Up to date information about children's entertainment – film, TV, DVD and more…. from founder and president of KIDS FIRST! Ranny Levy

Archive for July, 2009

AFI Presents A Special Children’s Screening of the Disney classic Mary Popping at Arclight Sherman Oaks

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Walt Disney’s crowning achievement of live-action, animation and music, winner of five Academy Awards and “Practically Perfect in Every Way,” MARY POPPINS is one of the most beloved movies of all time. When a change in the wind blows in Mary Poppins, a nanny, who magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure, the two young children of a stuffy banker, are swept up into an incredible unforgettable journey filled with tap dancing penguins, kites, merry-go-round horse races, laughter and a chorus of chimney sweeps led by Bert (Dick Van Dyke) singing Chim Chim Cher-ee. It’s a magical film for children to see on the big screen; a spoonful of sugar. #6 on the AFI Greatest Movie Musicals list and the song, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is #36 on the AFI 100 Years’ 100 Songs list.

When: Monday, August 3 at 5:00PM.

Where:  ARCLIGHT SHERMAN OAKS; 15301 Ventura Blvd; Los Angeles, CA 91403

Rating G Running Time 139 mins
Genre Family
Director(s) Robert Stevenson
Cast Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke
2009 KIDS FIRST! Top 100 Kid Films List

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Marketing Violent Films to Young Children – Judge Baker Children’s Center Complains to the FTC

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The Judge Baker Children’s Center recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting an expansion of the marketing of violent entertainment to young children. In particular, they objected to the marketing of licensed toys, food promotions and advertising to children as young as two for the movie, Transformers which is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of sci-fi violence, brief sexual humor, and language by the Motion Picture Association of America.

A review by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood found that Transformers (DreamWorks, July 4, 2007) is being marketed extensively to children much younger than the MPAA’s recommended age of thirteen for the movie.

The release of many blockbuster PG-13 movies, such as Pirates of the Caribbean or Spiderman, is often preceded by a line of licensed toys. While toymakers seek to capitalize on a movie’s popularity, the toys – in turn – help create awareness of the movie. Often the toys and movie are promoted together; television advertisements for a toy may include a clip from the movie or an exhortation to see the film and a mention of its release date. For these reasons, licensed toys must be considered marketing for the film itself.

Hasbro, which owns the exclusive license for Transformers toys, has created an entire line of new toys and games for the Transformers movie. Every single one of the 129 toys and games listed at Hasbro’s Transformers website comes with an age recommendation younger than the film’s recommended age of thirteen. http://www.hasbro.com/transformers/default.cfm?page=Products.
Seventy-two of these products (56%) are recommended for children as young as five; an additional thirty-two toys (25%) are recommended for children as young as four; thirteen toys (10%) are recommended for children as young as three. The age recommendation of these toys is likely to deceive parents into believing that the film is appropriate for young children.

What are your thoughts? Should the marketing of violent entertainment be allowed to target children under the age of 10? Should government work with media and toy companies to set a consistent set of ratings for toys and the media they represent? Does this concern you?

For more information, go to http://commercialfreechildhood.org/pressreleases/transformersftcletter.pdf

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Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods coming to DVD July 21

Sunday, July 19th, 2009
The thrilling feature-length pilot of television’s longest running Sci-Fi series, Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods debuts the way it was meant to be seen, as a re-mastered, re-cut and re-imagined Final Cut DVD July 21. Taking after the author’s vision of the pilot, visual effects have been enhanced, the soundtrack has been updated to include an entirely original score, and the new final cut features a more self-contained storyline. Picking up the story nearly a year after the original 1994 Stargate film, Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods follows Air Force Colonel Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson, “MacGyver”) and Major Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping, “Sanctuary”) as they join an outstanding Stargate team on a mission to the planet Abydos in order to defeat a band of warriors led by their nemesis Ra. With the threat of the brutal Gou’ald hanging over the entire galaxy, the team must succeed in order to stop General Hammond (Don S. Davis, Stargate: Continuum™) from unleashing his own ominous solution. The only television series ever to receive the United States Air Force Seal of Approval, “Stargate SG-1™” has earned 22 Leoâ Award nominations – including nine wins – eight Emmyâ nominations, four Saturnâ Awards and two Geminiâ Awards during its landmark run. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that includes fan favorites Michael Shanks (“Stargate: Universe™”) and Christopher Judge (Stargate: Continuum), this ultimate realization of the series’ iconic launch includes exclusive all-new bonus features as well as a masterful fine-tuning from series Executive Producer Brad Wright.

