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SAN ANDREAS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SAN ANDREAS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his daughter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie a lot. It is a good disaster film. San Andreas is directed by Brad Peyton and stars Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino and Paul Giamatti. While this movie is well done, it doesn't quite compare with movies by the disaster movie king, Roland Emmerich. After seeing one of Brad Peyton's other movies, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, I had my doubts, but he does a pretty good job here.

There are three reasons why I enjoyed this film so much. First, are the special effects. Special effects in a disaster movie can make or break it. In this film, the CGI is eye-popping. At certain moments, it feels like there is a little too much going on all at once. But at the same time, it makes you feel as if you are in an earthquake, which probably feels pretty overwhelming.

The second reason I like this film is the acting. The acting is pretty strong for a disaster movie. Sometimes in disaster movies, it's all about stunts and action sequences. In this film, the acting makes you feel invested in the characters and you are really rooting for them.

The last reason I like this film is the story. Though corny at times, when adding humor or romance into the big earthquake scenes, the interplay between the action scenes and the family scenes keeps you emotionally involved.

There is a bit of a downside. The dialogue, characters and the some of the story are very predictable and filled with clich�s. While some of the lines are clever, they often seem out of place. There are lots of pretty standard panic, action lines such as "Run," "Hold on," and similar. The main characters are well fleshed out, though some of the cast seems like simple stereotypes representing selfishness and greed.

They spend a lot of time showing the destruction of the earth quake and less on the aftermath of the quake, such as having the main heroes trying to survive riots, gas leaks, crumbling buildings, etc. With all the devastation, it is a bit dull seeing the Golden Gate Bridge collapse for the 1000th time in a disaster flick.

It is humorous that scientific accuracy is thrown out the window. For example, they say the earthquake is a 9.1 but, according to what I've read, that magnitude cannot happen on the San Andreas fault.

I give San Andreas 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. If you like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Paul Giamatti and disaster movies, you'll like this one.

Reviewed by Will S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BARELY LETHAL

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BARELY LETHAL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Megan Walsh has been training to be an international assassin for Hardman. However while she is on a mission, she notices how other teenagers her age seem to be having fun and enjoying their lives. Desiring a normal life, she bails out of a mission and enrolls in a student exchange program, in the process, being adopted by a foster family. She soon becomes a part of the high school and is subjected to the pressures and life of being in this environment.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SURVIVOR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A State Department employee newly posted to the American embassy in London is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the U.S. That puts her right in the line of fire and she is targeted for death and framed for crimes. Discredited, she is forced to go on the run while she tries to clear her name and stop a large-scale terrorist attack set for New Year's Eve in Times Square. SURVIVOR is directed by James McTeigue and also stars Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett and Robert Forster.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Survivor is breathtaking and electrifying. It made me feel a pit in my stomach that was so intense because I felt as if I was a part of the film myself. This outstanding film is about a woman who is a Foreign Service Officer and tries to prevent terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, she gets too close to preventing atrocities that she becomes framed for crimes concerning terrorists and, all of a sudden, is running from villains, the government and her closest friends all to save America.

Every character is excellent and seems very realistic, especially the main villain who is played by Pierce Brosnan and the main character played by Milla Jovovich. I don't usually focus on the cinematography in films but, for this film, it is quite important. It seems like the camera is hidden where no one could ever find it but the camera still captures every image and this makes the film come to life even more. Also, since the film has a lot of guns and bombs, the visual and sound effects can't seem fake and luckily, the movie succeeded in this. Speaking of sound effects, the music is very suspenseful so the film does achieve its goal of being an action and suspense film. The director James McTeigue really creates an acceptable film and it deserves an applause.

I think the plot is that one should always do what is right even if someone is trying to stop you or, if they say that what you are doing is wrong when you know that what you are doing is right. I would not recommend this movie for all audiences but, for people who enjoy action and thriller genres, they will enjoy it. This movie is very well done and I definitely would watch it again. I rate this film a 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 because of the extreme violence and some foul language. I hope whoever watches this film will enjoy it just as much as I did.

By Hailee Hutton, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


CRIMSON FIELD, THE: PART 1
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - In a tented field hospital on the coast of France, a team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers work together to heal the bodies and souls of men wounded in the trenches of WWI. The hospital is a frontier: between the battlefield and home front but also between the old rules, hierarchies, class distinctions, and a new way of thinking. Kitty (Oona Chaplin, Game of Thrones), Rosalie, and Flora arrive as the hospital's first volunteer nurses and struggle to be accepted by the established medical team. The girls are flung headlong into a world for which nothing and nobody could have prepared them, but this is also an opportunity to break free of the constraints and limitations of their lives back home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In a tented field hospital on the coast of France, a team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers work together to heal the bodies and souls of men wounded in the trenches of WWI. The hospital is a frontier: between the battlefield and home front but also between the old rules, hierarchies, class distinctions, and a new way of thinking. Kitty (Oona Chaplin, Game of Thrones), Rosalie, and Flora arrive as the hospital's first volunteer nurses and struggle to be accepted by the established medical team. The girls are flung headlong into a world for which nothing and nobody could have prepared them, but this is also an opportunity to break free of the constraints and limitations of their lives back home.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 360 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 14-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 34.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


MENTALIST, THE: 7TH AND FINAL SEASON
WARNER HOME VIDEO
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The FBI's masterfully manipulative criminal consultant Patrick Jane is back for the seventh and final season of the clever crime series. Formerly employed by the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Jane spent two years off the grid and in exile after tracking down and exacting vengeance upon Red John, the serial killer who murdered Jane's wife and daughter. After crafting a deal to work for the FBI, Jane convinced former CBI agent Teresa Lisbon to join him. Supervised by the no-nonsense Agent Dennis Abbott, Jane and Lisbon work alongside their former CBI comrade Kimball Cho, FBI analyst Jason Wylie and the young, ambitious agent Michelle Vega. Now that Lisbon and Jane have confessed their love for one another, they must find a way to be partners in both their professional and personal lives as they begin their new relationship. 13 on e hour episodes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Seventh and Final Season of the The Mentalist had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the ending. The cases that the team have to solve are interesting, challenging and the entertainment value is the top benefit of watching the final season. Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is still my favorite character as he helps solve the top-security case with his partner Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who is also now his girlfriend. The addition of characters Jason Wylie (Joe Adler) and especially Michelle Vega (Josie Loren) really add to the series. I really like Michelle Vega's character and the acting is superb. It's also more than just solving these high profile cases, there are friendship issues, love and romance and issues of trust. It's also entertaining to watch the relationship between Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon blossom as they figure out what their new relationship is all about and where they want to go. It is also fun to watch the interaction and relationship between Michelle Vega and agent Kimball Cho. I don't want to give away any of the endings but there are a few surprises. I also think that I was quite satisfied with the ending of the season.

Special features include deleted Scenes, all-new featurette: Patrick Jane: An Uncommon Man-Chronicling Patrick Jane's Journey of redemption, from revenge to romance. I enjoyed watching all of the special features. I would give this one 5 out of 5 stars but, there is violence due to the nature of the series. I do not think the violence is inappropriate to the story-line or overdone but there is violence and hence, it's not appropriate for children under age 13. We recommend for ages 13 - 18, and adults. Reviewed by Denise B.

We will definitely miss this series. It is so much better than all the reality shows currently popular. This is real acting, storyline and drama.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments
Runtime: 572 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 39.98
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


NOT YOUR PARENT'S PARADE
PHILIP SURACI, JR.
Series: SCREENPLAY FOR AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A 12 year old girl, fears the loss of her skateboarding mentor (and secret crush) when he enlists in the Marines. She decides to try to bring him home by ending all war. With her friends, she embarks on a campaign to force all adults to sign an oath renouncing war by denying their parents their love and laughter. Through social media, courage and creativity, the plan takes off. The adults resist mightily. Yet, the children lead a non-violent rebellion that transforms society when the U.S. President finally signs the Oath for Victory Over Violence.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found this script refreshing, entertaining and in some ways, very positive. I like that it goes against a stereotype of skater boys and girls being bad (at least out here in So Cal) and I like that Lyndsay is a young girl that wants to make a difference. It has a great message that violence and war aren't always the answer and the title really does fit the script. The characters are created well and the dialogue is believable and appropriate for the modern or slightly futuristic times. There is conflict and a satisfactory conclusion and children ages 12-18 would be engaged. The script is well-done.

Overall, there are very few grammatical or spelling errors. I did find one word (pg. 18) that I would suggest changing but did not catch any other words. It was easy for me to rate this script with a 4 out of a 5 stars.

The language used is appropriate to the age of the characters and I think that young middle-school age kids and teenagers could relate. There is one word that I would suggest changing (on page 18: suckas). I recommend for ages 9 to 18.

The characters are its greatest strength. They are likeable, easy to relate to and understand and fit well within the story line. I do think it would be helpful to know what year this takes place in. It is slightly far fetched with a woman President but that is actually refreshing. Another strength is the quality of descriptive writing done by the author. At times, I feel as if I am really there. Nicely done.

I do believe that this script has commercial potential. There's a good message and shows that kids can make a difference. The characters are likable and entertaining and it has a somewhat happy ending. I was satisfied with the conclusion.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Screenplay


FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I had not read the book nor heard of the film Far From the Madding Crowd when I saw it. So, this review is from the point of view from someone with no prior background knowledge of the source material. Please keep that in mind, fans of the book.

When I saw that BBC had a hand in producing this picture I immediately knew a few things, 1) it would have a down tempo pace, 2) The acting would be good and 3) that the cinematography would be good. I was right about all three. Nevertheless, I had no expectations for the script which was inconsistent.

There are times when the dialogue flows well. The conversations fit the tone and nothing is over-the-top dramatic. And then, there are times when I rolled my eyes at the clich� lines. It's that type of romance movie. It became apparent to me though, that the dialogue is specified to show character and relationships rather than good conversation. The dialogue succeeds in moving along the plot and expanding on the characters' situations rather than creating conversational scenes. I can understand that, especially considering the genre of the movie. Yet, it still proved a bit problematic.

This film stars Carey Mulligan as an independent, head-strong protagonist and, what a wonderful job she does. She takes what could have been a very one-note character and makes her complex. Bathsheba (the protagonist) could have easily been portrayed as stubborn and inconsistent, but is instead portrayed as someone fighting for her equal rights as a woman and as a woman dealing with emotions for the first time. And, just her luck, she gets three men to fall in love with her. How about that for first relationship dealings?

The supporting cast does a fine job with a few hiccups. The standout among them is Michael Sheen who takes his supporting part and almost steals the show from the leading lady. Matthias Schoenaerts provides a steady consistency as the moral compass of the film and plays the untainted, instantly likable love interest well.

As for the aesthetics of the film, I was not disappointed. There are scenes of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking shots that aren't necessarily needed, but are surely wanted for the eye-candy effect. They provide good transitions and help keep the pace of the movie in tact.

Because of the acting, cinematography and overall investing quality this film has over an audience, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. I'll end on this note: I spoke to a couple of people at the theater after the film who had read the book. I asked them how accurate the film is and if it does the book justice. They both confidently said, "yes." So, if you're a fan of the book and were iffy about seeing the movie, I hope that testimonial might influence your decision to see this movie. This is in theaters now so, enjoy.

Reveiwed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SUNSHINE SUPERMAN
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement, whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular -and dangerous- feats of foot-launched human flight.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement, whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular -and dangerous- feats of foot-launched human flight.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PITCH PERFECT 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PITCH PERFECT 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Hailee Steinfield - it's a girl comedy
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is truly a teen-focused comedy starring Rebel Wilson, Anna Kendrick and Hailee Steinfeld. The humor is silly but the message poignant. When you're not laughing at the antics of these girls, you are tuned in to their becoming better friends and supporting one another. It deals with issues that kids can relate to - secrecy, jealousy, yearnings. The including of the YouTube star Flula Borg is a pleasant surprise and he literally steals the show when he's on-screen. But, actually, all the cast members are pretty well positioned. They may not be the best actors but they can SING! The romance between Fat Amy and Bumper is a sweet addition and, in my humble opinion, I think that Adam Devine's character Bumper is probably the most interesting in the show. Parents might want to know that it does include use of some pretty specific words for genitalia - in context of the big mishap in the opening scene.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a fun and compelling sequel. The Barden Bellas are back! Because of a embarrassing performance they become a laughing stock and, in order to restore their title they, enter a world competition which no American team has ever won.

If you loved Pitch Perfect then you are going to enjoy this film even more. Pitch Perfect 2 has updated music, new characters and a lot of laughs. You can see the first film to get in touch with the characters and story, but it's not necessary.

The highlight of the entire film is the musical performances. Think of the last film and multiply it by 1,000. The Barden Bellas are now a tiny fish in a big pond up against a Capella groups from all over the world. Even the famous group Pentatonix have a cameo appearance. This allows the film to showcase grand productions from all corners of the Earth.

The cast embrace their roles and voices. This is a character driven franchise. Like the first film, you have to buy into the absurdity of these over-the-top characters in order to enjoy it. After you do that, you will find the comedy funny and can fall in love with these characters. Actors like Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and many others make this film what it is. I also have to mention the comical cameos from Snoop Dogg, David Cross and even Keegan Michael Key who add to the amusement of this film.

The comedy style is shock humor and pop cultural references. This leads to a lot of jokes being hit or miss. Most of the shock humor comes from the two announcers, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Their comments are insulting but the comedy comes from the fact that these people could not exist and still keep their jobs.

My favorite character is Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), the newest addition to the Bellas team. I love Steinfeld as an actress and I usually associate her with dramatic roles and not much for comedy. This film shows that not only can she carry a note but also be very funny.

I have a tie for my favorite scene. The first one is when the Bellas' German rival team, Das Sound Machine performs at the world competition with Light' em Up by the Fallout Boys. The other scene is equally good because it is Fat Amy singing a love song to her boyfriend, Bumper (Adam DeVine). One scene is epic, the other hilarious. Both are absolutely incredible.

The moral of this story is, "Stay in touch with your true voice." The Bellas, as a team, loose who they are, so they go to a retreat to understand each other. With the help of an old Bella member, they find their voice and become the great team they were before.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 13- through 18-year-olds There is adult humor and language that younger audiences shouldn't watch, but for the older crowd it's a thoroughly entertaining film. This film opens in theaters May 15

Keefer C. Blakeslee, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

Pitch Perfect 2 is directed and produced by Elizabeth Banks. I love this film because it is very funny and made me laugh constantly throughout the whole movie. Pitch Perfect 2 employs enjoyable aspects from the original Pitch Perfect such as phenomenal music and amazing costumes, wicked humor, the commentators Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) who are quite funny and the beautiful Beca (Anna Kendrick).

It is a bit racist in how it shows the three girls. Lilly (Hana Mae Lee) is an Asian who is more like a cartoon character than having any real personality. Cynthia-Rose (Ester Dean) is a gay African American and Flo (Chrissie Fit) plays a South American.

This movie is about seven girls, soon to be eight, who make up the Bellas, an acapella group from Barden University. They are known for their singing and dancing. When they are performing in front of President and Mrs. Obama, Fat Amy has an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. After much ridicule from the press, the group is suspended and is unable to compete or recruit any new members. They are devastated and intent on winning the Acapella World Championship in Copenhagen in order to regain their competitive status. They have to compete against the German group, DSM (Das Sound Machine) which is definitely their biggest competitor. The Bellas are joined by a new member, Emily (Hailee Steinfield), whose mom (Katy Sagal) was a previous member of the group.

The screenplay is very well thought out and the plot is easy to follow. It has several subplots that help keep the action moving. The actors are hilarious in this repeat performance. Rebel Wilson really stands out as Fat Amy because she is completely over the top and steals every scene she is in. There are lots of cameo appearances which keeps the viewer looking for familiar faces.

I give this film a 4 out of 5 stars and strongly recommend it for ages 13 to 18 years old, due to the crude humor and sexual innuendos.

