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

Archive for September, 2011

Dolphin Tale – Uplifting and Inspiring

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Dolphin TaleAnthony Aranda, our 9-year-old youth film critic viewed Dolphin Tale recently and couldn’t say enough positive things about it. Here are his comments:

This is a great movie based on a true story. This movie is great because the story is really encouraging and shows me that anything is possible.

The movie is about a dolphin named Winter who gets caught in a crab trap and her tail is badly injured. She gets taken back to the Clearwater Marine Hospital where everyone there tries to help her. Her tail is too badly injured to save so they try to make a new tail for her to help her swim. The movie takes us on Winter’s journey to swim again.

Some of the main characters in the movie are Winter the dolphin, Sawyer, Hazel and Dr. Clay Haskett. My favorite characters in the movie are Sawyer and Winter. I like them because they are really good characters in the movie and it is really cool to see them form such a special friendship. Sawyer is the only one that Winter trusts and he wants to do everything he can to help her. Anthony.jpg

I recommend this movie for all kids ages 5 to 18 because it’s such a good movie. A lot of people would like this movie because there are a lot of funny parts. It’s really cool to see Winter get better throughout the movie. Go out and see it in theaters when it premieres on September 23rd!

Review by Anthony Aranda, age 9, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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Sue Sylvester Promotes Arts Education in New PSA

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

GleePlee.jpgJane Lynch has revved up her megaphone to tout the benefits of arts education is schools, starring in a public service announcement (PSA) that debuted this week on the Fox Network’s “GLEE” program. It’s the centerpiece of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s campaign to donate $1 million to arts education around the country and Lynch is the featured spokesperson as the harsh and witty cheer coach, “Sue Sylvester.” Beyond “GLEE,” the PSA is expected to air on television and cable stations across the country.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) have teamed up for “GLEE Give a Note,” a campaign to donate $1 million to school arts programs across the country. Eligible high schools are invited to submit videos about why their school deserves a grant at www.GleeGiveANote.com. In December 2011, after two rounds of voting, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will name the 73 schools that will receive grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

TV’s musical sensation, “GLEE” THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes to Blu-ray and DVD September 13th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment packed with all 22 episodes and never-before-seen bonus features sure to incite fans everywhere to “Gleek Out.”

GLEE is a biting musical comedy about a group of eager and ambitious students who strive to outshine their singing competition to win Nationals while navigating the cruel halls of McKinley High, garnering an incredible 19 Emmy nominations – earning it the distinction of being the most-nominated series of the year – and four Emmy Awards.

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New Study Emphasizes the Importance of Quality Kids Programming

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

caillou.jpgYou might be interested in a new study published this week by the journal Pediatrics which emphasizes the importance of the quality of kids programming and further substantiates the value of educational media. The study found watching a snippet of a SpongeBob cartoon negatively affected 4-year-olds’ attention spans while watching a more realistic PBS KIDS cartoon, Caillou, did not.

University of Virginia researchers divided a group of 60 4-year-olds and randomly divided them into three groups. One group watched a 9-minute clip of “SpongeBob SquarePants,” a second watched a 9-minute clip of “Caillou,” and the third drew pictures for 9 minutes instead of watching television.

Immediately afterward, the researchers tested what psychologists call “executive function” in the children, and found out that the PBS and picture-drawing groups performed equally well on the tests; the SpongeBob group scored significantly worse.

You can find an MSNBC.com article on the study here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44460161/ns/health-childrens_health/

Or, go here for the original study: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/09/08/peds.2010-1919

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Contagion – A Lesson in Germ-onomics

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Contagion.jpgIf you are into suspenseful films that ring remarkably true, then you will enjoy Contagion. Dr. Lipkin from Columbia University’s School of Public Health, who consulted on the film, based the virus on one which spread from pigs to farmers in the late 1990s. 14-year-old Gabriella Chu shares her comments on the film:

My eyes were glued to the screen from beginning to end. It documents the rapid spread of an unknown deadly virus around the world. Doctors and health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) race to find a vaccine to prevent more people from dying, while the government tries to keep society under control.

