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Shazam! – Soars Far Above Other Superhero Movies Buoyed By Unique Direction And Story

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Movie Reviews
Shazam! – Soars Far Above Other Superhero Movies Buoyed By Unique Direction And Story

We all have a superhero inside of us — it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, all he needs to do is shout out one word to transform into the adult superhero Shazam. Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in the new version of himself by doing what any other teen would do — have fun while testing out his newfound powers. But he’ll need to master them quickly before the evil Dr. Thaddeus Sivana can get his hands on Shazam’s magical abilities. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story.” Zoe C. adds, “Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It’s entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.” Benjamin P. wraps it with, “Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.” See their  reviews and interviews below.

 

Shazam!
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

https://youtu.be/ebhx3aeYnSY

SHAZAM! - Official Trailer 2 - Only In Theaters April 5.mp4.00_00_41_18.Still001.jpg

Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story. This is a must watch for all.

The story follows street-smart foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who turns into an adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by yelling “Shazam!” Courtesy of an ancient wizard, Billy revels this adult version of himself alongside foster pal Freddy (Jack Dylan Gratzer). Can he fly? Can he buy beer? Does he have X-Ray vision? Better yet, can he talk to fish? These scenarios are tested to their limits, but seriousness strikes as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) seeks to defeat Shazam and steal his powers. Billy realizes there’s more to this than jokes, but also a test to prove what makes a hero.

First, Zachary Levi owns it as Shazam with his natural comedic talent and physical prowess. He looks the part with his Godlike figure, while nailing the childishness with believability. The same goes for Asher Angel, who plays Billy Batson with the similar youthfulness, but nails his quieter heroic actions. The transformation is so seamless that you can truly believe the two are playing off each other. But, the cast’s standout comes in Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy who proved his talents in IT, but here he is even better. His conversations with Billy/Shazam are so improvisational and random and they just work. Every line of his lands. The rest of the foster family, played by Faithe Herman (Darla), Ian Chen (Eugene), Jovan Armand (Pedro) and Grace Fulton (Mary) are all incredible with each member having their own unique characteristics. I especially love Darla’s innocent goodness and happiness to have Billy around. Mark Strong, as Thaddeus Sivana, is a formidable foe with an apt back story. Still, I would have loved to see Strong saved for a bigger endgame.shazam.a.jpg

David F. Sanberg’s direction is superb, especially for his first action movie after a variety of successful horror movies. He even flexes his horror muscles with some truly terrifying designs for Sivana’s powers. My favorite scenes are Freddy’s training montages as those are a true testament to the film’s sense of humor. Scenes like these are so unique in comparison to most superhero films. I also love many of the heartfelt moments within Billy’s quest to find family. I wish the film had a bigger budget to make up for its action scenes, which could be far-between and underwhelming. But, in a way that adds to the movie’s freshness, giving small scale looks at big fights.

The message of this film is that family is found from loving and genuine experiences, not in a word. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to intense action sequences, brief suggestive content and language. The movie opens in theaters April 5,  2019, so check it out.

Shazam!
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic  age 10
https://youtu.be/lyMDIRWGOBg

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Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It’s entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.14-year old Billy Batson discovers, with the help of an ancient wizard, that he can turn into a Superhero just by saying the word: “Shazam!” But Billy is not just dressed in a superhero outfit, he also looks older and big!Converted into Shazam, Billy, who lives with adopted parents, goes home and tells his friend (or brother?) Freddy that he is Billy. Freddy loves super heroes and knows everything about them. Together they test Shazam’s capabilities and surprise: he is indeed a real superhero. As Shazam, Billy uses his super powers for good but also for fun.

 

I think Shazam! makes the cinematic world a better place. It is not just a hilarious comedy: it is about finding a family, making true friends and combating bullying.

The acting in Shazam! is amazing. Zachary Levi is the perfect Shazam. He has the charisma and humor to make this big kid an adorable hero. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer also make this movie very engaging: they are not just funny but also kind hearted. These actors totally carry the film.  I think all the actors in this film make it more relatable for younger audiences and new generations. I definitely think that this movie is a unique superhero film, because usually that genre is more serious with only a couple jokes. But this one kept me laughing. There’s action and emotional moments as well. I feel the amount of comedy is perfect and what makes this movie special.

 

The director David F. Sandberg surprised audiences as he is most known for his horror films, but this one turned out to be an incredible and enthusiastic production.The story works perfectly for the whole family, so I recommend it for ages 5 to18. I am a huge fan of this film: it made me laugh and kept me entertained the entire time, and the visual effects are very good. I give Shazam! five out of five stars.The message of the film is that we can all be heroes: it only takes a pure heart to have the power and strength to do good deeds, help people and beat the bad guys. Shazam! opens in theaters on April 5, 2019 so make sure to say the word and catch it in your favorite theater!

Shazam!
Benjamin P., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 13
https://youtu.be/yrqntOZrZys

 

 

Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.The story line follows Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster kid, who moves in with a new family. Billy gains powers from a wizard who chooses him to be his champion against the forces of evil. He can transform into a powerful superhero just by saying the word “shazam.” He and his foster brother Freddy test Billy’s abilities to figure out the extent of his powers. Billy navigates the ups and downs of being a sudden superhero, while also clashing with Dr. Sivana, who is determined to take Batson’s powers to rule the world.

 

I really like the performances in this film. Jack Dylan Grazer is good as Freddy. Grazer takes a comedic best friend and makes him much more than a one-note sidekick. Zachary Levi is great as the super-powered version of Billy Batson. Levi channels the personality of a teenager very believably. His performance is natural and I don’t feel like I’m watching an adult try to play a teen. Mark Strong hams it up as Dr. Sivana, but he’s still quite frightening and a real threat to the characters.I love the tone of this film. It’s never self-serious and, rather than making the hero dark and brooding, Shazam! captures its heroes and their powers with a childlike wonder. This film understands that superheroes are people who we can look up to because, even though they are flawed, they always aspire to do the right thing. I love the stakes of this film. It does not rely on apocalyptic proportions to make you care about its characters.

