Crazy Rich Asians – Fantastic Visuals, Amazing Acting, Complex and Fun Storyline

The story follows Rachel Chu (Wu), an American-born Chinese economics professor, who travels to her boyfriend Nick’s (Golding) hometown of Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Before long, his secret is out: Nick is from a family that is impossibly wealthy, he’s perhaps the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and every single woman in his ultra-rarefied social class is incredibly jealous of Rachel and wants to bring her down. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “The visuals in this film are fantastic. This film takes place mostly in Singapore and it looks gorgeous. From the street vendors, to the crazy mansions, to the wedding, which is fairytale phenomenal, this movie is just amazing to look at.” See her full review below.

Crazy Rich Asians

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

I usually dislike romantic comedies. Romance is probably my least favorite genre. I find it almost impossible to make rom coms interesting or unique. However, every once in a while, a movie like this appears. This movie is actually very enjoyable and made me laugh out loud.

The story follows Rachel Chu as she accompanies her rich boyfriend, Nick Young, to Singapore for a wedding. She meets his family and tries to get along with them. The plot is very straightforward, but it is compelling mainly through the dialogue and acting. Also the visuals.

The visuals in this film are fantastic. This film takes place mostly in Singapore and it looks gorgeous. From the street vendors, to the crazy mansions, to the wedding, which is fairytale phenomenal, this movie is just amazing to look at. I am also not a fashionista, but the outfits are just incredible. Kudos to the costume designer, Mary E. Vogt. There’s also a really cool scene near the beginning where someone sending a text is visualized as a stream of color traveling to the person’s phone. It looks really cool.  Now, a big part of this movie is the fact that the entire cast is Asian and yet, this is a mainstream Hollywood movie. Representation is very important to me and the last movie with a full Asian cast (that I remember) was in the nineties. This is what made me originally excited for this movie. Of course, this film isn’t only good because of the representation and it works a lot on other levels.

First, the acting. The actors in this film are amazing. There are two actors who truly caught my eye: Gemma Chan as Astrid Leong is mesmerizing on screen and Peik Lin Goh is played by Awkwafina, who is my new favorite comedy actor. I love her voice. These actors are the standouts for me, but everyone else is also great. There are some really good mother-daughter emotional scenes. I almost teared up, which is something impressive. The dialogue in this film is also really great. It feels so natural. I feel like I’ll be quoting this movie a lot.

Nick’s Mom is the villain, but she is complex and believes she has her family’s best interest in mine. This is more than your basic Cinderella story. I love learning about other cultures through media and now, going to Singapore is on my bucket list! You might leave the theatre a little envious, but we can all dream.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It comes out on August 15, 2018 so look for it.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Photos © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and RatPac-Dune Entertainment LLC

 

 

 

Dog Days – One Very Funny Story About 12 People and 4 Dogs

Elizabeth is a charming anchorwoman who seeks advice from her dog’s therapist. Tara is a spunky barista who dreams of a life beyond the coffee shop. Daisy is a dog walker who’s enamored with a client. Garrett pines for a woman while trying to keep his adopt-a-dog business afloat. The beloved canines in their lives soon start to influence their careers, friendships and romantic relationships in funny and unexpected ways. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Zoe C. comments, “I love this film because it follows a bunch of intertwined relationships that all revolve around dogs. It’s one story about 12 people and four dogs.” See her full review below.

Dog Days
By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

This live action film is very entertaining and exciting. I love dogs, so seeing all the dogs on the big screen was very exciting for me. It is really cool. I love this film because it follows a bunch of intertwined relationships that all revolve around dogs. It’s one story about 12 people and four dogs. I also really love the comedy. There are some sad moments, but the jokes are very funny.

