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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SOUND OF MUSIC, THE (50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


CINDERELLA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Bet you can't watch just one! The characters and songs are all so engaging that the children will learn while being highly entertained.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 48 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 1-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: DVD


SHAKESPEARE UNCOVERED

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


DUFF, THE

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

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

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

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


GIRL LIKE HER, A

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

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

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

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

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

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


BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA

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


RUSSELL MADNESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


TINKER BELL AND THE LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST

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

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

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

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

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

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


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SHIP SHAPE
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - When the Chief of Police calls the Charles family to report that a brand new boat and trailer are missing from the boat show, Upton is immediately recruited to apply his detective skills to the disappearance. Our super sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog, who wastes no time in sniffing out clues that lead to a surprising discovery. During the course of the investigation, Upton is joined by a new assistant. Come along with Upton as he unravels another mystery in Ship Shape.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a mystery novel with a little twist. It is from the prospective of an intelligent dog named Upton Charles. This book will make you laugh and wonder who is the culprit in the mystery. Upton Charles, Dog Detective: Ship Shape is a wonderful book that will be admired by both mystery and animal lovers.

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

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

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

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

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


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


MCFARLAND USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HUMPBACK WHALES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1001 NIGHTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SPONGEBOB MOVIE, THE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PETRA'S PLANET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SELMA

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SELMA       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - The unforgettable true story chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay's "Selma" tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Selma is a powerful new film that tells the story of Martin Luther King Jr. as he fights for equal voting rights by assembling the historic march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

I absolutely love this film. It details one of the most pivotal and epic protests during the civil rights movement in such an emotional, educational and inspiring way. The cinematography, musical score and stylistic editing techniques really assist the emotion of the film and convey just how intense the conflict and racial tension in the south was at that time.

David Oyelowo takes on the iconic role of Martin Luther King Jr. in this film and I am completely blown away by his performance. Not only does he embody Dr. King's public persona and extraordinary speech delivery, but he also portrays him in a way that sheds a light on his personal and home life as well as his relationships with his peers.

The violence that occurred during this movement and the march from Selma, in particular was extreme, hateful and very prevalent. It was disturbing to witness such hateful and unnecessary acts on screen, but I think it is very important that we remember the wrongs that have been overcome and that we continue to educate the public on what our country has been through and where it's going. Even though it was uncomfortable to see, it is important that we know and understand the history so we can better our future.

Because of the violence and heavy subject matter of the film, I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Considering the fact that this film is very educational, enlightening and inspiring, I think it is a must see. I give Selma 5 out of 5 stars, so make sure you check out this incredible true story, in theaters near you now! Reviewed by Raven Devanney, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 17

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


STRANGE MAGIC

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STRANGE MAGIC       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - "Strange Magic," a new animated film, is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Story by George Lucas, screenplay by David Berenbaum. Starring Evan Rachel Wood, Elijah Kelley, Kristin Chenoweth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an original, visionary, animated musical, inspired by a classic tale by William Shakespeare. An assortment of characters, from fairies to goblins to elves, who live in two different worlds clash over a magical love potion. Their encounter teaches them all that everyone deserves to be loved.

While the story is inspired by Shakespeare's Midsummer's Night Dream, George Lucas has adapted this story in a manner that is enjoyable for younger audiences. That's not an easy task to do, especially when taking Shakespeare's work.

The film's music spans several decades from nostalgic rock to pop and includes various love songs. The song choices are perfect for this film. Every song sets the tone for each scene whether it's fast-paced action or slower-paced romance. While the songs appear spontaneously, they are where most of the comedy comes from, and the characters poke fun at them from time to time.

It also helps when there are magnificent voice actors portraying the character. This film has a talented cast. I have a huge respect for voice actors because all the character's emotions comes solely from their voice. In this film, every actor successfully does that.

The animation and design are exquisite. The character designs look exactly like something George Lucas would create. The forest is literally flourishing with life. We see beautiful fairies to the impressive goblins we see incredibly rich details showing their scales, teeth and wings. And, their movements are fluid and believable. You are successfully transported into their world.

My favorite character is the Bog King (Alan Cumming). Not only do I admire the mosquito look of his character, but also the voice actor who plays him, Alan Cumming. Alan is a wonderful performer whether it's stage or film. He is a capable singer and actor which he proves again in his portrayal of this character.

My favorite scene is the duel duet between the Bog King and Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood). This is where the animators really show off their skills. The fight is swift and the witty comments between the two characters share make the scene even more entertaining.

The message this film stresses is that everyone deserves love. The love potion supposedly makes the person you love feel the same way towards you. However, through a misunderstanding, the Bog doesn't think any can love him, even with a love potion.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it to 5 through 18-year-olds. Adults will enjoy this too. Kids might be amazed by the imaginative animation and parents can enjoy the blast-from-the-past music.

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

Strange Magic is an animated film about two worlds. One where there is happiness, singing and love in the air. In the second world, everything is evil, with mystery around every corner and its leader - a dark, heartless king called "the bog king" (voice by Alex Cumming) that bans all love in his dark world. These two worlds have always been separated until one fairy princess named Marianne, (voice by Evan Rachel Wood) crosses the barrier and changes everything.

I have to admit, this movie is different from anything I have ever seen before, but I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. It is a musical and most of the songs are songs that have been on the radio by popular artists. For example, Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You Stronger" and that is something I liked. But, something I am not a fan of are things that happen in the movie and how the movie is directed at children, but has some very mature things in it.

This movie is unpredictable which isn't a good thing all the time. This movie takes a turn that I had no idea how it even happened, to be honest. I don't even know how it got to where it ended. It all went so fast that I didn't get time to understand what was happening at the moment. Other times, it is kind of cool seeing what is happening next. But overall, I didn't exactly like how things move so fast and I never really got the concept of what was going on.

One thing that I love about the movie is that the characters are different. There are fairies, goblins and imps. I really liked that mythical feel of the movie.

This movie may look like it's for kids but trust me, it's not. There are things that I didn't even understand so I doubt that kids and younger than me will understand what is happening at all. There are also some mature scenes in the movie that made me unsure if it is kid-friendly or not. For example, the husband cheats on his wife on their wedding day. That happened within the first 20 minutes of the movie.

