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DRESSMAKER, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DRESSMAKER, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON.COM
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Topic - Family
Description - A glamorous, worldly dressmaker returns to her small Australian hometown to seek the truth behind her notorious reputation. This dark and quirky comedy stars Academy Award winner Kate Winslet as Tilly Dunnage, who cares for her eccentric mother (Academy Award nominee Judy Davis), schemes with the local sergeant (Hugo Weaving) who has secrets of his own, and falls for local farmer Teddy (Liam Hemsworth). As she starts to unravel her scandalous past, she transforms the town's women with her exquisite creations. Armed with only her sewing machine and haute couture style, Tilly shows she is a force to be reckoned with and that revenge never goes out of style.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow! Best movie ever. This is a complex dramedy mystery. I cried, laughed so hard my side hurt and I picked my jaw up off the ground several times. Jocelyn Moorhouse is an epic director and writer along with her husband P.J. Hogan and I couldn't wait to see what they would do next.

This is what a good drama is all about. It starts with an aerial view over the vast terrain of Australia. It made me feel as if I was going to watch Little House on the Prairie. The fluffy couch seating at Broad Green Pictures made me think this was going to me a quiet drama. Wrong. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. This is definitely an award-winning, must-see movie.

The main characters are played by Kate Winslet (Myrtle Tilly Dunnage) the amazing dressmaker, Liam Hemsworth (Teddy Mc Swiney) the tall drink of cool water hunk, Hugo Weaving (Sergean Farrat) the policeman who loves fashion and fabric and Judy Davis (Molly Dunnage) the mother who can't pass up a drink and is a pick pocket.

Every character in this film an important part in the story. I love all of them. The hunch back Percival Almanac (Barry Otto) can only stop by running into a pillow and will have you holding your sides with laughter. Gertrude 'Trudy' Pratt (Sarah Snook) goes from drab to fab in order the capture the heart of William Beaumont (James MacKay). Beulah Harridiene (Kerry Fox) is the school teacher we all have nightmares about. Evan Pettyman (Shane Bourne), like most of the townspeople, has many secrets. Tilly is out for revenge and to reveals them all. Some of them might not make it out of their lies alive.

Tilly, a Paris educated dressmaker, comes home to check on her mother and to confirm whether or not she is a killer. All the townspeople hate her because she murdered another child when she was a little girl. She wants to know if it is true.

Tilly begins making dresses for the various ladies of the town and tries to extract their memories. Through flash backs she finds pieces of the puzzling mystery. She thinks she is cursed and has given up on relationships. Liam Hemsworth has other ideas. Romance is in the air.

The costume designers, Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson outdid themselves from the sad periodic outfits to the fabulous New York runway dresses. Just picture a small town in the middle of nowhere with dirt roads in the 1950s with half the town walking around like New York Fashion week runway models.

Of course, there are sports in this movie and those are my favorite scenes. Tilly's house is on the top of a hill which serves as the golf range and the town below is the golf course. When the balls fly, look out below.

Tilly is full of girl power and has many assets with which to manipulate the townspeople . Her arrival at a local soccer game, wearing a hot cute red dress to distract the players is shocking to this small quiet town. Then, she changes outfits and distracts the other team, leading the favorite team to victory. I loved this scene.

There is violence and sexual content in this film, but it is minimal. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 as long as they are mature enough to follow a complex drama. I give this film 5 fabulous dresses with golden stars.

By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 118 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


JUNGLE BOOK, THE (DVD/BLU-RAY/DIGITAL)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUNGLE BOOK, THE (DVD/BLU-RAY/DIGITAL)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The man-cub Mowgli flees the jungle after a threat from the tiger Shere Khan. Guided by Bagheera the panther and the bear Baloo, Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery, though he also meets creatures who don't have his best interests at heart. Directed by Jon Favreau. Starring Neel Sethi, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong'o, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Disney steps it up in this reboot of the Rudyard Kipling classic tale. This live-action film with enhanced animated animals stays true to the original story while delivering a big Wow! factor with it's realistic animations. Had it not been for the animals talking, I would have sworn they were real.

A stunning voiceover cast combined with an outstanding score equate to, what I believe, is something that outshines the original class from the 60s. I would have loved to have been a fly inside Jon Favreau's mind as he was generating the concept for this film. The visual effects team also deserves a huge applaud for their incredible work. The casting was straight on. Newcomer Neel Sethi, for whom this is his first feature role delivers a lively and believable performance while charming us with his precociousness and adorable smile. You can hardly ask for better voice over work than what we get from Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as the formidable Shere Khan , Lupita Nyong'o as Raksha and Scarlett Johansson as the seductive Kaa. She and Christopher Walken as King Louis steal the show with their cameo roles. I love this! Can you tell. However, it does have some "scare the pants off you" scenes so, be cautious when determining which child to take with you. It is not for the faint of heart.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed watching the Blu-ray/DVD combo of The Jungle Book about Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who is the only man cub in the jungle. He wants to be a wolf, but in reality he's not. He is raised by wolves and he feels he has a nice life. Then one day Shere Khan (Idris Elba) threatens Mowgli's life. While the wolves argue about whether or not Mowgli should leave for the safety of the pack, Mowgli decides for them and leaves. He ventures out to find the man village. On his way to the man village, he meets many enemies and friends like King Louie (Christopher Walken), Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and Baloo (Bill Murray). What will happen next? Will he make it to the man village? Does Shere Khan catch him? You just have to watch the movie to find out.

What I liked about the bonus features on the Blu-ray disc is a feature called, The Jungle Book Reimagined which shows ideas for the remake of The Jungle Book and Neel Sethi's experience while acting on the set. This shows the relationship between Neel and the director. There is also a bonus audio commentary feature from the director, Jon Favreau, which is great because you get to hear what he was thinking when making the movie. Another added bonus allows you to go to the scene selection and select the scene you want, plus there is a setup feature so you can insert your own settings. There is also a DVD version included and a download code to download a digital copy if you would prefer to use that versus the discs.

What I like about this movie are the CGIs which are so realistic that you think the sets are real because they are so incredibly detailed. The animals look realistic as well and the backgrounds are very intricate. But, as I learned in the Blu-ray feature "I am Mowgli", it shows that it was all done on green screen, which makes this film more incredible because most of it isn't real! The voice acting is superb. Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Christopher Walken and many others truly bring the animals to life with their outstanding voice over work. Speaking about Christopher Walken, another bonus feature is "King Louie's Temple Layer by Layer". It shows you how the "I Wan'na Be Like You" scene was created. It is very interesting to watch how the orchestra, Christopher Walken, the storyboard and green screens worked together to make that sequence. Finally, the music is superb and adds so much more energy and excitement to the movie. It just makes the scenes more interesting than they would be without such compelling music.

What you should know about this film is that there are many intense scenes. Even I jumped out of my seat a few times. This isn't a movie for children below age 9 and is definitely a "know your kid" type of movie. I also didn't like how King Louie doesn't look as friendly as in the original movie. Aside from that, this movie is truly outstanding entertainment.

I recommend this film to kids ages 9 to 18. People who like action, adventure and comedy movies will surely enjoy this. It does have intense scenes and will make you jump but I give it 4 out of 5 stars and love all the bonus features on the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD which is available August 30, 2016.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

Having now see three versions of the Rudyard Kipling classic, I can honestly say that Jon Favreau's 2016 adaptation reigns supreme. I know that may come as a far-fetched opinion for the faithful fans of the 1967 animated classic, but open your mind to the possibility that this version is above the rest.

The darker, more realistic tone of this live-action adventure is a sharp contrast to the lighter tone of the 1967 musical comedy. That may be off-putting to some fans, but once you're swept up in the visual splendor of the movie, the story becomes ever more engaging. Speaking of which, don't be surprised if a few elements of the 1967 version's story aren't in this one or are rearranged.

Jon Favreau gives the story the proper grandeur it deserves. He uses lush art direction and sweeping cinematography to make the story look bigger. Visual effects aside, the aesthetic of the film gets across the monumental stature a family adventure should have. Combine the visuals with the score of John Debney and you'll find beauty and thrills that bring back a child like wonder.

One thing I really appreciate is the way the film treats the animals as characters, not denying them close-ups or treating them as spectacles. They are instead, portrayed as natural beings within the world of the screenplay. It enhances the brilliant voice acting of the cast. Speaking of which, I hope this film can rekindle the campaign to get voice acting a category with the major awards. Idris Elba is perfectly evil. Ben Kingsley and Bill Murray provide such natural and fitting voice work. And, Scarlett Johansson and Christopher Walken steal the show. Their scenes are the highlights of the movie and are easily the most memorable.

This movie is an overall construction of perfect cinematic elements. Disney has hit a grand slam with The Jungle Book as it will be etched in the memories of audiences for decades. I say this film is one of the best films of this decade and maybe even the last ten years.

With that said, I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

After analyzing this film, I really appreciated it because it is family oriented and explores the relationship of a young man. This film made me wonder if something happened to my parents who would take care of me. I love the fact that the animated jungle animals look so real and talk like human beings. This film blends adventure, drama, fantasy and family in an entertaining story. I enjoyed this film because of the way it takes a classic story and turns it into something amazing. Director Jon Favreau's fantastic adaptation of the story and his devotion to the animals cherish exceeded my expectations. The special effects and 3D portrayal of all the animals are breathtakingly awesome.

The story follows the man-cub Mowgli (Neel Sethi) who departs the jungle after a threat from the tiger, Shere Khan (Idris Elba). The panther Bagheera (Ben Kingsley) serves as his protector and keeps him out of harms way until Baloo the Bear (Bill Murray) comes on board and joins the team. Mowgli embarks on a journey of self-discovery and meets creatures along the way who don't have his best interests at heart. The film shows his innocence and you have to respect and honor him.

I loved the scene when Baloo the Bear and Mowgli go to the lake with Mowgli sitting on Baloo's stomach as they float down the river. I really adored this moment because it is hilarious and it reminded me of a special time I spent with my friends in the pool. A bond is formed that you knew could not be broken.

The message of this film is do not ever hold a grudge against someone because of something that happened in the past. Try to make amends because life is too short and precious. Live each moment to the fullest. That is what Mowgli realizes and does. You should always give someone a chance to fit in.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18 because they will definitely be entertained. I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is child friendly, hilarious, exciting and enjoyable it even though some terrifying moments exist. This movie opens in theaters Friday, April 15, 2016 so go check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Tre'ana H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 106 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE BOYS OF 36

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE BOYS OF 36       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - THE BOYS OF '36 is the story of nine working-class young men from the University of Washington who took the rowing world and the nation by storm when they captured the gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. These sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers overcame tremendous hardships - psychological, physical and economic - to beat not only the Ivy League teams of the East Coast but Adolf Hitler's elite German rowers. Their unexpected victory, and the obstacles they overcame to achieve it, gave hope to a nation struggling to emerge from the depths of the Depression.

Featuring interviews with author Daniel James Brown, historians and surviving children of the 1936 Washington team, the program will be available in August on DVD in conjunction with the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 80th anniversary of the miracle crew's triumph.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Boys of '36 takes a look at the lives of nine young men who, against all odds, won a gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Struggling every day just to eat, these boys survived the depression by focusing their sights on success and working day and night to achieve that goal. Being in Berlin and competing against Adolf Hitler's elite German rowing team was just one of many challenges the boys faced. This film is a great model for mental and physical tenacity, sacrifice, redemption, trust and brotherhood. I consider this title more for entertainment value than for educational purposes. The focus is less on the Great Depression and the dynamics of competing in Germany during WWII and more about the individual struggles of the competitors. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, including Adults. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. t's an interesting story for sure! Reviewed by Eli B., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99
Media: DVD


PUP STAR

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PUP STAR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A Yorkshire Terrier, competing in a televised singing competition, is separated from her owner by an opportunist dog pound worker. Starring: Jonathan Mangum, Danny Woodburn and Kaitlyn Maher.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - To make a perfect family-friendly adventure film is a difficult task to achieve. You have to make it both entertaining and kid-friendly while including a positive, preferably inspirational message. Pup Star, the latest installment in the Air Bud series, succeeds in this goal with assistance of wonderful music and fantastic acting.

The adventurous feel of the movie appeals to the audience. This film has more than that to offer though with its comedy, positive messages and a slight bit of drama. There is even some romance to keep the viewer entertained and at the edge of their seat.

The story starts when a young puppy named Tiny goes on a dog singing show and does quite well. She receives a golden ticket from the judge which allows her to go straight to the finals. Everything changes when Tiny gets captured by animal control and must go on a huge adventure to get back to her owner and also to the competition finals.

Pup Star has a wonderful story line and great acting by Tom Everett Scott, Kaitlyn Maher and Jed Rees. The voice over cast for the animals matches their characters and feels quite authentic. They each make their characters truly come to life. But, the best part of this film is that the story which is entertaining, suitable for young kids and easy to follow.

My favorite scene is when we first meet Tiny. She gets on stage and starts singing. Her song is beautiful and serves to introduce the style and the feel of the film. I also love this scene because, although the talking dogs are animated, it looks very realistic, as if the dogs are actually talking.

Pup Star would appeal to families and younger kids. I recommend it for kids ages 4 to 13 and rate it 5 out of 5 stars for its excellent acting that truly makes the characters come alive, its realistic animation, beautiful music and its fantastic story. By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Pup Star is a fun, fantastic, family-friendly film! It really is an amazing and inspiring movie with talking and singing dogs. I found myself cheering for the super talented Tiny and booing the bad guys, or should I say bad dogs!

The story is about Tiny, an adorable Yorkie pup who dreams of becoming the next Pup Star, which is a spinoff of the popular TV singing competition reality shows. The celebrity judges include Dog Gnarly, Blake Sheltie, Lady Paw Paw and of course, Simone Growl.

Along Tiny's journey, she is dog napped, meets colorful companions and becomes a more inspired singer with the help of Charlie, who is on his own journey. Tiny is encouraged by everyone she meets to keep going and not give up on her dreams. My favorite part is when Tiny sings. Kaitlyn Maher's voice over and singing of Tiny is outstanding and all 13 original songs are so strong melodically that I found myself humming along to the song Blue Skies after watching it. Additionally, the various voice over and singing talents for all the other dogs are equally impressive.

The message of this film is never give up and follow your dreams. Tiny faces many challenges and tries her hardest to persevere and reconnect with her loving family.

The talking and singing dogs are created with amazing special effects. Their mouths move in perfect harmony with the words and lyrics. Also, I love the rich and emotional music composed by Brahm Wenger which draws you in from the get go. I recently had the privilege to interview the writer and producer of Pup Star, Anna McRoberts and she mentioned that this is the biggest cast of talking and singing dogs ever in one movie - 31 total. Bow Wow!!!

Out of all the Air Bud Entertainment movies, this is my favorite. We can all relate to following our dreams no matter what they are and cheering for the underdog. I recommend this film to kids age 5 to 18 as well as anyone who loves dogs - kids and adults alike. With so many wonderful things to love about this family friendly film movie, I give it 5 out of 5 pup stars! I want to share one more thing: throughout this entire film, I actually forgot that dogs don't really talk... or do they?

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


HUMPBACK WHALES IMAX (4K UHD/3-D BLU-RAY/DIGITAL COPY)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HUMPBACK WHALES IMAX (4K UHD/3-D BLU-RAY/DIGITAL COPY)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
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 on 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 - Spellbinding! Humpback Whales is outstanding and incorporates the best that IMAX films have to offer - impossible photography, entertaining music and an instructional narrative that when combined, creates a positive visceral.

The musical score is brilliantly constructed to create an emotional connection between viewers and the whales. The song "Best Day of My Life" paired with pristine video footage of effortless swimming, lunging and breaching invokes a jubilant mood. The haunting, yet mesmerizing songs of the hunchback whales are also highlighted.

Narrated by Ewan McGregor, this documentary is educating, motivating and inspiring. I was enthralled by the details of the bubble net feeding and the up-close photography of the whales enjoying their catch. Rescue attempts of a young whale entrapped in rope from a boat demonstrates the dangers whales face as a result of man's impact on the ocean. The Special Features are almost as value-added as the main feature! "The Search" shows the difficulties in finding the humpback whales, leading the production crew to Tonga, Alaska and Hawaii. We meet the photographers, researchers and the director whose enthusiasm for the accurate and complete portrayal of the whales is contagious. Not only did I feel like I wanted to join their crew, but I also wanted to do more research on the humpbacks! "The Making of Humpback Whales" shows the behind the scenes logistics of filming the whales. For this viewer, the only thing missing was the spray of fresh ocean water! Humpback Whales rates a resounding 5 out of 5 stars! Your family will love it!

Reviewed by Ruth A., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Humpback Whales DVD is amazing, stunningly beautiful and a spectacular educational ocean adventure. For the first time in IMAX, it offers an up-close look into the incredible lives of humpback whales by a team of researchers.

What I particularly like about this show is how much fun information you learn about humpback whales. For instance, did you know that humpback whales can weigh 50 tons, be longer than a 50 foot school bus and have a wing span greater than most Lear jets? Or, that they can dive to the depths of 1,000 feet in the ocean and migrate up to 10,000 miles round-trip every year? And, did you know that male humpback whales sing?

Sadly, we also learn that for hundreds of years and up until the 1970s, humpback whales were killed for their oil. Fortunately, because of the generous support of the Pacific Life Foundation we are learning the importance of the humpback whales and the importance of protecting them.

My favorite thing in this show is learning that the male humpback whales communicate through song. Their songs are known as the "Music of the Deep." It is also what motivated countries across the world to form a ban to stop the killing of humpback whales in 1978. Up until this time, these marine mammals were becoming extinct.

