Felix Assivo


Movie Review: Secrets of Sulphur Springs * Dives Deep Into The Mysteries Of The Unknown With A Chilling Tale Of Mystery And Suspense

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Movie Review: Secrets of Sulphur Springs * Dives Deep Into The Mysteries Of The Unknown With A Chilling Tale Of Mystery And Suspense

Set in the fictional titular town, Secrets of Sulphur Springs follows 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver), whose world has been upended by his father’s decision to move the family from Chicago to take over an abandoned hotel property, The Tremont. The Campbells, which includes Griffin’s mother and his younger twin siblings, move into The Tremont in hopes of restoring it to the vacation destination it once was. But on his first day at his new school, Griffin hears rumors that the hotel is haunted by the ghost of Savannah (Elle Graham), a girl who disappeared decades ago. Soon, he and his new friend, Harper (Kyliegh Curran), discover a portal that allows them to travel back in time and uncover clues about the town’s biggest mystery. Secrets of Sulphur Springs
By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Disney’s new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, dives deep into the mysteries of the unknown.  The writers of the show weave a chilling tale of mystery and suspense that is brought to life by the cast. It is a show about new friendships and old secrets that will leave you on the edge of your seat, as it did me. In Secrets of Sulphur Springs, a music-loving middle school boy named Griffin (Preston Oliver) moves into an abandoned hotel called The Tremont that his family plans to restore. The hotel is said to be haunted by a girl named Savannah (Elle Graham) who mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago.  Griffin is missing his old town and old friends, but he finds a new friend named Harper (Kyliegh Curran). Together they are determined to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the hotel and find out what happened to Savannah.

One of my favorite scenes was when Griffin finds out that the old hotel is supposedly haunted—it is very fascinating to see his reaction when others tell him about Savannah haunting it.  Equally interesting is to see how the others react to Griffin when they find out he is living at the old hotel. Griffin has younger twin siblings (Landon Gordon and Madeleine McGraw) and Harper has a brother (Bryant Tardy). The relationships that Griffin and Harper have with their siblings make the characters easy to relate to. The hotel set is decorated to portray that old, abandoned, rustic style which gives it a spooky appearance. The scenes where the set is dark also add to the eerie mood.  The overall creepy setting makes the scenes more believable. The clothing choices are also well thought out, and perfect for the scenes.

The messages in this TV series are about building friendships and trust. Moving to a new town and having to make new friends at school is not always easy. Being a good friend means being kind, helpful and truthful. It also means working together. Trust is especially important because it’s hard to earn back after it’s lost. Parents may need to know that there are some suspenseful scenes that may be scary for younger viewers. I give the new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, 5 out of 5 stars. Every scene kept me captivated and wanting more. I recommend this show for ages 7 to 16. Secrets of Sulphur Springs premieres on the Disney Channel on January 15, 2021.

Movie Review: The Marksman * A Slower-Paced Action Film Starring Liam Neeson

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Movie Review: The Marksman * A Slower-Paced Action Film Starring Liam Neeson

A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who’ve pursued him into the U.S. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago.  The filmstars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who’s seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere.” See his full comments below.

The Marksman Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago.  The filmstars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who’s seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere. 

Jim’s wife has passed away, his finances gutted by the cost of her medical bills, and his decaying ranch adjoining the border to Mexico is under threat since he can’t keep up with his rent. Now all he’s got is his loyal canine companion and a few days left with his property. On a drive surveying his land, Jim finds a boy named Miguel and his mother Rosa, crossing the border. Members of a drug cartel are hot on their trail, eager to capture the mother and son. A shootout between Jim and their pursuers occurs and Rosa is mortally wounded. As she passes away, Jim makes a promise to get Miguel to their family in Chicago where he’ll be safe.

The Marksman is a conundrum as an action movie – as for action, it’s sparse, save for a few shootouts here and there where Neeson’s character gets a chance to live up to his Marksman moniker. When you hear Liam Neeson and action movie within the same breath, you picture Neeson defiantly doling out revenge to those who have wronged him and the people he cares about, which to some extent is what The Marksman becomes.  But it plods along its course, steeping you in the everyday life of Neesons’ Jim, before putting into perspective the predicament Miguel faces from the cartel members who killed his mother.

Jim’s encounters with the cartel are only mildly suspenseful. So much of The Marksman doesn’t fully develop Miguel and Jim’s dynamic, either. These characters spend so much time together, but, by the end, they only manage to get each other where they need to go, and nothing more. There’s humanity, but there’s no spark to it. I don’t fault the performances, as much as I do a script with not enough meaningful moments for the central pair’s bond to supplant itself deeply in the fabric of the movie. I give The Marksman 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 for some mild violence and the killing of a dog. The Marksman comes out in theaters on January 15, 2020.

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