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Cultureverse * Immersive Audio Drama With A Unique Educational Twist On Myths And Folklore

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Movie Reviews
Cultureverse * Immersive Audio Drama With A Unique Educational Twist On Myths And Folklore

Cultureverse is an immersive audio drama that celebrates our collective cultural past. It is a place where myths and legends come alive in the modern world. In each episode, an ordinary kid encounters an extraordinary creature, myth, or folk character from their culture, embarking on an exciting journey of self-discovery. Cultureverse isn’t just an audio adventure, it’s a show that celebrates who we are, and where we come from.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “Each episode of this podcast delves deep into a unique cultural tradition or concept, such as the Czech golems or the Dangsan Tree of South Korea. The podcast teaches these concepts using a simple, but effective storyline… Kyla C. adds, “Are you looking for a new podcast with amazing acting and hosting, creative stories and cultural values? Listen to Cultureverse, a brand new podcast created for tweens and teens to be entertained by fantastical adventures and educated about many cultures.” Kendal B. chimes in with, “Hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse takes myths and legends from different cultures, adds fictional modern characters and a new storyline, which make them more interesting and understandable. Kids will enjoy the exciting characters and the fascinating creatures.” Kyla wraps it up with, “The message of Cultureverse is to learn and explore other cultures’ traditions. This theme is clearly conveyed in each and every episode. It’s great that passing on these positive messages is a top priority for this podcast.” See their full reviews below.

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Cultureverse
By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Cultureverse is a unique educational podcast with hosts we all love – actresses Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran! Kids will appreciate its high production quality and immersive plot lines.

Each episode of this podcast delves deep into a unique cultural tradition or concept, such as the Czech golems or the Dangsan Tree of South Korea. The podcast teaches these concepts using a simple, but effective storyline – a child learns more about their culture through a real-world scenario (for example, bullying during online classes). For example, one of the episodes centers around Cholito de Suerte, a magical, luck-giving creature in Mexican folklore. A young girl is in the process of rebranding her musical persona and really wants some cool sunglasses. One day, she finds the Cholito de Suerte in her locker, and she remembers that her grandmother said the Cholito is generous and kind to all those who take care of it. After she gives the Cholito food, it spits out lots of coins and she’s able to buy her sunglasses (and more) with the money. This cycle continues for a while until the secret of her Cholito is betrayed, after which a unique lesson is taught. The show is based on a beautiful idea and is executed very well.

Cultureverse has no set cast except for the hosts Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran. There’s a new child voice actor in each episode. The script doesn’t differ much between the two hosts; it’s natural and maintains a good pace throughout the 20 to 25 minute duration. I really enjoyed Tran’s narration a bit more, but since the stories in each episode have such sustained, contained momentum powered by the child voice actors and plotline, it doesn’t make much of a difference who is hosting.

Cultureverse promotes cultural appreciation as opposed to cultural appropriation. It encourages kids to learn about different cultures, even providing them with some further reading at the end of each episode.

I give Cultureverse 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse. Go check it out!

Cultureverse
By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

With a hint of culture and lots of interesting stories, the podcast Cultureverse is a great way to learn more about stories from the past in a fun way. Even though these stories from the past have been modernized to entertain children, some of the plots get a little random and off-topic. However, that doesn’t stop this podcast from being a great way to educate your child about different heritages.

Hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse takes myths and legends from different cultures, adds fictional modern characters and a new storyline, which make them more interesting and understandable. Kids will enjoy the exciting characters and the fascinating creatures.

The voice acting and sound effects in this podcast are so extravagant and over-the-top that it feels like the sounds are coming out of the screen and into your room. It’s definitely a very creative concept for a podcast, especially because it makes kids want to learn and keep listening. This would be a good added tool in a classroom for a history lesson because, while it sounds like a normal fantasy book, it still keeps the key parts of the original stories or myths. It could also be used at a heritage day or a multicultural festival as added content.

This podcast’s message is to keep culture alive through stories, as they are the foundation of our heritage and we should not let them be forgotten.

I give Cultureverse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse

Cultureverse
By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Are you looking for a new podcast with amazing acting and hosting, creative stories and cultural values? Listen to Cultureverse, a brand new podcast created for tweens and teens to be entertained by fantastical adventures and educated about many cultures. Co-hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse is a must-listen epic-adventure podcast.

