Archives for March 14, 2024

Otto, Pet of the Week March 14th

Such a sweetie!

O-T-T-O—what does it spell? Otto! Spell it backward, and what do you have? Otto! Whichever way you look at Otto, you’ll see a good-lookin’ brindle boy who’s ready and waiting to be the best thing that ever happened in your life. Otto is about 6 years old, a bit on the quiet side but very friendly, and just a really good boy. He loves the car, especially if a social activity is involved! Otto is struggling with confinement in shelter life and so deserves his freedom and a loving home. Our shelter is overflowing with dogs, and they all need adopters and fosters! You can speed the process to adopt or foster Otto or any of our other pets by emailing PetAdopt@longbeach.gov or petfoster@longbeach.gov or by calling (562) 570-4925. Our shelter hours are Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). Ask for ID#A710721.

Dune: Part Two * One Of The Best Produced Films Ever! The Cinematography, Casting, Direction And Special Effects Are All Phenomenal

Dune: Part Two will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a path of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Emma D. comments, “Dune: Part Two is a jaw-dropping movie that sent thrills through my spine as it follows Paul Atredes and the Freemen. The film opens your eyes to the beauty of the desert while keeping you on your toes with stellar fight sequences and war scenes.” Sydney S. adds, “Dune: Part Two is one of the best produced films I have ever seen. The cinematography, casting, direction and special effects are all phenomenal. The filmmakers have paid intricate attention to detail and it shows throughout the movie.” Tiana S. wraps it up with, “Dune: Part Two is all about trust, bravery and hope. Paul is challenged with keeping his family’s legacy, leading Arrakis, and facing the future he sees in his visions. To protect those who he cares about most, he must be brave. He must have hope for the future despite its dangers and risks.” See their full reviews below.

Dune: Part Two

By Emma D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Dune: Part Two is a jaw-dropping movie that sent thrills through my spine as it follows Paul Atredes and the Freemen. The film opens your eyes to the beauty of the desert while keeping you on your toes with stellar fight sequences and war scenes. 


Dune: Part Two starts where the first movie ended, with Paul Atredes (Timothee Chalamet) and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) having joined Chani (Zendaya) and the Freemen. Seeking revenge against those who have hurt his family, Paul learns the way of the Freemen to gain their trust and respect, falling in love along the way. When the threat resurfaces, Paul and the Freemen must work together to regain their land and prevail over the House of Harkonnen.


Director Denis Villeneuve outdoes himself with Dune: Part Two. His collaboration of brilliant storytelling with world creation and surreal cinematography makes it a movie that audiences will remember long after watching. This movie gave me a new appreciation for the desert, primarily due to how cinematographer Greig Fraser shoots the landscapes. The beginning of the film, with the shots of the sand and the visuals of the red sun setting with the dunes in the background, is breathtaking to watch on the big screen. But the visuals don’t stop with the sequences of the sand, as the visual effects are absolutely incredible. Although there are some moments where I could tell that CGI plays a part in creating the setting, most of the CGI is outstanding. The fight sequences are some of the best I’ve ever seen and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The movie is very long, at two hours and 46 minutes, and I admit that it feels a bit long near the end. Some characters and plot lines seem to be extraneous to the overall story. For example, Feyd-Rautha Hakkunnen (Austin Butler), although visually very compelling and greatly acted, seems to be somewhat unnecessary. My favorite character is Stilgar (Javier Bardem), as he brings a much-needed amount of humor to an otherwise dark story. Every actor in this film delivers amazing performances, but Chalamet and Ferguson really blew me away. Their acting is phenomenal and makes you empathize with their characters while also fearing them. The background score, by Hans Zimmer, helps transport audiences to the world of Dune and embellishes the beauty of cinematography, making the movie more jaw-dropping.


Dune: Part Two promotes respect and trust, but most importantly, the value of staying true to yourself. A large part of the story is Paul Atredes’s difficulty understanding who he is and the Freemen’s perception of his role in their society, causing internal conflicts in Paul’s head. Once he becomes vulnerable and accepts his destiny everything becomes more clear, not only for him but for the audience as well. Be aware that the movie is very violent at times and involves many fight scenes involving weapons and blood and other disturbing visuals.


I give Dune: Part Two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters March 1, 2024.

Dune: Part Two

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Dune: Part Two is one of the best produced films I have ever seen. The cinematography, casting, direction and special effects are all phenomenal. The filmmakers have paid intricate attention to detail and it shows throughout the movie.

The film follows two strong-willed lovers who are among the many fighters on the planet Arrakis. Paul wants to destroy the people who killed his family, but foresees a dangerous future. That same force is messing with his mind and may ruin his plan to save their people.

