Archives for March 2018

Salem, March 29 Pet of the Week!

 

Well, hi. I’m Salem, and I’m poking my head out to introduce my sweet self! I’m a glossy black neutered male kitty, just 1-year-old. One day, I found myself wandering the streets—I can’t remember how I got there or why I had such a pain in my furry chest. Thanks to the vets at the shelter, I’m recovering nicely—and boy, do I crave human companionship! If you visit me at the shelter and ask to meet me, I’ll be ready for a healthy petting session no matter what I’ve been doing at the moment. Please meet me at the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID# A604563.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village. 

Springtime in SoCal is about to get a little Chilly, when the #1 animated movie of all time returns to skate through Long Beach & Ontario this April Disney On Ice presents Frozen April 19 – 29, 2018

Discover the full story of Disney’s Frozen like never before at Disney On Ice presents Frozen!  Dazzling ice skating, special effects and unforgettable music will magically transport you to wintry Arendelle. Be a part of Anna’s fearless adventure to find her sister, Queen Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in an eternal winter.  Join the hilarious snowman Olaf, rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer sidekick Sven as they help Anna in a race to bring back summer. Encounter Everest-like conditions and mystical trolls as you sing along to Academy Award®-winning songs like Let It Go and ultimately discover true love is the most powerful magic of all!

       

Hosted by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, the whole family will delight in special appearances by stars from Toy Story, Finding Dory, The Lion King and the inspiring Disney Princesses. Experience magic at every turn and create memories to last a lifetime at Disney On Ice presents Frozen – the show worth melting for!

L O N G  B E A C H

WHEN:                Thursday, April 19 – Sunday, April 22, 2018

  • Thursday, April 19 7:30 PM
  • Friday, April 20 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, April 21 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, April 22 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM

 

WHERE:             Long Beach Arena – 300 E. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802

 

TICKETS:           Tickets start at just $20!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $15 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

 

Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.             *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

 

O N T A R I O

WHEN:                Thursday, April 26 – Sunday, April 29, 2018

  • Thursday, April 26                 7:00 PM
  • Friday, April 27                 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, April 28                11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, April 29 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

 

WHERE:             Citizens Business Bank Arena – 4000 Ontario Center Parkway, Ontario, CA 91764

 

TICKETS:           Tickets start at just $20!

Discount Opening Night tickets available for as low as $15 each on select seating (not valid for premium VIP/Front Row seating) 

 

                                Tickets available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or in-person at the venue Box Office.             *prices subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply.

Credit: Feld Entertainment.

Guess How Much I Love you: An Enchanting Easter – Beautiful Animation, Adorable Storyline

Enjoy this Easter special adventure based on the classic picture book that has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, written by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram and published by Walker Books. When Little Nutbrown Hare sees a pure white fawn shining and dancing in the moonlight his friends think he s making it up. They venture through the woody woods in the next valley, down the streamy stream and pass the rocky rocks to find her but as their doubt grows, she is right there hiding on the patches of white snow, thinking it’s a big game of hide and seek. She promises to visit them on Easter Day making Easter that much more special for all. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Carla P. comments, “This film has beautiful animation and an adorable storyline that I love.” Nathalia J. adds, “It’s so rare to find a truly quality children’s film such as this. I love how the storyline brings together so many themes including friendship, believing, togetherness and Easter. Wow! What an amazing combination!” Morgan B. wraps it up with, “Easter is on its way and this hare is perfect for the holiday season. The life lessons are about friendship and being kind to others. We see this in the kindness extended to the pure white fawn when they show her that they can be friends.” See their full reviews below.

Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter

By Carla P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

The DVD Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter is a great movie for the whole family. This film has beautiful animation and an adorable storyline that I love.

Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter follows a group of forest animals. One, the Little Nutbrown Hare sees a pure white fawn that enchants him. He tells his father and his friends – the field mouse, the fox and the grey squirrel. They do not believe him at first but Little Nutbrown Hare convinces them to help find the white fawn.