 

Shazam! starts as an origin story, but ends up doing more than that. Billy has always pushed the idea of family away and is more scared of accepting family than his powers. He has to embrace the idea of family to grow as a person and a hero. He realizes he can’t beat Sivana alone and what you gain from having people support and appreciate you. I think this arc is heartwarming and a great direction for this film.

I recommend Shazam! For ages 12 to 18 due to some violence and language. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Although this film sometimes veers into predictable and clichéd territory, I came out of Shazam! with a smile on my face and excited to see what comes next from these characters. I highly recommend you check out this film when it comes out in theaters April 5, 2019

Photos © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

 

 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family – Learn About The Importance Of Family

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Kids
Sesame Street: Celebrate Family – Learn About The Importance Of Family

Celebrate your family with this fun-fest of five family stories from Sesame Street! First, Abby’s family has dinner at Elmo’s house, where Abby learns that different families can have fun working together to make a meal. Then, Cookie Monster realizes he’s forgotten a gift for his mommy for Mother’s Day what should he do? For Father’s Day, Rosita wants to make a video for her dad, but she needs some help from her friends. Next we meet Rudy, Abby’s new stepbrother! And finally, Hooper’s Store is throwing a special party for kids and their grandparents. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Each episode has an abundance of vibrant energy and many great lessons for families.  This DVD is a great place to learn about the importance of family.” Nancy F. adds, “!  It is absolutely amazing to watch with its focus on positive messages that teach kids about family values. It also shares terrific lessons about kindness and many other uplifting messages.” Ella L. wraps it up with, “Even as a teenager, I felt the happiness that radiates through the screen. This movie is musical, creative, filled with positive messages and very importantly, is representative of real life relationships.” See their full reviews below.

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Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/sZlS9p49Mn0

 

I absolutely love each episode of Sesame Street: Celebrate Family, because the characters are so colorful and cute. Each episode has an abundance of vibrant energy and many great lessons for families.  This DVD is a great place to learn about the importance of family.Sesame Street: Celebrate Family has five parts covering different topics with all of the different Sesame Street characters. The stories include Abby and her stepfamily visiting Elmo for a fun “father/kids’ night” learning about the different things families do together. We get to see the challenges that Cookie Monster has trying to make something for his mom on Mother’s Day. He just likes to gobble everything up because it reminds him of cookies (surprise!).  For Father’s Day, Rosita makes something special for her dad since he’s away from home. We also get to see a grandparent’s party and learn about different grandparents such as Baby Bear’s grandpa.

 

The main characters are, of course, Elmo, Abby, Rudy (Abby’s step brother) and Rosita. The puppeteers are fabulous with all their actions and different voices. The songs are so stinking cute, catchy and easy to follow along with. My favorite part is when Cookie Monster eats the locket he planned to give to his mom because the picture reminded him of how they eat cookies together. You probably guessed that my favorite character is Cookie Monster. If so, you guessed right.There are several positive messages throughout the DVD.  My favorite is that family is so very important, and you should take time to celebrate with them. Family is important no matter what you do or how different yours is. These episodes also touch on ways to have self-control, acknowledge your differences and give love to your family and friends. They also show that it is okay to be nervous about meeting new people, and that you can still celebrate even if your special person isn’t there. Each episode makes me want to celebrate family even more.

 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is very kid friendly. It promotes positive social behavior and treating one another appropriately. There is no bad language and nothing risky or dangerous that children might imitate. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 11. Adults will also enjoy this show. This DVD is available now, so look for it. I recommend it.

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Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

By Nancy Fifita, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

https://youtu.be/91zW7fL5epk

 

 

 

The DVD Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is incredibly adorable!  It is absolutely amazing to watch with its focus on positive messages that teach kids about family values. It also shares terrific lessons about kindness and many other uplifting messages. What I really love and appreciate is how each character highlights a different point of view that all relate back to friendship and family. This film is filled with catchy music, comedy, valuable lessons, and features funny and adorable characters.The DVD is centered on five family stories from Sesame Street!  The first adventure is about Abby and her families’ dinner with Elmo’s family. She discovers that not all families are the same; each has their own way of doing things. The second story involves Cookie Monster and Mother’s Day. He is great at creating gifts, but always ends up devouring them. He finally is able to restrain himself from eating the cookies he gives his mom as a gift for Mother’s Day. The next story is about Father’s Day and how Rosita wants to make a special video for her father. In order to complete the video she needs help from her friends. Then there’s a story about Abby and her new stepbrother Rudy! The last adventure shows happiness through a special celebration held for grandparents at Hopper’s store.

 

The characters we see here include Elmo (Kevin Clash), Abby (Leslie Cadabby), Rudy, Rosita, Cookie Monster (David Rudman), Oscar (Caroll Spinney), Slimy, Prairie Dawn (Fran Brill), Elmo’s Father (Bill Barretta) and Abby’s Father. I love all the messages that are taught in the different episodes. Each gives cute and warm fuzzy feelings as it focuses and draws attention to the importance of family relationships, family support and having family right by your side.My favorite moment on this DVD is when Elmo Face Times his grandparents. It is a simple gesture and form of communication, but their reaction of joy and happiness is priceless. It teaches us an important lesson that, even if distance separates us from family, there is always a way to keep in touch, especially in the world of modern technology.

I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 11 and adults as well. This DVD is so adorable, with meaningful lessons and teachable moments. I’m sure that anyone that watches it will truly enjoy it!  It is available now so look for it!

 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

by Ella Ladd, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

https://youtu.be/tAYakbazzVg

 

 

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family is a fun and entertaining DVD that both kids and parents will be able to enjoy. Even as a teenager, I felt the happiness that radiates through the screen. This movie is musical, creative, filled with positive messages and very importantly, is representative of real life relationships. I assume that the purpose of this show is to entertain children, while teaching them about the variety of families that exist. Sesame Street: Celebrate Family follows Elmo and all his friends as they navigate through different relationships and figure out what the word family really means. Throughout the series, topics such as siblings, step-siblings, parents and grandparents are discussed. Different songs about different members of one’s family showcase the love and admiration Elmo and his friends feel towards their family. The film is very well written, with loads of content and humor that kids will absorb and enjoy thoroughly. The cheerfulness of Elmo and the Sesame Street community ought to make your kids want to laugh, play and sing along with them. Their positivity is absolutely contagious.