I am recommending this movie for ages 10 to 13 because it still has a kid-friendly touch that would draw little kids in. But, like I said, it does have some mature scenes. I am giving this movie 3 out of 5 stars because it isn't something I liked but I know that some kids would. Gary Rydstrom, the director and George Lucas, the writer do a good job on this film but it is just not something I personally enjoyed.

Reviewed by Samantha A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


COOPERATIVE NEW GAMES LEADERSHIP

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COOPERATIVE NEW GAMES LEADERSHIP
NEW GAMES LTD
Series: SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - For the first time, Dale N. Le Fevre presents a visual leadership guide to accompany the New Games he offers. While he has always offered written guides of the qualities needed to lead the games in his DVDs and books, this time these are not only discussed but demonstrated graphically to maximize the most effective way to lead. Naturally, many of these leadership techniques can be applied to other situations.

Why play New Games?

New Games are fun cooperative group games for people of all ages, sizes, and abilities. Beyond that, playing them is a great way to learn a wide range of physical and social skills by doing these in the context of play - without even realizing it since they are just part of the games. Basic learning skills such as listening, following directions, cooperation, self control, and concentration are part of every game. (A detailed listing of skills for each game is with each game and on a pdf file.)

New Games get people moving and playing because they're fun. This make them a good way to help keep fit and are a perfect antidote for combating obesity.

Including 15 new New Games

There are 15 New Games that have not been presented on film by Dale previously. Some are quite unusual and all are fun. The games depicted are intended for all ages, ability levels and sizes. The leadership section is for a minimum age of 10 up to adult. Mainly the games are for fun and meant to include everyone wanting to play. Text files included in pdf format provide written games descriptions, leadership qualities, and skills information for each game besides being included with information for each game.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Cooperative New Games Leadership is for both adults and children. Although, the leadership section is slightly more adult friendly. The games are shown visually and makes learning how to play them easy. It's not only a way to become more active but a way to learn leadership skills, and other important social skills. It has educational, social and entertainment value and would be great for ages six to adult. It is positive and motivating and may encourage children to get out and play outside more while learning valuable lessons such as following directions and cooperating with others.

It gives complete directions to the games and visually shows how they are played. The only thing that may be unappealing is that it does show mostly adults. I think children would enjoy this because the games are silly, fun and interactive. Also, they really make you think. This would be great for a classroom or a big group setting.

It flows well and the games' menu is divided into "lower" and "higher" activity games. Or, you can view all the games at once. You know the number of players that are needed, its social purpose and the skills developed for each game. You should be aware that this is really a teaching DVD and should be used as such. This is not a glamourous or exciting DVD. The scenery is pretty basic and is outside where there is lots of space and room to play the games. The participants, both adults and kids, are dressed in regular casual clothing and the filming is very natural. I really like the layout of the menu. It is set up in such a way that you can watch all the games or select different ones. The leadership section is separate and not part of the section showing the games. There is also a resource folder that you can view from a computer rather than the DVD player. This is excellent because you can print it out or view it on a tablet.

The DVD is educational with social and entertainment elements. The education and social would be most meaningful for most. I think it makes a great school resource or for use by youth service organizations. The games can easily be adapted for a variety of different ages and group types. The visuals are engaging because you watch people having fun! I would hope it would motivate kids to play outside more and engage in these games with family and friends. We lead such a techy/computer filled life that anything to get kids and families outside is a plus! Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! juror Denise B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This VD provides visual instruction on how to lead a group of people to enjoy one another's company and to have fun. It is quite enjoyable seeing a large group of both old and young people play games together, something that is not seen quite often.

This DVD is divided into categories called "Leadership Section" and "Games Menu." The games menu shows various group games that people can play in different size groups. There are more intense activity games, some requiring a lot of people, some needing only a few. It is just like being out there watching the games as they take place right in front of you.

One of the most exciting looking games is called Knights, Mounts, Cavaliers. It seemed to bring generate lots of laughter and high energy in the players. All the players seemed to be genuinely engrossed in the games, whether they were 7-years-old or 50! The leader of the games is also very inviting and his friendly nature makes the DVD very pleasant to watch.

The leadership section of the DVD, in particular, made me think about some skills and tools that I can use to be a better team leader in my community, school and wherever I go. This section focuses on characteristics that a person needs to be a kind, caring and effective leader.

The setting of this film is outdoors in a nice green grassy area where it would be very realistic to picture oneself playing these games. It gives a very casual, fun vibe. This film by Dale N Le Fevre definitely meets the KIDS FIRST! criteria due to its very inviting tone. It would be perfect for people of all ages to watch, to learn some exciting games to play, and to learn how to be a better leader for others to follow and receives a four out of five star rating. Reviewed by Carissa Payongayong, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.
Runtime: 52 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD


INTO THE WOODS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
INTO THE WOODS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I confess that I binge listened to the soundtrack before seeing this film and was thoroughly impressed with the vocals. It got me excited going to the screening. I also admit that I am a fan of the Broadway musical. I've seen the play this film is based on starring Bernadette Peters, Vanessa Williams and Phylicia Rashad. All three have played the witch. I have watched Johanna Gleeson light up the stage with energy, charm and humor. I noticed every change, subtraction and addition in the cinematic adaptation and I must say, this film is a triumph. It has wit, humor, emotion, magic and music - all the makings of a great musical.

The first fifteen minutes, the prologue, is edited with such vivacity and rhythm that you are immediately engulfed into the stories and the action. Then, Director Rob Marshall slowly starts to focus on the rhythms and details of each individual story. From the Baker and his wife, to Little Red Riding Hood, to Jack, to the Witch and Cinderella. All their stories are told with the same passion and intent as the others, each with their individual flair. Yet somehow Marshall is able to have each story fit perfectly into the grand puzzle that is Into the Woods.

I could rave on and on about Sondheim's score. His scores always have a sort of, inside joke sound to them. It's as if Sondheim knows something we don't know when he composes. There is an obvious humor and wit in Sondheim's score of Into the Woods, but it is the lyrics that tell the story. James Lapine, who wrote the screenplay and the libretto for the Broadway musical, makes some interesting changes for the film version. Fans of the musical will recognize the changes immediately and they may or may not like them. I personally liked them. For those who've never seen or even heard the Broadway version, this film will entertain and even touch them.

