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Coco – Fantastic, Family-Friendly Animated Film About Mexican Tradition

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Movie Reviews
Coco – Fantastic, Family-Friendly Animated Film About Mexican Tradition

Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Hector, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Abraham F. comments, “It is nice to see Disney / Pixar incorporate different cultures into their movies. Pixar’s animations, story line and character development really excel here. I am glad to see all that in an animated film geared for kids and families.” Imani G. adds, “Coco is a fantastic, family-friendly, historical movie that is quite spectacular with its many historical references about the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. It is filled with comedy and sentinel scenes, vibrant colors and much more!” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror wraps it up with, “The cast is entirely Hispanic and the music is rooted in heritage and the life traditions within a multi-generational family. Considering this film is about crossing over into Día Los Muertos, the land of the dead, the liveliness of the film and animation is breathtaking.” See their full reviews below.

 

Coco

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

https://youtu.be/7vZmgvN2mYM

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Coco is a notable movie from Pixar which I found very funny. It is nice to see Disney / Pixar incorporate different cultures into their movies. Pixar’s animations, story line and character development really excel here. I am glad to see all that in an animated film geared for kids and families.

 

The storyline is about a 12-year-old boy named Miguel that wants to be a musician, but his family won’t allow it. So he practices his guitar in secret. On the Day Of The Dead he visits his favorite musician’s grave and plays the guitar. Then, he finds himself in the land of the dead. He goes on many adventures to try to get his family’s blessing and ends up on a big adventure to find his father.

 

Anthony Gonzalez plays Miguel the protagonist. This is his first time playing a major role. Benjamin Bratt  has been in a few major roles such as El Macho in Despicable Me 2. In this film, he portrays Ernesto De La Cruz, the famous musician.

 

There are many interesting things about this movie. First, the name was changed to Viva in Brazil because in Portuguese means poop. Also, when Miguel’s walking down the street, you can see pinatas of Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Last, when grandma explains why their family doesn’t enjoy music, you see a Pizza Planet truck drive by.

 

The message is to do things that you believe in, not what people tell you to do. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 12 years old and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It exceeded my expectations and is really well made. This movie is available in theaters on November 22, 2017 so go check it out.

 

Interview with Anthony Gonzalez by Michelle C.

https://youtu.be/dkYfGiFjWjc

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Coco

By Imani Baptiste-Green, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

https://youtu.be/SvmqM9uKo8I

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Coco is a fantastic, family-friendly, historical movie that is quite spectacular with its many historical references about the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead. It is filled with comedy and sentinel scenes, vibrant colors and much more!

 

Due to past family history, Miguel’s (Anthony Gonzalez) family completely banned music from their lives. But, Miguel has a passion for it and wishes to become an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to find his true talent, Miguel finds himself in the colorful Land of the Dead, where his deceased family members are. After meeting the charming trickster Hector (Gael García Bernal), the two go off in search of the famous musician to discover the real history of Miguel’s family. Join the two on their fascinating adventure.

 

My favorite aspect of this film is the storyline and the thrilling holiday, Day of the Dead. I recently learned about this interesting holiday in school, but this movie helped increased my knowledge of it even more! For example, in Mexico they see dying as a beautiful thing instead of bad. Also, they use colorful paper called “papel picado” to tell stories. Viewers of this film will learn about the Spanish culture and how they view things.

 

The message of this film is that family is important, no matter the circumstances and we should encourage each other’s dreams. Although Miguel’s family shunned and erased music from their lives, they were able to accept it and make it part of their tradition once more. This is a very powerful message because it shows how important family is in supporting each other’s dreams. I think that this film will open the eyes of many and even change their perspective about life.

 

I recommend this film for ages of 5 to 18 as well as adults. I am 16 and loved every aspect of it!  I give this film 5 out of 5 rate this film stars for its amazing storyline, cultural history, awesome cast, vibrant colors and much more. Coco opens in theaters on November 22, 2017. Please be sure to check it out.

 

Interview with Gini Cruz Santos by Michelle C

https://youtu.be/Wkefd4d7CKE

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Coco

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Juror

When Coco opens in the United States, it will likely follow the radiant opening in Mexico with record-setting audiences. The use of color and authentic characters is unlike anything we’ve ever seen from the studio. The cast is entirely Hispanic and the music is rooted in heritage and the life traditions within a multi-generational family. Considering this film is about crossing over into Día Los Muertos, the land of the dead, the liveliness of the film and animation is breathtaking.

The film centers around Miquel, a curious 12-year-old boy who is a delight, even when he gets into a bit of mischief. The magic of Disney is well at work when Miquel leaves his family in search of his passion and the man he believes holds the keys to his life’s future success. In search of his muse, Miquel partners with a man he thinks is evil, only to learn he doesn’t know the truth. As the facts unfold, it is in technicolor and splendor. Coco offers a fantastic walk into a new world and, while it twists and turns, Coco is a complete delight.  The story has lessons in ethics and may be overwhelming for younger children since it is centered on the annual Día Los Muertos celebration, the Day of the Dead. Beyond sugar skulls, I can see future merchandising in the alebrijes!