This film is wonderfully narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor and produced by Academy Award nominated filmmakers at MacGillivray Freeman Films. The accompanying music is moving and sets the mood perfectly. I also loved seeing the beautiful scenery as we follow a team of researchers journeying into the waters of Alaska, Hawaii and the distant stunning islands of Tonga.

The message of this film is that humpback whales should be protected, respected and asks what can we do to help them survive. So what can we do to help? Glad you asked. The film tells us that this is possible by encouraging ships to slow down or be re-routed and to keep trash out of the ocean. However, there is also a life moral message about how it is our turn to be the guardians of these magnificent creatures.

The Humpback Whales DVD is a wonderful, educational, ocean adventure for both children and adults. Young viewers will enjoy the beautiful scenery and more mature viewers will appreciate the many amazing things there are to learn about humpback whales. The DVD includes a special feature by the film's director who discusses the making of the movie which you won't want to miss. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and give it five out five stars. I hope you watch this DVD so you too can experience the magnificence of humpback whales.

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

You are sitting on a quiet beach watching the waves roll into shore. Suddenly in the middle of the ocean a giant leaps in the air, does a complete 180 degree twirl and splashes back down into the depths of the ocean. As quickly as the ocean frenzy started, it all stops and goes back to calmness. You have just witnessed a humpback whale.

The narrator for this movie is two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor who I love and adore. His pace and soothing voice set a calm tone for this film. Stephen Judson's' writing is easy to understand and memorable.

Of course, this is an awesome movie. It is made by the award-winning documentary filmmakers MacGillivray Freemen Films, the same people (Shaun and Greg Mac Gillivray) who made Everest and National Parks Adventure which are beautifully executed. I love the amazing places they take us because they always make you want to get more involved in the world around you and spend more time outdoors.

You may not have one as a pet because the mothers carry them around for one year and when they are born, they are 14 feet long. When full grown, they are 55 feet long and, at 50 tons, they will not fit into your swimming pool. If you have trouble walking a dog, well the 10,000 mile migration they take every year might be a bit much for you. This film takes us all the way from the tropics to Alaska and Antarctica. We get to see the world through the eyes of humpback whales and marine biologists. The equivalent of 8,000 hamburgers they eat every day might also be a deal breaker. A gold fish makes a better pet for your home.

Humpback Whales is a beautiful film with stunning photography and educational facts about these majestic creatures that I found fascinating. The birds-eye-views are dynamic, the views are something I have never seen before. You watch the humpbacks as they glide through the water. Jumping in the water and playing with them might be an option your brain can consider but it's not going to happen but, I enjoyed watching the beautiful tropical places that this movie takes us to.

The best scene in this film when a group of whales form a group bubble net. One whale blows bubbles in a spiral motion surrounding the creel then, several whales swim deep into the bottom of the ocean and sing haunting noises while swimming upward. These intelligent creatures of the ocean have learned an easy way to herd fish. They capture them in the bubble net and the whales have a wonderful meal for their whole group.

Listening to all their different songs and how they change them reinforces our grasp of their communication skills and genius. Only the males sing. The movie also has other music with a tropical vibe by Steve Woods and Calum Graham which puts you in the mood to hang out in the ocean with the humpbacks.

Tonga, which is east of Australia, is where whaling was once a prevalent way to make money. They have since stopped and found that tourism brings in more money and saves the whales. In the 1970s, there were only 50 breeding female humpbacks left. Today, the number has grown to the 2,000s. This once-almost-extinct mammal is still only 40% of the population it once was. We are making great progress.

There are three countries where whaling is still allowed today - Japan, Norway and Iceland. Additionally, boating accidents and pollution such as trash, fishing nets and other items lead to their demise.

The earth is 71% waters and oceans. We should all look after the ocean creatures and our planet. This movie reinforces and reminds us that the humpback whales exist and need our help to survive. Along with kidsfirst.org you should add OneWorldOneOcean.com to your must see viewing list.

I recommend this film to kids ages 7 thru 18 who will find it entertaining, educational and beautiful. All 40 minutes will hold your full attention. Adult will love the epic underwater and aerial photography. I give this film 5 out of 5 Humpback Whale Star fish.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This movie is alive and interesting with the truth about humpback whales. This movie is especially interesting because how it's told in 40 minutes and tells you everything you need to know about these magnificent creatures. It allows you to look up or ask some friends about humpback whales. Throughout this story, you learn how they move around, all about their calves, the dangers they face and especially, how humans work against and with them at the same time. It talks about how people are the main enemy of the whales because of ocean trash. But it also tells us how we can help them and what you can do. It brings hope and information to everyone who watches this film.

The DVD has an extra scenes feature and boy is it interesting. It talks about how the movie was made, where they went and a lot of other interesting things. I love the way everyone said they had a good time making the film and that they are so happy. It's also very similar to the actual movie, but they talk to the camera and tell you about themselves.

Ewen McGregor, the narrator, is quite enthusiastic throughout this film. He tells us interesting things about the whales and how they do all these incredible things. You may not think it, but there is amazing animation in this film. They show how the whales eat, and sometimes show the whales moving. It's really detailed and for a moment made me think it was really the live whales.

My favorite part of this film is when they talk about the migratory paths of the whales. I especially liked learning whales' fingerprints. This film moral is quite a sad one I would say about not doing things that kill the whales. For example, drive slower and don't throw trash into the ocean.

I rate this movie 3 out of 5 stars because I personally am not a whale lover. It would be rated much higher by a long shot if I was. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and adults may enjoy it too. I think that younger kids may be scared by the death scenes which we unfortunately have to endure. You can find this movie on Blu Ray/DVD.

Reviewed by Miles T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 27.48
Media: DVD
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LITTLE PRINCE, THE (NETFLIX ORIGINAL, 2016)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LITTLE PRINCE, THE (NETFLIX ORIGINAL, 2016)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - From Mark Osborne comes the first-ever animated feature film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry's iconic masterpiece, The Little Prince. At the heart of it all is The Little Girl, who's being prepared by her mother for the very grown-up world in which they live - only to be interrupted by her eccentric, kind-hearted neighbor, The Aviator. The Aviator introduces his new friend to an extraordinary world where anything is possible. A world that he himself was initiated into long ago by The Little Prince. It's here that The Little Girl's magical and emotional journey into her own imagination - and into the universe of The Little Prince - begins. And it's where The Little Girl rediscovers her childhood and learns that ultimately, it's human connections that matter most, and that what's truly essential can only be seen with the heart.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is touching, adorable and eye catching. I love this film which is based on the book by the same name. It is original and fun to watch. I also like the fact that this film is about growing up and talks about how growing up is not a bad thing. You can still have fun being a kid at heart.

I love all the characters in this film. My absolute favorite is The Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) who is adorable, funny and wants to help everyone that she can. She is also a perfect role model for little girls my age. Then we have The Aviator (Jeff Bridges) who is an old man and he is trying to help The Little Girl by telling her a story. He wants her to see that you can still be a kid, have fun and use your imagination even when you grow up.

The Little Prince (Riley Osborne) is a very kind person who tries his best to help The Aviator. Riley Osborne is the son of Mark Osborne, the executive producer and director of this fantastic film. Mr. Prince (Paul Rudd) is a kind, but scared older version of The Little Prince and he is hysterical. I really like his character. He has been so busy working that he has forgotten his true identity.

One of the best scenes in this film is when The Little Girl and her friend The Fox (James Franco) sneak out in the middle of the night to The Aviator's house to borrow his plane. In order to take off an amazing contraption is engaged. Then, they on their way flying through the night sky. I love this scene because it is fun, adventurous and the animation is quick, cleaver and crystal clear.

The animation in this film is beautiful. They used two different kinds of animation in an effort to show the difference between the real world and the one that The Little Girl is imagining. This is a good choice on Mark Osborne's part. He chose to do this because he studied many different styles of animation in college. It turns out that he liked them all so he combined two very different styles to make this film. Half of the movie looks like you are reading a book and the other half looks like the real world. This all makes it gorgeous to watch.

The appropriate age for this film is 7 to 15. Kids will like this film and will enjoy the animation and the story. Adults will like that it is based on a book that they knew as a child and it will bring back memories. I give this film 5 out of 5 daydreaming stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


SUICIDE SQUAD

KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
SUICIDE SQUAD       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 - It feels good to be bad...Assemble a team of the world's most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government's disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity. U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren't picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it's every man for himself?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - With the awesome soundtrack, unbelievable acting, intriguing storyline and perfect cast members, this film is one I definitely recommend seeing. The film is about an assembled team of the most dangerous villains in the world who are sent on a mission to defeat a bigger evil entity. The film's twist on typical superhero movies really stands out as the antagonists take the spotlight for once. The squad is composed of fearless felons with nothing to lose. Their actions, hidden agendas and intentions are absolutely unpredictable.

One of the best aspects of this movie is the cast and their outstanding acting. Margot Robbie's role as Harley Quinn is jaw dropping and Jared Leto deserves lots of credit for his performance as the Joker. They played their roles so amazingly well that it was hard for me to imagine them as people outside of their roles here. Their facial expressions, from scene to scene, is unbelievable. All of the characters' portrayals are amazing. Deadshot, played wonderfully by Will Smith, provides a comedic and emotional aspect as he tries to hold a loving relationship with his daughter throughout the main conflict. What makes the characters so memorable and the film intriguing is that each one has its own twisted story and talent.

The soundtrack is awesome and the film's use of lot of good songs made certain scenes especially memorable. Overall, this film is a fun movie and, if you go in to see it with no specific expectation or comparison with another film, I can't imagine anyone not liking it. The idea may have been typical but the execution was superb. Sure people argue that it is just another superhero movie and make many comparisons to other superhero films, but I think the style this film has, including the acting, music, camera work and visuals puts this film above others.

I recommend this film for people ages 13 to 18 and think adults will enjoy it as well, especially those who like twisted, psychotic and creepy vibes because, although I am not a fan of action movies, the psychotic and creepy feel made it really interesting for me. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. Check it out as it is in theaters now.

Reviewed by Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a very well written movie with very good special effects and it some good humor. But, it is scary and pretty violent and there are some parts that are not really appropriate for young kids. The story is fast paced and I admit that I did not understand some parts. Overall though, it was great and funny.

The film starts as Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) shows someone a file about multiple villains: Deadshot (the amazing Will Smith), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney ), Diablo (Jay Hernandez ), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and last, but definitely not least, June Moone/Enchantress (Cara Delevingne). As she describes each villain you see clips of how each of them ended up in prison. In June's case, you learn how she became the Enchantress.

June Moone is a human who finds a little statue in an old tomb. It opens and the Enchantress possesses her. She switches between being June and the Enchantress. June falls in love with a soldier, Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) and Amanda Waller gets the Enchantress'/June's heart. Amanda has the Enchantress' heart and June has Rick's, so Amanda has Rick in her control.

Rick Flag gathers up The Suicide Squad, plants a bomb in each of their necks and tells them if they disobey they die. They all put on their costumes and get their weapons. They are joined by the Enchantress and Katana (Karen Fukuyama) and are ready to be bad guys fighting even worse guys.

I love the costumes, makeup and special effects used to make the characters look not exactly like their comic counterparts, but still extremely awesome. For example, I love Killer Croc's costume, makeup and special effects. I love that he looks nothing like the person who plays him. Another example is the Enchantress whose special effects may be my favorite of this film. It looks like there is a shroud of death around her. Even though it is scary, it is also very cool. The cinematography is also great. It stays focused on the characters while they fight and run around. It is outstandingly clear and you can see everything.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars for its great effects, costumes and storyline, not 5 because it is scary and a bit too fast paced. I recommend this for ages 12 to 18 unless, of course, you think you can handle the violence.

Reviewed by Nathaniel B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Red, white and blue with sparkles and she chews pink bubble gum, which sounds all American. What could go wrong? Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is adorable, cute, funny and deadly. The Joker' new girlfriend is all kinds of Kray Kray and I love her. She is the heart and soul of this movie. Without her quirky, quick witted one liners it would just be a dark movie about a bunch of bad guys trying to kill another bunch of bad guy.

Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) is her awesome, take control kind of girl we love. This movie has great female characters that have depth and intelligence. That has me giving it thumbs up. I enjoyed this movie and hope that it becomes a franchise that I can see for years to come. It left me wanting more movies just like this.

One of the many exhilarating things about this movie is the giant cast. There are so many characters and actors and I love that. In recent years, we have seen so many movies with only a handful of people in them. This movie spared nothing - big cast, action, drama, scares, comedy and graphics. This is the kind of movie we love to see on the big screen.

The graphics are top notch. The stunt work is impressive. Harley Quinn has some great aerial acrobatics. Swan drives take a lot of trust and she pulled it all off with style. Deadshot (Will Smith) gives his best performance in years. I certainly would not want to be on the other end of his firepower.

Not much scares me, but The Joker (Jared Leto) is frightening. Jared Leto is usually unique and quirky and funny but he goes all out to the other side and is terrifyingly crazy. He transforms into something night mares are made of and his acting is too creepy for words.

The concept of this movie is fabulous. Everyone deserves a second chance, right? The idea of microchipping Super villains with bombs like my dog so I can find him if he gets lost is a good idea. Villains fighting other villains makes sense. They think alike. It gives the villains a chance to see that there is another way. They can fight for good instead of evil.

The Enchantress /June Moone (Cara Delevingne) is a big surprise. The one thing I wish they added is more of a back story for her and her brother.

Depending on kind of movies your kids like, if they like being scared to death and can follow a complicated story line, then you are good to go and see this. It is not a cute kid's movie. I recommend for ages 13 to 18.

I give this film 5 out of 5 sledge hammers with red, white and blue sparkling stares. It is different, fun and scary all in one movie.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


PETE'S DRAGON (2016)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PETE'S DRAGON (2016)       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 - The adventures of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This latest retelling of Pete and his friend Elliot the dragon does not disappoint. The visual effects are so darn believable it's mind boggling. The story, of course, follows the traditional one with perhaps a few new elements thrown in to juice it up a bit. The performances by Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford excel in their down home simplicity. I particularly enjoyed Oona Laurence's portrayal of Natalie, Pete's BFF from the first time she spots him as a wild kid in the woods. Truthfully, I went to see this to escape the 100+ degree heat into an air conditioned theater and it completely knocked my socks off! I highly recommend it for parents and grandparents to share with their kids and grandkids. Just be aware that there are some disturbing images that make it questionable for kids under age 7. Kudos to Disney for delivering a very believable fantasy.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Over the years, special effects have gotten better, acting more emotional, camera techniques more unique, and stories so much more exciting. Pete's Dragon is a perfect example of the progress in the world of filmmaking.

This film, at its core, is an adventure of two friends - a boy and his dragon. There is much more to offer though. Pete's Dragon offers exciting and spectacular action, yet includes some comedy to keep things bright and highlight the complex relationship between a child and his big friend.

The story begins when a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegly), age five, gets into a car accident and sadly, both his parents pass away. Pete is now stranded in the woods and everything changes when he meets a green dragon he names Elliot. They live happily together for six years until Pete is discovered by other people and now must make a huge decision. Should he live with Elliot in the woods or go live with humans?

Pete's Dragon truly makes Elliot come to life. Not only is his skin and fur deeply detailed, his expressions look natural and the way he moves is very realistic. It makes you want to get a dragon of your own! The creators made it so we see the actors interacting with Elliot and hugging him, despite the fact that his image was added in post production. The CGI is seamless and makes you truly believe he is a real life dragon. The actors interacted with Elliot emotionally even though he isn't actually there when they shot their scenes. What is equally impressive is that the young kids deliver a level of talent equal to adult actors. I also greatly enjoyed the cinematography. The scenes of Elliot flying through the clouds with Pete on his back and seeing the town, woods and mountains below are simply spectacular.

My favorite scene is when Pete and Elliot play in the woods and are having a blast. I love this scene because it truly shows that no matter the difference of age, height or even species, they are best friends. I also enjoyed this scene because it shows the peaceful beauty of the forest and represents the fantastic visual effects they created for Elliot moving around the forest.

This movie is recommended for kids, but not too young kids. I recommend it to ages 6 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well, but very young kids may find it a bit too intense at times. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for its beautiful cinematography, spectacular acting and very realistic special effects. It's in theaters now so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I liked watching Pete's Dragon. I enjoyed watching this film because of its fantastic animations and great pacing. After a terrible car crash, Pete (Oakes Fegley) is the only survivor. He is found and raised by a dragon named Elliot in the woods. Elliot is a huge, green, compassionate and joyful dragon. Six years later Pete is discovered by Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) a forest ranger who wonders how is he the woods by himself. He says that he lives in the woods with a dragon. Grace sets out to investigate if his story can be true. To find out what happens, you have to go see the movie.

What I enjoy about this film is the animation of Elliot. The CGI's are very realistic, for example the look of the fur and the detail of his chipped tooth ate perfect. This film makes it look like there is a real dragon in the woods. The pacing of this film is great, it isn't rushed, choppy or slow. I didn't feel like I was watching a movie for an hour and a half. This movie didn't make me feel empty like other films I have seen. I additionally like the sets, the town looks beautiful. Another thing, the cast performances are fantastic. Robert Redford's performance is superb, I enjoy his performance as Grace's father. He is a great character and Oakes Fegley is amazing as Pete. His performance shows a new side of this character that is different when compared to the original version.

The directing is well done. The director and writer (David Lowery) turned this remake into a fantastic piece. The entire art department made the CGI's great and I give them props for all their hard work.

However, one thing I didn't like is that some scenes were predictable. I knew how some scenes were going to turn out. I didn't feel surprised when certain things happened in the film. Besides that this film is great.

