Archives for March 9, 2015

Russell Madness – A Hilarious, Adventurous Film Perfect for Sharing with Your Younger Kids


This film tells the story of Russell, an undersized but big-hearted terrier who dreams of having a family of his own. After running away from his pet story, Russell gets taken in by The Ferraros, a family desperate to revive their grandfather’s pro wrestling arena. That’s when they discover their new pet pooch has incredible wrestling skills and the conflicts evolve from there. Starring John Ratzenberger, Mason Vale Cotton and Crystal the Monkey, this PG rated film is something to share with your kids and grandkids. KIDS FIRST! Critics Gerry O., age 12 comments, “Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.” See his full review and interviews with the cast and crew below.

Russell Madness

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

Cast interviews:

This film is hilarious, adventurous and much more! It will appeal to kids as well as adults and has a very unique idea. Russell Madness is a perfect family story that will be enjoyed by many. Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.

The story starts when a family moves back to Oregon to take over an old wrestling ring which belonged to the family for a long time. It is a bit run down, but a new generation opens it back up. Then, during a first match, something very interesting happens. A dog named Russell (completely by coincidence) comes into the ring where a big tough and strong wrestler is. What happens next is absolutely unexpected and surprising.

This film is stupendous! Something I really like about it is that Russell’s coach is a monkey named Hunk. And yes, it is a talking monkey, played by a very smart and adorable monkey named Crystal, except for the talking parts of course, which I think is a great and smart idea. The acting is wonderful and the whole film has that perfect amount of cheesiness, cuteness and positivity to make it a wonderful family film. Also, the jokes are original and hilarious.

My favorite scene is about the family’s first encounter with Hunk. Hunk tells them to take in Russell as a family dog and offers to train Russell to be a wrestler. But, his price is many things doing with bananas. It is funny and an important scene in the movie.

I recommend for kids ages 5 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic acting, production, directing, and unbelievable animal training. Don’t miss it when it comes on DVD/Blu-ray/Digital March 10.

Credit: KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions,

Visit both the zoo and aquarium with a special combo ticket to see how parents in the animal and ocean world care for their young

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Photos Courtesy of the Aquarium of the Pacific Pictured: The Lorikeet Forest aviary and the Giraffe: Los Angeles Zoo.

Spring is the perfect time to see new life in the animal and ocean world at the Los Angeles Zoo and at the Aquarium of the Pacific in LA County’s coastal city of Long Beach. You can visit baby sharks and baby penguins at the Aquarium of the Pacific this spring. You’ll see a baby hippo, giraffe, and chimps at the Los Angeles Zoo. The aquarium and the zoo are offering visitors the chance to visit both places with a discounted combo ticket, which can be purchased online or at either attraction and used on different days.


In addition to seeing the bounty of babies, visitors to both institutions can enjoy special exhibits and activities. The L.A. Zoo offers a variety of engaging opportunities to learn more about animals with close-up encounters, special feedings and shows, all free with paid Zoo admission, including Elephants of Asia Training Demonstration, World of Birds Show, Marsupial Talk, Hawk Training Demonstration, Keeper Talks and more.  At the Aquarium of the Pacific, you can explore the Wonders of the Deep to see animals that live in the dark depths of the ocean, from glowing flashlight fish to moon jellies you can touch. You’ll also be able to touch sharks, rays, horseshoe crabs, and tidepool animals at the aquarium and feed colorful lorikeet birds. Visitors to the Aquarium can also watch feeding sessions with sea otters, seals and sea lions, penguins, and other animals as well as underwater SCUBA diver shows in its largest exhibits. The zoo/aquarium combo ticket is available for $39 per adult (12+), $26 per child, and $38 per senior (ages 62+).


The landmark Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, drawing 1.6 million visitors each year, is home to a diverse collection of 1,100 animals representing 250 different species, many of which are rare or endangered. Its lush grounds on 113 acres feature the LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles); Elephants of Asia; Campo Gorilla Reserve; Rainforest of the Americas, an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that exemplify their natural habitat in the rainforest biosphere; Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel; an Indian Rhino Encounter direct-contact opportunity; Chimpanzees of Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest troops of chimpanzees in the United States; Red Ape Rain Forest where visitors can walk among orangutans; the Winnick Family Children’s Zoo; one of the largest flocks of flamingos in any zoo in the world; a botanical collection comprising over 800 different plant species with approximately 7,000 individual plants; and much more. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife. The Zoo, open daily except Christmas Day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is located in Griffith Park. For more information call (323) 644-4200 or visit


The Aquarium of the Pacific, a nonprofit AZA-accredited institution, is dedicated to conserving nature and its resources by building relationships among people. Home to over 11,000 animals and visited by 1.5 million people annually, the Aquarium invites visitors to explore the waters of Southern California and Baja and the Northern and Tropical Pacific. The Aquarium features its interactive Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest aviary, June Keyes Penguin Habitat, hands-on discovery labs, the Molina Animal Care Center, Ocean Science Center, Wonders of the Deep gallery, and Discover the Wonder exhibits. Beyond its exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. It is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and important topics facing our planet and our ocean are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in the search for sustainable solutions. A world of discovery awaits. The Aquarium is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is closed on December 25 and during the Grand Prix, April 17-19, 2015. For more information visit or call (562) 590-3100.   

 Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific and Los Angeles Zoo.