12 LUCKY ANIMALS: A Bilingual Baby Book is a must-buy this month!

The perfect Baby Board Book for Chinese New Year!

12 LUCKY ANIMALS: A Bilingual Baby Book is a delightful book! I love the characters and I highly recommend for babies and their parents and caregivers!
Written by Chinese-American author, Vickie Lee, this delightful board book introduces young readers to the Zodiac calendar, and the animals associated with them. Plus, as this is the year of the Pig, Joey Chou’s delightful illustration of the pig is front and center!
This book is a perfect way to introduce young readers to the concept of animals and get their first education in Chinese characters.

I love the illustrations and I think this will be a hit with young children! The book can also be found at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book and only feature books that I highly recommend. Image was also provided.

Miss Bala – Enjoyable Thriller, Very Scary and Fast-Paced

Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Lexi G. comments, “I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love Miss Bala!” See her full review below.

Miss Bala                                                                  

By Lexi G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you’ll love thriller Miss Bala! If you don’t like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.  

In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more.  Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend?  Does she escape the gang’s awful manipulations?  I guess you’ll have to watch it to find out!

There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too.  Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!

The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it’s rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I’m not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me.  I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences.  I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn’t even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You’ll enjoy it!!!

Photos © Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

SCOOBY-DOO! AND THE CURSE OF THE 13TH GHOST


A BRAND-NEW ORIGINAL ANIMATED FILM

IS AVAILABLE ON DVD AND DIGITAL

FEBRUARY 5, 2019

FROM WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Self Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own

The Mystery Inc. gang heads to the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains to track down a lost chest that contains the spirits of 12 captured ghosts on Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, an all-new, full-length animated film available on Digital and DVD February 5, 2019 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. It’s an action-packed adventure the whole family can enjoy together as the lovable Great Dane and the teen sleuths embark on a thrilling voyage to find the lost chest and capture the 13th ghost – the one that got away!  Based on the classic animated television series The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, in this brand new film, viewers will finally learn the identity of the 13th ghost – a mystery that has never been revealed before. Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost will retail for $19.98 SRP.

After the Mystery Inc. gang goofed up a case and nabbed an innocent man, they’re forced into early retirement from crime solving. It’s not long however, before their old friend Vincent Van Ghoul needs help and pulls the team right back into action. The gang has unfinished business they must tend to, which involves catching a ghost that previously got away. It all happened one summer while Velma and Freddy where away at camp. Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and Daphne secretly hunted down 12 of the world’s spookiest ghosts but failed to catch the most evil one of them all…the 13th ghost.

Now the elusive spook is wreaking havoc. Vincent needs help having him captured and confined to the chest of demons, a box that contains the other 12 captured ghosts. With the 13th ghost still on the loose, the gang will have to come out of retirement and finish the job once and for all. The chest however, is now located somewhere in a remote village in the Himalayas. Determined to help Vincent, the gang sets out on one of their most thrilling adventures yet! Bundle up and get ready for the icy slopes of the Himalayan mountains, chilling car chases, crystal balls and spine-tingling spells in this terrifyingly fun original movie!

I had the chance to check out this fun DVD and I highly recommend for children and adults! It would be great for a family movie night! I grew up watching Scooby -Doo and the gang and also it has been a hit with my son when he was younger. This one has it all! It’s fun and packed with adventure and has an unique story line!

Look for it at a a store near you!

Credit:

About Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) brings together Warner Bros. Entertainment’s home video, digital distribution and interactive entertainment businesses in order to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios. An industry leader since its inception, WBHE oversees the global distribution of content through packaged goods (Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online and mobile channels, and is a significant developer and publisher for console and online video game titles worldwide. WBHE distributes its product through third party retail partners and licensees. 