The aspect of the show that stands most are the positive messages. Elmo even says that “families come in all different shapes and sizes.” I am impressed by the progressive way that families are depicted in this show. All the families are different; none are a cookie-cutter mother-father-kid experience. Elmo and his friends also teach kids to love their families and treat their parents with love and respect. This DVD shows that family isn’t necessarily what you are born into. It’s the connections, relationships and bonds that you build with the people around you, regardless of age, color or any other hereditary aspect. Family is thicker than blood and that message is well portrayed here.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, as well as adults. This is an awesome show that helps kids develop their own personal values and character. Sesame Street: Celebrate Family does indeed celebrate families. The DVD is available now so, look for it!

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Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

By Kimberly M, KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

https://youtu.be/Hzmq1Vmqg_Y

This delightful DVD carries the Sesame Street legacy of learning and fun, mixed with new characters, updated theme song elements and scenery. The various segments included here celebrate family, including Mother’s and Father’s Day and introduces one of the main character’s new stepbrother.The storylines have meaning and there is nothing threatening about them. One can rely on Sesame Street for great live action cinematography, great characters and thoughtful stories. I always enjoy the uniqueness of the Muppet costumes along with the Sesame Street set. The characters bright colors stand out and help hold the attention of younger viewers.

As to the characters in this show, I like seeing the older characters along with some new ones. We see Oscar, Elmo, and Abby meeting and learning about new human fraternal twin siblings.Another favorite part for me is the segments where they sing about different types of families. In one segment, the human twin siblings argue over music until they find common ground with jazz. That’s fun!

Sesame Street excels at presenting humor in their sketches, effectively making kids and older viewers laugh along. I enjoy that this DVD celebrates all different aspects of family. It is geared primarily for young children and they will benefit by learning about sibling rivalry and other aspects of family that may be unfamiliar to them.There are no unsavory aspects to this show. Sesame Street has a long-standing reputation, since 1969 of creating conscientious programming for preschoolers and this DVD is reliably thoughtful, educational and fun. The DVD is 140 minutes in length and can easily be enjoyed by watching it in segments. I truly enjoyed it and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 2 to 5, as well as adults. It is available now on DVD, so look for it.

 

 

Octonauts: Reef Rescue – Amazing Way To Learn A Lot About Different Sea Creatures

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Kids
Octonauts: Reef Rescue – Amazing Way To Learn A Lot About Different Sea Creatures

The Octonauts are a team of adventurers who explore the world’s oceans, rescue aquatic creatures and protect their habitats – from the bustling eco-system along the Amazon River to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. Deploying a set of aquatic vehicles, Captain Barnacles, daredevil ex-pirate, Kwazii, medic Peso and the rest of the crew embark on missions around the globe before returning safely to their home base, the Octopod. On this exciting DVD, join the Octonauts as they journey to a colorful coral reef to rescue the creatures that live there! Come along with Dashi as she saves a pair of surfing snails. And when poisonous sea snakes get stranded on a beach, Peso must figure out a way to get them back into the ocean. Enjoy these adventures and more with the Octonauts! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “I really like the DVD Octonauts: Reef Rescue, because we experience a new adventure with each episode.  The animation is simple and has a rainbow of splashy colors.” Lukas L. adds, “The character animations are very simple and that works for me.  Also, they have the most adorable little personalities and vegetable helpers.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Rachel V. wraps it up with, “The Octonauts are a group of anthropomorphic animals that go on maritime adventures which often include educational experiences with undersea creatures and locations. Despite how cutesy this series may look on the surface, it has a decent amount of depth in its premise, with the characters going on adventures that feel like something you might find in Star Trek.” See their full reviews below.

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Octonauts: Reef Rescue

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/w3DFDyNMioA

 

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I really like the DVD Octonauts: Reef Rescue, because we experience a new adventure with each episode.  The animation is simple and has a rainbow of splashy colors.  The music is also very playful, supporting the kaleidoscope of action in each different rescue mission.Octonauts: Reef Rescue has a lot of lively characters, led by Captain Barnacles, who is a bear.  His crew also includes a number of other animals including a penguin, an ex-pirate kitten and a sea otter.  The most creative characters are vegimals – yes, part vegetable, part animal.  And, each rescue ends swimmingly! (ha ha) The DVD includes eight episodes, each a different adventure.  It is an amazing place to learn a lot about different sea creatures including a convict fish, very cute baby sea turtles, a tiger shark, poisonous yellow-bellied sea snakes and my favorite – surfing snails.  I had no idea snails could surf on bubbles.

 

There are so many positive messages throughout this DVD.  My favorite is the importance of team work.  The episodes also show how to protect the sea habitat and how much hard work and fun it is to rescue sea life. Octonauts Reef Rescue is very kid-friendly. It promotes positive social behavior, teamwork and kindness to one another and animals. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 8. Adults will also enjoy this as they watch it with their kids and will probably learn something new. This DVD is available now, so look for it. I recommend it.

 

Octonauts: Reef Rescue
By Lukas L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

https://youtu.be/1PRdKWRyNoc

 

I surprisingly really enjoyed watching the loveable Octonauts: Reef Rescue. The character animations are very simple and that works for me.  Also, they have the most adorable little personalities and vegetable helpers.The stories on this DVD are about a polar bear, cat, a penguin and their friends that explore, rescue and protect underwater sea creatures and their habitats. In these episodes, we learn about baby sea turtles, sunfish, tiger sharks and more. There is always a conflict in every episode and they manage to come up with the cleverest ways to save the day.The series stars voice-talent actors Ross Breen, Teresa Gallagher and Simon Greenall and is produced by Adam Idelson.  I really like the animation and give props to the animator Willian Muir. He keeps it very simple so that all ages can enjoy watching it. It is not just the main characters that I enjoyed. Oh, no no no, I really enjoyed the animated sea creatures as well. A lot of these sea creatures have very hard textures to mimic, so they make it through very nicely, plus we get a little sneak peak of the actual animals themselves at the end and that’s pretty cool.

