Archives for June 12, 2015

Father’s Day with Shutterfly! Father's Day Giveaway!

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Father’s Day is almost here! Time to think about what to get Dad this Father’s Day! Shutterfly personalized gifts always come to mind since I love gifts with personal photos on them! I received a Desk Organizer which is just  perfect for Dad’s pencils and or pens. I love that it is so stylish! It’s a hardwood desk organizer with a colorful photo tile that you personalize with your own photo. 5″x5″ and retails for $29.99. Dad will just love this gift!

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Another great idea is making Dad a personal Videogram.  This one is so fun and easy to do! You simply add photos/video clips. select a style/theme and choose your music. Prices vary depending on the quality you choose. It’s easy to share and send to Dad’s email.
Check out all the personalized photo gifts at Shutterfly !

We have teamed up for a Father’s Day Giveaway! One winner will win the Desk Organizer. To enter simply leave a comment below telling us what you are planning to do this Father’s Day for Dad (or your husband!). Also, a new guideline has been added! Simply go to the Shutterfly blog and comment on a post of your choice and then come back to SoCal City Kids and comment.  Deadline to enter is June 15th, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected via Random.org. 

Self Disclosure: I received free products to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. 

The Legend of Longwood – A Thrilling Adventure Filled with Horses and a Plucky Heroine

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Crumbling castles, frightening spirits, beautiful horses and a plucky, fearless heroine all come together in this magical “quest” film, set in the starkly beautiful landscapes of rural Ireland. Mickey Miller is a thoroughly modern 12-year-old New Yorker who has little enthusiasm for her mother’s plan to take her and her little brother to start a new life Longwood, a windswept town in Ireland. However, their arrival coincides with the return of the Black Knight, a legendary ruler whose appearances always mean that something evil is going to happen. Realizing that she is directly linked to the story of the Black Knight, Mickey and her new friend Sean – along with Silver, the wildest, most untamable horse in the stalls of a nearby castle – set out to redeem the knight. But first she must save a precious herd of white horses and thwart the plans of a greedy, ambitious woman – a mighty handful even for the bravest girl! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., comments, “The Legend of Longwood is a wonderful dramatic story that will be enjoyed by most who sees it.” Carissa P. adds, “This movie is a very good watch, being both very heartwarming and captivating.” See their full reviews below.

The Legend of Longwood

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

 

 

It is not too common that a small production company makes a wonderful film with a nice story line, cast and nicely done overall. The Legend of Longwood is a wonderful dramatic story that will be enjoyed by most who sees it.

 

The main genre of this film is drama with a sense of adventure and fantasy thrown in. Also, they include from time to time a bit of comedy making the story enjoyable, yet thrilling.

 

The story begins when a young girl named Mickey (Lucy Morton) is torn away from New York where she lives with her family because they have to move to Ireland on almost the opposite side of the world. She arrives sad and depressed. To add to the problems of leaving New York, she leaves behind the memory of her passed away horse which is the only connection she has to her dad.  (If you want to find out more about he dad, you have got to watch the film!) She and her family settle in and she soon learns about a legend and starts a massive and dramatic adventure along with a discovery which leads to a very unexpected ending.

 

This film is a wonderful production with nicely executed shots and story plot. You never expect what happens so it is just a thrilling thing to watch. The director, Lisa Mulcahy, really excels at creating a compelling story with everything in perfect position. The only con I have is that the acting with some of the younger talent is a bit dull at times. Also, they move through conversations so fast that I missed important parts of the story, making me wondering what happened later.

 

My favorite scene is when a elderly lady tells Mickey the story of the, ‘Mysterious Black Knight’ which is a 300-year-old legend. It is shown through animated pictures and narration and becomes a very, if not the most, important part of the story.

 

This film really has nothing too mature for kids, so I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. I also give it 4 out of 5 stars because, although it is very nicely done in terms of directing, story and camera shots, it lacks somewhat in terms of acting skills and feels rushed at times.

The Legend of Longwood

 

Carissa P, KIDS FIRST! reviewer

 

This movie is a very good watch, being both very heartwarming and captivating. The film is full of lots of suspense and drama as the main protagonist, Mickey, aims to figure out the mystery of the new town she moved to.

