Felix Assivo


A Year to Remember and Forget!

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
A Year to Remember and Forget!

cynthia brian-green mask.jpg

Click to view this email in a browser

MIRACLE MOMENT®

You will be remembered forever by the tracks you leave.”  Navajo saying

A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN 

The one-year anniversary of the global pandemic lock-down has arrived. It will be remembered as a year of fear, sadness, grief, unemployment, civil unrest, political polarity, racial discrimination, global natural disasters, online learning, myriad business closings, mask wearing, sheltering-in-place, social distancing, and the devastating Covid-19 virus. These are twelve months that we all want to forget.

Yet, amidst the destruction, devastation, and death, heroes have emerged. Essential personnel including medical staff, store employees, firefighters, police, postal workers, drivers, construction, maintenance, transportation, and utility workers, farm laborers, repair technicians, TV and radio employees, restauranteurs, and many other persons showed up to jobs despite the risks. Teachers pivoted to teach on-line classes as parents scrambled to help their children with this new mode of education. People who could work from home transitioned to performing their tasks from bedrooms, basements, and kitchen tables. We will remember and commemorate their dedication and kindness for years to come.

One thing is clear.

We have all been in this together although apart.

At Be the Star You Are!®, with all in-person events cancelled, we pivoted to increasing, growing, and managing our virtual programs including the Star Teen Book Review Team, our two radio broadcasts, and assisting with disaster relief, despite minimal donations and financial loss. Our programs have helped thousands, returned amazing results, and been extremely successful.

Everyone is ready to get back to some semblance of normalcy. It is heartbreaking that over 525,000 Americans have died from the disease. As vaccinations roll out, infection rates will decline, and we will once again be able to gather. Getting vaccinated is not a political statement. Both former Republican President Trump and sitting Democratic President Biden were both vaccinated in January. It is critical that all Americans follow suit to overcome this deadly disease.

My hope is that every individual will understand the importance of getting vaccinated as soon as it is available. Even after vaccination, we must still be diligent, wear a mask, and practice social distancing until herd immunity has been accomplished. A welcome pronouncement from the CDC this week exclaimed that those who have had both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson may get together indoors with one another. Hurray for the vaccines!

2021 may also become a year to be remembered as the next baby boom. I’m calling it the year of Covid kids. It’s been a full year since I’ve seen my daughter and six months since seeing my son and their spouses. Now that I have been vaccinated, I can’t wait for a real hug. Most young couples I know are currently pregnant. Like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, my children have announced that they are both expecting baby girls this summer. What a gift of new beginnings.

Joy and strength emerge from adversity. Let us all do our part to bring a smile to another and peace to our planet. It is almost spring, a time of rebirth and renewal.

What tracks have you left this year? Leave a legacy. Make a difference. Forget and Remember.

Sending virtual hugs and lucky shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

btsya..jpg

BE THE STAR YOU ARE! NAMED a 2021 TOP NONPROFIT&l

Thanks to our volunteers, supporters, donors, and community Be the Star You Are!® is one of the first charities of 2021 to be named a TOP NON PROFIT. Congratulations to all,. Read reviews and witness what people are saying about BTSYA!  https://greatnonprofits.org/org/be-the-star-you-are-inc

2021-top-rated-awards-badge-.jpg

Be the Star You Are!® has also earned the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Guidestar/Candid: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

2021 Guidestar Platinun seal.jpeg

SIX SKILLS FOR READING COMPREHENSION

It may seem like reading is a straightforward task that is easy. Actually, you use many different skills together.  Together these skills lead to the goal of reading which is reading comprehension or understanding what you have read.

Reading comprehension can be challenging. Below are six essential skills needed to be able to comprehend what you have read. When kids have trouble with any of these, they can have trouble understanding what they are reading.

  1. 1. Decoding is vital in the reading process. Kids use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but have not yet seen written out. The ability to do that is the foundation for other reading skills.