 

This is the kind of where they make learning fun, which they succeed at.  There is not really a moral, but I it definitely promotes a love of ocean life. This show is great at teaching kids about marine life and their habitat. When I was younger, I was obsessed with animals of all sorts and I adored this show. Watching it again reminds me why I loved it so much!  There are not a lot of other shows that are dedicated to teaching kids about ocean life, so that’s a plus.I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9. The DVD is available now, so look for it.

 

Octonauts: Reef Rescue

By Nathalia J. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

 

https://youtu.be/c-olNphH9YQ

 

Are you ready to dive into adventure with your favorite underwater explores? This 90 minute, eight-episode, action-packed, powerful, thrilling and stimulating DVD is loaded with excitement in every episode. You get to join the Octonauts as they go on adventures through the glamorous, lovely, attractive and stunning reef to rescue creatures in need of help.The Octonauts are a team of adventurers that explore the world’s oceans and protect the creatures and habitats therein. You get to watch the Octonauts save a pair of surfing snails through a rutted wave in the tide and save baby turtles from an enormous wave and explore the lives of sunfish, yellow belly sea snakes and colorful fish.

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The lead characters are Ross Breen (Captain Barnacles), Teresa Gallagher (Dashi), Simon Greenall (Captain Barnacles) and produced by Adam Idelson.My favorite episode is the most adventurous and informational Episode 7, because it shares multiple facts about the biggest fish in the ocean, sunfish.  Fun fact: When sunfish get the case of the itchies, smart fish masticate the itches off the sunfish which stay in the sunfish’s skin.

This show promotes positive social behavior by presenting kind actions through rescuing others. It promotes team work, working together and solving problems on an ocean adventure. Sounds like fun, huh?! This DVD is a great way for kids to learn about reefs and so much more. Each episode is filled with beautifully colored stories that will keep you engaged.I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 11. This DVD is now available now so look for it!

Yo-kai Watch: Season 1 * Interesting Plots, Vivid Animation, Fun Mix of Humor and Action

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Kids
Yo-kai Watch: Season 1 * Interesting Plots, Vivid Animation, Fun Mix of Humor and Action

Remember that time you passed gas in that super crowded elevator? Or when you lost your sock in the dryer? That was just bad luck, right? Wrong! That was the work of Yo-kai; the invisible Yo-kai all around us that are the cause of our daily annoyances!! Nate is a just a regular boy struggling to be above average at school. One day when he receives the Yo-kai Watch, he gets the chance to see and communicate with these mischievous Yo-kai. With the Yo-kai Watch on his wrist, Nate starts to form friendships with them and learn of the things that make life so complicated. There’s just one problem: they’re everywhere and they love to cause mischief! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “I have vague memories of Yo-kai Watch from when it first came to the states. I never beat the first game and I ended up forgetting about it for a few years. However from what I remember, the show reflects the game and the world pretty well.” Ava L. adds, “This is a very interesting and cool DVD to watch! It has all the qualities that make a good animated series – interesting plots, vivid and clear animation, a fun mix of humor and action all in one!” See their full reviews below.

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Yo-kai Watch: Season 1
By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

https://youtu.be/QjMPijK9JFY

 

 

I have vague memories of Yo-kai Watch from when it first came to the states. I never beat the first game and I ended up forgetting about it for a few years. However from what I remember, the show reflects the game and the world pretty well.The story follows a kid named Nate who finds Whisper, a Yo-kai, who gives him the Yo-kai Watch. This watch allows him to see Yo-kai, mischievous spirits that are invisible without the watch. The show mostly follows Nate’s adventures as he helps and befriends Yo-kai.  This seems to be the main plot of the show.  There doesn’t appear to be any overarching story or conflict. Remember, these are only a few episodes from the first season. So maybe there eventually is a set goal or conflict. However, there are a lot of positive lessons. So parents, this show is a good one to watch with your kids.

 

Nate, the protagonist, doesn’t seem particularly invested in the world of Yo-kai. He’s essentially forced to solve everyone’s problems and he seems to reluctantly just accept it. For example, when he first meets Whisper, a literal ghost, he trie to walk away from the conversation three times and he barely seems to care that he is talking to a magical ghost that appears from a capsule machine. That isn’t exactly a good way to introduce your main character.Also, the structure of the show is rather confusing. At first I thought the show had the “two 11 minute stories merged into one 22 minute episode” type of structure that many cartoons have, but no. Sometimes it’s one really long story combined with a story that’s really short. Sometimes it’s THREE stories in one episode. It’s really inconsistent. The show also seems oddly inconsistent in its tone. The show is mostly comedic, however one story has no comedy and is entirely serious. It just feels really random, but maybe it ties in with Season 2. It is entertaining overall and a series I would have probably watched when I was younger.

 

I give this show 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This DVD is already out, so look for it.

 

Yo-kai Watch

By Ava L., KIDS FIRST! Film critic, age 10

https://youtu.be/akCK2Xhw5a4

 

 

This is a very interesting and cool DVD to watch! It has all the qualities that make a good animated series – interesting plots, vivid and clear animation, a fun mix of humor and action all in one! I really like when the action in the story, because it makes me feel more excited and enthusiastic to watch what is going on in.The story is about Nate, a normal boy, except he has a Yo-kai Watch which gives the person who has the watch the power to see Yo-kai. Yo-kai are things that cause your daily annoyances such as, when you have bad luck and fall or, you really have to go to the bathroom but there is a really long line, or you have a song stuck in your head that you hate or dislike. The Yo-kai are mischievous and you never know when they might show up or what they might do. Also, the Yo-kai are invisible, so you can’t see them unless you have the Yo-kai Watch. This DVD reminds me of Pokemon a bit so, if you like Pokemon I recommend this for you! I am pretty sure the creators of this film got inspired or got the idea from Pokemon.