As with many Disney films, the theme of family is front and center. In this original and unique story, it transcends generations and left me wondering what my great, great, great grandmother would be like and if she would be proud of me. Beyond Miquel, my favorite character is his great, great grandmother, both versions of her! This film has all the feels and left me wanting more. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. And, it wouldn’t be Disney if I didn’t cry. It opens nationwide in theaters on November 22, 2017 so check it out.

Wonder – A Touching Film About Differences and Acceptance

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Movie Reviews
Wonder – A Touching Film About Differences and Acceptance

Based on the New York Times bestseller, Wonder tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman. Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates, and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B., comments, “This is a movie I was anticipating since I saw the first trailer. The trailer alone had me in tears, so I already knew it was going to touch my heart. Well, wouldn’t you know, my assumptions were correct.” Benjamin P. adds, “Wonder is an uplifting film that translates to the screen very well, thanks to some spot-on casting and good performances across the board.” Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer wraps it up with, “This film has messages of limitless love and developing and building friendships as Auggie says, “If you really want to see who people are…just look.” See their full reviews and Benjamin’s interview with the author of the book and film producer below.

 

Wonder

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
https://youtu.be/CxuRZx4tmWM

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This is a movie I was anticipating since I saw the first trailer. The trailer alone had me in tears, so I already knew it was going to touch my heart. Well, wouldn’t you know, my assumptions were correct.

 

The story is about 10-year-old Auggie Pullman, a kid with facial deformities due to a gene disorder. He is starting 5th grade, middle school and struggles to fit in at a new school. Seriously, middle school is tough for everyone, so add to that being different and being home-schooled until 5th grade. It’s a minefield.

 

This movie is an adaptation of the book “Wonder” which is a popular read in middle school. No, I didn’t read the book, but now I want to, since I love this movie for multiple reasons. First, the acting is fantastic, particularly the emotional scenes, which is probably why I cried so much. This movie has some pretty good star power. Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and of course, Daveed Diggs, who stars in Hamilton, are all part of this cast. I absolutely love the characters in this film. A lot of the supporting roles actually have important parts and each character is unique and likeable as well. All except Julian’s mom, the only character that isn’t really redeemable. Still, Auggie’s parents, his sister, his friends, his teachers, and, of course, Auggie himself, Jacob Tremblay, make this movie exceptional. Not only that, the teachers and the principal at his school are so much better than teachers at actual schools. A big theme and important message, is the way parents raise their kids. I believe this is a true and good message.

 

One thing that makes this story unique is the different perspectives of other characters and their lives. Certain characters come off as mean, but you see through their life through their eyes and get a different view. Although the main focus is Auggie, characters like his sister get nice subplots that contribute to providing extra context of the character, but not drawing our attention away from the main plot. Some may complain that the entire story revolves around Auggie and I can understand those impressions. However, I think of it as a way of showing that Auggie changed many people’s lives for the better. The script is also really well done, with a good balance of funny and emotional writing.

 

I definitely give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. This movie comes out November 17, 2017 in theaters nationwide so go check it out.

 

Wonder

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

https://youtu.be/UvwR1wCUMFM

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Interview with Author and Director

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

https://youtu.be/y5RwDECKCJU

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Wonder is an uplifting film that translates to the screen very well, thanks to some spot-on casting and good performances across the board.

 

Based on a popular novel by R.J Palacio, Wonder follows Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a craniofacial disorder. He lives with his parents and his older sister. His mom enrolls Auggie in the fifth grade at a nearby school after years of homeschooling. Hesitant but confident, Auggie struggles to make new friends and encounters bullies. The movie follows different perspectives of people in Auggie’s life throughout the school year. Another key plotline follows his sister Via. She loves her brother, but sometimes feels like her parents ignore her. Now her grandmother, the only person who puts her first, is gone and her best friend has abandoned her for a new group of friends from summer camp. The movie triumphantly brings these and other viewpoints together for a full, rich storytelling experience as Auggie’s personality leads people to care less about what he looks like, but the kind of person he is on the inside.

 

Seeing A-list stars such as Julia Roberts, who plays Auggie’s mom, portray characters from one of my favorite books piqued my interest for this adaptation, but I did not expect the film to be so excellent in its execution. It maintains the spirit of the novel, without feeling sappy, thanks to the direction and screenwriting from Stephen Chbosky, the author and director of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The emotion onscreen is just as raw as conveyed in the book and the scenes carry the same poignant effect. Just like with the novel, you fall in love with these characters and care about what happens to them. Jacob Tremblay is especially fantastic as Auggie and shows a compelling range of emotion. He brings confidence to the character and represents his softer sides as well.

 

The lesson of Wonder is that it shouldn’t matter what a person looks like, but who they are on the inside. Auggie is bullied for what he looks like, but people should not be judged by appearance, but rather by their character.