Decoding relies on phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness lets you hear individual sounds in words (known as phonemes). It allows kids to play with sounds at the word and syllable level. Decoding also relies on connecting sounds to letters. Grasping the connection between a letter(s) and the sounds they typically make is important in “sounding out” words.

  1. 2. Fluency.  Kids need to instantly recognize words to be able to read fluently. Fluency speeds up the rate at which they can read and understand.

Sounding out or decoding every word will take a lot of effort. Word recognition is the ability to recognize the whole word instantly by sight.

  1. 3. Vocabulary.  To understand what you are reading, you have to understand most of the words in the text. Strong vocabulary is a key part of reading comprehension. Kids can learn comprehension through instruction but also everyday experience and also reading.
  1. 4. Sentence Construction and Cohesion.   Understanding how sentences are built and understanding the connection between ideas within and between sentences (cohesion) are important for understanding what one is reading.

Knowing how ideas link up in the sentence helps kids get meaning from passages and entire texts.  Coherence is the ability to connect ideas to other ideas in a piece of text.

  1. 5. Reasoning and Background Knowledge.  Most readers relate what they’ve read to what they know. It’s important to have background knowledge. They also need to “read between the lines” and see the meaning when it’s not spelled out literally.
  1. 6. Working Memory and Attention.   When kids read, attention lets them take in information from what they are reading. Working Memory allows them to hold on to that information and gain meaning and knowledge form what they are reading. Self-monitoring is also important as kids need to know when they do not understand something.

Stephanie Cogeos is the Coordinator of the Star Teen Book Review Team.

Read the reviews at www.BTSYA.org

TSHIRT_design-2.jpg.jpg

“Read, lead, succeed! To be a leader, you must be a reader!”

MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU

No one knows exactly where the beloved Irish blessing “May the Road Rise Up to Meet You” came from. Some trace it back to St. Patrick because it is similar to his other writings. This blessing was originally an Irish prayer, first written in the Irish Gaelic language and then translated into English.

In Ireland, people have a deep appreciation for all things nature and outdoors. The Celts often used wind, sun and rain as symbols, or to show how God is connected with His people. In the 4th century, St Patrick used the green shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity as he converted the Irish to Christianity. The word comes from the Irish seamrog, meaning young clover. It is the unofficial flower of Ireland. Wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, has been a tradition.

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com

Irish poem.jpg

“Communicate, collaborate, innovate.”

2021-STARSTYLE radio logo.jpeg

EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.

Express Yourself orange 72x24 banner-1.jpg

You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen.

Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.

SHOPPING?

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

US smile Orange@1x.png

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

Giving Assistant Icon 234x60.jpg

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

2020 IGIVE logo.jpg

5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

cyntha brian with books.jpg

6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

STAY SAFE! WEAR A MASK!

mask.jpg

DIRECT LINKS you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

Shamrocks copy.jpeg

Remember and Forget. Leave a legacy. Wear green. 

Erin go Bragh!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick's Day.jpeg

For 2021: PLEASE make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

THANK YOU!

May you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Health and Happiness.

Be the Star You Are!501 c3 charity

PO Box 376

Moraga, Ca. 94556

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

Movie Review: Yes Day * Lots Of Laughs, Great Acting And Spectacular Special Effect – Plus A Great Message

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Categories
Movie Review: Yes Day * Lots Of Laughs, Great Acting And Spectacular Special Effect – Plus A Great Message

Yes Day is an upcoming American comedy film directed by Miguel Arteta, from a screenplay and screen story by Justin Malen, based upon the children’s book of the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. It stars Jennifer Garner, Édgar Ramírez, and Jenna Ortega. Always feeling like they have to say NO to their kids and co-workers, Allison and Carlos decide to give their three kids a YES DAY — where for 24 hours the kids make the rules. Little did they know that they’d be going on a whirlwind adventure around Los Angeles that would bring the family closer to each other than ever before. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “If you’re looking for a humorous, fun family film, Yes Day is the perfect option! Lots of laughs, great acting, and spectacular special effects fill up this film to make it an amazing movie. Sit down ready to laugh when you choose Yes Day.” Tiana S., adds, “This fun film offers plenty of great lessons. The main message is that it is okay to step out of your comfort zone and have a little fun. Also, sometimes it really is great to have parents or others by your side to help you out and make sure you are doing what’s right for yourself.” See their full reviews below.

