Archives for June 15, 2017

Last Minute Grad Gifts

Graduation is here or almost here for those who aren’t quite out of school yet for the Summer!

Here are a couple great gift suggestions!

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The new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age [June 6, 2017; Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins] offers a set of twelve easy-to-follow rules for artists to live by that translate artistic success to business success. The author Jeff Goins is a marketing expert, bestselling author and creative thinker.

This book has some real sound advice and I highly recommend it for those who are creative. It truly explains how you can survive and not give up on your dreams. My favorite thing I read was to not wait for inspiration. 

Real Artists Don’t Starve launched on  June 6th, 2017 and can be found at Thomas Nelson and wherever books are sold.

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Girls Graduation Gift: Notebook Doodles Go Girl!

I love how positive this one is! This one is great for  middle grade age girls. Jess Volinski’s coloring book Notebook Doodles Go Girl!: Coloring & Activity Book is an inspiring and empowering book for girls. I would even recommend for younger girls transitioning to middle school. 

Notebook Doodles Go Girl! is not just another kid’s coloring book! It is designed specifically for the design-savvy TWEEN who thinks kids books are too juvenile and mom’s adult coloring books are too, well…adult! Inside this book, youthful readers will discover 30 interactive art activities that are just waiting to be filled with color. They will also find a coloring art lesson, 20 inspiring color palettes, 8 pages of colored examples, and inspiring quotes to go with every design. Watercolors, colored pencils, markers, crayons, and gel pens will all look stunning on high-quality, extra-thick paper. Each page is perforated, so when it’s finished, it can easily be removed to hang up or give as a gift.

Connect with Jess Volinski on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and at http://jessv.com.

 

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Happy Graduation!

Cars 3 – Best in the Cars Series!

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Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage! Benjamin P. comments, “The animation in Cars 3 is great. No other film succeeds in making everyday objects feel truly human as well as this franchise does. This gives it a sense of realism and puts me more in tune with characters’ emotions and makes me care more about them in the process.” Jolleen M. adds, “This film is really unique and well made! I really enjoyed watching it. The storyline is well thought out and original. I also love the animation which is very detailed.” Lucia F. wraps it up with, “As a teenage girl who did not see the first two Cars films, I had serious doubts about this movie. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Cars 3 from beginning to end.” See their full reviews below.

 

Cars 3

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

 

 

Cars 3 is a great new chapter in the Cars series. While it doesn’t soar to the heights of other Pixar films, it still is the best Cars film yet.

 

Cars 3 sees Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) undergo a series of losses and then a near fatal crash. His fellow racers are dropping out and being replaced by new, high tech cars like his rival Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). McQueen realizes during his recovery that the game has changed and he’s not the sharp rookie he used to be. He knows he needs to train harder than he ever has to keep doing what he loves. With the help of trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), McQueen plans to beat Storm at an upcoming race in Florida to start off the season. This is his last chance to prove his worth to his fans and his new corporate sponsor (Nathan Fillion) and McQueen is not going down without a fight.

 

My favorite character in Cars 3 is Cruz Ramirez. The reveal of a new car being added to Lightning’s crew is exciting. This character’s glowing positivity is a nice contrast to McQueen’s snarky pessimism. Cristela Alonzo brings a lot of enthusiasm, but also plays the deeper sides of this character very well too and engages you in the evolution of Cruz Ramirez throughout the movie.

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The animation in Cars 3 is great. No other film succeeds in making everyday objects feel truly human as well as this franchise does. This gives it a sense of realism and puts me more in tune with characters’ emotions and makes me care more about them in the process. The backgrounds in this film are gorgeous. They’re detailed, picturesque and really reflect the quality of Pixar’s animation. The total effect makes me envy the characters and wish I could visit them in their rich, colorful world.

 

Preceding Cars 3 is the short film Lou about a creature made out of objects from a school lost-and-found bin. It’s an interesting concept and carries an important message. It’s one of my favorite Pixar shorts to date. I recommend Cars 3 for ages 5 to 12. The scene where Lightning McQueen crashes is quite intense and could scare younger children. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. Cars 3 opens in theaters June 16 so be sure to go check it out.