Meryl Streep, is the best Witch I've seen. The finest actress of all-time gives The Witch a portrayal big enough to fit Rob Marshall's theatrical style, but is subtle enough for us to understand her. Her solo Stay With Me is one of the best scenes in the whole movie and one of the best acted scenes this year. But, it is the show-stopping number of Last Midnight that will leave a lasting impression on you. I haven't been able to stop listening to it since I saw it. I was in jaw-dropping awe in the theater watching that number. It's because Meryl Streep doesn't just sing a song (she has a beautiful voice and can surprisingly belt very well), she acts it. She feels each word and doesn't waste them. She's able to find the subtext in every song, every line of dialogue, every lyric. She will definitely be a presence this awards season and rightfully so.

Speaking of showstoppers, I must mention the funniest duet in any musical from any time, Agony. Sung by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen, who play Cinderella and Rapunzel's princes respectively, the number is beautifully staged and timed hilariously. Everyone in my theater roared with laughter and I was apart of it. That may actually be the best musical number in the whole movie.

I'd also like to point out James Corden, who really surprised me. I knew he'd do the comedic portrayal of The Baker well, but it is the dramatic parts that had me apprehensive. He killed them. His chemistry with Emily Blunt is very believable. They work well together and they both have fantastic voices as well.

I think Blunt is one of the most underrated actresses today and I'm confident this film will put her on the map. She is a grand talent. The million dollar question fans of the musical may have, "Does she live up to Johanna Gleeson?" My answer is, I don't know. They approach The Baker's Wife differently. Their choices completely differ and therefore they cannot be compared.

The last standout I want to mention is young Lilla Crawford, who some may know as Annie in the 2012 Broadway revival. She has impeccable timing and a great voice. It is a great feature film debut for the young star.

The ensemble overall is fantastic and work extremely well together. Of course the costume and production design are top notch, but I don't think anyone expected anything less. Rob Marshall and company have made the best American movie musical in over ten years. Ironically enough, Rob Marshall's Into the Woods is the best musical since Rob Marshall's Chicago. I give it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18.

Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Willie Jones, age 15.

Into The Woods is a brilliant new film adapted from the award-winning Broadway musical. This lively tale tells the story of some of the most well-known Grimm's Brother fairy tales, but with an unexpected twist. In the film we see the stories The Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk. All of their lives intertwine and it makes for a wild journey full of song, humor, heartbreak and wonderful lessons.

Into The Woods is a must-see this season and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Being a theater junky, I heard news that this musical was going to be made into a film and the anticipation began to grow. The execution of this film is flawless. It captures the feel of seeing a musical live, with the over-the-top theatrics and set design. It translates so well to the screen and allows the audience to fully immerse themselves into this incredible story. The costumes and locations for this film are beautiful and the music is excellent. I caught myself singing along with the movie more than once.

Something that I love about this film is that it isn't the "classic" Disney version of these fairytales that most of us grew up with. It goes back to the authentic stories from the Grimm Brothers themselves, with the obvious twist here and there. In this film, the bad stuff that tends to be cut out of modern fairytales actually happens. For example, Cinderella's step-sisters cut off bits of their feet to fit into the golden slipper, Rapunzel's prince is blinded by blackberry thorns and there are no fairy godmothers. Rest assured, all of these misfortunes are done in very humorous ways. I also love that it takes all of these different fables and weaves them together so that everyone has a part in each others' story. The final thing that really makes Into The Woods stand apart from other fairy tales is that not everyone gets a happy ending. You have to work with what you're given and make the best of the situation.

The entire cast is wonderful and so talented. Meryl Streep plays The Witch, Anna Kendrick - Cinderella, Emily Blunt - The Baker's Wife, Johnny Depp - The Wolf, Chris Pine - Cinderella's Prince. Every character has a solo and I'm so impressed with all of these actors' amazing voices. I had no idea they could sing. This film brings in names and faces that are very recognizable and also incorporates actors that most of us have probably never seen. So, it's a really nice mix of people that make up this cast.

My favorite scene is when the two Princes sing Agony. It is the most hilarious scene in the film and I laughed so hard I cried. Prince Charming and his brother are lamenting over their princesses, Cinderella and Rapunzel, and it is the cheesiest, funniest thing I have seen in a long time. The Princes are the most melodramatic people, making everything a big deal and this song highlights just how over-the-top they are. The entire audience was cracking up and after the film was over I could not stop singing Agony and laughing about how ridiculous the music number is.

Into The Woods is a film that all ages will enjoy. I cannot wait to see it again. Every aspect of it is so well done - the cast, the visuals, the music and even though a few moments could maybe be a bit scary for younger children, it is something for the whole family. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 and give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Be sure not to miss Into The Woods. It opens in theaters everywhere on Christmas Day! Reviewed by Raven Devanney, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 16.

Into the Woods is a musical comedy about a journey a baker and his wife must take in order to reverse the curse The Witch put on their house and have the child they always wanted. They must go into the woods and get four things - a slipper as pure as gold, hair as yellow as corn, cape as red as blood and a cow as white as snow - all before the blue moon rises. The most interesting thing about this film is how the screenwriter, James Lapine merges the stories of Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood into this brand new fairytale.

Cinematographer Dion Beebe has created incredible fairytale-like scenes that are just outstanding. I loved the scene when Cinderella goes to her mother's grave and tells her that she wishes to go to the ball. All of the sudden, the tree and the leaves twirl her around to dress her in a beautiful golden dress and slippers. It's fascinating how the camera moves around her to make the scene magical.

Of course, music plays a huge role in the film thanks to the brilliant work of Stephen Sondheim who has written perfect lyrics that capture the emotions of every scene. Meryl Streep's character, The Witch, is the most memorable character. Her voice is powerful and beautiful. When she discovers that Rapunzel has fallen in love with a prince, she begs Rapunzel to stay with her. When The Witch sings "Stay with Me," you realize that she isn't as cold- hearted as everyone thinks. She locks Rapunzel in a tower because she is protecting her from the world.