*1998: Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, “Stargate: SG-1”

Re-mastered. Re-cut. Re-imagined… Remarkable! The thrilling pilot episode of television’s longest running Sci-Fi series is available to own on DVD. With exclusive special features and masterful fine-tuning from series Executive Producer Brad Wright, Stargate SG-1™: Children of the Gods Final Cut is the ultimate realization of the series’ iconic launch. Written by Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright. Directed by Mario Azzopardi.

Jack O’Neill and Sam Carter join a formidable Stargate team on a mission to Abydos to defeat fierce warriors led by the vicious Ra. With the threat of the brutal Gou’ald hanging over the galaxy, the team must succeed – or General Hammond will unleash an apocalyptic solution!

DVD Specs: Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods DVD release is presented in widescreen (16:9 aspect ratio) with English 5.1 Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. Bonus features include:

· Commentary from Co-Writer and Executive Producer Brad Wright and Richard Dean Anderson

· “Back to the Beginning” featurette

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson are back for a sixth time to play the roles that made them stars in both the wizarding and muggle communities. The film also stars Michael Gambon, Jim Broadbent, Alan Rickman, David Thewlis and Helena Bonham Carter, among others. Check out photo galleries below and visit the trailer page to see the gang in action. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” directed by David Yates, is scheduled for release on July 15, 2009.

Film synopsis:
Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealousy but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

And another photo gallery from the director’s appearance at a Q&A; for the fans earlier this week.

David Heyman Talks “Potter” – http://movingpicturesmagazine.com/featuredarticles/specialfeature/david-heyman-q-and-a

For photos and more, go to Moving Pictures Magazine’s website. http://movingpicturesmagazine.com/featuredarticles/specialfeature/harry-potter-half-blood-prince-photo-gallery

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HIT Favorites: School Days Arriving July 14

Monday, July 13th, 2009
Get your pre-schooler ready for school with some of these DVDs that offer great imbedded lessons within their colorful and appealing schories. Join best pals Thomas, Barney, Fifi and the Flowertots, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam and Kipper as they celebrate the gift of learning, meet new friends and play hide-and-seek in this school day extravaganza. Use DVDs as a way to prep your kids for a world of fun and learning in these six exciting tales of discovery and adventure:

• Thomas & Friends™ – “Thomas and the Colors”
• Barney & Friends™ – “The New Kid”
• Fifi and the Flowertots – “Flying Lessons”
• Bob the Builder – “Dizzy and the Walking Bus”
• Fireman Sam – “Fiery Finale”
• Kipper – “Hide and Seek”

Going back to school has never been more fun! There are plenty of lessons in friendship, cooperation, sharing and fun for all!

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“Thomas & Friends: Percy and the Bandstand” – On DVD July 14, 2009

Sunday, July 12th, 2009
Thomas and his engine pals prove they are Really Useful Engines as they travel around the Island of Sodor in four fun adventures in the all-new Thomas & Friends™: Percy and the Bandstand, available on DVD July 14, 2009 from Lionsgate and HIT Entertainment. Teaching timeless life lessons such as discovery, friendship and cooperation, the Thomas & Friends animated series invites children to enter a world of imagination through the tracks of a train and the words of a story.

The host, Mr. Arkwright, returns with never before seen content that can ONLY be found on DVD! Mr. Arkwright is Sir Topham Hatt’s right-hand man and the new driver on the Island of Sodor, and he engages children with interactive dialogue and railway fun.

Come along with Thomas, Toby, Duncan, Percy and all the other engine friends and Sir Topham Hatt for a hot-air balloon ride, a top-secret birthday party, a special surprise at the bandstand and much more. It’s a non-stop celebration of fun and friendship! Future engineers — hop aboard for trainloads of action in these four adventures:

Episodes Include:

· “Toby’s Special Surprise”
· “Duncan and the Hot Air Balloon”
· “The Man in the Hills”
· “Percy and the Bandstand”


· “Songs of Sodor” Game
· Three Read Alongs:
* Toby and the Flood
* A Better View For Gordon
* Busy Going Backward

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