 

Cars 3

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

 

This film is really unique and well made! I really enjoyed watching it. The storyline is well thought out and original. I also love the animation which is very detailed. I especially love the facial expressions of the cars which show a lot of emotions.

 

Cars 3 is about the famous racer, Lightning Macqueen. He is usually the winner of every race until a rookie racer comes along. The rookie, Jackson Storm, is younger, sleeker and faster than Lightning Macqueen and his “old-school” friends. Eventually, his friends retire, leaving room for more rookies to join the races. And Lightning McQueen goes on an adventure to figure out if his racing days must come to an end.

 

Owen Wilson, the voice of Lightning McQueen, perfectly performs Lightning McQueen’s rage scenes. He makes McQueen sound desperate, frustrated and on the edge of breaking at times, but can make him also sound determined and hopeful. Armie Hammer, the voice of Jackson Storm, voices Jackson as an arrogant character. The voice fits very well because Storm always makes fun of Lightning McQueen.

 

The animation of this film is very pleasing to look at, is 3D, and even though they are cars, you can see their facial expressions. Their voices and facial expressions indirectly show their emotions which was really pleasing to watch.

 

My favorite part is when Lightning McQueen goes back to visit the hometown of his late crew chief and former racer Doc Hudson. McQueen sees all of the letters that Hudson sent back home about him. McQueen starts feeling emotional and begins to really miss Hudson. I really like this scene because it warmed my heart to see McQueen realize that he made Hudson happy till his last days. Lightning McQueen was like a son to Doc Hudson.

 

The message of this film is about persevering and empowering women. Cruz Ramirez, a female car with the dream of being a racer, is told by everyone that she can’t be a racer, even though she works extremely hard every day to become one. Lightning McQueen gives her a chance to become a racer and she takes it no matter what anyone says.

 

Cars 3 is a great movie and I give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 6 to 14. This film is very positive and has a different storyline. It’s awesome for car lovers. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 16, 2017.

 

Cars 3

By Lucia F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18

 

As a teenage girl who did not see the first two Cars films, I had serious doubts about this movie. Imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying Cars 3 from beginning to end. Although this movie is clearly an action movie, it is also hilarious! I am a huge Larry the Cable Guy fan and, as Mater the Tow Truck, he provides plenty of comic relief. I also love how loyal and heartwarming Mater is as a friend to the protagonist, Lightning McQueen. Of course, his is not the only remarkable performance. Owen Wilson, as Lightning McQueen, is a very effective leading man. His performance is pure genius.

 

The movie is intense. A new race car character, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) is introduced as competition to our hero, Lightning McQueen. Unfortunately, Storm steals Lightning’s thunder (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Viewers will find the many racing sequences extremely exciting. I actually jumped during the nighttime race through the forest with no headlights. Parents should know that there is another scene that might be disturbing to younger viewers which occurs during the Crazy 8’s demolition derby race at Thunder Hollow. Since all the characters are cars, the destruction could be considered quite violent.

 

There are three messages in this film. The first is a message of girl power when a plot twist involving Lightning’s female trainer provides a completely unexpected result. Another message is to value and honor the old-timers who succeeded before you and paved the way for your success. We see this when an older lady racer talks about the days when she was not allowed to have a number, so she stole one. The third message, which provides yet another surprise, is that those who support actual heroes are indeed, heroes themselves.

 

What really stands out for me throughout this film is the music and the animation. I love how the music, usually heavy-metal guitars, suits each race so perfectly. The images are of two types – absolutely breathtaking scenery, such as the trip to the Rusteeze Racing Center, and the appealing, animated car characters. It is also very interesting that Lightning McQueen keeps changing his look throughout the film .

 

I give this film 5 out  of 5 stars. It very effectively tells a story about doing what you love to do regardless of public opinion.  I recommend this film for girls and boys ages 7 to 18.  Cars 3 races into theaters on Friday, June 16, 2017 so go check it out.  You will absolutely enjoy the ride.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!