Archives for December 10, 2018

Once Upon a Deadpool * Action-Packed, Draped With The Famous Parody Of The Original

“Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006,” Ryan Reynolds told Deadline. “I’ve said no since 2006. Now, this one time, I said ‘Yes’ on two conditions. First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining…”Fred Savage will join Reynolds in new scenes for Once Upon A Deadpool in an homage to Savage’s starring role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic The Princess Bride. Fred remarked, “while my participation in this film was anything but voluntary, I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “Similar to the original film, the story is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.” See his full review below.

Once Upon a Deadpool

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Deadpool had much attention recently for its fame of being highly mature, but at the same time incredibly entertaining. Once Upon a Deadpool attempts to break that by releasing a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 and, while it will make the audience laugh as much as the previous version, it fails to expand the Deadpool audience to younger viewers.

Similar to the original film, the story is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.

Once Upon a Deadpool follows the previous film with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) losing the love of his life, leading to him trying to find ways to stop his grief, eventually ending up with Deadpool trying to save a young mutant boy from becoming a cruel murderer and on the way making a new family. In the PG-13 edition, the entire story is told by Deadpool to Fred Savage as a bedtime story, similar to the style of Princess Bride. While this doesn’t truly affect the main plot a lot, the twist leads to much laughter and many comedic moments.

Once Upon a Deadpool delivers the same chaotic, dark and highly mature atmosphere that the previous film did and, despite being marketed as a PG-13 film, it still has the same amount of lewdness and foul language, even if the material merely gets hinted at instead of blatantly shown. While this does technically makes it a less severe rating, the re-cut is far from a family film that everyone can enjoy. Also, at times, the re-cut rearranges scenes and shots very uniquely to avoid showing anything mature. Mostly this works to tell the story, but at times it feels forced, as if the editor had to construct a film from sticks instead of clips, with awkward cuts and sequences.

Aside from this, the film achieves high praise overall. The new cast and old cast hold a great quality in their performances, despite being in many ways a parody film. Of course, being a superhero action, good VFX holds a huge role in the end product. While the CGI throughout has less quality than what you’d see in an Avengers’ film, it still mostly looks realistic and could convince anybody that what they see on screen is real.

Some of the funniest scenes come from the method that the film tells its story by having Deadpool read it to Fred Savage as a bedtime story. Most of the scenes breaks the fourth wall and are filled with self-mocking and sarcasm, which makes each time that the two are shown on camera together enjoyable. Savage and Reynolds’ on-screen chemistry works perfectly and the conversations and scenes flow smoothly, adding to the enjoyment as the comedy feels natural and real.

Despite being rated PG-13, Once Upon a Deadpool fails to actually expand to the target audience. I recommend this for ages 15 to 18, as well as adults. Parents should be warned that, while the film meets the national standard for a PG-13 rating, many adult-oriented elements are still referenced heavily, making it very mature in many ways. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for excellent acting and comedy, but lacking in an interesting and unpredictable story and having a strange flow at times due to the numerous edits necessary to achieve the lower rating. This film opens in theaters December 12, 2018 so, check it out.


Photos ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.


The Snowman * A Holiday Classic Unlike Any Other!

One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy’s world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. Based on Raymond Briggs book, The Snowman is a family classic for generations to enjoy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Clayton P. comments, “…directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement.” Eden T. adds, “This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays.” Morgan B. wraps it up with, “I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning.” See their full reviews below.

The Snowman

By Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Snowman is a masterpiece that will bring families closer together for the holidays. The film is based on the classic UK picture book by Raymond Briggs, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies since it was first published in 1978.

In The Snowman, a young boy James wakes up one morning and finds snow on the ground. He quickly gets dressed and runs outside. He then builds a huge snowman. He gives it eyes, a nose, a scarf and a hat. He even gives it a big smiley face. After building the entire snowman by himself, it is time for James to go to bed. When he wakes up he notices that the Snowman has moved a little, so he runs downstairs and out the door. He then notices that the Snowman is glowing, moves some more and then, totally comes to life. James is flabbergasted to see a live Snowman. The Snowman and James introduce themselves and become great friends. The rest the film shows the two flying around having so much fun and adventure throughout the day.

The Snowman book was adapted for the screen in 1982 and earned a nomination for an Academy Award for best animated short film.  The animation of the drawings is just amazing, bringing to life so many memories from the days of movie shorts. There is no dialogue, which makes it even more beautiful and somewhat old-fashioned.  The music by Howard Blake, Peter Auty and the Sinfonia of London is amazing. It fits perfectly with everything the boy and the snowman are doing.  Each song tells a story, with each pluck of a string or push of a piano key. The songs in the movie are catchy and addicting to sing along with.  I am sixteen and I sung along with the songs!

