Archives for April 18, 2018

Blumhouse’s Truth Or Dare – Jump-Scares, Second Guessing – Fun To Watch With Friends

Olivia, Lucas and a group of their college friends travel to Mexico for one last getaway before graduation. While there, a stranger convinces one of the students to play a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare with the others. Once the game starts, it awakens something evil — a demon which forces the friends to share dark secrets and confront their deepest fears. The rules are simple but wicked — tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, and if you stop playing, you die. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Imani B.G. comments, “I am a huge fan of horror and thriller films and was so excited to see the amazing acting and suspense behind this work. This film offers jump-scares, second guessing and is loads of fun to watch with friends.” Arjun N. adds, “Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is a somewhat disappointing thriller with lots of initial potential… Fans of thrillers and horror movies may want to check it out but proceed with caution.” See their full reviews below.

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare

By Imani B. G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Truth or Dare is a new thriller that has the audience questioning their real abilities and intentions behind the fun-filled game. I am a huge fan of horror and thriller films and was so excited to see the amazing acting and suspense behind this work. This film offers jump-scares, second-guessing and is loads of fun to watch with friends.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) and a couple of her college friends take a trip to Mexico for a final getaway before graduation. Little did they know it would turn into something more. While there, they meet a stranger who convinces Olivia to play a harmless, fun game of “truth or dare” with the others. The game starts and so does chaos which follows the group back to their hometown, releasing all their deepest and darkest secrets. The rules are quite simple, but fearful: tell the truth or die; do the dare, or die. No one gets out alive if you don’t play by the rules. Or do they?

Growing up, my friends and I always played the game “truth or dare” at sleepovers. This movie made me question what secrets are we all hide in this game? If the consequences were real, such as they are in this film, how would we react? My favorite part of this film is how I was able to somewhat relate to the characters. They are all teens, as am I. So, it really had me feeling as if I was in their shoes and made me question what I have done in order to survive. I adore the cast, because each one has something to offer to the character they play.

The message in this film is about being honest with your friends and family and to trust one another in any circumstance. Olivia and her friends are torn apart towards the beginning of the film, due to their belief about whether or not the game was real. Once their eyes are opened, they work together in hopes of beating the game and surviving.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars. It has a great storyline, cast and cinematography. I it for ages 13 to 18. I recommend seeing it with a group of friends to really get the full effect. Also, it would be more fun! It opens nationwide in theaters on April 13, 2018 so, be sure to check it out. Think about this film the next time you play “truth or dare” with your friends!

Blumhouse’s Truth Or Dare

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

Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is a somewhat disappointing thriller with lots of initial potential. However, the acting and direction allow for some fun thrills. Fans of thrillers and horror movies may want to check it out but proceed with caution.

The story follows teenage friends Olivia (Lucy Hale), Lucas (Tyler Posey), Markie (Violett Beane), Penelope (Sophia Ali), Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), Ronnie (Sam Lernie) and Brad (Hayden Szeto) on a trip to Mexico. Along the way, they encounter Carter (Landon Liboiron), an amicable person with a dark secret, playing a game of “truth or dare”. This quickly takes a turn for the worst, once the game summons a curse among the friends. Upon returning home, the curse sequesters the friends, forcing them to play a deadly game of “truth or dare” – one which will result in death if lost. Realizing they are all being forced to play the same game, the friends try to find a way to remove the curse.

Lucy Hale, as Olivia, delivers a commanding performance as the main lead, willing to go to any lengths to stop the curse. She excels in presenting her unstable relationship with her best friend Markie. Tyler Posey, as Lucas, is extremely determined to save his friends using logic to outthink the curse. Violett Beane, as Markie, is excellent with what she is given, but her character could have been more aptly written. She denigrates a repetitive plot point used to propel her inconclusive relationship with Olivia. Sophia Ali, as Penelope, wonderfully presents her character’s nonchalant attitude to circumstances, until it’s her turn to play the game. Nolan Gerard Funk, as Tyson, prominently portrays a smart yet misguided teen. Sam Lernie, as Ronnie, is the most careless of the group. Hayden Szeto, as Brad, is my favorite character due to his clever comic relief. Landon Liboiron, as Carter, mysteriously presents his character’s involvement in the story.

