The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1 – Superb! Martin Short as The Cat Makes Me Laugh

January 31st, 2019

Enjoy the first volume of the third season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The award-winning television show follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they’re whisked off on amazing voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat. Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! In this volume set, kids will learn how accidents and mistakes can lead to discovery, how the shape of an object impacts the way it bounces, and how changing the direction of a force can make heavier things easier to move. But the discoveries don’t end there! We learn how mirrors reflect and bounce images, how to change the volume and pitch of a sound, and much, much more! So let’s go, go, go, go on an adventure – we’re flying with The Cat in the Hat today! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic SaniyaRain F. comments, “The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes.” Alejandra G. adds, “This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jordan M. adds, “I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Kimberly M. wraps it up with, “The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short. The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way.” See their full reviews below.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By SaniyaRain Fowler, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The second episode is called “Play Ball.” It is a funny story about Sally getting a new ball and a boy loses it when he throws it up and it gets caught in the tree branches. Cat then takes them to a really cool ball palace with lots and lots of cool balls. They try to find the right bouncy ball for Sally. Cat gives her a tool that helps her look closely to see if the balls bounce. They finally find a ball she likes. Sometimes, things can be replaced and sometimes they can’t. One thing is for sure, we will always lose stuff, even people. We have friends and sometimes they might lose our belongings and we get mad. Sometimes friends do stuff to hurt our feelings. We have to decide if the object is more important than our friend or is our friend more important. Losing anything is not fun, but it happens.

The third episode is “Gravity Drop.” This is my second favorite episode. It is about a boy getting his plane stuck in a tree. They go to a valley that allows you to have more or less gravity. It looks fun because they are floating through the air when there is less gravity. It reminds me of going on a rollercoaster and going up into the air and then getting dropped back down. This is like a learning video because it teaches the viewer about gravity.

The last episode, “Design Time” is my favorite of all. It is my favorite because Sally makes a vase for her mom and the boy makes a robot for his dad. Sally has trouble making the vase so Cat takes them to blueprintia where they learn how to create blueprints of what they want to make. They learn that they must have a plan in order to do something correctly. That is like life, too. You have to have a plan. You have to think before you do something or make something. If you want things to go right, plan it first. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This is available on DVD now so, be sure to look for it. Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1
By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes. The first episode that I watched was about Sarah the Inventor. This series has been around since 2010, but every time I watch it, I see something new. I think it is for everyone. The family can learn lots of lessons from each show. Sarah is an inventor like me. I create masterpieces on canvas, but Sarah invented the paint fall. When Sally hits the paint fall, all the colors get mixed up and start forming a color that one of the characters needs for his mountain. This episode is called “Accidents Happen if You’re Lucky.” As we get older, we learn that sometimes the things we plan don’t go the way we want them to, but can still have a good outcome. Different doesn’t always mean better and that is something we should understand about people. All people do not look alike, but we are all important in our own ways.

To start off, I want to comment on how The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1 and the rest of this series impacts children in a positive way due to the vocabulary and other lessons taught in each episode. This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to. I didn’t follow The Cat in the Hat when I was younger, but I feel it is very attracted to its target audience. The way the show is made, with all the colorful objects and the plots that draw you in is quite interesting.

The episodes on this DVD contain different stories and plots, but the format and the meaning are consistent. All the adventures have different plots and all the characters are inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning. This motivates kids’ curiosity about the natural world and encourages them to follow the positive examples.

My favorite scene is at the end of when episode when The Cat in the Hat, his cat cousins, Nick, Sally, Fish and all his family gather together for a great musical finale where they are celebrated as true adventurers. I like this scene because it is a very creative with great songs and how the it is organized. It definitely gets children’s attention in every way possible.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By Jordan Millar, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

These imaginative episodes from the popular television series are incredibly animated and provide a unique take on Dr. Seuss’s classic storybook characters. In fact, when I was younger, I used to watch this show on a regular basis, so it is nice to bring back that sense of nostalgia.

Episodes follow the miraculous adventures of young friends Sally and Nick. Every day, they join the whimsical Cat in the Hat, who guides them on magical, scientific explorations. Fans of Dr. Seuss will also recognize their favorite characters like Fish, Thing One and Thing Two. In this volume, kids are be able to learn many different things, such as how boats are able to float, how bridges are built and how certain accidents can lead to new discoveries.

In each episode, Sally, Nick and The Cat in the Hat test things out and run different experiments to draw conclusions. It is very interactive with characters always asking questions that help viewers think. At the end of each episode, they also provide experiments that kids can do at home. Visually the series is just like the places in Dr. Seuss’s original books. I like the elaborate and artistic scenery, the quirky dialogue and fun songs.