Some of your favorite actors are in Dune: Part Two! The main characters are Paul or Uzul (Timothée Chalamet), Chani (Zendaya), Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista) and Emperor (Christopher Walken). The casting is fantastic; each actor compliments their characters beautifully and believably. I felt many emotions while watching it because of the great acting. When Chani is hurt by Uzul’s sudden change of mind, the air feels tense and her anger is shown. Also, Uzul’s mom, Jessica, is mysterious and changes her personality when she drinks the poison. This film is so well-produced. I am beyond amazed by the quality of the production. The camerawork captures the scenes so well, especially when they are in the desert. The special effects are mind-blowing, like when Uzul and Chani blow up multiple helicopters. The machine they are running from looks incredibly realistic and threatening. When Uzul has visions, the special effects are well-displayed. We learn that, by consuming Spice, the people on Arrakis can see the future. You know when they are seeing the future because their eyes turn blue. This film exceeds all my expectations and explores science fiction beautifully. The pacing is perhaps a bit off, but you might expect some slow parts since it is nearly three hours long! A lot of hard work went into creating this film. I highly recommend watching Dune: Part One to understand the concepts, the characters and their backstories. Dune: Part 2 picks up right where Dune: Part One left off. These two films really bring the Dune books to life. I applaud the director, Denis Villeneuve, for creating such admirable work. My favorite part of the film is when Paul (or Uzul) learns to ride a huge sandworm. The special effects are remarkable because you feel as if you are on the sandworm with him – the wind rushes, the sand flies everywhere, and the motion of the sandworm is smooth. It looks incredibly realistic and it shows how far CGI has come.

The film’s message is to have hope and to always believe it can happen. Paul’s hope carries him throughout his fights and he constantly encourages the others to believe that they can do it. He also tells his mother to not give them false hope over a prophecy. Be aware that this film has mature concepts, a lot of violence, profanity, and bloody scenes. 

I give Dune: Part Two 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Dune: Part Two releases in theaters March 1, 2024.


Dune: Part Two

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13


The story of Dune is back with a sequel to the 2021 film,Dune: Part One. Dune: Part Two is action-packed, visually stunning, and matches the dynamic energy and format as the first film. It also has breathtaking scenery, amazing performances, and an engaging storyline.


Continuing the storyline of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novels, Dune: Part Two follows Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) after the happenings in the first film where the Atreides family was defeated. In this film, Paul works hard to protect the Arrakis people. We learn more about Paul’s visions and the prophecy that is said to revolve around Paul.


There are many focal points of this film so there are a few main characters besides Paul. The acting in this film is terrific. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya make for an amazing acting duo throughout the film, and the rest of the cast’s performance, including Austin Butler as Feyd-Ratha Harrakum helps move the story along. The visuals are stunning, with the desert landscape, incredible set designs, and mind-blowing special effects. The cinematography, storyline, sets, and overall design come together perfectly to create a truly well-made film. The story is very adventurous — sci-fi film lovers will be fascinated and interested. The costumes perfectly match the setting and, in a way, tell their own story. Dune: Part Two takes you on an emotional rollercoaster which is expected based on the content in Part One. As much as I enjoyed this film, it is almost three hours long and it seems to lack a lot of context and dialogue. I definitely recommend seeing the first movie before this one. 


Dune: Part Two is all about trust, bravery and hope. Paul is challenged with keeping his family’s legacy, leading Arrakis, and facing the future he sees in his visions. To protect those who he cares about most, he must be brave. He must have hope for the future despite its dangers and risks. And he must trust others as well as himself to do what he has to do. Parents should be aware that there is a lot of graphic violence and suggestive scenes.


I give Dune: Part Two 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Dune: Part Two opens in theaters March 1, 2024. 

Madame Web * Full Of Action, Mystery, Suspense, Sisterhood And Girl Power

In a switch from the typical genre, Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel publishing’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future… and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies…if they can all survive a deadly present.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kennedy P. comments, “I love Madame Web.  It is full of action, mystery, suspense, sisterhood and girl power.  There are some heartfelt moments and the chemistry between the four leading ladies is outstanding.  The film definitely kept me entertained from beginning to end.” Sydney S. adds, “The film Madame Web falls too off the superhero movie path which is disappointing. It includes enveloping action, suspense and violence, but it lacks a connection between the main character and their powers. It isn’t extraordinary, but it is a fun adventure.” Avalynn G. wraps it up with, “This is a very unique film – unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. When Cassie uses her powers the special effects are very cool. They look like a web. I love how Cassie is always helping people. First she helps people that get hurt, then she helps the girls from getting killed.” See their full reviews below.

Madame Web

By Kennedy P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

I love Madame Web.  It is full of action, mystery, suspense, sisterhood and girl power.  There are some heartfelt moments and the chemistry between the four leading ladies is outstanding.  The film definitely kept me entertained from beginning to end.


Madame Web tells the standalone origin story of one of Marvel’s most enigmatic heroines. The suspense-driven thriller stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic in Manhattan who develops the power to see the future and realizes she can use that insight to change it. Forced to confront revelations about her past, she forges a relationship with three young women bound for powerful destinies if they can all survive a deadly present.