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The show is well produced and made me want to keep watching. Sometimes though, I was a little confused as to what was happening. I wished for more details. For example, the film kept switching to other subjects which are a little confusing about what is happening. Sometimes the story is not so specific. Besides that, I really enjoyed it!This show does have some mature humor. Even my mom and dad laughed at some of the jokes! But for the most part, the series is really kid-friendly and younger audiences will enjoy it or appreciate this DVD! In my opinion it is a really awesome series for kids!

 

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, because anyone can enjoy it. This DVD is already available so look for it!

 

Llama Llama Red Pajama – Adorable And Imaginative With Curious Characters And Adventures

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Kids
Llama Llama Red Pajama – Adorable And Imaginative With Curious Characters And Adventures
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Adventure and learning await in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by
author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and
Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD,
watch Llama Llama at his first sleepover with friends! Learn how to share on a play date with Nelly Gnu!
Discover what makes Llama Llama’s red pajamas so lucky and so much more! Learn and play with Llama
Llama and pals! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ava L. comments, “Wow, this series is so adorable and
imaginative because the characters are so curious and always find a new adventure! Llama himself is
very, very curious.” Milika L. adds, “based on the book by Anna Dewdney is cute, relatable and playful.
You get to meet llama llama’s adorable friends such as the adventurous Nelly Ngu, the fashionable Luna
Giraffe, Euclid the Genius sheep and the Bully who becomes a friend of Gilroy the Goat. I love how these
friends become closer through service, sleepovers, and playdates!” Nathalia J. comments, “This kid-
friendly, adventurous, funny and teachable series, created by Anna Dewdney, will have you laughing and
giggling throughout most of the episodes. It is intriguing, attractive, hysterical and mirthful.” Denise B.,
KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “I like that there are different types of stories and not all based on the
same theme. The characters are unique because – well, how many cartoons feature llamas? I especially
like Mama Llama because she is easy to relate to and is a good mom character.” See their full reviews
below.
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Llama Llama Red Pajama
By Ava La Vigne, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
https://youtu.be/vJavytj6LQ8
Wow, this series is so adorable and imaginative because the characters are so curious and always find a
new adventure! Llama himself is very, very curious.
The series is about Llama, his mama (Mama Llama) and one of Llama’s best friends, his favorite stuffed
animal Fuzzy! In each episode, the characters face a problem and always seem to find a way to get
around them! Llama loves his friends and cares about them a lot. Llama and his friends go through almost
everything together. Llama and his friends are inseparable!
I like the way Noelle Wright wrote this series! It has a good plot, a very curious Llama which kids love and
finds a way to put humor into the story. I also really like the intro music. It gets me in the mood! My
favorite part of each episode is when Llama finds a problem because it gets me more into the story or
scene.This series is perfect for kids and has no bad actions or bad language. The message this show is trying to
teach is that whenever there is a problem, you can get past it. Also, it reminds you that you can do
anything if you put your mind to it!
I give this 4 out of 5 stars, because I like the lesson they are teaching. I wish there had more challenges
for Llama and his friends though. I recommend this series for kids ages 2 to 18. It is available on DVD
January 29, 2019, so look for it! Reviewed by Ava La V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
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Llama Llama Red Pajama
By Milika Lomu, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
https://youtu.be/ZA5YXUXa3c
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Llama Llama Red Pajama, based on the book by Anna Dewdney is cute, relatable and playful. You get to
meet llama llama’s adorable friends such as the adventurous Nelly Ngu, the fashionable Luna Giraffe,
Euclid the Genius sheep and the Bully who becomes a friend of Gilroy the Goat. I love how these friends
become closer through service, sleepovers, and playdates!
In the episode “Noisy Neighbor,” Llama Llama and his friends take up community service where they
have to clean up the yard of a scary neighbor. They are interrupted several times by the neighbor and
can’t finish their work. Eventually, they figure out who the scary neighbor really is. To find out who the
neighbor is you’ve got to watch this DVD.
I have so many favorite parts, but if I had to pick one, it would be from the episode “Time to Share.” Nelly
Ngu accidentally rips off Llama Llama’s favorite teddy bear’s arm. Mama Llama saves the day by sewing
the arm back on and their friendship is saved. At that moment, they realize that sharing is really caring.
Luna the Giraffe is my favorite character. Besides the fact that she’s so fashionable, she’s also silly and
crafty. In the episode “Lucky Pajama,” Luna helps Llama Llama spread the luck with their friends. She
does this by making accessories out of the red lucky pajamas. The music is lighthearted and made me
feel like I wanted to be apart of their town. Llama Llama lives in a little peaceful town where he bike rides
almost everywhere with Mama Llama. In this little town, everyone knows each other.
There are many messages that I took away from this, but the most important is to be kind, practice
patience and realize that your actions can affect others in a positive and negative way.
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. This DVD is available on January 29, 2019
so look for it.
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Llama Llama Red Pajama
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Are you ready to join the adventurous characters Llama Llama, Luna Giraffe, Nelly Gnu, Euclid the sheep,
Gilroy Goat, Mama Llama and more? This kid-friendly, adventurous, funny and teachable series, created
by Anna Dewdney, will have you laughing and giggling throughout most of the episodes. It is intriguing,
attractive, hysterical and mirthful.
Adventure and learning await in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series. The
stories follow Llama Llama and his five friends as they explore their friendly hometown and make
childhood memories. They face different problems, but always find a way to get around them. You get to
see Llama Llama’s get-go sleep-over with three of his friends. You also get to watch Llama Llama as he
learns to share at his play-date with Nelly Gnu, which involves his new car his grandparents give him.
My favorite part is when Llama Llama learns how to be separated from his adorable bear named Fuzzy
Llama, who is his best friend and who he can’t sleep without. I love this part because it’s unquestionably
relatable. Fun Fact: I also have my very own Fuzzy Llama, who I can’t bear being separated from. When
I’m away from home, it’s my bear CJ and my blanket Cozy.
My favorite character is Mama Llama because she is such a kind, peaceful and loving mother and
definitely proves that throughout the series. This DVD’s message teaches you valuable life experiences. It
is fantastic for kids and has no bad actions or bad language.
I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 10. It is available on January 29, 2019.
So, look for it!
Llama Llama red pajama
Denise Bloomfield
I found this DVD quite appealing. I like Llama and the other characters, especially Mama Llama. As a
mom, even though my son is now a teenager, the first episode on the DVD brought back memories about
a young child not wanting to go to bed. I also like the catchy rhyming. It’s a fun series of shows. There are
eight different episodes on the DVD featuring Llama Llama and his mama and friends. All are engaging
and have different storylines and are appropriate for young children and some may even teach children
how to share.I like the storylines because they are fun to watch. They are engaging with likable characters and perfect
for preschoolers. The shows are all animated with bright colors and different scenes. I like that there are
different types of stories and not all based on the same theme. The characters are unique because – well,
how many cartoons feature llamas? I especially like Mama Llama because she is easy to relate to and is
a good mom character. The costumes fit with the characters. Most of the scenes take place wherein
Llama and Mama’s neighborhood and in their house. They may not be memorable per se, but they fit the
storylines. The music sticks out, especially the theme song which is catchy. I can imagine young children
singing along.There is a message to the shows about being kind to others and learning how to share and be a friend.
Young children will learn things such as being a friend and how to share. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars
and recommend it for ages 2 to 5 years old. It is available on DVD now from NCircle Entertainment so
look for it

