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

Archive for the 'New Releases' Category

Finding Nemo 3D Opens Today in Theaters.

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Disney-Pixar’s feature film Finding Nemo in 3D opens nationwide in theaters today. Running in front of the movie is the new Toy Story Toon titled Partysaurus Rex. Directed by Mark Walsh, the short features Rex, the insecure and kind of neurotic T-Rex toy voiced by Wallace Shawn, as finds his inner soapy strength and new persona when Bonnie, his new owner, takes him into a bubble bath with some of her other toys.

Our youth critics reviewed Finding Meno 3D earlier this week and here are are the comments from Cheyenne Nguyen, age 8. Watch the video review by both Cheyenne and Morgan Bertsch here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRhQ87qMeh0

Watching Finding Nemo 3D is like you are snorkeling and looking through your goggles and enjoy the colorful fish and sea life. This story is about Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks), an overprotective father of Nemo (voice by Alexander Gould), as a clown fish with a defective fin.

It all started with Nemo’s mom and dad looking at all 400 eggs and try to determine names for each of the egg.  Suddenly, a barracuda came to the coral and knock Marlin unconscious.  When Marlin wakes up, the reef is empty; with no fish around, the only egg left under the coral was Nemo.  Marlin became very protective dad and will not let Nemo out of his sight.  However, Nemo is the opposite of his dad.  He always wants to swim into the unknown.
On the first day of school, Nemo wander off outside the reef and was captured by a dentist.  This started Marlin’s journey to find his son.  He swims as fast as he can and asks for help finding Nemo.  The only fish stopped to help Marlin is Dory (voice by Ellen DeGeneres).  Dory has a big heart and always positive.  The only problem is she has short term memory loss.
The story line is the father and son love, unpredictable, and very funny.  There are so many punch lines in this movie that will keep you laughing throughout the movie. The clear and crisp color with 3D is magical.  It feels like I am snorkeling and ready to touch these sea creatures.  I can see the layers of rainbow coral reef, several rows of teeth in Bruce the shark mouth, the pelican beak and jelly fish seem so soft and real.  The best 3D part is with the whale and the krill swimming toward the audience.

I love how production and design makes Dory velvety, Marlin and Nemo soft and gummy.  The rest of the fish are metallic, typical scaly fish.  This makes Dory, Marlin and Nemo more lovable. The sound effects of water sloshing and crashing are very realistic.

The only part I did not like is what happens to Nemo mom.  Will Disney come back with Nemo reunited with his mom? The lessons in this movie are Marlin deal with his fear and swims all the way to Australia to find his son Nemo and he learn to have faith.

My favorite character is Dory with her big heart and Crush the laid back father turtle and his children. The message of this movie is listens to your parents, they only try to protect you and give you good advice.  Parents are alive longer so they know a lot more than their children.

I rank this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I give this age ranged 3 and up.

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Flicka Country Pride – Heartwarming and Inspiring

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Three of our youth film critics reviewed this film, which releases this week at WalMart and Sam’s Club. All loved it, particularly the horse lovers. Casey Chandler (age 10), one of our KIDS FIRST! film critics is also a horse owner. Here’s what she has to say about this film:

Flicka, Country Pride, is a heartwarming story about a girl who finds courage and determination to make her dreams come true.  This inspiring story is sure to touch the hearts of all you horse lovers out there!

The third in the series of Flicka movies, originally inspired by the classic novel by Mary O’hara, Flicka is based upon a beautiful mustang horse said to have a heart so bold, she can win a restless spirit.  In this movie, the “restless spirit”  is a girl named Kelly, played by KaceyRohl.

As a horse lover and owner, I have to admit that horse movies usually win me over.  There is such an amazing connection between riders and horses and I think that the Director, Michael Damien, once again, succeeds in showing us how truly magical that connection is between Flicka and Kelly.

The story begins when Toby (Clint Black) takes a temporary job at the Cherry Creek Stable with several horses, including Flicka in tow.  Lindy’s teenage daughter, Kelly, instantly connects with Flicka.  The spirited black mare helps Kelly get through her day of chores, school and thinking about her deceased father.  She no longer competes as a three day eventer and to make matters worse, she is pushed aside by her snobby ex-best friend.  Life is complicated for Kelly and she cannot seem to stand up for herself until Flicka comes along.  Flicka not only inspires Kelly to compete but also helps her find new and old relationships.