The moral of the film is just because someone or something is different, doesn't make them a monster. When people see Elliot they immediately are afraid, they want to hunt him down and eventually want to use him. Even though Elliot is very friendly, and compassionate dragon.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this to kids ages 6 to 18 and I think adults might like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like children, family, action and adventure movies. Make sure to see this film on Friday, August 12. Coming to a theater near you, this movie won't disappoint you.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


BEN-HUR

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BEN-HUR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro and more. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The famous story of Ben-Hur has been done in film multiple times throughout the years, but none has reached this level of excitement and beautiful special effects. And none has ever been this action packed and intense.

Ben-Hur will certainly appeal to action genre fans, but it has so much more to offer. Along with multiple dangerous adventures comes strong love story, drama and history, which keeps you excited but surprised by events that unfold in front of your eyes.

The film starts when Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) is accused of attempting to assassinate a Roman Leader. His adopted brother convinces him and his family about the worst punishments available. His family meets a mysterious fate that leaves him guessing about them for years. Judah is sentenced to life as a galley slave (a person that rows Roman ships). He barely survives this terrible punishment for six years before escaping. Back on land, he trains to take revenge on his brother in a place with no law - the dangerous, yet exciting sport of chariot racing!

Although the plot seems confusing, it actually is easy to follow. Towards the beginning it may be a bit confusing, but by ten minutes into the film pieces snap into place. This film not only packs a lot of action, but it is also very historical and truly makes it look as if we are watching these scenes take place in ancient Rome and Jerusalem from the boats, to warfare, to their attire. Throughout the film, I felt transported back 2000 years to the large Roman Empire. Most of the special effects portray the chariot racing and the outcome is nothing short of spectacular, detailed and very realistic. It is exciting and intense, but also easy to follow. The acting in this film exceeded my expectations with many known actors such as Jack Huston and Morgan Freeman (Ilderim), but the entire cast delivers spectacular performances and really make their characters come to life and shine, as well as make the viewer think they actually are seeing life 2000 years ago.

My favorite scene is the galley slave scenes. In a way, these are also my least favorite scenes because it shows how terrible Romans treated these slaves. In one scene, you see Judah changing over the six years from a handsome and healthy prince to a depressed, skinny and beaten slave. Another factor of these scenes that impressed me were the visual effects. Judah escapes when the ship sinks in a battle. The scene is very dramatic, scary and intense. It is full of action and everything from soundtrack to acting makes it a heart-thumping moment.

Ben-Hur is intense with many adult references, but the mature aspect that concerns me most is the gore. Since this takes place in Ancient Rome, there are many violent acts that are unsuitable for young children. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. The acting, special effects and soundtrack are all fantastic but the story is slightly confusing at the beginning which makes it a bit annoying for the viewer.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

I did not exactly love the 2016 remake of the 1959 movie Ben-Hur, but I didn't hate it either. This film takes place around 26 A.D. when Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) appears as the wealthy Jerusalem prince who is falsely accused of treason and is stripped of everything that he has and taken away. Judah's adopted brother, Messala Severus (Toby Kebbell) betrays him and allows the Romans to make Judah a galley slave for five years. Judah escapes, returns home and seeks revenge. The question is: will Judah get his revenge?

Although it is two hours long, it does not drag. Morgan Freeman gives a very regal performance as Ilderim. His voice makes you want to pay attention when he narrates the story. I love this character because he helps Judah and they make a fantastic team! I think Jack Huston should have been cast as Jesus because his demeanor is very soft and peaceful. He doesn't project the strong, angry character that he should have as Judah Ben-Hur. Rodrigo Santoro, who plays the role of Jesus should have played Judah Ben-Hur. Don't get me wrong, I love how Rodrigo Santoro portrays Jesus. His performance is stellar. But the way he looks and carries himself would have made Rodrigo a more believable Judah. Toby Kebbell's Messala is the one casting that they got right. He acts and looks mean enough to make you to dislike him.

The setting looks epic and visually appealing. The battle scene with the ships in the water is pretty intense but entertaining. However, some scenes are boring and a few scenes didn't need to be there. The chariot race is a bit sloppy and roughly edited.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 11 to 18. Younger kids might not understand what is going on and may be frightened by a few intense and grotesque scenes. There is also some bloody and gory violence. I also recommend this to adults who like action, adventure, remakes and Biblical films. This film opens Friday, August 19 so, put it on your radar screen.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Kubo lives a quiet, normal life in a small shoreside village until a spirit from the past turns his life upside down by re-igniting an age-old vendetta. This causes all sorts of havoc as gods and monsters chase Kubo who, in order to survive, must locate a magical suit of armor once worn by his late father, a legendary Samurai warrior.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Amidst the beautiful animation is a beautiful story - a story about telling stories and the affects of creating your own story and how to take hold of your fate as you create your story. With comedy, drama and romance, we are taken on a journey of discovery and coming-of-age. Kubo and the Two Strings is a heartfelt, magical, sweeping animated picture that resonates with all ages.

The animation is the first thing to catch your eye and keeps your attention throughout. The detailed, unique animation helps give the film its magical tone. The animation is very defined, which gives the imagery and movement a fluidity that literally, nearly makes the film sweeping. That's how we get an epic feel from it, despite its 100 minute runtime. Furthermore, the animation encourages the theme of creativity, as it is unlike most animated films we've seen, or probably will see.

That theme of creativity, married with the theme of story-telling, is the heart of the story. Kubo tells stories passed down to him from his mother, which she got from living. The movie explains that we create our story as we go and how we will encounter surprises and dangers but the story must go on. What makes our story unique is who's a part of it. That message is told beautifully through brisk, to-the-point plotting and dynamic imagery. What this film says about the process of creating (stories in particular) is how it explains that the situation we're dealt never allows us to create the outcome we want. Instead, life gives us our lemons and we must make our own lemonade.

Even though this film is whimsical and beautifully, there are dark undertones which give it layers. Like Grave of the Fireflies and Up, Kubo and the Two Strings doesn't dumb down its themes and trusts its audience - all of them. The movie uses dialogue to explain itself while giving visual depth that gives it subtext so that children are able to discuss and understand what's at the heart of the film. That is where the true beauty lies.

But there's something beyond that. Even as I write this review, there are things about the movie I can't quite explain. I've touched on the cinematography, the themes and the presentation of the themes, but I can't quite explain the true beauty well enough. What I want to add, is that this movie is a like a painting. It is a moving picture in the true sense of the word. There are moments so distinct and eye-opening that it will take your breath away. Then, the underlying tonal darkness of the picture gives it a maturity that appeals to older audiences. To put it simply, Kubo and the Two Strings is made up of dreamlike imagery underscored by nightmarish undertones. I also want to note the rather haunting score, beautifully penned by Dario Marianelli. It's literally the perfect concoction for a film, filled with fantasy, horror, sadness, humor, creativity, epic-ness, beauty, patience and pace.

With that said, I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie. It is original, beautiful to watch and has heart and soul. The quirkiness of this movie only adds to its lovability. It is hard to find an original movie and using origami as the base of this movie is simply genius.

Kubo's grandfather has stolen his eye and now is after the other and he will do whatever he has to, to get the other eye. His two aunts are frighten witches. His mother has lost all her memories and many dangers await Kubo and his only helpers are a monkey and a silly half man, half beetle and an endless supply of paper. I know this all sounds totally crazy, but it all works together quite nicely to make this incredible movie.

I struggled once trying to make an origami swan so I appreciate the origami in this film which has a mind of its own. Kubo plays a two-stringed instrument which transforms simple paper into magnificent, magical shapes and forms.

The voice-overs in this film are stupendous and really bring it to life. My favorite character is Kubo (Art Parkinson) who is just so adorable yet strong, independent and goodhearted. My other favorite is Monkey (Charlize Theron) who is brave, funny, clever and very stubborn. I love her character because of all these traits. Even though she is tough, she has a kind, sweet side that she shows how much she loves her son. There is also the beetle (Matthew McConaughey) who is hysterical, dangerous and a straight shooter or, at least according to him he is. I love his character because its funny and had me belly laughing. His affection for Monkey is adorable. Of course, there are villains of this film. The sisters, both played by Rooney Mara portrays them as crazy, wacko witches and her voice is perfectly scary. The other villain, The Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) is the weird Grandfather who wants Kubo's other eye and he is super creepy.

One of my favorite scenes is when Kubo, Monkey and Beetle are trying to defeat a giant skeleton and find the sword of unbreakablity. It is adventurous and funny. The graphics are incredible, especially the way they created the skeleton. This is the biggest clay animation character ever made. I thought this action scene was intricate and believable.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18. Adults will like it too. I do want to suggest that if your child is younger than 7, they might get scared with the darkness and the villains, but if they can accept that it is all fake then they will be okay. I rate this film 5 out of 5 magical origami stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

A crowning achievement from Laika studios, this tale follows a one-eyed hero named Kubo (Art Parkinson). For years, his mother has hid him away from her cold-hearted sisters (Rooney Mara) and cruel grandfather (Ralph Finnes). One night, they finally find Kubo, but her mother uses her magic to stall her sisters and give Kubo enough time to escape. With the help of Monkey ( Charlize Theron) and Beatle (Mathew McConaughey), Kubo must find the three pieces of armor in order to defeat his grandfather.

With a summer full of remakes, reboots, sequels and adaptations, it's incredibly refreshing to witness a unique film that's not bound by a former version. This film's plot is full of fascinating lore and investing drama. The film gives clues about where the story is headed and those, for me, help predict the outcome of the story. Even though some come true, it is in no way predictable. This film surely doesn't take the traditional route of storytelling. There are some clich� moments, but the tone of the film makes it quite unique. It can be morbid and respectfully deal with fascinating concepts of life and death, but I adore films that don't talk down to kids and instead treat them as capable viewers.

This film exemplifies some of Laika's best stop motion animation ever put on screen. As I commented in one of my blogs (Advertisement: check out our blogs), I believe stop-motion is fascinating but is sadly declining in today's film world. Thankfully, Laika Studios has kept the art form alive. This company finds creative stories and talented artists to create amazing characters and sets. Even though they don't produce a film very often, this film is an excellent example of where that time and effort goes to. The outstanding use of color and lighting creates gorgeous images and dark dramatic scenes. The characters' designs, from their eyes, to their clothes are extremely detailed. Perhaps the best example of their stop motion skills is shown in the first monster Kubo and his friends encounter. The filmmakers built a giant animatronic in order to create this scene. It's an amazing construction and you can see how the filmmakers shot the scene if you stay through the credits. It's a sight to see.

My favorite scene is after Kubo and his friends fight the second sister. Without giving anything away, this scene takes place after an intense battle. All I can say is that this scene consists of neither dialogue nor music. The visuals speak for everything. Each frame captures the emotion and loss of our protagonist. It's truly a prime example of the power of visual narrative.

The message is that stories end, only to begin new ones. Kubo is a storyteller who never manages to find endings to his tales. When face to face with his Grandfather, he is given the chance to immortality so his story never has to end. However, the idea is passed on that even if your story ends, the people you love will keep your story alive in them and pass it on to generation to generation.

My favorite character is Monkey. Charlize Theron once again demonstrates her incredibly acting ability with this character. I adore the devotion and courage she has when protecting Kubo. Plus she knows how to defend herself and when she has a sword, watch out.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 7 to 18. This film is dark at times and can get intense. With that said, because of the sensational technology and intelligent script it's definitely a perfect climax to summer films. It is in theaters now so go check it out.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


GHOSTBUSTERS
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 11-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Topic - Family
Description - Scrat's epic pursuit of his elusive acorn catapults him outside of Earth, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet. To save themselves from peril, Manny, Sid, Diego, and the rest of the herd leave their home and embark on a quest full of thrills and spills, highs and lows, laughter and adventure while traveling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colorful new characters. Starring Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES (IMAX: 4KUHD/3D BLU-RAY/BLU-RAY)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES (IMAX: 4KUHD/3D BLU-RAY/BLU-RAY)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - It's a natural history epic. It's a compelling detective story. It's scientific adventure at its best.

Flight of the Butterflies is an interconnected scientific adventure story that spans not only thousands of miles, but generations. It's about the remarkable Monarch butterfly migration, the most incredible migration on Earth, and the determined scientist who spent 40 years trying to discover exactly where the butterflies mysteriously disappeared when they flew south for winter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Glorious! Flight of the Butterflies is as visually stunning as it is educational! Prepared for 3D IMAX, this documentary details Dr. Fred Urquhart's lifelong scientific inquiry into the migration patterns of the monarch butterfly. Scientific facts are brought to life with outstanding photography and make this film one to watch again and again. Young viewers will fall in love with science while witnessing a researcher devoting his life to following his passion. Flight of the Butterflies is perfect for the entire family! By Ruth A., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

In Flight of the Butterflies, a 44-minute film originally intended for IMAX viewing, the mystery of where millions of monarch butterflies migrate each fall is uncovered over many years by a determined scientist and his wife. We literally float with the butterflies at times and get incredibly close to nature, while also following the story of the scientists and their personal journey that leads from Canada to Mexico. Though the music is often heavy-handed and the film can feel dull at times, the science, the strong visuals and compelling true story at its heart are fascinating. The images are pleasing and there are two interesting (occasionally engrossing) narratives of the butterflies migration and the scientists' attempts to trace them. As it was meant to be seen in an IMAX theatre, it has the power to stun. At home on a normal TV, not so much but still engrossing and often fascinating. The film is well-structured and the running time feels just right at about 44 minutes. There is a clear beginning, middle and end and care is taken to present facts clearly. At times, I wished that more science were included and the actual migration rendered with more detail. The film almost takes pains to portray individuals as working together, whether they are scientists and butterfly enthusiasts working towards the same goals or filmmakers and crew taking real care to not injure any butterflies when possible even when there are thousands swirling around them. The film is all about inquiry and investigation, mystery and discovery. This may be its most lasting impression on young viewers as there is more emphasis on plot than pure visuals. The cover design and packaging are colorful and inviting. The filming is often impressive, even astounding as we get to witness a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. Some CGI is utilized in certain sequences which some may not even notice and most will not be bothered by. The menu access is clear. Two special features are included, a Making Of Featurette that is excellent and a short message from the previous President of Mexico. This film is beneficial in a number of ways. It is educational and should awaken a concern and curiosity for nature, butterflies and possibly even conservancy in young viewers. As well, it might inspire a few future scientists. The story unfolds in an entertaining way, with flashbacks to the scientists' earlier lives and outstanding footage of the butterflies throughout. The story arc of the scientist who dedicates his/her life to a mystery and is eventually rewarded (though it took years) and the entire process of the science could motivate some to pursue science. Also, it is certain to influence, in a good way, how they view butterflies for the rest of their lives. Highly recommended for ages 6 to 18. Reviewed by Michael F., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Flight of the Butterflies is an amazing, beautifully shot film that is a wonder for the eyes. This film centers on a scientist named Fred Urquhart who, as a child, wondered where butterflies go during their migration. As an adult, he and his wife try to answer that question. Another storyline follows a butterfly named Dana as she shows you the year-long process of migration and tells the tale through three generations of monarch butterflies, following them from Texas to Toronto to Mexico.

My favorite part of Flight of the Butterflies is when Fred's life's work takes place before his eyes, when he sees millions of monarch butterflies fluttering around on a mountain in Mexico. The scene is beautiful and has some rich and epic cinematography. I also like when the filmmakers use MRI footage to show a very detailed and sharp scene of a caterpillar slowly turning into a butterfly through its chrysalis.

Flight of the Butterflies was first released in IMAX theaters and I can see why. The cinematography in this film is amazing and keeps you glued to the screen. This film is also extremely educational. I knew almost nothing about butterflies before viewing this film and I learned so much in such a short period of time. I am now extremely interested in the migration process. In fact, the film makes me want to plant my own butterfly garden.

The musical score fits the subject and is tranquil and light. The lesson of this film is to always persevere. Fred Urquhart doesn't give up for forty years and always tries to reach his goal.

I recommend you watch the special features on this Blu-ray disc. Behind the Scenes gives you more context on the making of this film and features interviews with the cast and crew, including one with a real life person portrayed in the movie. It's really cool to see how the crew got some of the shots and makes you realize how difficult it was to make this film. Other special features include a message from the President of Mexico.

I give Flight of the Butterflies an age rating of 7 to 13 because the film goes into some pretty complex science and history. I think older viewers will enjoy this film as well. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. If you are interested in the topic of butterflies or if you like science in general, you'll like Flight of the Butterflies.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 44 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.93
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


JASON BOURNE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JASON BOURNE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Topic - Family
Description - The most dangerous former operative of the CIA is drawn out of hiding to uncover hidden truths about his past. "Why would he come back now?" CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) Directed by Paul Greengrass. Starring Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What happens when you are impressed by emotional acting, an exciting soundtrack and heart-thumping stunts? You get the perfect action thriller - next installment in the Jason Bourne series.

This dramatic action film doesn't contain one single joke and it is not a romance flick either. The characters experience multiple adventures and is a non-stop action-filled film with an exciting scene at least every three minutes, keeping the viewer engaged the whole way through.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has taken to boxing matches for money, but everything changes when a friend of his, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles) comes to him with a flash drive filled with top-secret CIA information. Jason goes on a dangerous adventure where he loses friends, makes new enemies, finds old ones and more all to uncover his past when he was part of the CIA and what happened to him.

This story may sound confusing if the viewer is unfamiliar with previous Bourne stories. Although you can guess what happened in previous events as the film attempts to explain what Matt's character is trying to achieve, if you know who Jason Bourne is and what the series are about, it's easier to follow. The good thing is that you do not need to read every book of the series or watch all the previous films since the flashbacks and conversation mostly explains what happened before.