On the Basis of Sex – Well Crafted and Authentic Representation of the Iconic RBG

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Movie Reviews
On the Basis of Sex – Well Crafted and Authentic Representation of the Iconic RBG
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a struggling attorney and new mother who faces adversity and
numerous obstacles in her fight for equal rights. When Ruth takes on a groundbreaking tax case
with her husband, attorney Martin Ginsburg, she knows it could change the direction of her
career and the way the courts view gender discrimination. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella L.
comments, “The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s time period
really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified version of the
story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the film really help
it stand out.” See her full review below.
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On the Basis of Sex
By Ella Ladd, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
https://youtu.be/PwEZtcZM2yQ

On the Basis of Sex is such a fun and empowering film. I enjoyed it quite a bit as it was equally entertaining

and informative. The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s
time period really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified
version of the story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the
film really help it stand out. This is a very important movie for people to see.
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This film follows the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones), a young and gifted
lawyer, who struggles to find work simply because she is a woman. In order to prove that the
law discriminates on the basis of sex, Ms. Ginsburg has to work harder than she ever has
before.The film is very well written with immaculate attention to detail, thanks to the writer being
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s nephew Daniel Stiepleman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing. It
is full of heart and truth because Justice Ginsburg made sure everything was accurately
portrayed. She read all of the drafts of the scripts to make sure that her story told well. It is
never boring! I laughed out loud when it was funny and got angry seeing RBG rejected and
having doors slammed in her face, due to her gender.
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The acting is really great. Both Armie Hammer, who portrays Martin Ginsburg and Cailee
Spaeny who portray Jane Ginsburg absolutely blew me away. Armie portrays Martin as a man
who really loves and respects his wife in such a heartwarming way. Cailee portrays Jane as a
funny and empowered feminist. The relationship between Jane and Ruth is displayed with such
honesty and realism. My only complaint about the acting might be that Ruth’s accent could have
been much stronger.I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults.
This film tells such a special and unique story, one that is incredibly important, with equal amounts of
heart, humor, turmoil, and honesty. This triumphant story really gets you thinking. It opens
nationwide in theaters January hits theatres worldwide on January 11, 2019, so do yourself a
favor and go watch it.

The Upside – Wonderful Remake of the French Classic with Well-Founded Laughs

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Movie Reviews
The Upside – Wonderful Remake of the French Classic with Well-Founded Laughs
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Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day
to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged
wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs.” See his full review below.
The Upside
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
https://youtu.be/YZJZL7ERXs8
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The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed “January movie” will find a perfect outing. Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (KevinHart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family’s financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don’t believe in Dell’s capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dellfailing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers
exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the
amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his
character when needed, as his condition makes him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his
journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter
is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as
even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as
well.Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a
repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic
French scene and even has more nuances of its own.
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The main problem with this movie comes from the
fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn’t much of a difference with a few scenes
and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions
don’t fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does
prove to its advantage.The message of this film is that friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain
irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and happier mental well-being. I give
this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and
brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out

Miss Bala – Enjoyable Thriller, Very Scary and Fast-Paced

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Movie Reviews
Miss Bala – Enjoyable Thriller, Very Scary and Fast-Paced

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Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lexi G. comments, “I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love Miss Bala!” See her full review below.

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Miss Bala

By Lexi G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

https://youtu.be/aG9Yx9pDiX4

 

Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love thriller Miss Bala! If you don’t like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.  In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more.  Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend?  Does she escape the gang’s awful manipulations?  I guess you’ll have to watch it to find out!

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There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too.  Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it’s rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

 

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I’m not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me.  I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences.  I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn’t even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You’ll enjoy it!!!

 

Photos © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1 – Superb! Martin Short at The Cat Always Makes Me Laugh!

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Reviews
The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1 – Superb! Martin Short at The Cat Always Makes Me Laugh!