 

I recommend Wonder for ages 7 to 18. There are some scenes with characters in peril, as well as some scenes of bullying. Bullying is a hard topic to watch on film, but kids should be aware that it is an issue. I give Wonder 4 out of 5 stars. It is available in theaters now so be sure to check it out.

 

Wonder

By Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
I enjoyed watching Wonder, based on the book by R.J. Palacio. It is a very uplifting story about Auggie Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy with a facial difference who enters private school for the first time in fifth grade. Auggie has been home-schooled by his mother who decides it is time for him to have a real school experience. We can feel Auggie’s pain as he gets a taste of the best and the worst of human nature. He goes through 27 surgeries. Some of the students he meets are kind and accepting, others are not sure and some are just cruel. Auggie wants to do normal things and he is upset and afraid to face the kids’ reactions to his appearance.

 

One of my favorite scenes happens in the beginning when the director of his new school (Mandy Patinkin) introduces Auggie to a small group of students before school starts, thinking this will help ease the transition. I felt this was a wonderful way to help Auggie feel comfortable. You will have to see the film and decide if you think it works.

 

Auggie’s parents (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) along with his sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) provide unbelievable love and support to him. It is almost not real. The story and the characters show us a range of human emotions. Auggie wants to be treated like a normal kid.  Via wants her parents to give her some attention and ask about the day SHE HAD at school.  Mom has put her life on hold to care for Auggie and now sees a chance to complete her dissertation. Auggie’s father tries to be a supportive, understanding and caring father. This film has messages of limitless love and  developing and building friendships AS Auggie says, “If you really want to see who people are…just look.”

 

The visuals and music are excellent and bring an element of fun. The elements of bullying and some of the emotion around Auggie’s beloved dog might be intense for younger children. I recommend Wonder for ages 9 to 18 as well as adults. Be inspired and experience Wonder at your local theater when it opens November 17, 2017.

 

 

Daddy’s Home Two – Great Humor, Great Cast, Heart Warming Story with Co-Dads/Granddads

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Movie Reviews
Daddy’s Home Two – Great Humor, Great Cast, Heart Warming Story with Co-Dads/Granddads

 

 

Father and stepfather Dusty and Brad join forces to make Christmastime perfect for the children. Their newfound partnership soon gets put to the test when Dusty’s old-school, macho dad and Brad’s gentle father arrive to turn the holiday upside down. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ryan R. comments, “I really enjoyed this film for its humor and the new cast additions.  The humor is way better than the original. I must say that Paramount upped the comedy by a lot.” Ella L. adds, “This film is so incredibly hilarious. The humor is quite slapstick and exaggerated, but is written so well and timed so perfectly that it is not obnoxious in the slightest.” Rachael V. sums it up with, “The story is wonderful and heart warming. It is a real treat to see co-dads in action. Seeing this huge split family come together and thrive is beautiful. My favorite part of this movie is seeing the fantastic work done in choosing the grandfathers’ roles.” See their full reviews below.

 

Daddy’s Home Two
By Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

https://youtu.be/oY79mNSvMaY

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Daddy’s Home Two is definitely worth seeing and is funnier than the first movie.  In this hilarious sequel to Daddy’s Home, we see Dusty’s (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad’s (Will Ferrell), friendship and co-parenting skills put to the test when both their dads show up for Christmas.<p>Towards the beginning of the film, one of the children expresses at a school play how sad it makes them feel about having two Christmas’s in two different homes.  After the play, Dusty and Brad come up with an idea and decide to tell the kids that they will have a together Christmas. Dusty’s dad, Kurt (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s dad, Don (John Lithgow) arrive during the time they are planning their perfect Christmas and that’s when things start to get crazy. Don is a very talkative, affectionate and emotional type of dad. Meanwhile, Kurt is very an ultra masculine, loner type of dad, who is not the greatest parent.  Kurt starts to instigate and stir things up between Brad and Dusty.  The question is, will they have a successful family Christmas or will it be an epic failure?

 

I really enjoyed this film for its humor and the new cast additions.  The humor is way better than the original. I must say that Paramount upped the comedy by a lot.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when they went to talk to Santa. That visit to Santa leads to a specific turkey hunt. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone because it is very entertaining. I also enjoyed the performances by the cast.  Wahlberg and Ferrell maintain their comedic chemistry like they did in the first film. The new cast members, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson are very comical and make it more entertaining with their facial expressions, sarcasms and crazy antics.  The jokes are amusing because of their delivery.  Lithgow and Gibson are the polar opposites and they are hilarious. Oh, and watch out for Scarlett Estevez and Owen Wilder Vacarro, those two are little scene-stealers. They each have moments where they really shine.

 

I must admit the movie can be a little childish and inappropriate at times. But overall it’s worth the watch. After all, everyone should experience a little joy and laughter around the holidays. The message I took away from this film is that the dads in this blended family were willing to work with each other, despite their differences in parenting, for the sake of their kids so they could have a Merry Christmas together. I give this movie four out of five stars and recommend it to ages 9  to 18 as well as adults. I also recommend it to those who like family comedies. This opens Friday, November 20, 2017 in theaters nationwide so, go check it out.