Each episode of the podcast features a new character, a new background and a new cultural adventure. The short introduction lets viewers know more about the character and their desires; then Cultureverse dives into the magical adventure. One of my favorite episodes is The Watermelon Prince. Based on a Vietnamese folktale, Mia (Vicky Win) is sucked into a world of magic through none other than a talking watermelon. In the universe of this folktale, Mia meets herself, but as a different person. When she returns from her adventure, she feels as if she’s found another part of herself.

Cultureverse is a podcast with many positive aspects. The hosts are warm, welcoming and educational in their pre-story and post-story talks. They are also very talented narrators that make the stories more interesting and enjoyable. All the voice-actors are great; they make each story more fun while creating a vivid picture for the audience. The plot is another strong point. Each episode starts off realistic, so I’m stuck in the mind of a character when the fantastical elements start. It helps that normal kids experience these crazy cultural adventures. If the characters were superheroes or other fantasy creatures, it wouldn’t be as relatable. This podcast is a great way to introduce a variety of cultural myths and folktales.

The message of Cultureverse is to learn and explore other cultures’ traditions. This theme is clearly conveyed in each and every episode. It’s great that passing on these positive messages is a top priority for this podcast.

I give Cultureverse 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. You can find Cultureverse on Trax at ahttps://www.trax.fm/cultureverse.

Movie Review: CentaurWorld * Humorous Animated Show With Terrific Storyline And Messages

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Movie Review: CentaurWorld * Humorous Animated Show With Terrific Storyline And Messages

Centaurworld follows a war horse that is transported from her embattled world to a strange land inhabited by silly, singing centaurs of all species, shapes, and sizes. Desperate to return home, she befriends a group of these magical creatures and embarks on a journey that will test her more than any battle she’s ever faced before. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “CentaurWorld is a humorous, animated show geared to older kids and young teens. The plot is definitely its strongest point because each episode has unique storylines episodes despite being an ongoing story. Along with that, the acting, impressive characters and music combine to make an unusual, yet intriguing show.” Ayden P. adds, “The message of this film is that the world is not always full of war and conflict. It’s also filled with friends and memories. Also, it’s ok to have some silliness and fun in your life. Plus, don’t limit yourself to what you think you know or what you become used to.” See their full reviews and interviews below.

CentaurWorld

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

CENTAURWORLD Season 1 (L to R) MEGAN HILTY as WAMMAWINK, JOSH RADNOR as DURPLETON, KIMIKO GLENN as HORSE, CHRIS DIAMANTOPOULOS as CHED and PARVESH CHEENA as ZULIUS in episode 1 of CENTAURWORLD Season 1. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

CentaurWorld is a humorous, animated show geared to older kids and young teens. The plot is definitely its strongest point because each episode has unique storylines episodes despite being an ongoing story. Along with that, the acting, impressive characters and music combine to make an unusual, yet intriguing show.

This ten-episode series follows Horse (Kimiko Glenn), her name representing her appearance. She touches a magical artifact that transports her to a new world, called CentaurWorld, where magic and singing are encouraged. Along the way, they meet many challenges, including facing comedy competitions, a trial that could result in being stuck in jail forever and plants that grant tricky wishes. Can Horse find all parts of the key along the rainbow road to make her way home to Rider (Jessie Mueller)?

CentaurWorld has an incredible storyline. The concept is new and unique. Each episode has an individual story that’s carefully written to not be the same as others. The voiceover acting is also magnificent. Josh Radnor, as Durpleton, and Parvesh Cheen, as Zulius, deliver amazing performances. The characters are well developed so the acting and writing make an excellent combination. My favorite part is probably the music, although the other fabulous aspects are great. The songs drew my attention every time; the melodies and lyrics create an emotional environment, shifting with the moods, which always left me in awe. Then there are the impressive singers with their enjoyable resonance and beautiful solos. Their harmonies are perfectly executed and make the songs more enjoyable. The music truly takes the show to the next level.