Throughout the film there is a very intense soundtrack that adds tension to the dramatic scenes. However, the soundtrack is always intense, including several scenes which contain dialogue and would be great without any of this intrusive music. The action scenes in this film are wonderful with car chases, jumping off buildings and fights in parking lots. Each action scene is epic and clearly shows a lot of work went in to make it perfect. One major problem with the action scenes is that the cinematography is very shaky and rapid. Although it helps put you "inside" the fight, it makes it very difficult to understand what is going on when it's used extensively. Unfortunately, this is the case here and since this film is compiled of lots of shaky and rapid shots, it makes you feel slightly dizzy. The acting in this film is legendary, with returning cast from the previous Bourne films like Matt Damon and Julie Stiles. There are also many new characters such as Alicia Vikander who plays Heather Lee. Each member of the cast excels in their roles and I give them credit for such believable performances.

My favorite scene is one of the first action scenes when James Bourne and Nicky Parsons are trying to escape from Greece. One major problem is that the city is full of protests and riots coupled by the fact that the CIA is right on their tail. An epic motorcycle chase ensues as well as fighting sequences and more. It is exciting with perfect staging and the soundtrack adds a lot of intensity as well.

I do not recommend this film for young kids due to the language, violence, gore and more. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Younger kids would find it too intense and dramatic. I give it four out of five stars because, although it has minor problems such as dizzy cinematography and a relentless soundtrack, it is an entertaining and epic thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Jason Bourne is the fourth installment in the original Bourne series (Bourne Legacy is more of a spin-off) and, in the history of franchises, a fourth film after a successful trilogy doesn't usually work out well. It is either flat out bad or falls short of the success of the other films. There is no exception with this film. Jason Bourne is a mediocre action picture that is stumped by clich�s and poor writing.

The success of the first three films in the franchise can be attributed to the face that they were nicely paced and nicely written. You never lost interest and there was always something you wanted to find out within the film. You learned little things here and there about Jason that left you wanting more...not with this one. We are almost told too much, and so much that we actually would be content if this were the last film. Beyond that, the pace is much too slow in some areas. This fourth installment comes off more like an exposition than the first film.

Mind you, the acting is still good. Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones and company still give convincing performances. Unfortunately, in an action film the acting shouldn't be the stand out. It should be the exhilaration and edge-of-your-seat action that's skillfully ingrained into a nicely woven plot. Unfortunately, the director and writer miss the mark on that aspect.

Albeit most of the action scenes are nice, although these seem less plausible than the ones in the previous films. Damon can still throw a nice punch and pull off some convincing combat, but his age is definitely showing. That's no dig; it's just reality. Damon is still a wonderful Jason Bourne and carries this film even though Tommy Lee Jones nearly steals it from him.

Essentially, the predictability of the film is masked by solid writing like the previous films. Bourne being the smartest man in the film has gotten old because we have no fear. There's too much comfort with our protagonist and that's an issue. I hope the next one can redeem itself and be a nice cap to a solid series. With that said, I give this film 2 1/2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It can be seen at a local theater near you on July 29, 2016.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

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


SECRET LIFE OF PETS, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRET LIFE OF PETS, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Taking place in a Manhattan apartment building, Max's life as a favorite pet is turned upside down, when his owner brings home a sloppy mongrel named Duke. They have to put their quarrels behind when they find out that an adorable white bunny named Snowball is building an army of lost pets determined to take revenge.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Hysterically funny. Great cast, wonderful animation and delightful story. I found myself laughing pretty much throughout the entire film. There is quite a lot of chase scenes, barking, animals discussing killing humans so, I don't recommend it for very young children. For those old enough to look beyond that, it's an imaginative story that adults will enjoy along with their kids or grand kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What do you get when you combine a fantastic cast, beautiful animation, original story and hilarious jokes? You get this new animated masterpiece, The Secret Life of Pets.

The Secret Life of Pets is predominantly a comedy however, there is much more to this story than nicely delivered jokes. The film also dips into a cute romance story with a very strong main sense of adventure. Some action is involved to spice things up as well as some drama to keep the viewer at the edge of their seats and help see the relationship between the on-screen characters to their own pets.

The adventure begins when Max (Louis C.K), an ordinary house dog, gets a new doggy brother, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). The two don't exactly become friends at first and when they end up at a park, they get separated and must go on a huge adventure where they meet many strange and interesting creatures as they journey back to their owner.

This film is a rare case where there is truly nothing to complain about. The comedy appeals to all ages. In the audience, kids were laughing throughout the entire film and so were adults. The story is entertaining and never gets boring or drag on. And, it keeps creating new fun ways to entertain the viewers. I also enjoyed many small references to other films. The whole movie has a very relaxed feel, which is perfect.

The cast is legendary with Louis C.K, Kevin Hart (Snowball), Albert Brooks (Tiberius) and more - all making the characters truly come alive. Visuals of downtown New York are stunning and greatly enjoyable. It is also worth mentioning that I greatly enjoyed the classical soundtrack of the film which is very unexpected for an animated family comedy. But, it elevates the jokes in many places and spices things up without going overboard.

My favorite scene is when Duke and Max run into a sausage factory during their journey home. At the factory they, of course, eat many sausages and both overeat and imagine a heavenly sausage world. This goes back to the very relaxed feel of the whole film and the scene is completely random but seems to fit perfectly and made the audience laugh nonstop.

This film is meant for kids, but It appeals to adults too. I recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Some of the scarier animals may be a bit much for younger kids. I rank it 5 out of 5 because of its original idea, fantastic casting, new and funny characters, wonderful soundtrack and great sense of humor.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Let the debates begin and if they haven't begun, allow me to start: Zootopia or The Secret Life of Pets? - two acclaimed comedic animated movies featuring talking animals. Well, I'd like to throw in my opinion - The Secret Life of Pets, while less cleverly plotted, is much better written and animated. This film will not dazzle you with a wonderfully woven plot, but it will undoubtedly entertain you with dynamic characters and strong jokes that land more often than not.

The day of New York City misadventures for Max and the newly picked up Duke, is reminiscent of those zany 50s and 60s comedies. Without coincidence, those decades were very popular for films set in the "City that Never Sleeps", particularly for comedies. Jokes about hipsters moving to Brooklyn and New York City alleyways are featured in the film, paying homage to the city. But even better than that, are the beautiful shots of New York City in this film. It would give the opening scene in Manhattan a run for its money. The cinematography in this film is absolutely gorgeous, worthy of being full sized paintings to hang on your wall. Master shots include New York City at night with the lights from the moon and the buildings illuminating the city, aerial shots of the city in the daytime with beautiful weather and an air of inspiration. The images captured in this film are among some of the best of any animated feature ever and I've no issue saying that.

But, the imagery isn't the best part of the movie. Naturally, its the characters of the film. For a comedy of this nature to be successful, the writer/s must come up with strong characters who make strong choices. So the jokes end up bolder and have a higher probability of landing. This movie is filled with those. Archetypes pervade the movie such as the longing ing�nue, the idiotic gang leader, the fearless elder and the neurotic straight man (the main character). These familiar characters were popular in comedies during the 50s and 60s and further highlight the style of film this is, which is quite refreshing. As a matter of fact, the relationship between Duke and Max is reminiscent of Walter Matthau (Duke) and Max (Jack Lemmon), who were a successful duo in cinema in the 50s and 60s. This film is so much like others of that era, I can see Billy Wilder directing this.

Lastly, and what impressed me most, is the score. It is an up tempo, lighthearted score. But, what makes it so impressive is how often it is used. In today's comedies, a score isn't used often. Because we're in an age of off-beat, dry comedy, an accompanying score ruins the tone and wipes away the awkwardness. This film uses the score like those comedies of the 50s and 60s, which creates a more lighthearted comedic tone and gives comedic rhythm to the scene. It also makes scene transitions less awkward and helps with pace. The score itself is a wonderful, having been scored by the great Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 & 2). I'd love to see it in contention for the Best Score Oscar (although seeing the fate of Inside Out's beautiful score, it may not happen). So with all of this nostalgia, the movie really impressed me. It's not easy to go against the grain and pay homage to classic Hollywood. Speaking of which, I am loving this trend in animated films today that reference older movies. Inside Out referenced Chinatown, this movie referenced Some Like it Hot (a cat says to a dog trying to date her, "I'm a cat" and the dog says "Well, nobody's perfect"), The Birds, and Grease (even singing a song from the musical). It's very satisfying for movie fans.

With all of that said, I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. The reason it misses out on perfection for me is because I feel the plot could have been tighter and I wish the film had a little bit more to say, or at least say it meant to say a little louder. But nonetheless, I know your kids will enjoy this film and you will too. I recommend it for ages 6 to 18 and it can be seen at a local theater near you when it opens July 8.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

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


GIBBY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GIBBY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young girl finds an unlikely and uplifting friendship with an adorable monkey in this charming, light-hearted film. Katie has lost interest in her school, her friends, and gymnastics following the loss of her mother. But her outlook changes in the summer when she is asked to monkey sit Gibby, her science teacher's Capuchin monkey. Taking care of the monkey challenges Katie and reorders her life in a big way, and Gibby's happy-go-lucky personality renews Katie's zest for life. Gibby helps her with gymnastics, renewing friendships (including finding a potential boyfriend) and overcoming her nemesis, a mean girl who is out to beat Katie at everything.

Rising star Shelby Lyon heads up an all-star cast, including Peyton Meyer (Girl Meets World), Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie), Sean Patrick Flanery (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day) and, of course, Crystal the Monkey (Night At The Museum).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Gibby is a fun to watch film. Children as well as adults can enjoy watching the great acting by the cast along with Gibby, the monkey. The film shows great friendship development. While there is an element of a "mean girl," Katie is able to handle it. The film takes you on a journey with Katie as she works through her depression and loneliness after the death of her mother. When she is selected to care for Gibby, it brings her back to her love of gymnastics and renewing friendships. The characters display the behaviors of teenagers, seeking popularity and looking for love. Gibby is entertaining, funny and tugs at your heart. You learn facts about a capuchin monkey and watch the young actors develop friendships and create believable and real life actions. The story is well done with actions, concepts and dialogue that are part of real life. This film could inspire children to engage in gymnastics. It is very real and down to earth, using real people and a very talented monkey - Crystal who definitely steals the show. There is no CGI and the special features are excellent. It offers facts from Gibby's trainer who talks about the challenges of working with animals and humans. I recommend it for ages 5 to 15. Reviewed by Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Bananas!!! This little monkey will keep you smiling as you watch my favorite actress Crystal, use her natural monkey talents to help a young girl find her true heart's desire. This film is heartwarming, entertaining, funny, and adorable all wrapped up into one great movie.

One of my favorite things about this film is that no CGI is used. This film is very down to earth and it is good to get a break from all the amazing graphics taking over movie theaters today. There are ups and downs just like in real life and that is what makes this film endearing and believable.

The acting in this is believable. I love all the different characters in this film, but my absolute favorite character is Gibby (Crystal, a capuchin monkey). She is hysterical, cute and there when you need her. Crystal has made many monkey appearances, but this is one of her best performances I have seen. I had the pleasure of meeting her on the set of We Bought a Zoo and Gibby. She is very talkative, loves to stick her tongue out and has a boyfriend that she hangs out with when she is not in the spotlight. Tom Gunderson, her trainer is like an overly protective father who loves her and takes wonderful care of this high maintenance little diva. Oh, our little monkey is not a hugger, but she likes to high five.

My other favorite character is Katie (Shelby Lyon). She is lonely and depressed at first because of the death of her mother and then she meets Gibby and her whole world changes. Then, she is fun, happy and ready for anything. Her acting is wonderful and I had the pleasure of meeting her as well. Shelby Lyon is very bubbly, cute and fun to hang out with. She also loves doing gymnastics. She showed me a couple of her awesome skills and I was quite impressed. I do wish that they had more gymnastic scenes in this film. Tommy (Peyton Meyer) is a friend of Katie's and has a crush on her but she doesn't know it. A great friendship blooms when he volunteers to watch Crystal and help Katie over the summer with her new pet monkey. He is as cute in a person as he is in this movie.

I have lots of favorite scenes including Gibby (Crystal the monkey) sneaking into a birthday party and being mistaken for a dangerous animal. Gibby is hit on the head by a crazy mother who is scared of the giant one foot, seven inch monkey. This is one of my favorite scenes because it really touched my heart and I found myself crying. Can you say cameo appearance? Look carefully and you will see me there in a pink shirt and a zebra dress. The lovely Vivica A. Fox also joins in on the monkey fun.

I love the fact that all the girls did their own gymnastic stunts. They are very talented and a great group of young women to hang out with. Phil Gorn, the director, is brave working with both kids and monkeys. Congratulations on making an adorable movie.

I recommend this film for kids as young as five who will love the adorable Crystal. Teenagers will relate to the means girls and the young love crushing going on. This is a fantastic family-friendly film for the entire family to sit back and enjoy and appropriate for ages 5 to 16. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 monkeying around stars.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B., age 11 1/2
Runtime: 86 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-16
Suggested Retail Price: $ 1498
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


ENDGAME

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ENDGAME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Since he was 5 years old, Jose (Rico Rodriguez, Modern Family) has learned from his Abuelita (Ivonne Coll, Jane The Virgin) how to play chess like his grandfather, who was a champion in Mexico. Now as part of the Brownsville school team, Jose has the chance to use his skills and, for once in his life, find himself in the spotlight, as he tries to help his team make it to the Texas state finals. As their coach, Mr. Alvarado (Efren Ramirez, Napoleon Dynamite), teaches his students the meaning of perseverance and team effort in the face of adversity, Jose discovers his own strengths and uses them to bring his broken family together.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I like that this film teaches kids to never give up and to work as a team. The main story is a great one and one that should be told. There are a lot of different emotional issues covered such as teenage death and the tragedy of being deported. These are big issues and I am not sure that they are shown in the best way possible. What I mean is that they are touched upon but I felt as if parts were missing. For example, I didn't feel that, as a viewer, I saw the despair and grief of the main character Jose when he lost his brother. I would have liked to have seen more about this in this film. The issues are touched upon, but not quite enough to make an impact. It is a good film with an enjoyable story and very good action. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18.

Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Chess, the game that is so simple, yet so complex and difficult is coming to your TV screen in this great film called Endgame on DVD. This film is a wonderful combination of emotions - one minute you are sad and crying, then the next you are happy and laughing. I love that the film does this and that it really makes you feel like you are there.

The acting in this film is very well executed, but my favorite character is Jose (Rico Rodriguez) who is one of the stars of Modern Family. He is goodhearted and loves to play chess just like his grandmother or Abuelita in Spanish (Ivonne Coll) who starts teaching him the game of chess at the age five. Jose is going through a tough time. We see him stumble and fall but friends, family, chess and determination come to the rescue. Karla (Justina Machade), Jose's mother is depressed and sad for many reasons and she is mad because her mother has taught her son how to play chess even though she doesn't approve. The principle (Jon Gries) doesn't think that there should be a chess club and that it is a useless cause. Mr. Alvarado (Efren Ramirez), a teacher at Jose's school thinks that all children should know chess and that it can change their world for the better. Sandy (Cassie Brennan) is adorable and very funny. I like that she tries to help Jose (Rico Rodriguez) when he is playing chess with other competitors by distracting them with her flirtations. She uses her girly charms to her advantage.

Movies that show women as strong mother and grandmother figures are so important to our youth. I love all the women in this film. They have many complex aspects to them. There is always a fine line between grandparents' and parents' roles which is funny because they all want the same thing - for their children to be happy and healthy.

My favorite scenes are those when Mr. Alvarado (Efren Ramirez) have the children play chess on a life size chess board and they are the chess pieces. I love these scenes because they are hysterical and this is great idea for children to learn how to play chess. I will be trying this with my friends and family now because it looks like so much fun.

The fact that it is based on true events is astonishing. I like that it is so real and well portrayed as it makes you become really engaged in the characters and the out-come of this true story. Hurray! I love the end of a movie when they have captions that tell you what happened to the real characters after this event in their timeline.

I wish that this film included just a bit more about chess and explained it a bit better. I have played chess many times and enjoy the game. Although you do not need to know how the play chess to enjoy the drama and family struggles, basic knowledge of the game helps you to better understand what is going on especially when they show scenes regarding competitions. I liked that they showed it as a game of strategy and that you need to know your opponents next move and never lose focus.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to 18 and think adults will also like this film because it is about chess and they might even learn a new chess move or two. Children will learn from this film because they will be able to see Jose struggles and see how he deals with issues such as anger, frustration and hurt. I give this film 4 � out of 5 chess piece stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Endgame By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11 Endgame is an interesting film with some good characters and memorable performances, but the plot could use a little work. Although, at the end of the movie, I had a smile on my face.

At a very young age, Jose (Rico Rodriguez) starts to learn chess from his Abuelita (Ivonne Coll) but he has always been in his brother's shadow. When tragedy strikes, Jose receives a calling to become a chess champion. The movie is inspired by the true story about a school in Texas that built an champion chess team.

My favorite character is Mr. Alvarado (Efren Ramirez) because he never gives up on the kids and even spends his rent money to get them to a tournament. Another character I like is Jose's grandmother because she is always giving him good advice, encouraging him to do the right thing and she teaches him to play chess. There are other performances that stand out for me. Rico Rodriguez puts a lot of effort into his role and he is very believable. So does newcomer Alina Hererra who plays Jose's friend and is the person who gets him interested in playing chess for the school.

As much as I like the characters and the actors, the plot is uneven and I feel as if I've seen parts of it in other films. Some scenes are pretty inspiring, but others just feel cheesy and stylized. When the plot tries to take an emotional turn, sometimes it ends up going flat and didn't resonate with me. I enjoyed the ending of this movie anyway because it is a pleasant surprise.

