Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

Archive for August, 2020

Fatima * A Definite Must-See for Those of the Catholic Faith

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Based on historical events, three young shepherds in Fátima, Portugal, report visions of the Virgin Mary, inspiring believers and angering officials of the Church and the government, who try to force them to recant their story. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “The true standouts of Fatimaare its young actors. Stephanie, Jorge and Alejandra show the struggle of being called “liars” when telling the truth. The kids are called out by their parents and are given the cold shoulder by many in the village. This never stops them—they stand by the truth with faith in their hearts.” See her full review below.

Fatima
By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Fatima is a definite must-see film for those of the Catholic faith. A phenomenal period masterpiece that pulls at your heartstrings. A film that should not be missed. Fatima brings light to a true story that many do not know.

Fatima tells the true story of three young children who met the Virgin Mary and were witnesses of “The Miracle of the Sun.” The movie opens up with Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) as he visits Sister Lucia (Sonia Braga) in a nunnery in 1989. They talk about the happenings from Lucia’s past in 1917 Fatima, Portugal.

Stephanie Gil stars in Fatima, an uplifting story about the power of faith. Credit: Claudio Iannone ©2020 PICTUREHOUSE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The film goes back and forth between both years. We see a young Lucia (Stephanie Gil) with her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto (Jorge Lamelas and Alejandra Howard) meet the Virgin Mary (Joana Ribeiro). After that fateful day, the story breaks out and the children are faced with a harsh reality.

The true standouts of Fatimaare its young actors. Stephanie, Jorge and Alejandra show the struggle of being called “liars” when telling the truth. The kids are called out by their parents and are given the cold shoulder by many in the village. This never stops them—they stand by the truth with faith in their hearts.

The movie concludes with The Miracle of the Sun which happened on October 13, 1917, followed by actual photos of that day. The makeshift monument that was built in the movie is an exact replica of the monument in the photograph. It is appealing to see how much filmmakers worked on small yet important details such as this one.

Goran Višnjić and Joaquim de Almeida star in Fatima, an uplifting story about the power of faith. Credit: Claudio Iannone ©2020 PICTUREHOUSE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The lesson to be learned from the film is to always have faith and believe in your truth. Time and time again, Lucia faces anger from her mother, who believes her daughter is lying about meeting Mary. Not once does Lucia give up, however; and she always prays, standing by her word. The topic of the Catholic faith may disinterest some audiences who do not share the same views. Considering that Fatimafeatures the Virgin Mary, Catholicism is front and center in the movie.

I give Fatima 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters August 28, 2020.

Check out more of Heather’s interviews with talent from the film below.

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Michael E. Uslan, The Batman Everything Guy since 1989

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

Enjoy Eshaan M. and Jude A.’s interview with Michael E. Uslan, The Batman Everything Guy. Uslan, a well-known figure in the entertainment industry, is the producer and brand-builder behind every Batman movie since 1989.

Uslan, who famously led a decade-long effort to bring Tim Burton’s Batman to theaters in 1989 will now oversee the development of the Stan Lee Universe across film and TV development for Genius Brands. In 1979, with production partner Ben Melniker, Uslan purchased film rights for the fictional superhero. Tim Burton’s “Batman” made it to theaters a decade later, launching a Caped Crusader empire of 16 feature films generating $7.1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

For more than 30 years, Uslan has produced every Batman film, including Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy, Todd Phillips’ Joker, and Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman. He has written for comics and was a close friend of Stan Lee. His son, David Uslan will work on the project with him. Stan Lee Universe is a joint venture between Genius Brands and Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, managed by Genius.

Interviewed by Jude A.(left) and Eshaan M.(right), KIDS FIRST! Film Critics

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The One and Only Ivan * Realistic CGI and Profound Message That Captures Your Heart

Monday, August 17th, 2020

A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Stella as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “With realistic computer-generated imagery and a profound message, The One and Only Ivan captures its viewers’ hearts and minds. Throughout the ninety-four-minute feature, just about anyone will grow rather fond of Ivan and his pals. The film comprises a mix of human characters, settings and assets created with computer graphics that is both believable and intricate. The One and Only Ivan flows magically, and its power-packed message has been perfectly preserved and magnified from its literary inspiration.” See his full review below.