The message of CentaurWorld is about bravery. Horse and her centaur friends need to find all of the pieces to the key and this journey isn’t easy. Oftentimes, Horse encourages her friends to ‘be bold,’ like when the rainbow road leads them to a hole, going down one side and up the other. Horse shows bravery by jumping down, realizing this is the only way to not give up on their journey. Parents should note that there is some violence and some mildly inappropriate dialogue.

I give CentaurWorld 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. CentaurWorld begins streaming on Netflix July 30, 2021.

Centaurworld

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

CENTAURWORLD Season 1 (L to R) PARVESH CHEENA as ZULIUS, MEGAN HILTY as WAMMAWINK, JOSH RADNOR as DURPLETON, RENEE ELISE GOLDSBERRY as WATERBABY, MEGAN NICOLE DONG as GLENDALE, KIMIKO GLENN as HORSE AND CHRIS DIAMANTOPOULOS as CHED in episode 3 of CENTAURWORLD Season 1. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Centaurworld is a creative kids’ show with colorful, memorable and funny characters.  The show is different from other shows for children, because most of its characters are animals with human attributes. The simple dialogue and colorful characters serve to keep kids’ attention.

Centaurworld is about a hardened war horse, named Horse (Kimiko Glenn) that gets separated from her rider (Jessica Mueller).  Horse ends up in Centaurland, a land filled with silly, singing unique creatures with both animal and human features. Horse is quickly heralded as their new friend and inspires Wammawink (Meagan Hilty), Zulius (Parvesh Cheena), Durpleton (Josh Radnor), Glendale (Megan Nicole Dong) and Ched (Chris Diamantopoulos) to follow her and explore the area as they try to help Horse get home.

Centaurworld has some fun comedic moments with simple jokes that kids can follow and are age appropriate. In terms of the animation, the series makes good use of its characters and they are quite different from other animated shows. For example, viewers can’t help but focus on the big human-looking eyes and human faces of the colorful characters. Another positive is that the show has the unexpected twist of making a horse the main character. This further serves to engage younger audiences. What kid wouldn’t be intrigued by a horse that talks and has other talking human/animal hybrid friends? One thing kids may not notice, but adults will, is that, besides being able to speak, Horse doesn’t have any other human features.  Still, the inhabitants of Centaurland are accepting of her. This is a good lesson on acceptance.

The message of this film is that the world is not always full of war and conflict. It’s also filled with friends and memories. Also, it’s ok to have some silliness and fun in your life. Plus, don’t limit yourself to what you think you know or what you become used to. 

I give Centaurworld 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults can enjoy this with their kids. Centaurworld begins streaming on Netflix July 30, 2021.

10 Surefire Medical Reputation Management Tips

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Business
10 Surefire Medical Reputation Management Tips

Online reputation has a great impact on your business. It can make or break your business. Your online reputation determines how others see your business when they search for it. Online reputation management can help you in maintaining a good reputation.   Below are ten ways you can ensure that your healthcare practice has a good reputation.

  1. Audit Your Brand Name

Achieving a solid online reputation has something to do with knowing your competition. It would be best if you understood what other online brands are doing, so come up with a means of outpacing or outdoing them. People will go to the internet when searching for healthcare providers or hospitals. Reevaluate the information available online about your brand, noting the positives and negatives.

  1. Leverage Social Networks

It is not enough to have a social media account; you also must have a persistent presence which entails taking a proactive approach by being part of the conversations and sharing content. Set up Google Alerts for brand mentions to ensure you know when your name comes up in an online discussion. The alerts will also ensure you are part of the conversation and you can respond adequately. Please keep in mind that negative comments can dent your brand’s reputation if they go unchecked, more so when they originate from your social media network. It is best to use a positive countermeasure, a proactive strategy that will safeguard your name and online reputation.

  1. Tell Your Story

It is also wise to use it to build your brand’s image with an online social network presence. Furthermore, you can take advantage of social media to strengthen your overall online presence. You can achieve this by sharing/posting creative, relevant, positive content and linking them with your website and blog. Always present your brand as you tell your story, striving to establish yourself as an expert in your field. In addition, the material you churn out should generate responses from your target viewers, which will help it gain a higher search ranking.