This film has several storylines. One is about a girl named Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev), who hosts a show called “Wake Up LA.” She has a new co-host who she does n’t get along with and she is heartbroken because recently she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. Later, we meet Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) who works as a barista, thinks she’s looking for love, but instead finds a sweet adorable dog, a Chihuahua, outside the coffee shop that she adopts. Then, there’s Ruth and her husband Greg who are soon to become parents and give their dog to Ruth’s brother. Next are Walter and Tyler (Finn Wolfhard). Walter lost his pug and Tyler is helping him find it. Last are Gracie and Kurt who adopt a daughter who does n’t talk much until she finds an adorable pug.

Dog Days’ director, Ken Marino is a writer and actor as well. He combines all the stories so well and they all flow nicely. The performances are quite believable and the jokes are very funny. There is romance, but also other important relationships, friendship and love between brothers and family members. The actors are all quite wonderful. Their casual costumes make them very realistic. Los Angeles is the perfect location for this story, because it fits the storyline and the light and colors are perfect. I especially love all the scenes that the Chihuahua Gertrude appears in.

You don’t need to love dogs to like this film! The message is that we all need love and we can learn from dogs a lot about unconditional love. It does not have strong language, but some scenes may be not the most appropriate for kids under the age of 7, so please be cautious of that.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 as well as adults. It is touching, funny, and  very entertaining. It is a not spectacular, elaborated production, but the story flows nicely and the actors’ performances make this movie very enjoyable to watch. It opens in theaters August 8, 2018 so, put it on your radar screen.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!
Photo by Jacob Yakob / LD Entertainment – © New Tricks LLC

 

 

The Meg – An Entertaining Homage to Shark Flicks with Vibrant Special Effects

Five years ago, expert sea diver and Naval Captain Jonas Taylor encountered an unknown danger in the unexplored recesses of the Mariana Trench that forced him to abort his mission and abandon half his crew. Though the tragic incident earned him a dishonorable discharge, what ultimately cost him his career, his marriage and any semblance of honor was his unsupported and incredulous claims of what caused it – an attack on his vessel by a mammoth, 70-foot sea creature, believed to be extinct for more than a million years. But when a submersible lies sunk and disabled at the bottom of the ocean – carrying his ex-wife among the team onboard – he is the one who gets the call. Whether a shot at redemption or a suicide mission, Jonas must confront his fears and risk his own life and the lives of everyone trapped below on a single question: Could the Carcharodon Megalodon – the largest marine predator that ever existed – still be alive … and on the hunt? KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Meg is a somewhat entertaining homage to old-era shark flicks. A frightful direction and vibrant special effects provide a serviceable summer-end movie. Fans of shark flicks may want to check it out.” See his full review below.

The Meg

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Meg is a somewhat entertaining homage to old-era shark flicks. A frightful direction and vibrant special effects provide a serviceable summer-end movie. Fans of shark flicks may want to check it out.

The movie follows a Shanghai-based, deep-sea team as they seek to postulate new discoveries among the underwater trenches. However, their discoveries go awry when a previously thought extinct Megalodon attacks their submersibles and threatens to roam the Shanghai seas. With time on the run, team leader Dr. Zhao (Winston Chao) recruits former rescue diver Jonas (Jason Statham). Unbeknownst to everyone, Jonas has previously encountered the same Megalodon and must now confront his fears to save those aboard.

Jason Statham, as Jonas, is always a vibrant presence with his charm and smarm making gold of the cheesy script. He also excels in his underwater stunts, creating some nail-biting thrills. Bingbing Li, as Suyin, proves herself as a smart, yet impatient presence, who wants to prove herself. However, she does fall key to an unnecessary clichéd father-daughter subplot, but makes the best of what she is given. Winston Chao, as Dr. Zhang, greatly presents his fears and desperation for Suyin and the mission, in spite of the weak backing for the emotional stakes of the two. Rainn Wilson, as Jacks, heightens his stereotypical rich guy presence with well-timed remarks alike his in The Office. Shuya Sophia Cai, as Meiyang, is my favorite character in her banter with Statham and brave actions power her from just being a 8-year-old damsel in distress. She truly excels in her first, breakout role. Ruby Rose, Page Kennedy, and Cliff Curtis complete the rest of the pack, each giving a unique performance, even if the characters can be viewed as expendable at times.

