Archives for April 30, 2020

L.A. Zoo Presents Virtual Beastly Ball, May 15th

GREATER LOS ANGELES ZOO ASSOCIATION’S ANNUAL “BEASTLY BALL” GOES VIRTUAL ON NATIONAL ENDANGERED SPECIES DAY, MAY 15, 2020
Everyone Welcome to Attend L.A. Zoo’s Signature Event, Filled with Fun and Philanthropy on National Endangered Species Day; With Special Guests, Animal Appearances, Live Music, Silent Auction and More; Hosted by Joel McHale.
Guest Stars Include:
The Kratt Brothers, Chris and Martin Kratt

Stars of the pioneering, Emmy-nominated Wild Kratts and Zoboomafoo educational TV series

Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers
Authors of the New Your Times Bestseller Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health and the critically acclaimed Wildhood: The Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Adolescents
April 23, 2020 (Los Angeles, CA) — The Beastly Ball is going virtual this year.  The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association’s annual fundraiser is critical to the fulfillment of the Los Angeles Zoo’s mission, which advocates for animal conservation and habitat preservation for some of the world’s most rare and vulnerable species; including the California condor, southern mountain yellow-legged frog, and peninsular pronghorn.  
Now in its 50th year, this star-studded event has brought together celebrities, industry experts, city officials, and zoo supporters for a wild night of food, fun, and fundraising.  For the safety of all during the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s event will take place online, rather than at the Zoo.  For the first-time ever, the Beastly Ball will be free for everyone to attend on Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. PDT.  Hosted by Joel McHale, the show will include L.A. Zoo staff, ambassador animals, live music, silent auction, and will highlight the Zoo’s many conservation successes.  Partner restaurants are participating, offering recipes and special discounts for Beastly Ball attendees.  

Viewers may attend virtually on our website, as well as join in on Facebook Live and YouTube Live.   For more details, please visit: beastlyball.lazoo.org
WHEN 
Friday, May 15 at 6 p.m. PDT  
WHERE 
Watch live on our website, LAZoo.orgFacebook and YouTube 

Credit: The Los Angeles Zoo.

The Half Of It * Beautiful Story About Love, Friendship And Longing

When smart but cash-strapped teen Ellie Chu agrees to write a love letter for a jock, she doesn’t expect to become his friend – or fall for his crush. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “The Half of It is certainly a beautiful story about love, friendship and longing. It is a very relatable story about the process of discovering love and what comes with it. The acting is splendid and writer/director Alice Wu is very assertive in both capacities.”  Ruby A. adds, “The Half Of It is a film that virtually anyone can enjoy. It’s hilarious, unique, and has many intersecting relationships that keep you guessing what will happen in the future. The small-town setting helps the story feel more relatable. The personalities of the characters blend well and the progression of the plot makes sense.” Calista B. Wraps it up with, “The Half of It is interesting, however I feel like it could have been much better. I like it, yet I think there is a lot of missed potential.” See their full reviews below.

The Half of It

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Half of It is certainly a beautiful story about love, friendship and longing. It is a very relatable story about the process of discovering love and what comes with it. The acting is splendid and writer/director Alice Wu is very assertive in both capacities.

The story follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), a shy and introverted, straight “A” student, in her senior year, helping a friend, Paul, to capture the attention of the girl of his dreams, Aster. Initially, Ellie writes just one letter, but the story evolves into an exchange of text messages before their first date. During the journey, the characters discover the truth of the stress and challenges of courtship.

The film starts with a beautiful, artsy animation and excellent voice over work, guiding us into the mysteries of love at a very young age. The Half of It is a very well narrated story, keeping you intrigued, making you wanting to know more about the characters and how they will end up. The editing and music are very interconnected and they work in perfect harmony, turning into amazing storytelling.

I enjoyed the acting and the honesty of Leah Lewis’ portrayal of a very timid, but determined girl. I love Paul naiveté and his struggle to communicate and show his emotions and how his innocence contrasts with Ellie’s intelligence. Despite their differences they become friends, which is one of my favorite aspects of the film. I also love Collin Chou who plays Ellie’s dad. He barely speaks English but he’s really funny. He portrays a very loving and kind man and wants what’s best for his daughter. Ellie’s Dad loves classic films and, throughout the movie, there are several references to art in different disciplines like painting and poetry. This makes the film feel very grounded. “The Best Part,” as Ellie’s Dad refers when interrupted when watching his cinema classics, is when Ellie and Aster are in a secret lake and just talking. The scene itself is beautiful and the acting feels so natural. I love how this scene is shot and found it really relaxing.

The Half of It is not the typical high school movie, because in almost every high school movie there is a popular girl, a shy nerdy girl with lots of clichés and no substance. But in this movie the characters are real, current and deep.