The message of the film is that you should be careful of what you wish for. Sometimes what you wish for isn't exactly what you really want. A secondary message is when you love something you should set it free. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18 and give it four out five stars. Into the Woods comes out on Christmas Day to a theater near you! Reviewed by Shelby Ronae, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 14

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


ANNIE (2014)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ANNIE (2014)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Academy Award� nominee Quvenzhan� Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon

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


NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMB       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Larry spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a wild, adventurous and funny film. This last installment of the Night at the Museum trilogy is takes you on an adventurous journey and is defiantly a must see. Robin Williams' final on-screen portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt is amazing. He has a great sense of humor and is in tune with his character completely.

The magic that brought the characters to life in Night at the Museum 1 and 2 is in danger. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) must go on an adventure to unite and save them all. Will he be able to do it?

I really enjoy seeing this film. It has excitement and is bigger and better than before. Everyone is back, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Steve Cogan. They are joined by some electrifying new characters. A lot of attention to detail is paid to the wardrobe, set locations and the historical time pieces. The special effects are big and bold and definitely compliment the film in every way. It looks so real. My favorite character is newcomer Tilly (Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect). She is funny, talks a lot and says whatever is on her mind. She goes on funny tangents and her appearance is simply amusing. The cast also includes Dick Van Dyke and Rick Gervais.

Shawn Levy, directs this film and brings his skill to making it artistic and funny from pulling together a great cast, production designers and all the creative people involved in this film. Although the film has a number of characters, jokes and situations, it also has a simple message of teamwork. Sometimes, you need a good team of people working together to get the job done.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18. However, adults will enjoy it as well, especially if they have seen the previous two films. It's rated PG for mild action and some rude humor. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It's a good adventure that will keep you entertained.

Join the wildest night yet and see Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, it's in theaters on December 19th. So please check it out. Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 15

Hilarious, exciting and imaginative is how I would describe Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. I enjoy the Night at the Museum movies because I love anything to do with history. This movie brings some of history's greatest characters to life in a fun and entertaining way.

Director Shawn Levy brings back the incredibly talented cast and adds a few new faces. Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) returns as head of the museum's "special effects." Larry begins noticing some strange behavior by the museum's residents. He suspects the ancient Tablet of Akmenrah, the source that causes the museum's exhibits to come to life, is somehow losing its powers. Larry decides that he must travel to the British Museum in London to find Akmenrah's parents. He hopes the parents can help him solve the mystery of why the tablet is losing its magical powers. Larry's plan does not turn out as smoothly as he hoped. Some of the residents of the New York museum secretly follow Larry to Britain. That's when things go hysterically wrong.

Ben Kingsley( Akmenrah's Dad) and Dan Stevens (Sir Lancelot) are wonderful newcomers to the cast but, Rebel Wilson shines as the weird and wonderful security guard Tilly. Her one-liners are a little puzzling at times, but I loved them. The original cast is just as great as they were in the last two movies. I laughed out loud at Owen Wilson's Jedediah and Steve Coogan's Octavious as they go through their adventure.

My favorite part of the movie is when the exhibits in the British Museum come to life for the first time. The visual effects' team does an excellent job in creating images that are realistic. The story has many sub plots so it may be difficult for a younger audience to keep up with how each part connects to the big picture.

The message of this film is that parents cannot hold onto their children forever. I recommend Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb for ages 8 to 15 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Please be sure to check out Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb when it comes to theaters on December 19.

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


BLACK NATIVITY

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK NATIVITY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Holiday
Description - In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes' celebrated play, the holiday musical drama BLACK NATIVITY follows Langston (Jacob Latimore), a street-wise teen from Baltimore raised by a single mother, as he journeys to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged relatives Reverend Cornell and Aretha Cobbs (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett). Unwilling to live by the imposing Reverend Cobbs' rules, a frustrated Langston is determined to return home to his mother, Naima (Jennifer Hudson). Langston embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey and along with his new friends, and a little divine intervention, he discovers the true meaning of faith, healing, and family.

Special Features include deleted scenes, the music behind the film "He Loves Me Still", introductions to the cast and Jacob Latimore, an inspiring playwright Langston Hughes, photo-shoot B-roll, theatrical trailer and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This timely film based on Langston Hughes' award-winning play is touching and delivers a great message with a wonderful musical score and performances. Jennifer Hudson is always a joy to listen to and her acting talent continues to grow and expand her range. Her performance alone makes this film worth watching. The musical variety of this film takes many forms from hip hop to blues to gospel.

"I would rather be a lamppost in Harlem than the Governor of Georgia" is the famous quote from Langston Hughes who was part of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. His classic play, "Black Nativity", is featured around the country every holiday season. This music version is sure to be a hit with families everywhere as it explores the lives of a young black man and his mother who have fallen on hard times but it leads them both on a spiritual journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is truly an inspirational film and a joy to watch.

Langston, played by Jacob Latimore, has to spend the Christmas holiday in New York City with his grandparents, Reverend Cornell Cobbs played by Forest Whitaker and Aretha Cobbs played by Angela Bassett, who he doesn't really know. While there, he has to go by their rules. He wants to get back home to his mother Naima played by Jennifer Hudson. He goes through some things and discovers the true meaning of faith, family and forgiveness.

This adaptation of Langston Hughes' play is wonderful. I really like the storyline with its great messages and its attention to detail, even down to the Cobb's family brownstone in Harlem. The acting is powerful and intense and, of course, I love the music. Executive music director, Ralph Saadiq shows his musical talent and has created great songs that tell the story in such a way that both the young and old can listen to and enjoy. I especially like the choir scene.