Jon Turteltaub’s direction allows for brisk thrills taking inspiration from Jaws, but allowing for his own unique takes on the genre. My favorite scene is the final act, as it goes all in with the illogic of the shark conflicts allowing for a fun conclusion. The other flaws are the inconsistency of the tone and writing of the movie, which goes from serious to knowingly funny at times and the placement of the scenes feels off at times. The movie also suffers by detracting from the shark conflict and focusing on poorly written character situations. In fact, it takes a long amount of occasionally grueling time and development for the Megalodon to even show up.

The movie’s message is that being a hero can come with its fair share of compromises. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, because of intense action, gore and some language. The movie releases in theaters on August 10, 2018 so check it out.

  Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest – Blends Entertainment Into Science Education

Unknown to the world, Thomas Edison built a secret lab where he invented a virtual version of himself and a steampunk robot named Von Bolt. Years later, Angie, a twelve-year-old science prodigy, discovers the lab. Join Angie and friends as they learn and explore a variety of science topics from a shark s sense of smell to plants and pollinator s roles to radioactive decay to DNA and more! While visiting one of Kent s relatives, the kids come up with a great idea for attracting more tourists to his restaurant – the only catch is that it also attracts a very big shark with very big teeth! What will the Secret Lab Kids do? Guided by fun-loving Edison, Angie and friends will show just how fun science can be! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Talia J. comments, “I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9…” Eden T. adds, “I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end!” Izzy C. wraps it up with, “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot.” See their full reviews below.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest

By Talia Jacnuk, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is an entertaining DVD that helps children find fun in learning about science-related topics.

This DVD contains eight episodes. The series follows a group of children who find the famous scientist Thomas Edison’s secret lab, where he built a virtual version of himself as well as a robot named Von Bolt. Each episode includes a science-related topic that teaches us about things such as DNA or a shark’s sense of smell.

This is the second DVD I have watched from this series and, I must say, they are lots of fun. The episodes are very informative and perfect for kids interested in science. There are a couple of different famous scientists that appear in the episodes, including John B. Watson and Charles Darwin. They help teach the kids about the different topics. It’s nice seeing a children’s DVD that is both funny and informative. There are lots of silly jokes embed throughout the episodes, which makes the episodes much more humorous. I am not in the target age for this DVD, but I would thoroughly enjoy it if I was younger. Believe it or not, I actually learned some things about sharks that I had no idea about! The episodes are short and sweet, which helps hold the audience’s attention. Some children’s TV shows tend to drag on for a long time, but these episodes are a perfect length at less than 15 minutes long.

I absolutely love the fun songs in this DVD. In each episode, there is a music video at the end of the episode. The songs are very upbeat and usually have a very catchy tune. The songs relate to what is being taught or something that relates to the episode we just watched. The songs bring lots of lightness to the series, which is perfect for a younger audience. The songs definitely will get the kids up and dancing.

The animation brings a lot of character to the show. When animated programs have an overwhelming amount of colors and precision detail, it’s difficult for children to focus on what the show is trying to teach. This series has calm, relaxing colors and pretty basic looking characters. I think that helps kids stay focused.

I found this series fun and entertaining. The storylines are interesting. The characters have great personalities. It all makes learning fun. I recommend this DVD for ages 4 to 9 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is out now so, look for it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest

By Izzy Cruz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: It’s Always Sharkest is a really good blend of entertaining content mixed with lessons about science. This show is the perfect thing for kids to watch during summer break, because it is entertaining and yet, kids will also learn a lot. I watched this DVD during my summer break and learned a lot from watching it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab is an animated TV series that teaches science to kids through entertaining episodes that are filled with adventure and fun. Thomas Edison is a hologram and the main characters can talk to him. The shows are all about science, but they are also funny and have lots of interesting characters who learn about science or are expert scientists. There is a group of kids named Angie, JD, Kent and Nicky who are the stars of the show. They are kids who are just a little bit older than me and work very well as a team, figuring out problems.

