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

Archive for May, 2011

NCircle Entertainment Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

NCircle.jpgHappy Anniversary to our friends at NCircle Entertainment, the DVD distributor of children’s programs such as The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!, Sid the Science Kid, Pocoyo, and WordWorld.  Whether it’s learning about ABCs and 123s, photosynthesis and metamorphosis, or the importance of being kind to others, NCircle’s family of mostly preschool shows offers hundreds of hours of enriching viewing for growing young minds. 

“Our core mission is providing quality programming that helps kids learn while entertaining them,” said Debbie Ries, senior vice president and general manager. We believe today’s moms know NCircle is a name they can trust – and we’re gratified that our numbers are bearing this out!”

Later this year, NCircle will be releasing the 2011 Academy Award-nominated short film, “The Gruffalo,” narrated by Helena Bonham Carter as well as the Australian series, “The Fairies.” Established in 2006, NCircle currently distributes more than 300 DVD titles primarily geared to the preschool audience. Congrats! Keep up the good work.

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Kung Fu Panda 2 Review by KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Gabriella Chu

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Check out our new review of KUNG FU PANDA 2 by 14-year-old Gabriella Chu featured on KIDS FIRST! AOL Kids page.


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Learn at Home This Summer with PBS Kids Literary Themed Programming.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

PBSKIdsLIbraryWeekI love this! PBS Kids is offering a collection of summer programming to help make education fun. Starting on May 23, PBS KIDS has ten weeks of themed programming that emphasize literacy. Each week features reading-related episodes from a different PBS KIDS series. Here’s their line up:

    * SID THE SCIENCE KID – “Weather Week” – starting May 23
    * ARTHUR – “Arthur Author Week” – starting May 30
    * CURIOUS GEORGE – “Country Monkey Week” – starting June 6
    * DINOSAUR TRAIN – “World Tour Week” – starting June 13
    * SUPER WHY – “Family Story Week” – starting June 20
    * MARTHA SPEAKS – “Martha Summer Fun Week” – starting June 27
    * THE ELECTRIC COMPANY – “What’s the Story? Week” – starting July 4
    * WORDGIRL – “WordGirl’s Ludicrously Literate Library Week” –  starting July 11
    * WILD KRATTS – “Wet Kratts Week” – starting July 18
    * THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! – “Cool Cat Week” – starting July 25

So, don’t just piddle away your summer eating popsicles! Use that good ole TV as a “stealth” learning device. Why not. If your kids thought of it first, they would.

Along with the themed episodes, PBS KIDs will have more toolds available online, on-air and via partnerships with iVillage and JetBlue Airways. For details, go to http://pressroom.pbs.org/Programs/PBS-KIDS-Summer-Reading-2011.aspx

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“Mow-down Showdown” Hilarious Lawnmower Race

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

GnomeoEventPhoto01.jpgIn conjunction with the DVD release of the feature film Gnomeo & Juliet coming out May 24th, here’s an outrageously fun event that that the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association (the organization that turned a weekend chore into a national competitive sport!) pullec off last weekend. Riders dressed as the film’s iconic red and blue feuding gnome families raced for the right to be crowned the winner and present The Berrien County Michigan Farm Bureau Young Farmers with a donation earmarked for agricultural education in Berrien County schools. I grew up in Michigan and when I read this, I could imagine my former countrymen pulling off this nutty event. It’s been a long winter there.

The world of lawn mower racing gathers new mowmentum as this high octane sport continues its complete season of lawnmower races across the country with 140 sanctioned races in 37 states.  Featuring seven classes of mowers, participants will compete against one another for the right to be named turf titan!

And, in case you haven’t seen the film, Gnomeo & Juliet, is tryly a fun, animated comedy the entire family will love. See our review by 7-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Ny’Asia Bell.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Reviewed by Daniel and Jonah Menegaz

Friday, May 20th, 2011

pirates4.b.jpg13-year-old twins, Jonah and Daniel Menegaz reviewed Pirates of the Caribbean for KIDS FIRST! this week and it was a slam dunk hit with both of them. Here’s a link to their videotaped review and below is a summary: 

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is a continuation of the adventures of Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), this time in a race to the Fountain of Youth along with femme fatale Angelica (Penelope Cruz), the infamous pirate Black Beard (Ian McShane) and crusty Barbossa (Geoffery Rush).

The movie is very exciting, with a lot of action and a healthy dose of well placed humor.  Not only is the acting good, but the action choreography is amazing as well.

The roles of the characters are perfectly portrayed by the actors playing them.  The CGI is so real, (especially of the mermaids) you are sure to be on the edge of you seat, almost in the movie.

But if you want to feel like you’re really a part of all the action, see it in Imax or 3D… or both. The picture in Imax 3D is astonishing and helped make the movie all it could be. The soundtrack is also very well played, setting the tone of each If you’re looking for a good movie, go see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  You’re guaranteed to have a great time!  Daniel Menegas age 13, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Daniel.JonalMusicSM.jpgPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a very entertaining action-adventure movie. The fight scenes and snappy dialogue are set up in just the right way to make the movie captivating.  As the fourth installation to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides follows characters Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), former girlfriend-turned pirate Angelina (Penelope Cruz), Jack’s nemesis Black Beard (Ian McShane) and the salty Barbossa (Geoffery Rush) all trying to find the Fountain of Youth.  According to pirate legend, a prophecy states Black Beard will be killed and stabbed through the heart by a one- legged man, so they set sail to find to the infamous fountain before the one- legged man finds them.
The sword fighting scenes are very well choreographed – like the actors are actually fighting. It’s how I imagine actual pirates would fight. Job well done.
I also thought the sound effects are great – they just make the movie. The clash of the swords, the rocking of boats, all set up in the perfect time, not a sound out of place. The music compliments the movie wonderfully. The orchestra seems to capture and define each scene flawlessly, and really sets the mood of the film.
The plot line of the movie is interesting and the numerous clever plot twists are fun but easy enough to follow.
The performances of the actors are awesome too. My favorite character is Johnny Depp, who plays the role of Captain Jack Sparrow. I might be biased because he is one of my favorite actors, but I thought he is hilarious.  The other characters are believable and fun to watch, too, so all in all, it’s a movie to see. Jonah Menegas age 13, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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Pirates 4 Releases This Weekend – May 20 – Stay Tuned for Our Review

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Pirates4.jpgJohnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow and is joined by Penelope Cruz, playing a woman from his past. He’s not sure if it’s love — or if she’s a ruthless con artist who’s using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne’s Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard, Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn’t know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past. Trailer

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 3D will open this Friday on a record 402 Imax screens internationally. The digitally re-mastered version of the studio picture will be simultaneously released by Imax on 257 screens domestically and 139 screens overseas.

Directed by Rob Marshall and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides stars Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. Hollywood Reporter review.

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