Reviewed by Lainey A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


NOBLE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NOBLE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ASPIRATION MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Vietnam. 1989. Fourteen years after the end of the war. When Irish woman Christina Noble flies into Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) she leaves behind an extraordinary life story. But the best is yet to come. Christina lands in a country "that she wouldn't be able to show you on a map". With a few dollars, a dream and her own hard-won courage, she is about to change everything. For hundreds of thousands of people. Forever. NOBLE is the inspirational true story of a woman who believes that it only takes one person to make a difference. And of how she is proved right.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The inspirational film Noble is very enlightening. It helped me realize that a kid's life in America can be so much easier than a kid's life in other countries. It also inspired me to help others that are not as fortunate as I am. The movie is very well acted, in terms of creating believable character. Noble is a film that touched me emotionally and mentally and definitely put a new perspective on life.

The film is about an Irish woman named Christina Noble. The movie shows three parts of Christina's life - her childhood played by Gloria Curtis, her teens and twenties played by Sarah Greene and her midlife years played by Deirdre O 'Kane. Christina has a revelation through a dream that makes her to decide to help the homeless children in Vietnam to prevent their childhood from turning into an unfortunate childhood. Christina creates very strong bonds and connections with the people in Vietnam while on her crazy adventure of helping children.

The main character, Christina Noble has a very protective, brave and emotionally strong personality. I enjoyed how the director Stephen Bradley separates the film into three parts to show Christina's difficult life as a young child and into teens and twenties. When she gets older, she starts helping kids. One of the interesting part of film is the editing which is not sorted chronologically. Instead, it is all mixed together. For example, there might be a scene showing her in her teens and twenties. Then, it's followed with one from her childhood. The next scene might show her in middle age. The acting is very believable. In fact, at one point, I found myself in tears and, at another point, smiling. The film is like an emotional roller coaster. The cinematography is also very good. It is very good. I was very impressed and inspired.

I rate this film five out of five stars and recommend it for children age 12 to 18 because of some adult content and some inappropriate language.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLANKET QUITE RARE, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLANKET QUITE RARE, A
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - There once was a boy with a blanket quite rare that his mother had told him was made with great care. It came on his birthday with colors so bright It made him feel happy all day and all night.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Blanket Quite Rare, written and illustrated by Lisa Geotis Ikegami is a rare gem of a book for children ages 4 to 10. A young boy receives a special hand-knit blanket for his birthday. That evening he is frightened during a thunderstorm and takes refuge in bed under the safety of his birthday blanket. Not only does the blanket calm him, but it takes him on a magical journey.

Both boys and girls will find A Blanket Quite Rare to be appealing and engaging. The story is written solely using rhymes, but there are several pages with only artwork which keeps the flow of narration from becoming trite. Using watercolors, the illustrations are attractive and children can depict the emotions of a frightening thunderstorm and the resulting joy in the peace and calm of a sunny day. Some of the drawings are very detailed and might encourage a child to linger on the page and enjoy looking to see what all has been included.

This book meets the KIDS FIRST!. Overall content of the book is good. The story is easy to follow with a clear beginning, middle and end. The production quality and the visual appeal of the book are very appealing. I recommend this book for any child who might ever be fearful during a thunderstorm.

Reviewed by Ruth A.

This title is very whimsical with beautiful watercolor illustrations throughout. The pictures are unique and very colorful. The book mainly takes place in a boy's room while he is under his favorite blanket weathering a storm.This ebook may give children a new perspective on nature and how it is why it is. It may also help them cope with fear or insecurity. The main character's challenge will encourage a child to imagine and inquire in ways that maybe they wouldn't have before. Reviewed by Elizabeth B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book by Lisa Ikegami is a very loving story. In the story, a kid gets a beautiful blanket and loves it up. He goes through a problem and the blanket fixes it. Reading this book would help kids not be afraid of thunderstorms. The pictures are not just fantastic, the author painted them too. I love all the water colors and how she blends the colors together. The book is not a long book so it's a good length for a short story. The language rhymes sometimes and sometimes not, it can be a tad confusing but it does not make too big a difference. This is a book for little kids but also may be a good bedtime story for some older kids. I rate this book 4 out of 5 rainbow blankets because of the pictures and tale of a sweet boy and his blanket. My age recommendation is 3 to 10-years-old because it's not a scary picture book and it is a very cute, sweet story. Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12
Media: Book


FAITH OF OUR FATHERS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PURE FLIX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - With the Vietnam War raging in 1969, two young fathers report for duty. A man of great faith and a doubtful cynic. A quarter-century later, their sons, Wayne and John Paul (David A.R. White and Kevin Downes), meet as strangers. Guided by handwritten letters from their fathers from the battlefield, they embark on an unforgettable journey to The Wall-the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Along the way, they discover the devastation of war cannot break the love of a father for his son.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This has not been reviewed by adults. Please see our youth review.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This faith-based film is very touching and emotional. It shows us exactly what our soldiers go through to protect our country.

Two fathers of different paths were brought together by the Vietnam War and, after their deaths, their sons are brought together for peace. These two sons Wayne (David A.R. White) and John (Kevin Downes) never had the opportunity to really see their fathers. However, the letters that they received from them displayed messages of love and pride.

One of the main reasons why I like this film is that the portrayal of our soldiers in the war is so realistic. It shows us what they had to go through to claim freedom for our country. The different plot lines are woven together very well and the script is written with smooth transitions from one time period to another. Even though this film has lots of great characters and scenes, I think that some of them are unnecessary. My favorite scene is when Wayne talks about his past in a jail cell with John. It's a tender moment and is a very emotional scene that gives layers to Wayne's character.

My favorite characters are the two main characters, Wayne and John. They feed off each other very well and their different personalities actually complement each other. I like the references of Bible verses this film has which gives comfort and strength in life and death situations. Even when the fathers are facing death, they can have eternal life in heaven if they choose and believe.

This film has a great message about fatherhood and getting along with others. It spreads the gospel of Jesus and touches your heart.

I recommend Faith of our Fathers for ages 12 to 18. Although there are war scenes, it's not overly graphic or gruesome. People who like faith-based films will thoroughly enjoy it.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. It is a good film that tells the gospel and has great messages. <[>Thank you to all our service men and women who serve to protect our country on a daily basis. Faith of our Fathers is in theaters on July 1st, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


CHEF'S LIFE, A: SEASON 1

CHEF'S LIFE, A: SEASON 1
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A Chef's Life, Season 1 Join Chef Vivian Howard's personal and culinary journey from the top restaurants in New York to her return to Eastern North Carolina as she explores the rich bounty of farm fresh cooking, family and community. Each episode follows Vivian out of the kitchen and into cornfields, strawberry patches and hog farms as she hunts down the ingredients that inspire her seasonal menus. Disc One Sweet Corn & Expensive Tea Strawberry Stay at Home Pimp My Grits Cracklin' Kitchen Tomatoes...You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey The World is Your Oyster Muscadine Time Disc Two A Road Trip For Rice Peanut Pastime Love Me Some Candied Yams! Collard Green Queen The Buttermilk Belt Have Yourself Some Moonshine This DVD features subtitles in English
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I highly recommend A Chef's Life. If you enjoy culinary and reality TV shows you will enjoy this unique television series that follows Chef Vivian Howard and her journey with her Northern Carolina restaurant, Chef & the Farmer. 100% farm-to-table experience!

Unlike other culinary shows, it focuses on community-based agriculture and a family's restaurant. It automatically made me feel connected to the Chef Vivian Howard and her journey with her restaurant. Chef Vivian Howard even states that she is "exploring the South, one ingredient at a time." Heartwarming moments are a large part of the series, always showing Chef Vivian's family's traditions and the communities traditions.

The 13-part series is immensely informative. It gives a small sample of the history of each ingredient featured in the episode. In each episode, Chef Vivian Howard also gives a one-on-one lesson that features the food item of the episode. Chef and the Farmers honor the foods that are in season by making the restaurant menu revolve around those food items, such as the corn and strawberries that are featured in Disc 1.

It gives great ideas for easy and great tasting food. Even being vegan, I found many of the recipes easy to convert to vegan recipes, or vegetarian - from the sweet corn recipes to the candied yams. They even have an episode that includes a vegetarian recipe. This episode is called "Tomatoes...You Say Heirloom, I Say Old Timey" on Disc 1.

Although I would absolutely be interested in watching more seasons, I did have some dislikes and concerns. In "Cracklin' Kitchen" there are a couple of scenes that show pigs being cut up. I did not notice any warnings before the episode started or before the scenes occurred. Personally, I believe that there should have been some type of warning because some people are sensitive to events and imagery such as that.

Chef Vivian Howard has an extraordinary connection to the audience and her community. Her confidence in kitchen shines as well as her confidence for the reprise of the South. She keeps her chin up throughout the whole season, even during the extreme low points within her restaurant.

I recommend this to ages 13 to 18 due to the somewhat mature content in a couple of the episodes. This is not gender specific so any gender would enjoy this series. I would rate this series 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Aisling Lacey, KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments please. This has not been reviewed by youth.
Runtime: 390 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


WILD KRATTS: SHARK-TASTIC

WILD KRATTS: SHARK-TASTIC       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt are studying the secrets of great white sharks while their nemesis, Chef Gaston Gourmand, is looking for ingredients for his shark fin soup recipe. Later, when Martin knocks the Creature Power Suits into a deep Arctic trench, the brothers search for them in the brand-new Octopod submarine where they witness a Pacific octopus' defense against an attacking shark. Then Aviva takes the lead when she wants to upgrade the Tortuga with swimming capabilities, so the Kratt brothers seek out a sea turtle for inspiration. Finally, the Wild Kratts team is on a mission to decode the secret language of dolphins using one of Aviva's new inventions, but a hungry great white shark puts their animal friends in harm's way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Please see our youth review. This has not been reviewed by adults.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Animation, learning and fun is what Wild Kratts Shark-Tastic is about. The brothers, Martin and Chris Kratt, better known for their PBS kids show Zoboomafu, is back again. This learning adventure takes them to different parts of the world and the special sea creatures that live there.

This DVD includes four episodes:

1. Octopus Wildkratticus- Saving a special octopus.

2. Tortuga Tune Up- How some sea turtles defend themselves.

3. Speaking Dolphinese- Learning about the dolphin language.

4. Stuck on Sharks-Learning about the great white shark

The main characters of Shark-Tastic are the Kratt brothers. Aviva is the leader and engineer, Koki the computer expert and Jimmy Z the operator. Kids will enjoy Jimmy Z. He is the funniest one on the show. This show sure to get young kids excited about these sea creatures. The DVD contains episodes that have already aired on PBS Kids so, they are not anything new. The episodes all have the same theme: How to defend yourself from getting eaten by sharks. Even though the title is "Shark-Tastic," the show is not all about sharks. Sharks are included in all episodes though. Each episode starts with the Kratt brother visiting a place where the sea creature the talk about lives. The dolphin episode is one of my favorites as I am a huge fan of dolphins.

The Kratt brothers are great communicating with each other. I like when Aviva builds a dolphin decoder. In each of the episodes, Aviva makes a Creature Power Suit that is like the animal being talked about in that episode. In real life, scientists are trying to find ways to communicate with dolphins.

The animation for this show is 2D with bright colors. You also see the actual sea creatures in their natural bright colors. That is was makes this DVD and the other Wild Kratts episodes more fun. You can really get into them.

I recommend Wild Kratts Shark-Tastic DVD for ages 4 to 8. This is definitely for kids who love animals or want to learn about them. The Kratts brothers and their friends explain the sea creatures in an easy way. This DVD is a good way to begin learning about them. I think older kids will want to learn more. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars. It also comes with DVD Rom which has printable PDF's with activities and a link to PBS kids. This DVD is available now wherever DVDs are sold.

Reviewed by Kamren W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 8
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: DVD


AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and it is up to the Avengers to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This sequel to the Avengers series delivers almost non-stop action. As an adult, I sometimes felt totally assaulted at the amount of violence in the film and began to question the descriptive term "gratuitous violence." This is a term that KIDS FIRST! has long employed as one of its criterion for endorsing a film. You might argue that the amount of violence used is acceptable since it is relegated to good fighting evil. But, on the other hand, I would venture to comment that surely the violence drives the film. The story line is pretty meager, or as one of our youth critics commented, "doesn't really matter." It is all the action shots that draw in the audience.

Did I enjoy it? Would I see it again? I can't say that I found it particularly enjoyable or thought provoking. I certainly wouldn't have the need to watch it again though, many of our youth reporters would, particularly those who are comic-book fans. Even my husband, who does love action adventure films, was a bit worn out after the viewing.

So, there you go. I certainly wouldn't recommend this for young kids even though I'm sure many parents will take them. But, for older kids who can discern the difference between fact and fiction, go at it. It's pure escapism, in the name of good.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Another monumental Marvel movie! The Avengers assemble once again go up against a new corrupt, A.I. Ultron (James Spader). As the troupe pursue their mission, we're given a deeper understanding of our favorite super heroes.

There are not enough words in the world to express how happy I am. As a Marvel fan, this film showcases some of my favorite comic book characters together in one plot line in a bigger and better way. When you are dealing with a sequel, as a filmmaker, you're pretty much trying to top yourself. Thankfully, the filmmakers have out done themselves here. We're given a superior conflict, more characters and action beyond epic proportions.

I love this movie not only because it's a phenomenal Marvel film, but also an outstanding film in general. A movie is supposed to grab the audience and transport them to a universe with characters that not only we look up to but also identify with. Marvel has successfully created this reality. Every time I see a Marvel logo on a movie poster I'm excited to be sent back, once again, into their universe.

Marvel is a genius entertainment company because they establish their characters in previous films. The Avengers are the protagonist. Every character is given their moment in the lime light but, they are not the main focus. They all share the screen and have their own personal conflict, yet they respond as team. That is not to say that there is no character development, there is. Former story lines help save time so that the writers can focus on perfecting the current story. This also leads to much stronger relationships between the characters.

For people who have no history with Marvel films, I suggest that you see some of the previous films that feature the Avengers. The reason is that you may miss a connection with the characters that can be resolved by watching previous films. Although you will enjoy the action and story even without seeing the previous films, the inside jokes and interactions between characters become funnier when you understand the past.

The action in this film is awesome! The word awesome is a very primitive word, but it explains everything. While I love to go to the movies and appreciate storytelling and 3 dimensional characters, there are times when I just want to see things go boom! Every Avenger, with his or her different abilities, works together and kicks butt. An example of this is when Thor hits Captain America's shield and causes a devastating explosion. You have to see it to believe it.

My favorite character is, Vision (Paul Bettany) an android created by Ultron. Bettany is originally the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's (Robert Downey, Jr.) A.I. companion. Bettany uses his fantastic voice to create Vision. I was excited when I heard he was going to be a new addition to the Avengers team. Not only is the acting and personality spot on, but the costume design is beautiful.

There are so many scenes that I adore, but my favorite is when the Avengers, "get acquainted" with Vision for the first time. This is the second A.I. the group has encountered and they're unsure if they can trust him. Vision is uncertain himself and gives a speech on why it doesn't matter because they all want to stop Ultron. At the end of his speech there is a comedic pay-off that shows which side Vision is truly on.

The moral of the film is, "The way to peace is not destruction." Ultron is built for one reason - to create peace in our time. Ultron is confused on how to fulfill that mission and believes the only way to achieve his goal is to wipe out the human race and start over. However, Ultron underestimates the soul of man.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 11- to 18 year-olds. There is language and intense action that younger kids might not be able to handle. Check out this film in theaters May 1 and remember, a true Marvel fan stays to the end of the credits.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

My friends have asked me what I thought of Avengers: Age of Ultron and my answer has always been the same: it depends on who you are. If you are a fan of this genre, superheroes, and/or a general movie goer you'll love it. But if you're me, who sees films differently, then the answer to that question is much more complex.

The plot of this film doesn't really matter in all honesty. I mean, you have the good guys fighting the bad guys, that much hasn't changed and it's not what I want to focus on in this review.

What I want to focus on, is the direction and writing of writer/director Joss Whedon. For those of you who just want to know if this film is tons of fun and entertaining and don't care about the movie buff stuff I'm about to spill in short: see this movie. But, I warn you, the movie buff stuff I'm about to spill may be an explanation for the feeling of incompleteness you may have.Joss Whedon wrote this film very ambitiously. He wanted to add the depth and character development of a drama, and keep the same thrills and mindless entertainment of a blockbuster. The issue is - that's very hard to do in a reasonable amount of time. The film already runs nearly 2 1/2 hours and is still incomplete.