I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings. Although there is no primary lesson, there are multiple things you can learn by watching every episode!

I rate this production 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7, but it is great for the entire family. You can find it on DVD now so look for it. 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1
By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

In this DVD, the Cat in the Hat, along with 6-year-old best friends Sally and Nick, Thing #1 and Thing #2 and Fish go on numerous adventures dealing with scientific discoveries. The separate stories include dealing with the phenomenon of shadows and how they are made, why a slide loses friction, why accidents can be a positive thing and why some magnets attract and others do the exact opposite. The stories are approximately 15 minutes each. The set consists of two discs and is approximately 220 minutes long.

The important message that this show teaches is in encouraging kids’ curiosity about the natural world. The series answers questions about natural science in a kid-friendly way. They learn about the seasons, animal behavior, habitats and more – learning to appreciate the wonder of exploration and discovery. The day and night concept, animals, plants, planets, gravity and a lot more are taught in fun ways and make kids catch it fast. I recommend this for ages 5 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars.  

The DVD consists of 20 episodes plus a bonus section with five snippets around two to three minutes each, all of which reinforce the scientific facts in the stories. Also available is a Spanish language sub-title option. The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short.

The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way. I like the separate adventures that deal with science facts. I could relate to the story about the children’s slide because I recall being at a popular amusement park as a child, where one of the popular attractions was a gigantic slide. When I was younger, I was able to slide down gracefully. Years later, as a pre-teen, I was not able to slide down the slide without becoming stuck at some point because of the friction issues. This was probably because of the bumpiness in the aging attraction. After many complaints, it was dismantled. Another story segment I found interesting was the opposites magnets attracting. I enjoyed when they were streaming down the river in red and blue boats and have to match the color of the boat with the same color of the oncoming rock in order to keep from crashing into it.

I recommend this DVD for ages 5 to 9 and give it a 5 out of 5 stars. It is available on DVD now, so check it out!

The Kid Who Would Be King – Heartwarming Film About How Anyone Could Be A King

January 24th, 2019

Old school magic meets the modern world in this epic adventure. Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical sword in the stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “…it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message.” Zoe C. adds, “I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.” Juanita L. wraps it up with, “It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.” See their full reviews below.

The Kid Who Would Be King
By Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming film about a boy named Alexander who finds out that he is the future king of Britain. Now he, his friends and his enemies, must embark on a quest to defeat a wicked enchantress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before the end of a solar eclipse. This film is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, including the legend of the magical sword, Excalibur. At night, everyone disappears from the world except for Alex and anyone he has knighted. This way they can take whatever they want and try to defeat all of Morgana’s minions. When they are all gone, Alex and his knights stay where they are and everything else returns to normal.

There are lots of cool scenes in this film that involve exciting sword battles. In my interview with Sir Patrick Stewart (Merlin), Rhianna Dorris (Kaye) and Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alex), I learned that the cast used real swords to train with to learn the real feel and heaviness of medieval swords and armor. However, in the actual film they used realistic plastic swords, because otherwise it would be too dangerous.

My favorite character in this film is Merlin (Angus Imrie/Sir Patrick Stewart). He is serious and gets things done most of the time, but he also does a lot of funny and cool things that are really appealing to watch. For example, when he does his magic, all the stuff around him is flying through the air and all the lights are flickering. That is a really interesting effect.

My favorite scene is when Alexander and a few of his knights are rushing through the woods on horses, while trying to defeat a large army of fire monsters on fire breathing horses who are trying to take Excalibur away from them. This scene is very exciting and has a few funny parts in it too.

The message of this film is that anyone can be a king; you just need to have a good heart and follow the knight’s code which says that you must “honor those you love, refrain from wanton offence, speak the truth at all times and persevere in any enterprise until the end.”

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This movie opens in theaters on, January 25, 2019. Look for it!

The Kid Who Would be King
By Zoe C. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10 

This movie is very interesting.  I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.

The film is based in the King Arthur story and retold in a modern way. It’s about a boy named Alex (Louis Ashborne Serkis) who finds the Excalibur sword and embarks on an adventure trying to battle bullying and injustice. He teams up with his best friend in his journey to become a great leader. Alex and his enemies conform a group of brave knights to fight monsters and defy great dangers. 

In the beginning, Alex and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are victims of bullying at their school. They believe they are regular boys, until one day Alex comes across a sword in a big rock. He pulls it out and he shows it to Bedders. Later, they realize that everything that happens to them is similar to what happened in a book Alex’s dad gave him with a very special dedicatory. It is a very special book because, despite that his father left, he has feelings for him. He and Bedders go on a quest that replicates in many ways the story of the King Arthur legend. Alex not only discovers his power for being a leader and doing good deeds, it is also a self discovery of loss and acceptance.