Compared to films about baseball or football, chess doesn't get much attention in the film industry, so it is nice to see it recognized in this film. I am also surprised how deep the film delves into social issues. The ending also managed to surprise me in spite of the plot problems in how it was executed. I like some of the music in this film and it really signals the right tone in some scenes.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 16 due to some language and some crude humor. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. It's not perfect but if you like Rico Rodriguez from the TV series Modern Family or chess, you'll probably enjoy Endgame.

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 22.97
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


LEGEND OF TARZAN, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LEGEND OF TARZAN, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - John Clayton following his parents' death in Africa would be raised by an ape and would be known by the name Tarzan, would leave Africa and go to his parents' home in England along with woman he fell in love with and married, Jane Porter. He would be asked by Belgian King Leopold to go to Africa to see what he has done there to help the country. Initially he refuses. But an American, George Washington Williams wants him to accept so he can accompany him. He says that Leopold might be committing all sorts of atrocities to achieve his goal like slavery. He needs to prove it. Clayton agrees and his wife insists that she accompany him because she misses Africa. They go and when they arrive a man named Rom who works for Leopold attacks the village they are at and captures Tarzan and Jane. With Washington's help he escapes and sets out to rescue Jane by going across the jungle and Washington joins him despite being told that he might not make it. .
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Alas, Tarzan lovers rise for the continuation of this legendary story, but take a seat because this film is disappointing. The film covers Tarzan's life after he left Africa to live in England as John Clayton and returns to Africa to help his country. After a series of dangerous obstacles and captures, Tarzan fights to save his love Jane.

I found the film's plot so confusing and disconnected that it was difficult to give a thorough summary without looking it up. The film stars Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan who, in the movie, is quite civilized, British and sophisticated despite the fact that he was raised by gorillas in the jungle. This disappointed me because it is one thing to make a bad movie but it's even more disappointing when the film has a template to follow and doesn't. In the original film, Jane is British but in this adaptation she is American. This really confused me because of its inconsistency with the original story. Another disappointing aspect is that the apes in this film were not his friends. They were his enemies. The back story of Tarzan is all about how he was raised by gorillas and how they are his family. I did not enjoy seeing Tarzan fighting the creatures that are supposed to be his family.

Looking past that inconsistency and hard-to-follow plot, on the positive side, the film has impressive visuals that make it quite entertaining. The characters are not ones you get attached to or gain a bond with and, me for that makes the movie lack the emotional connection it needs to really draw in the audience.

I feel as if the film doesn't focus on appropriate things. It focuses a lot on business schemes to get money rather than the emotional struggles and journeys in the jungle.

The film has little details and aspects that are alright, such as the casting, but I just did not find the movie compelling. I think it would interest people that like historical fiction and recommend it for tweens and teens. People between the ages of 30 to 60 would also enjoy it because of its complexity and historical background. I would not go out of my way to see this and rank it 2 out of 5 stars because I was so disappointed in it.

Reviewed by Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


1ST SEM

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
1ST SEM
XXX
Series: INDEPENDENT FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The love-hate relationship between mother and son intensifies when the latter decides not to pursue his promising college education in the city after suffering from separation anxiety.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film really touches on so many emotions about families and communication. It offers a very realistic depiction of a Philippine single mother dealing with her son's misadventures when he leaves home to attend the university and returns almost immediately. It explores an issue that is not unique to the Philippines but to families everywhere. Sometimes the transition to move away from home to further your education is more than some kids can handle. Maru bails from the university before he even starts. He can't stand the idea of being away from his mother and family and, as his story winds we discover there is more beneath the surface that we thought. It offers an inside look at a middle class Philippine family and their community. We see how a parent and extended family members have sacrificed so much so that their child can succeed and, hopefully have a better life than they have. This is very well produced with great camera work and authentic locations and situations. The shots of the countryside are beautiful and the background music quite charming. I recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival for youth ages 13 to 18. In Filipino with English sub-titles. Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 103 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


I AM YOU

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
I AM YOU
XXX
Series: INDEPENDEN FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-5
Topic - Family
Description - The film is an abstract depiction of a child's perspective of the outer world. The struggle of the kid to come in terms with the surrounding and the desire to liberate himself from its clutches.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short film blends abstraction with realism in a fascinating way and invites the viewer to question their relationship to others. I enjoyed watching it and think it would make a good addition for a youth and family festival. Recommended for ages 8 to 15. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


KEEPIN' IT WEIRD TV- EVEN THE KIDS ARE WEIRD

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
KEEPIN' IT WEIRD TV- EVEN THE KIDS ARE WEIRD
XXX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Meet our Keepin' It Weird Youth from Austin, TX with a collection of sketches where they poke fun at the world around them!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Keepin' It Weird TV is funny, different and very entertaining. I enjoyed it because the kids display great imagination along with their "weird" creativity. The locations work very well with the theme. For example, in the episode "Pistachio Pants," they introduce the pants with one young person being teased and then she turns the table and sets a trend. While, I do not consider this a special interest topic, I think it is a great example of how our young people view various adult situations and make them laughable. I believe a child will enjoy this show because it presents real life activities in a zany, over-exaggerated way. I recommend it for ages 8 to 12 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 16 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ITIME TRAVEL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ITIME TRAVEL
XXX
Series: INDEPENDENT SHORT. AGES 12-15
Topic - Family
Description - Young Jake, played by Teddy van Ee (Captain Fantastic) finds a time travel app conveniently placed for his use, he can't resist the urge to press the button. He finds himself 30 years from now wondering how he (played by Tony Award winner, Corey Brunish) got so messed up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short film delivers a poignant message about how we can change our lives once we peer into the future. It's well cast. The leading teen is very believable and his older self equally so. You should be aware there is some mild profanity in it and drinking by the older version of the kid. I mention that since it's problematical for some venues. I recommend this for kids ages 12 to 15 and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It would play very well at some youth and family film festival. It is well produced and would show well on the big screen. Reviewed by Julie S. KIDS FIRST! juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comment
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


LIGHT DRIFTER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LIGHT DRIFTER
XXX
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Light Drifter by Yu-Ting Cheng is a 2D animation that uses a flowing pastel and watercolor style to tell a poetic visual narrative based on the filmmaker's childhood nighttime sleepwalks. Created at the intersection of dreams and reality, the audience is lead on an imaginary journey through mysterious spaces that are shaped by light.

Director's Bio: Yu Ting Cheng received an M.F.A. in Computer Art with a concentration in 2D animation from the School of Visual Art in New York (2016). Her creative and animation practice includes computer animation, concept design and storyboard design for visual concept development. She has worked as a 2D animation assistant at Bill Plympton Studios in New York (2015) and as an assistant instructor in stop motion, animation and watercolors at Taipei Contemporary Art Association, Taiwan (2013).

Director's Statement: I'm a dreamer. In my 2D animation Light Drifter, I invite the viewer into my dream world through a visual m�lange of watercolor and illustration. As a child in rural Taiwan, I played and drew in my grandfather's garden. Surrounded by farms and animals, I recorded what I saw. Light Drifter is a visual narrative of my dreams realized in a surreal world populated by monsters, birds, fish and magical creatures. For me, reality and dreams can merge. In the imagination of a child, the boundaries between the known and unknown are fluid. Ever since I was young, I have sought to share this mysterious reality with others. Light Drifter, a story of an impish creature who ventures into the seemingly friendly mouth of a monster, invites a suspension of logic as the viewer enjoys a tour of the unknown. As a child, I remember being startled and disoriented by the darkness as I awoke from my frequent nighttime sleepwalks. Light Drifter is a visual response to lessen the fears associated with these early nightmares. Through a strong use of light, I transform unpredictable and intriguing shapes into candy that lures the viewer. Ku Yan-Ren, a Taiwanese watercolorist has remarked, "Each stroke and color in Yu Ting's work reveals her powerful imagination. Visual discoveries await her viewers." Through my inventive use of color, I convey a positive energy to the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This student film is extremely unique and a welcome breath of fresh air for someone who searches for something different in film. The strongest aspects of this film are the visuals and sound. The colors are lively and beautiful. The artistic style is quite imaginative with interesting and compelling characters. The music complements it quite well and moves the film forward. I believe anyone, especially younger kids who have active imaginations, will enjoy this film. It is completely non narrative so it is very open to interpretation. Some people might not enjoy this aspect of it, especially those who prefer something more realistic and less abstract.

I recommend this for film festivals because it's the kind of film you would only find in that type of environment. I found it very enjoyable and I think anyone who enjoys ambiguous topics and enjoys searching for deeper meaning in media will enjoy watching this. It is something different and something that is very unique that people will interpret in their own different ways.

The production values are high. The music is a very soothing. The artistic style and colors are very enjoyable to latch. The animation is well executed. I give a hats off to this student filmmaker and hope to see more of her work.

It feels very uplifting and imaginative and I enjoyed watching it. Recommended for ages 8 to 18.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


TEACHER X-GIN'S LESSON IN DISCRIMINATION

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TEACHER X-GIN'S LESSON IN DISCRIMINATION
XXX
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The one-day teacher of this episode is Gin Oy, a writer and model. When she was younger, she was discriminated and bullied because she was a plump girl with tattoos, which caused her to suffer from major depression in her adolescence. So she intends to let the kids know what discrimination can do to hurt someone's feelings. She divides the students into two groups, according to the unchangeable hereditary characteristic of their earlobes. With a made-up experiment, she convinces the kids that those with free earlobes has better self-control while those with attached earlobes have to stay inside the classroom during the breaks to study harder. Being tagged as someone born to be worse than the others, what will the kids react to this discrimination?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an interesting way to address discrimination, a topic that certainly every young child should be aware of. This film positions an instructor who spoofs the kids in the beginning until she leads them through an exercise that allows them to experience discrimination based on something they cannot control - their earlobes. The film uses cute graphics to enhance its message and moves very quickly as the viewer is allowed to observe the children participating in the various exercises designed to teach them what it feels like to be discriminated by others over something beyond their control. The camera work and quality as well as sound are very good. The thoughtfulness of the subject and how it is handled is excellent. There is some terminology and concepts that may not be appropriate for younger viewers however, given the topic those words are necessary to help reinforce the point about discrimination that the film addresses. I recommend this for inclusion in a youth film festival and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. You should know that it is in Chinese with English sub-titles. Reviewed by Michael O and Julie S. Delete
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 26 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


LAKOTA GIRLS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LAKOTA GIRLS
XXX
Series: INDEPENDENT FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a historical drama about Mato Win, an eight-year-old Native American girl who lives at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She is sent to live with a white family at a horse ranch in the Black Hills. She stays with Clara, an eight-year-old white girl and her family, but Mato Win is determined to get back to the reservation. She runs away to the mountainous forest, but is found. Mato Win is afraid she will be kept from her parents and does not trust Clara's older brother Cavan. Mato Win questions Clara about an old photo of two Indian men in her home. Clara tells the story of her great-great grandma, Emylon, who rode the train from Indiana to teach there, a hundred years ago. The girls discover they have more in common than they knew.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is quite a wonderful drama that weaves in an intercultural love story based on a true story of the director's great-grandmother. The beautiful scenery shot in the Black Hills and the Pine Ridge Reservation are stunning. The actors are quite believable and include many Lakota actors appearing in a film for the first time. The flute music by the Lakota flutist is stunning as is the original score by William Cox. This first-time filmmaker has created a lovely tale that reveals the history of her family and the complicated relationships created by the intercultural marriage of her ancestor. It's not perfect but it is certainly an admirable effort and quite worthy of play at the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 94 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


S.O.S.

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
S.O.S.
XXX
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 6-10
Topic - Family
Description - A story about a mischievous young boy and his relationship with his protective older brother, centered around a lovely day at the beach.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated student short captures the relationships between these two brothers in a fun and imaginative way. I enjoyed the scenes at the beach, the terror of being too far out in the water and the joy of being rescued. The ending surprised me as it seems to lead us to yet another adventure by these boys. I recommend this be included in a youth and family film festival and congratulate the 4th year college filmmaker on a job well done. Julie S. for KIDS FIRST! I recommend it for ages 6 to 10 and give it 4 out of 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-10
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LABELED (2016)
SANTA FE SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS & SCIENCES MOVING IMAGES PROGRAM
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 11 TO 15
Topic - Family
Description - New student Lizzie finds out that your label does not define you.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - As a student production, I'm impressed by its attempt to make a statement and deliver it in a substantial way. The video and audio quality are pretty good. They are consistent. The film is easy to watch. Kudos to these students. Labeled demonstrates what happens for young people not only in a school setting, but also in their daily lives. Appearance is the number one factor by which people are assessed or evaluated. The lesson of the film is to be careful not to let the labels define you; get to know the students or people in your life. This is a special interest topic, urging students to realize that labels do not define them. It is a good example to help raise self-esteem. The school setting is realistic. It appears to be a private or charter school. The students' clothing matches their so called labels. I like the use of the magic want to switch people's clothing. I think this would be a good discussion starter for a student or family film festival. Recommended for ages 11 to 15. Reviewed by Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NOTEWORTHY
SANTA FE SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS & SCIENCES MOVING IMAGES PROGRAM
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 7 TO 15
Topic - Family
Description - Courtney is too shy to tell Sonja she has a crush on her, but writing a note might just work.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I was quite impressed by the quality of this student film. It addresses a special interest topic and has a good message - love knows no boundary. As stated at the end of the film "If someone is in love, don't tell them they can't be." It has good sets, appropriate wardrobe for students and clear visuals and sound. The vocabulary and concepts are very clear and specific for this age group. Courtney is offered a suggestion by her friends to write a note expressing how she feels about Sonja whose friends also suggest to her to write a note to Courtney. Very touching. Reviewed by Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! juror. Recommended for ages 10 - 15
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LAKOTA GIRLS
MOLLIANNE CAMERON
Series: INDEPENDENT FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This is a historical drama about Mato Win, an eight-year-old Native American girl who lives at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She is sent to live with a white family at a horse ranch in the Black Hills. She stays with Clara, an eight-year-old white girl and her family, but Mato Win is determined to get back to the reservation. She runs away to the mountainous forest, but is found. Mato Win is afraid she will be kept from her parents and does not trust Clara's older brother Cavan. Mato Win questions Clara about an old photo of two Indian men in her home. Clara tells the story of her great-great grandma, Emylon, who rode the train from Indiana to teach there, a hundred years ago. The girls discover they have more in common than they knew. U.S. Premiere, People's Choice Award
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is quite a wonderful drama that weaves in an intercultural love story based on a true story of the director's great-grandmother. The beautiful scenery shot in the Black Hills and the Pine Ridge Reservation are stunning. The actors are quite believable and include many Lakota actors appearing in a film for the first time. The flute music by the Lakota flutist is stunning as is the original score by William Cox. This first-time filmmaker has created a lovely tale that reveals the history of her family and the complicated relationships created by the intercultural marriage of her ancestor. It's not perfect but it is certainly an admirable effort and quite worthy of play at the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


FRONTLINE: SAUDI ARABIA UNCOVERED
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, ADULTS
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - Forty-seven. That's how many people the government of Saudi Arabia executed on terror charges in a single day at the start of 2016, in the kingdom's largest wave of executions in more than three decades. That bloody day -- which included the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a controversial Shia cleric and opponent of the Saudi government - sent shock waves around the region and the world, prompting fresh scrutiny of the oil-rich kingdom, long a U.S. ally.

Now, this new program, goes inside the tightly-controlled kingdom to tell the stories of men and women who are risking everything to try to change their country, and challenge the powerful ruling regime.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This undercover look into the repressive regime of Saudi Arabia and several citizens fighting for greater freedom of expression may be eye-opening for some as far as the government's violence against its own people and the lack of women's rights. But too often situations and images are presented with little or no context or background making for a very limited glimpse. This is a simplistic look into a complex situation. Disappointing journalism.

Programs delving into repressive regimes are important, educational and much needed, but this program often lacks context for events and leaves too much unsaid or explained. One hour is simply not enough for what it is attempting to do.

This is adult material and is recommended (barely and with misgivings) only for the oldest of children and then with adult supervision. It portrays several individuals fighting for freedom of expression in a very repressive country. There is violence against individuals by the police and rioting in the streets showing a woman apparently beheaded and an individual who has just been shot. The subject matter is not enjoyable in any way but a mature 16 year old should find this enlightening but it is more suited to a 17 or 18 year old if at all with much discussion led by a teacher or better yet an expert on the region and culture. The look inside a country where public images are tightly controlled is immediately appealing. The scenes of gruesome violence and the rough nature of some of the hidden video is unappealing.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 18-80
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99
Media: DVD
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DOG LOVER, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOG LOVER, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Topic - Family
Description - Sara Gold is a rising star at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a major animal rights organization that conducts animal rescues and lobbies for better animal welfare laws. Handpicked for a major assignment, Sara goes undercover as a college intern to infiltrate a suspected "puppy mill" run by the enigmatic Daniel Holloway.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film teaches important morals and has a heartwarming story. It also gives us an opportunity to meet many new characters and experience beautiful scenery.

The Dog Lover is dramatic film. There are a few jokes, but film is not meant to be a comedy. There are a few more elements that spice things up, including a romance between characters as well as an adventurous theme throughout the film.

The story starts when Sara Gold (Allison Paige) is working for a nonprofit organization that is against dog breeding. Sara goes undercover at a dog breeder farm. She discovers that there is truly nothing wrong with the farm and they treat their dogs very well. The organization still accuses the family farm which then has to fight to keep their dogs safe.

This film has a simple and pretty much unoriginal story. It is a story about someone who works for the good guys and then discovers they actually are the bad guys. The ending is very expected so the story is predictable and somewhat boring. But, the main actors performed exceptionally well. Allison Paige, James Remar (Daniel Holloway) and others are amazing. However, I felt as if the side characters' performances felt forced which made some conversations seem rather cheesy.