I digress, Joss Whedon would have been better off picking a side: mindless entertainment or depth? Truthfully, I would have preferred depth. Getting to know the characters only increases the suspense when they're put in dangerous situations. It draws you in more. Whereas mindless entertainment doesn't because you know what's going to happen.

The thing about his film is that it develops this depth with each Avenger. It tells of their fears and gets into their personal lives. It develops these relationships and just leaves it on the ground, not to be picked up again. Joss Whedon doesn't follow through the idea and we're left wondering "what happened?"

Then, to top it all off, he begins something new. He doesn't come to a definite conclusion, yet he starts a new beginning. That, in my opinion, is a mistake. It's playing with the emotions of the audience who've invested themselves in these band of characters. Whedon shows us that these heroes are people and then doesn't expand on them. He doesn't conclude their stories. It's frustrating.

Yet, there are action scenes of pure bliss, brilliance and utter entertainment that send chills. They impress. It glues you to the screen. There are shots that are bound to amaze you. I still have the climactic battle in my head. It has a deeper meaning than many may give it credit for and I appreciated that.

Despite all that, this film is a great time. All of the heroes get their big moments, and each character is spotlighted. Before I end my review, I want to commend and point out the fantastic voice performance of James Spader. He gives Ultron such life and personality. It's further proof that there needs to be a voice-acting category at the Academy Awards. Brilliant work, Mr. Spader.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Please keep in mind that I saw this film in Imax 3-D. Those of you seeing it in 2-D may have a different impression that I did, due to the extreme differences in the way we experienced this film.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


AGE OF ADALINE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AGE OF ADALINE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young woman, born at the turn of the 20th century, is rendered ageless after an accident. After many solitary years, she meets a man who complicates the eternal life she has settled into.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This remarkable film truly delivers a compelling love story along with the struggle of a young woman whose life is a nightmare because she never ages. Some of us might love that idea but, as you watch the heartbreak of Adaline as her daughter becomes older than she, and then elderly, you realize the importance of growing old together with your loved ones. Adaline's life is threatened at times during the McCarthy era when the government wants to study her as a specimen and thus, she resorts to moving every ten years and re-inventing herself. She creates new identities in order to escape persecution. When she finally meets someone who pulls at her heartstrings enough to consider sharing her secret with him, a twist of fate pulls her back into her own drama and it is not without great resolve that she proceeds.

This film is worth seeing with your sweetheart, or even your teen as I did. I enjoyed this with my 13-year-old grandson and was surprised that it wasn't too romantic for his taste. The faux science behind Adaline's condition is well narrated and, in some ways it's almost believable.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Age of Adaline was not something I expected to love so much. The idea of tampered aging wasn't anything new to me and I wasn't excited to see another modern love story. But I found myself severely invested in this movie. There were times I completely forgot to jot notes down in my notebook...for there weren't any. This film is one of the best American romantic dramas to come along in a while.

Starring Blake Lively, in a career best performance, The Age of Adaline is a beautiful movie in all aspects. It is Shakespearean in nature. It deals with love in a supernatural context, of which the inexplicable remains unexplained, for its outcome is all that matters to us.

The movie is about a woman who develops the ability to never age. The film focuses on her, almost as a metaphorical character study, on how the major events and emotions of her life are stifled and affected by her condition. Her daughter grows older than her. She avoids love for fear of loss. And, she's always on the move. Attachment is her fear, yet one day, a man comes around and things start to change.

In a wonderful and scene stealing performance, Harrison Ford gives his best and most inspired performance since 42. For some, it may be strange seeing Ford not in his typical action-star tough guy. But, his acting in this film is nonetheless affecting, subtle, and impressive. Alongside him, stealing the show is my beloved Ellen Burstyn. She is simply sublime in everything she does and nothing changes here. She steals every scene she's in, even getting me to choke up in the final scene, as her ability to pass along emotion with a look of the eyes is an unmatched ability amongst this generation of film actors.

I am also impressed with Lee Toland Kreiger's direction and story-telling ability. He doesn't fall into any clich�s with flashback storytelling in a romantic drama. He doesn't present us with every explanation in the beginning. Instead, he associates certain memories with the situation presented so that Adaline's character is presented as the film goes on. As a result, we learn more about her and get to know her better over time.

The opening exposition montage is most impressive as well. The voiceover of Hugh Ross provides an objective, controlled, and un-distilled narration of Adaline's early life and events leading up to the film. He comes in throughout the film as well, providing a nostalgic overtone that comforts us in a way, communicating objectivity so that we understand essential events and plot points.

Lastly, and most importantly, this film, like any film, is geared towards a certain audience. Someone who's into Rambo and Terminator may not like this film as much as someone into The Notebook or Blue Valentine. So if you're reading this wondering if you'll like it or not, I tell you the kind of taste for a film like this is unique and not for everyone. And with that, I happily award this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It is playing in theaters now. Enjoy.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SI
SAMANTHA SMITH
Series: SHORT FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Si, a temperamental 6-year-old, gets a goldfish from her parents after begging for a puppy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Si is a bit temperamental but, fortunately, only in her imagination. Her resolution to her disappointment is charming and unusual. You'll have to watch it to find out.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


CLASSIC SONGS & TRADITIONAL TUNES

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CLASSIC SONGS & TRADITIONAL TUNES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ANDYLAND MUSIC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Fifteen beloved folk and classic children's tunes capture the heart of the songs. Authentic instrumentation, thoughtful arrangements, restored lyrics, and Andy Z's friendly vocals complete this rousing CD that will entertain and engage for years.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From 'This Land is Your Land' to 'Happy Trails,' Andy Z brings a freshness and excitement to familiar songs that we think we may know but after a few extra verses that were part of the original songs and some well-played musical surprises our ears are buzzing with a renewed acquaintance with old friends. The vocals are engaging and the toe-tapping arrangements will have you dancing with a 'Turkey in the Straw' or breaking out a 'Hokey Pokey' or singing along with 'You Are My Sunshine'. 'Oh Susanna' you've got to listen to this CD and don't you cry for me now, girl!

The songs are performed as close to their original intent with all of the original lyrics and instrumentation approximated. This absolutely keeps the tradition of American folk songs alive and well. It is positive and uplifting and the interpretation of songs that a lot of us have heard for years is fresh and engaging.

The quality is excellent. The music mirror the birth of our nation which was an exciting time for America in terms of exploration and strong families along with adventurous and brave people immigrating from all over the world. These songs offer insight into American history from a musical point of view. The artist starts with the premise "maybe you're familiar with this song, but did you know there are other verses?" Particularly enlightening is "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" with the wraparound lyrics.

The musicianship, choice of traditional instruments and vocal performances are well-done and engaging. The production value (recording) is very professional.

Reviewed by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The kids enjoyed listening to this CD. They clapped and moved along. Overall, they seemed to have fun. All around the Kitchen and You are My Sunshine were two of their favorites. The songs are upbeat and energetic and it was nice to see the kids enjoying some of the old classics, some of which they apparently had never heard before. The performance is entertaining and the songs are fun.

One little boy said his favorite was the first one. Another child was excited about the kitchen song. An older boy said he liked the middle songs best. One girl liked the sunshine song best.

"It is good music." "We like all the music." "It is singing."
Runtime: 38 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.98
Media: AUDIO


CALLING ALL THE ELEPHANTS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CALLING ALL THE ELEPHANTS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONG WIZARDS RECORDS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Twelve cheeky, laugh-out-loud funny songs. Combining country and children's pop music with a wacky, seesaw feel, moving from a country stroll where the wit sneaks up on you to a rock 'n' roll sprint where an outrageous lyric slams into you.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Put on the headsets and buckle up because 'Calling All the Elephants' is one of the best albums in a long while to make you laugh out loud and snort milk out of your nose! The word-play, songwriting and musicianship are exemplary. Randy Sharp and Dave Kinnoin, two-seasoned performers, flex their musical chops and in the process push the creative boundaries of children's music in a profoundly wondrous way.

These crafty clutch of tunes hatch from basic concepts and happenings into mini-operas of mirth and merriment. Be yourself. Be resourceful. Be different. Be inventive. Be creative. Have FUN! Who could ask for anything more. Love this album!

Lyrics are stellar, brilliant and quite appealing. The music and production are terrific. Plus, there are many wonderful surprises. Very clever!

Everything clicks like an expensive watch. It's rare to discover an album that appeals to older children, doesn't talk down and takes conceptional chances. This is a breath of musical fresh air.

In ways, it is purposely disrespectful of what is considered appropriate in children's music. Therefore, kids will love it!

I love an album that invites frequent listening because you flat-out love it and / or continue to discover new elements and surprises that you missed before. This is one of those albums. Never gets old. Solid vocals and character voices, musicianship rocks and the recording quality is state-of-the-art.

Reviewed by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is fun and original and many of the songs have a really good beat and rhythm to them. I like that this CD has songs with funny lyrics. My favorite songs are Last Word and Puzzle. I like how the lyrics in Last Word throw in words such as "foot" and then there is a pause and "ball" is added or "cow" and then "boy." Puzzle is just catchy and is fun to dance to it. Most of the songs are pretty cool and make you want to dance. Some of the lyrics are repetitive but I still think they are pretty good. There is only one song I really didn't like as much and that is Acting Like A Baby. I think it is just the topic that I don't really enjoy. The song is still catchy. But, how often do you really like every song on a CD? Over all, this is a CD with fun songs, catchy lyrics and I give it a thumbs up. Best for kids ages 5 to 10. Some older children may not like it as much. I would give this one 4 out of 5 stars.
Runtime: 38 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.98
Media: AUDIO


IRIS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
IRIS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - IRIS pairs the 87-year-old Maysles with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even at Iris' advanced age, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life's sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. I feel lucky to be working. If you're lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This has not been reviewed by an adult. Please see our youth review.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Iris is a great documentary, particularly if you have a passion for fashion. Iris Apfel is a 94-year-old woman who embraces her unique eye for fashion and style. She takes the simplest things from shops and stores all over town and dresses them up in a variety of ways. She accessorizes her clothing by accenting them with very large and unique pieces of jewelry. Large pearl necklaces with big, bright colorful bracelets are only a few items that Iris uses. She believes each outfit needs to have color and sometimes lots of it. A lot of designers and fashion icons love her style and creativity.

The message of this documentary, produced by veteran documentarian Albert Maysles, is "success is a sacrifice." Iris talks about how she always wanted to have kids, travel and have a successful career. She realized that she could not have it all and be successful. She did not want her kids to be raised by someone else. So, she chose to purse her career and travel the world with her husband, Carl Apfel. Although Iris did not have kids as she once hoped, she still feels successful and that her life has made a positive impact in the fashion industry.

Iris is very witty, funny and inspirational. Even in her 90s, she continues to educate young aspiring fashion designers. She believes it will be a lost art if people do not learn the history of fashion and its origin.

The film Iris is a wonderful documentary. It is perfect for girls and boys ages 13 to 18-years-old who aspire to learn more about the fashion industry. Even if you are not in the industry and want to watch a good film about a wise woman who continues to inspire others, this film is a perfect selection. Iris will be released in select theaters April 29, 2015. I give this movie 4 out of 5 shining stars.

Reviewed by Kendyl P., KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


5 FLIGHTS UP

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
5 FLIGHTS UP       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A long-time married couple who've spent their lives together in the same New York apartment become overwhelmed by personal and real estate-related issues when they plan to move away. Starring Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Cynthia Mixon. Directed by Richard Loncraine.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film has not been reviewed by adults yet. Please see our youth review.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From the storyline, it may seem that this film will be boring to kids. But, when I started watching this film I fell in love with it. Morgan Freeman's perfect timing of jokes and Diane Keeton's wonderful and priceless emotions make this film entertaining and heartfelt from the very start to the last second.

It is a bit hard to say what the main genre is. Of course, there is a lot of romance between the two characters, Alex (Morgan Freeman) and Ruth (Diane Keeton), there is also that funny side that makes it all that more enjoyable. And, there is still a serious dramatic side which keeps you on the edge of your seat till the end.

The story starts when an elderly couple, Ruth and Alex, live in a high up, massive apartment in New York City, Brooklyn actually. However, the five flight of stairs they need to take is getting more and more challenging so they decide to move to a location with an elevator. To add to the challenges, their dog is in the hospital undergoing treatment for spinal injury.

The director, Richard Loncraine makes this movie feel authentic and rustic and also shows how current society stereotypes elderly people, how they truly feel about it and how wrong it is. The cast is wonderful and the acting is just superior with serious and comedy scenes mixed together and standing out all the time. I also like how they lightly touch upon problems of the past as well as problems of today. For example, Ruth and Alex got married in a time when bi-racial couples were not welcomed with open arms. Then it shows how today a gay couple is making an offer on a house. They submit it along with a note telling how they tried to adopt a child and finally were able to adopt one. It is something Ruth and Alex wanted to do when they were younger but were denied.

My favorite scene is when they have an open house to sell their apartment and a huge crowd of people comes through, looking at everything and touching everything. Alex doesn't like it but Ruth tries to see the positive side but fails. I like that scene because it shows how the couple's life isn't perfect and also makes the film feel very real. Not only this moment does that but many others as well.

This film has perhaps several moments of adult content but none that is too mature. I recommend it to kids ages 10 to18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STORIED STREETS

STORIED STREETS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
THOMAS A. MORGAN & JACK HENRY ROBBINS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - STORIED STREETS explores homelessness across America by telling the stories of those who live it every day. The documentary film-which premiered at the 2014 Sedona International Film Festival-profiles the homeless and the formerly homeless and their struggle to survive. Their stories are real, raw and compelling. These stories, coupled with the fact that right now homelessness is growing at an unprecedented rate in America, is the genesis behind STORIED STREETS. The film will provide a window into their struggles, question stereotypes and change the way you feel about homelessness. Directors: Thomas A. Morgan & Jack Henry Robbins. Executive Producers: Susan Sarandon & Morgan Spurlock
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film completely destroys the stereotypical image of the homeless and makes you rethink what you should have said to that person you saw on the street. Storied Streets is truly inspiring and I believe everyone should watch it.

This is a documentary. But, it tells stories like none other that are not only terrible and sad, but also inspirational and heartwarming.

The story looks at different homeless people and shows that they are not people who are lazy and just want to make money without any work. It shows hard working people who just, sadly, can't afford a home. And, because of that, they are dehumanized and try not to appear homeless because they believe it is shameful.

This documentary not does a phenomenal job of showing statistics and evidence of this problem and what should be brought to our attention. It also shows how we as normal, every day people can easily fix it. This is something that a lot of documentaries don't have. This film is well produced and directed which makes it enjoyable to watch and thought provoking at the same time.

One of my favorite stories in the film is about a boy who is now around 18-years-old. His mother abandoned him in his freshman year of high school and, instead of finding her, he concentrated on his education and worked hard. He doesn't appear to be homeless and is pretty much the complete opposite of what you might think to be a homeless person. I was happy to see that he is now going to college.

This film is rather mature so I recommend this to ages 12 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is a well told story and also offers good pro-active solutions for dealing with homelessness.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN

BHOPAL: A PRAYER FOR RAIN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
REVOLVER ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The story follows a young rickshaw-puller in Bhopal who gets a menial job at a chemical plant, but in December of 1984 a chemical spill in India takes the lives of almost 15,000 people and injuring more than 100,000. The film follows how the industrial disaster in the city changes his life and those of others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is based on the true story about Bhopal's gas tragedy which book place in December of 1994 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant. Over 500,000 people were exposed to toxic gas and other chemicals, killing as many as 10,000 people in one night. This historical drama is moving and shocking. Directed by Ravi Kumar. Starring Martin Sheen, Mischa Barton, Kai Penn, Fagun Thakrar, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Rajpal Yadav and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary drama is about something everyone should know about and make sure the human race should not repeat. What happened 30 years ago should have never happened and it is truly sad this film is based on this true story. Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain is not only a reminder of what happened, but a story we must remember, so we do not repeat it.

This film is a documentary, but is also a story and a drama. There is no comedic relief. There is strong messages and lessons to be learned.