 

In The Legend of Longwood, young teen Mickey Miller has to confront the mystery of the new Irish town her family has moved into. Upon moving, Mickey immediately gets sucked into the curse that the town of Longwood has been under for centuries. The 300-year-old curse concerns a man the people call a Black Knight, who is trying to find his lost baby daughter. Mickey has to try to understand how her amulet given to her by her dead father, the snooty rich palace woman her mother works for, and the seven palace horses all combine to stop the curse and save the town of Longwood.

 

The most impressive performance is given by Lucy Morton, the actress who plays the protagonist Mickey. Mickey displays extreme courage, integrity and perseverance throughout the whole film as she constantly gets reprimanded for seeking an end to the curse. Without Morton’s impressive range of emotions and slight nuances in body language, Mickey’s strong character would not be as evident. A strong performance is also given by Fiona Glascott, who plays the money-hungry antagonist named Caitlyn.

 

One moral of the movie is to have courage in the face of adversity. Mickey outdoes even the adults in trying to bring stability and peace to her town. This proves that even adults need to understand that perseverance and motivation are two key traits that all people need to have, no matter how dangerous or difficult a deed appears to be.

 

The creators of the film took very wise advantage of natural settings to portray Ireland in an honest manner. The locations of wild, grassy areas and woods are what make the film extremely realistic. Other careful touches that contribute positively to the film are the lighting techniques used to make each actors’ expressions easy to comprehend and the lack of overbearing music, which often overwhelm dialogues in some movies.

 

This movie is perfect for family movie night. Kids and parents could watch a very fascinating movie that is interesting from suspense that some younger kids would dislike. I give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is available now on DVD wherever DVDs are sold.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions.

Jurassic World – The Park is Open – Breathtaking, Dramatic, Fearful

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This highly anticipated sequel to the original does not disappoint. It borders on horror with its realistic special effects so, be forewarned. It is breathtakingly beautiful in its cinematography and takes dinosaurs to the next level. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Reboots are one of the hardest things to pull off and not ruining the entire series it self. Director Colin Trevorrow and co-producer Steven Spielberg pull it off way over 100%.” Clayton P. adds, “Jurassic World is an action packed extravaganza that is an amazing 3D experience. Its part action, part disaster and part science fiction film.” See their full reviews below.

 

Jurassic World

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

 

 

After over 20 years, the park is back. The dinosaurs are back. The breathtaking directing, producing, acting, camera shots, special affects and story is back too. Reboots are one of the hardest things to pull off and not ruining the entire series it self. Director Colin Trevorrow and co-producer Steven Spielberg pull it off way over 100%.

 

When I say this is dramatic, that is a under statement. Although it is not scary, at times every person in the audience shivers in thrill, fear and just excitement of what is going to happen next. A classic part of Spielberg is adding that comedy in what would be expected impossible places, but yet the comedy fits perfectly. In parts, there is romance and even adventure. Of course, who can forget, dinosaurs!

 

The story begins when Jurassic World, built around 30 to 40 years after the original Jurrasic Park closed down on the same island is a massive resort and theme park, with many dinosaurs, attractions and even a baby dinosaur petting zoo! (I want to go there!) Like all theme parks, management is trying to pop out with new attractions so people stay entertained/ Well they decide to go over-the-top with a genetically modified dinosaur Indominus Rex, which is a combination of many animals making it smart, powerful, fast, strong, big and over all a T Rex 2.0!

This film is just WOW! First, let’s talk about the camera shots. They are able to achieve 360 degree shots, 20 feet off the ground and close ups all in one. It is fantastic and perfectly timed too. The director doesn’t just do it for the sake of doing it, which I like. I think the acting is perfect. It is dramatic, action packed, romantic and much more. The actors, young and old all are perfect. The director and producers came through in a way that is beyond amazing. Steven Spielberg hasn’t stopped making films one of a kind and it is as if he brought back a feel from the original Jurassic Park.

 

I do want to mention the moral of the plot because it pretty much shows something we see time and time again, and people in the film see time and time again as well, that it is a BAD idea to make dinosaurs a attraction. Yet, it gets people to empty their wallets so the attractions makers do it. The moral is “When it fails, it fails. Don’t try to stretch out something that shouldn’t exist. (Because it’s dangerous)” Not only do people think it is a good idea to make a whole bunch of massive man-eating beasts a petting zoo, they also decide to make a dinosaur, that is pretty impossible to kill, an attraction. And then, they think, “Oh nothing bad will happen.”

