I spoke to producer/creater John Pierre Francia, who was inspired by his experience as a flight instructor to create a new DVD series about a boy who flies a different airplane to a new place every week, learning about geography, history, science and culture, and making new friends.
Andyâ€™s Airplanes is a show and a company centered around a 8-year-old little boy. He is a sweet, loving character with a thirst for adventure and learning and he is kind. Everyone knows and loves Andy because he is interested in the places and people he finds. Most shows have the rude kid. We donâ€™t have the kid with the bad attitude. Though we were told to have more conflict, we believe thereâ€™s enough natural conflict, in the logistical challenges he faces. It is enough to see him learn and have adventures. His best friend is Yaygrr, a black-footed ferret. He loves Andy and heâ€™s the pratfall character, the one gets into trouble when he eats too much at the luau. Every time heâ€™s on screen the kids light up.
In Episode 1, Andy flies to the USS Ronald Reagan and learns about aircraft carriers. He participates in a simulated dogfight. He loses pretty quickly to Angel, the admiralâ€™s daughter, and they quickly become friends. Andy is not bothered by being beaten or by a strong girl. In another episode, Andy learns about Polynesian culture and volcanoes and meets Akele and teaches her how to fly. The series has very strong girl characters and there will be recurring roles. Andy might see Angel when he goes to other cities.
Each episiode ends with real kids from the place Andy goes. Our core audience is 2-8 but older kids love the real kids part.
We have a big reading and learning agenda for the series. Kids will learn true aviation principles. We will teach kids about navigation, and that will give them some strong math and science skills. Microsoft is creating a flight simulator plug-in for kids and it will be narrated, so they can fly Andyâ€™s plane.
I love to read other critics’ reviews. When movies are good, they’re very, very good, but when movies are bad, they’re better. Paris Hilton’s new movie, The Hottie & the Nottie at least inspired two of my favorite critics and gave them a chance to demonstrate their own insight and humor. Now that’s hot.
Jeanette Catsoulis in the New York Times:
One would think that after increasingly embarrassing forays into reality television, the Internet and the penitentiary, Paris Hilton might have taken a moment to reflect on her choices. Or perhaps not: with “The Hottie & the Nottie” Ms. Hilton proves yet again that introspection — not to mention shame — is as alien to her as a life without paparazzi. Custom designed for its smirking star (who is also an executive producer), this tasteless train wreck asks only that she preen and prance on cue.
Desson Thomson in the Washington Post:
“Hottie” could have been a witty, playful affair in which love is played up against beauty and Hilton’s larger-than-life presence is the inside joke at the heart of everything. But Nate’s quest to end up with Cristabel is as hopeless as Wile E. Coyote’s, forever chasing that elusive Road Runner. That he gets close enough even to befriend her is laughable. Like Nate, we are mere Notties. And we are supposed to feel oh-so privileged for getting to watch Paris through the glass.
“Family is a 24-7 reality check,” explains one of the parade of nightmare relatives. “This is one hell of a family,” says another. These two statements pretty much summarize the movie. And that’s the good news.
Family reunions on screen create immediate identification. We all know what it feels like to come home to our families of origin and discover how quickly those carefully-assembled grown-up personas disappear and those just-below-the-surface rivalries take over. That is why it is fun to see it happen to someone else. This set-up and a talented cast provide the engine that keeps this movie going even when the screenplay lags behind.
Martin Lawrence plays a therapist/author with a successful talk show. He is engaged to Bianca (Joy Bryant) the gorgeous and intensely competitive champion of the reality show “Survivor.” He brings her to meet his family on his first visit home in nine years, for his parents’ 50th anniversary celebration. Although his son Jamaal wanted to be with the family, R.J. had not planned to go – he sent a giant flat-panel TV instead. But Bianca points out that it would be great publicity to film it for his television show, showing the hometown boy made good, surrounding by adoring relatives.
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This pea-brained vanity production does not have the energy to remember from one scene to the next what it is about or why it is on screen. It is attention-deficit film-making. Famous-for-being-famous Paris Hilton is not only the star, but also the producer of the film, and it seems to have been entirely generated by whatever she thought would be fun to do in front of a camera, with no thought whatsoever to the misery it would inflict on those who might watch it.
Hilton cast herself as Cristabel, the “hottie,” a perfect beauty and object of universal desire with a heart of gold. She even gives her stalker a dazzling smile and a perky wave as she reminds him that he is required by a restraining order to keep his distance.
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