In each episode there are different stories and every single one explains how something works.  When I watched the shows, I learned how something works or why it happens. The stories taught me a lot and they also have lots of factoids, which I really like. I love factoids! The lessons are very good. I think watching these shows can actually help kids understand what is taught in their science classes in school.

The animation is a bit simple compared to other flashy, animated shows. Also, there are music videos between the episodes, which I found a little bit bizarre. But, they sort of wrap up the lesson that was taught in the previous episode.

Even though I learned a lot from this DVD, I also had fun. That is what makes it so easy to watch a bunch of these episodes in a row. This DVD definitely kept me entertained for a long time. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab: The Sharkest

By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

This DVD is a collection of episodes from the slightly odd TV series, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab. It includes lots of science, but makes it interesting enough that you are not bored. It features Thomas Edison as a hologram, a robot called Van Bolt and kids named JD, Angie, Nicky and Kent.

In each of the eight episodes, the kids find a problem that seems unsolvable such as when their hamster starts growing rapidly in “Mutant Mascot.” They go through the Virtual Reality Window, which instantly transports them to a scientist who helps them. They usually end up finding a scientific solution.

Even though the whole series is built upon facts, the unrealistic parts make for some of the appeal. The talking shark in “It’s Always Sharkest” is so amusing that you will not care about the strangeness. The giant slime monster in “Slime Time!” is also fun.

The scientific factoids are explained clearly so you will not forget them easily! Unlike actual teachers, the characters do not talk directly to you. I find it easier to learn when I feel “invisible.” Other kids might feel this way as well.

I think this is an amazing DVD of select episodes from the TV series with just the right balance of fact vs. fiction and is chock-full of science. The plots have twists that keep you hooked until the very end! I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. If you are a kid who loves science or a parent who wants your child to learn something, check this out! It’s available now in the usual places.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Books for week of August 6th! Books for Summer fun!

The Craft Kingdom is a must-buy!

I like that this one is great for families and summer time! I also love that these aren’t fancy, complicated crafts so it’s not just a tabletop type of book..it is actually one that you will pick up and use this Summer! I also like that you do not have to run out to the store and look for materials that you don’t usually have around the house.  Each project contains a supply list and detailed, colorful, picture-filled tutorial. At the end of the book, there is a section for stencils to trace shapes needed for the projects, leaving no stone unturned as you dive into creating. You can purchase on Amazon.com but find out more at https://www.thecraftkingdom.com/

Eli Maor was raised in a creative home. Her parents owned a publishing house and as a child, she would lose herself in the bright colors and beautiful fonts. Her love for art and creativity continued into adulthood. She obtained a bachelor of arts in media and business management, and went on to study interior design. While obtaining her degrees, she sold handmade crafts at art fairs and booths.

Her first book, The Craft Kingdom, came after years of creating, teaching workshops, and a whole lot of DIY fun.

Maor shares crafting videos on her YouTube channel, The Craft Kingdom. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

For more information visit www.thecraftkingdom.com.

The Craft Kingdom is available through AmazonBarnes and Noble and in select bookstores.

Have a baby or a toddler? This one is a must for you this Summer! HIKE IT BABY: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers BY SHANTI HODGES.

 Hike it Baby presents 100 outdoor adventures across the U.S. that you can take with babies and toddlers (really!), along with everything you need to know about exploring the natural world. Sourced from real families using Hike it Baby’s trail-tested system, this book helps moms and dads get out there in their comfort zone, yet feel like hardcore adventurers! Whether you’ve always wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail, splash around in gentle Northwest waterfalls, or scramble up rocks in the desert surrounded by Joshua Trees, this book shows you how to plan a truly memorable journey together.

I love how this really does sound like a fun way to get out and explore with your little ones!