  1. Encourage Positive Online Reviews

One of the most effective ways of snuffing out negative remarks and strengthening your online reputation is by aggressively promoting positive materials about the doctor’s profession. Encourage your medical faculty to share or posit positive reviews. The more such content you get, the less likely you are to get negative remarks that dilute your reputation. You also should monitor online reviews, which you can do using Google Alerts, Social Mention, and other tools. It is a tactic that ensures you are better equipped to counter negative content and mitigate its impact as you push the positives by responding promptly and professionally to all remarks.

  1. Never Disregard Negative Reviews

Some patients might not be happy with you despite your best efforts to be professional in your specialty. They are likely to post a bad review, resulting in significant losses in your medical practice if ignored. If such a remark bears some truth, own up to your mistake and contact the reviewer offline, proposing ways to resolve the issue. At times, a sincere apology can be what it takes to deflate or diffuse the situation. Moreover, avoid getting emotional because you might end up saying something regrettable. It is best to maintain your cool as you offer to handle the matter offline. You could make a loyal patient out of that disgruntled individual once you hear them out and address their complaints. They also could recommend your practice to their friends, family, and colleagues.  

  1. Earn Your Patients’ Trust And Respect

Today’s internet users rely heavily on online content to know who to trust when searching for products or services. The same is expected of people when looking for medical care. Patients want a healthcare provider that has a seemingly untainted reputation. Providing high-quality care is one of the vital starting points. People expect you to offer this, which plays a significant role in the bigger picture. Remember, sometimes issues do arise and it’s the way you rectify them that defines you as a business. Perhaps you’ll need a defense counsel to do so, however, you should always strive to make amends.

Overall, excellence should be your goal in every step of the care and other services you provide to your patients. Let their journey – from searching and find you to getting treating and leaving your medical facility be a fantastic experience.

  1. Do Your Best To Listen

Use your social networks as avenues for hearing what your patients are saying. You will get unedited voices that let you understand and relate to your audience’s voices, especially the unhappy ones. Pay closer attention to the feedback regarding your brand. Understand their complaints and concerns before rushing to fix the issues. That is who can repair the fundamentals and prevent such problems from arising in the future.

  1. Encourage Your Workforce To Offer Excellent Service

Patients will not always express their anger upfront, but you know they left unhappy when they stop coming back to your medical facility. They also can tell their friend, family, and colleagues about how your staff handled them, which can have a negative ripple effect that damages your business’ reputation. You should have health practitioners that understand the need for providing outstanding health care services. Such a staff play’s a crucial part in improving your reputation and bolster your business’ position as a leader in your niche.

  1. Develop Long-Term Reputation Management Strategy

Having a highly-trained staff that strives for professionalism will not fix your online reputation overnight.  It is best to consider a long-term approach, which is a process that demands commitment. Feeling frustrated when your reputation management efforts have little to nothing to show is understandable. However, it would be best if you did not forget that all the work you put into will have a long-term impact on bolstering your reputation. Some of the things you can consider in your long-term plans include setting patient care benchmarks, hiring qualified practitioners, providing staff training, and more. Overall, strive for realistic goals, exercising patience, and maintaining a level-head when facing challenges.

  1. Hire Reputation Management Specialists

Lastly, it is best to consider outsourcing your medical facility’s reputation management responsibilities if you feel overwhelmed. Many healthcare practitioners will bring onboard

professionals to help them handle their business’s online reputation by managing their online presence. Reputation management for healthcare businesses can be complicated but is worth the investment if you want to ensure your business’ name is untainted. Work with qualified professionals when trying to build your online presence and reputation.

Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and adults.

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Movie Reviews
Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and adults.

Launchpad is an emotional and uplifting collection of Disney short films that are great for teens and
adults. Every one of the six movies features excellent acting, impressive cinematography, great special effects and storylines with meaningful themes.

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Launchpad includes six different shorts, each with its own unique plot. American Eid and The Last of the Chupacabras are both centered around religion; American Eid is about a young girl finding out she has to go to school on the Muslim holiday, Eid. The Last of the Chupacabras  is about a lone Mexican-American trying to keep her culture alive. Growing Fangs is a fantasy about a half-human/half-vampire trying to hide her identity from both worlds. Let’s Be Tigers is about a young girl, Avalon (Otmara Marrero) trying to process the loss of her mother while she is babysitting for a 4-year-old. Dinner Is Served follows a Chinese student trying out for the top position at a fancy restaurant. The Little Prince(ss) is a story about a young boy who loves ballet and whose best friend’s dad comes to talk to his parents about his “girlish behavior.”