The cinematography is very simple and standard, but the scenery is beautiful and enjoyable to watch. My favorite scene is when Sara and the son of the dog breeder, Will Holloway (Jason Blair) go on a trip near the farm. There, the two watch the spectacular scenery and observe wild horses galloping around freely. I love this scene because it is peaceful and somewhat romantic without being over the top which is very difficult to achieve.

The Dog Lover does have some mature topics and some sad parts which may be too mature for younger kids. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18 and give it 3 out of 5 stars for its pretty scenery and some good performances. This film is in theaters on July 8 so, be sure to go check it out.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O., age 14.

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


INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - We always knew they were coming back. After 'Independence Day' redefined the event movie genre, the next epic chapter delivers global spectacle on an unimaginable scale. Using recovered alien technology, the nations of Earth have collaborated on an immense defense program to protect the planet. But nothing can prepare us for the aliens' advanced and unprecedented force. Only the ingenuity of a few brave men and women can bring our world back from the brink of extinction.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Twenty years ago one of the most epic action films was released - Independence Day. Now we finally got a sequel which I believe will again become one of the most exciting action films of the year - Independence Day: Resurgence - with amazing acting, spectacular visuals and an original story.

As expected, Independence Day: Resurgence is an action film, but it goes into much more than that. This film has some romance, but it doesn't go overboard. It just spices up the character development. The story also features a sense of adventure and, of course, a big element of sci-fi.

The story starts twenty years after aliens attacked Earth in 1996. On a moon base, they discover a very powerful and large ship that has the power to rip Earth in half. The human race must then stand up again to defeat the alien race. Even with the powerful technology that has been developed, the human race is threatened of extinction!

The is one disappointment, of course. This film does not have Will Smith, but it is explained why he is not there and many new characters are introduced in addition to the favorite original characters. The special effects are impressive and breathtaking. The detail on the ships makes you feel as if they really exist. I also greatly enjoyed the story. It is original and unexpected. The aerial CGI shots are spectacular and greatly add to the intensity of the whole experience. The soundtrack deserves special mention as it really makes your adrenaline pump and the audience feels as if the theater itself is shaking. Although there isn't much comedy in the film, it is original and made the audience laugh in certain scenes.

My favorite scene is when the giant ship first attacks the moon base. The moon base has a powerful experimental laser that they quickly fire at the ship, but discover it does not do anything to the mother ship. What is also amazing is the size of the ship compared to the moon. That scene also introduces the aliens for the first time. The film is spectacular and not suited for all ages. It is rather intense and has quite a lot of gore. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This truly lives up to the glory of the first film with its beautiful special effects, original story, emotional acting and an unexpected ending. It is that rare case when the sequel is as good, if not better than the original. I applaud the creators and the director Roland Emmerich. This film opens nationwide on June 24 so go check it out.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


CINEMABILITY

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINEMABILITY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - This dynamic documentary will take a detailed look at the evolution of "disability" themes in entertainment, from film and TV to the Web, to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of those with disabilities. Our in-depth investigation has gone behind the scenes to interview Filmmakers, Studio Executives, Film Historians, and Celebrities, and utilizes vivid clips from Hollywood's most beloved motion pictures and TV shows to focus attention on the powerful impact that entertainment and the media can have on society. Do disability portrayals in the media impact society? Or does the media simply reflect the publics ever-changing attitudes? This important documentary explores these questions and more to see if the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of the disabled, and to prove how an enlightened understanding of disability can have a positive impact on the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - There are many documentaries about the history of Hollywood, but none cover an important topic like this one this. CinemAbility shows the real history of handicapped actors in Hollywood and how many things need to be changed in the way they are treated.

This is an educational documentary that will leave you inspired and interested. It also has some humor from actors who are interviewed and many older classic films. The film starts in the late 19th century showing the first handicapped people in films. It goes all the way up to recent films. Many actors talk about their opinions on the matter and what it is like being handicapped. The documentary shows you some films that heavily mock the handicapped as well as films that represent handicapped people very well.

I love this film because it doesn't just look at Hollywood as discriminating against handicapped people. Instead, it looks at movies and movements that have really pushed for equality and it also features handicapped actors who tell the viewer how Hollywood can make improvements. Its 98 minute length fits very well and keeps the viewer's attention the whole time. The most inspirational point in this film is that it is directed by Jenni Gold, who is handicapped herself. She excels at showing that, no matter what people look like on the outside, they are first and foremost people on the inside with their own dreams and aspirations.

My favorite scene is when they talk about Ray Charles, a powerful musician who has been blind all his life. Ray, despite his disability, led a very productive life and became a very powerful and successful man. He proved that he is in charge of his life which is unique and interesting. Jamie Foxx also talks about what it was like to play Ray Charles and to be blind for twelve hours a day. It was inspirational and interesting to listen to him speak.

CinemAbility does have some mature topics, so I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars for fantastic directing, entertaining elements, interesting and educational material and a unique concept. I have to mention that it took close to 10 years to complete this film and was mainly possible due to a partnership between the Geena Davis Institute on Gender Media and Gold Pictures, a company founded by Jenni Gold. This film is playing in select theaters now.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


BFG, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BFG, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant. Naturally scared at first, the young girl soon realizes that the 24-foot behemoth is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie's presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After traveling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie has giants, dreams, friendship and compassion all rolled up into one two-hour long movie that is a wonderful experience. The BFG's character and graphics are shock and awe to me. His job as a dream catcher is in danger and I think I just found my new career goal - catching dreams and using them to make other people happy. The BFG is a complicated, humorous character with many aspects to him. Brilliant director Steven Spielberg adds yet another great movie to his resume.

This must-see summer hit opens nationwide July 1, just in time to spend a hot summer day in a cool theater near you. It is more of a drama then a comedy even though you will laugh throughout the film. The movie is based on the book by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. I have added this book to my summer to do list.

The CGI animation in this film is top-quality and award winning. The scale between the humans and giants has been done before but in this film, it is truly extraordinary. The thought and details shown in every scene captivate you into believing you are on screen in this new make believe world. Giants, the dream country and giant country all come to life. The flipping of the world upside down and entering dream country is a memorable scene and my favorite. It is one of the many places you will find yourself wishing really existed or think that perhaps it does it somewhere.

The characters have incredible depth to them. Ruby Barnhill's (Sophie) performance is extraordinary. Most of her scenes are in CGI and she had to use her imagination when acting out those scenes. She is the lead of this film and carries it well. There are few real humans until the second half and her connection with the BFG is heartwarming. Sophie is a kind, brave and sharp orphan who finds herself dwarfed in the world of giants.

Mark Rylance (The BFG) is fascinating, remarkable and a top notch actor. You can tell that he is kind and he sticks to what he believes in. He doesn't care about what the other giants think about him he just wants to care for a little girl and catch dreams. I like how he thinks that it is wrong to eat humans. At least there is one giant we don't have to run from. He is comical and humorous and his take on the English language will have you laughing out loud as the audience did when I watched this film. His new words will add to your vocabulary and have you smiling when you recall them.

The BFG meets the one and only Queen of England (Penelope Wilton) and the Queen herself would be proud of her performance, as I would definitely bow down in her presence. I find her beautiful, interesting, fair and funny.

When The BFG gives the Queen, her assistances, the guards, crazy dogs, Sophie and everyone in the room a taste of his favorite drink and everyone in the room starts whiz popping, it is hysterical. I loved this scene. Everyone in the theater could not stop laughing and I just joined in right along with them. The dogs in this scene are ridiculously entertaining when they skid along the floor while tooting away.

I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18. This is a family friendly film which kids will enjoy. Be forewarned that the scenes about bullying are unsettling and the huge giants look very lifelike and might scare younger kids. Some of them are mean. I give this film 5 out of 5 giant dream catcher stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

I enjoyed watching the new Disney film, The BFG. We get to see the works of three great storytellers together. Director Steven Spielberg collaborated with Walt Disney Studios to bring Roald Dahl's classic book "The BFG" to life and turn it into a wonderful film. I love the film for its CGI, which makes the animations look incredible and I also enjoyed its comedic moments. In this film, we meet Sophie, an orphan who hates the all girls' orphanage she is living in. Then one day, she spots the elderly big friendly giant (The BFG) who takes her away to Giant Country because he doesn't want her to tell other people that she saw him. At first, Sophie is scared because she thinks he is going to hurt her but then she realizes that the giant is actually really friendly, unlike the other giants. The Big Friendly Giant is considered an outcast by the other giants because he refuses to eat children or people as they do. Sophie has an idea to enlist help from Queen Victoria to help keep the Big Friendly Giant safe and capture all the man eating giants from Giant Country. To see how the story unfolds, go see this film.

I appreciate the animations of this film because they are vivid, detailed, realistic and child friendly. The faces and the size of the giants are amazing. I also like this film because of its humor. It is great! I guarantee that this film will make you laugh at some point during the movie. I also like the designs of the scenes. They look extremely realistic - so much so, that you could easily think it is a real place. I love how the characters change throughout the film. However, what I didn't like in this film is that there are a few scenes that are too intense for younger viewers. Also, some scenes got a little boring. But besides that, this film is fantastic.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to kids ages 6 to 18 and I think adults will like this as well. I also recommend this to people who like family, action, adventure and comedy movies. Make sure to see BFG, which opens July 1 in theaters nationwide.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This 2016 colorful film based on the book by Roald Dahl is great to watch and gives you a small look into where dreams come from. The 3D effects draws you into the film and make the characters much more fascinating with its depth, texture and a variety of colors.

Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a young girl that comes in contact with the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance-Voice) who, in spite of his frightening looks, we find to be a kind and good natured person. He is assumed to be an outcast by the rest of the giants due to his refusal to eat children like they do.

The visuals are obviously something that stand out to me the most. They are clear, bright and engaging. They make the gap between the animated BFG and the real life character of Sophie very small. Steven Spielberg directs this film so, of course it is authentic and believable. It has dark moments that are spread throughout the film that parents should be aware of when taking their young children to see it. This film highlights the admirable qualities of perseverance and bravery as it tells the story of a girl and a giant in a perilous world. My favorite character is the BFG because of his childlike demeanor. His speech brings softness and an innocent aspect to his character which makes him less of a monster and it accentuates how different he is from the rest of the antagonistic Giants. The BGF for the most part focuses on the relationship between Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant, but other characters include Mary (Rebecca Hall), Mr. Tibbs (Rafe Spall), The Queen (Penelope Wilton), and Bloodbottler (Bill Hader).

My favorite scene is when Sophie shoves herself into a disgusting green vegetable to hide from one of the giants. While she tries to get out of it, we see her feet, then her legs and more - covered in a green slimy substance, until she is fully out. This scene brought about sounds of disgust and laughter from the audience. That's why it's my favorite. Actress Ruby Barnhill plays her part extremely well. She acts just like any other ten year old kid with tons of questions and lots of curiosity. She is full of energy. The BFG gears itself towards younger audiences and has a recurring theme about dreams coming true. One of my favorite inspirational quotes by Stephen Spielberg is "I don't dream at night. I dream at day. I dream all day. I'm dreaming for living." That message happens throughout the film as well.

I recommend this great family film for ages 7 to 14 and rate it 4 out of 5 stars. Even though I enjoy watching this film, I do feel that a couple of scenes are too long or unneeded altogether. The BFG opens in theaters on July 1st, so please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16



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


LEGO STAR WARS: THE FREEMAKER ADVENTURES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY XD
Series: DVD, AGES 8 - 15
Topic - Family
Description - The series stars the Freemakers, a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from the scoured debris of space battles strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact . The Kyber Saber, his world is turned upside down, and he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. Throughout their adventures, the Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters, and learn the true value of what it means to be a family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Just when you thought you would have to wait a year for the next Star Wars movie to come out, Disney is here to rescue the world from the long wait. On June 20th, Star Wars fans will have a new series to watch on Disney XD.

There are people who follow the Lego kits step by step and then, there are those who think outside of the box and build from their imagination and this is what a Freemaker truly is all about. Bill Motz and Bob Roth have captured the feel, characters and storyline of Star Wars which is why I love this new TV series. It feels like you are connecting with a friend who you have not seen for a while. It is easy to watch and everything is relatable and, of course, there are new ships, characters and gadgets to add to the Star Wars treasure chest.

There is a family of three scavengers who operate a salvage and repair shop in space living in the time period after The Empire Strikes Back and before Return of the Jedi. They are just trying to survive and pay the rent.

Roger Roger is back and has moved up to become a sidekick. I just love saying Roger, Roger, as it brings a smile to my face. No one but Matthew Woods could do it so perfectly. He has been a part of Star Wars forever and continues to work on various projects with great enthusiasm for this fantasy realm originally created by George Lucas. This series has the Star Wars humor, high stakes, the fate of lives, secrets and creative fun characters. I am with you Roger, Roger.

Nicolas Cantu as Rowan Freemaker, the little brother, is humorous as he is a klutz and trouble loves to follow him. His voice matches the animation and enhances the epic adventures he undertakes. He is my favorite character and I can't wait to see what will happen to him next. He has abilities that always seem to get the Star Wars characters into trouble as they learn to defeat the dark force and fight for good. Yes of course there is Darth Vander, his minions and the Storm Troopers who lurk in the background to trip up our heroes.

Eugene Byrd is no stranger to acting and his voice is an added bonus as the older brother who is still a kid but the real genius of the family. Zander Freemaker is the pilot and the one who knows how to build everything.

Kordi Freemaker is the female who tries to keep the family together. She has girl power, charm and charisma and uses these qualities to her advantage. Ferlark the landlord is no match for Vanessa Lengies who voices this character. She is always there to keep the boys in check. I love that she is a problem solver and smart.

The animation offers the LEGO'ized look of the Star Wars world. It is crisp and clear and gives you the sense of watching a Stars Wars movie. With this new series, the creators have also made yet another planet for us to visit and learn about.

The story line is great but my favorite thing about this series is all the new characters they have added. Even better is the fact that LEGO has made the characters and ships for this series. So buckle up and get ready for another Star Wars adventure.

I recommend this series to kids ages 8 to 18. Everyone who is a Star Wars fan will love this. After the first episode and I am hooked and waiting impatiently for the next installment. I give this series 5 out of 5 light sabers and May the Force be with You!!! Look for this series on Disney XD.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


FINDING DORY

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FINDING DORY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - "Just keep swimming Dory," her memory keep reminding her. Ellen DeGeneres truly has outdone herself with her voiceover of Dory. Ellen championed the making of a sequel because she had such fun playing the little blue fish and it's well worth the effort. Dory suffers from short term memory issues which the entire storyline revolves around. It causes her to lose her parents, find Nemo and Marlin, find her parents and find a whole lot of others in the process. What she has going for her is her kind and loving and smart nature. She tends to bring everyone into her universe and things just seem to work out for her. A great role model for kids and adults and a fun plot. Pixar's animation truly proves them to be the leader in this business once again and charmingly so. It's not just the visuals but it's all the little things they throw in that engage you from the get go to the finish. And, be sure to get to the theater so you don't miss the short, Piper, that shows before the feature. It's also a must see. Loved both! Will go back. Reviewed by Ranny L., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - It has been 13 years since easily the greatest animated film came out. Now, the very hyped up sequel has been released. Finding Dory brings back the fantastic characters, amazing jokes and the fun story with important morals. This movie, much like Finding Nemo is an adventurous comedy, but that isn't all that this film has to offer. It also has a good amount of child-friendly action. On top of that, the movie features many important morals that teach kids lots of good lessons. Mind-blowing animation by Pixar also impresses the audience.

Finding Dory follows one year after the events of Finding Nemo. Nemo, (Hayden Rolence), Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) are all back in the coral reef, living happily. However, everything changes when Dory gets a memory about her past and her family. They all then go on a quest to the far away coast of California to find Dory's parents. On the search for her parents they meet new friends and see old friends. Many events lead up to one main event. Do they find Dory's parents or not? If you want to find out, you have to watch the film.

As much as I enjoyed this sequel, I was disappointed as it felt like Finding Dory made some of the same mistakes that Star Wars: The Force Awakens made. Both were massively hyped films to continue a successful franchise. Both movies seemed to repeat a lot of the story line from the previous film. The events in Finding Dory are almost exactly like the events of Finding Nemo. This makes it very boring and quite predictable for people who saw the first film. On top of that, Finding Nemo is a fantasy but is done much more true to science. Some of the moments in Finding Dory feel forced even for a fairy tale. On top of that, the jokes in Finding Dory are somewhat repetitive, lack originality and, only a few times, are actually funny. What is especially enjoyable are the scenes with Ty Burrell's voicing the Beluga character. The first film was a complete success in its comedy. You could see Finding Nemo twenty times and still laugh. With Finding Dory, I'm not sure someone would watch it multiple times.

However, there is one thing I really adore about this film - the cast. Since it's been thirteen years after Finding Nemo, the quality of the voice acting was a big question. But after watching the film, I can say it feels like it was made directly after Finding Nemo in 2003. What is most impressive - Hayden Rolence who voices Nemo. Of course, since it's been thirteen years, the actor who voiced Nemo can no longer do the same voice so they had to find a new kid. Hayden is stupendous in this role and I could not notice a difference between the two.

My favorite scene is when they introduce my new favorite character, Hank (Ed O'Neill), an octopus. Hank finds Dory and agrees to take her to where they think her parents are in return for something that Hank needs. This scene is hilarious and the dialog between the octopus and Dory is delightful.

