, with a few standouts.

This anthology follows the adventures of Rocky (Dylan Schombling), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tinu (Aine Sunderland), and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell) who are four young dinosaurs growing up in the Cretaceous period. Surrounding these tales is the overarching mysterious Gigantosaurus who helps them on a few adventures.

The four leads share great banter allowing for believable friendships. Keep in mind; they are all child actors who are slowly coming into their own. Dylan Schombling, as Rocky, is easily my favorite of the bunch overcompensating his masculinity towards his inner fears. His dynamic with Bill, voiced by Nicholas Holmes, is strongest with a touching episode addressing how he helps his friend face his fears. The dynamic between Tinu, Mazu and other pair-ups are not as strong, although Aine Sunderland and Nahanni Mitchell give charismatic performances.

The animation is easily the most impressive feature here. The character models appear swiftly, and the environments fully capture the Cretaceous aesthetic. The episodic plots follow similar patterns, and the characters lack distinct personalities. The antagonists are all juvenile bullies. Granted this show is made for preschoolers, so this will not be as obvious to them as it is to an older viewer such as me. “The Island” is the one episode that really stands out for me, featuring a touching plot about friendship as Bill helps Rocky face his fear of swimming.

The message of this film is to always value friendships. All four of the dinosaurs have a great dynamic that revolves around trust and teamwork. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. This DVD is available now on DVD and digital so check it out.

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Register Now for KIDS FIRST! Film Critics Online Boot Camps in June, July and August

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

If you’re passionate about movies and see yourself in front of the camera as an entertainment reporter or actor, look no further, this is the camp for you!  This summer, due to the COVID-19 pandemic our KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Boot Camps are all online. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t matter where you live, anyone can attend. You don’t have to live in the city where the camp meets or have to travel.

We have three camps meeting for one week each in June, July and August. Each camp meets for 2 hours a day, Monday through Friday. During the camp you will be coached by seasoned professionals and learn to…

  • Critique and write film reviews
  • Learn how to videotape your reviews
  • Interview talent on Zoom and in person
  • Promote your YouTube videos

After completing this camp, you’ll be invited to join our KIDS FIRST! Film Critics national team of reporters where you get to watch and review films before they are released, interview celebrities live and online, attend behind-the-scenes events for new film and digital releases.

Sound like what you’re looking for! Go here to register or for additional information. 

https://www.kidsfirst.org/become-a-juror/

Camp dates and times
June 22 – 26
July 13 – 17
August 10 – 14
Classes meet 12:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Pacific Time


Class fee is $110.
Register at https://forms.gle/zaP1SZ6Q9TUe4e459


What do you do at camp?

  • Develop vocabulary and criteria to critique and write reviews.
  • Watch, analyze and discuss films.
  • Examine behind-the-scenes contributors (directors to editors).
  • Review film in written and video format daily.
  • Learn how to create videotaped reviews.
  • Learn how to record and edit your own reviews in front of a green screen.
  • Learn and practice how to interview celebrities online or in person.
  • Meet working actors, writers, producers, film critics and other entertainment professionals.
  • Work collaboratively with your team members.
  • Learn about filmmaking programs that are available to you.
  • Share your knowledge with parents, peers and the public.

Check out one of our previous camps.

Contact us for more information. https://www.kidsfirst.org

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