The animation in this series is adorable. The characters and background are very colorful. In every scene, there is always a pop of color, whether it is a vibrant blue or a soft pink. The characters look just like the illustrations in the original book, which I love. It is remarkable how detailed the characters are. For example, the fox has orange fur that fades at the end. It looks like a watercolor painting.

If I was to pick my favorite character, it would be the field mouse or perhaps Little Nutbrown Hare’s father. I like the field mouse, because he is the only one who believes in Little Nutbrown Hare and what he saw. I also like Little Nutbrown Hare’s father, because he is so kind. He takes care of the mother bird’s eggs while she goes to get feathers for her nest. When the birds hatch, he takes them to where he kept warm during the storms until their mother came back.

The message of this movie is to trust your friends. The fox and the grey squirrel did not believe Little Nutbrown Hare’s story about seeing a pure white fawn. The only one that really believes him is the field mouse. He keeps Little Nutbrown Hare’s hopes up when his friends did not believe him. I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages five to seven. This is available on DVD so, look for it.

Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Easter! I love Easter! This 30 minute fantastic, delightful and pure film is directed by Jo Boag. It’s so rare to find a truly quality children’s film such as this. I love how the storyline brings together so many themes including friendship, believing, togetherness and Easter. Wow! What an amazing combination! Get ready to head down a road filled with adventure.

The story follows Little Nutbrown Hare leading a journey to find a pure white fawn that he sees shining and dancing in the moonlight near his village. His friends think he’s making it up. They take a gamble endeavor through the woods in the next valley, down the flowing creek and past the rocks to find her. As their doubt grows, she is right there hiding on the patches of white snow. She instantly thinks it’s a big game of hide and seek. She promises to visit them on Easter Day, making Easter that much special for them all.

This film is based on the classic book that has sold worldwide, written by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram and published by Walker Books. The animation is astonishing from beginning to end. The characters are beautiful, colorful, appealing and attractive throughout the entire movie. This film is downright delightful, bringing so much joy for one to appreciate. I just love the animals, especially the cute baby birds! The music really supports the lovely characters and action.

My favorite part is when Little Nutbrown Hare and his friends save the pure white fawn from drowning in the stream. It shows how much he cares and adores her. Absolutely touching! This part in the film has many different actions happening at the same time. All of Little Nutbrown Hare’s friends find out the pure white fawn is real and not in Little Nutbrown Hare’s imagination. At this moment they are reminded the world is full of marvelous animals. My favorite characters are the pure white fawn and Little Nutbrown Hare, because they are both happy, intriguing, playable and friendly.

This film has a great message of friendship and love and the meaning behind them. True friendships are displayed in this film and we see the genuine love and understanding the characters have for each other. It absolutely calls you to action when they venture out to find pure white fawn. All the characters treat one another appropriately, helping help each other, saying nice things and being friendly to one another.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 11, as well as adults. This film is available now on DVD and Digital, so go check it out before Easter.

Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

I love Guess How Much I Love You: An Enchanting Easter! It is a great addition for my collection of Easter movies because it is so cute!

Easter is on its way and this hare is perfect for the holiday season. The life lessons are about friendship and being kind to others. We see this in the kindness extended to the pure white fawn when they show her that they can be friends. The other life lessons are about teamwork and believing in your friends.

The animation is just breathtaking. It is so perfectly executed that it looks like a perfect little story book with live animals. The scenes with the snow are amazing because of the color mix. It is truly magical.

My favorite character is the pure white fawn. She is a new character that I will always remember. I love her personality. She has a sweet side, which she shows towards the end of the film and a funny, silly, playful side that she shows in the beginning. I am in love with her character’s voice which is so soft and sweet, making her the perfect fawn.  Her interaction with all the different animals shows that she fits right in and they all gain a new BFF.

Another thing that I like about this DVD are the voiceovers. They match the characters wonderfully with their soft tones, making sounds a lot like young children. Each character has a small, adorable and squeaky voice.

All the animals are lovable and each one has a different personality. This makes me feel like I am meeting them for real. I want to jump into the screen and give them a big welcome hug. It also makes me want to jump through the TV and play in the meadow as they celebrate Easter.  This is a perfect way to get into the spirit of spring after a long, cold and rainy winter.