Shanti Hodges founded Hike it Baby, a nonprofit dedicated to helping families with babies and toddlers find each other in the outdoors. In 2016 she began hosting an annual family camping festival  (familyforestfest.com) in Oregon. In 2018 she began hosting retreats in Southern Utah (hikingmyway.com).

Prior to hitting the trail as a mom and outdoor movement leader, Shanti was a freelance writer and a consultant helping small businesses with their websites and social media. As a freelancer she wrote for magazines like Outside, Men’s Journal, Marie Claire, Shape, Self, and also wrote a book in 2007 called, “Women Who Run.”

Shanti and her husband Mark split their time between Portland, OR and La Verkin, Utah.  She enjoys watching their son Mason fall in love with nature on their frequent adventures camping, rafting, biking, and of course, hiking in the outdoors.

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Hike-Baby-Awesome-Adventures-Toddlers/dp/1493033905

Do you like to draw or know someone who does? This one is a fun way to learn how to draw animals! The blank page can be daunting, but Ten-Step Drawing: Animals offers a quick and easy starting point for any doodler, illustrator, or aspiring artist.

I love that this is a fun and simple way to actually learn how to draw the animals! I am not talented in the area of drawing but I even found that I could draw some of the animals with this fun book!

Ten-Step Drawing: Animals

Learn to Draw 75 Animals in Ten Easy Steps!

By Heather Kilgour

$14.99 US / $19.99 US

This next one is such a cute story! I highly recommend for ages 4-10.

Have You Ever Wanted One Thing More Than Anything Else In The World?

In His Illustrated Children’s Book, BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE, Bestselling Author Alan C. Fox Focuses On Perseverance, Dreams, and Letting Go.

Have you ever wanted one thing – just one thing – more than anything else in the world? A toy? A new bike? A computer game? Did you imagine that this one possession would make you incredibly happy – forever? For Benji that one thing is an enormous orange kite. In BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE (Clavis Publishing; August 2018), bestselling author Alan C. Fox tells the enchanting story of a young boy who learns that possessing something is not quite as meaningful as letting it go.

Benji adores kites. All kinds of kites – big or small, plain or fancy, square or diamond- shaped. He loves flying them at the beach, watching them float high in the sky. One day Benji sees a giant orange kite at the toy store. He wants it more than anything else – ever. But his mom explains that he’ll need to earn the money to buy the kite. So Benji buckles down and weeds the garden for the next two weeks – the vegetables in the morning and the flowers in the afternoon. It seems like he’ll never be done.

Finally, the special day arrives, and Benji’s mom hands him the giant orange kite of his dreams. At the beach, Benji lets his kite soar higher and higher with every gust of wind. He watches it rise above the people, the hot dog stand, and even the houses beyond. Soon the kite becomes a distant speck in the sky. Benji is thrilled. But when it’s time to pull the kite down and head back home, Benji can’t bear to do it. He wants to set the kite free to fulfill its destiny among the clouds. Benji lets the twine go and the kite disappears into the sunset sky. The kite may still be up there yet.

Alan Fox explains that like all of his books, “BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE is based on a real-life incident. This one happened when I was a child. I decided to tell the story because I wanted to share the sense of achievement I felt by working hard to obtain something I really loved. But once I saw the kite flying at the beach, I wanted to let it go. My dream had been accomplished. It was time to move on to another, new experience. You must always keep going to fulfill your dreams and aspirations.”

BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE, with illustrations by Eefje Jujil, is the second in Alan Fox’s series of picture books. The first, BENJI AND THE 24 POUND BANANA SQUASH, was named a notable children’s book of 2017 by Booklist magazine and has become a much-loved story for youngsters and parents alike.