Yes Day
By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

https://youtu.be/aLpL0_BKAno

If you’re looking for a humorous, fun family film, Yes Day is the perfect option! Lots of laughs, great acting, and spectacular special effects fill up this film to make it an amazing movie. Sit down ready to laugh when you choose Yes Day. Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner), a mother who used to be full of fun, finds herself saying “no” to everything. Her oldest daughter, Katie Torres (Jenna Ortega), wants to go to the Fleek Festival with her friends, but gets a “no”. That is, unless she goes with her Mom, which is not cool anymore. All of the kids are getting frustrated, and their guidance counselor (Nat Faxon) gives Allison and her husband Carlos (Edgar Ramirez) a tip. Have a “Yes Day”- answer “yes” to everything your kids ask. Watch as the family unites on an adventure-filled day while the kids learn some lessons.

This film is a creative adaptation of Amy Kroise Rosenthal’s children’s book. As you can imagine, a day where parents say “yes” to everything their kids ask will probably turn out chaotic. A lot of special effects are used to make this come to life. They are realistic and engaging. Along with the incredible effects, the acting is beyond most entertainment that I’ve seen. The actors connect with their characters and bring them to life. They do it in such a way that makes the characters seem more likeable, while not giving off the sense that they are perfect. Flaws in each of the characters, particularly in the kids, can be seen, which is very important to make them more relatable. Yet another element of creativity is the constant humor. The hilarious storyline combined with the on-point acting create wonderful, funny scenes spread throughout the entire film. Never doubt this film’s ability to make you burst into laughter! 

Most of the movie is focused on the themes of having fun, laughing and appreciating family. The film is pretty light-hearted, but there are some deeper messages such as listening to parents, understanding what is best for you and realizing what you did wrong. The family members get to see each other in an entirely new light. Siblings make up, parents grow closer, and the family becomes more loving of each other in the end.

I give Yes Day 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. Yes Day releases on Netflix on March 12, 2021, so get ready to laugh! 

Yes Day
By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Yes Day is a film you cannot say no to watching! It’s an action packed, adventurous eventful and hilariously fun family film. After seeing this film, you will want to try your own family “yes day.”

Yes Day is about the Torres Family deciding to have a family “yes day” where the kids make up the rules for 24 hours and the parents can’t say “no.” After the kids, Katie (Jenna Ortega), Nando (Julian Lerner) and Elle (Everly Carganilla) challenge their parents Alison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos (Édgar Ramírez) into thinking that they could never make it through the challenges because they aren’t cool enough, the family has a day of family-building activities filled with ups and downs, while trying to make it the best “yes day” ever. Things get interesting when the kids decide to try things without adult supervision.

The concept of “yes days” will have kids excited and parents ready for the challenge. But, even though they sound like a lot of fun, they can be dangerous or possibly get out of hand without proper supervision as you can see in this film. My favorite scene in this movie is when the Torres kids decide to have their family order a Gut Buster ice cream. It has so much ice cream and the parents didn’t realize this was part of a “yes day” activity and they have to help eat it all. I also like the scene where Alison Torres is fighting a lady for a stuffed pink gorilla at the carnival. It is hilarious and also great to see what she would do to make her kids happy. My favorite character is Katie, because I really like her challenging and brave personality and how fun and cool she is in the film. I also loved watching Katie and her mom’s relationship evolve throughout “yes day.”

This fun film offers plenty of great lessons. The main message is that it is okay to step out of your comfort zone and have a little fun. Also, sometimes it really is great to have parents or others by your side to help you out and make sure you are doing what’s right for yourself. Some things to be aware of are some mild profanity and some dangerous activities kids that should not try at home. I rate Yes Day 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Make sure to look for it when it premieres March 12, 2021 on Netflix.