I recommend this DVD for kids age 4 to 13 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is available now on DVD so look for it.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

Isle Of Dogs – Incredibly Rich And Unique Stop-Motion Animation

When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Clayton P. comments, “Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is a movie to be reckoned with. This incredibly unique piece of stop motion animation is totally different from the norm of today’s films.” Benjamin P. adds, “Wes Anderson’s direction is excellent. He thrives in stop-motion animation because he can meticulously craft each shot. His sometimes bizarre, yet charming style remains resonant, despite it being a change of pace from the stories he usually tells.” See their full reviews below.

Isle of Dogs

By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is a movie to be reckoned with. This incredibly unique piece of stop motion animation is totally different from the norm of today’s films. Written and directed by Wes Anderson, it stars the voices of Bryan Cranston as Chief, Edward Norton as Rex, Bill Murray as Boss, Liev Schreiber as Spots, Bob Balaban as King, Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg and Jeff Goldblum as Duke.  It also stars Koyu Rankin as the young boy, Atari. It is the second animated film from Wes Anderson, after the wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox.

In future Japan, where dogs are viewed as savage and disease ridden creatures, a young boy, Atari, searches for his dog, Spots. This dystopian world, created by his guardian, Mayor Kobayashi, disparages dogs but worships cats. Atari defies his guardian and along the way befriends some loyal, passionate pooches who help him on his fateful journey of finding his lost dog.

One thing I particularly adore about Wes Anderson’s filmmaking is his irreverent humour and creativity. It’s almost as if Anderson has a patent on a new genre of filmmaking, that’s entirely his own. During the making of this film, Anderson was influenced by his love for Japanese cinema and two of the most monumental Japanese directors – Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki. In an interview about his many influences for the film, he states “with Miyazaki you get nature and you get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American animation tradition…”. Later on, Anderson explains that during the scoring of the film he and his composer, Alexandre Desplat, had to rethink their approach to the soundtrack because the movie longed to be quiet. He later specifies that this aspect of the film also comes from Miyazaki.

The stop motion animation style pairs perfectly with the pure grittiness of its creativity. In most animated films you don’t hear the roughness or coarseness of the actors’ voices, but in Anderson’s film you do and it is the most lifelike.  Also, despite the humor, Anderson doesn’t sugar coat the seriousness of the story. His films are always truthful and cut to the heart of the matter.

I recommend Isle of Dogs for ages 12 to 18, due to its violence and sophisticated humour. Younger kids might not understand the ironic tone. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for bringing an incredibly unique vision to the mostly mundane animation of today.

Bill Murray as “Boss” in the film ISLE OF DOGS. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.

Isle of Dogs

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

Isle of Dogs is a genius concept that only Wes Anderson could conjure up and makes for an enjoyable animated film with a quirky aesthetic.

Isle of Dogs takes place 20 years from now in a futuristic Japan. A disease spreading among dogs ravages Megasaki City and the mayor issues a decree that banishes all dogs to a vast, sickening wasteland called Trash Island. The film focuses the story on a pack of dogs who spend their days roaming, trying to stay alive among fierce competition. A young boy named Atari crashes onto the island one day in search of his dog and the pack decides to help him.

Wes Anderson’s direction is excellent. He thrives in stop-motion animation because he can meticulously craft each shot. His sometimes bizarre, yet charming style remains resonant, despite it being a change of pace from the stories he usually tells. Isle of Dogs is an homage to Japanese filmmaking, especially the films of Akira Kurosawa, and relies on Japanese language and culture to tell its story.

The film’s voice cast includes a range of famous actors, including longtime Wes Anderson partners Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton, as a pug oracle, as well as Yoko Ono as Assistant Scientist Yoko-ono and Jeff Goldblum as Duke, one of the dogs in the film’s showcase pack.

My favorite character is Chief (Bryan Cranston). He is a stray dog who goes through a moving transformation as he starts off dreading the idea of having a master. But through his adventure with Atari, Chief starts to learn what it is to care about people and open himself up to them. Cranston gives Chief a weariness that lets you know his character has been through a lot.