About Warner Bros. Animation

Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) is one of the leading producers of animation in the entertainment industry, producing and developing projects for multiple platforms, both domestically and internationally.  Theatrically, WBA’s full-length film, Teen Titans GO! to the Movies, released on July 27, 2018.   WBA’s TV series include  Teen Titans Go!, Unikitty! and the upcoming DC Super Hero Girls and ThunderCats Roar for Cartoon Network; Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, Bunnicula, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Tom and Jerry ShowNew Looney Tunes, Wacky Races and the upcoming Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who? and Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs for Boomerang; Mike Tyson Mysteries for Adult Swim; Green Eggs and Ham for Netflix; Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders for DC Universe; Animaniacs for Hulu; and the upcoming Looney Tunes Cartoons content initiative. As home to the iconic animated characters from the DC, Hanna-Barbera, MGM and Looney Tunes libraries, WBA also produces highly successful animated films — including the DC Universe Animated Original Movies — for DVD, Blu-ray® and digital media. One of the most-honored animation studios in history, WBA has won six Academy Awards®, 35 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, the HUMANITAS Prize, two Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards (honoring excellence in animation). 

Llama Llama Red Pajama – Adorable And Imaginative With Curious Characters And Adventures

Adventure and learning await in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD, watch Llama Llama at his first sleepover with friends! Learn how to share on a play date with Nelly Gnu! Discover what makes Llama Llama’s red pajamas so lucky and so much more! Learn and play with Llama Llama and pals! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ava L. comments, “Wow, this series is so adorable and imaginative because the characters are so curious and always find a new adventure! Llama himself is very, very curious.” Milika L. adds, “based on the book by Anna Dewdney is cute, relatable and playful. You get to meet llama llama’s adorable friends such as the adventurous Nelly Ngu, the fashionable Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Genius sheep and the Bully who becomes a friend of Gilroy the Goat. I love how these friends become closer through service, sleepovers and playdates!” Nathalia J. comments, “This kid- friendly, adventurous, funny and teachable series, created by Anna Dewdney, will have you laughing and giggling throughout most of the episodes. It is  intriguing, attractive, hysterical and mirthful.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “I like that there are different types of stories and not all based on the same theme. The characters are unique because – well, how many cartoons feature llamas? I especially like Mama Llama because she is easy to relate to and is a good mom character.” See their full reviews below.

Llama Llama Red Pajama

By Ava La Vigne, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Wow, this series is so adorable and imaginative because the characters are so curious and always find a new adventure! Llama himself is very, very curious.

The series is about Llama, his mama (Mama Llama) and one of Llama’s best friends, his favorite stuffed animal Fuzzy! In each episode, the characters face a problem and always seem to find a way to get around them! Llama loves his friends and cares about them a lot. Llama and his friends go through almost everything together. Llama and his friends are inseparable!

I like the way Noelle Wright wrote this series! It has a good plot, a very curious Llama which kids love and finds a way to put humor into the story. I also really like the intro music. It gets me in the mood! My favorite part of each episode is when Llama finds a problem because it gets me more into the story or scene.

This series is perfect for kids and has no bad actions or bad language. The message this show is trying to teach is that whenever there is a problem, you can get past it. Also, it reminds you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it!

I give this 4 out of 5 stars, because I like the lesson they are teaching. I wish there had more challenges for Llama and his friends though. I recommend this series for kids ages 2 to 18. It is available on DVD January 29, 2019, so look for it! Reviewed by Ava La V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Llama Llama Red Pajama

By Milika Lomu, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Llama Llama Red Pajama, based on the book by Anna Dewdney is cute, relatable and playful. You get to meet llama llama’s adorable friends such as the adventurous Nelly Ngu, the fashionable Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Genius sheep and the Bully who becomes a friend of Gilroy the Goat. I love how these friends become closer through service, sleepovers and playdates!

In the episode “Noisy Neighbor,” Llama Llama and his friends take up community service where they have to clean up the yard of a scary neighbor. They are interrupted several times by the neighbor and can’t finish their work. Eventually, they figure out who the scary neighbor really is. To find out who the neighbor is you’ve got to watch this DVD.