 

 

Daddy’s Home Two

By Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/vzFiDYaesLY

 

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Red Carpet coverage: https://youtu.be/7G4OBLu278Q

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This film is so incredibly hilarious. The humor is quite slapstick and exaggerated, but is written so well and timed so perfectly that it is not obnoxious in the slightest. The plot is interesting to follow. The writers squeezed a lot of important and comical events into a short amount of time. However it doesn’t seem rushed or forced.

 

Daddy’s Home Two, the sequel to Daddy’s Home, is directed by Sean Anders and stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. In this film, two kids urge their mom (Linda Cardellini), their dad (Mark Wahlberg) and their step-dad (Will Ferrell) to have a ”together Christmas.” They all agree before Dusty and Brad find out that both their dads (John Lithgow and Mel Gibson) are spending Christmas with them. The film follows this group of people as they try to enjoy a family holiday while tensions rise between each other.

 

The acting is awesome throughout this film. The delivery of the jokes is so on point and it makes everything funnier than it already was. I could not keep my eyes off of the screen the entire time because this film is so much fun to watch. I had an absolute blast watching it. The holiday theme makes it a great family movie to watch during the upcoming holiday season.

 

The message is about family and how important it is. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. You should know that there are slightly adult jokes. This film opens November 10, 2017 in theaters nationwide so go check it out whether you’re with friends, family or even by yourself. You will have blast.

 

Daddy’s Home Two

By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Juror

Trailer https://youtu.be/yyW_EX7iRW0

 

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The subject matter of Daddy’s Home Two hits close to home for my family as we are a mixed-family family and my children are in split households. When the first film came out, all of us went to go see it in theaters together. So we were all super excited to have the honor of attending the press screening and reviewing the sequel.

 

The story is wonderful and heart warming. It is a real treat to see co-dads in action. Seeing this huge split family come together and thrive is beautiful. My favorite part of this movie is seeing the fantastic work done in choosing the grandfathers’ roles. Watching this, you really believe that Mel Gibson is Mark Wahlberg’s dad and John Lithgow is Will Ferrell’s dad. They deliver such believable performances. On the other hand, John Cena’s character isn’t given enough character development to make a big impact. My least favorite part of this film is the ending. I can’t tell you what it is because that would be a spoiler. I will say that it takes place at a Showcase Cinema and maybe it’s  because I was at a Showcase Cinema watching this film, but I really did not enjoy the sequence of events at the ending.

 

All together though, the film is well done, light hearted and funny. It brings light to a difficult subject and hopefully inspires some parents and step-parents to try a little bit harder because, in the end parenting is about the children not parents. This movie is rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive material. I feel it is appropriate for ages 10 to 18 as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Gumby: The Movie

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Movie Reviews
Gumby: The Movie

GumbyMovie.jpg

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

This is the youngest of the Gumby series and is far from the best. However, even though there are some moments that could be improved on, Gumby: The Movie still delivers the timeless entertaining charm that the earlier decades of the Gumby series are so famous for.

This film follows the trend of the show by concentrating on Gumby’s adventures. There are some light action scenes to keep these adventures exciting as well as a few jokes that the whole family can enjoy.

Gumby: The Movie’s plot is about Gumby and his friends attempting to stage a concert. During the concert, two investors in the audience accidentally find out that Gumby’s dog (Lowbelly) cries pearls when he listens to their music. They come up with a scheme to steal the dog and make thousands of dollars, but get discovered and Gumby and his friends have to save Lowbelly in one epic and complex adventure.

For the most part, this film really has a lot of great perks. The detail in the stop-motion clay animation really looks spectacular and mostly natural. The plot has lots of fun twists as well as quite a few references (i.e. one fighting scene contains light sabers in a ship that looks like it belongs in Star Wars) to other series that allows for a good laugh. The background soundtrack by Jerry Gerber fits the tune of the quirky cartoon well and adds a little spice to the movie as a whole. There are a few technical hiccups that can be improved on to make this film perfect. One example is the visible and obvious wires holding up some of the characters. Even though this film was made in 1995, wire removal editing tools have existed since the late 80s. At times, the animation lags quite a bit and could be sped up to make more fluid motions. Nevertheless, none of these little things ruin the watching experience, as Gumby: The Movie still is a great film to watch with the family.

There are some filler scenes that don’t do much to further the plot nor add any reoccurring elements to the story. Even though they sound bad, they are enjoyable and make it feel like several separate episodes, each with a unique adventure. My favorite scene takes place towards the beginning of the runtime when Pokey looks for Gumby everywhere. On his way, he passes by a slide. At the same time, two of Pokey’s friends come out of the slide and run into him. The three turn into a big clay ball and need to go to the hospital to get un-separated. The scene has quite a few made up procedures that are both funny and realistic looking, which adds to the humor. Even though this has no purpose to the story, it still provides a few good laughs and, in general, is a fun mini-story.