The story begins when a multinational company, Union Carbide India opens a chemical factory which contains the number one most dangerous chemical to humans in the world. The company responsible for the factory is sadly not making much money and, as a result, they cut their safety regulations. This does not end up as a good idea for, in 1984, the factory had a major leak and the deadly chemical called MIC quickly shot into the air, and into the surrounding air which covered a major town called Bhopal. Thousands die while hundreds of thousands are injured and even today, 30 years later, are still ill.

This film truly shows this event well and shows how many people were effected by it and what the company who caused it did to help the victims. Nothing. Warren Anderson (Martin Sheen) not only doesn't help them, but the India court accuses him of mass murder and the "corporate shield" protects him so he is not affected whatsoever. Martin Sheen plays this role with true conviction.

This film is an incredibly sad story, I cannot choose a favorite scene. My least favorite is when the accident comes to the attention to Warren for the first time. Anyone would expect that he would be in shock or cry or just try to help them. What he does is blame the workers because he gave them an opportunity and they "ruined it." Then, he flees the country when he sees all the dead bodies and is accused of mass murder. I do not like this scene for I believe he should have at the least go to jail for the rest of his life.

This film is very mature so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for they did a wonderful job retelling this horrid event. Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


MONKEY KINGDOM

MONKEY KINGDOM       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - In South Asia, Maya the monkey and her son Kip struggle to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the troop at Castle Rock. When neighboring monkeys take over their home, Maya's whole troop is forced to relocate. She uses her ingenuity to lead the members of her extended family to untapped resources amid strange new creatures and unfamiliar surroundings. Ultimately, the entire troop must work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya hopes her son will have a bright future. Narrated by Tina Fey. Directed and produced by Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Monkey Kingdom opened my mind to learning about animals in the wild! This is a great nature documentary, especially if you like monkeys and, contributions from ticket sales of this movie will help save the monkeys in south Asia.

Monkey Kingdom begins with an explanation of how a certain group of monkeys live. Specifically, it focuses on Maya and her baby, who are considered the lowest of the group. It discusses their lifestyle, their routines and how they have to deal with the different seasons and the weather. They also talk about their struggle for survival. Finding food, especially for the ones at the bottom of the tree, is a challenge. These monkeys have a king and three queens. It is amazing that even though they are monkeys, they still have a social hierarchy.

My favorite part of this movie is when all the monkeys are playing with each other and swinging from their homemade "original" jungle gym. I also like the part when the lower class runs out of food and have to find a way to survive. They locate the humans' house and raid their kitchen. They even confiscate all the eggs from the hen house!! It is hysterical to see a monkey running off with a sub sandwich.

My favorite character is Kip, Maya's son! He is a cute baby monkey that is so innocent and, most of the time, has no idea what is going one. He depends on his mom for protection. Maya is on the low end of the social hierarchy. She is a female monkey with a nice personality unlike the three sister queens who act as if they own everything. I love how Maya protects her baby at all costs. Tina Fey is a wonderful narrator for this, giving a clear understanding of what is taking place.

The thrust of this documentary is to raise money to help maintain the habitat of monkeys that live in the jungles of South Asia. I recommend this film for kids age 6 through 18. Both boys and girls will enjoy it because, who can resist watching monkeys play. I rate this movie a five out of five dazzling stars! Be sure to check it out when it comes out in theaters on April 17, 2015.

Reviewed by Haley Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PADDINGTON (2014)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PADDINGTON (2014)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WEINSTEIN CO, THE
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 4-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck ('Please look after this bear. Thank you.') and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist. Starring Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Paddington is a great adventure, with lots of twists and turns. This film is playful, comedic, enjoyable and definitely a great film for friends and family.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw, voice) is a rare breed of bear that travels all alone to London. He wants to find a home after his is destroyed. While there, he discovers that it's not what he expects, but finds a family that's willing to take him in and look after him for just a little while. This is when everyone's adventure begins.

Paddington is so outgoing and adorable. You can't help but love this bear. He has an innocent way about him, but still is a little mischievous and gets into trouble. His visual effects and fur looks very real and life-like. Nicole Kidman's character (Millicent) is very determined to add Paddington to her collection of stuffed animals. She will stop at nothing to get him. She's fierce, frightening and intimidating. I love the story line, humor, and definitely the action. I liked that the climax of this film is very unpredictable and shocks the audience. My favorite character would have to be Paddington. He truly thinks of the wellbeing of others and his curiosity is adorable. He reminds you of a child learning new things. A scene that I would call my favorite is when Paddington tries to return a wallet to a man that dropped out of his packet while walking out of an antique shop. Paddington chases him, trying to get the wallet to him. Finally he catches up with the man by falling on him from the air. When he falls on the man they both tumble down and about 30 wallets fall out of the man's coat. Paddington catches a pickpocket and ends up in the paper on his first day in London. It's a very comical scene that makes the audience crack up.

One of the messages of this film is that families are not just made up by the people who are related to us, but friends and even animals can be a part of our family.

I recommend Paddington for ages 8 to 16. However it's great for the whole family and anyone who loves Bears. It's rated PG and there's nothing really you would need to look out for.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's a great film that makes you feel good.

Paddington arrives in theaters on January 16th, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From the producers of the Harry Potter franchise comes another children's film that many families will love for its humor, storyline, special effects and of course - the Bear! Paddington will be loved by families everywhere.

This movie has a nice core of humor with an intriguing story that is not only intense, but lighthearted too. Breathtaking special effects, animation and a strong feel of adventure round out the show.

The story starts when a very intelligent family of bears is sadly separated. An earthquake happens and the aunt must send her young nephew to London for a better home. After arriving in London, this young bear is taken in by a family but immediately starts running into challenges of fitting in to the human world.

This film is wonderful. I love the cast - lots of talented and wonderful people. Ben Wishaw plays the voice of Paddington and is excellent at making his character seem adorable and innocent, yet smart and caring at the same time. The humor is off-the-charts amazing and the camera angles and shots are one-of-a-kind. Some shots I could not get over and had to watch again and again.

My favorite scene is when Paddington tries to say his name to Mr. Brown, who is kind of the father of the family. But, Paddington says it in bear language. When Mr. Brown tries to repeat it, Paddington looks horrified and says, "How Rude!" It is a funny and lighthearted scene and kind of sets the right mood for this funny film.

This film is diffidently meant for kids but adults will enjoy it as well. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 12
Runtime: 95 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COMMUNITY MUSIC, INC.
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 0-2
Topic - Family
Description - Grammy Award-winning musical duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer celebrate 21st century families with this new album of songs and stories. The 15 tracks reflect the diversity of families in the US today, and highlight the idea that families are bound by love. Guest stars include Riders in the Sky, the Savoy Family Cajun Band, The Canote Twins and Kim & Reggie Harris. At the request of Nora Guthrie, Cathy Fink set Woody Guthrie's poem "Howdy Little Newlycome" to music, enlisting Irish super group Cherish the Ladies to perform. The title song reflects the fact that the kitchen is the center of many homes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Dancin' in the Kitchen by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer knocked my socks off so I immediately decided to dance barefoot in the kitchen - great decision. This album is a breath of fresh air that climbs the mountain of rarefied musical integrity and promotes acceptance and tolerance on so many levels. First and foremost, I doff my symbolic cap to a duo that I have admired for so many years for their ultimate musicianship and steadfastness to true North. When you wrangle high-class talent, incorporate brilliant songs and deliver unswerving production values the gestation of your endeavor has value for the ages. Could I break down every song for you? Yes. Could you listen to samples somewhere? Yes. Is my review a teaser? Yes. Are samples a teaser? Yes. Get on up, people! You will not be disappointed or dismayed, this album is special and grabs you from the first downbeat to the last fade-away. XOXO.

This is an exciting and vibrant CD from the first downbeat to the final fade. There is a lot of wonderful music and supporting messages regarding the diversity of families and their makeup.

Cathy and Marcy know how to producer, perform, pace and structure an album. This CD has many guest groups and a wide range of songs that flow seamlessly.

Though topics of divorce, adoption and same gender parents are presented through song, it is never heavy-handed but presented with love and joy. Better learn how to get your dance on! Sit back and enjoy funny word play and stories and a wonderful array of musical sounds. These 15 performances are absolutely top rate. Vocals are spot on and engaging and the musicianship is stellar. The production value is impeccable. Review by John Wood.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This CD by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer is sweet and loving. The title song Dancin' in the Kitchen is very upbeat in a zydeco style. My two birds loved this song. They moved their heads to the beat. It was so funny! My favorite song is Everything Possible. It's very calming and has a sweet message that you can be anything. The two songs Dinnertime Orchestra and Who's in Charge of Naming the Colors are both stories. In I'm my own Grampa, I enjoyed the tune but found the words very strange. Also From Scratch is a sweet lullaby. Most of the songs have amazing lessons to learn about accepting our differences, such as if your family is different or your skin color is different than your friends. I belong to a Family is also very sweet. I recommend this for kids age 2 to 8. I can see a lot younger kids dancing to it. I give this CD four out of five stars because it is fun and a good CD for little kids.

Reviewed by Mia Anderson, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This CD is a good form of entertainment to bring children of this age together. The kids in our group had a good time listening and dancing to the music. Though they are young and distracted, the music brought them right back to dance together. The stories told in the music are simple and their responses to all ones of enjoyment, smiles abound. The children loved the music and had a good time. The music is about families and togetherness and they could relate to that.

The dinnertime orchestra was particularly fun and kids responded to it enthusiastically. They listened intently and danced along. They were too young to sit and listen to the entire thing all at once but wandered off and returned frequently. The pace of the music is perfect, fast enough to be engaging but not frenetic.
Runtime: 35 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.95
Media: AUDIO
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


MAYA THE BEE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAYA THE BEE MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Freshly hatched bee Maya is a little whirlwind and won't follow the rules of the hive. One of these rules is not to trust the hornets that live beyond the meadow. When the Royal Jelly is stolen, the hornets are suspected and Maya is thought to be their accomplice. No one believes that she is the innocent victim and no one will stand by her except for her good-natured and best friend Willy. After a long and eventful journey to the hornets hive Maya and Willy soon discover the true culprit and the two friends finally bond with the other residents of the opulent meadow.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Maya the Bee Movie is one of our new favorites! Maya is an adorable little bee trying to find her place in the world. My children and I were mesmerized from the start. This movie is feature film quality, the voices are all believable, and the story is an adventure worth watching. I personally loved the numerous teaching moments and lessons woven throughout the movie. Themes of being yourself, courage, acceptance, friendship, teamwork, kindness, and creativity are all central to the storyline. I loved having my kids see this little bee refusing to judge others based on appearance, and instead finding best friends in those she was told to judge. Maya has courage to stand up and do the right thing against insurmountable odds. When she feels like she doesn't have a place and doesn't belong, she learns that it's okay to be different and that her differences are needed and valued by others.

Overall, I adored this movie and will show it to my kids again and again. I'm wondering why I've never heard of Maya the Bee before, and I'm hoping we will see more of her in the future.

Reviewed by Karyn A.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Maya the Bee is an incredible animated film, written by Fin Edquist and Marcus Sauermann, directed by Alexs Stadermann. Maya the Bee is a very funny movie. I laughed during many scenes and I also cried during a few scenes. I love the movie because the characters are funny and it teach great lessons throughout the film.

The movie takes place in a bee hive located in a colorful meadow full of beautiful flowers. In the meadow, there are many different types of bugs. Inside of the bee hive, there are lots of worker bees. All of the bees have different jobs and the jobs are assigned by the royal advisor, Buzzlina (Jacki Weaver). For instance, one of the jobs is picking up pollen. Another job is watching the adorable little baby bees. This is also where Maya (Coco Jack Gillies) stays until spring. Maya wants to be independent and explore the hive. She does not like staying with the babies, so she sneaks out when she has the first opportunity. When Maya sneaks out, she causes a lot of chaos within the hive because she is very young and does not know what she is doing. She takes you on a fun and exciting adventure.

The movie is well written. Alexs Stadermann draws out remarkable performances from the voice actors and brings out the best in each character. I love how Coco Jack Gillies expresses Maya's feelings. Jacki Weaver makes the royal advisor, Buzzlina seem so real.

My favorite scene is when Willi (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Maya meet. They seem to like each other from the very beginning. Another favorite part is when there is a battle between the bees and another group of bugs. My least favorite part of the film is when something horrible happens to Maya and she finds out a secret about the queen.

The message of the story is, everyone has a role to play in life. It takes everyone working as a team to get the job done.

The movie is fun, fabulous and family-friendly. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18 as well as adults. I give this movie 5 out of 5 gold stars.

Reviewed by Brooke S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

Maya the Bee Movie is a cute and funny movie! It's about a young little bee named Maya who is very curious and eager to learn about the beehive. As Maya explores the beehive without permission, she asks a bunch of questions. Maya quickly learns that she is completely different from the other bees. She repeatedly finds herself in trouble by Buzzlena, the queen's assistant. As a result, Maya gets banned from the hive. Her friend Willie does not want Maya to be alone, so he leaves the hive and follows her. As Maya and Willie are out in the meadows, they learn that hornets and the other bugs and insects are not as bad as they have been told. While Maya has been banned from the beehive because of her curiosity, Buzzleana devises a plan to harm the Queen so that she can take control of the bees and the hive.

There are several different messages in this movie. The one that stands out the most to me is, "dare to be different." In this movie, the bees have to follow specific rules, specific directions and they must do as they are told. Maya is different and she is told that she does not belong in the beehive. She works hard to find her place among the bees. She learns that she is an important bee in the kingdom and that her voice is important.

My favorite part is when Willie is mad at Maya and decides to fly back to the beehive. Willie is scared of everything. But, when a frog sticks out his tongue to try to capture Willie for dinner, Willie hits the frog's tongue and flies away without looking back. That's pretty impressive for a fearful bee.

My favorite character is Willie. Willie is a very loyal and a true friend. He supports Maya and helps her when she's down and he's not afraid to tell her when she's not right. Willie is also very funny.

Maya and the Bee Movie is a wonderful movie! It has great messages for kids! I recommend this movie for boys and girls ages 5 to 10. I give this movie 3 out of 5 shinning stars!

Reviewed by Kayla Powell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13.

If you enjoy comedy mixed with great animation, then you will love Maya the Bee Movie. Maya is unlike other young bees her age. Instead of following orders, Maya has a mind of her own. For example, instead of staying within the safety of the beehive, Maya decides to go off on her own to visit the surrounding meadow wish she became friends with Flip the grasshopper. At some point, Maya's curiosity led to her finding out that the Royal Advisor to the Queen Bee had stolen the Royal jelly saved especially for the Queen Bee which leads to the Royal Advisor's kicking Maya out of the beehive. At this point, Maya has to survive on her own in the meadow and is soon joined by her close friend Willy who fears for her safety and cannot let Maya be by herself in the mysterious meadow. Together, the two bees become friendly with a variety of other insects and other creatures. Eventually, Maya and Willie learn that the Royal Advisor has stolen the Queen's royal jelly because she was seeking to make war with the hornets. By the end of the movie, Maya, Willy, and their other young hornet friend Buzzy stop the Royal Adviser's evil plans and, after recapturing the royal jelly, bring it back to the Queen who then makes a complete recovery. For her efforts, Maya is appointed as the Hive Ambassador by the Queen Bee and she and Willy are made responsible for observing the meadow and reporting new friends that arrive.

My favorite character in the movie is Maya (Coco Jack Gillies). Maya is easy to relate to for me because she is very much a free spirit, unable to sit still, who always wants to be in on the action. I also enjoyed hearing from Flip the grasshopper. Flip is always able to provide Maya with excellent advice such as telling her to always "bee positive." The scenery is also colorful and beautiful and will be enjoyed by everyone.

My favorite part of the movie is when Maya and Willy are together out in the meadow attending the Jitterbug Hollow Musical Festival. There, they hear different insects playing a large number of musical instruments while Flip the grasshopper sings "It Don't Matter What They Say, Be Yourself Every Day."

This film has many positive messages that apply to younger audiences. For me, the most powerful message of the movie s that a person should be himself and does not need to follow in the footsteps of others. The movie also show the strong bonds of loyalty between Maya and Willy who have to work together in order to stop the Royal Advisers' plans. I also enjoyed the lesson that young people can make a huge difference in this world. In the movie, many grown-up bees and grown-up hornets are prepared to fight to see who would gain control of the meadow. In the end, it is too young bees and one young hornet who save everybody from being destroyed. I give Maya the Bee Movie 5 out of 5 stars. It is a great family movie. I recommend it for ages 4 to 9. I'm 9 and I enjoyed watching this movie and very much appreciated its excellent messages and wonderful music. Maya the Bee Move opens in theaters May 1 and is available on DVD on May 18. It is well worth the cost of buying it for a fun-filled night of family entertainment.