I have so many favorite parts, but if i had to pick one, it would be from the episode “Time to Share.” Nelly Ngu accidentally rips off Llama Llama’s favorite teddy bear’s arm. Mama Llama saves the day by sewing the arm back on and their friendship is saved. In that moment, they realize that sharing is really caring. Luna the Giraffe is my favorite character. Besides the fact that she’s so fashionable, she’s also silly and crafty. In the episode “Lucky Pajama,” Luna helps Llama Llama spread the luck with their friends. She does this by making accessories out of the red lucky pajamas. The music is lighthearted and made me feel like I wanted to be apart of their town. Llama Llama lives in a little peaceful town where he bike rides almost everywhere with Mama Llama. In this little town everyone knows each other.

There are many messages that I took away from this, but the most important is to be kind, practice patience and realize that your actions can effect others in a positive and negative way.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. This DVD is available January 29, 2019 so look for it.

Llama Llama Red Pajama

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Are you ready to join the adventurous characters Llama Llama, Luna Giraffe, Nelly Gnu, Euclid the sheep, Gilroy Goat, Mama Llama and more? This kid- friendly, adventurous, funny and teachable series, created by Anna Dewdney, will have you laughing and giggling throughout most of the episodes. It is  intriguing, attractive, hysterical and mirthful.

Adventure and learning awaits in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series. The stories follows Llama Llama and his five friends as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories. They face different problems, but always find a way to get around them. You get to see Llama Llama’s get-go sleep-over with three of his friends. You also get to watch Llama Llama as he learns to share at his play-date with Nelly Gnu, which involve his new car his grandparents give him. 

My favorite part is when Llama Llama learns how to be separated from his adorable bear named Fuzzy Llama, who is his best friend and who he can’t sleep without. I love this part because it’s unquestionably relatable. Fun Fact: I also have my very own Fuzzy Llama, who I can’t bear being separated from. When I’m away from home, it’s my bear CJ and my blanket Cozy.

My favorite character is Mama Llama, because she is such a kind, peaceful and loving mother and definitely proves that throughout the series. This DVD’s message teaches you valuable life experiences. It is fantastic for kids and has no bad actions or bad language. 

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 through 10. It is available January 29, 2019. So, look for it! 

Llama Llama red pajama

Denise Bloomfield

I found this DVD quite appealing. I like Llama and the other characters, especially Mama Llama. As a mom, even though my son is now a teenager, the first episode on the DVD brought back memories about a young child not wanting to go to bed. I also like the catchy rhyming. It’s a fun series of shows. There are eight different episodes on the DVD featuring Llama Llama and his mama and friends. All are engaging and have different storylines and are appropriate for young children and some may even teach children how to share.

I like the story lines because they are fun to watch. They are engaging with likable characters and perfect for preschoolers. The shows are all animated with bright colors and different scenes. I like that there are different types of stories and not all based on the same theme. The characters are unique because – well, how many cartoons feature llamas? I especially like Mama Llama because she is easy to relate to and is a good mom character. The costumes fit with the characters. Most of the scenes take place where in Llama and Mama’s neighborhood and in their house. They may not be memorable per se, but they fit the story lines. The music sticks out, especially the theme song which is catchy. I can imagine young children singing along.

There is a message to the shows about being kind to others and learning how to share and be a friend. Young children will learn things such as being a friend and how to share. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 5 years old. It is available on DVD now from NCircle Entertainment so look for it.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1 – Superb! Martin Short at The Cat Always Makes Me Laugh!