The message of this film is “be the best version of you.” Ellie used to be an artist and one of the things she learns is that “you can have a good painting, but to make it a great one you need to make a bold stroke.” I think what she means by “bold stroke” is the best version that you can possibly be of yourself. Also we hear that “love is the journey we pursue with determination.”

This film is wonderful! I could watch it a million times and still be entertained. I give The Half of It 5outof 5 stars and recommended it for ages 12 to 18. The Half of It opens on Netflix May 1, 2020.

The Half Of It

By Ruby A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The Half Of It is a film that virtually anyone can enjoy. It’s hilarious, unique, and has many intersecting relationships that keep you guessing what will happen in the future. The small-town setting helps the story feel more relatable. The personalities of the characters blend well and the progression of the plot makes sense.

Netflix’s The Half Of It takes place in a small town by the name of Squahamish, following a girl named Ellie Chu. Ellie is in high school and has a way with words. Although she is talented, she is made fun of frequently. One day, Ellie is riding her bike and her classmate, Paul Munsky, asks her to write his crush, Aster, a love letter. Ellie is skeptical and annoyed, but she agrees to help him out. Little does she know that she will become his friend and fall for his crush at the same time.

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis), Paul Munsky (Daniel Diemer) and Aster Flores (Alexxis Lemire) make a great cast of main characters. Paul and Ellie (despite their differences) make a great team when trying to impress Aster. I love so many parts of this movie, however I have to choose a favorite! The acting really is something else. The cast is really amazing and, when you watch it, you feel an emotional connection to them. There is one specific person from the cast who does an exceptional job – Leah Lewis. She embodies the role of a reserved and skeptical-of-everything teenager very well.

The lesson from this film is that acting like your true self is for more valuable than the person you may want others to perceive you as. This way, others can love you for just being you. The movie is most definitely successful in portraying this. It is a very positive and uplifting message. This movie promotes the positive social behaviors of friendship and helping other people. However, there is quite a bit of bullying towards the main protagonist, Ellie, that occurs. There is a slight bit of swearing, but nothing too severe, and some alcohol use is shown.      

The Half of It

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

The Half of It is interesting, however I feel like it could have been much better. I like it, yet I think there is a lot of missed potential.

The movie follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) who makes money by charging other students for essay help. One day, a jock named Paul (Daniel Diemer) asks her for help writing a love letter to his crush Aster (Alexxis Lemire). However, as Ellie continues to help Paul win her over, she ends up also falling for Aster.

A big aspect of this film is the LGBT twist. As someone who cares a lot about representation, this intrigued me. However, I have mixed feelings about the way this movie goes about its representation. I can’t elaborate much as that would lead to spoilers, but let’s just say the actual LGBT romance is a little lackluster and mostly overshadowed by the straight romance. This isn’t really an issue for most of the film, however this heavily affected my opinion on the ending. I usually try not to compare pieces of media, however I want to compare this film to Love, Simon. An issue I’ve noticed when it comes to LGBT representation is the prevalence of tragedies and dramatic stories. Either that, or stories where the LGBT character doesn’t have a happy ending. This is why Love, Simon was such a hit with the LGBT audience, because it is a wholesome, romantic comedy that embraces its gay representation. And considering The Half of It is also pushing the gay aspect in marketing, it could have been a lot better. The Half of It is far from the worst when it comes to unsatisfying representation, but it definitely has room for improvement

However, the representation is not the only aspect of the film. As this is a comedy, how is the humor in this movie? Honestly, I really like a lot of the comedy in this film. I like the way Ellie and Paul play off each other and there’s many well executed visual gags and recurring bits. I also really like the friendship between Ellie and Paul. Despite the fact that they’re technically romantic rivals, you really buy their friendship as they have a great chemistry and you want them both to be happy in the end. 

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It comes out on May 1, 2020. Look for it.

Cali, April 30th Pet of the Week!

Cali, 8 years old, is a beautiful, smart, loyal and loving soul. She’s your typical lounge buddy, stealing your attention whenever possible for tummy rubs or head pats. As you can see in her photo with her foster, Cali’s affectionate and caring, and she’s sweet to all people she meets. She has a calm energy and perfect manners in the house: no begging or jumping on the furniture. She saves her get-up-and-go for her walks! Cali’s a strong gal and needs some confidence on the other end of the leash and is a bit reactive to other dogs and cats, so caution and guidance are must-haves! But she’s very responsive to commands, so redirecting her isn’t too much of a challenge. We know she’ll only get better with time as she learns the behaviors that you want from her. Cali’s taking part in Live Love Animal Rescue’s effort to put shelter dogs into foster homes during the pandemic. If you want to give her a forever home, find her profile on Live Love’s page at www.liveloveanimalrescue.org/adopt, and fill out an adoption application there.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)