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Enjoy the first volume of the third season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The award-winning television show follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they’re whisked off on amazing voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat. Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! In this volume set, kids will learn how accidents and mistakes can lead to discovery, how the shape of an object impacts the way it bounces, and how changing the direction of a force can make heavier things easier to move. But the discoveries don’t end there! We learn how mirrors reflect and bounce images, how to change the volume and pitch of a sound, and much, much more! So let’s go, go, go, go on an adventure – we’re flying with The Cat in the Hat today! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic SaniyaRain F. comments, “The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes.” Alejandra G. adds, “This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jordan M. adds, “I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Kimberly M. wraps it up with, “The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short. The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way.” See their full reviews below.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By Saniya Rain Fowler, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/2GUDX34GOTg

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The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes. The first episode that I watched was about Sarah the Inventor. This series has been around since 2010, but every time I watch it, I see something new. I think it is for everyone. The family can learn lots of lessons from each show. Sarah is an inventor like me. I create masterpieces on canvas, but Sarah invented the paint fall. When Sally hits the paint fall, all the colors get mixed up and start forming a color that one of the characters needs for his mountain. This episode is called “Accidents Happen if You’re Lucky.” As we get older, we learn that sometimes the things we plan don’t go the way we want them to, but can still have a good outcome. Different doesn’t always mean better and that is something we should understand about people. All people do not look alike, but we are all important in our own ways.

The second episode is called “Play Ball.” It is a funny story about Sally getting a new ball and a boy loses it when he throws it up and it gets caught in the tree branches. Cat then takes them to a really cool ball palace with lots and lots of cool balls. They try to find the right bouncy ball for Sally. Cat gives her a tool that helps her look closely to see if the balls bounce. They finally find a ball she likes. Sometimes, things can be replaced and sometimes they can’t. One thing is for sure, we will always lose stuff, even people. We have friends and sometimes they might lose our belongings and we get mad. Sometimes friends do stuff to hurt our feelings. We have to decide if the object is more important than our friend or is our friend more important. Losing anything is not fun, but it happens.

The third episode is “Gravity Drop.” This is my second favorite episode. It is about a boy getting his plane stuck in a tree. They go to a valley that allows you to have more or less gravity. It looks fun because they are floating through the air when there is less gravity. It reminds me of going on a rollercoaster and going up into the air and then getting dropped back down. This is like a learning video because it teaches the viewer about gravity.

The last episode, “Design Time” is my favorite of all. It is my favorite because Sally makes a vase for her mom and the boy makes a robot for his dad. Sally has trouble making the vase so Cat takes them to blueprintia where they learn how to create blueprints of what they want to make. They learn that they must have a plan in order to do something correctly. That is like life, too. You have to have a plan. You have to think before you do something or make something. If you want things to go right, plan it first. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This is available on DVD now so, be sure to look for it. Reviewed by Saniya Rain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1
By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

https://youtu.be/xkZA_HGKAzM

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To start off, I want to comment on how The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1 and the rest of this series impacts children in a positive way due to the vocabulary and other lessons taught in each episode. This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to. I didn’t follow The Cat in the Hat when I was younger, but I feel it is very attracted to its target audience. The way the show is made, with all the colorful objects and the plots that draw you in is quite interesting.The episodes on this DVD contain different stories and plots, but the format and the meaning are consistent. All the adventures have different plots and all the characters are inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning. This motivates kids’ curiosity about the natural world and encourages them to follow the positive examples.

 

My favorite scene is at the end of when episode when The Cat in the Hat, his cat cousins, Nick, Sally, Fish, and all his family gather together for a great musical finale where they are celebrated as true adventurers. I like this scene because it is very creative with great songs and how it is organized. It definitely gets children’s attention in every way possible. The important message that this show teaches is in encouraging kids’ curiosity about the natural world. The series answers questions about natural science in a kid-friendly way. They learn about the seasons, animal behavior, habitats and more – learning to appreciate the wonder of exploration and discovery. The day and night concept, animals, plants, planets, gravity and a lot more are taught in fun ways and make kids catch it fast. I recommend this for ages 5 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars.

 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By Jordan Millar, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

https://youtu.be/2GUDX34GOTg

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These imaginative episodes from the popular television series are incredibly animated and provide a unique take on Dr. Seuss’s classic storybook characters. In fact, when I was younger, I used to watch this show on a regular basis, so it is nice to bring back that sense of nostalgia.Episodes follow the miraculous adventures of young friends Sally and Nick. Every day, they join the whimsical Cat in the Hat, who guides them on magical, scientific explorations. Fans of Dr. Seuss will also recognize their favorite characters like Fish, Thing One and Thing Two. In this volume, kids are be able to learn many different things, such as how boats are able to float, how bridges are built and how certain accidents can lead to new discoveries.

In each episode, Sally, Nick and The Cat in the Hat test things out and run different experiments to draw conclusions. It is very interactive with characters always asking questions that help viewers think. At the end of each episode, they also provide experiments that kids can do at home. Visually the series is just like the places in Dr. Seuss’s original books. I like the elaborate and artistic scenery, the quirky dialogue and fun songs.I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings. Although there is no primary lesson, there are multiple things you can learn by watching every episode!

I rate this production 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7, but it is great for the entire family. You can find it on DVD now so look for it.

 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1

By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

 

In this DVD, the Cat in the Hat, along with 6-year-old best friends Sally and Nick, Thing #1 and Thing #2 and Fish go on numerous adventures dealing with scientific discoveries. The separate stories include dealing with the phenomenon of shadows and how they are made, why a slide loses friction, why accidents can be a positive thing and why some magnets attract and others do the exact opposite. The stories are approximately 15 minutes each. The set consists of two discs and is approximately 220 minutes long. The DVD consists of 20 episodes plus a bonus section with five snippets around two to three minutes each, all of which reinforce the scientific facts in the stories. Also available is a Spanish language sub-title option. The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short.

The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way. I like the separate adventures that deal with science facts. I could relate to the story about the children’s slide because I recall being at a popular amusement park as a child, where one of the popular attractions was a gigantic slide. When I was younger, I was able to slide down gracefully. Years later, as a pre-teen, I was not able to slide down the slide without becoming stuck at some point because of the friction issues. This was probably because of the bumpiness in the aging attraction. After many complaints, it was dismantled. Another story segment I found interesting was the opposites magnets attracting. I enjoyed when they were streaming down the river in red and blue boats and have to match the color of the boat with the same color of the oncoming rock in order to keep from crashing into it.