The Snowman is directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement. I recommend this for ages 1 to 12 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

The Snowman

By Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing!

In the film, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy…well, you’ll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The detail in this movie is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs’ classic picture book.  Besides young children, adults who have read this book in their youth will also appreciate this quality film. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6, as well as adults. This movie is available both on DVD now so check it out. Enjoy this winter delight!

The Snowman

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

Holiday movies are one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Especially those that have adorable characters and a heartwarming tale. That is what this short film is all about. Add magnificent hand drawn animation and you have the perfect Christmas movie.

I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning. Each piece of music fits the scene perfectly because it made me feel as if I was in the scene myself. Also, the music is superb to relax to. So grab a hot cup of cocoa and put your feet up.

The images in this film are hand drawn with pastels and pencils, which make it special and unique. I like having a break from all the CGI we see and seeing animation as it was made years ago. This is something that many other kids will appreciate as well. This movie never gets old and people from all over the world will absolutely adore it. This DVD has become one I have added to my holiday collection and will watch it every year. Even really young children can watch it because it is so beautiful and the message is all about friendship, love, cheer and what the holidays are all about. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 golden stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults.


Celebrate Christmas at the OC Zoo Dec. 15th

The County of Orange, OC Parks and the animals of the OC Zoo invite the young and the young at heart to celebrate the holiday season on Saturday, December 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Christmas at the OC Zoo invites guests to watch the loveable resident animals open treat-filled gifts, and treats hidden inside of Christmas trees throughout the day. Children can join the holiday fun with seasonally inspired crafts. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be visiting with children and spreading holiday cheer, and the jolly fun continues with games and a photo station. Reservations are not required to enjoy Christmas at the OC Zoo. The holiday activities are free with paid zoo admission.

Join the festive fun with OC Parks and the animals of the OC Zoo!

December 15 – Christmas at the Zoo

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: OC Zoo (inside Irvine Regional Park)

1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

Cost: $2 per person, ages 2 & under are free

Parking: $5 per vehicle

Contact: (714) 973-6847

Credit: The OC Parks. 

4 Fun School Activities for Elementary Kids

How many times have you seen a little boy crying hysterically and refusing to let go of his mommy’s skirt? Or a toddler lying on the floor, bawling her eyes out. These are common scenarios during the opening of classes at a preschool and even elementary schools. These youngsters have anxiety attacks from parting from their mommies and daddies and spending time at a room full of other hysterical kids they are meeting the first time.

It is essential for kids to equate learning and school with FUN. After all, they will be spending the next 20 years of their lives inside the halls of a school. Educators and school owners must always strive to make their school a magnet for curious eyes and a haven away from home for these little cutie pies. What better way to entice children (and parents) to enroll in your school than to have fun school activities for your students? So read on as I give you four fun school activities for elementary kids.

  1.  Arts and crafts to bring out the inner artist of your child.

Lucky for kids today there are lots of wholesale craft and school supplies that provide all the artsy needs of the next Da Vinci.  Hold art sessions and classes for the young ones to enhance their creativity while having fun. You can also hold mini art exhibits to display the works of these budding artists. Watch them beam with pride while their works of art are presented to their parents, schoolmates, and friends.

  1.  Let them have fun out in the field.

Due to technology and gadgets, kids prefer to stay indoors and play away with their tablets and smartphones. But being a kid, it is essential to have their physical play such as running, basketball, etc. These activities strengthen their bodies at the same time improves their coordination and balance.  This way, they also bond with their classmates and bolster their relationship.

  1.  Dance and sing.

Immerse your pupils to the performing arts. Allow them to express themselves through dance and songs. Let them have monthly activities like mini-plays and mini-concerts inside the classroom. You not only build your pupils’ confidence but also hone their creativity and leadership skills when putting up a presentation.

  1.  Show and tell.

Show and tell can be pretty exciting for the little ones. They present to the class, for example, their favorite pet. This enhances their communication skills and confidence to speak in front of the whole class. Here you will discover their vocabulary level, and you can also detect which areas you need to work on more with your kids. So every once in a while, when you are ahead of your lesson plans, you may want to inject a show and tell for them. Watch their eyes light up and their excitement bubble.

Learning should never be a burden but exciting and fun. School should be somewhere kids look forward to going. So make learning fun and your school a home.