Jeff Wadlow directs the movie with some fun thrills, but also many that are predictable. My favorite scene is Olivia’s first dare for Markie to break her hand. It is well-acted with a visceral intensity. The flaws in the movie are in its inconsistent writing, which completely steal all the potential we see initially. Most of the characters end up in situations that are unintentionally funny. The characters are written to be hate-able and bipolar for the sake of the movie’s plot. The conclusion ends up feeling rushed and used as bait for a sequel.

The message of this film is to always be careful of strangers and unknown places. I give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 because of the horror, sexual references and language. The movie releases in theaters on April 13, 2018, so check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

Acclaimed Bay Area Songwriter Sara Lovell Releases ‘Wild Is Everywhere’ on April 20 Giveaway Opportunity has been extended until May 2nd!

Award-winning songwriter Sara Lovell celebrates the release of her fanciful new album “Wild Is Everywhere” with this all-ages acoustic show. Furry alligator puppies, pickleberry wormnut pies,  run-away socks, rhinos under the bed, and flying children are just a few of the wonders you’ll encounter in Sara Lovell’s fanciful worlds. With two full-length albums of songs for kids and families, it’s apparent that Sara is not so much singing to children as she is reporting back with love from a magical landscape she inhabits.
Her music is fun and guaranteed to inspire your children and dancing, smiling and singing along is guaranteed!~SoCal City Kids. 

Sara Lovell, an award-winning songwriter and producer known for “imaginative lyrics, sparkling harmonies, intriguing musical layers” and “a voice rich in both purity and nuanced detail,” will release her second all-ages music album Wild Is Everywhere, on April 20 (Unbreakable Chord Music/ distributed by Burnside Distribution). With a wide range of topics and musical styles, these 14 original songs journey through a landscape populated with flying children, misplaced animals of a certain size, and insects or flowers that turn up in the most unexpected places.

From the Sgt. Pepper’s inspired first track, “Get Up,” where listeners are invited to “grab onto the tail of someone’s kite,” the excitement and mystery builds and expands song by song. Wordplay and a vivid fantasy life are apparent with the funky “Rhinoceros under the Bed” and “Raspberry Pickleberry Wormnut Pie.” Blues, disco and funk inflect “Bounce,” “Stand Together” and “Where You Hiding All Day Long?” Every child will recognize the unfairness when “All the Grownups Get To Stay Up Late” and the impatience of “I Want It Now,” showing that Lovell understands the big feelings that live in all of us.

At a time when it can be a challenge to find good news, Lovell reminds us in the songs of Wild Is Everywhere, that joy and imagination are no small offerings. “When we allow curiosity to take hold, it widens our perceptions letting us envision the world we want to see.” As she says in the playfully creepy song, “The Dark Side of My Room,” it’s important to acknowledge: “Oh, I know, I can be a hero in my dreams / Oh, I know, I will see the light in every scene.”

Sara Lovell’s first album for families, You’ve Got Me, won a 2016 Parents’ Choice Gold Award and national critical acclaim. Songs like “Dance Like There’s Music in Your Pants” remain YouTube and radio hits. In fact, her animated and live-action music videos have attracted fans from around the world. Belarus artist Anna Silivonchik, created the colorful album art for You’ve Got Me and Wild Is Everywhere.

A songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer with a clear, strong voice and a wide-ranging musical repertoire, Sara Lovell is also a solo mom to an imaginative eight year old who loves to paint his face and dance in front of the mirror. In her home studio in Berkeley, CA, Sara continues to follow the lead of the myriad characters that show up in her songs and stories. She collaborates with producer/arranger Monica Pasqual and guitarist/engineer B.Z. Lewis to create her kid-friendly recordings. Lovell plans to release new music videos and perform concerts for children and their families this spring. Visit www.saralovell.com for updates.