 

I recommend this DVD for ages 5 to 9 and give it a 5 out of 5 stars. It is available on DVD now, so check it out!

 

 

 

 

The Kid Who Would Be King – Heartwarming Film About How Anyone Could Be A King

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Movie Reviews
The Kid Who Would Be King – Heartwarming Film About How Anyone Could Be A King

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Old school magic meets the modern world in this epic adventure. Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical sword in the stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “…it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message.” Zoe C. adds, “I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.” Juanita L. wraps it up with, “It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.” See their full reviews below.

The Kid Who Would Be King
By Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Link to Video Review

https://youtu.be/vXAm04_Pou0

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Link to Interview with Cast

https://youtu.be/PKucVMQgMKw

 

The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming film about a boy named Alexander who finds out that he is the future king of Britain. Now he, his friends and his enemies, must embark on a quest to defeat a wicked enchantress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before the end of a solar eclipse. This film is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, including the legend of the magical sword, Excalibur. At night, everyone disappears from the world except for Alex and anyone he has knighted. This way they can take whatever they want and try to defeat all of Morgana’s minions. When they are all gone, Alex and his knights stay where they are and everything else returns to normal.

There are lots of cool scenes in this film that involve exciting sword battles. In my interview with Sir Patrick Stewart (Merlin), Rhianna Dorris (Kaye) and Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alex), I learned that the cast used real swords to train with to learn the real feel and heaviness of medieval swords and armor. However, in the actual film they used realistic plastic swords, because otherwise it would be too dangerous.

My favorite character in this film is Merlin (Angus Imrie/Sir Patrick Stewart). He is serious and gets things done most of the time, but he also does a lot of funny and cool things that are really appealing to watch. For example, when he does his magic, all the stuff around him is flying through the air and all the lights are flickering. That is a really interesting effect.

My favorite scene is when Alexander and a few of his knights are rushing through the woods on horses, while trying to defeat a large army of fire monsters on fire breathing horses who are trying to take Excalibur away from them. This scene is very exciting and has a few funny parts in it too.

The message of this film is that anyone can be a king; you just need to have a good heart and follow the knight’s code which says that you must “honor those you love, refrain from wanton offence, speak the truth at all times and persevere in any enterprise until the end.”

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This movie opens in theaters on, January 25, 2019. Look for it!

The Kid Who Would be King
By Zoe C. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Link to Video Review

https://youtu.be/Ctr2Z2b9GyU

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This movie is very interesting.  I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.

The film is based in the King Arthur story and retold in a modern way. It’s about a boy named Alex (Louis Ashborne Serkis) who finds the Excalibur sword and embarks on an adventure trying to battle bullying and injustice. He teams up with his best friend in his journey to become a great leader. Alex and his enemies conform a group of brave knights to fight monsters and defy great dangers.

In the beginning, Alex and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are victims of bullying at their school. They believe they are regular boys, until one day Alex comes across a sword in a big rock. He pulls it out and he shows it to Bedders. Later, they realize that everything that happens to them is similar to what happened in a book Alex’s dad gave him with a very special dedicatory. It is a very special book because, despite that his father left, he has feelings for him. He and Bedders go on a quest that replicates in many ways the story of the King Arthur legend. Alex not only discovers his power for being a leader and doing good deeds, it is also a self discovery of loss and acceptance.

This spin on the classic King Arthur tale has a different purpose than other films or interpretations of this classic tale: – to show todays’ kids the power of classic tales, the importance of books and to find the good within ourselves by retelling the story in a contemporary way and making it relatable to a new generation.

The film reminds us why books are essential in our education and how they show messages about perseverance and loyalty. In the movie, the main characters face lots of obstacles and some are very scary!

The scenes with the medieval villain Morgana are particularly exiting. I also love the scenes with Merlin, especially the younger one. They are funny and obviously magical. I like that Alex and Beddders team up with their enemies in their journey. I enjoy the sets in London from the landscapes near the city to the beautiful Stonehenge. The sets and costumes are well done. The acting is very good and the special effects believable.

The story flows well, although there are so many scenes that make the film longer than necessary. Another thing that bothered me is that it references so many things we have seen in other films. That makes it not very original. Also, some scenes are a little too over dramatic. I do like how this film shows the classic tale based on someone pulling a sword out of a stone and becoming king.

The message of this film is that nobody is just ordinary. We just have to discover the great powers we have within ourselves. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 6 to 18. It opens in theaters on January 25, 2019. So look for it.

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The Kid Who Would Be King
Juanita L., KIDS FIRST!  Adult Juror

https://youtu.be/Cg-h8TwQCgs

I enjoyed watching The Kid Who Would Be King. It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.

I like that the story is retold using the book given to Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) as the source for his adventure. We see Alex along with his fellow students at school and going about their daily activities as they hear and see negative news about a divided United Kingdom. It is similar to the type of activities we are experiencing in the United States today.

We see Alex defending his friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), a would-be magician, which leads him to become the target of bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). After running from them, Alex discovers a sword in a stone. He and Bedders deem it to be Excalibur.  Alex is reminded by Bedders and his book of King Arthur of his mission to unite and fight the evil of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) sister of King Arthur.

My favorite scene is when young Merlin (Angus Imrie) appears at the school as a lanky new teen student with an ill-fitting uniform. To me, he steals the scene with his hand actions, clicking and snapping to perform his sorcery.  The repetition of his sorcery provides some elements of humor and, at one point, I tried to duplicate his hand actions.

The CGI and other visuals and music are acceptable. Be aware that there is fantasy action violence, scary images with bullying. The Kid Who Would Be King has an important and timely message. We see young people standing up to wrongs and taking on what is right.  Age is not a deterrent and a group victory can be achieved.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18, and some adults. I give it 5 out 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 25, 2019 so, look for it.

 

Photos © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

 

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