This spin on the classic King Arthur tale has a different purpose than other films or interpretations of this classic tale: – to show todays’ kids the power of classic tales, the importance of books and to find the good within ourselves by retelling the story in a contemporary way and making it relatable to a new generation.

The film reminds us why books are essential in our education and how they show messages about perseverance and loyalty. In the movie, the main characters face lots of obstacles and some are very scary! 

The scenes with the medieval villain Morgana are particularly exiting. I also love the scenes with Merlin, especially the younger one. They are funny and obviously magical. I like that Alex and Beddders team up with their enemies in their journey. I enjoy the sets in London from the landscapes near the city to the beautiful Stonehenge. The sets and costumes are well done. The acting is very good and the special effects believable.

The story flows well, although there are so many scenes that make the film longer than necessary. Another thing that bothered me is that it references so many things we have seen in other films. That makes it not very original. Also, some scenes are a little too over dramatic. I do like how this film shows the classic tale based on someone pulling a sword out of a stone and becoming king.The message of this film is that nobody is just ordinary. We just have to discover the great powers we have within ourselves. I give The this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 6 to 18. It opens in theaters on January 25, 2019. So look for it.

The Kid Who Would Be King
Juanita L., KIDS FIRST!  Adult Juror

I enjoyed watching The Kid Who Would Be King. It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.

I like that the story is retold using the book given to Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) as the source for his adventure. We see Alex along with his fellow students at school and going about their daily activities as they hear and see negative news about a divided United Kingdom. It is similar to the type of activities we are experiencing in the United States today.  

We see Alex defending his friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), a would-be magician, which leads him to become the target of bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). After running from them, Alex discovers a sword in a stone. He and Bedders deem it to be Excalibur.  Alex is reminded by Bedders and his book of King Arthur of his mission to unite and fight the evil of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) sister of King Arthur.

My favorite scene is when young Merlin (Angus Imrie) appears at the school as a lanky new teen student with an ill-fitting uniform. To me, he steals the scene with his hand actions, clicking and snapping to perform his sorcery.  The repetition of his sorcery provides some elements of humor and, at one point, I tried to duplicate his hand actions.

The CGI and other visuals and music are acceptable. Be aware that there is fantasy action violence, scary images with bullying. The Kid Who Would Be King has an important and timely message. We see young people standing up to wrongs and taking on what is right.  Age is not a deterrent and a group victory can be achieved.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18, and some adults. I give it 5 out 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 25, 2019 so, look for it.

Photos © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Glass – Unique Twist On Superhero Movies With Lots Of Comedy, Action And Drama

January 17th, 2019

M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000’s Unbreakable, from Touchstone, and 2016’s Split, from Universal—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller: Glass. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nancy F. comments, “This unique film is such a great combination of comedy, action and drama and that’s what makes it unique and different.  I didn’t want to look away during any part of the film, because every second you feel like you want to know more.”  Jordan M. adds, “This action-packed film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, puts a unique twist on the classic theme of a superhero movie. As another addition to Unbreakable and Split, this movie ties the series together well and I enjoyed it.” See their full reviews below.

Glass
By Nancy F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

(from left) James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

The film Glass is breathtaking! This unique film is such a great combination of comedy, action and drama and that’s what makes it unique and different.  I didn’t want to look away during any part of the film, because every second you feel like you want to know more.  The way each story is laid out is outstanding. Each character is so unique and all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The film is so extraordinary that you think you have powers.

The story line is about three people who have amazing gifts that are so unbelievable that they start to believe they are more then just a person with amazing gifts. Then, a doctor finds out about them and takes them in because she doesn’t believe that they have extraordinary gifts. She believes they just have mental disabilities from accidents that happened to each of them during their lives.  She tries repeatedly to make them believe that they are all normal with a disability, until they decide to do something insane to show her that they are not just a normal people and are special.  This film will surely bring chills, smiles, laughter and maybe even tears to those who watch it.

James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde, a man who whose mind houses 23 different personalities, in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

The main characters are: James McAvoy (Kevin W. Crumb/The Beast/Patricia/Barry/Etc), Bruce Willis (David Dunn), Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Price/Mr. Glass), Sarah Paulson (Dr. Ellie Staple), Spencer Treat Clark (Joseph Dunn) Anya Taylor Joy (Casey Cooke), Charalayne Woodard (Elijah’s Mother). These actors truly make you believe their characters are real and keep you on the edge of your seat with their performances.