I recommend this film for ages 11 to 18, due to some violence involving dogs, some suggestive content and minor offensive language. Note that, despite animation and dogs as main characters, this is not a kids’ film. It’s really geared pre-teens to adults.

I give Isle of Dogs 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this film for Wes Anderson fans and those who like a good adventure featuring man’s best friend. Although this film misses the chance to develop really interesting ideas and characters, it is still fun and hilarious in all the right ways. Isle of Dogs opens in theaters March 23, 2018 so check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Pacific Rim: Uprising – Big Robots, Big Monsters, Amazing Visuals

Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father’s legacy. Kamryn B. comments, “This action-packed film is pretty decent. I like that the plot continues from the last movie. The characters are as interesting as their story.” See her full review below.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

By Kamryn B., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This action-packed film is pretty decent. I like that the plot continues from the last movie. The characters are as interesting as their story. The one problem is the sequencing. Some scenes are pointless and are ordered in such a way that they don’t make sense. However, if you like fighting robots, you’ll love it.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to Pacific Rim. It takes place ten years after the war, which took place in the first film, was won. Jake Pentecost (John Boyegas), a carefree, retired pilot, is living life in a messed-up world.  Through unwanted circumstances, he meets a 15-year old hacker named Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). With common personalities and different pasts, they create a bond that no one can break. With this new bond, old friends of Jake’s and new friends of Amara’s collaborate to fight the Kaiju for what is left of humanity.

This film is directed and written by Steven S. DeKnight, known for producing the Netflix series Daredevil. DeKnight pulls the story together without losing your attention on the main crisis with the Kaiju. My hats off to the special effects team. The robot close-ups are so realistic, it seems like you can reach out and touch them. The robot fights are also extremely real. The intense music by Lorne Balfe makes the movie extremely engaging. It is also surprisingly comical. Jake Pentecost’s sarcastic tone makes you question whether the group is really living in a life or death situation or not.

>My favorite character is Amara. She has a spark from beginning to end in the movie. Her ability to create her very own robot or Jaeger is amazing. Her curiosity and her attitude about doing the right thing is pleasant to see in an action movie. Seeing the connection between Jake and Amara develop throughout the film is a favorite part. The message of this film is that “despite who your family is, who you think you are or what you’ve done in the past, you can still be a hero.”

I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It opens March 23, 2018 so, go check it out. Reviewed by Kamryn B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Photo credit: Universal Pictures.

 

Jubilee, March 22nd Pet of the Week!

Jubilee is the Rita Moreno of the dog world—a senior who’s still beautiful and who certainly can move around with the best of them. She’s an 8-year-old boxer mix who dances around that new Play Yard like a real hoofer! She gallops after tennis balls and responds to commands like “sit” and “shake.” She loves treats but still keeps her girlish figure. And when the performance is over and the stage lights are down, Jubilee will sit down with you and absorb all the love she can soak up. Meet Jubilee on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A603989.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village. 

PEEPS®is a Must-Buy for Easter! The whole family will love them!

Easter is almost here and what is Easter without Candy? I’m a fan of PEEPS®and they have some terrific new flavors this upcoming holiday! Even though my son is now a teenager, he will still get an Easter basket! He is a fan of PEEPS®too! I can’t wait for him to try some of the new flavors and have a feeling the Fruit Punch ones will be a hit!

Do you have a favorite PEEPS®? I have to admit that I like the chocolate dipped ones the best and am excited about the PEEPS® Delights™ Blueberry Flavored Marshmallow Chicks Dipped in Dark Chocolate! Yum! I actually couldn’t wait until Easter and tried them and they are absolutely delicious!

PEEPS® really should be added to every Easter basket! I made this one for a friend of ours!