The fact that this movie is shot internationally made it more exciting to me. The background music of the movie adds a great deal to the serious and suspenseful mood. Contagion delivers a vital universal message to be very careful in dealing with germs. The movie shows several close-ups ofpeople coughing, bus poles and other places that are susceptible to germs. The makeup of the affected people is very impressive and life like. After watching this movie, I did not want to touch anything. The movie also shows that fear can be contagious and deadly like a virus. Since the movie is so realistic, it gives me a new perspective on epidemics affecting the world today. I am surprised by some things that I never knew about until I watched this movie. For example, the average person touches their face about 3,000 times a day! And I love the ending because that is when the movie reveals one of the biggest mysteries the doctors are searching for. If you want to find out what the mystery is, watch Contagion!

I recommend this movie to teens 13 and up. There are some disturbing images that may frighten younger children and they might not follow the storyline since it is fast-paced.

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Kate Middleton Sets a New Standard for Princesses, Time for Charm School Young Ladies

Monday, September 12th, 2011

BarbiePrincessCharm_1.jpgBarbie™: Princess Charm School stars Barbie as the “common” girl Blair, who wins the lottery and goes to a princess charm school. It’s full of mystery, as we find out that Blair is the real missing princess and she and her new princess friends are able to find the missing magic crown in time to stop the crowning of the wrong princess. It is a good exhibition of teamwork and people from different walks of life working together.

Here’s what our youth jurors thought about it. “Super. Awesome. Great.” “We all like Blair Willows because she is nice, pretty and independent.” “The fairies were cool.” “The music rocks, makes us want to get up and dance.” “We learn not to be mean or you’ll be embarrassed.” The kids have lots of favorite parts: the music, when Blair comes home and plays with her little sister, when the lottery winner is picked, when she met the fairy, when she changed clothes in the locker, when Blair’s make-up is messed up after the carriage hits a bump.

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Wonderful Preschool DVDs – Just in time for Back to School

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

WubbzyFireEngine_1.jpgWOW! WOW! WUBBZY!: WUBBZY & THE FIRE ENGINE, the latest release from the Wow! Wow! Wubbzy series, lends itself easily to children questioning and using concepts in play. The story lines venture a bit from reality but they are amusing and fun. Each episode holds a simple story with educational, social and entertainment benefits. Wubbzy and the Fire Engine takes a look at public service and the desire to help others. Though Wubbzy goes about things the wrong way, it allows children to learn from their mistakes and ask questions about how they can help. Overall it is very entertaining and provides a vehicle for parents to discuss topics brought up in the episodes. The characters are very appealing to kids. OUr kid jurors remarked about what was taking place on-screen. “That’s a fire truck!” “That’s funny,” were said in response to jelly jars smashing and splashing on the characters. Kids wanted to watch again. They later acted out character roles from the Wuzzleburg Express episode. Many of them danced along to the songs between the episodes. Two children played fire trucks after observing the Wubbzy and the Fire Engine episode incorporating storylines into their play and readily talking to their parents about what they saw. The children were happy and laughed frequently at the activity on the screen.

Chuggington.jpgCHUGGINGTON: IT’S TRAINING TIME is another preschool fave with our kid and adult jurors. We watch young trains who are in training learning to help out in whatever way best suits them. They learn how to do things, but not all are good at evert task. Throughout the learning process they ask questions, practicing what they have learned and fixing mistakes they made. This offers excellent modeling for little ones to begin doing the same.  In “Training Time for Harrison,” an “adult” train wants to pull the royal coach and puts obstacles in the way of other trains so that he will get the job first. He learns that even he has things to learn and can be a better train. The trains show how working together and supporting each other makes things so much easier. In “Watch Out Wilson,” Wilson needs special mirrors to help him back up. He is afraid the other trains will make fun of him, but instead they cheer and say how much they like his mirrors. This series has wonderful production values, is brightly colored and fun to watch. Our youth jurors were smiling, laughing, playing and talking with each other as they watched it. Many wanted to watch certain parts again. They like the opening song and some sing or dance along. One child even pulled out a box of trains and several children took them and played while watching. “Mommy, see that train, that one. He’s funny.” Kids talked about it and came back to watch a second time. Children all appear genuinely engaged by the episodes. It was equally appealing to kids familiar with Chuggington as with the kids who were seeing it for the first time. The children played nicely together and seemed to want to be helpful and include each other in their play.

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