Do We Need New Competencies in the Boardroom and C-Suite? Part 2

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Business
Do We Need New Competencies in the Boardroom and C-Suite? Part 2

To receive these weekly articles, subscribe here.

This article is an excerpt from the Future Boardroom Competencies 2020 Report compiled by Competent Boards and provided by Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO and Founder.  This is the second part of a 2 part series and is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Future Boardroom Competencies that aired on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021.  If you would like to read the entire report, it can be downloaded for free here.

Today’s board members and business executives are traveling across a business landscape vastly different than ever seen before. The acceleration of globalization, proliferation of technology, and elevated urgency surrounding a changing climate and biodiversity loss has produced increasingly treacherous terrain for companies with rigid business models. Now in 2020, board members and other business leaders are forced to address these challenges against the backdrop of the global crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the board of directors navigate a setting so unfamiliar, pressure mounts as all stakeholder groups are intently observing boardroom decisions with a growing list of expectations in-hand. Undoubtedly, the adverse impacts generated by these complex phenomena indicate that a great-reset in corporate governance is not only necessary but required – and business leaders must be prepared.

Our research uses qualitative analysis to evaluate survey responses from our international faculty members and reveal the quintessential competencies, qualities, and traits that are comprised within a future-ready board member.

We hope that the results of this report can be used as a road map for both current or aspiring board members to reflect and act on what it is that they need to cultivate in order to effectively lead companies through future storms, and emerge on top with a refined sense of purpose. Many are calling the unprecedented challenges a tsunami – either leaders learn to surf, or they and the companies they serve will sink.

Today, we are in a world of despair where transgressing planetary boundaries continue to create new risks for businesses such as increased resource limitations, and supply chain disruptions.

We are not only transgressing the planetary boundaries, but also social and cultural ones. Technology has provided an opportunity for people to be more connected than ever. But many are feeling left out or struggling with cyberbullying, fake news, and constant bombardment of new information and expectations that put a strain on mental health.

Human rights are under tremendous pressure as modern slavery and economic exploitation of human life, as well as nature, is on the rise. This makes the role of directors and executives even harder to navigate, as stakeholders can use their phones to ruin a company’s reputation within a few seconds. With so many moving pieces, companies and their directors may struggle to ensure that all operations can stand up to the scrutiny of stakeholders and uphold the integrity they expect.

We need to move towards a net positive impact on nature, humans, and the economy. And to do so the actions of board of directors and executives must extend beyond a nicely written report. ESG (environmental, social, and governance) integration requires leadership and an ESG transformation mindset. Therefore, board members and executives must ensure that this mindset is embedded across all levels of the organization.

With more attention being cast to the board of directors in addressing various environmental, social, and economic challenges, new initiatives will continue to alter the regulatory landscape. The European Commission recently announced a proposed intervention in the area of corporate law and governance with the general objective of establishing more robust accountability measures to improve a company’s integration of sustainability into long-term decision making.² This initiative, among other mounting pressures, underscores the responsibility of the board of directors and its power in creating meaningful action.

The board of directors is obliged to not only deliver returns to shareholders but also to clearly define the role of the company in society. A society that in return expects that elected board members bring exceptional capabilities to the boardroom.

For example, board members should have an understanding of how company resources are being utilized and be clear on how these actions impact nature and stakeholders. Furthermore, the board of directors must understand how the current and future states of nature and society will impact the company and its ability to thrive in the long-term. A task that has been considered “one of the most demanding, complex and taxing activities in the world of public life”.³ With increased public discussion on the role of corporations in times of crisis such as COVID-19, there is increasing stakeholder pressure for board members to perform on ESG-related issues.