I recommend this film for ages 12 - 17. Of course, I think the whole family will enjoy this movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It's truly a musical event to be enjoyed during the holiday season.
Runtime: 93 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.98
Media: DVD

Buy Here (from TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


PADDINGTON (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the producers of the Harry Potter franchise comes another children's film that many families will love for its humor, storyline, special effects and of course - the Bear! Paddington will be loved by families everywhere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


!SABOR!-SPANISH LEARNING SONGS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
!SABOR!-SPANISH LEARNING SONGS
WHISTLEFRITZ LLC
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This lively CD is a fabulous fusion of world music styles -- including cumbia, calypso, salsa, and merengue -- that teach kids Spanish. Get ready to be immersed in irresistible rhythms and pulse-pounding beats, and get ready to shout, "�Sabor!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - �Sabor! - Spanish Learning Songs is a refreshing and fun way to learn Spanish words and phrases and dance and sing at the same time! You're a newbie? Do not fear, the helpful liner notes offer English translations to the all-Spanish set of traditional and original rousing tunes. Singer-songwriter Jorge Anaya and keyboardist Didier Prossaird keep this fast-paced party moving along with a splendid variety of rhythms and styles - cumbia, salsa and merengue to name a few - will have you dancing in the streets and shouting, �Sabor! Wonderfully produced, very authentic. The style is right on the money, the structure true to the source and the continuity from song to song is well done. The quality of the source material and the professionalism of the performers shines through and is perfect for young audiences. It gives you the idea that learning Spanish can be and should be fun, not work. It invites audience participation. I see this as a joyous musical exclamation of a fun introduction to our Spanish-speaking neighbors. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This CD is good for kids that already know a little Spanish. The fast pace of the songs makes them fun and easy to learn a few new words, especially when refer to the booklet. Without the booklet, the songs are still fun but you don't necessarily learn any new words. The upbeat songs are fun to dance along with and are very happy sounding. A favorite of the kids was Old MacDonald.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: AUDIO

Buy Here (from WHISTLEFRITZ LLC)


LOST TREASURE HUNT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOST TREASURE HUNT       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ARGOSY FILM GROUP
Series: SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A secret code dating to 1492 sends two teen treasure-seekers on an adventure to solve the mystery before the treasure falls into enemy hands. They discover multiple sides to the Columbus voyage while decoding clues and escaping from counterspies.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Lost Treasure Hunt is and action packed and entertaining animated film with lots of visual appeal. It is historical fiction about Christopher Columbus and 1492. The main characters are very likable and fun to watch and at the end, you expect you will be seeing more of Dex and Eva's adventures. There is humor, action and the typical good guys win at the end although there is a slight twist. The film is appealing and entertaining. It grabs your attention from the get go and holds it through to the end. Children will enjoy the treasure hung aspect with all its action and adventure. The two young sleuths, Dex and Eva (from the Society of Lost Treasure Hunters) are completely likeable and it is easy to root for them to find their treasure. The historical facts add a bit of education to the mix.

The story flows well from beginning to end. It makes sense and the end tells you that the real treasure hunt has only just begun. The vocabulary is appropriate for its audience (8-18). Any negative behaviors displayed are done by the criminals and there are repercussions. The two sleuths treat one another respectfully.

It may make kids ask what was the real treasure? Why was it valuable? What does the ending means when they say "a treasure hunt that has only just begun?"

It is entertaining and loaded with historical facts but it is primarily historical fiction. Children will learn a few facts about Christopher Columbus and 1492 by watching this. They may want to learn more about treasure and treasure hunts. Certainly, they will most likely want to see more adventures with Dex and Eva.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This fun and educational show makes history an adventure. In this episode, the lost treasure of Christopher Columbus is in jeopardy of falling into the wrong hands. The organization, appropriately called Sleuth sends in agents Dex and Ava. Their mission is to find clues leading to the treasure before a piece of history is lost.

The educational side of this show is refreshing. They provide update-to-date information and illustrations of what happened during the Columbus' voyage. This enlightens the audience with a different side of history. It's not patronizing in any way. It's clever to witness how they transform theses history lessons into investigative clues. In one scene, we learn about Columbus' signature and that information brings us closer to the treasure. This method of storytelling promises amazing future episodes.

The treasure hunt itself is a ride kids can enjoy. There are fast chases, foreign locations, and gadgets to capture everyone's attention. Mixed in are two main characters who are fantastic to watch as they go on this hunt.

My favorite character is agent Dex. He is the one with the gadgets and gizmos that help him and Ava get out of a sticky situation. I enjoy this character for his brains and, at times, his awkward behavior. This is his first mission and we can see that he is not used to being out in the action.

My favorite scene is when the agents go to Central America. This is when we meet Falcon who gives information about the Taino tribe. I love this scene because we see a different side of Columbus that not many people refer to. The character Falcon is also entertaining to watch. He never stays in one place.

The moral is "the treasure is in the journey not the destination." The villain, Ivan does not care about clues and history, all he wants is the treasure. However, if you are just out to find fortune then you will never find it. The sleuth agents know this and look at every clue and fact. Not only do they find the treasure, but they acquire something better than that. Knowledge.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 7 to 15-year-olds. Kids will enjoy the spy action and adventure while also learning about history. Older kids are probably past this history lesson although, one never knows what the next episode will cover.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 29 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BELLE AND SEBASTIAN
FILM MOVEMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - In the snowy Alps of occupied France, young Sebastian befriends an enormous yet gentle sheepdog he calls Belle. With Nazis in their village rooting out the resistance fighters helping Jewish refugees cross the border, Belle and Sebastian will have the chance to become the village's heroes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This beautifully set film in the French Alps follows the adventures of a young, free-spirited boy Sebastian and the dog who he learns to trust and names Belle. The opening shot of Sebastian dangling over the side of mountain to rescue a young sheep whose mother has been shot by hunters, indicates to us a young brave boy who feels at home in his elements and exhibits great will and courage.

This film takes place during World War II when the German soldiers are on the lookout for anyone in the French Resistance who is trying to smuggle Jewish refugees through the mountains to Switzerland. It is here, once again, that Sebastian shows his true colors. With the assistance of his tried and true dog, and a determined Angelina, wife of Dr. Guillaume who has hidden a Jewish family in the mountains, they fulfill their mission to bring the family to safety.

The subplot of the French resistance coupled with daily life twists and turns, shows Sebastian and Belle both exhibiting bravery and determination. The combinations makes for a suspenseful, well-told story that warmed my heart and I believe will do the same for children and their families. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Critic Terry S.