Enjoy the first volume of the third season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! The award-winning television show follows the adventures of 6-year-old best friends, Sally and Nick, as they’re whisked off on amazing voyages of scientific discovery with the Cat in the Hat. Thanks to the Thinga-ma-jigger and our friends, exploring has never been more exciting! In this volume set, kids will learn how accidents and mistakes can lead to discovery, how the shape of an object impacts the way it bounces, and how changing the direction of a force can make heavier things easier to move. But the discoveries don’t end there! We learn how mirrors reflect and bounce images, how to change the volume and pitch of a sound, and much, much more! So let’s go, go, go, go on an adventure – we’re flying with The Cat in the Hat today! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic SaniyaRain F. comments, “The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes.” Alejandra G. adds, “This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jordan M. adds, “I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror Kimberly M. wraps it up with, “The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short. The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way.” See their full reviews below.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By SaniyaRain Fowler, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Cat in the Hat is superb! I love the Cat in the Hat because he makes me laugh with his made up words and his corny jokes. The first episode that I watched was about Sarah the Inventor. This series has been around since 2010, but every time I watch it, I see something new. I think it is for everyone. The family can learn lots of lessons from each show. Sarah is an inventor like me. I create masterpieces on canvas, but Sarah invented the paint fall. When Sally hits the paint fall, all the colors get mixed up and start forming a color that one of the characters needs for his mountain. This episode is called “Accidents Happen if You’re Lucky.” As we get older, we learn that sometimes the things we plan don’t go the way we want them to, but can still have a good outcome. Different doesn’t always mean better and that is something we should understand about people. All people do not look alike, but we are all important in our own ways.

The second episode is called “Play Ball.” It is a funny story about Sally getting a new ball and a boy loses it when he throws it up and it gets caught in the tree branches. Cat then takes them to a really cool ball palace with lots and lots of cool balls. They try to find the right bouncy ball for Sally. Cat gives her a tool that helps her look closely to see if the balls bounce. They finally find a ball she likes. Sometimes, things can be replaced and sometimes they can’t. One thing is for sure, we will always lose stuff, even people. We have friends and sometimes they might lose our belongings and we get mad. Sometimes friends do stuff to hurt our feelings. We have to decide if the object is more important than our friend or is our friend more important. Losing anything is not fun, but it happens.

The third episode is “Gravity Drop.” This is my second favorite episode. It is about a boy getting his plane stuck in a tree. They go to a valley that allows you to have more or less gravity. It looks fun because they are floating through the air when there is less gravity. It reminds me of going on a rollercoaster and going up into the air and then getting dropped back down. This is like a learning video because it teaches the viewer about gravity.

The last episode, “Design Time” is my favorite of all. It is my favorite because Sally makes a vase for her mom and the boy makes a robot for his dad. Sally has trouble making the vase so Cat takes them to blueprintia where they learn how to create blueprints of what they want to make. They learn that they must have a plan in order to do something correctly. That is like life, too. You have to have a plan. You have to think before you do something or make something. If you want things to go right, plan it first. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This is available on DVD now so, be sure to look for it. Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1
By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

To start off, I want to comment on how The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1 and the rest of this series impacts children in a positive way due to the vocabulary and other lessons taught in each episode. This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch since the plots are well prepared in a way that kids can both understand and relate to. I didn’t follow The Cat in the Hat when I was younger, but I feel it is very attracted to its target audience. The way the show is made, with all the colorful objects and the plots that draw you in is quite interesting.

The episodes on this DVD contain different stories and plots, but the format and the meaning are consistent. All the adventures have different plots and all the characters are inquisitive and enthusiastic about learning. This motivates kids’ curiosity about the natural world and encourages them to follow the positive examples.

My favorite scene is at the end of when episode when The Cat in the Hat, his cat cousins, Nick, Sally, Fish and all his family gather together for a great musical finale where they are celebrated as true adventurers. I like this scene because it is a very creative with great songs and how the it is organized. It definitely gets children’s attention in every way possible.