Connect with Sara Lovell on Facebook * Instagram * YouTube

Sara’s site: www.saralovell.com
Sara also has an upcoming show and we have teamed up for a giveaway! One winner will win a CD and a family 4-pack of tickets to the show! To enter, leave a comment below but hurry! The deadline has been extended to May 2nd, 2017 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected. 
Show info:
Sara Lovell’s “Wild Is Everywhere” concert at McCabe’s Guitar Shop
Sunday, May 6 at 10:30 am
Self Disclosure: I received a free CD to facilitate this post. Information and images were also provided. 

COVER ART BY  ANNA SILIVONCHIK

PHOTOS BY ANDREA SCHER

CD PACKAGE AND PROMO MATERIALS DESIGNED BY ALICIA BUELOW

 

Rampage – What it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in pure spectacle and fun!

Global icon Dwayne Johnson headlines the action adventure “Rampage,” directed by Brad Peyton. Johnson stars as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size. To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created alpha predators tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “What Rampage lacks in complexity and story, it makes up for through pure spectacle and fun.” See his full review below.

Rampage

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

Rampage is a healthy dose of CGI mayhem, anchored by the star power of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. What Rampage lacks in complexity and story, it makes up for through pure spectacle and fun.

Rampage is loosely based on the classic arcade game of the same name and follows Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson), a primatologist (basically a monkey scientist) who takes care of a gorilla named George. Davis and George share a close bond with one another. When a sample of a mysterious substance lands in his enclosure, George inhales it. The good-natured gorilla turns into a building-sized behemoth. The same thing happens to a few other animals, making the threat even larger. With the help of a scientist with a tortured past and a sarcastic, Southern-accented government operative, Davis seeks out George to protect him from harm, while still trying to end the wrath of these animals.

My favorite part of this film is the extended high-action showdown. This part reminds me of what made the game so fun: seeing these behemoths battle on an expansive urban playground where skyscrapers are like jungle gyms. We get to see the monsters battle each other and all the plot threads unfurl into monster madness. The supporting characters get some memorable character moments and Davis Okoye comes into his own as an action hero.

Dwayne Johnson spews charisma with every line. So this, mixed with his great comedic timing, make him a good choice to play an action hero, which is exactly what he does here. Johnson makes lines that would normally sound poorly written and cheesy, quotable and cool. Johnson also brings to the screen Davis’s bond with George well, considering one half of the pair is entirely CGI. Johnson also delivers certain lines that manage to poke fun at Rampage’s insane concept.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 due to suggestive content, language and violence. Rampage is more violent than average blockbuster and, there are a few scenes that I had a hard time watching. If you are a fan of the arcade game, be sure to look out for some Easter eggs that tie the film back to its source material.

I give Rampage 3.5 out of 5 stars. While not a cinematic masterpiece, if you’re looking for a big-budget battle of large creatures with entertainment to spare, this film is for you. Rampage opens in theaters April 13, 2018. Be on the lookout for it.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Don’t Miss Out: The Habit Burger Grill CharClub Members Get Rewarded With Sneak Peek of New Mission Viejo Restaurant -Pre-Opening Events Include Fundraisers Supporting Capistrano Valley and Mission Viejo High Schools and Open Medicine Foundation-

 Burger fans shouldn’t fear missing out on special events at the New Habit Burger Grill opening in Mission Viejo, located at 27748 Crown Valley Parkway. It’s easy to be in the know – join The Habit’s CharClub! Members of The Habit Burger’s CharClub will be treated to exclusive food specials before the restaurant opens on April 25.

Local CharClub members will receive an exclusive invitation to enjoy a pre-opening event before the store’s grand opening, including:

  • Free Burger Day: The first 200 guests in line will receive a free award-winning Charburger, fries and a drink.

To join the CharClub, guests can visit http://www.habitburger.com/missionviejo to sign up and receive an invitation. The more than 2,500-square-foot Habit restaurant seats 64 people, plus additional patio seating for 32 guests. The restaurant will be open every day, 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

As part of The Habit Burger Grill’s commitment to the community, all are welcome to join in three fundraising events before the grand opening.  At each event, 100% of the proceeds raised will be donated back to the cause or organization.

  • Sunday, April 22, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Capistrano Valley High School
  • Sunday, April 22, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Mission Viejo High School
  • Tuesday, April 24, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Open Medicine Foundation

Supporting the Open Medicine Foundation is an important step in improving care for the more than 2.5 million patients who suffer from debilitating complex diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome. The Open Medicine Foundation funds vital research to find treatments to help people live fuller lives as they battle through pain and other unbearable symptoms.