Reviewed by Adam C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 17.99
Media: DVD


HOME

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HOME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: ANIMATED FEATURE, AGES 4-15
Topic - Family
Description - When Oh, a loveable misfit from another planet, lands on Earth and finds himself on the run from his own people, he forms an unlikely friendship with an adventurous girl named Tip who is on a quest of her own. Through a series of comic adventures with Tip, Oh comes to understand that being different and making mistakes is all part of being human. And while he changes her planet and she changes his world, they discover the true meaning of the word HOME.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From Dreamworks comes a new animated feature, Home with an adorable misfit from another planet who lands on Earth, makes friends with the locals and everyone discovers the true meaning of the word Home. Starring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin, this film is filled with music and humor and is perfect for you to share with the younger members of your family. KIDS FIRST! Critics Harmony M. comments, "The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone." Madeline R. adds, "The message of this film is that family is important and it's good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them." See their full reviews and Gerry O's interviews with cast and crew below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From DreamWorks, comes the delightful film Home. The film serves as great entertainment with its loveable characters, hilarious dialogue and feel good tone. The film is about an alien species, called the Boov, that invade planet Earth in an attempt to hide from an evil monster called the Gorg. By doing so, the alien race makes themselves at home and relocates all the humans elsewhere. While all the humans are transported, a young girl named Tip gets left behind and later encounters a Boov named Oh. Oh and Tip join together in search of Tip's mother who got taken away during previous alien invasion. A lot unfolds when Tip's mother is not the only one who needs saving.

It is very enjoyable and even shocking to hear familiar voices in the film such as Jim Parsons who plays Oh, Rihanna who plays Tip, Steve Martin who plays Captain Smek and Jennifer Lopez who plays Lucy. Jim Parsons is delightful as the voice of Oh. They couldn't have chosen a better actor for that role. Oh is an overly friendly, silly, trouble-making, outcast, who not only steals the hearts of the audience with his facial expressions and personality, but also with a voice that fits that perfectly. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will be so pleased to see his character, Sheldon in cartoon form. Home is Rihanna's first role in an animation film. Considering that, her portrayal of the sassy and adventurous Tip are spot on. I find it very unique that the Boovs change colors depending on their emotion, especially because I have not seen that feature in any other type of film. The dialogue is really funny because the Boovs speak with improper grammar which adds a comedic touch that all ages will love. The futuristic technology shown in the movie is fascinating, it will be especially appealing to the younger crowd.

The film is entertaining to watch and one I would enjoy watching again. Although the film is very good, it's not good enough to be a new classic or one that will be very memorable in the long run. It is cute, friendly, very funny, has amazing messages and puts you in a good mood. I recommend this uplifting film to people of all ages, especially between the ages of 5 and 11. Overall, I give the film a 4 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now.

By Harmony M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Home is a new animated family film from Dreamworks. The screenplay was written by Tom Astle and Matt Ember and he film was directed by Tim Johnson.

I love this movie! It is a fun, action-packed adventurous movie the whole family can enjoy together.

Home is about an alien named Oh who runs away from his own people, the Boovs who are trying to hide from the Gorg. He lands on Earth and meets an adorable and feisty girl named Gratuity Tucci, who everyone calls Tip. Oh and Tip form an unlikely friendship and go on an exciting adventure together to find Lucy, Tip's mom.

Home features a star studded cast. Jim Parsons is brilliant as the voice and personality of Oh and Steve Martin is hilarious as the voice of the Captain Smek, the cowardly leader of the Oh's. Rihanna plays the fun, yet determined Tip and Jennifer Lopez plays her sweet Mother, Lucy.

As a special bonus, both superstars perform original songs for the film which adds a lot of emotion and drama. Be sure to listen for Rihanna's new single "Towards the Sun" and Jennifer Lopez's new song "Feel the Light".

The animation is spectacular. I love how Oh and Tip ride in Tip's newly "fixed" car powered by multi-flavored slushis. My favorite scene is when Tip tries to teach Oh jokes to help make him feel better. She does the "Interrupting Cow" Knock Knock joke. It's really funny because it takes him a while to get it!

The message of this film is that family is important and it's good to face your problems or fears instead of running from them. Home is great for families of all ages, especially for families with kids between 4 and 14. I give Home 5 out of 5 stars. I love it and think you will too! Home is in theaters nationwide now.

By Madeline Rose, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


WOMAN IN GOLD

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WOMAN IN GOLD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WEINSTEIN CO, THE
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Maria Altman sought to regain a world famous painting of her aunt plundered by the Nazis during World War II. She did so not just to regain what was rightfully hers, but also to obtain some measure of justice for the death, destruction, and massive art theft perpetrated by the Nazis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film stars Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, who takes on the government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Susana H. comments, "Personally, it has everything I'm looking for - a little bit of action and seriousness and actually has somewhat to do with history, the Holocaust to be exact." Willie J. adds, "I was completely invested. The story is enough to take my heart, for I can easily empathize. Then, there is the performance of Helen Mirren to wrench your heart." See their full reviews below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Woman in Gold, an intriguing and true-life story, is excellent. Personally, it has everything I'm looking for - a little bit of action and seriousness and actually has somewhat to do with history, the Holocaust to be exact. There are very strong characters to play out the story including Rondol Schoenberg or Randy (Ryan Reynolds) and Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), which of course, has to be my favorite character. Even for an older woman, she is so sassy and confident, which I reminded me of myself. What really caught my attention is the writer and director's use of flashbacks throughout the entire movie because we are looking into Maria's past life during the Holocaust. Most of the time, flashbacks in parts of movies can be confusing. It's almost as if they are telling two completely different stories at once. In this case, it's done very well.

Woman in Gold is a true story based on Maria Altmann's experience with the Nazi's cruelty. About 60 years after Maria leaves Vienna, she begins her quest to regain one of her dearest family possessions, which have been taken away by the Nazis. Amongst them is a famous painting entitled Woman In Gold, hence the name of the movie. She meets an untrained, young lawyer and together they fight for what rightfully belongs to Maria. Along their path, they are faced with addressing the Austrian government, which is too stubborn to notice what is right from wrong and the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout her journey she constantly is reminded of her past.

My favorite part definitely has to be from one of the flashbacks. We see the younger Maria and he husband escaping the Nazis and being chased all over town. If you know me, you know I like a bit of action in my movies. They are running to catch a plane to leave Austria. As all of this is taking place, of course, I am holding my breath until they get away and dying to scream when the Nazi officers are right behind them.

The message of this film is to always fight for what you believe is right and never give up. Maria knows those paintings belong to her family and have been forcefully taken away. She knows she has to get them back for the sake of her family's honor and she does so. She has some help along the way but the motivation is all from her. She will fight to the end to secure the paintings along with her trusted partner by her side and, even though she might give up, Randy is there to support her.

I recommend this movie for people of ages 13 to 18 because it is a serious movie and uses a bit of bad language here and there. I give this excellent movie 5, out of 5 stars due to the strong actors and characters and interesting plot. It opens in theaters nationwide April 1.

Reviewed by Susana Hoyos, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15.



KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


FURIOUS 7

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FURIOUS 7       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Dominic Torretto and his crew thought they left the criminal mercenary life behind. They defeated an international terrorist named Owen Shaw and went their seperate ways. But now, Shaw's brother, Deckard Shaw is out killing the crew one by one for revenge. Worse, a Somalian terrorist called Jakarde, and a shady government official called "Mr. Nobody" are both competing to steal a computer terrorism program called God's Eye, that can turn any technological device into a weapon. Torretto must reconvene with his team to stop Shaw and retrieve the God's Eye program while caught in a power struggle between terrorist and the United States government.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is not for the faint-of-heart. It's action is absolutely non-stop and crazy! From dropping cars out of airplanes only to parachute to the ground where they begin their high speed chase through a forest and jump off cliffs. And, that's just the start. I am not an action/adventure genre fan lover but, I have to say, this one really does take the cake. It gets your blood moving. It is certainly not one I would take younger children to, or anyone who might attempt to replicate the decidedly unsafe behaviors displayed. But, for teens and adults who love this type of action, it will satisfy that thirst.

The storyline is pretty simple. The acting pretty rote. The camera work and stunts drive this film. And, of course, it is a tribute to Paul Walker who passed away during the filming of this movie. There are some remarkable scenes when Paul's face is CGI'd in on top of one of his brother's bodies and a simple dedication at the end of the film.

Dwayne Johnson makes almost what you would call a cameo appearance, appearing briefly at the beginning and again, strategically at the end - brining in the Calvary. Diesel and his crew of crime-fighting, car chasing buddies are the focal point of the film along with his squeeze whose memory has lost the details of their romantic past. See it on the big screen. Imax if possible. I did and it was - wow!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This action-packed series returns with another intense and fantastic film and the only way to describe it is amazing - loaded with awesome looking cars, adventures and action scenes. You will not be bored once in its entire 137 minutes. Furious 7, like all the other Fast and Furious films, beats its predecessor.

There is much more to this movie than just action scenes. There is a story with morals and family, for the group is growing up. Nothing can stop that. They are having kids and starting a family. There is also (like the other Fast and the Furious films) some comedy but, not to the point where you don't take the action seriously. All together, it is an adventure.

The story begins when the crew is separated and starting their own lives with jobs, kids and other normal day-to-day things. However, they must stop their peaceful lives (and some are happy about that) when a man named Deckard Shaw seeks revenge for the death of his brother who was a mercenary. So the crew is forced to take him down. Full of cars, action and fantastic rock songs, it is truly a fast and furious experience.

This film is fantastic. Something I have to mention is Paul Walker's job. He played Brian O'Conner who dies in a tragic accident mid-filming. Amazingly, directors and producers were able to use the magic of editing, CGI and doubles. In some scenes, they use Paul's brothers as doubles, putting Paul's face onto the brothers via CGI. They do it so well I hardly even noticed the difference and it felt great to see him as part of the movie and being remembered. The cars are as awesome and as fast as ever with cars ranging from a minivan (yes, a minivan) to a 3.4 million dollar super car that drives through three skyscrapers. This is the longest Fast and the Furious film yet at over two hours. However, I think the length is perfect for this is a massive story to tell. The acting is phenomenal. Jason Statham (Dekard Shaw) plays a great bad guy. I also have to mention how they wrap everything together with transitions that are just amazing, camera shots that are breathtaking and directing that is spot on. It wraps up to be a perfect action packed and fast-paced movie. My favorite scene is when they are trying to get a program, which hacks into anything and tracks someone and can find anything or anyone on Earth in less than an hour. However the program is hidden inside the mechanics of a Lykan Hyper-sport, which is a Middle Eastern car - also considered a super car for its ridiculous speed. This specific model is located in the penthouse of a prince who lives in a tall building with two other towers right next to it. They get the car while a party is going on. However, it's not very sneaky. They have to flee but the only way is out of the building. They drive the car through two of the skyscrapers and jump out at the third one while the car plummets to its destruction. I love this scene because it's intense, action packed, and just plain awesome.

This film is definitely meant for adults. There are adult related jokes, intense action packed scenes, and situations not suitable for younger children. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for a job very well done. Something I liked was how, at the end, the filmmakers surprised us by showing about five minutes of scenes with Paul's character, Conner, as a memorial and also dedicated the entire film to him.

I would like to dedicate my review to Paul as well. Paul, you are missed and the Furious team is never going to be the same without you. Hope you found peace and are racing the coolest cars up there.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Furious 7 is the seventh installment of the Fast and the Furious movie series. This movie is also the last movie to feature leading actor Paul Walker who died last year in a car crash. The movie pays homage to Paul at the end of the movie by having a montage of different clips from the original Fast and the Furious movies with Paul Walker, ultimately leading up to a final message at the end of the movie simply saying, "For Paul."

Furious 7 is an action-packed fun movie with B+ actors all around. It is the perfect summer blockbuster that is released pre-summer. The movie revolves around Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) as he and his crew are hunted down by an angry Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Shaw is the brother of Owen Shaw from Fast and Furious 6, who was defeated by Dominic and his crew.

There is an enormous amount of talent in this movie from Dwayne Johnson playing Luke Hobbs, to Paul Walker playing Brian O'Connor, to Michelle Rodriguez playing Letty Ortiz. Another great thing about this movie is that there is no one location for the movie, as the movie takes place in Los Angeles, London and even in the Middle East.

The action is fantastic, as director James Wan and editor Christian Wagner have created something spectacular for the eyes. Also, the music is superb throughout the entire movie. Musical director Brian Tyler selects great music applicable to every scene and every action, which gives everything a great and awesome flow. I loved seeing Dwayne Johnson perform the Rock Bottom in one of his scenes against Jason Statham. Also, Ronda Rousey's appearance is a personal highlight. However, there are some big lowlights in Furious 7. The dialogue could use some improvement. The story gets stuck due to the dialogue and the actors seem to just throw out one-liners over and over again to fill up time. Also, the fights are too unrealistic. After every brutal fight, the characters have only small bumps and a little bit of blood on their faces, which is completely unrealistic.

Overall, this movie is intended for dudes. I recommend it for guys age 13 to 18 because of how it portrays women, includes lots of cars and lots of fighting.

Reviewed by Brandon Cela, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


LONGEST RIDE, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LONGEST RIDE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on the bestselling novel by master storyteller Nicholas Sparks, THE LONGEST RIDE centers on the star-crossed love affair between Luke, a former champion bull rider looking to make a comeback, and Sophia, a college student who is about to embark upon her dream job in New York City's art world. As conflicting paths and ideals test their relationship, Sophia and Luke make an unexpected and fateful connection with Ira, whose memories of his own decades-long romance with his beloved wife deeply inspire the young couple. Spanning generations and two intertwining love stories, THE LONGEST RIDE explores the challenges and infinite rewards of enduring love.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This new romantic drama is a fantastic mix of adventure and romance. Although it is a romantic film at heart, there are many other aspects that will make everyone find something they like about it. It has a little sparkle of comedy, which makes it entertaining and great story line. There is a true feeling of thrill with a core of adventure and heart-warming discoveries.

The film is about a famous bull rider named Luke Collins who, after one year of recovering from an accident, is back on the bull again trying to make a comeback. At his first match, he has to climb the fence to escape a bull and accidentally throws his hat to a girl named Sofia. They end bumping into each other later and start dating. On the way home from the first date, they rescue a elderly man named Ira from a car on fire. And that's what starts the beautiful double plot story that comes to an unbelievable culmination at the end of the movie.

This film is breathtaking. Produced by the same people that gave the world The Fault In Our Stars, they created something unique by running the two stories in parallel. The director also makes it so each story has vivid colors so you concentrate on specific points and makes you feel like it is a certain time or age which I think is a wonderful idea. The acting is phenomenal and in both stories they fill in each other's gaps making it very entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, even though it is called a romantic drama, I think it is just a heart-warming story that has potential to become a classic.

My favorite scene is when Sofia and Luke meet. You think it is very coincidental which kind of makes it funny. However it's well done and shows how they were meant to be together. I also like it because Sofia, an urban girl who always puts school first, hooks up with Luke, a cowboy (yes, a true cowboy) who lives on a farm and rides bulls. It is completely unexpected. However, when they meet, you see how it can become true.

This film is very mature and has quite a bit of sexuality displayed so, I recommend it for ages 14 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This heartfelt film takes two love stories and combines them into one. Luke (Scott Eastwood) and Sophia (Britt Robertson) are two people with different goals that stay connected after saving an old man, Ira (Alan Alda), from a car accident. Sophia visits Ira in the hospital and reads letters that reveal the history of love and challenge between him and his wife Ruth (Oona Chaplin).

The most investing and romantic tale is Ruth and Ira's which starts in the 1940s. Their story is the highlight of the film. However, the film's greatest aspect is it's downfall. As I listen to Ruth and Ira's tale, I'm captivated by their story and feel wrenched away from the lovers as I am brought back to Luke and Sophia touching story line. I understand the concept is used to connect the two similar love stories, that eventually intertwine. But, the film's main focus is towards Luke and Sophia and I feel the real story is about Ruth and Ira.