Gumby: The Movie can be a family movie but its main purpose is being a kid’s movie. For that reason, I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I give Gumby: The Movie 4.5 out of 5 stars because it has a few technical faults here and there, but still really provides a good quality Gumby feature film.

Salinger: Unprecedented Look at the Private Life Of J.D. Salinger BY RAVEN

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Salinger: Unprecedented Look at the Private Life Of J.D. Salinger BY RAVEN

salinger the movie

“Salinger” is an intense and educational look into the reclusive life of J.D. Salinger. Salinger is known for his novel “Catcher in the Rye” that continues to influence our culture greatly to this day. He took rejection after rejection to get his works published in the New York Times, until he finally had his breakthrough. But becoming an overnight success doesn’t suit everyone. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D. says, “This documentary has inspired me to read “Catcher in the Rye” and many of his other works because he seems like such a profound yet tortured writer.”

Salinger

Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Video review available here: 

I think this film is incredible. Salinger was such an influential writer, but was so much of a perfectionist in everything that he did so if anyone disagreed with his stories he would discontinue speaking to them. He had his own personal issues that he worked out through his writing, so when he published his stories he was really putting the most hidden parts of himself out there. When he went away to war it really changed them. The amount of death that he saw was enough to make any sane person crazy, but Salinger was already a little strange to begin with. I love the way this documentary conducts interviews with many different people that knew Salinger throughout the years. It was interesting to see how so many of them hadn’t had any contact with him for decades because he would end relationships with everyone so quickly and abruptly. He even replaced his own family with “The Glass Family” which is a series of books he wrote. This film shows footage and pictures of his life, and even includes never before seen images of Salinger in WWII which is very interesting to see. The soundtrack in this film is wonderful because it makes certain scenes so much more intense. There are fantastic cuts and edits done to enhance the emotions and overall this is a very well done film.

I think it was very interesting to see how Salinger had an obsession with innocence. He had many different girlfriends and wives, all of them ranging from 16-20. He always put his work before anything else which had a strain on his affairs, so he never kept the same love interest for long. He was also very conflicted on his works. He wanted so badly to share them, but in doing so he risked putting his inner turmoil out there. When he published “Catcher in the Rye” he thought that here he was, having these thoughts and writing these things that no one had ever imagined before. But when the entire nation had the response “oh my God, someone finally understands how I feel!” Salinger was very shocked. He referred to his characters as if they were real people and he lived more in his stories than he did in reality. This documentary has inspired me to read “Catcher in the Rye” and many of his other works because he seems like such a profound yet tortured writer. I am very pleased to know that after his passing, he left his wishes for his writings. In 2015 his “Glass Family” books will begin to be released, along with some of his other hidden works.

This film is really a conversation about this mans life, so I think that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not this film is for you. It also has some very powerful and intense imagery from World War II which is definitely not something that everyone can handle. I recommend this film for ages 16+ unless you are used to more mature topics and documentaries. “Salinger” is entertaining, heartfelt, intellectual and insightful to the hidden world of this American writer. Overall I give “Salinger” 5 out of 5 stars so be sure to check it out in select theaters near you.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions 

KIDSFIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by eighteen KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, ages 7 to 16. These critics win a spot as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic through a national competition held annually. They review new films and DVDs, attend Red Carpet events and premieres and interview talent on and off the Red Carpet. KIDS FIRST!, a program of the 22-year-old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, is the country’s most valued source for reviews of children’s media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and engages them as jurors to evaluate, rate and review films, DVDs, TV shows, music, games and apps. 

 

Dear Dumb Diary Movie Review BY KIDS FIRST! Coming attractions

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Dear Dumb Diary Movie Review BY KIDS FIRST! Coming attractions

 â€œDear Dumb Diary” – Sure To Charm Your School-Aged Kids

Based on the best selling series “Dear Dumb Diary” by Jim Benton, this made for TV movie airs September 6 on the Hallmark Channel. “You might think it is a girl’s movie but I enjoyed it and so did my twelve year old brother,” comments KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Adam C, age 8. Adam’s full review follows.

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Dear Dumb Diary

Reviewed by Adam C., Age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic 

If you enjoy comedy mixed with great musical numbers then you will love “Dear Dumb Diary.”  “Dear Dumb Diary” is about a girl named Jamie Kelly who attends Mackeral Middle School and dreams of being popular and of having the boy of her dreams, Hudson, love her.  She writes all of her secrets and dreams in her diary.  She is jealous of a beautiful girl named Angeline who she feels gets more attention from Hudson than Jamie feels she deserves.

My favorite character in the movie is Jamie Kelly (Emily Alyn Lind).  She is easy to relate to as most teenagers have insecurities and lots of dreams of how their life could be better.  Jamie keeps her room really messy and only cleans it when she wants to find her missing diary. She is funny and has a great sense of humor.  Emily is a very talented girl and does a wonderful job of acting, singing and dancing in this movie.