About the author
Alan C. Fox is the bestselling author of three books for adults, PEOPLE TOOLS, PEOPLE TOOLS FOR BUSINESS, and PEOPLE TOOLS FOR LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS. His two children’s books are BENJI AND THE 24 POUND BANANA SQUASH (Clavis 2017) and BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE (Clavis 2018). An entrepreneur, philanthropist, and relationships expert, Alan is also the publisher of the poetry magazine, Rattle. He founded a charity that works to maximize the potential of youth as well as an organization that encourages young people to become active in helping others. Alan lives in Los Angeles, California. To learn more, visit Alan’s website: alancfox.com

SUMMER BRAIN QUEST® series: SUMMER BRAIN QUEST: Between Grades Pre-K & K (Workman Publishing, $12.95) Launched last summer, the Summer Brain Quest workbooks are the most recent addition to the parent-trusted and kid-approved Brain Quest series, America’s #1 educational bestseller. Now, in answer to strong demand from parents and educators for books that address school readiness at the youngest ages, our newest workbook was created for this crucial and underserved age group. SUMMER BRAIN QUEST: Between Grades Pre-K & K will get four- and five-year-olds ready for school in a fun and personalized way.

SUMMER BRAIN QUEST is notable in that it offers a one-of-a-kind learning experience. Because of its innovative format—each book has a tri-fold map with multiple paths where children mark their progress with specially designed stickers—the series makes learning a flexible game that can be approached from different directions (educators call this personalized learning).

Kids feel supported in what they’re doing and excited to choose their next step. SUMMER BRAIN QUEST empowers kids to have a voice in what and how they learn, while ensuring they practice the fundamentals of each grade. Original and adorable cover, map, and sticker artwork by video game artist Edison Yan gives this series major child appeal.

I like that there is so much more than just a workbook! The workbook is set up like a game, with learning that is fun and also personalized. I also really like the map with more than 150 stickers to mark quest progress. There are also 8 outdoor activities and a mini deck that can be cut out and go on trips with you!

It can also be purchased on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Some images were provided. No other compensation was received and I only feature books that I highly recommend. 

 

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 – Action Packed Star Wars Like Universe With Thrills Around Every Corner

Alisa Knows What to Do! is based on the extremely popular Russian science-fiction novels by famous Russian author Kir Bulychiov about a young girl from the future, Alisa Salazar. This animated series weaves a tale about the adventures of a group of teenagers living at the end of the 21st century. The world has changed yet the burning questions that occupied people at the beginning of the century are still pertinent today. Alisa and her friends not only battle evil and injustice but they are also concerned with global problems like the natural balance, both on the planet and in space.

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1

By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1, directed by Olga Baulina, is an action packed, Star Wars like universe where thrills are around every corner! Each episode seems as if I am watching a movie, with high depths of emotion, mystery, humor, and untold tales. The animation is realistic in some aspects yet surreal in others forming the futuristic universe of a myriad of planets and species.

The story follows a group of five teenagers who can’t seem to escape trouble, in or out of school. When their daily actions lead them to trouble or Alisa becomes entangled in one of her father’s scientific cases, they work together to solve the case in front of them. Through a series of hysterical events and intense scenes, each teenager’s unique personality plays a role in their exciting victory.

The animation is a combination of a variety of elements because of its realistic yet science fictional story. On Earth, the humans are life-like with their facial features but their hair and outfits are an original, special addition to the teenagers. The city has skyscrapers with soft and circular edges forming distinctive spires. However, these obscure features are contrasted with the familiar bushes and trees decorating the streets. Each episode also consists of a journey to a different planet. On these journeys the clips of space are the most naturalistic, with beautiful hues of all different colors and millions of stars decorating the night like glitter. Once they land on the planet, any familiarity with our world today diminishes and a new surprising and imaginative world is created. These were my favorite parts of the shows because even though there is a world like ours, there are a variety of other ones in this episode which are fascinating and captivating to watch.

Although the story and animation are original and engaging aspects, the dialogue and jokes can be cliché at times which takes away from the story. However, there are an abundance of humorous scenes and dialogue which made me smile and relate to these characters.

The messages of Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 are countless but some of the most pertinent are to being different is wonderful, and teamwork can help you in any situation. I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Be sure to check out Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1 on DVD June 13, 2018.