Both stories have huge potential for being their own film. At times, it feels as if the film makers force these two stories together to make them work as a whole. I know this script is based on a popular book, by the same name, written by Nicholas Sparks. I also know that a book and a movie are two different things and are perceived in two different ways.

Every actor in this film puts on believable performances. The heart and tender romance between each couple is honest and loving. I love a good romantic film and the couples in this movie are a lovely addition to the world of cinema.

My favorite scene is when Ira is given a simple portrait of his wife's face. Ira and Ruth spent their life together collecting irreplaceable works of art, but this painting reminds him that the true work of art is the life they made together. This is one of the rare times that a film made me cry.

My favorite character is Ira (Alan Alda and Jack Huston). Both Jack and Alan's performances are outstanding. Jack, who plays the young version of Ira, shows the supportive loving husband. Alan, who plays the older Ira, starts out as a bitter old man but, as he shares his story with Sophia, he becomes more open. Both performances make for one great character.

There are many morals in this movie. The one that stands out to me is, "Focus on the things you have, rather than the things you don't." Ruth and Ira try everything to have children, but can't. They're distraught, but remember they have each other and that's enough.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 14 through 18-year-olds. There are sensual scenes and partial nudity in the film that are inappropriate for younger kids, but it's a memorable film for couples ages teen through adult. There's plenty of love and passion to makes this a another great romance film. This can be seen in theaters April 10th.

Reviewed by Keefer Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


INSURGENT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INSURGENT       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. Directed by Robert Schwentke, Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Theo James.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The highly anticipated film Insurgent opens this weekend and, from our KIDS FIRST! Critics comments, you won't be disappointed. This second film from the Divergent series shows how Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Brianna B. comments, "Insurgent has a strong message about choices. The choices you make affects what will happen later in your life, so you should always try to make the right choice." See her full review below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This second installment of the Divergent series is an action packed film with a great display of emotions from the entire cast. It's intense and, at times, a little touching. I truly enjoyed viewing it.

War is now full-fledged between the Factions. Tris (Shailene Woodley), as a Divergent, has to continue to battle the guilt of her past shame and her enemies while trying to figure out who her true allies are. Many secrets are uncovered and trust is indeed tested between everyone.

Insurgent is filled with great scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat and your eyes glued to the big screen. The little sparks of pure creativity in presenting this adaptation is refreshing and satisfying with the CGI, stunts and different camera angles. My favorite character is Tobias (Theo James), aka Four. I can clearly see how much he loves and wants to protect Tris. His eyes tell the whole story of how much he cares and truly adores her. Even though some of the decisions aren't the best, he still stands by her. There are a ton of great scenes in Insurgent. However, my favorite scene is when Tris finds herself connected to one of Jeanine Matthew's (Kate Winslet) simulators. The cinematography and the special effects are outstanding and Shailene Woodley's acting in this scene is phenomenal. I loved seeing it in IMAX. The picture is definitely bigger, has higher quality and the sound is all around me, feeling so real.

Insurgent also stars Jai Courtney (Eric), Ansel Elgort (Caleb) and Octavia Spencer (Johanna). They embody their characters fully and their acting performances are truly incredible. They really feed off of one another and look so natural.

Insurgent has a strong message about choices. The choices you make affects what will happen later in your life, so you should always try to make the right choice. You can make the wrong choice or the right one, but either one has a consequence.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. It's rated PG -13 for some intense violence and heavy action throughout the film. I give Insurgent 5 out of 5 stars. It's action packed, easy to follow along and a joy to watch with all the special effects.

Make the right choice and see Insurgent in theaters on March 20th, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - In 1930s Austria, a young woman named Maria is failing miserably in her attempts to become a nun. When the widower, Navy captain Georg Von Trapp writes to the convent asking for a governess that can handle his seven mischievous children, Maria is given the job. The Captain is often away and runs the household as strictly as he does the ships he sails on. The children are unhappy and resentful of the governesses that their father hires and have managed to run each of them off. When Maria arrives, she is met with the same hostility, but her kindness, understanding, and sense of fun soon draws them to her and brings some much-needed joy into all their lives -- including the Captain's. Eventually he and Maria find themselves falling in love, even though Georg is already engaged to a Baroness and Maria is still a postulant. The romance makes them both start questioning the decisions they have made. Their personal conflicts soon become history in this multiple award-winning film celebrating its 50th anniversary this year (2015).

Starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker. Directed by Robert Wise. From the stage musical with music and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I remember the year this film came out (1965). It was all the rage and everyone ran around singing the wonderful songs. Julie Andrews became a household name that held her fast in our hearts. This film today, still enchants. Based on the real live story of the Von Trapp family and their escape from Nazi Germany, it is a classic in many ways.

The bonus features on this 50th anniversary meditation will be a plus for filmophiles who will enjoy the audio commentary by Ms. Andrews, Mr.. Plummer and director Mr. Wise. The restoration of the real-life Von Trapp family, the screen tests, sing along track - all well thought out and presented. Thank you Fox for your thoughtfulness in presenting this special edition.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The 50th Anniversary Edition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a must-have for every family. This 5-disc DVD set includes the movie in HD and standard definition, a new 60 minute documentary called The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg and lots of other special features.

The Sound of Music is the best family film of all time because it brings everyone together with its great, true-life story of the Von Trapp family. The songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein are all wonderful and unforgettable. Each song is a masterpiece. Some might think Frozen is an amazing movie musical, but Rodger and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a million times better! The quality of the song writing just cannot be compared with anything else.

The Sound of Music stars Julie Andrews as Maria, a young Austrian woman who is training to be a nun at a monastery. Christopher Plummer stars as Captain Von Trapp, a wealthy Austrian naval captain who hires Maria as governess to his seven children. It was directed by Robert Wise. It won five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

The documentary, The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg, which is included in this 50th anniversary DVD edition, is informative and revealing. We go behind-the-scenes to visit the original locations in the film: the monastery, the Cathedral, the Von Trapp estate (which is really a classical music school) and a 100-year-old marionette theater which was the inspiration for the puppet scene in the film. It is wonderful to see Julie Andrews so excited about coming back and visiting the film's locations after 50 years.

For those who love the songs, the 50th Anniversary DVD Edition also includes the original soundtrack from the film. And there are lots of other bonus material, such as Music Machine Sing-Along; Audio Commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Director Robert Wise; A City of Song--Virtual Map of Filming Locations in Salzburg, Austria; Vintage Rodgers and Hammerstein and The Sound of Music programs; and more.

The Sound of Music is appropriate for all ages. The documentary, The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg is appropriate for those ages 10 to 18. I rate this new DVD set 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton Pickard, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15
Runtime: 174 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.98
Media: Video and DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


CINDERELLA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Topic - Family
Description - When her father unexpectedly passes away, young Ella finds herself at the mercy of her cruel stepmother and her daughters. Never one to give up hope, Ella's fortunes begin to change after meeting a dashing stranger. Starring Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Richard Madden. Directed by Kenneth Branagh
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This much anticipated live action feature from Disney does not disappoint. The sets, locations and costumes are absolutely stunning. Cate Blanchett shines as the evil stepmother who can turn on the charm when she wants to. Lily James as the innocent Cinderella truly exemplifies kindness, a theme of the film. Richard Madden as The Prince also holds up. He is good-looking, kind-hearted and drawn to Ella because of her extreme honesty and her ability to live by what she believes in. The step sisters, played by Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger are truly a hoot. Their antics are more humorous than evil but they get the point across. As their mother says, they are just plain stupid.

Branagh's direction is as delightful as when he directed Much Ado About Nothing. He takes a well-known take and puts an entirely new spin on it. Well done Mr. Branagh. Filmed at various locations in Buckinghamshire, England, it wreaks of Old English architecture and detail.

And, one more thing - even my husband liked this! And he is usually only a fan of fast-paced action films. Much to my surprise, he raved about it afterwards.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cinderella is a beautiful classic fairytale. This modern rendition is powerful with a great cast that will keep you entertained. It's simply stunning!

After her father's death, Cinderella (Lily James) lives under the guardianship and authority of her wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett). She becomes the servant of the house and is the subject of the family's ridicule and unkindness. When she meets a stranger in the woods Cinderella is unaware that she is talking to The Prince (Richard Madden) and this classic fairytale continues.

Cinderella's cinematography is flawless. It has elaborate costumes and the glass slippers are outstanding. You are in awe of how spectacular they look when you first see them. The set has such a majestic feel to it and it draws you in entirely as the plot develops. I especially like the special effects when the Fairy Godmother is preparing Cinderella for ball. It has a lot of excitement and anticipation. The chemistry and romance between the two main characters is incredible. It feels as though they are made for each other. Even though I know the plotline to this classic fairy tale it is nice to see it with slightly a different take.

My favorite scene is when Cinderella meets her Fairy Godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) for the very first time. The Godmother transitions from an ugly, dreadful old woman to a beautiful goddess. This scene has some humor and a well-know, message to never judge a book by its cover. My favorite character has to be the Fairy Godmother. She is surprisingly funny and has a very big part in the story.

Director, Kenneth Branagh, directs this classic fairy tale with great artistry and dramatic characteristics. The cast, design and the creative aspects of this film is wonderfully place together.

Always be kind. A message that's very evident in this film. Being kind can change someone's day for the better. The younger you learn this message the better.

I recommend Cinderella for ages 8 to 18. Also, I'm sure a lot of adults will enjoy this film as well. Anyone who loves fairy tales, this is your film and you will love it. I give this beautiful film 5 out of 5 stars. It's wonderful and beautifully made. Cinderella is in now so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BIG BLOCK SINGSONG,  VOLUME ONE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BIG BLOCK SINGSONG, VOLUME ONE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GODDARD/BROWN
Series: DVD, AGES 0-2
Topic - Family
Description - The DVD features animated Big Block Singsong music videos. This is a fun and entertaining animated musical short format series which currently airs on the CBC in Canada, Disney Junior in the US and Nick Jr. in the UK, among other international networks. Season 2 music videos debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior TV in May, and they already air on CBC TV in Canada. For more info, go to www.bigblocksingsong.com. "Season 2" episodes will debut on Disney Junior in May. www.bigblocksingsong.com
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Who knew that being so square could be so cool! Big Block Singsong is a terrific musical, visual DVD romp. Creators Warren Brown and Adam Goddard have hit the creative mother load here - what seems so simple is so deceiving in its well-designed construction - the 'simple' individual block characters sing a two-minute nicely produced song that covers subjects from noses and hair to emotions of sadness and happiness, so you see the sky's the limit, or not. Two of my favorite pieces are 'Octopus' who is so proud of his eight legs and 'Moose' who touts the joys of visiting the park. If I was a betting man I'd bet you couldn't watch just one, could you, I bet not.

This might be the best invention since the Wheel! Simplicity and cleverness of design mixed with catchy songs and melodies. Great to look at and fun to hear. I'm 65 and mesmerized ... the colors and movement will entrance toddlers while adults will get the in-jokes.

Each two-minute animated song is a complete story and true to its mission of making what might be a mundane single word into a revelation that being so square could be so cool. I love that some of the lyrics are above the head of the little ones. It doesn't matter because the visual and audio support each other so well.

The songs are positive and supportive and applaud individualism and uniqueness. I bet this DVD will get worn out from repeat viewings!

The DVD cover shows the diversity of each character, an animated block that is colorful, very fun-looking and inviting. The technical features are all sound but the joy is letting each of the 24 segments play through. Cool!

The entertainment value is topnotch - colorful and unique animation coupled with a creative two minute song on a theme such as monkey, spider, robot, ears, moose and similar.

Bet you can't watch just one! The characters and songs are all so engaging that the children will learn while being highly entertained.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The kids really liked this program. They watched it with interest and they were excited for each next song to begin. They laughed and jumped around during the song about hair. We watched it in two sessions because it was a little long for them to watch in one session. They lost interest halfway through but came back excited about it again later. They loved the different colors of the blocks and were interacting and discussing the songs with each other.

"It's big music!" "My favorite part was the hair person that had hair all over her eyebrows." "We liked everything." "We liked that it said, oh yeah!"

They really liked the format of short, fun songs, laughed hysterically at the hair song. The baby had his eyes open really big. They also liked the space song. Thought it was really cool.

"We learned about colors, fruit and flamingos. The owl looked so mean." They were loud and enthusiastic about each new song. The baby cooed at the fruit song. Very enjoyable for all, ages 4 months to 5 years.
Runtime: 48 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 1-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: DVD


SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED
PBS - THIRTEEN/WNET
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - Like the first series, the second installment of "Shakespeare Uncovered" combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of its celebrated hosts - Hugh Bonneville, Kim Cattrall, Joseph Fiennes, Morgan Freeman, David Harewood, and Christopher Plummer - to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare's greatest plays.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Series 2 Shakespeare Uncovered is insightful and interesting. These documentaries include history, biography and the real stories behind the famous plays. What makes it even more intriguing is the narration and personal passions of the six celebrity hosts. A Midsummer Night's Dream with Hugh Bonneville, Kind Lear with Christopher Plummer, Othello with David Harewood, Antony and Cleopatra with Kim Cattrall, Romeo and Juliet with Joseph Fiennes and my favorite, The Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman. The Analysis and descriptions given through out the DVDs are my favorite part. Even if you have seen all of the plays, you will learn something new. I am familiar with the plays and I learned a great deal about really comprehending and understanding the story lines and the characters. If you aren't familiar with the plays, you will be motivated to see them all. You really learn about the true history of each Shakespeare play and really get to appreciate the characters and understand them. The personal passion of each of the six films really shines through because the Hosts also seem to be passionate about the films.There is a simple Scene Selection, Set Up and there are no other special features but the DVD series truly is a special feature. I give this one 5 stars!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming
Runtime: 360 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99
Media: Video and DVD


DUFF, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DUFF, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The comedic movie, The Duff, is hilarious, relatable and worth watching. The film is about high-school senior Bianca, played by Mae Whitman, who finds out that she is the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) of her attractive group of friends. Determined to change her DUFF image and impress her crush Toby, she turns to her popular neighbor Wesley Rush, played by Robbie Amell, to give her a complete makeover. Through her journey of transformation, she gains self confidence and shows the school that everybody is a DUFF. Not only do I enjoy that the movie starts off fast, but I really like that it starts with a cool, graphic newspaper clip that explains high school and the different types of people in high school. Being a high school student myself, I was really surprised at how relatable the movie is, especially to today's generation of teenagers. It doesn't just portray the generic, stereotypical high school student that is so outdated. The movie has a lot of familiar celebrity stars that I enjoyed seeing. The performances by Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Allison Janney and Ken Jeong are especially hilarious and very entertaining.

The movie is hilarious, yet deep. Most comedy movies are really funny, yet pointless or lack an overall message. I laughed so often and even shed a tear in a heartfelt scene. The facial expressions are priceless and memorable. I respect this film for being extremely funny while also having a deep, motivational moral lesson and theme. I enjoyed the plot and moral of the story as much the comedy. The movie has a lot of references that are very comical. One example is an episode of the Simpsons that the movie shows. The movie also has really entertaining graphics that make the movie even more unique, some of this include labels and an interactive screen effect.

This film is one I will watch multiple times and tell my friends to watch, yet I do not recommend it as a family movie. The film may be inappropriate for children under the age of 13 due to inappropriate language and actions. I definitely recommend the movie for teenagers in high school, especially girls. I recommend the movie to ages between 13 and 18. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. Check it out coming to theatres on February 20th! Reviewed by Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


GIRL LIKE HER, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GIRL LIKE HER, A       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURE 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - 16-year-old Jessica Burns has a secret that she's afraid to share with anyone - except her best friend, Brian Slater. For the past year she's been victimized by another girl - her former friend, Avery Keller, one of South Brookdale High School's most popular and beautiful students. What can you do when the world sees the image of a person but not the reality? With Brian's help and a hidden digital camera, the evidence of Avery's relentless harassment is captured and finally exposed-bringing both girls and their families face to face with the truth. Starring Hunter King, Jimmy Bennett, Lexi Ainsworth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a film that looks like a real, although its not, bullying story. It concentrates on everybody who is affected by it. It shows who does what about it and why. A Girl Like Her can truly show that something may seem so small, can mess up so many people. This movie isn't a romance or comedy or an action packed adventure, quite the contrary. It shows a journey, a drama-filled one. It will not make you laugh. However, it may make you cry. It is about bullying which should not be referred to as a joke.