The movie was filmed in Kelowna, British Columbia with a storybook farm setting and countryside.   One of my favorite characters is Toby.  He became a strong link between the family’s tragic past and future filled with possibilities. Although the story was very predictable, it is hard to not enjoy the classic theme based on working hard and achieving your dreams!

I enjoyed this movie for its great cinematography and main characters.  Although the story could have been a bit stronger, I give it a 3 ½ out of 5 stars.  The movie is best enjoyed by pre teen and early teens

This is Casey Chandler reporting for KIDS FIRST!

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Cheers for “Growing Up with Hello Kitty”

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

“Growing Up with Hello Kitty” was released by AnimEigo last week and is available at Walmart, Target, CVS, Amazon and many grocery stores. Our seven- and eight-year-old film critics gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up! Take a look at their reviews:

Growing Up with Hello Kitty 1
Reviewed by Camille Bajema
(See her full review on video.)

I’m reviewing the movie Growing Up with Hello Kitty 1. This movie is about two sisters, Mimi and Hello Kitty, growing up. Throughout these six seven-minute episodes, Mimi and Hello Kitty learn how to answer the telephone, eat their vegetables, clean up their messes, change their clothes, sleep by themselves and help their mother with chores around the house.

I like this movie because Mimi and Hello Kitty learn to have a positive attitude toward doing things that their parents want them to. They also learn how to be more independent. Parents will like these movies for their kids because it teaches basic skills and to respect and listen to their parents.

These episodes are short, so they hold a young child’s attention.

I recommend this movie for girls aged 4 through 7. I give this movie four out of five stars.

Growing Up with Hello Kitty
Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch
(See her full review on video.)

Today, we’re going to learn about the movie Growing Up with Hello Kitty. She has six episodes in each of two DVDs. You guys will love these episodes, just like I did.

It teaches you these: Talking on the phone; eating their vegetables; and also saying, “I’m sorry.” And cleaning your own mess. Oh, and [Hello Kitty] also has a twin sister – which they are nothing alike – and she has friends.

I loved it! Five twinkling stars. [It’s for] boys and girls, or anyone who’s a fan of Hello Kitty. The ages are 2 to 7. It’s coming out on March 27.

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Roma Downey Creates Christian Pre-School Series

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

LITTLE_ANGELS_ABCs.jpgLittle Angels is a new DVD series created by Executive Producer, Roma Downey, star of the Touched By An Angel TV series. This animated series teaches life lessons to preschoolers through stories from the Bible.

Brother and sister, Alex and Zoe, are two ordinary kids who find that the angels their parents put on their ceiling (decorations) come to life to help them through their daily discoveries and adversities.

KIDS FIRST! reviewed two DVDs in the Little Angels series: ABC’s and Animals. In ABC’s, our main characters, Alex and Zoe, are first introduced to the Angels. They help them learn to read by showing them how you can recognize letters by their shapes and relate them to real life images. Using concepts from the Bible to help them remember, for instance, “J” looks like a fishing hook, like one you might use to catch the Big Fish that ate Jonah – which starts with a “J.” The angels also help Zoe and Alex appreciate each other and treat each other fairly, with honesty and without jealousy.

In Little Angels Animals, the angels make Bible stories come to life, allowing the children to interact with its characters while learning lessons of cooperation and hard work. Throughout, the message that “God Loves You,” helps them navigate their feelings and overcome fears and adversity. When Zoe is afraid of lightning and climbing to the top bunk, she learns from Jonah that facing her fears is less scary than not doing what God wants you to do, and as she chants “God loves me,” she is able to reach the top bunk and overcome her anxiety.

YoungLITTLE_ANGELS_ANIMALS.jpg children from religious families will delight in seeing Alex and Zoe as they are helped by angels and get to talk to characters they’ve only read about – or, since they are preschool-aged, been told about. It is comforting to children of this age to feel as if they are never really alone and they are always loved.

Each vignette is short, three fit nicely into a 30 minute DVD, and you can choose a single episode, or story, at a time. The DVDs also include some special features. Roma Downey explains her underlying idea and gives parents tips for listening to their children. You can watch music videos covering the topics of each of the stories and animated with images from each.

You can purchase these DVDs for $14.99 each at Amazon.com

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Watch for These Preschool Valentines Day Shows on PBS

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

CliffordHeart.jpgTwo of Scholastic Media’s award-winning kids’ television shows celebrate Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, February 14. Follow Clifford and his owner, Emily Elizabeth, as they help friends on everyday adventures that teach life lessons through Clifford’s Big Ideas. An award-winning, top-rated series on PBS KIDS ®, Clifford the Big Red Dog airs Mon.-Fri.