A recent survey from Edelman found that 71% of 12,000 respondents would lose trust in a company if they perceived that the company was placing profit over people.⁴

Leading companies have certainly responded to these pressures. It was recently reported that 63 of the 100 largest public companies now have a board committee overseeing sustainability matters.⁵ However, the same study identified that only 17% of those serving on these committees had relevant training or experience when it comes to ESG and sustainability. ⁶

This dichotomy emphasizes how critical it is that board members work towards building and applying the necessary competencies in addressing ESG-related issues and adopt an approach to leadership that facilitates ongoing dialogue with shareholders and other stakeholders.

We are now in a period of awakening, where major transformations are taking place in all corners of the globe, altering the traditional context for boardroom decision making and heightening the expectations of corporate leaders and board of directors. We believe that reformulating the pre-existing definition of corporate stewardship in the 21st century will catalyze a pivot in social outlooks from one of despair to one of hope.

This report explores the foundational requirements board members need in order to navigate the dynamic nature of a world evolving faster than ever before.

(2) Study on directors’ duties and sustainable corporate governance (European Commission, 2020) – https://op.europa.eu/en/publicationdetail/-/ publication/e47928a2-d20b-11ea-adf7-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (3) How to Play the Board Game (The Economist, 2020) – https://www.economist.com/business/2020/11/21/how-to-play-the-board-game?src=gft (4) Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic (Edelman 2020) – https://www.edelman.com/research/covid-19-brand-trust-report (5) The Sustainability Board Report 2020 – https://www.boardreport.org/reports-research (6) Ibid

Do you know of top ESG Competent Boards and Board Members?  You can nominate those you believe should be highlighted in the Competent Boards list here.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Helle Bank Jorgensen is the CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program with a faculty of over 95 renowned international board members; executives and experts.

A business lawyer and state-authorized public accountant by training, Helle helps global companies and investors turn sustainability into strong financial results. She was the creator of the world’s first Green Account based on lifecycle assessment, as well as the world’s first Integrated Report and the first holistic responsible supply chain program.

Helle has written numerous thought leader pieces, is a keynote speaker, and is interviewed by global media outlets.

Image by spokane1977 from Pixabay

Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Movie Reviews
Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

The world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.  Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.” See her full review below.

Stray

By Carlee Spagnolo, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Age 16

https://youtu.be/lRTEvpnu_B4

Stray.b.jpg

Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.

Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.  We gain a better understanding of the people as we overhear conversations the citizens are having which tell us a lot about the personal lives of the people there and the living conditions. For both the dogs and some of the people, there is danger and the struggle to survive.  There are also touching moments. It is an unforgettable film that helps people understand a different part of the world, the people and animals that live there, and that they all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, and friendship.

https://youtu.be/ABjZQH_oafo

This documentary follows three dogs named Zeytin, Nazar and a puppy named Kartal. The camera follows the dogs at their level which is a very ingenious and a creative touch. As the camera rolls, we follow along and see how these dogs interact with other dogs and the humans they encounter. Not only do we get to experience a stray dog’s life, but the lives of a young group of boys also living on the streets. The dogs in Istanbul are allowed to roam around the city freely since the citizens fought to save them. We’re taken into these dogs’ lives and live it with them, seeing all the sights and sounds they see.

Stray.Elizabeth.jpg

One of my favorite scenes in Stray is when Zeytin is in the park and notices another dog approaching. You can tell from the beginning, when we first get to know Zeytin, that she is a sweet dog. She doesn’t seem to mind the other dogs she comes in contact with and is friendly towards them. Watching Zeytin and the other dogs in the park was very enjoyable. I just loved watching them run around and being very playful. It is a scene that could have been in any part of the world.  I also enjoyed watching the puppy, Kartal. The puppy’s expressions are very sweet and, the way people react to Kartal, it adds a nice touch to the film.

The message in this film is to step up for what you believe in. The citizens of Turkey made sure their voices were heard, so that dogs can freely roam, and are not to be held captive or destroyed. Every life is worth something. The dogs provide comfort to many people there. There are some warnings. Some scenes can be graphic that go with life on the streets. Some of the topics and language spoken by some of the people is also for older viewers.