This is one of the most visually appealing titles I've reviewed. The scenery is absolutely beautiful. There are lots of different settings such as the mountains, villages, caves and meadows. The storyline is heartwarming even though the topics faced are difficult to approach. The unappealing parts are animals being shot pretty graphically, the heaviness of war and the heartbreak the main character, Sebastian faces. The title shows the importance of kindness towards humans and animals and I find that is very valuable. It deals with some very serious social situations and, if the child is able to comprehend these concepts, it could be a great educational tool. This film brings up many questions that a parent could explain such as why some humans are cruel to animals and why is there war.

The characters are complex as is the setting. There are people fleeing and hiding from the government. The "good guys" portray respect, kindness, generosity and sympathy. The vocabulary is age appropriate but I would be cautious about showing this to a child who has experienced the ravages of war him or herself. The story is well presented and easy to follow. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! juror Elizabeth B.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you have a child who has never seen a foreign film, this would be a great one to start with! Belle and Sebastian is a French movie, by Nicholas Vanier, with English subtitles.

Belle and Sebastian is about a young boy, Sebastian and the friendship he makes with Belle, a large dog. She is being blamed for killing the sheep in the village. In fact, the villagers call her "the beast."

The movie is set in Nazi-occupied France. There are refugees in the village always escaping at night over the snow-covered mountains into Switzerland. Sebastian is told to stay away from both this part of the mountain and "the beast." But, he can't resist. He finds and tries to protect "the beast," who he names Belle.

Sebastian meets up with Belle every day and they run in the fields and play in the snow. He shows her places to hide from the angry villagers and from the German Nazi soldiers. She is Sebastian's friend and he believes that it is not her who is killing the sheep.

The scenery in this film is incredible! The snow-covered mountains, grassy hillsides, waterfalls, rocks and panoramic vistas will take your breath away. There are lots of aerial shots in the film that make you wish you lived in France.

Parents should know that there is some drinking, lying and cursing, but the characters are trying to do their best given the given circumstances. It can't be easy having your little village be taken over by soldiers. Over-all, the message this movie gives is a good one. "Protect your friends and always try to do the right thing."

I recommend this movie for ages ten to eighteen. This is a great age level to introduce appreciation of sub-titled movies. I give Belle and Sebastian four out of five stars for amazing scenery and great acting.

Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Critic

Belle and Sebastian is an adventurous type of movie. It takes place in the mountains of France. This film is about a about a beast that is trying to kill all of Sebastian's grandfather's sheep. But once Sebastian meets the dog he realizes that the dog is a girl and decides to call her Belle. So, it is up to Sebastian to protect Belle from his grandfather and the men who are trying to kill her.

The message of this film is to not judge a book by its cover. Everyone judges Belle by calling her a dirty wild beast. But truly she is a very loveable and a great dog.

My favorite character is Angelina. She is Sebastian's cousin. She's very helpful, caring and she is always there for Sebastian.

I did not have a favorite scene because I enjoyed the whole movie. The actors, do a fantastic job translating the movie from French to English.

If you're the type of person that enjoys adventures, this is the perfect movie for you. I recommend this movie for boys and girls ages 8 to 13 and give this movie 3 out of 5 shining stars.

You can find this movie at film festivals everywhere and on DVD. Reviewed by Kendyl Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.
Runtime: 104 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 29.99
Media: DVD


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: LOST LOOT

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: LOST LOOT
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton loves to dig for clues, so it's no surprise that when he and the rest of the Charles family discover some unusual old coins while touring the construction site at the twins' new school. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), a little white dog and he always finds himself in interesting situations. And this time, there is something very familiar about the silver dollars he uncovers. Could they be from a bank robbery? Come along with Upton as his efforts lead to the discovery of Lost Loot.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a very likable White Bichon Frise dog who loves to solve mysteries with the help of his family. The beginning of the story starts off a bit slow, but it picks up in the middle and becomes engaging until the end. Upton is quite insightful for a dog. In this mystery, he finds some old coins at a construction site of a school. The coins he first finds are dated back to 1882. This story has quite a few educational and historical information about the coins that children should find quite interesting. The middle of the story is quite intriguing as the family and the sleuth dog try to figure out where these coins came from. Is it possible they came from a famous train robbery? I found this appealing it held my interest. The story has entertaining elements as well as educational ones that teach about coin collecting. It actually may inspire and motivate young readers to want to take up the hobby of coin collecting.

Upton Charles is an insightful and interesting Character. He is unique. The story in itself a bit slow and wordy in the beginning but, once you get into the middle it picks up and is interesting, slightly educational and a fun read for kids ages 8 to 12. When reading with my 11-year-old son, it was hard to get his interest in the beginning because it has a lot of extraneous narration. However, once you get to chapter 3, the story really takes off. So, be patient.

I think Upton Charles is a unique character and one that children will really enjoy. Some kids may think the story is a bit longer than need be but I would encourage them to stick with as it will be worth their while in the end.

Upton Charles is a positive character, the family members are appealing and the story is engaging. The illustrations are quite simple and the story's historical facts give it extra depth
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This book is for a younger audience but I still enjoyed it. The book tries to get across a lot of facts and include them in a story to make it more interesting.

This book is all about a dog named Upton Charles who is 3 years old and finds some silver dollars at a construction site. He and his family, along with a new family they met on their trip around the beach, go to a construction site where a school is being built. There, they discover a lot of cool coins and share the history of them. A lot of kids will probably like this story because it is educational and fun.

The main characters in this story are Upton, Veronica, Alex, Mom, Dad and the Keenan's. My favorite character is, of course Upton because he is a cute little dog, always obeys and if, he didn't find the silver dollar coins, there would be no story.

My favorite part in the book is when they tell the history of the coins because I learned a lot more things that I never knew before. It's really cool to learn about coin history.

I recommend this book for ages 8 to 12 because it is well written and includes quite a lot of history. It will teach you things regardless of what age you are. I like the book and I bet you will too! Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Critics Anthony Aranda, age 11.