With emotional and deep storylines, these short films need great acting to convey the strong messages of the films. These actors deliver. Every character is portrayed by a passionate actor that deeply understands their character and performs with passion. Even for films with no dialogue, you can understand what they are thinking and feeling. Otmara Marrero who plays Avalon in Let’s Be Tigers, delivers an unforgettable performance as such a sorrowful character. The change as she plays with Noah (Dash McCloud) is visible as the film develops. In American Eid, Jenna Qureshi, who plays Ameena’s older sister, Zainab, also delivers a stunning performance, making her teenage, trying-to-be-cool character relatable in every way. The cinematography is equally excellent. The special effects in the fantasy films are wonderful, particularly in Growing Fangs with its vampire effects. Magic is the main component in this one, but there are other effects as well. The stories are all well-written. Some of the shorts are heart-breaking and emotional, while others are more uplifting and creative. There’s a variety of wonderful ideas spread throughout.

These shorts have many themes, some overlapping others. A central point for all of them, is to recognize other people for what they are, not for how they appear.

I give Launchpad 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. Launchpad can be viewed on Disney Plus beginning May 28, 2021.

Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2 * Nearly Five Hours of Laugh-Out-Loud, Animated Fun

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Kids
Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2 * Nearly Five Hours of Laugh-Out-Loud, Animated Fun

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It’s a Sonic you haven’t seen before an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline. The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy. Will C. adds, “Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end. The message of this series is that friends are stronger together.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer wraps it up with, “I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman.” See their full reviews below.

 

Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

https://youtu.be/_-61s1WGEYI

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

The Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2 DVD, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment. The package comes with two DVDs, which include 26 episodes.  What is nice is the gift set comes with two toys, Knuckles and Tails.  Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog that has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures. Sonic’s friends – Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) – help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock).  Each episode has a different story line.  The episodes do not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that’s what makes it so entertaining.

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy.  My favorite episode is “Bro Down Showdown,” because it’s extremely funny.  It is about how Amy had to leave for a little bit, so Sonic and Knuckles ask her if they can stay at her house while she is gone.  Amy says yes, but there is one rule – no foolish things in her house.  So the first thing they do is eat nachos and spill on the couch.  Conveniently a commercial comes on saying, “if you win the best bros contest you win a brand new couch.” They immediately enter the contest.  It turns out Dr. Eggman is spying on them.  He arrives and starts bickering with Sonic about a bogus little thing.  A guy working there sees them fighting and pairs them up, even though Knuckles is going to be Sonic’s buddy.  Knuckels finds a new partner and tries to win the couch.  This is my favorite episode because this all happens, just because they spilled a nacho.

The moral to the stories is about “teamwork making the dream work,” because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friend, to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

I give Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing too. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

https://youtu.be/OIaCzPyfbT4

Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end.

The DVDs include 26 action-packed episodes, and if you get the limited edition gift set, you’ll also get two action figures—either Sonic with Dr. Eggman or Knuckles with Tails. In every episode, Sonic and his friends protect their village from the evil Dr. Eggman. Of course, no matter how crazy the situation, Sonic and friends are able to save the day in the end.

There are some really funny storylines, like when Sonic and Knuckles spill nacho cheese on Amy‘s couch while house-sitting. They try cleaning it up with grape soda, which just makes it worse! Their next idea is to try to win a new couch by going on a game show, but they fail and one of Dr. Eggman’s missiles ends up exploding the couch anyway. In another episode, it’s hilarious when Sonic grabs the last chili dog that Dr. Eggman wanted, so to be nice Sonic goes all the way to the warehouse to bring his nemesis a chili dog. But Dr. Eggman wanted extra relish, so he throws a tantrum by trying to destroy the whole town by shooting it with lasers and attacking it with robots. Of course this is nothing Sonic and friends can’t handle. One of the best jokes is when the boys compete against the girls in a survivor challenge. The girls decide the losers will have to do everyone’s laundry, but Sonic says, “That’s not fair for us boys – we don’t even wear pants!”