My favorite part is when Anya Joy (as Casey) speaks to Kevin Crumb who has split personalities – good and bad.  During this conversation, Casey talks to all of Kevin’s various personalities and the love she shows somehow fights off the other personalities.  It is heartfelt to watch this scene because it shows how important their friendship is.

The message of this film is that we are all special.  All we need to do is express ourselves and not hide. Another message is that it doesn’t matter if other people believe in you. As long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible.


Glass
By Jordan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Bruce Willis as David Dunn/The Overseer in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, including adults.  I truly believe that many who watch this film will really enjoy it. This film opens in theaters on January 18, 2019. Look for it!

This action-packed film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, puts a unique twist on the classic theme of a superhero movie. As another addition to Unbreakable and Split, this movie ties the series together well and I enjoyed it.

(from left) Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price/Mr. Glass and James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde in “Glass,” written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

The comic book thriller follows security guard David Dunn, who uses his heroic powers to find a troubled man named Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has a superhuman alter-ego and twenty-four distinct personalities. When the men are captured and taken to a mental institution, they encounter another character, named Mr. Glass. The doctor informs them that she has three days to convince them that superheroes are not real, but she is yet to realize that the three characters are meant to be connected by fate.

This movie puts you into a new perspective, and makes you think differently. The stunt coordinator, Mohammed J. Ali, incredibly incorporates action and fighting into certain scenes. However, the plot is sometimes unclear and characters’ roles sre unbalanced, so some people receive more attention than others. My favorite scene is when the main characters sit in chairs and are asked to recall moments that make them believe they’re superheroes. The doctor tries to convince them that there is a logical explanation behind these events, but as viewers, this is when we know that they have powers.

The movie overall has a deep meaning that there are more complications than good and evil and the idea of superheroes clashes with modern day society. Although the movie contains some mild profanity and violent scenes, it is still a great film to watch.

I rate this production 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters Friday, January 18, 2019. Look for it!

On the Basis of Sex – Well Crafted and Authentic Representation of the Iconic RBG

January 12th, 2019

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her career and the way the courts view gender discrimination. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella L. comments, “The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s time period really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified version of the story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the film really helps it stand out.” See her full review below.

On the Basis of Sex
By Ella Ladd, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Felicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Mimi Leder’s ON THE BASIS OF SEX, a Focus Features release.

On the Basis of Sex is such a fun and empowering film. I enjoyed it quite a bit as it was equally  entertaining and informative. The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s time period really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified version of the story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the film really helps it stand out. This is a very important movie for people see.

This film follows the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones), a young and gifted lawyer, who struggles to find work simply because she is a woman. In order to prove that the law discriminates on the basis of sex, Ms. Ginsburg has to work harder than she ever has before.

Felicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Mimi Leder’s ON THE BASIS OF SEX

 
The film is very well written with an immaculate attention to detail, thanks to the writer being Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nephew Daniel Stiepleman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing. It is full of heart and truth because Justice Ginsburg made sure everything was accurately portrayed. She read all of the drafts of the scripts to make sure that her story told well. It is never boring! I laughed out loud when it was funny and got angry seeing RBG rejected and having doors slammed in her face, due to her gender.

The acting is really great. Both Armie Hammer, who portrays Martin Ginsburg and Cailee Spaeny who portray Jane Ginsburg absolutely blew me away. Armie portrays Martin as a man who really loves and respects his wife in such a heartwarming way. Cailee portrays Jane as a funny and empowered feminist. The relationship between Jane and Ruth is displayed with such honesty and realism. My only complaint about the acting might be that Ruth’s accent could have been much stronger.

Felicity Jones stars as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Mimi Leder’s ON THE BASIS OF SEX, a Focus Features release.

I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults. This film tells such a special and unique story, one that is incredibly important, with equal amounts of heart, humor, turmoil and honesty. This triumphant story really gets you thinking. It opens nationwide in theaters January hits theatres worldwide on January 11, 2019, so do yourself a favor and go watch it.

The Upside – Wonderful Remake of the French Classic with Well-Founded Laughs

January 12th, 2019

Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs.” See his full review below.

The Upside
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed “January movie” will find a perfect outing.

Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in THE UPSIDE David Lee/Photographer

Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family’s financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don’t believe in Dell’s capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dell failing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston star in THE UPSIDE.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his character when needed, as his condition make him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as well.

Bryan Cranston stars in THE UPSIDE David Lee/Photographer

Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic French scene and even has more nuances of its own. The main problem with this movie comes from the fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn’t much of a difference with a few scenes and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions don’t fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does prove to its advantage.

The message of this film is that a friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and a happier mental well-being. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out.

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