The story is about a girl named Jessica who goes to one of the best public high schools in the nation. However, after refusing to let her 'friend' cheat on her test, she starts getting bullied. She makes her best friend tell no one of this. But the friend decides something else. He gives her a hidden camera to wear and this documents all the bullying. Soon, she tries to commit suicide and the movie shows the struggle of not only the victim and her family, but everybody - the bystander, the bully, the administration, everybody.

This movie is truly emotional. It is made to look like it is documenting a real story. I didn't even know it was fake till the end! That's how good of a job it is! The acting is truly wonderful. This is the only time I have ever truly hated a character then, felt pity for the character. This is the bully. The director does a wonderful job showing the emotions of characters and proving that bullying isn't just a normal part of life to deal with. It is a serious matter that has killed hundreds of children.

I cannot choose a favorite scene because I would rather that this movie doesn't need to tell people about bullying. My least favorite scene is when the school administration denies the need to institute anti-bullying policies and tries to brush it away as nothing. The school acts like it's nothing and it shows you how quickly a school will put bullying as nothing to be worried for their own benefit.

This film should be seen by everyone over the age of 9. This film shows you that the world isn't always a happy place with sunshine and smiles. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars because it is a wonderful movie and something we all know is taking place. The only thing I would have liked to have seen in this film is a message at the end or beginning saying that this is WRONG and this is no laughing matter. And, they should recommend resources that kids and parents can go to. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12, producer the anti-bullying film, Equation of Life (available on amazon)

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - In a style similar to "Wonders of the African World", Skip Gates will travel to places in Latin America where Africa has touched the continent with lasting cultural results to explore what happens when African and Hispanic worlds meet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
Runtime: 240 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


RUSSELL MADNESS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RUSSELL MADNESS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - This tail-wagging comedy-adventure from the Creators of "Air Bud" and "Air Buddies" stars John Ratzenberger, Will Sasso and Fred Willard. Russell is an undersized but big-hearted terrier who dreams of having a family of his own. After running away from his pet store, Russell gets taken in by The Ferraros, a family desperate to revive their grandfather's pro wrestling arena. That's when they discover their new pet pooch has incredible wrestling skills. With help from his coach, Hunk, a savvy and hilarious monkey, Russell rockets to the top of the pro wrestling world and becomes a famous sports superstar. But when a dishonest promoter double-crosses the Ferraros, Russell will face his biggest challenge and discover that the strongest tag team is family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is hilarious, adventurous and much more! It will appeal to kids as well as adults and has a very unique idea. Russell Madness is a perfect family story that will be enjoyed by many. Russell Madness has a feel of comedy with a wrap-around of family ties, while still having a core of wrestling and a little sprinkle of suspense.

The story starts when a family moves back to Oregon to take over an old wrestling ring which belonged to the family for a long time. It is a bit run down, but a new generation opens it back up. Then, during a first match, something very interesting happens. A dog named Russell (completely by coincidence) comes into the ring where a big tough and strong wrestler is. What happens next is absolutely unexpected and surprising.

This film is stupendous! Something I really like about it is that Russell's coach is a monkey named Hunk. And yes, it is a talking monkey, played by a very smart and adorable monkey named Crystal, except for the talking parts of course, which I think is a great and smart idea. The acting is wonderful and the whole film has that perfect amount of cheesiness, cuteness and positivity to make it a wonderful family film. Also, the jokes are original and hilarious.

My favorite scene is about the family's first encounter with Hunk. Hunk tells them to take in Russell as a family dog and offers to train Russell to be a wrestler. But, his price is many things doing with bananas. It is funny and an important scene in the movie.

I recommend for kids ages 5 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic acting, production, directing, and unbelievable animal training. Don't miss it when it comes out March 10, 2015. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

Watching a movie with talking animals that do athletic activities makes me feel nostalgic, especially that movie is made by the same people that made the movie that gives me nostalgia: Air Bud. When I was younger, I remember watching Air Bud and wanting a dog like that. But after watching Russell Madness, I experienced that same feeling all over again.

Russell Madness is about a Russell terrier named Russell (very punny) that meets a family, the Ferraros, that just so happen to have recently gained the ownership of a vintage wrestling arena from their grandfather. At this arena he meets a monkey named Hunk. Russell seems to be a timid dog, but once Hunk begins to train him he becomes a world class wrestler. On the way to stardom, he gains the love of his new family and this is something that he has longed for. However, as his popularity grows, he runs into bigger opponents.

It was great to be able to watch a different storyline that involves animals. I think that so many movies have the same plot, one way or another. However, Russell Madness brings a completely different story and uses it to its advantage. It is also perfectly executed with good actors and great dialogue. I enjoyed the small jokes here and there. While some jokes are aimed at the younger kids, they do include some jokes for the older kids and adults. I really enjoyed seeing the wrestling dog but I think that actors that played the wrestlers could have been much better. Some of the extras looked slightly out of place and that was little distracting. The cinematography is good. I enjoyed the different angles that the movie is filmed from. In some cases, the camera is low to show that the animals are talking and their point of view is different than that of people.

This movie brings back a lot of memories from my childhood. Russell Madness looks like its going to leave a mark in a new generation of children just like Air Bud did for me. This can also rekindle the flame that was lit by Air Bud for older kids and even for adults. I recommend this movie to kids from the age of 5 to 16, because it is a heart-warming story that kids of any age can enjoy. I give this movie a rating of 4 out of 5 stars and I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did.

Reviewed by Jorge Lopez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 22.98
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Return to Pixie Hollow for a heartwarming adventure, Disney's TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVER BEAST. An ancient myth of a massive creature sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, an animal fairy who's not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this creature is not welcome in Pixie Hollow -- and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast, who they fear will destroy their home. Fawn must convince her fairy friends to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast. This thrilling action-adventure roars to life with never-before-seen bonus extras on Disney Blu-ray and DVD.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is an adventurous movie about Tinker Bell and her good friend Fawn, (Ginnifer Goodwin) an animal fairy with a big heart and an adventurous mind. As Fawn is flying through the forest, she notices a mysterious cave and hears a weird sound coming from inside. Fawn immediately flies inside the cave to see what is happening. Fawn discovers a mysterious creature that no one knows anything about. She begins to observe the creature and notices he does a lot of strange things. Fawn names him Gruff. Nyx and the other fairies try to capture the big green-eyed beast because they fear he will bring harm and danger to Pixie Hollow. Fawn tries her best to convince Tink, Nyx and their scout friends and fairies not to harm Gruff.

My favorite character is Nyx (Rosario Dawson). Nyx is apart of the Scout fairies. She protects the fairies in Pixie Hollow and tries to get rid of anything that would harm them. Nyx is very cool, confident and strong. She likes to get her job done.

My favorite scene is when Fawn tries to help Gruff hide from Nyx and the other fairies. As Fawn tries to hide Gruff in a secret place, he lets out a very loud and big sneeze and he sneezes on all the other fairies. It is really funny.

The message of this movie is not to judge people. Gruff is a creature that only wakes up every 1000 years for a special task. Everyone in Pixie Hallow thinks he is a bad beast. He is actually a nice creature.

The DVD/Blue-Ray combo has bonus features which include never before seen bonus extras, access to cool computer games, five ingredients to getting Gruff, The True Story of the NeverBeast and so much more!

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast is a fabulous movie. It will be available on DVD/Blue-Ray/Digital on March 3, 2015. I recommend it for boys and girls ages 3 to 10. I give this move 5 out of 5 shinning stars. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kendyl Powell, age 13
Runtime: 76 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 36.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, who wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery. During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Come along with Upton as he unravels another mystery in Ship Shape.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

This story is one of many from the Upton Charles - Dog Detective series, a series about a mystery-solving dog, a white fluffy Bichon Frize, who is a cute as can be, judging from the illustrations. Besides solving mysteries, Upton Charles can tell time (sort of), hates dry dog food and, of course, talk to us which allows him to tell about all his adventures.

The black and white illustrations are lovingly drawn and give us insight into what Upton's family is like. This adventure has Upton Charles and his family trying to solve the case of the missing boat, a 27 foot Wyman motor cruiser, from the boat show. As Upton shares his thought processes with us, we follow his logic in solving the crime. We learn about cool stuff such as how tire prints are like finger prints. Upton exerts his way upon the humans by his adept non-verbal communication and winds his way into your heart. He discovered a cat in the midst of the investigation who appears to have joined the motley group. Just when you think the mystery is solved, it takes a bit of an unexpected twist leaving us with newfound appreciation for the fine art of detecting.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a mystery novel with a little twist. It is from the prospective of an intelligent dog named Upton Charles. This book will make you laugh and wonder who is the culprit in the mystery. Upton Charles, Dog Detective: Ship Shape is a wonderful book that will be admired by both mystery and animal lovers.

This is a mystery story at heart, of course, with that little bit of suspense of who did it! There is also the family feel from Upton's owners which serves as a wonderful addition to the comedy.

I loved this book! It is not hundreds of pages so you feel satisfied when you get to the end. It is the perfect length at around 140 pages. It is a little predictable at times which will make kids love it, but anyone could fall in love with Upton and his family. The book does a wonderful job of showing the prospective of a dog's point of view and we see Upton's special talent. He can solve crimes, but still has dog in him.

This is definitely meant for teens and younger so I give it a age rating of 8 to15. The vocabulary is very basic so it is an easy read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for wonderful writing that made me imagine the text coming to life but enjoying it too.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, Age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99
Media: Book


LEAN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LEAN
OLIVE RANCH ROAD PRODUCTOINS
Series: SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - An older African American man looks back on the traumatic event that changed his life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a charming short film that is well shot and delivers a poignant message.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kevin O'Neill's "Lean" is a good lesson to be taught. For the majority of the film the lesson is taught well, as Kevin's direction is more show than tell. Until the very end. An older man goes onto his front porch and reminisces on the day he fell in love with a young white girl. It is older times so the white girl's mother takes her away from him, ruining their perfect day. After the flashback is over, the man goes back inside and holds hands with his wife-presumably the girl from his flashback. And, you can tell by where they live, their love may still not be accepted. They live in what looks like a secluded log cabin out in the country, away from immediate society. They seem to be isolating themselves. I enjoyed the black and white cinematography. I enjoyed it more than usual, knowing he used it to further push color neutrality rather than using it for the sake of using it, or to show the setting was older. The acting was very good by the younger actors, especially since this was a silent film. I appreciate young actors who can do so much emotionally with just their eyes and faces. The score is the guide on the whole journey though. It takes you from beginning to end and keeps your interest. I found that Kevin's pacing went along very well with the music, therefore investing our attention. But, the wonderful first two-thirds of the film is bogged down a little by the end. The ending says, "Children do not see race...love does not see color." Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic message...but we already got that. The ending high angle slow zoom out as we see the older interracial couple would have been fine. There wasn't any need for the spoon feeding at the end. I also found myself asking "why"? Why in that moment, on that day, did the man choose to remember that time? Was it the couple's anniversary? Is she dying? Is he dying? Why did he go out on that porch and live back that life changing day? I would have loved the writing to have addressed that somehow. Lastly, I feel the day itself wasn't emotionally strong enough. They play, she reads to him, she gives him a gift (which is very significant), and then the mom comes. But I felt there was something missing. Perhaps something stronger like a kiss. Or maybe even a montage of their relationship over a period of weeks, because If it weren't for the chemistry the actors' have, I'm afraid the very meat of the film wouldn't have worked. That is why I give this film, 3 out of 5 stars; and I recommend it for anyone 8 and up.
Runtime: 7.5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


MCFARLAND USA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MCFARLAND USA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A cross country coach in a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders. Directed by Niki Caro. Starring Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is definitely a "feel-good" kind of movie. Against all odds, broken down coach White (Kevin Costner) takes a job in McFarland, CA in the central valley. It's the only job he can get since he's been fired one too many times for his bad temper. His wife (Maria Bello) and kids are not thrilled when they arrive but, the town grows on them, and on him. He quickly gets in trouble with the lead football coach for acting against his will and is left on his own, teaching PE. The aha moment is when he realizes that his students, sons of migrant farm workers, are amazing runners and he starts a cross country track team with them.

There's nothing too surprising here since, it's based on a true story of how this track team ends up taking multiple state championships and traveling to foreign countries to compete as well. What is heart-warming is seeing how all this plays out with Costner taking the lead. The cast is comprised of local kids from McFarland along with professional actors and, they train for the film by running 5 miles a day. Pretty impressive.

The side stories - the mom and two daughters falling in love with their community, the 15-year-old having the community gather around her to produce her quinceanara, and how the local parents and business owners warm up to "White" are all good stuff. I particularly enjoyed the ending where they show what happened to the actual kids who are portrayed in this film. Every one of them went on to college, mostly on scholarships and all but one returned to McFarland to teach, coach, and run local businesses. As I said, it's a feel-good kind of movie and a great one to share with your family.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is truly an inspirational story for anyone who watches. McFarland USA will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

McFarland USA will make you cry, laugh and more. It is a compelling film based on a true story that is full of drama and a solid feeling of inspiration. However, there is a hint of comedy to brighten things up and a spice of thrill that will keep you engaged throughout the movie.

The story starts when a family moves to a very poor town in central California called McFarland. Track coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) is a newcomer to a predominately Latino high school in California's Central Valley. He quickly notices that the kids there are faster than he has ever seen and turns the fastest boys into a cross country track team. The movie covers the relationship between the coach and the boys, his relationship with his family and the adventure the boys and the coach go through as they try to win the state cross country championship.

This movie is truly compelling and inspiring. After seeing it I had an urge to do more. It has a fantastic mix between concentrating on the coach's story but also looks at each person on the team, which I think was a fantastic decision. The acting is impressive especially since some of the actors had never even acted before and some of them actually grew up in McFarland.

My favorite scene is when they have a one on one race with another school. Once the two teams start running, the opposing coach starts teasing Coach White. However, after the team's fastest player, Thomas (Carlos Pratts) finishes first, he brings back all that teasing but in a very classy way. I love this scene because it shows that the team was looked down on but they rose above the torment and tease and truly believed in themselves and a better future for themselves.

This film has a lot of mature moments that may be a bit too much for younger kids, so I give it an age rating of 10 to18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for a truly inspiring and fantastic film. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: DVD, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Alexander's day begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by more calamities. Though he finds little sympathy from his family and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him, his mom, dad, brother, and sister all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Starring Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbould as Alexander.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This comedy is based on the best-selling book and is about young Alexander and his horrible day. Alexander only thinks these bad days happen to him but, he learns he is not so alone. This is an entertaining family movie and had my whole family laughing out loud. It actually makes you smile and there are quite a few meaningful lessons in this fun movie. It shows that when things go wrong, you should have courage and should try your best to turn them around. Maybe you won't fix it perfectly but, with courage, you can be proud of who you are. It also shows that there will be some bad days and you don't always have to be positive. The two most meaningful lessons are that family is important especially at the worst of times and as young Alexander states in the movie "You have to have the bad days so you love the good days even more."

The DVD/Blu-ray includes some great extras. My family found them interesting and enjoyable to watch. There are quotes from the actors and the author of the book in "Alexander in Real Life." Both kids and adults will enjoy the "Delightful, Magnificent Bloopers" because they are really funny! There is also a short video called Snappy Crocs and Punchy Roos which is about how Alexander is into the Australian outback. I enjoyed the "Walk About Diary" where you learn that the actor who plays Alexander is actually really from Australia. Last of all, there is a music video of the Vamps performing the song from the movie "Hurricane." A Must-See! I give this one 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a hilarious adventure! Something I like about this film is that although it's a comedy, at the same time, the directors have created a story so it doesn't feel as if it's just one big joke. In my estimation, it is just perfect. This film has a bubble of unique comedy that sends the audience laughing out loud. And, it has a sprinkle of romance packaged with it which makes it a unique story.

The story starts out showing an eleven-(soon to be twelve)-year-old kid who always has bad days while everyone else in his entire family always has perfect days. On the very early morning of his 12th birthday he wishes that his family members would have a bad day. Well they do! And, phew, is it bad!