The important message that this show teaches is in encouraging kids’ curiosity about the natural world. The series answers questions about natural science in a kid-friendly way. They learn about the seasons, animal behavior, habitats and more – learning to appreciate the wonder of exploration and discovery. The day and night concept, animals, plants, planets, gravity and a lot more are taught in fun ways and make kids catch it fast. I recommend this for ages 5 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! Season 3, Volume 1
By Jordan Millar, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

These imaginative episodes from the popular television series are incredibly animated and provide a unique take on Dr. Seuss’s classic storybook characters. In fact, when I was younger, I used to watch this show on a regular basis, so it is nice to bring back that sense of nostalgia.

Episodes follow the miraculous adventures of young friends Sally and Nick. Every day, they join the whimsical Cat in the Hat, who guides them on magical, scientific explorations. Fans of Dr. Seuss will also recognize their favorite characters like Fish, Thing One and Thing Two. In this volume, kids are be able to learn many different things, such as how boats are able to float, how bridges are built and how certain accidents can lead to new discoveries.

In each episode, Sally, Nick and The Cat in the Hat test things out and run different experiments to draw conclusions. It is very interactive with characters always asking questions that help viewers think. At the end of each episode, they also provide experiments that kids can do at home. Visually the series is just like the places in Dr. Seuss’s original books. I like the elaborate and artistic scenery, the quirky dialogue and fun songs.

I like how this show talks about realistic concepts, but it’s done in a creative way that still ties in the magic of Dr. Seuss. The show engages kids with scientific concepts and encourages them to begin observing their surroundings. Although there is no primary lesson, there are multiple things you can learn by watching every episode!

I rate this production 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7, but it is great for the entire family. You can find it on DVD now so look for it. 

The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That: Season 3, Volume 1

By Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

In this DVD, the Cat in the Hat, along with 6-year-old best friends Sally and Nick, Thing #1 and Thing #2 and Fish go on numerous adventures dealing with scientific discoveries. The separate stories include dealing with the phenomenon of shadows and how they are made, why a slide loses friction, why accidents can be a positive thing and why some magnets attract and others do the exact opposite. The stories are approximately 15 minutes each. The set consists of two discs and is approximately 220 minutes long.

The DVD consists of 20 episodes plus a bonus section with five snippets around two to three minutes each, all of which reinforce the scientific facts in the stories. Also available is a Spanish language sub-title option. The Cat in the Hat is voiced by well-known comedian Martin Short.

The segments are short enough to hold the attention of the target age group. Children will most likely want to see more than one story at a time. Thus, they can absorb science information in an exciting way. I like the separate adventures that deal with science facts. I could relate to the story about the children’s slide because I recall being at a popular amusement park as a child, where one of the popular attractions was a gigantic slide. When I was younger, I was able to slide down gracefully. Years later, as a pre-teen, I was not able to slide down the slide without becoming stuck at some point because of the friction issues. This was probably because of the bumpiness in the aging attraction. After many complaints, it was dismantled. Another story segment I found interesting was the opposites magnets attracting. I enjoyed when they were streaming down the river in red and blue boats and have to match the color of the boat with the same color of the oncoming rock in order to keep from crashing into it.

I recommend this DVD for ages 5 to 9 and give it a 5 out of 5 stars. It is available on DVD now, so check it out!

The Kid Who Would Be King – Heartwarming Film About How Anyone Could Be A King

Old school magic meets the modern world in this epic adventure. Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical sword in the stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “…it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message.” Zoe C. adds, “I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.” Juanita L. wraps it up with, “It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.” See their full reviews below.

The Kid Who Would Be King
By Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming film about a boy named Alexander who finds out that he is the future king of Britain. Now he, his friends and his enemies, must embark on a quest to defeat a wicked enchantress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before the end of a solar eclipse. This film is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, including the legend of the magical sword, Excalibur. At night, everyone disappears from the world except for Alex and anyone he has knighted. This way they can take whatever they want and try to defeat all of Morgana’s minions. When they are all gone, Alex and his knights stay where they are and everything else returns to normal.