Finding Dory is meant for kids and thus, has nothing parents should be worried about. Because of a few action scenes, I recommend it to ages 4 through 18. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because the story is so similar to the original and seems rushed and even a bit boring at times. But the voice acting and amazing animation by Pixar makes it all worth the wait.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

I love the new Disney / Pixar film, Finding Dory which is the sequel to Finding Nemo. Fans of Finding Nemo will absolutely love this sequel. The animation is amazing, the humor hilarious and witty and the plot is so heartfelt. It does not disappoint. Dory is a forgetful but fearless blue tang fish (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), suffers from short term memory loss and has struggled with this for her entire life. Then one day, something happens to Dory that triggers her memory and she remembers that she has a family. She tries to find them with the help of Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks). The question is, "will Dory find her family, or will she forget to find them?"

This film's humor is so hilarious, I laughed my pants off and that's why I love it so much. Some of the jokes are also funny for adults, which I also liked. I love the animation because Pixar makes the sea life in this film look so realistic and the colors are so rich and vivid. The characters are adorable, kid-friendly and nice. Pixar has done it again. They made me feel all kinds of emotions - happiness, fear and sadness, just to name a few. I love the film from beginning to end. It is really fantastic.

Ellen DeGeneres is child-like and goofy. Her portrayal of Dory really excels. However, my favorite character is Hank, the octopus (voiced by Ed O'Neil) who gives an outstanding performance). He can camouflage into anything. I love how he has that ability. I also like how he makes so many hilarious jokes. He assists Dory on her adventure to find her family so he can leave the Marine Life Institute and go to Cleveland. We see how Hank's personality slowly changes throughout this film because of Dory. I just love how Dory grows on him and how he helps her no matter what.

Also, I noticed that all the characters in this film have some type of disability in some way or another and all of them learn to overcome it. That is a very important message in this film.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 4 to 18. You should be aware that there is one short scene that involves an octopus that may scare some children but it is very brief. I also recommend this film to people who like children, family and action movies. And, I think that adults will enjoy this. Make sure to see this film when it opens Friday June 17.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

The anticipated sequel Finding Dory is adorable and fun, but not a match for the original. It's a brilliant and enjoyable movie on its own. The only problem is the bar was set in Finding Nemo. Basically, it is fun, but nowhere near as compelling as Finding Nemo. Considering the amount of time that has passed since the first one, they did everything they could to keep things consistent with the original which is a big plus.

The film focuses on the forgetful, yet friendly blue fish Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) and her journey to find her family. The plot is connected with a series of flashbacks from Dory's childhood and in bursts of random memories which is different and unexpected. I really like how they connected scenes and referred to experiences from the first film and I love that they even have many appearances from the original characters.

The film provides outstanding humor as Pixar always does, giving people of all ages unforgettable enjoyment. I was extremely relieved to see the same style of animation and camera work in the second film because I feared that, after all these years, they would try to advance the details and tweak the animation. However, it is safe to say the film resembles the first and the consistency is very comforting.

In comparison to the other sequels Pixar and Disney have created, Finding Dory is very impressive. The movie can be a bit of a let down if one's mindset is on the expectations from the first one, but it is a fun adventure on its own.

I was concerned whether Dory could successfully carry the role of a main character since she had previously played a supporting role, but she carried it out well. The supporting cast really stands out and brings the comedy to life and their pleasant personalities bring a fun element to the film.

One of the best aspects of this film is the focus on character development rather than the fun journey. Pixar provides more than just comedy and entertainment for the kids. The film contains thoughtful messages and shines a light on mental disabilities.

While the film is not as good as you expect it, it is not as bad as you feared. The film is definitely worth watching. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18. People who saw the first film will particularly enjoy it. Otherwise it might be difficult to fully understand. I give this film a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 17th.

Reviewed by Harmony M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.

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


SHREK (25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SHREK (25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Topic - Family
Description - Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Shrek! In this fully computer-animated fantasy from the creators of Antz, we follow the travails of Shrek (Mike Myers), a green ogre who enjoys a life of solitude. Living in a far away swamp, he is suddenly invaded by a hoard of fairy tale characters, such as the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, and Three Blind Mice, all refugees of their homes who have been shunned by the evil Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). They want to save their homes from ruin, and enlist the help of Shrek, who is in the same situation. Shrek decides to offer Lord Farquaad a deal; he will rescue the beautiful Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz), who is intended to be Farquaad's bride. Accompanying Shrek on his adventure is the faithful but loquacious Donkey (Eddie Murphy), who has a penchant for crooning pop songs. The two must face various obstacles in order to locate the Princess, but they find their world challenged when she reveals a dark secret that will affect the group. Shrek is based on the children's book by William Steig, and features additional voice-work by Vincent Cassel, Cody Cameron, and Kathleen Freeman.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Such an incredible film. Delightful satire. Excellent computer animation. Traditional fairy tales are satirized gender stereotypes are pulverized and all result in a, much appreciated happy and surprising ending. Encourages self esteem and loving people for who they really are. Some minor violence and naughtiness, like the potty humor which kids uproariously laugh at and makes adults cringe.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A bit hit! Kids love the characters, especially Eddie Murphy's talking and singing donkey with his potty humor. Without exception, they all wanted to watch it again. Some scenes are too scary for youngest kids. This one's a keeper! Put it into your library.
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 17.99
Media: DVD ISBN # 7/15/2007
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


Buy Here (from PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


JACKIE ROBINSON (KEN BURNS)

JACKIE ROBINSON (KEN BURNS)
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 9-18
Topic - Family
Description - JACKIE ROBINSON rose from humble origins to cross baseball's color line and become one of the most beloved men in America. Featuring intimate and revealing interviews with his family and rarely seen photographs and film footage, documentary tells the extraordinary story of an American icon whose lifelong battle for first class citizenship for all African Americans transcends even his remarkable athletic achievements.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a comprehensive and complete documentary about a remarkable athlete who changed our country forever. It shows that Jackie Robinson was proud of who he is and was proud of his blackness (his word). I found the film interesting and educational. It shows what a remarkable person Jackie Robinson is, not only as a famous athlete but as a hero. I enjoyed the interviews with his family, especially his wife. I was also surprised to see President Obama in the film briefly making a statement about Jackie Robinson. There is also rarely seen photographs and film footage. It is a little long and may not keep younger children's interest but I highly recommend it for families. You should know that it is rather long. There are also special features which include The Anderson Monarchs, Outtakes, Lifelong Hero, Ready to Play, In the thick of it and a Conversation with the filmmakers. I found the Anderson Monarchs the most interesting which is based on an all African American inner city little league team. Highly inspirational and I highly recommend! 5 out of 5 stars for ages 9 to 18. Reviewed by Denise B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 240 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 9-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.81
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


ODE TO JOY: BEETHOVEN'S SYNPHONY NO. 9

ODE TO JOY: BEETHOVEN'S SYNPHONY NO. 9
PBS DISTRIBUTION
Series: DVD, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Ludwig van Beethoven's transformative Symphony No. 9 has been described as "the world's greatest symphony," its "Ode to Joy" recognizable even to the most casual classical music listener. This program showcases this triumphant musical masterpiece in a rare full-length television recording by the Vienna hamber Orchestra with the Westminster Symphonic Choir, under the direction of conductor Mark Laycock.


KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This program introduces you to one of the greatest works of music ever composed, performed by an orchestra comprised of young and diverse classical musicians that might get young viewers excited about classical music or filming music. In this hour and half program we are treated to a performance of Beethoven's powerful Symphony No. 9 by an orchestra and chorus that includes a significant number of young performers. The performance took place at Princeton University to celebrate the 100th birthday of philanthropist William Scheide, to whom the orchestra and audience sing Happy Birthday at the end. A wonderful opportunity to observe musicians engage in musical conversation at the highest level. Be forewarned that viewers have to sit through an introduction before the music is performed. With all due respect, this part will likely bore young viewers and has little to do with Beethoven, who is given brief coverage.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.99
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BOOK OF WISHES, THE
SANTA FE SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS & SCIENCES MOVING IMAGES PROGRAM
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Jeff finds a book that will grant all his wishes. But sometimes, what you want isn't all that good for you.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A frustrated student in his room struggles to complete his homework. He finds The Book of Wishes - wishes for a "homework machine". But, how does this affect his life? The Book of Wishes offers a rendition of a classic message. We wish for things and, when granted, we find out the price of that wish turns out not to be so good. When viewers see what happens to Jeff when he wishes for a homework machine, it may lead them to re-think their own wishes. Very watchable, and creates a curiosity where you want to find out what happens.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FAD-ULOUS
SANTA FE SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS & SCIENCES MOVING IMAGES PROGRAM
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Stella's classmates are all obsessed with a new fad: neon mustaches. Stella doesn't want to wear one, but the peer pressure is building...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What do mustaches and fads have in common? Fad-ulous is a great example of how fads start and what keeps them going. The film demonstrates the importance of being an individual and maintaining your standards. Stella, the main character tries to resist becoming involved but peer pressure is stronger. After experiencing discomfort in eating, concentrating for a test, Stella stands up against the fad. Fad-ulous addresses an important issue, dealing with FADS- the importance of maintaining your own self-identity.
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


MAGIC TRAIN, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MAGIC TRAIN, THE
JOE CHANG
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The story of Magic Train was based on a girl called Lin Lin, who was an American Born Chinese and brought up overseas. During her trip to China on a traveling train, she had experienced series of amazing things from what she saw in China. The film was particularly concerned about different aspect of artistic levels. From the unique style and technique of animation, the film had shown the humanistic feelings from the combination of Chinese traditional cultural and modern life. It also had a lot of entertainment and artistic affection, too. The whole film was consist of ten different little stories in sequence, and had 87 minutes in total. The dialogue was little and the music was adapted from Chinese traditional well-known music scores. The audiovisual feeling of the film was like a song, a picture, a poem and a dream. These could touch deep through the heart of different age group audiences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From the opening scene, I enjoyed this film and its animations. Some of the animation reminds me of the motion capture executed in films such as The Polar Express. Some animations are a bit dark at times which makes them difficult to see. I love the blend of animation and live action. It gives it the viewer a somewhat surreal experience as it incorporates some amazing animated shorts into a loose storyline. Time and again, we come back to the girl on the train who seems to be dreaming of all the incredible things she saw while in China. This is an animator's dream with its many animated shorts, each one visually beautiful and well executed. The background music, adapted from traditional Chinese music suits the film quite well. There is little dialogue in this and what there is, is in Chinese with English sub-titles. But, dialogue is not necessary as the animations each tell their own story. Recommended for KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, for ages 8 to 18. Julie S. for KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Joe Chang is an award-winning director, animator and artist. He studied at Lu-Xun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, China and Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan and the animated short the Chinese Violin (2000) was his first animated film with the National Film Board of Canada. His most recent animated feature film is The Magic Train (2015). Currently, Joe is an artist and independent filmmaker, and he also working at the School of Art, Zhejiang University of Technology as a Dean and professor in Hangzhou, China.
Runtime: 87 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
CHANDLER'S ARK
LANCE DUMAIS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Professional surfer, shaper, and animal lover Scott Chandler sets out on a quest to break the world record for dog surfing. Chandler's Ark shows Scott's journey from constructing his massive fifteen foot board, to practice days at dog beach, all the way to his attempt for the world record in San Deigo, CA. We get a unique inside perspective of the determination it takes when setting out to break a world record and how one boat sized surfboard brought together a team of friends to make it all possible.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an interesting and entertaining, family-friendly film about Scott Chandler, pro surfer. Watching the World record being attempted and accomplished is ever so inspiring. It shows that you can accomplish things if you keep trying and it has surfing dogs! I found myself rooting for the surfing dogs and the team involved. The music and scenery is stunningly beautiful. If you love surfing, you will love this film! Even if you don't, you will come away feeling inspired. Lot of the action takes place at the beach and it is loaded with visual appeal.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 16 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ZOOTOPIA (BD/DD/DIGITAL HD/BLU-RAY)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ZOOTOPIA (BD/DD/DIGITAL HD/BLU-RAY)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 3-15
Topic - Family
Description - From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a comedy-adventure set in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia. Determined to prove herself, Officer Judy Hopps, the first bunny on Zootopia s police force, jumps at the chance to crack her first case even if it means partnering with scam-artist fox Nick Wilde to solve the mystery. Bring home this hilarious adventure full of action, heart and tons of bonus extras that take you deeper into the world of Zootopia. It s big fun for all shapes and species!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From our friends at Walt Disney Animation comes Zootopia, the story about a city of anthropomorphic animals where a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mia A. comments, "I thoroughly enjoyed Disney's Zootopia because the animation took me into a beautiful world just like ours, but completely filled with animals." Tre'ana H. chimes in with, "I really adored this film because it is very different from any ordinary film. The characters belong to the zoo animals' collection. It is hilarious because all the animals act like humans and engage in everyday, normal conversations like we do." See their full reviews in the kid comments section.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I thoroughly enjoyed Disney's Zootopia because the animation took me into a beautiful world just like ours, but completely filled with animals.

Zootopia is about a bunny named Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) who grew up on a carrot farm. Judy always wanted to be a cop when she grew up even though she is a bunny and bunnies do not become policemen. She goes to police training and then becomes a cop in Zootopia.

Zootopia is a land where all different types of animals, prey and predators, live together in peace. When Judy gets to Zootopia she is not taken seriously as a Bunny Cop, so Judy has to finish a case in 48 hours or else she resign. She teams up with a fox named Nick (Jason Bateman) to help figure out the case. Will she get taken seriously as a cop and finish the case? You'll have to watch it to find out.

My favorite character in Zootopia is Nick, a clever, funny and mischievous fox. Nick got lots of laughs from the audience and I learned to care about him after his back story was revealed.

My favorite scene is with the sloths. Judy and Nick go to check a license plate and all the workers at the DMV are sloths. The main sloth named Flash (Raymond S. Persi) says everything slowly. Judy is in a big rush and to make the process even slower, Nick tells Flash a joke. This is one of the funniest scenes that got lots of laughs from the audience.

The film's animation is incredible. It's filled with lots of color and creative, minute details. In one scene, Judy travels through the different zones of Zootopia and, in the rainforest zone, it starts raining and the rain hits the train. This scene is filled with detailed colors and light.

Zootopia is a mystery movie, but it is also a comedy. The mystery part of this movie could be scary to little kids because there are dark scenes with intense action and it shows some animals going savage.

There are a couple scenes with nude animals. This isn't that bad because it only shows animals without clothes on. It is funny though because the animals freak out even though, in real life, animals are always "nude".

I rate this movie a 4.5 out of 5 stars because there are some scenes little kids might find scary but everything has a reason even if it doesn't seem important at the time. Since this is a Disney movie, some parents might think it is good for all ages. But, I recommend it for kids age 6 to 15 because of the fear factor. If your kids like mysteries and dark scenes then, that won't be a problem. Go see Disney's Zootopia in theaters near you when it opens March 4.

Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11. Be sure to check out Mia's interview with Animation supervisor Kira Lehtomaki.

I really adored this film because it is very different from any ordinary film. The characters belong to the zoo animals' collection. It is hilarious because all the animals act like humans and engage in everyday, normal conversations like we do. Directors, Byron Howard and Rich Moore have delivered a creative and amazing story filled with imagination.

In the city of Zootopia the animals live a diversified life. They all get along with each other until a plague hits some of the animals and they start to be aggressive with each other. A fugitive con artist / fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and a rookie bunny cop named Judy Hoops, (Ginnifer Godwin) work together to uncover the conspiracy that is taking over their city. You will not believe the deception that is taking place.

My most memorable scene is when the bunny first goes to Zootopia. I liked this part best because, when she is on the train, you see the entire city of Zootopia. It made me feel like I was part of the scene touring Zootopia with Judy. This section of the filmzootopia.d.jpg shows each part of the city and reveals all the different scenery in each section. This is the coolest scene and is so beautifully detailed.

The setting of this story made me feel like I wanted to be a part of this world of Zootopia. The colors are very bright and it looks like an amusement park with plenty of animals.

The moral message of this film is that you should never let anyone bring you down or stop you from being the person you want to be. People may try to break you down, but you can't let them. You can be whatever you want to be in this world of freedom.

I recommend Zootopia for ages 6 to 18 and I give it 5 out of 5 Stars because it is child friendly, hilarious, exciting and everyone will enjoy it. This movie opens in theaters Friday, March 4, 2016 so go check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Tre'ana H., age 12.
Runtime: 108 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 3-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 22.99
Media: DVD
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PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 13-18
Topic - Family
Description - A documentary on the collaborative relationship between New Orleans based songwriter/YouTube star Samantha Montgomery and composer/video artist Ophir Kutiel.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - "T" is for teens. I like this film and loved meeting the people involved in it. I was a little concerned that this might not be a KIDS FIRST movie but it is.

We are all into YouTube, Facebook, social media and many other electronic connections with other people. This movie has all of the above. It is a documentary about two people who are followed on a journey of friendship - a great composer, a fabulous singer, a live concert in Israel and a unique film.

I loved the storyline. My favorite part about the movie is all the music. There is a large mix of music from vocals, pianos, violins, guitars, drums and many more instruments. Kutiman is a great composer from Israel. He traveled 7,000 miles across the Internet to find a great singer.

I felt uncomfortable during some of the scenes and my Mom said I was a little too young to understand a few of them. Unfortunately, everyone's life is not perfect and people struggle every day and deal with crazy situations. Yes, I do feel this is a KIDS FIRST movie because it is not cute, funny or Hollywood. It is about real life. The message in this film is to never give up your dreams but to keep them alive and pursue them. This film gives you insight into how we can all feel hopeless and want to give up. That is the time when you cry, eat ice cream, dig deep and get yourself back up and into the fight for your dream.

Samantha Montgomery, also known as Princess Shaw, pursues her singing career when and wherever she can. Finally, a composer in Israel discovers her YouTube page and a great friendship and collaboration begins. Ido Haar who is Kutiman's friend and a director watched the first music mash up video and is intrigued by the process. So, he follows the musicians and the vocalist Kutiman has his heart set on. He even flies back and forth between Israel and the United States several times over the course of a year to capture the real story of Princess Shaw and her journey on film. Meanwhile he is also filming Kutiman's journey.