This film has comedy that isn't just little jokes or things that are commonly seen in lots of normal comedies but, unique and creative comedy that is really funny. The actors are all well suited to their roles and, something I love about this film is that the ending is not easily predictable. Also, the story is created in such a way that the comedy is just a part of the story. The creators managed to get a very important message through to the audience.

My favorite scene is when the sister is under the weather with a common cold but has a play that day. She decides to drink a whole bunch of cough medicine and gets drunk during the play. This part is absolutely hilarious. The entire audience, including me, could not stop laughing during this scene.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a young kid film but not too young. I would recommend for ages 9 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for a great story, fantastic acting and unbelievable comedy!

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is an amazingly funny comedy for the whole family to enjoy. This movie is full of very humorous moments.

This film is about a boy named Alexander who always has awful days but other members of his family have great days; some of those days are even perfect, according to Alexander. On his 12th birthday, he decides to make a birthday sundae and he makes a wish that his family would know and understand the horrible conditions that he has to endure. Unfortunately, the next morning another horrible day begins. Everyone wakes up late, Anthony (Alexander's older brother) wakes up to a pimple and his girlfriend breaks up with him the morning before prom. Emily (Alexander's older sister) gets sick before her play and Trevor (Alexander's baby brother) runs out of diapers. It continues to get worse from there.

The message of this film is everyone will experience bad days; though the bad days will not last long. It is important to really enjoy the good days when they come.

My favorite character is Trevor, Alexander's baby brother. He is simply adorable. He has the cutest and funniest facial expressions at the right moment.

My favorite part is when Trevor starts to eat the ink from the marker. It is funny because no one notices him. Once the adults realize Trevor is eating the marker it is funny watching them try to wash it off and unfortunately, they learn it's a bit of a challenge to get the marker off.

The actors Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner and Ed Oxenbaould are all simply phenomenal in bringing humor to the film.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day is a fantastic movie for the whole family. I highly recommend it for boys and girls ages 9-18 and I give it 5 out of 5 shinning stars. You can watch Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day in a movie theater near you, October 10, 2014.

Reviewed by Kendyl Powell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 36.99
Media: FeatureFilm
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


HUMPBACK WHALES

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HUMPBACK WHALES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MACGILLIVRAY FREEMAN FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Narrated by two-time Golden Globe� nominee Ewan McGregor, Humpback Whales is an extraordinary journey into the mysterious world of one of nature's most awe-inspiring marine mammals. Set in the spectacular waters of Alaska, Hawaii and the remote islands of Tonga, this ocean adventure offers audiences an up-close look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young. Captured for the first time with IMAX� 3D cameras, and found in every ocean on earth, humpbacks were nearly driven to extinction 50 years ago, but today are making a slow but remarkable recovery. Join a team of researchers as they unlock the secrets of the humpback and find out why humpbacks are the most acrobatic of all whales, why they sing their haunting songs, and why these intelligent, 55-foot, 50-ton animals migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you enjoy seeing a documentary movie that will educate, inspire and amaze you than you will love MacGillivray Freeman's Humpback Whales. I learned more about the humpback whale than if I had studied this unit in school for a month!

This forty minute, large format documentary on humpback whales tags along with leading whale researchers using new methods to see what the humpback whales do when no one's watching them.

The documentary follows the whales to the tropical kingdom of Tonga, to summertime in Alaska and then to the warm waters of Hawaii. The audience has a chance to follow the humpback whales migration, while experiencing their incredible songs and underwater acrobatics.

One unique thing among humpback males is the singing that they engage in. In fact, the recordings of whale songs are what helped save the humpback whales from extinction as people became interested in the animals who could make these beautiful and unique sounds.

The humpback whales do cooperative food gathering. It is known as "bubble net fishing" in which they work together to release bubbles and loud "feeding calls" to herd and trap herring. This makes it easier for them to gulp the herring or krill in large quantities because they can eat up to two tons of food a day.

My favorite part of the movie was seeing and learning about the different researchers who have spent their lives studying the humpback whales. One scene showing the males circling a female whale in an effort to mate is usually seen once every ten years. Nobody has ever seen the humpback whale actually mate so there are many unanswered questions surrounding this aspect of the humpback whales.

Ewan McGregor narrates with a sense of wonder that inspires us to want to know as much as possible about the humpback whales. The upbeat music throughout the movie peaks our interest and curiosity about these extraordinary creatures.

The film teaches us to admire and appreciate the complexities and sheer beauty of the humpback whales. We also see how a whale is rescued when it becomes entangled in life-threatening fishing gear. This rescue requires a lot of skill and understanding of how to free the whale while the rescuers stay safe. We learn the important things we must ensure so that they do not become extinct. We must never again have a whaling industry, have safer fishing gear, less trash in the ocean and take precautions not to have collisions between ships and whales.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adam Chernick, 9, KIDS FIRST! Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


1001 NIGHTS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
1001 NIGHTS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BIG BAD BOO STUDIO
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - 1001 Nights is an animated show that brings the famed 1001 Arabian Nights to the screen. You've heard of Sinbad, Aladdin, and Ali Baba? You've got 998 more stories to go! Join the heroine, Shahrzad, as she weaves tales of adventure, intrigue, and excitement!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - 1001 Nights really wasn't exactly what I had expected from the theme song but this series is entertaining, engaging and appropriate for ages 7 to 12. There are beneficial social lessons children will learn from watching this series such as all actions have consequences or that rules need to be reinforced. The characters are fun to watch and the story lines are easy to follow because they flow well. The most important thing is that these shows will motivate children to think before they act. Maybe they will think before they make fun of someone. Maybe they will realize there are consequences to their actions. The series makes it a fun way to learn these important social lessons.

The shows have appealing characters, there is humor and each show has a lesson to be learned. The animation is also fun to watch and eye catching. The series is also available in a variety of different languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Persian and Urdu. The one thing that may be a slight drawback is that it is slightly difficult to find out all the names of the characters and remember their names. The theme song expresses that there will be adventures and many thrills. Two of the shows didn't seem to go along with the song.

The shows flow well and are easy to follow. They make sense and each starts with a problem of some type and then a story is told and a lesson is learned. All actions have consequences, rules are rules and should be followed. For example, in the first episode, The Joke's on You, the young prankster needs to learn that there are consequences for his joking/pranking behavior. He learns that if you play a practical joke on someone that you need to be prepared that someone will play one back on you. The consequences definitely do not go undetected.

It is visually appealing. The characters and the animation are eye-catching and entertaining. There are bright colors and it is simply fun to watch. The theme song is delightful but I'm not sure it's a perfect fit for the show. There seems to be lots of adventures in the stories but there are more lessons than adventures and thrills. It is action packed at times.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated comedy series, 1001 Nights, is playfully exciting and keeps it fun for young viewers. Based on the classic stories from Arabic literature, 1001 Nights, is humorous and educational. The series was nominated for 13 Leo awards and won 4. It won Best Screenwriting in an Animation program or series in 2012 and 2013 and won Best Animation Program or Series in 2012.

In Episode 3:Sinbad and the Valley of Serpents, a porter, Sinbad, comes to the palace and accidentally drops all the fruit in front of the Queen. The Queen asks if he's ok and he tells her he hates his job as a porter. She asks him why he doesn't get a new job and he tells her he's too poor and untrained. The Queen tells him the story of another Sinbad who started out as a poor fellow but became a rich merchant due to perseverance and intelligence. The rest of the episode is an adventure about how ancient Sinbad became rich through tenacity and keen wits. It is told in a funny, light, exciting way. There's a serpent, treasure, huge rooks and a whale!

1001 Nights was produced by Big Bad Boo Productions, from Vancouver, Canada. They are the production company that did Mixed Nuts which airs on PBS. Chad Van De Keere and Mike Myhre are the two main animation executives on the series. Mr. Van De Keere also worked on Being Ian (TV Series), Ren and Stimpy and Madeline: My Fair Madeline (TV movie). Mr. Myhre work on Monster High (TV Series) and George of the Jungle (2007 TV series).

1001 Nights grabs you in with its wonderful short stories based on tales from the classic book. In each episode it is the Queen, Shahrzad, who tells an ancient tale, just like in the book. So each episode has a story within a story. Each episode also has a gently imparted moral. The members of the Queen's family are always included in the ancient tale in some way. And, there's always a bumbling character, who thinks he's smart and wonderful, but humorously messes everything up. The only thing I didn't like was the animation style. It is flat and uninspiring, like most of Saturday morning animated TV.

Despite its mediocre animation style, 1001 Nights is a good series for kids aged 5-10. The fast-paced storytelling style and the educational elements make it a worthwhile series. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Clayton Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 15.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-13
Suggested Retail Price: $ 0.99
Media: TV


SPONGEBOB MOVIE, THE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPONGEBOB MOVIE, THE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - When a diabolical pirate above the sea steals the secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob and his nemesis Plankton must team up in order to get it back. Starring Tom Kenny, Antonio Banderas, Bill Fagerbakke.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you enjoy seeing a documentary movie that will educate, inspire and amaze you than you will love MacGillivray Freeman's Humpback Whales. I learned more about the humpback whale than if I had studied this unit in school for a month!

This forty minute, large format documentary on humpback whales tags along with leading whale researchers using new methods to see what the humpback whales do when no one's watching them.

The documentary follows the whales to the tropical kingdom of Tonga, to summertime in Alaska and then to the warm waters of Hawaii. The audience has a chance to follow the humpback whales migration, while experiencing their incredible songs and underwater acrobatics.

One unique thing among humpback males is the singing that they engage in. In fact, the recordings of whale songs are what helped save the humpback whales from extinction as people became interested in the animals who could make these beautiful and unique sounds.

The humpback whales do cooperative food gathering. It is known as "bubble net fishing" in which they work together to release bubbles and loud "feeding calls" to herd and trap herring. This makes it easier for them to gulp the herring or krill in large quantities because they can eat up to two tons of food a day.

My favorite part of the movie was seeing and learning about the different researchers who have spent their lives studying the humpback whales. One scene showing the males circling a female whale in an effort to mate is usually seen once every ten years. Nobody has ever seen the humpback whale actually mate so there are many unanswered questions surrounding this aspect of the humpback whales.

Ewan McGregor narrates with a sense of wonder that inspires us to want to know as much as possible about the humpback whales. The upbeat music throughout the movie peaks our interest and curiosity about these extraordinary creatures.

The film teaches us to admire and appreciate the complexities and sheer beauty of the humpback whales. We also see how a whale is rescued when it becomes entangled in life-threatening fishing gear. This rescue requires a lot of skill and understanding of how to free the whale while the rescuers stay safe. We learn the important things we must ensure so that they do not become extinct. We must never again have a whaling industry, have safer fishing gear, less trash in the ocean and take precautions not to have collisions between ships and whales.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adam Chernick, 9, KIDS FIRST! Critic.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


PETRA'S PLANET

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PETRA'S PLANET       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DRAMAFORUM
Series: WEBSITE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Nature
Description - A free to play online virtual world where kids can explore world cultures, create their own avatar, make friends, decorate their room and adopt pet toys to care for. Plus it has lots of games and quests, is COPPA compliant and advertising-free. http://www.petrasplanet.com/
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Petra's Planet is a free and fun virtual world for kids although there are also paid membership options available too. When you sign up, you design your own Avatar and give him a name that is not your real name. (Which is a good thing!) I recommend for ages 6-10. The paid memberships include Premium Pet Toys, Special Clothing, Exclusive Explorer Outfit and a Kipps allowance. Kipps money allows you to make purchases for your Avatar. If you are a member, you can also join dance parties which the older kids will like. There are a lot of fun games and different challenges and it seems quite easy to navigate. You can even chat with other kids which I think the children will enjoy. The best thing is that kids can also learn about other places and people in different countries which also makes this educational. There is also a variety of different things to do on the website so children don't get bored easily. It is entertaining and engaging. The website seems to be a safe interactive and fun place for kids. I would give this 4 stars out of 5.

Petra's planet is a fun and educational website. It is something that any child between the ages of eight and twelve would enjoy. You get to create your own character and build and decorate his or her room. Then the fun begins. Petra's planet has a lot of fun games, challenges and unique ways to explore and learn about the world. You earn tokens by completing the challenges. This allows you to upgrade your character and buy lots of cool things to personalize your space. Any child that is interested in learning about different parts of the world will really find this website fun. It teaches children about the different cultures, animals and cuisines of many different countries and much more. The website is also used for chatting and interacting with other children online. The website is monitored and is secure and safe for children to use. There are three levels of membership so the payment plan is very flexible. Petra's Planet is a great introduction to online virtual realities for kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Petra's Planet is a clever combination of fun and education in a virtual world setting. You can travel to different parts of the world and see new cultures and animals, all in the comfort of your own home. Each time you encounter a new animal you receive a card and it makes for an enjoyable card game. You can play entertaining mini-games where you earn you KIPPs coins that allow you to buy cool clothes for your avatar and your adopted pet. When you're done exploring places like Jordon and Sri Lanka you can relax in your own customizable room. Not only can you do it by yourself, you can also chat with people and make new friends. This allows you to compete in multiplayer mini-games. Petra's Planet will have you exploring, learning, and having a blast. Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

I started playing the FREE online virtual world game Petra's Planet and I am hooked on it.

First you make an avatar which will take you through many adventures as you travel around the world.

The goal is to visit different countries. Each country has various games and quests related to its culture. Animals, sports, clothes and many other tasks are available.

You can play this game on your own or you can invite other avatars to play with you. They will visit your houses, help you with quests or whatever you and your new friends decide to do. There is a mail box to talk to each other. You can write your own messages or use a pop up menu.

Game coins are earned and used for houses, accessories, clothes, pets and other supplies.

Playing can take you an hour or as long as you like depending on how far you would like to get in the game. I have playing for a few days and have enjoyed every minute of it.

The age range is 5 and up. So if you would like to learn about other cultures this is perfect for you. Play, learn and have a great time.

I give this game 5 out of 5 twinkling stars. Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Website


DOWNTON ABBEY, SEASON 5

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOWNTON ABBEY, SEASON 5
PBS KIDS
Series: SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - "Downton Abbey" returns for an epic fifth season of intimately interlaced stories centered on an English country estate - a deliciously entertaining formula that has made it the highest-rated drama in PBS history. Season 5 features returning stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech, Robert James-Collier, Penelope Wilton, Phyllis Logan, Lily James, Brendan Coyle, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Samantha Bond, Ed Speleers, Kevin Doyle, Raquel Cassidy, David Robb, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Daisy Lewis, Douglas Reith, Jeremy Swift, and Andrew Scarborough.

This acclaimed ensemble is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter ("Atonement"), reprising her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan ("Death at a Funeral"), who returns as Lord Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant ("Girls"), Anna Chancellor ("The Hour"), and Rade Sherbedgia ("24").
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Season Five takes off in the year 1924. This series continues with stories centered around the English country estate of the Crawley family. Their lives are intertwined with the lives of their servants in this carefully crafted drams ty Julian Fellowes and this is what makes Downton Abbey so entertaining! Although most of us were not alive in the 1920s, it seems so authentic and makes one feel that you are actually there.

The costumes and settings are so perfectly in tune with the time period. It is filled with secrets and, at times, mini-scandals which is exactly what makes it so compelling to watch. One can hardly wait to find out what would happen in the next episode.

The servants and the wealthy family members live separate lives but they are connected in so many ways and that really makes for great drama and humor.

Although, honesty is not rampant in the series, it does occasionally prove to be the best thing. There are also important lessons such as dealing with change and, for the younger generation, standing up for their principles. It shows how the younger generation has to stand up and express their opinions. Also, there are some social lessons that make this series beneficial.

On the whole, it provides drama-packed entertainment in a unique way due to the influence of the period in which it takes place and also, the connections between the different classes. It has been criticized for presenting the two classes cooperating so well when, in actuality, that was rarely the case.

It shows that people are people no matter what class they come from. We recommend this for older teens and adults, ages 13 to 18 plus adults. And, we give it 5 out of 5 stars for its excellence in production, writing and authenticity. The DVD set includes over 40 minutes of bonus video to see what happens behind the scenes in Season 5.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 522 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 49.99
Media: DVD



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