The musical numbers in “Dear Dumb Diary” are well choreographed and very entertaining.  They add a great deal to the movie because it keeps the viewer’s attention and adds an extra dimension to this already excellent movie.

My favorite part of the movie is actually a musical number.  It is the musical number where Jamie sings that there are too many beautiful people in the world and they need to leave to give the ordinary people a chance to shine.  The ordinary people put all of the beautiful people on a small yellow school bus and send them away.

The film has many positive messages that can apply to all age ranges.  The first is “do not judge a book by its cover.”  Angeline, who Jamie feels is mean in the movie because she is so beautiful, actually covers for her and returns her diary without reading a single word of it.  Jamie, even though she wants to shine and be the winner in the Jump-A-Thon, helps Angeline who doesn’t know how to jump.

Jamie and her best friend Isabella do this because Angeline has many sponsors and will enable the school to hire the art teacher back and provide many extracurricular activities for the school. Isabella and Jamie show maturity in putting the greater good of the school before their own personal glory.   Jamie’s best friend Isabella collects for a fake charity so she can get money to buy herself contacts.  In the end, Jamie and Isabella start a charity that helps less fortunate children to get glasses. Throughout the movie, Jamie is learning the lesson that inner beauty is very important.

I give this movie five out of five stars.  It’s a great family movie appropriate for ages 7 to 18. You might think it is a girl’s movie but I enjoyed it and so did my twelve year old brother. I feel the music and dancing help this movie appeal to a wider audience range.  It is airing on the Hallmark Channel on September 6 and will also be available for purchase at Wal-Mart on September 10.

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions

 

KIDSFIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by eighteen KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, ages 7 to 16. These critics win a spot as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic through a national competition held annually. They review new films and DVDs, attend Red Carpet events and premieres and interview talent on and off the Red Carpet. KIDS FIRST!, a program of the 22-year-old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, is the country’s most valued source for reviews of children’s media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and engages them as jurors to evaluate, rate and review films, DVDs, TV shows, music, games and apps. 

 

Grown Ups 2 Movie Review by KIDS FIRST!

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Grown Ups 2 Movie Review by KIDS FIRST!

“Grown Ups 2” – A Hurt Your Sides Summer Comedy

The sequel to the 2010 blockbuster, “Grown Ups 2” follows Lenny, Eric, Kurk and Marcus after they start their new lives by moving back to the town where they grew up. The film takes place over the course of one day, the last day of school. Lenny plans a kick-start-to-summer party and, as the crew prepares for the festivities, things go awry. As usual, the grown ups are up to their old tricks of messing around like when they were younger, but now the kids are growing up and getting into trouble of their own. Starring comedic actors Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock, this movie has all the makings for laughter. The only problem is the lack of real substance according to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D., age 15 whose full review is below. On the other hand, 11-year-old KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O thinks, “The sequel is better than the original, which is very rare for movies” but he warns that the audience is really 13 to 18 due to the sexual innuendos, violence and language. See Gerry’s review below as well.        

“Grown Ups 2”

Reviewed by Raven Devanney

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I really enjoyed this film. It’s definitely one to see if you want some laughs, but as for intelligence or plot, this film is lacking. This movie relies so much on making rude, crass and taboo remarks that it forgets about clever comedy. It is still a very entertaining movie but some of the unrealistic violence is a little bit and seems like a desperate pull for comedic relief, when it really just left me cringing. I think everything in this film focuses so much on getting people to laugh that there isn’t really any true focus on plot or character development. However, I was entertained and think the cinematography was well done.

I have two favorite scenes, and although they are both short, they still make me chuckle just thinking about them. The first scene is when Eric, played by Kevin James, goes to a car wash with his wife expecting to have scantily clad cheerleaders scrub his car. Instead he ends up getting male cheerleaders in ill-fitting short-shorts sudsing up his windshield. It’s so hilarious because the cheerleaders are the well-known comedic music group “The Lonely Island” and the things they so are hilarious. Another scene that made my sides hurt from laughing is when Lenny and his friends go to their old high school hangout  and have a run in with a group of frat boys. It is so hilarious because Taylor Lautner plays the head frat boy and he does such a comedic job of playing a total numb skull that is overprotective of his turf. The boys do this ridiculous handshake and it’s so perfectly cheesy and stereotypical that it makes me crack up just thinking about it.

I recommend this film for ages 13+ because of the rude humor and heavy sexual innuendoes. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars because it is funny and entertaining, but I wouldn’t rush to see it again and it lacks intelligent comedy and wit. 

 

“Grown Ups 2”

Reviewed by Gerry O.

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I was holding my breath waiting for this film to come out ever since I heard about it. I anticipated that I would laugh a lot and love “Grown Ups 2” just as much as the first Grown Ups! This movie would make you laugh your head off, and say “awww” a lot.