There are lots of cool scenes in this film that involve exciting sword battles. In my interview with Sir PatrickStewart (Merlin), Rhianna Dorris (Kaye) and Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alex), I learned that the cast used real swords to train with to learn the real feel and heaviness of medieval swords and armor. However, in the actual film they used realistic plastic swords, because otherwise it would be too dangerous.

My favorite character in this film is Merlin (Angus Imrie/Sir Patrick Stewart). He is serious and gets things done most of the time, but he also does a lot of funny and cool things that are really appealing to watch. For example, when he does his magic, all the stuff around him is flying through the air and all the lights are flickering. That is a really interesting effect.

My favorite scene is when Alexander and a few of his knights are rushing through the woods on horses, while trying to defeat a large army of fire monsters on fire breathing horses who are trying to take Excalibur away from them. This scene is very exciting and has a few funny parts in it too.

The message of this film is that anyone can be a king; you just need to have a good heart and follow the knight’s code which says that you must “honor those you love, refrain from wanton offence, speak the truth at all times and persevere in any enterprise until the end.”

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This movie opens in theaters on, January 25, 2019. Look for it!

The Kid Who Would be King
By Zoe C. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10 

This movie is very interesting.  I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.

The film is based in the King Arthur story and retold in a modern way. It’s about a boy named Alex (Louis Ashborne Serkis) who finds the Excalibur sword and embarks on an adventure trying to battle bullying and injustice. He teams up with his best friend in his journey to become a great leader. Alex and his enemies conform a group of brave knights to fight monsters and defy great dangers. 

In the beginning, Alex and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are victims of bullying at their school. They believe they are regular boys, until one day Alex comes across a sword in a big rock. He pulls it out and he shows it to Bedders. Later, they realize that everything that happens to them is similar to what happened in a book Alex’s dad gave him with a very special dedicatory. It is a very special book because, despite that his father left, he has feelings for him. He and Bedders go on a quest that replicates in many ways the story of the King Arthur legend. Alex not only discovers his power for being a leader and doing good deeds, it is also a self discovery of loss and acceptance.

This spin on the classic King Arthur tale has a different purpose than other films or interpretations of this classic tale: – to show todays’ kids the power of classic tales, the importance of books and to find the good within ourselves by retelling the story in a contemporary way and making it relatable to a new generation.

The film reminds us why books are essential in our education and how they show messages about perseverance and loyalty. In the movie, the main characters face lots of obstacles and some are very scary! 

The scenes with the medieval villain Morgana are particularly exiting. I also love the scenes with Merlin, especially the younger one. They are funny and obviously magical. I like that Alex and Beddders team up with their enemies in their journey. I enjoy the sets in London from the landscapes near the city to the beautiful Stonehenge. The sets and costumes are well done. The acting is very good and the special effects believable.

The story flows well, although there are so many scenes that make the film longer than necessary. Another thing that bothered me is that it references so many things we have seen in other films. That makes it not very original. Also, some scenes are a little too over dramatic. I do like how this film shows the classic tale based on someone pulling a sword out of a stone and becoming king.

The message of this film is that nobody is just ordinary. We just have to discover the great powers we have within ourselves. I give The this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 6 to 18. It opens in theaters on January 25, 2019. So look for it.

The Kid Who Would Be King
Juanita L., KIDS FIRST!  Adult Juror

I enjoyed watching The Kid Who Would Be King. It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.

I like that the story is retold using the book given to Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) as the source for his adventure. We see Alex along with his fellow students at school and going about their daily activities as they hear and see negative news about a divided United Kingdom. It is similar to the type of activities we are experiencing in the United States today.  

We see Alex defending his friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), a would-be magician, which leads him to become the target of bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). After running from them, Alex discovers a sword in a stone. He and Bedders deem it to be Excalibur.  Alex is reminded by Bedders and his book of King Arthur of his mission to unite and fight the evil of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) sister of King Arthur.