I really loved learning who Madame Web is and how she became a heroine.  I loved all the action scenes and watching the girls come together to fight against the villain Ezekiel.  I loved seeing the girls in their costumes and the action was entertaining.  The girls include Sydney Sweeney as Julia Cornwall, Celeste O’Connor as Mattie Franklin and Isabela Merced as Anya Corazon. The movie left me wanting more and hoping for a sequel so we can find out how the girls got their powers and what happens next!  The chemistry between the four leading ladies is truly amazing.  They work so well together and look like they are having so much fun together.  Their friendship seems genuine on the screen.  The battle scenes are epic, especially the last one when the girls work together and fight the villain Ezekiel.


Madame Web is about teamwork, girl power, friendship, family, heart and action.  It shows how friends will always be there for you, no matter what, and reminds you to always stay true to who you are.  It is perfect for date night or a family movie night. Everyone will love it. The best part is that if you are a fan of Marvel movies, you don’t have to see any previous movies to understand Madame Web. This movie stands alone with a phenomenal cast and great story line. It is rated PG-13 and it is 1 hour and 54 minutes.  


I give Madame Web 4 out 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults.  Madame Web is in theaters now.


Madame Web

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The film Madame Web falls too off the superhero movie path which is disappointing. It includes enveloping action, suspense and violence, but it lacks a connection between the main character and their powers. It isn’t extraordinary, but it is a fun adventure. Along with a barely developed superhero figure, it also fails to relate to Spider-Man in any way, which extremely disappointed me.


Madame Web follows Cassie (Dakota Johnson), a paramedic who’s connected to three teenagers through the power of a valuable spider. While a greedy, powerful man is seeking to kill them all, Cassie finds out she can actually see the future. Will her power save people or lead them to their doom?


The primary characters are Madame Web or Cassie, Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Mattie (Celeste O’Connor), Anya (Isabela Merced), Ezekiel (Tahar Rahim) and Ben (Adam Scott). The teenagers are the stars of the show. They are the most believable characters; while the rest of the cast lacks conviction or emotion. It’s bothersome. The characters are poorly developed as well. We barely know anything about Julia, Mattie or Anya’s backstory, and Ezekiel is as villainous as an antagonist should be. On the other hand, there’s a lot of interesting action that keeps the movie engaging. I was compelled to see what would transpire at the end. Cassie and the girls keep having bad things happening to them and that’s amusing to watch. The suspense adds to the plot, as well, because Ezekiel just keeps on hunting down their group, using a spy. My favorite part is when time stops underwater. It’s really cool because the sound drops to a low pitch and everything seems to be in slow motion. The camerawork is very unique in this film. Sometimes it’s almost nauseating — so watch out for that. There’s no relevance to Spider-Man as fans expected, except that Ben Parker is Peter’s uncle, but that is not mentioned at all. It’s almost as if they aren’t in the same fandom. Cassie deserves more of superhero recognition, since the film doesn’t focus on her heroic abilities. I can understand that the producers were trying to experiment with a new type of superhero movie as this film focuses on the main character’s mental powers rather than her physical powers. I appreciate the experimentation with something new, but it doesn’t really work out very well. It has potential, but the script falls short. This has the makings of an enjoyable film but is missing huge key factors.

The film’s message is to protect the people you love. Cassie goes above and beyond to protect the teenage trio, and the girls, in turn, save Cassie’s life. They care so much about each other that they are willing to risk their own lives to make sure the others are okay. It also discourages selfishness. You should be aware foul language is used and blood is involved.

I give Madame Web 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Madame Web comes out in theaters on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2024.

Madame Web

By Avalynn G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

The film Madame Web is an action film that is kind of like another version of Spider Man. I love the action in the film and the background music makes it really suspenseful. I don’t usually love Marvel movies but this one is really good.

The storyline follows a girl named Cassie (Dakota Johnson), a New York City paramedic who gets visions, including one showing three teenage girls getting killed by the guy that killed her mom. Cassie needs to safely get the girls away from the guy by using her clairvoyant powers and the deadly adventure takes off from there. 

This is a very unique film – unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. When Cassie uses her powers the special effects are very cool. They look like a web. I love how Cassie is always helping people. First she helps people that get hurt, and then she helps the girls from getting killed. She is amazing. I love the relationship between the three girls – Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Anya (Isabela Merced), and Mattie (Celeste O’Connor). They annoy each other when they first meet but later realize how much they need each other and they become best friends. I especially love Mattie; she is funny, does whatever she wants, and doesn’t care what other people think. My favorite part of Madame Web is when they are on top of the factory’s roof. It looks really cool when she uses her powers. 

The film’s message is to always stick together. The girls stick together and manage to survive. Plus, in the end they become best friends. This film uses adult language and has some violent content.

I give Madame Web 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theaters February 14, 2024.