When I started watching this film, I thought this is probably not as funny as the first one, or not as good. Adam Sandler once again proved me wrong against all odds! The sequel is better than the original, which is very rare for movies.

This funny story begins when it’s a few years after the first “Grown Ups” when Lenny (Adam Sandler!) took his family and his friends back to his home town. The guys learned from their mistakes, hopefully, and everybody has moved on from what happened a few years ago and everybody is happy once again. During the course of the movie, they get themselves into a number of awkward and funny situations, but one of them leads to a bigger issue that makes a bunch of college students really mad. Even that doesn’t stop this amazing group of friends. When Lenny hosts a party, he puts his daughter Becky to bed, (Alexys Nycole Sanchez) and then the fun happens. The college students are under the false impression that Lenny and his crew wrecked their dorm, so they are seeking revenge. That was actually not Lenny’s fault at all! If you want to find out what happens to the college students and how much trouble the guys get into you have to watch the movie!

I absolutely love this movie! It’s funny, like every Adam Sandler movie ever made. It’s a good story line with a number of heartwarming moments where you can truly see and appreciate how much these families love each other and their friends. What’s also cool is this is Happy Madison’s first sequel as well! The movie has adult and kid jokes (mostly adult), which is a very good perk for a funny movie. So, teens will really like it, but adults…well adults, you are going to LOVE it. I can promise that you haven’t had a laugh like this in a long time…

I have to say my favorite scene is when Marcus is inside a huge tire. Lenny is supposed to stop the wheel after like five feet but he gets a call and decides that is more important. Marcus just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling. When he finally stops rolling all the guys are screaming, “Me next”!

Since this movie is a bit adult like, this is definitely most suited to kids ages 13 to 18. This movie is also dangerously funny! I happily give this film 5 out of 5 stars. You rock, Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Productions!

Gerry O., age 11, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

 

KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by eighteen KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, ages 7 to 16. These critics win a spot as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic through a national competition held annually. They review new films and DVDs, attend Red Carpet events and premieres and interview talent on and off the Red Carpet. KIDS FIRST!, a program of the 22-year-old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, is the country’s most valued source for reviews of children’s media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and engages them as jurors to evaluate, rate and review films, DVDs, TV shows, music, games and apps.

 

The Grandmaster – A Look At Martial-Arts Legend Ip Man BY KIDS FIRST!

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The Grandmaster – A Look At Martial-Arts Legend Ip Man BY KIDS FIRST!

From director Kar Wai Wong comes “The Grandmaster,” the story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. This may not be a film for everyone but, as KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Anthony Aranda (age 11) says, “If mixed martial-arts is your style, be sure to go see it when it comes out August 23.” Anthony’s full review is below.

The Grandmaster

By Anthony Aranda (age 11)

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I think this movie is good but it is really confusing and really hard to understand because they talk so fast. The movie has a lot of fighting and a lot of older kids would probably really like that it shows the skills for martial arts.

This movie is all about a great martial arts master. The movie also tells a story and gives history about how Ip Man became so famous. It inspires people to work really hard to become great at whatever martial arts style they want to do. During the time that Ip Man lived there was a lot of struggles because of World War II. These struggles helped to build his character.

The main characters are Ip Man, Gong Er, Ma San and Cheung Wing-Sing. My favorite character in the movie is Ip Man because he is really loyal but sadly he will have to leave the ones he loves behind to seek a better life for them.

My favorite part in the movie is when Ip Man and Gong Er are fighting right next to a train because it is so cool. They do really intelligent moves and Gong Er throws Ip Man at the moving train!!!!! It made me go to the edge of my seat! It was so epic. He didn’t break anything which is a miracle but he lost and was pretty mad. But he didn’t lose his faith or dignity. He keeps strong and walks away.

I recommend this movie for ages 13 to 18 because was pretty boring to me and was hard to understand. You would really like this movie if you like martial-arts. It has a pretty complicated storyline. If mixed martial-arts is your style, be sure to go see it when it comes out August 23.

Reviewed by Anthony Aranda, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

 

KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by eighteen KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, ages 7 to 16. These critics win a spot as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic through a national competition held annually. They review new films and DVDs, attend Red Carpet events and premieres and interview talent on and off the Red Carpet. KIDS FIRST!, a program of the 22-year-old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, is the country’s most valued source for reviews of children’s media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and engages them as jurors to evaluate, rate and review films, DVDs, TV shows, music, games and apps.

 

“Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure” – A Unique Film Filled with Surprises BY KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions

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“Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure” – A Unique Film Filled with Surprises BY KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions

Who among us doesn’t secretly love watching Tom and Jerry, the classic cartoon characters that we’ve lived with since forever. Warner has created a new original movie, that finds our characters among the last animals living in StorybookTown, a fairy tale-inspired theme park “where dreams come true, if you believe.” Jack is desperate to save the park from the hands of a greedy billionaire, setting out with his loyal cat and mouse friends to sell his prize cow for… some magic beans?! What follows is a journey up a beanstalk to a magical land ruled by a massively mean and hungry giant, and home to fun, fabled fellows like Droopy, Spike and even a golden goose! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O comments, “This story is very different from the usual Tom and Jerry movies and definitely brings fresh air into this unique relationship between a mouse and a cat.” See his full review below.

Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure

Reviewed by Gerry O., age 11

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I thought I knew what this movie would be about. I mean, what person doesn’t know who Tom and Jerry and their story are? Lady owns a mouse and a cat, and these two adorable creatures fight nonstop with each other, until they get in a big problem, right? Wrong! “Tom and Jerry’s Giant Adventure original movie” is a fun and adorable adventure for the whole family!

The moment I turned on my TV to watch this move, I could see this would be a unique Tom and Jerry film. It has, of course – comedy, adventure, thrilling action and many more things all in one film! This movie surprises you with a story of a mouse and a cat who at the end are best friends despite their differences!

The fun story begins when a young man wants to open an amusement park. The day it opens he meets a girl and falls in love with her. Years later the park gets run down and there’s only a cat, a mouse and a cow left. The man passed away and left behind his son and wife. A man is going to destroy the park but instead, something very surprising happens when Jack, the son, goes to sell the cow.

The movie is very entertaining and funny. The voice actors do a fantastic job of making you relate to their characters. If there is one thing to criticize is the fact that this animated movie feels a little rushed. This story is very different from the usual Tom and Jerry movies and definitely brings fresh air into this unique relationship between a mouse and a cat.

My favorite scene is when the animals realize that they are losing their home and Jack sings a song to make them feel better. It’s very catchy, and fun!      

Since this film is very child friendly and educational, I recommend it for ages 3 to 18. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars because it is a tiny bit rushed and may be a bit confusing for younger kids because of that.

 Credit KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions

KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions is a weekly radio show hosted by eighteen KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, ages 7 to 16. These critics win a spot as a KIDS FIRST! Film Critic through a national competition held annually. They review new films and DVDs, attend Red Carpet events and premieres and interview talent on and off the Red Carpet. KIDS FIRST!, a program of the 22-year-old Coalition for Quality Children’s Media, is the country’s most valued source for reviews of children’s media. As a national, nonprofit organization, KIDS FIRST! teaches children critical viewing skills and engages them as jurors to evaluate, rate and review films, DVDs, TV shows, music, games and apps.

Listen for KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions every Tuesday at 1PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Kids Channel.

 

THE WOLVERINE: Movie Review by KIDS FIRST!

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THE WOLVERINE: Movie Review by KIDS FIRST!

“The Wolverine” picks up a few years after the 2006 film “X-Men: The Last Stand” leaves off. Logan is living alone in the mountains in fear that if he is around other people he will hurt them like he hurt Jean Grey (killed in X-Men: The Last Stand). When Logan is summoned by an old dying acquaintance from World War II, he decides to pay his respects and travel to Japan to say farewell to his friend. Soon after he arrives he realizes that he was called there for a different purpose. Yashida, the man from Logan’s past has brought him to Japan to offer him mortality so that Logan can finally be at peace. When he realizes that not all is as it seems with the powerful Yashida family, he has to face the tough decision whether to give up his life as Wolverine completely, or defend the Yashida empire. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D recommends the film to X-Men fans or “anyone who wants some action and entertainment.” Her full review is below. 

 

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The Wolverine

by Raven D.

I really like this film. I was a bit confused at the beginning because it’s been years since I first saw “X-Men: The Last Stand” which plays a big part in this film. Once I jogged my memory a bit, the plot was perfect. The 3D in this film is incredible because it isn’t over the top. It is very subtle in a way that makes the images clearer and more realistic, but doesn’t have things jumping off the screen. The plot twists are very nice even if they are a bit predictable. All in all I am very pleased with the outcome of “The Wolverine.”

My favorite character has to be Yukio played by Rila Fukushima. She is a very spunky character who is sent to find and bring Logan to Japan to say goodbye to her master. She has incredible martial arts skills and is a very funny character. She is very small, so you wouldn’t expect her to be a fighter, but she ends up calling herself Logan’s “bodyguard.” I also like Hugh Jackman’s character Wolverine/Logan. He is very hesitant to go to Japan because he has left his identity of Wolverine behind him but, when he sees that innocent people are going to be hurt, he fights for them. Although he is a very tough character, you can see that he has a soft side, which we wee through his many visions of Jean and his sleeplessness because he misses her.

My favorite scene is when Logan battles the Yakuza mob on top of a bullet train. It is such a fast paced, high action fighting sequence that it kept me on the edge of my seat. It was also very unique because it happens on top of a train moving hundreds of miles an hour, so the participants of the fight are almost flying through the air.

I recommend this film for ages 13+ for the action, violence and mature situations. This movie is perfect for X-Men fans or if you just want some action and entertainment. I give “The Wolverine” 5 out of 5 stars, so be sure to check it out when it hits theaters on July 26th.

CREDIT: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions

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