I give Stray 5 out of 5 stars. I was glued to the screen and I am now a much bigger fan of documentaries after watching this film.  I plan to watch more in the future. I recommend this film to ages 13 to 20. Magnolia Pictures will release Stray in theaters and On Demand on March 5, 2021.

Land * Intriguing; Valiant; Relatable. Terrific Directorial Debut by Robin Wright

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Movie Reviews
Land * Intriguing; Valiant; Relatable. Terrific Directorial Debut by Robin Wright

A local hunter brings a grieving lawyer back from the brink of death after she retreats to the harsh wilderness of the Rockies. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Nathalia J. comments, “The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright’s feature film directorial debut, I can’t deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film.” Rosabella P. adds, “This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.” See their full reviews below.

Land

By Nathalia J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

https://youtu.be/cvjfBkjvzwM

land.b.jpg

The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright’s feature film directorial debut, I can’t deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film. Land shows the raw emotion of a human overcome by grief and follows Edee (Wright) as she manages with unimaginable despondency after the passing of her spouse and child. Edee makes a bold choice to depart from society, seeking out a new life off the grid in Wyoming. Leading up to that moment, she tosses her phone, buys canned merchandise and supplies, and finds an isolated, somewhat-rundown cabin within the Wyoming wild. Throughout the film, you can see how isolated she feels — once she starts a new life, it’s like she’s left her old self behind with society.

Edee is certain about her brave decision, and ready to start a new life. However, there is no coordinate for the area’s unwavering winter. She is incapable of keeping the fire going to warm her cabin. After a bear continually eats her food, Edee is on the brink of starvation, as well as frail and too cold to stand.  Edee is spared by a neighborly hunter/woodsman (Demián Bichir) who brings her back to life and instructs her on how to survive living on the land. As Edee starts to construct a new life for herself outside of civilization, she works to manage her past and see toward a bright future.

My favorite part in Land would have to be when Edee was fishing at the nearby lake. As she is struggling to catch a fish, she becomes frustrated. Then, she notices a young man, Miguel (Demián Bichir) chasing his young son, Drew (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) She recalls memories of her late spouse and child and follows them from afar as they run through the trees. I enjoyed watching as she relived those precious moments from her past, and it was overall a heartfelt moment in this film.

However, although Land was only 88 minutes, the film felt way longer than that, due to the slow pace. There are many relatable moments within the film, but I felt some scenes dragged and, at some moments, many scenes felt “dry.” This film promotes positive social behaviors and shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from Land is that it’s okay to be not okay. And, sometimes, we need a break from our continuous busy schedule in life and to break free!

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars, with an age recommendation of 11 to 18, plus adults. Land debuts February 12, 2021 at your nearby theater and PVOD March 5, 2021.

Land
By Rosabella P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

https://youtu.be/EyLTIWzRroY

land.horizontal.jpg

Land is a poignant story with a harsh American wildness twist. This film is magnificent and has unbearable events to watch. The part I enjoyed most is when Edee (Robin Wright) finally decides to go hunt in the woods instead of starving herself to death. The part I disliked is when she is contemplating taking her life away until she reminisces about her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) tells her something important to remember about her life.

Directed and starring Robin Wright, the storyline is about a desperately sad woman, grieving over the loss of her husband and child, who seeks out a new life away from her family and friends. She is very uncertain about life and goes deep into the mountains of Wyoming to begin a life of solitude and privacy to figure things out.  With the help of a nearby hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) solace in nature may create the best healing path for her.

This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.

The film has a implacable message about believing in yourself. It promotes the idea that hope is all you need to conquer anything. It also emphasizes the importance of being helpful and being supportive of people you care about. Helping others with compassion always comes within your heart.

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on PVOD March 5, 2021 at the theater near you

Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Movie Reviews
Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.”  See her full review below.

Moxie

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/uuT3uU7DFAE

moxie.b.jpg

I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.

Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by Jennifer Mathieu and follows a 16-year-old girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who prefers to be under the radar. This all changes when Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) comes to her high school. After witnessing Lucy “holding her head high” during an encounter with another student, Vivian notices all of the horrible ways that girls are being treated at her school and decides to publish an anonymous zine that sparks a fire in all of the other fed-up girls at her school.

Moxie.a.jpg

Amy Poehler directs the movie and plays Vivian’s mom.  She also happens to be my favorite character, because she is very clever, inspiring and is not a “traditional mom.” The rest of the cast plays their characters so well. We see Vivian’s journey from follower to leader. Lucy is such a bold and confident woman, standing up for what is right. Seth (Nico Hiragra) comes across as a really cool love interest of Vivian’s and male ally to the female revolution. Patrick Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mitchell Wilson is terrific, as I just hated him in the movie. The supporting characters are very diverse as we see people of all shapes, sizes and races, including a girl in a wheelchair, which I rarely see in movies, plus an all-girl band.The key messages in this film are: to be the change you want to see, and friendship can support that change. You should know that the film has some mild profanity, shows underage drinking and handles some mature subjects.

I give Moxie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Netflix March 3, 2021.

Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Movie Reviews
Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little… Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies.” See her full review below.

Raya.a.jpg

Raya And The Last Dragon

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

https://youtu.be/2U1WHte8nKQ

In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little.<p>This film takes place in Kumandra, a world comprising five divided nations. When an evil force known as The Druun sends Kumandra into a state of despair, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) sets out on a journey to find the last dragon, and defeat The Druun for good.First, the animation in this film is strong and very realistic; perhaps a little too realistic to the point where some shots look like photographs. This might be a pet peeve of mine, because I don’t like ultra-realistic animation. Sure, it is impressive, technologically speaking, but I find stylized animation to be much more striking and memorable. Aside from that, it’s very beautiful. I really like the colors, and how each location is so visually distinct.

raya.f.jpg

Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies. However, I’m assuming the producers were concerned about this film being “too dark for kids” because there is a lot of really unfunny comedy in the beginning. This comedy mostly comes from Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon. And while I’m usually a fan of Awkwafina and her comedic timing, she’s just not given any good material here. The jokes don’t fit with the setting or tone, and they really bog down Sisu’s first few scenes. Yet once the comedy slows down, she becomes a more dramatic character which I enjoyed.

I have a few concerns with the themes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The message that, instead of being divided, we need to come together and stand united is fine. However the execution of that message is a bit questionable. No spoilers, but let’s just say a certain character really deserved some repercussions for all the problems they caused. I do understand that the moral is that we should learn to trust each other, but I feel like that message is used as an excuse to not properly redeem a character.

I give Raya and The Last Dragon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out on March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access.

Movie Review: Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Categories
Movie Review: Moxie * Wonderful Comedy, Drama and Terrific Message

Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother’s rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.”  See her full review below.

Moxie

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics.  The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.

Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by Jennifer Mathieu and follows a 16-year-old girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who prefers to be under the radar. This all changes when Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) comes to her high school. After witnessing Lucy “holding her head high” during an encounter with another student, Vivian notices all of the horrible ways that girls are being treated at her school and decides to publish an anonymous zine that sparks a fire in all of the other fed-up girls at her school.

Amy Poehler directs the movie and plays Vivian’s mom.  She also happens to be my favorite character, because she is very clever, inspiring and is not a “traditional mom.” The rest of the cast plays their characters so well. We see Vivian’s journey from follower to leader. Lucy is such a bold and confident woman, standing up for what is right. Seth (Nico Hiragra) comes across as a really cool love interest of Vivian’s and male ally to the female revolution. Patrick Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mitchell Wilson is terrific, as I just hated him in the movie. The supporting characters are very diverse as we see people of all shapes, sizes and races, including a girl in a wheelchair, which I rarely see in movies, plus an all-girl band.

The key messages in this film are: to be the change you want to see, and friendship can support that change. You should know that the film has some mild profanity, shows underage drinking and handles some mature subjects.   I give Moxie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Netflix March 3, 2021.