Alisa Knows What to Do: Season 1

By Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Based on the Russian science fiction novels by well-known Russian author Kir Bulychiov, this is the story of a young teen form the future (end of the 21st century) and her group of friends. The characters are quite unique with their brightly colored outfits, hairstyles and personalities. Kids will enjoy watching them in their adventures. The group of teens goes on adventures, solving mysteries and battling evil. The animated series is fun and futuristic and, even has moments of edge of your seat excitement! I really like that this series is not only fun to watch, but also teaches about global problems of today. The group of friends is very concerned with global problems on the planet and in space. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 thru 14. This will be a hit with kids this summer and has over 10 hours of fun that will entertain them.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Christopher Robin – So Much Love In This Film, With Themes Of Friendship, Love, Family And Tenderness

A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “If you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh, it’s safe to say you are going to love this movie. But even if you aren’t, you might still enjoy it. This film is absolutely adorable and it makes you feel like a kid again.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Kimbirly O. adds, “I am a life-long Disney fan. While it is not surprising I loved seeing the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood come to life via CGI transformation, I was surprised to see A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in their original book form, not their Disney animation form. See their full reviews below.

Christopher Robin
By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

If you’re a fan of Winnie the Pooh, it’s safe to say you are going to love this movie. But even if you aren’t, you might still enjoy it. This film is absolutely adorable and it makes you feel like a kid again.

The story follows a grown up Christopher Robin, with a wife and daughter, as he struggles with his job and runs into Winnie the Pooh. The movie follows him interacting with his old friends, while also remembering what’s important.

This movie is straight up gorgeous. The Hundred Acre Wood is so lovely. It definitely looks like a place I would like to hang out and read a great book under a tree. It is just how I imagine Winnie the Pooh’s home to be. The special effects on the Pooh characters look great as well. There’s something charming about their designs, especially Pooh’s. I just wanted to hug all of them and take them home with me.

Speaking of cute, that’s a good way to describe this movie. Pooh is absolutely precious and is super charming. Every single one of his lines are just so pleasant. He’s very likable and he really made me think about my younger self. I feel like Winnie the Pooh is one of those franchises that you always associate with childlike wonder and this film represents that very well. There’s something kind of innocent in this film’s tone. There’s so many scenes that remind me of what it was like to be a younger child and it made me really happy.

This movie also made me tear up a lot. I had tears in my eyes almost instantly, mainly because of how adorable a lot of the scenes are, but there are also a lot of pretty emotional scenes. We see how innocent Pooh is and how a child doesn’t stay a child but grows up to have different ideas about what is important.

The soundtrack is really pretty and atmospheric. The background music really works well with the setting and the instrumental version of the Winnie the Pooh song made me really nostalgic. The voice acting is also really great. Each of the Pooh character’s voices fit incredibly well with the actual characters. I can’t imagine any other voice than these ones. The Pooh characters are the real stars of this movie. Ewan McGregor is wonderful as the adult Christopher Robins. I felt the acting from Bronte Carmichael, who plays Madeline, Christopher’s daughter, to be average.

Be sure you stay till the end for a charming scene. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 as well as adults. It opens August 3, 2018, so go see it with your family. Pooh is 93 years old, so everyone, no matter their age, can enjoy it.

Christopher Robin

By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

What day is it? Why it is today, my favorite day. I am a life-long Disney fan. While it is not surprising I loved seeing the characters from the Hundred Acre Wood come to life via CGI transformation, I was surprised to see A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in their original book form, not their Disney animation form.

Christopher Robin does not spend a lot of time introducing the viewer to the characters from the idyllic forest where a young British boy spent time creating adventures with his friends – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo. If one is not a Disney-phile, it may be hard to comprehend why a boy arrives from a tree to have picnics with animals.