High school clubs and organizations encourage student participation in community building and social activities at high schools, and the funds raised for Capistrano Valley and Mission Viejo High Schools will be used for a variety of upcoming campus functions.

Better burgers are just the beginning at The Habit where the menu also includes hand-cut salads, grilled sandwiches including line-caught, sushi grade ahi tuna, fresh chicken, and hand-filleted marinated grilled tri-tip, and sides including onion rings, sweet potato and French fries, and tempura green beans. Guests can choose from a variety of peppers, lemons, limes, and sauces at a complimentary condiment bar to customize the flavor of their meal.

The Habit is known for its award-winning Charburger which features 100% fresh, never frozen ground beef grilled over an open flame and topped with melted cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, fresh tomato, crisp lettuce, and mayo served on a toasted bun. Their restaurants have been serving the Best Tasting Burger in America exactly this way since the first Habit opened in 1969.

Connect with The Habit on social media at facebook.com/habitburgerinstagram.com/habitburgergrilltwitter.com/habitburger  and youtube.com/habittube.

 Credit: The Habit Burger Grill.

About The Habit Restaurants, Inc. 

The Habit Burger Grill is a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches featuring USDA choice tri-tip steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade tuna cooked over an open flame. In addition, it features fresh made-to-order salads and an appealing selection of sides, shakes and malts. The Habit was named the “best tasting burger in America” in July 2014 in a comprehensive survey conducted by one of America’s leading consumer magazines. The first Habit opened in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. The Habit has since grown to over 220 restaurants in 11 states throughout California, Arizona, Utah, New Jersey, Florida, Idaho, Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maryland as well as three international locations. More information is available at www.habitburger.com.

Comcast Cares Day on Saturday, April 21 @8:00 A.M – 11:00 A.M

More than 350 employee NBCUniversal employee volunteers, friends and family as well as a community partner join together to make change happen in honor of Earth Day. The effort is part of the company’s 17th annual Comcast Cares Day, a global initiative designed to make change happen and spotlight the company’s year-round commitment to volunteerism. 

 

In partnership with Friends of the Los Angeles River, volunteers will roll up their sleeves to help restore the Los Angeles River near the Bette Davis Picnic area to its natural habitat and ecosystem by removing trash and debris.

 

This effort coincides with other Comcast Cares Day volunteer activities that have taken place within the community throughout the year. From mentoring youth to helping the homeless, employee volunteers have aided the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center, the 32nd Street / USC Arts Magnet School; and Meet Each Need with Dignity transitional living center (M.E.N.D.), to name a few. The global goal targets 100,000 employees to participate in approximately 1,000 volunteer projects. This year, Comcast Cares Day celebrates a significant milestone with 1 million volunteers contributing to 8,800+ community projects worldwide since its inception in 2001.

 

Comcast Cares Day is a project of the Comcast Foundation, which provides grants to local community partner organizations across the country.  To date, more than $22 million in grants have been awarded to local nonprofit partner organizations.

 

For more information on Comcast NBCUniversal volunteer and community investment initiatives, visit www.Comcast.com/community

Credit: Comcast Foundation.

Whole Foods Market will sell four of Humphry Slocombe’s most popular flavors

Southern California is about to get sweeter! Humphry Slocombe,the rebellious ice cream brand synonymous with unique, ultra-premium flavors is now available at all Whole Foods Markets in Southern California.

Whole Foods Market will sell four of Humphry Slocombe’s most popular flavors. Whole Foods exclusive Hong Kong Milk Tea, Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Honey Graham, and Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple. Hong Kong Milk Tea is the brainchild of Humphry Slocombe’s chef Jake Godby and Top Chef alum and Whole Foods Chef Ambassador Melissa King.

I had the opportunity to try out a flavor and I love the Honey Graham flavor! It is simply delicious!

     

Website www.humphryslocombe.com

Find Humphry Slocombe near you: http://www.humphryslocombe.com/find-us/

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. Photos: SoCal City Kids.