I have to say that this is a rather violent film (pretty typical of the Jurassic series). It is border line horror because of how dramatic it is. It will give people chills. And, it is just not meant for younger kids. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for being a wonderful film. It is dramatic with revolutionary camera shots and crystal clear special effects. I am predicting now that this film will win at least one Oscar.

 

 

Jurassic World

By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

 

Jurassic World is an action packed extravaganza that is an amazing 3D experience. Its part action, part disaster and part science fiction film.  Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, this recent installment of the Jurassic franchise is startling in its special effects imagery. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson.

 

The Jurassic World theme park features fully functioning dinosaurs in their natural habitat. Attendance at the park is declining, so the owner commissions a new dinosaur attraction called Indominus Rex. The Indominus Rex is a genetically engineered dinosaur that has many attributes from other species. It was designed to put the WOW back into Jurassic World. The story concerns two brothers, Gray and Zack who go to Jurassic World to visit their Aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works at the park. When the boys are touring the park, they go off- road, just at the time when the Indominus Rex breaks out of his habitat.  The boys do not listen to the emergency announcement telling the visitors to return to the main building. Claire gets anxious about her nephews so she enlists the aid of the head animal trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to help her save the boys. Meanwhile, the head of security for InGen, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is trying to use the Indominus Rex and other fearsome dinosaurs at the park as weapons for the military.

 

The special effects in Jurassic World are really amazing.  The dinosaurs look totally real.  It must have taken a lot of time and money to create such realistic effects.  Especially in IMAX, all the special effects really pop.  My favorite part of the film is when Owen Grady “clicker” trains the velociraptors.  It’s so cool how they respond to him.  They look so real!   The film is also gently humorous.  There aren’t that many funny scenes, but when there is a funny scene, it’s well played.  The moral of film is how important family is, especially the bond between brothers.  Also, Jurassic World shows the danger of tampering with mother nature. Jurassic World is typical of the genre of big disaster movies with a lot of cliché elements.  Being a sequel, the film isn’t that unique story wise.  The acting is serviceable.  Some of the reactions aren’t believable in terms of the scare factor of Jurassic World.

 

Jurassic World is appropriate for ages 12 to 18.  It is surprisingly gory and scary, so parents should accompany younger kids.  The film may not be appropriate for all kids under 13.  I give the film 4 out of 5 stars.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions.

Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Collection is a Must-Have this Summer! Burt's Bees Baby Bee Contest

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Looking for Natural Baby Care products that are great for babies, toddlers and even young children? Baby Bee Natural Baby Care is a Must-Have! I like that these products are natural and I highly recommend!

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I received a couple of samples and I really like the Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Bubble Bath. I like that it is Tear Free, mild, safe and natural. I don’t have a baby in the house but I even let my older son (who has somewhat sensitive skin) try this one and I love how it doesn’t dry out his skin. Check out all the baby products here.

Don’t miss the Contest that Burt’s Bees is running! 

Burt’s Bees invites you to celebrate their littlest fans with the ABC’s of Baby Bee Photo Contest!

For a chance to win a grand prize of $5,000 cash and a professional photo shoot, capture and share an image of your sweet Baby Bee in one of four special moments:

 

  • A is for Asleep. Send in your most precious photo of your little one fast asleep in a sweet slumber.
  • B is for Beaming. Show us a shot of your baby’s brightest smile.
  • C is for Cozy. Whether it’s a snapshot of their first yawn or soft story time cuddles, share how your baby gets cozy.
  • D is for Day. Every parent knows that daytime is playtime, so show us your baby at play.

 

*Additional winners in each category will receive up to $2,500 worth of gift cards and Baby Bee® and Burt’s Bees Baby TM essentials

 

How to enter? Log onto www.burtsbees.com/babybeecontest to register and submit a photo of your Baby Bee in one, any of the above categories. After capturing your little one, bee sure to include a brief description on why you  think your baby should be the“Most Buzzed About Baby Bee®.” Contestants must be three years of age or younger. After submitting,  make sure to vote for your favorite up to once a day, every day, until July 6, 2015. Invite all loved ones to vote with you too! Winners will be announced on or around July 18, 2015.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. Photo Credit and Contest Credit: Burt’s Bees.