Tuesday, Feb. 14 on PBS KIDS
“CLIFFORD’S BIG HEART”
To show how much he loves her, Clifford works hard to make Emily Elizabeth the perfect valentine. In the end, he learns that it’s his presence, not his presents, that means the most to her.

“CLEO’S VALENTINE SURPRISE”
With some help from K.C., Cleo goes overboard preparing a special gift for Clifford and T-Bone.  When she doesn’t get a big gift in return, Cleo learns to recognize the joy in giving.

VDay.Wordgirl.jpgThe Emmy Award-winning WordGirl airs on PBS KIDS GO! (Check local listings). Whenever there is trouble in The City, fifth-grader Becky Botsford transforms into WordGirl, using super strength and amazing vocabulary to stop quirky villains in their tracks. A special one-hour episode of WordGirl that focuses on bullying and stars Jane Lynch airs Feb. 20 on PBS KIDS.

Tuesday, Feb 14 on PBS KIDS GO!

“CHERISH IS THE WORD”

All the kids at school are making valentines to share with their special friends. But when Victoria Best (Kristen Schaal) runs off with all of the cards, it’s up to WordGirl to stop her and save Valentine’s Day. Vocabulary Words: Flee, Cherish

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Journey 2: Mysterious Island

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

journey2.jpgWatching one of our new youth film critics conduct their first interviews is really one of the most fun parts of my job as their producer and coach. Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying 14-year-old Blake Hawes to the press junket for the new Warner film, Journey 2: Mysterious Island. Blake attended as one of the finalists in our 2012 youth film critics search competition. Today, he was announced as one of our official winners! (Congratulations Blake). Check out his interviews here.
Blake is a truly wonderful young man with the good fortune to have two equally wonderful parents. Both Blake’s Mom and Dad accompanied him at two days of events all over Oahu as we screened the film, met the cast and hung out with the other critics who virtually took Blake under their wings.

All of us loved the film which is a story about a mythical island where small critters become huge and huge ones become miniaturized. The underlying message of the story deals with something many young people can relate to: getting along with a step parent. Dwayne Johnson, who not only stars in the film but is also one of the producers, was beyond kind to Blake – particularly after Blake told him this was his first interview ever. “The Rock’s” response was to stand up and say, “then let’s take a picture.” Afterwards, he coached Blake on his now famous, “pec-pop of love.”

Be sure to take a look at his video review here or read it below:

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is a fun and entertaining movie and offers some brilliant eye candy in some of the most impressive action scenes. Sean Anderson  (Josh Hutcherson) has a new man in his life, his stepfather Hank (Dwayne Johnson). This movie is more about the relationship between Sean and Hank than a mindless cliché adventure movie. Sean grew up with a lot of loss of loved ones and people coming in and out of his life. Sean has trust issues with his new stepdad and doesn’t want to get too close to him, for he’s afraid that he’ll leave him due to his unfortunate past. Hank wants to play a bigger role in Sean’s life and hopes to finally make a bond between them.

Then they uncover the mystery of the Mysterious Island and go on an adventure to find Sean’s long-lost grandfather (Michael Caine). The only way to get to the island is by flying by helicopter. The quirky and fun tour guide (Luis Guzmán) is the comic relief in this huge journey. His daughter Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens) is Sean’s love interest in the movie. The plot itself is easy to understand for younger audiences and it is fun to see how it plays out in the end. The movie is chockfull of massive set pieces, which all are creatively brought to life by cinematography and editing.

Hudgens doesn’t deliver the most believable performance of her career because of the fact that she acts more like a big-city girl than a hardened islander of their destination. But all in all, she has great chemistry between Hutcherson in the movie, and should be commended for it. Guzmán however, delivers some tongue-in-cheek jokes throughout the film. He’ll offer a couple of chuckles throughout the movie for older viewers, but most of his jokes will appeal to the younger audience.

I like this movie because of its frantic action sequences and surprisingly well-suited soundtrack. This movie may be scary for younger viewers at points such as the lizard chase sequences. The intensity and the importance of the given situation during the final act of the movie gives the audience a very good reason to sit on the edge of their seats. Overall, I think the movie is very entertaining and has many great moments. I give it eight out of ten stars.
Nice start Blake. Keep up the good work. We can’t wait to see your next one.

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