My favorite scene is when young Merlin (Angus Imrie) appears at the school as a lanky new teen student with an ill-fitting uniform. To me, he steals the scene with his hand actions, clicking and snapping to perform his sorcery.  The repetition of his sorcery provides some elements of humor and, at one point, I tried to duplicate his hand actions.

The CGI and other visuals and music are acceptable. Be aware that there is fantasy action violence, scary images with bullying. The Kid Who Would Be King has an important and timely message. We see young people standing up to wrongs and taking on what is right.  Age is not a deterrent and a group victory can be achieved.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18, and some adults. I give it 5 out 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 25, 2019 so, look for it.

Photos © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Based on the best-selling book series by R.L. Stine and starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris Parnell and Ken Jeong :GOOSEBUMPS 2 You’re in for a fun scare as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unleashes GOOSEBUMPS 2 on Blu-ray™ & DVD Available Now!

Be careful what you wish for. With their after school junk business, best friends Sonny and Sam hope to find treasure in other people’s trash. But when cleaning out the old Stine house, they open a locked book that frees a supernatural nightmare- Slappy! Now, with the help of Sonny’s sister Sarah, they’re in a race against time to get the sinister dummy and all the creatures he’s brought to life back into the pages before he unleashes total pandemonium!

Based on the beloved Scholastic book series by R.L Stine, GOOSEBUMPS 2 was directed by Academy Award®-winner Ari Sandel (2005, Best Short Film-Live Action, West Bank Story) from a story by Rob Lieber and Darren Lemke and screenplay by Lieber. The film is produced by Deborah Forte and Neal H. Moritz and is executive produced by Timothy M. Bourne and Tania Landau. GOOSEBUMPS 2 is a Columbia Pictures, Scholastic Entertainment Inc./Silvertongue Films, Inc and Original Film production.

I was quite excited to see this movie and it’s really a must-see! It’s now available on Blu-ray and DVD since January 15th! I loved the characters in this movie and it’s perfect for family movie night! It may not be for the youngest of children due to some scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language. It is rated PG. This movie will definitely entertain!

Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Bonus Materials Include:

  • Gag Reel
  • Three Deleted Scenes:
  • Five Featurettes
    • “Thrills & Chills – The Making of Goosebumps 2”
    • “Meet The Monsters”
    • “Science With Slappy”
    • “Junk Brothers – Call Now”
    • “Slappy’s Audition”
  • Three Slappy-Oke Sing Alongs

 GOOSEBUMPS 2 has a run time of approximately 120 minutes. Look for it at a store near you.

The GOOSEBUMPS 2 Blu-ray, DVD and Digital bonus features include a gag reel full of hilarious hijinks, three all-new deleted scenes and five featurettes. Between the chills, thrills and goosebumps, watch the cast get a case of the giggles in the “Gag Reel.” Dive deep in “Thrills & Chills- The Making of Goosebumps 2” with Madison Iseman, along with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. “Meet the Monsters” gives fans a sneak peek of how the scary creatures were brought to life. In “Slappy’s Audition,” watch what happens when Slappy auditions for the role he was born to play. In “Science with Slappy,” enter the Slapatory where Madison, Jeremy and Caleel join Slappy for some electrifying experiments! And get ready to sing along with three hilarious “Slappy-oke” songs.  Who knew dummies could sing?

Check out this bonus clip!

 

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the DVD to facilitate this feature. Press info and Images were also provided for posting purposes. No other compensation was received to post. 

The Upside – Wonderful Remake of the French Classic with Well-Founded Laughs

Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs.” See his full review below.

The Upside
By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed “January movie” will find a perfect outing.

Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family’s financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don’t believe in Dell’s capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dell failing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his character when needed, as his condition makes him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as well.

Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic French scene and even has more nuances of its own. The main problem with this movie comes from the fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn’t much of a difference with a few scenes and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions don’t fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does prove to its advantage.

The message of this film is that a friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and a happier mental well-being. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out.