Here are all of the varieties available this Easter:

·         PEEPS® Filled Delights™ Neapolitan Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Marshmallow Chicks Dipped in Milk Chocolate

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Blueberry Flavored Marshmallow Chicks Dipped in Dark Chocolate

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Coconut Flavored Marshmallow Chicks Dipped in Dark Chocolate

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Strawberry Flavored Marshmallow Chicks Dipped in Crème Flavored Fudge

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Lemon Sherbet Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Delights™ Orange Sherbet Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Sour Cherry Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Fruit Punch Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Sour Watermelon Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Party Cake Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Marshmallow Chicks Rainbow POPs

·         PEEPS® Large Marshmallow Bunnies

·         PEEPS® Sugar Free Chicks

·         PEEPS® Milk Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Giant Pink and White Bunny Marshmallow Pops

·         PEEPS® Cotton Candy Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Pancakes & Syrup Flavored Marshmallow Chicks

·         PEEPS® Mystery Chicks (#1, #2 and #3)

·         MIKE AND IKE® Easter Treats, 5oz Theater Box

·         MIKE AND IKE® Assorted Fruits Jelly Beans, 14oz Lay Down Bag

I didn’t have the opportunity to try them all but I am on the lookout for the PEEPS® Delights™ Lemon Sherbet Flavored Marshmallow Chicks! I’m also curious about the Cotton Candy flavored ones and the Pancakes & Syrup!

The Party Cake PEEPS® aren’t new but they are a favorite in our house! You have to try them!

And, have you checked out their site? I just love their site! Our readers also have a discount code!  Head over to www.Peepsandcompany.com and enter “EASTER18” for a 20% discount on merchandise – pick up fun gifts like the PEEP-On-A-Perch gift set or our new PEEPS® In Pajamas bedtime story! A friend of mine just bought the PEEPS® In Pajamas bedtime story and its a hit with her little one!

Check out www.marshmallowpeeps.com for fun crafts and recipes!

You can also buy PEEPS®at a store near you! I know our local Target has many of them that are mentioned above!

Do you have a favorite?

Here’s another one of mine!

Happy Spring! Happy Easter! 

 Self Disclosure: I received a package of delicious PEEPS® to facilitate this post.

3 Types of Events That You Should Take Your Kids to

Keeping your kids busy and engaged has many benefits aside from saving you from chasing them around the house most of the day. For one, activities enable them to positively release all of the energy stored up in their little bodies. It also gives them the chance to self-express and explores their creativity and interests. For these reasons, taking your kids out and allowing them to participate in different events can positively contribute to their development. This article is going to list three types of events that you should consider taking your kids to next time you have the opportunity.

Arts and Crafts

Any event that is arts and crafts related can be both fun and beneficial to your child. If you thought that arts and crafts had few benefits beyond enabling kids to get paint all over their clothes and sculpt adorable figurines, you should know that there’s so much more to it. For one, it has the ability to improve their coordination. Some other significant benefits of arts and crafts include helping their visual processing abilities, promoting executive functioning, strengthening their academics, and teaching them life skills. Additionally, it can also teach them patience, flexibility, critical thinking skills, and also how to be hands on. For these reasons, arts and crafts events can be a lot of fun.

Music and Drama

If you find that your kids are often signing and dancing around the house, dance and drama may be something that they enjoy. If you look at events happening in your local community, you may find plays for kids as well as music and dance related events. You should see if you can make time out to take your kids and even allow them to participate where possible. If they attend a school such as Downsend Private School, it is likely they already have drama in their curriculum. This means they may often have school plays and musicals that you can attend. Another key benefit of taking your kids to drama, music, or dance-related events is how it can help their self-expression and self-confidence. Watching other kids confidently perform could inspire them to want to do the same too.

Sports

The benefits of taking your kids to sports-related events are endless. Aside from it being a way for them to burn energy, it also contributes to their physical development. Kids who stay physically active are more likely to have stronger bones. They’re also less likely to become overweight and should have lower blood pressure. You should, therefore, be on the lookout for sports-related activities such as family fun days, soccer matches, or other beneficial events targeted at kids.

Parenting isn’t an easy job as you’re likely constantly looking for ways to engage your kids. This is necessary to keep them out of trouble, keep them focused, and also help develop their mind, bodies, and emotions. As mentioned in this article, one of the simple ways to help their holistic development is to take them to events.