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


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: WINTER WONDERLAND

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: WINTER WONDERLAND
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton Charles and his family are in New Hampshire for a weekend ski vacation and our canine investigator meets three Saint Bernards. But it would not be an Upton Charles adventure without a mystery. Our sleuth is a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), who is quickly on the trail of a long-lost treasure map, buried gold, and the papers of Daniel Webster. The fire is warm, but the case is never cold. Come along with Upton as he considers two-hundred-year-old clues to solve the mystery in Winter Wonderland.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles is a likable, and not your average every-day Detective. For one thing, he is an insightful dog that doesn't talk but narrates this story as he looks for clues and solves a mystery with his family. The mystery starts off as the family goes on a ski weekend trip to New Hampshire. The beginning of the story shows that Upton is not only insightful but has a sense of humor - canine humor that is! The mystery takes off a bit slow but there are interesting historical facts about Daniel Webster (not to be confused with Noah Webster and the Dictionary). And, the story teaches us that! The middle portion of the story speeds up when a stranger arrives. Is he good or bad? This is the most interesting part of this story. The story also has missing treasure and a valuable lesson to be learned about what treasure really is. Is treasure always something of monetary value? This is a great lesson for kids to learn. There is a twist in this story which makes it very entertaining as it leads to solving a mystery. This story is entertaining and educational with historical facts and valuable social lesson to be learned. The messages inherent in the story is that things do not always have to be worth a lot of money to be valuable.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon

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


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: SOMETHING FISHY
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Upton and the rest of the Charles family are on vacation in a small coastal town in Maine and something VERY fishy is going on. Along with his new friend, Storm, the dog detective discovers an abandoned boat near Shell Light. Upton puts his nose to work sniffing out clues...which lead to the secret of the lighthouse. Our inquisitive canine, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"), helps answer a tricky question: What's real and what's fake? Follow Upton as he gathers evidence and puts together pieces of the puzzle to solve the mystery in Something Fishy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a story about Upton Charles, a dog detective, and his family as they head out on a family vacation that turns into solving a mystery. Upton Charles is a likable dog who tells this story from his dog point-of-view. He is also a solver of mysteries. It's fun to follow Upton as he finds the clues and solves this mystery.

After some sibling squabbles, the family heads to Maine. The friends they stay with have a dog named Storm. They explore the beach and readers will learn lots about boats and parts of boats. The mystery starts out a bit slow and then, around the middle of the story, it takes off when the family finds an abandoned vessel. The middle and ending flow together as the mystery unravels and they discover the clues to solve the mystery.

This story is entertaining. There is humor and action and it is very appropriate for school-aged children. Younger children may want more visual appeal and not as many words but for older kids, it's perfect. It is fun to follow the mystery of the abandoned (stolen) vessel through to its ending. There are some educational elements such as learning about different types of boats and houses.

One of the appealing aspects of this book is the mystery. The other is that the main character is a dog who thinks out loud as the narrator of the story. Upton Charles is an intelligent and insightful character that children will enjoy. Note, he is not a talking dog, just a dog whose thoughts we can hear. Children will easily relate to the characters in this story, particularly the mom, dad, boy and girl. But, Upton Charles is, without a doubt, the most entertaining of them all.

The language is most appropriate for ages 8 to 12. It is somewhat believable that a real dog may be thinking some of the things that Upton Charles thinks. The brother and sister do not always get along which is quite realistic. Overall, the family members are very respectful of one another and the other characters as well. There is also a display of teamwork.

It may stimulate conversation with younger readers with questions such as: What were the clues that Upton Charles found? How did they know there was a mystery to be solved? How did Storm help Upton solve the mystery?

Visually, I would have liked a more colorful cover. But then, you can't always tell a book by its cover. It is a chapter book but it is a short chapter book. Most important is that it is fun to read and engaging. Upton Charles is very entertaining. I'm sure kids will want to seek out more stories about him.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon

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


UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: DISAPPEARING DIAMONDS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UPTON CHARLES-DOG DETECTIVE: DISAPPEARING DIAMONDS
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A Dog-Gone Good Book Upton Charles is a lot like you and me. He likes to be with his family, play with his friends and go on nice walks. Except Upton isn't like you and me...because he is a little white dog, a Bichon Frise (that's "BEE-shon free-ZEY"). Upton is also very smart and knows an important clue when he smells one. Our dog detective is recruited to help find the Van Camp diamonds that have disappeared from the local museum. Join Upton as he sniffs out evidence to find a valuable missing necklace in Disappearing Diamonds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Upton Charles the Detective Dog is an intriguing dog who solves mysteries with the help of his owners. His family consists of a mom, dad, a brother and sister. I like that this mystery gets off to a quick start when the dad receives a phone call from a friend who works at the museum. A valuable Van Camp necklace is missing! This necklace is part of an exhibit and is quite valuable. So, off to the Museum they go. The middle is simply entertaining to read and educational as well due to the historical facts about artists such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story is not just fun to read, children can learn about art and the artists known as the Impressionists. This actually could motivate children to want to learn more about art from this time period. It's both an entertaining and educational story to read. Children will enjoy reading as Upton finds the different clues and pieces them all together to solve the mystery. I also like that the mystery is not predictable and it teaches some facts about real and fake diamonds. The beginning, middle and ending flow well together to make this a good story with educational and entertaining elements. It's perfect for school-aged kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon

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


ONCE UPON A SIGN: THE NEW GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEATS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: THE NEW GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEATS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Overlooking the scenic California coast, the quaint home of the Three Bears sits alone. But today, something will change. An unexpected visitor awaits them when they return home after a walk on the beach. Then they will learn about the power of sign.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a modern day version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. It is engaging for the most part. We had a bit of a difficult time with the Baby Bear character who is played by an adult. His voice changes which is a bit distracting and takes away from charm of the overall film. The modern twist with Goldilocks having magic is a positive aspect especially when she signs with all her heart. That is the best part of the film. We enjoyed the modern day setting of the film. It flows well and the storyline follows the traditional one, for the most part. The vocabulary and concepts are suitable for children, primarily younger ones. It shows compassion, particularly when Goldilocks apologies to the three bears and does not run off. They appear to become friends and treat one another with respect. Visually, it's quite appealing. The house being on the beach is a nice touch. Our only issue is Baby Bear played by an older actor.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This series brings the fairy tails we love to life with a little bit of sign language education and even good life lessons. Once Upon A Sign is fun and educational series that offers a great starter show for young kids. The show takes the fairy tales we all know and love, modernizes them and adds sign language! The filmmakers have taken the classic Grimm Brothers' fairy tales and added lots of twists to make it modern and interesting.