That said, the Winnie the Pooh, Disney lover that I am, saw so much love in this film with its themes of friendship, love, family and tenderness. The vintage, live-action look is appealing and kept me intrigued wondering what the “silly old bear” would do next. Winne the Pooh is quite the adventurous wanderer as he goes in search of Christopher Robin who has grown up and works in London. The adventures suspend belief as grown-up Christopher Robin, well played by Ewan McGregor, originally annoyed by Pooh, remembers some of his favorite things, like “doing nothing” and realizing true north is his family and friends, plush or live.

As a grown man who has returned from World War II, married to Evelyn (Hayley Atwell) and father of a daughter, Christopher Robin is an efficiency manager for a luggage company or “a fish in the sea” as Winnie the Pooh says. He is a work-a-holic and has a taskmaster as a thankless boss. When told he must work rather than go on holiday to the country with his family, Christopher Robin attempts to take Pooh back to the forest where he and his woodsy friends awaken the lost child from within. They also meet his daughter Madeleine (Bronte Carmichael) and another adventure ensues. Madeline assists Pooh in getting to Christopher Robin when he needs all of them most.

For a franchise, which has historically targeted the very young, the film has melancholy themes. Visually, it is beautiful with its artistic production values and cinematography. The score is also very good. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars for the casting, cinematography, life lessons, amazing cult Winnie the Pooh references and music. I recommend it to ages 8 to 18, due to some mature themes.  .

Photos © 2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Big: Engineering Our World – Informational and Inspiring!

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Jeff Bridges, DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World is a first film of its kind for IMAX® and giant screen theaters that will transform how we think about engineering. From the Great Wall of China and the world’s tallest buildings to underwater robots, solar cars and smart, sustainable cities, DREAM BIG celebrates the human ingenuity behind engineering marvels big and small, and shows how engineers push the limits of innovation in unexpected and amazing ways. With its inspiring stories of human grit and aspiration, and extraordinary visuals for the world’s largest screens, DREAM BIG reveals the compassion and creativity that drive engineers to create better lives for people and a more sustainable future for us all. DREAM BIG is a MacGillivray Freeman film produced in partnership with American Society of Civil Engineers and presented by Bechtel Corporation. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “I have to say, the camera shots and angles are truly amazing. They capture massive cities and buildings beautifully. There is obviously lots of effort that went into editing this film and adding suitable background music.” See her full review below.

Dream Big: Engineering Our World

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This film is really informational and the camera shots are amazing. The only drawback is that it gets a bit boring after a while. There is so much information that isn’t all that interesting. This documentary would really appeal to those interested in architecture and engineering.

The film reveals stories about different engineers who all want to make the world a better place. They create buildings that won’t collapse in earthquakes and build bridges across rivers so people can get to school. It shows that engineering is an occupation that can really impact the world and make it a safer place.

Jeff Bridges, as narrator of the film, has the sort of deep voice that suits the documentary. Some of the information seems a bit random and doesn’t enhance the story. The best parts for me are when they tell the back stories of peoples’ lives and how difficult they are. After the engineers help them, I love seeing them so happy and having easier lives. Those are things that inspire people to want to become engineers.

I have to say, the camera shots and angles are truly amazing. They capture massive cities and buildings beautifully. There is obviously lots of effort that went into editing this film and adding suitable background music. These all really help the viewer picture engineering as an art, that is very helpful. They show majestic buildings that glow at night, roller coasters that give so much happiness and thrills, and bridges that help you access high areas and look down at the scenery or up at the beautiful stars.

My favorite scene is definitely the story about the engineers building a bridge across a river so kids could get to their school. Before the bridge, they literally risked their lives getting to school. Many people have drowned in the river, but they crossed it everyday in order to get an education. After the bridge is built everyone, including the children, is extremely excited and relieved. They are dancing, playing music and getting to school without risking their lives or getting wet. The bridge changed their lives.

The moral of this film is that engineering is a profession that helps people. This film shows that engineering is interesting and rewarding. However, I did find parts of it a bit boring, with the exhaustive information.  I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages of 11 to 18, as well as adults. If you are interested in engineering, you will definitely enjoy this documentary. It is available now on DVD so check it out.