The One and Only Ivan
By Eshaan Mani, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

With realistic computer-generated imagery and a profound message, The One and Only Ivan captures its viewers’ hearts and minds. Throughout the ninety-four-minute feature, just about anyone will grow rather fond of Ivan and his pals. The film comprises a mix of human characters, settings and assets created with computer graphics that is both believable and intricate. The One and Only Ivan flows magically, and its power-packed message has been perfectly preserved and magnified from its literary inspiration.

The comedic feature film directed by Thea Sharrock is an adaptation of author K.A. Applegate’s Newbery Medal-winning book by the same title. The title character, a silverback gorilla, headlines at the Big Top Mall Circus in Atlanta, GA. Ivan enjoys notoriety and popularity far and wide for his façade of ferocity. He lives quite happily with his multi-species troupe of friends, including Mack, the ringleader, Stella and Ruby, the elephants, Henrietta the chicken and Bob, the dog. After experiencing a loss and then a new arrival, things at the Big Top take a turn. Ivan devotes himself to piecing together his past and, in the process, works together with his buddies to hatch a plan to escape from the circus.

Produced by Allison Shearmur, Angelina Jolie and Brigham Taylor, The One and Only Ivan does not disappoint when it comes to star power. Sam Rockwell voice-acts the part of Ivan, Bryan Cranston portrays Mack, and Bob is voiced by Danny DeVito. Sam Rockwell puts forth a compelling performance; his honest and emotional voicing of Ivan made me sympathize with the gorilla and hear his voice on a deeper level. Bryan Cranston puts on an inspiring and enthralling performance as Mack, the slightly hammy ringleader who isn’t afraid to take risks. His delivery was on point, as well. And lastly, a veteran in the Hollywood film industry, Danny DeVito – his comic timing, as in his other eighty-nine performances, is impeccable. Bob adds a lighter air to the film, especially at some sad moments. The hilarious script by Mike White, expert cinematography and graceful, powerful music also work together to make the viewing experience even more enjoyable. My favorite part of this film is the final circus performance – you’ll have to watch it to see why!

This Disney+ film gives us hope that we can all change the world and make a difference just like Ivan does – not only does he make a difference in his life but also in the life of his young responsibility. The One and Only Ivan is also a great film to show children as it teaches them empathy and promotes kindness and altruism. There is mention of death in The One and Only Ivan, and gunshots are heard.

I  rate The One and Only Ivan 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend the film to children ages 8 to 18. The One and Only Ivan is coming to Disney Plus on August 21, 2020!

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Art Bell – Started Comedy Central and “Lost His Sense of Humor”

Friday, August 14th, 2020

This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Art Bell, author of the memoir “Constant Comedy: How I Started Comedy Central and Lost My Sense of Humor” (Coming September 2020).

With a MBA in Economics from The Wharton School, Bell has applied his skills to television production with some of the leading companies of the world. Bell founded Comedy Channel in 1988 while at HBO, developing initial programming and brand for merged comedy networks (HA! and Comedy Channel) which became Comedy Central. He was President/COO of CourtTV and a founding partner of Scalar Media Partners, a consulting practice handling a range of clients and projects – Panasonic NA, Epix Pay Television Channel, AARP, A&E Television, United Health and The Weinstein Company. The practice developed media strategy, built corporate alliances and the international development of the 3D television industry.

Art Bell may be the funniest guy we’ve talked with about the state of the entertainment business and the constant state of change.

Interviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, age 14

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Mark Simon: The Godfather of Storyboarding…and author

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Today we have the pleasure to introducing you to Mark Simon, Producer/Director/Story Artist. Mark has worked in the entertainment industry for 30 years and has been a professional artist for over 40 years. Mark has storyboarded projects such as Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, Black Lightning, Creepshow, Dynasty, Cult of Chucky, Little Rascals, Woody Woodpecker, The Waterboy, Spielberg’s seaQuest DSV and more.  www.Storyboards-East.com.

Director Louis Koerner from Ireland said, “Once again, a tour de force of telling imagery. Greatly appreciate your invaluable assistance in making sense of all of our madness!”

Mark’s latest book is Attacked!, a memoir of when he and his family were attacked at their house and he became the first person in the country to hold parents responsible for the actions of their kids in a court of law. www.MarkSimonBooks.com/Attacked

Mark has won over 200 international awards for projects he’s written and directed. Prior to storyboarding and producing, he was an art director in live-action film and TV in Los Angeles, CA and Orlando, FL. While in Los Angeles, he designed many feature films, music videos and commercials. He then became the second art director at the new Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, FL in 1989. He is a second degree black belt and two-time national champion in Tae Kwon Do.

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