The message of this series is that friends are stronger together. There’s probably not a lot of content that parents will object to, but there is some cartoon violence that kids might be tempted to copy. The only thing that’s a problem for me is that there is one episode out of the 26 that’s only available with Spanish audio, no English at all. Unfortunately I can’t understand what they’re saying in the episode, “Fire in a Crowded Workshop.”

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, and adults might enjoy watching with their kids as well. Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is available on DVD February 2020.

Sonic Boom Season 1, Volume 2
By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. I like that there isn’t just the typical “good wins over evil.” It is expected that good will win, but it is fun to watch too.  Some of the humor is a bit dry if you are an adult watching the show. But, it is appropriate for children ages 5 through 12. I like that it shows teamwork and friendship, and all of the action makes it very entertaining to watch. The characters are very likable; my favorites are Sonic and Amy. I like that the characters are unique and each brings something to the show. Of course, Dr. Eggman is not a favorite of mine, but he also makes the series entertaining, especially since Sonic and his pals usually outwit him. I give this 4 out of 5 stars for its entertainment value. This DVD would make a great gift for a Sonic fan, since it is a Limited Edition Gift Set that includes Knuckles and Tails figurines. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer

Jason Bourne – The Perfect Action Thriller!

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Jason Bourne – The Perfect Action Thriller!

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Jason Bourne – The Perfect Action Thriller!

 

The latest installment of the Bourne franchise features Matt Damon once again who is now well aware of who he is and determined to expose the government’s secrets. The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past. “Why would he come back now?” CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones). KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “What happens when you are impressed by emotional acting, an exciting soundtrack and heart-thumping stunts? You get the perfect action thriller.” See his full review below.

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Jason Bourne

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

 

What happens when you are impressed by emotional acting, an exciting soundtrack and heart-thumping stunts? You get the perfect action thriller -  next installment in the Jason Bourne series.

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This dramatic action film doesn’t contain one single joke and it is not a romance flick either. The characters experience multiple adventures and is a non-stop action-filled film  with an exciting scene at least every three minutes, keeping the viewer engaged the whole way through.

 

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has taken to boxing matches for money, but everything changes when a friend of his, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) comes to him with a flash drive filled with top-secret CIA information. Jason goes on a dangerous adventure where he loses friends, makes new enemies, finds old ones and more all to uncover his past when he was part of the CIA and what happened to him.

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This story may sound confusing if the viewer is unfamiliar with previous Bourne stories. Although you can guess what happened in previous events as the film attempts to explain what Matt’s character is trying to achieve, if you know who Jason Bourne is and what the series are about, it’s easier to follow. The good thing is that you do not need to read every book of the series or watch all the previous films since the flashbacks and conversation mostly explains what happened before.

 

Throughout the film there is a very intense soundtrack that adds tension to the dramatic scenes. However, the soundtrack is always intense, including several scenes which contain dialogue and would be great without any of this intrusive music. The action scenes in this film are wonderful with car chases, jumping off buildings and fights in parking lots. Each action scene is epic and clearly shows a lot of work went in to make it perfect. One major problem with the action scenes is that the cinematography is very shaky and rapid. Although it helps put you “inside” the fight, it makes it very difficult to understand what is going on when it’s used extensively. Unfortunately, this is the case here and since this film is compiled of lots of shaky and rapid shots, it makes you feel slightly dizzy. The acting in this film is legendary, with returning cast from the previous Bourne films like Matt Damon and Julie Stiles. There are also many new characters such as Alicia Vikander who plays Heather Lee. Each member of the cast excels in their roles and I give them credit for such believable performances.

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My favorite scene is one of the first action scenes when James Bourne and Nicky Parsons are trying to escape from Greece. One major problem is that the city is full of protests and riots coupled by the fact that the CIA is right on their tail. An epic motorcycle chase ensues as well as fighting sequences and more. It is exciting with perfect staging and the soundtrack adds a lot of intensity as well.

 

I do not recommend this film for young kids due to the language, violence, gore and more. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Younger kids would find it too intense and dramatic. I give it four out of five stars because, although it has minor problems such as dizzy cinematography and a relentless soundtrack, it is an entertaining and epic thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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