The actual footage is a breath of fresh air from all the CGI graphics taking place in movies today. You get to sit back and watch a real life story. You really care about what happens to these people. You cry when they struggle and cheer when things go well. I appreciated the emotional attachment you feel throughout the film.

The appropriate age range for this film is 14 to 18 years old. There are a few curse words. There are stories about bad things that happened to children. That is a reality. This is a now film. It is something that could really happen to you today. You never know when or how your dreams will come true. Even when they do, you still have to work hard to keep them alive.

I rate this 4 1/2 out of 5 singing stars. It is in theaters and on demand May 27, 2016.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11.

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


JOURNEY TO SPACE (BLU-RAY)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JOURNEY TO SPACE (BLU-RAY)
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Brilliantly narrated by film and television legend Sir Patrick Stewart, Journey To Space gives a sweeping overview of humanity's accomplishments in space, as well as our ongoing activities and future plans. Journey To Space puts into historical context the magnificent contributions made by the Space Shuttle program and its intrepid space pioneers. It uses the most spectacular space footage (including unique views of Earth and operations in space) such as deploying and repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. It then goes on to show how the shuttle launched and assembled the International Space Station (ISS). Together, these programs have taught us how to live, build and conduct scientific experiments in space. The ISS will continue operating in space until 2024, and the film shows how it is building a foundation for the next giant leaps into space, concluding with a fascinating, realistic scenario of how astronauts will actually get to Mars, live there for long durations, and then return home after a two-and-a-half-year mission.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really liked Journey to Space. This film is greatly educational and adventurous. The film includes amazing photographs that made me feel like such a small being in the vastness of space. This documentary includes authentic pictures from the Hubble space telescope that are out of this world, literally (*wink*). I found myself mesmerized by all the information and discoveries made in space.

This amazing documentary on space exploration is narrated by Patrick Stewart (X-Men series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and many more).The film is very informative. I learned so much. It even shows NASA's 3D diagrams for how they will build new spacecraft for Mars. The challenges that the human body has to endure while orbiting the Earth in the ISS (International Space Station) are great. For example, some people's bones and eyes start deteriorating within a few days of being in zero gravity. Physical exercise and nutrition are two key components of their staying healthy.

I have many favorite parts of this film. One is when Patrick Stewart describes the human's hunger for knowledge and discovery. Another is the introduction which shares diverse environments of our planet Earth. Patrick Stewart is a great narrator for this film with his captivating tone of voice and amazing vocabulary. Also, this documentary included Chris Ferguson who is an experienced astronaut, Serena Aunon, an astronaut-in-training and Lindsay Aitchison who designs and makes space suits. All three people are passionate about what they do and each plays an important part of the success to travel into deep space and beyond!

The moral of this film is that mankind is, and will always be, exploring new environments and places on this planet and in deep space. I relate to this concept on many levels because I love to explore. The things that really stick out to me in this film are the music, the fabulous scenery and all the information throughout the film.

I recommend this movie for ages 8 to 18 and think adults will enjoy it as well because the extraordinary knowledge given is great for all ages and is very inspirational for all who wish to invent and discover new things. I give this documentary 5 out of 5 galactic stars.

Reviewed by Bison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Runtime: 45 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD


TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The Turtles return to save the city from a dangerous threat.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - "Shhhh! You have to sneak up on them." I'm talking as quiet as a ninja because I'm reviewing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows! If you liked the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, then you'd better hurry up and buy tickets for this next movie, because it's even better! This is an action-packed movie with lots of comedy, suspense and thrills. In this film, there are many characters that were in the first TMNT movie as well as the original cartoon such as Shredder and Casey Jones. Bebop and Rocksteady make their first debut in this film and it is a hilarious debut, because the actors who play those characters are very funny.

In this film, Shredder has returned, but this time without a mask. Shredder (Brian Tee) is the evil mastermind that everybody hates. Brian Tee is the perfect actor to play Shredder because he never breaks character and makes the audience believe he is really scary. While Shredder is being transported to prison, many unexpected things happen and the Ninja Turtles go through a lot of trouble to find and defeat him once and for all.

Fenwick (Will Arnett) is the person who takes credit for defeating Shredder in the first movie even though it was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because the Turtles can't show their faces in public.

Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) is a scientist with a hilarious laugh. Baxter Stockman works with Shredder and the Foot Clan to try and take over the world.

Motion capture is used to create this film which means that the actors put on sensors and the sensors capture their movements and put them onto the screen. So, the film is part animation and part live action. It is nice to see an appearance by Carmelo Anthony, a New York Knicks NBA player because the setting is in New York City and seeing him in Madison Square Garden makes the movie seem even more realistic.

I give this film 5 out of 5 bold stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Adults who liked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when they were younger will also very much enjoy this film. This film is rated PG-13 for mild profanity and violence.

Reviewed by Na'im S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLAD (2016)

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLAD (2016)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - When Alice wakes up in Wonderland she must travel through a mysterious new world to retrieve a magical scepter that can stop the evil Lord of Time before he turns forward the clock and turns Wonderland into a barren, lifeless old world. With the help of some new friends, Alice must also uncover an evil plot to put the Queen of Hearts back on the throne.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Disney's Alice Through The Looking Glass is a magical fantasy adventure film in the great Tim Burton tradition. It is also a refreshing, feminist take on the classic Lewis Carroll story. This sequel to 2010's blockbuster, Alice in Wonderland, again stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth (Queen of Hearts) and Anne Hathaway as Mirana. New to the cast is Sasha Baron Cohen as "Time."

In the real world of 18th century England, Alice Kingsleigh is a captain of an English merchant ship. She is about to lose her commission when she re-enters Wonderland for the second time. She is given a warm welcome by all her old friends: the White Rabbit, TweedleDee and TweedleDum, the Cheshire Cat and Mirana. She learns that her best friend, The Mad Hatter, is depressed because he misses his parents and his siblings. She decides that the only way to help him is to find his family. They are presumed dead, but the Hatter doesn't believe so. She then goes in search of the chronosphere, a time travel device located at Time's castle. What follows is an epic journey in search of "The Hatter's" parents.

Alice Through the Looking Glass is very creative and colorful. Tim Burton is one of the producers, so this is not surprising. The costumes and the makeup are top notch. The special effects are inventive, especially the sequence at Time's castle. Time has an amazing castle, which is run by a group of creatures called "seconds," which are made of nuts, bolts and gears. These "seconds" can combine to make even bigger creatures called "minutes." These "minutes" can combine to make a enormous, transformer-like creature called "hours."

There is a lot of smart wordplay based on the character Time. Think of all the puns having to do with time and they are all in the movie. Sasha Baron Cohen as Time steals the whole film. He is very funny, exciting and works well with this great ensemble cast. My favorite line of the film is when The Mad Hatter exclaims "dream or reality - who's to say which is which." This sums up the message of the movie and the magic in all Tim Burton movies.

Alice Through The Looking Glass is an enchanting adventure/fairy tale for the whole family. It is appropriate for ages 8 to 18. I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This film is visually amazing with a legendary cast. A few generations have grown up with the characters of this series. Based on all the details and success of the first movie, it was built up to be a fantastic film. What came out, however, was far from that.

This film mixes many elements, which makes it confusing at times. First, there is comedy. On top of that is lots of drama with some adventure and fantasy thrown in. To make things even stranger for a "Wonderland" film is the presence of sci-fi as well.

The film is just under two hours long and has a dozen different things happening. First, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now a grown, independent young woman. She is an extremely talented British Captain of her father's ship. However, since it is the late 1800s, that is unheard of. After a dangerous voyage, she discovers that her ship and her status are taken away. While thinking about the future, she encounters an old friend from Wonderland, which leads her through a "mirror portal" back to Wonderland. In Wonderland, she finds that her old friend, Hatter (Johnny Depp) is slowly dying from despair of losing his family and trying to find them. Alice tries to help out the Hatters and discover what happened to his family by time travelling.

This story takes up only the first twenty minutes of the movie. The film has way too many climaxes and problems. It seems like it is moving onto the next film every 10 to 20 minutes. But that's not the biggest issue. On top of that, there are so many holes that it is clear the screenwriters did not think twice about what they were writing. That makes the audience wonder, "Wait, why didn't they just do this and save so much time and problems?" Also, the effect of going from fantasy to slightly sci-fi is a bit much and confuses the viewer even further. So, the script and the storyline are weak. Then, there are the interactions between characters which I found boring and bland. I don't fault of the actors who are legendary and very experienced, but blame it on the screenplay. The writer, Linda Woolverton clearly did not do the justice to the story. Compared to Disney's Alice in Wonderland which came out in 2010 or the 1951 version, this is a disappointment. If Walt Disney ever saw this version of Alice, he'd not be happy and, most likely would make some drastic changes. It was disappointed that the storyline in this movie has very little to do with the original book by Lewis Carroll. I'm all up for being creative but, when it ventures so far astray, why not call it something else?

On the other hand, there are some positives about this film. Even though the writing has issues, the visual effects are simply spectacular. The realistic interaction between animated characters and live actors is amazingly well executed. Even the CGI characters still look a lot like something you'd expect from Alice in Wonderland. There are probably a good five to ten minutes of visual aerial shots showing spectacular buildings and contraptions, all created digitally. Throughout the shots, I stared in awe at the beautiful world created by digital designers and artists. On top of that, even though the dialogue was bland, the performance of the actors is top notch. They did all they could to enlighten the dialogues and the story. Hatter's facial impressions are priceless.

My favorite part in the movie is the eye candy of all those visual effects that made you forget the lack of story structure, or rushed script writing and just enjoy this fantasized world that has been around for so many years. Unlike the story or script, the visuals are in great detail and very fitting.

This film is filled with great acting and or spectacular visuals so I recommend it for ages 7 to 18. There are some action scenes that are too intense for younger children. Because of poor screenplay and storyline, I rate it 2 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Alice Looking Through The Glass is absolutely amazing. All of its elements make it outstanding. It's based the book by Lewis Carroll where Alice returns to Wonderland and has to help the Mad Hatter find his family. Through her journey, she must overcome multiple obstacles that try to stop her. She also experiences some personal issues herself regarding her own family in the real world. The animation of this movie is, by far, the best I've ever seen. Everything seems so real, yet has that fairytale, fantasy aspect. Most of the movie takes place in the world of Wonderland.

The movie's plot is very well done. My favorite part is when Alice confronts the Mad Hatter about him being right all along and he slowly becomes himself again. Actually, that transformation which includes a change in makeup, hair, eye color and shape is impressive. Without a doubt, that moment is very delightful and heartwarming. My favorite character is Alice Kingsleigh, the protagonist, played by Mia Wasikowska. Ms. Wasikowska represents the character as an adventurous, but still timid girl. Alice never gives up and believes in her dreams and her friend's dreams as well. Alice always keeps her word and is always there for her loved ones no matter the circumstances.

Throughout the movie, there are many morals but the one that caught my attention was how that the past cannot be changed, one can only learn from it. I find this very important since people sometimes can't get over their mistakes and really, they should just learn the consequences and move on and keep living. This film also shows how, in the 19th century, being a female leader was difficult or unheard of and one had to be strong and smart with their words.

The most redeeming quality of this movie for me is that it revolves around the meaning of having a family and doing everything for them. I recommend this film to ages 3 to 18 and I rate it a five out of five stars.

Reviewed by Giselle T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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


ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - In the 3D animated comedy, The Angry Birds Movie, we'll finally find out why the birds are so angry. The movie takes us to an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds - or almost entirely. In this paradise, Red (Jason Sudeikis, We're the Millers, Horrible Bosses), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad in his first animated role since Frozen), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride, This is the End, Eastbound and Down) have always been outsiders. But when the island is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to. Featuring a hilarious, all-star voice cast that includes Bill Hader (Trainwreck, Inside Out), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Sisters), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), as well as Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Sisters),
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely loved this family friendly cartoon because it made me laugh out loud! The animation in this movie is exquisite. It is so detailed that you can clearly see all the feathers on the birds and tiny waves of the ocean. When they show scenes of the town you can see the patch work on the houses and the real looking scenery. Each character is unique because the creative animation matches their personalities.

This movie is about, Red (Jason Sudeikis), a red bird who never fit in and has anger issues. One day, he has to go to an anger management class and meets the birds Bomb, Matilda, Chuck and Terence, and they all become friends.

Then, pigs come to the island on an unexpected visit. They have parties with the birds and they give the birds weird gifts like trampolines and motorcycles and generally cause havoc in the town. A horrible turn of events happens and Red and all of the other birds need to save the day.

My favorite scene is when Red attends anger management class. Matilda, the instructor talks with all the birds about their issues. They participate in many funny exercises such as poetry writing and yoga. This is a funny scene. Red has the wrong attitude and is definitely negative and Matilda the instructor demonstrates some anger issues too.

My favorite character is Terence (Sean Penn), a giant red and black bird who doesn't really talk as much as he grunts. His facial expressions are particularly funny. Terence gets a lot of laughs from the audience and appears to be a crowd favorite.

The Angry Birds Movie is definitely a comedy. Almost every scene, even the sad ones, have funny lines. There is some humor that would make sense to older kids and adults but not little kids. There are some parts that some adults might not feel comfortable with some of the content. For example, when the pigs slap their butts and joke about reproducing.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars because of the humor and recommend it for ages 4 to 18. It is a fun and silly animated movie about angry birds. Who doesn't love angry birds? If you like the game Angry Birds or just want to have a good laugh, then The Angry Birds Movie is the movie for you. It opens in theaters nationwide May 20, 2016 so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Mia A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14.

Do you like birds, pigs and sling shots and laughing? I know I do and I am so excited that they finally made a movie about the angry birds and their story.

If you're a diehard fan of Angry Birds, then you should see this because it explains everything and it will make you like the game even more. You find out why Red (Jason Sudeikis), a fellow Lithuanian. is always angry. The pigs are cute and cunning and all will be explained. They have an evil plot which leads up to the big pig vs bird war.

This movie is totally stupendous, hilarious and explains why the birds are so angry. There are so many punch lines and jokes that I was laughing and rolling on the floor. I find myself quoting so many of the jokes that are still stuck in my head. I think that adults and kids will both like the humor in this movie because it is appropriate and it appeals to a large audience.

The animation is crisp, clear and detailed. The island the pigs live on is amazing. No detail is left out and it is an incredible, giant city they live in. Each pig and bird is designed to show its peculiarity. The baby birds make your heart go awe every time you see one. They all match the game. I love how they keep the game details in the story.

The voice-over talent - Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Danny Mc Bride and Maya Rudolph - all excel in delivering an unique and interesting personality. The star-studded cast brings out the emotions of each individual bird. The birds look so real. I didn't even realize that they were animated until after I left the theater because they were so well portrayed. I loved the way it made me feel like I was part of this film.

The music is also quite suitable. I thought it was really funny that the birds were shown in rock 'n roll and the pigs as country. The mighty eagle and the mighty red song are just adorable to me. There is a large variety of different music throughout this film.

My favorite character is Josh Gad who voices Chuck. He is hysterical, goodhearted and ready for anything. I am starting to think that I have the need for speed and this is the bird for the job. Josh Gad deserves a huge pat on the back for his fast talking and energetic voice, which fit his part perfectly.

My favorite scene is one in which Chuck is so fast that he throws paint, moves pigs around and sets up the scene to distract the pigs for the bids. He starts this while Red is in the middle of a sentence and finishes before the sentence is over. That is what I call FAST! Of course, Chuck pretends that he has no idea as to what has just happened as chaos ensues.

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 18. Everyone in the theater laughed throughout the film and both the adults and the kids left with a giant smile on their faces. I give this movie 5 out of 5 sling shots with exploding angry birds attached. I really hope you can see this in a theater near you. Brought to you by Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation, it comes out on May 20, 2016.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


BEAUTIFUL PLANET, A

BEAUTIFUL PLANET, A       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 - An exploration of Earth and beyond as seen from the International Space Station. Narrated by Jennifer Lawrence.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Now playing in IMAX theaters, this film is an exploration of Earth and beyond as seen from the International Space Station. Narrated by Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Toni Myers, it is truly a visual treat and also shows the impact that humans have had on Mother Earth. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Torri P. comments, "Every think looks so realistic. It feels like you are in space with the astronauts. All the pictures are stunning. Plus, all the angles and shots taken are perfect." See her full review in youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Beautiful Planet is a phenomenal documentary narrated by award winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence. The cinematography is spot-on. Every think looks so realistic. It feels like you are in space with the astronauts. All the pictures are stunning. Plus, all the angles and shots taken are perfect.

This film explores the Earth, as seen from the International Space Station (ISS) by three astronauts apart of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) who spent six months there. They are able to see the effects we humans have made on the planet and explore the galaxy in an attempt to understand the Earth a bit more. At night you can actually see major cities around the world. You also see the different storms taking place on earth. Even though it is not so pleasant when you're on earth experiencing a storm, from space it looks pretty cool! Surprisingly, there are many places that have storms occurring at the exact same time. It is very interesting to watch. Not only do you get to see the beauty of our planet, you also see the wear and tear we have contributed to it. Who would have thought humans would have such an effect!

The astronauts show us what it is like for them to live in space for an extended period of time as they venture out into space and go about their daily activities.

The part I enjoyed the most is seeing the Earth at night. It is so beautiful. You can really see where everything is, from the oceans to the continents. The whole planet is dark but then you see a many lights and even cities. It is breathtaking!

I recommend this move for ages 5 5o 18 and I give it 4 out of 5 golden stars. A Beautiful Planet will be in theaters near you, be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Kayla P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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



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