Movie Review: Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Categories
Movie Review: Stray * Brilliant Documentary That Makes You See The Value Of Stepping Up For What You Believe In

The world of Zeytin, a stray dog living life on the streets of Istanbul. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carlee S. comments, “Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.  Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.” See her full review below.

Stray By Carlee Spagnolo, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Age 16

Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey.  Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs’ lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with.  We gain a better understanding of the people as we overhear conversations the citizens are having which tell us a lot about the personal lives of the people there and the living conditions. For both the dogs and some of the people, there is danger and the struggle to survive.  There are also touching moments. It is an unforgettable film that helps people understand a different part of the world, the people and animals that live there, and that they all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, and friendship.

This documentary follows three dogs named Zeytin, Nazar and a puppy named Kartal. The camera follows the dogs at their level which is a very ingenious and a creative touch. As the camera rolls, we follow along and see how these dogs interact with other dogs and the humans they encounter. Not only do we get to experience a stray dog’s life, but the lives of a young group of boys also living on the streets. The dogs in Istanbul are allowed to roam around the city freely since the citizens fought to save them. We’re taken into these dogs’ lives and live it with them, seeing all the sights and sounds they see. 

One of my favorite scenes in Stray is when Zeytin is in the park and notices another dog approaching. You can tell from the beginning, when we first get to know Zeytin, that she is a sweet dog. She doesn’t seem to mind the other dogs she comes in contact with and is friendly towards them. Watching Zeytin and the other dogs in the park was very enjoyable. I just loved watching them run around and being very playful. It is a scene that could have been in any part of the world.  I also enjoyed watching the puppy, Kartal. The puppy’s expressions are very sweet and, the way people react to Kartal, it adds a nice touch to the film.

The message in this film is to step up for what you believe in. The citizens of Turkey made sure their voices were heard, so that dogs can freely roam, and are not to be held captive or destroyed. Every life is worth something. The dogs provide comfort to many people there. There are some warnings. Some scenes can be graphic that go with life on the streets. Some of the topics and language spoken by some of the people is also for older viewers. I give Stray 5 out of 5 stars. I was glued to the screen and I am now a much bigger fan of documentaries after watching this film.  I plan to watch more in the future. I recommend this film to ages 13 to 20. Magnolia Pictures will release Stray in theaters and On Demand on March 5, 2021.

Movie Review: Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Categories
Movie Review: Raya And The Last Dragon * Fascinating Setting and Mythology; Story Falters a Bit

Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it’s up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little… Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies.” See her full review below.

Raya And The Last Dragon

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney’s best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little.<p>This film takes place in Kumandra, a world comprising five divided nations. When an evil force known as The Druun sends Kumandra into a state of despair, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) sets out on a journey to find the last dragon, and defeat The Druun for good.

First, the animation in this film is strong and very realistic; perhaps a little too realistic to the point where some shots look like photographs. This might be a pet peeve of mine, because I don’t like ultra-realistic animation. Sure, it is impressive, technologically speaking, but I find stylized animation to be much more striking and memorable. Aside from that, it’s very beautiful. I really like the colors, and how each location is so visually distinct.

Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids’ movies. However, I’m assuming the producers were concerned about this film being “too dark for kids” because there is a lot of really unfunny comedy in the beginning. This comedy mostly comes from Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon. And while I’m usually a fan of Awkwafina and her comedic timing, she’s just not given any good material here. The jokes don’t fit with the setting or tone, and they really bog down Sisu’s first few scenes. Yet once the comedy slows down, she becomes a more dramatic character which I enjoyed.

I have a few concerns with the themes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The message that, instead of being divided, we need to come together and stand united is fine. However the execution of that message is a bit questionable. No spoilers, but let’s just say a certain character really deserved some repercussions for all the problems they caused. I do understand that the moral is that we should learn to trust each other, but I feel like that message is used as an excuse to not properly redeem a character. I give Raya and The Last Dragon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out on March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

RSS
Follow by Email