I think the idea of telling a fairy tails in sign language a very unique idea, not just for the hearing impaired but it provides an opportunity for those who hear to learn sign language. I also like that they are animated. The animation reminds me of one of my favorite shows as a kid, Blue's Clues.

This episode is the modernized story of Goldilocks. It has a little bit of comedy, a sprinkle of family love wrapped around a fantastic feel of a classic fairy tale. Goldilocks tells about a girl who goes into this little house and starts exploring things there. For example, there are three cups of oatmeal on the counter and she tries each one and each is either too hot, too cold or just perfect.

Unfortunately, I found the animation a bit dull and the story was kind of rushed. Also, the acting is a bit bland. The casting left something to be designed. There is an adult playing Baby Bear and his make-up and odd costume makes him look kind of creepy instead of fluffy and adorable. Also Goldilocks is a young adult which makes it hard to forgive her for breaking into someone's house and eating their oatmeal, breaking chairs and more. The message I got out of this is if you're beautiful, you can do bad things which I assume is not what the maker intended it to be.

My favorite scene is when Goldilocks is caught and she realizes what she did wrong and offers to help fix her mistakes. This is a great example of what should be done if you do something wrong.

This show is definitely meant for younger kids, perhaps ages 2 to 6. They would enjoy the bright colors, pictures and smiles. I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for a great idea, but a bit lacking in execution, casting and mixed messages.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12.
Runtime: 25 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ONCE UPON A SIGN: LITTLE RED RIDIING HOOD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: LITTLE RED RIDIING HOOD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - This updated version takes Little Red on an exciting trip through Central Park. Little Wolf is up to his old tricks but will the Park Ranger save the day? After arriving at Grandmas, we learn a lesson about fun.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a modern day version of Little Red Riding Hood with sign language and a more refreshing, modern day, younger acting Grandma. It is engaging but may have some limits to the ages of children wanting to watch a Little Red Riding Hood story. It is a more modern day version and would greatly appeal to those who use sign language. I'm not sure how appealing it would be to children who don't sign. The fact that Little Red is 17-years-old may seem a bit unrealistic to today's children. It does have educational and social message elements. It teaches not to talk to strangers and that play is as important as work. Of course, it also teaches sign language. The music is entertaining and so are the animation and real characters. The costuming is more modern day and fits the story well. The location is Central Park and the modern, younger Grandma is refreshing. There is a bit of flirting between Grandma and the Forest Ranger but it's not too much and the characters are definitely kind to one another. It flows well and the storyline is similar to the traditional story.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little Red Riding Hood from the Once Upon a Sign series is a great educational film. If you know sign language or want to learn how to sign, this film is perfect for you. This film is about a young girl, Little Red, who wants to bring cookies to her grandmother who's recovering from a cold. Little Red's mother is a little nervous about her going to her grandmother's house by herself. Little Red's mother tells her, "Go straight to your grandmother's house and do not talk to any strangers." While on her way to her grandmother's house, she forgets everything her mother tells her and speaks to a very friendly Park Ranger. As she talks to the Park Ranger, a very sneaky wolf eavesdrops on her conversation. And, when Little Red gets to her Grandmother's house, she notices something different about her. Watch the film to see what happens next.

There are several messages in this film. First, do not talk to strangers. Secondly, be sure to follow your parent's instructions. Not only did Little Red talk to strangers but, she told them where she was going as well. The art in this film is very simple yet it captures the essence of each scene. Little Red's grandmother is my favorite character. She's very spunky and an energetic woman. She reminds me of my own grandmother.

I really enjoyed watching the characters sign each other throughout the movie. The tutorial at the end was my favorite part. This film is delightful and educational. This is a great film for girls and boys, ages 5 to 10. I give this film 3 out of 5 golden stars. This movie is available on DVD as part of the Once Upon a Sign series. All of these updated fairy tales are told in sign. If you are hearing impaired, this film is great for you. Even if you are not, you'll enjoy it like I did.

Reviewed by Kayla Powell, KIDS FIRST! Critic, age 12..

This episode from the fairy tail sign language series, Once Upon a Time, is a fantastic twist on the fairy tale we all know and love, Little Red Riding Hood. This series will be liked by young kids who enjoy watching fairy tales come to life.

This episode has a feel of adventure, with a hidden core of good messages and even a bit of comedy and romance.

The story starts when a girl named Red is crossing a park in Manhattan to give her Grandma cookies. However, when she arrives, she finds her Grandma acting very odd.

The idea of doing fairy tales in sign language is a good and unique idea. The animation has a bit of nostalgic feel to it of older kids' shows.

Unfortunately, I felt that even though it was a very clever idea to bring Red into the modern world of New York City, the acting was not up to par. The casting is so-so. There is an adult playing a 17-year-old Red. We all know that Red is not 17, she is a young girl of 10 or 11. I thought that was wrong because you can clearly see her age is off and, as a teenager, it doesn't make sense that she is so na�ve. The casting for older characters also wasn't right. The Grandma looks very young which also doesn't make sense.

My favorite scene is when Red is given instructions (as if she were 3) on how to handle herself when going to Grandma's from her mother. I could relate to her mom's instructions because I know a lot of moms act. Sometimes they act if they are sending their children out to go swim in a volcano instead of walk two blocks to the store for milk and bread. That part made the characters a bit more realistic.

This show is, of course, for little ones. I recommend ages 2 to 6. They would mainly enjoy the bright colors and pictures and smiles. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for it's good idea, but acting and casting are really off.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Critics, age 12
Runtime: 26 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


ONCE UPON A SIGN: MAGIC MIRROR

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A SIGN: MAGIC MIRROR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DAWNSIGNPRESS
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Young Alice Cogswell wants to enter the talent show but she's unsure of herself. After an audition that doesn't go her way, she gets some magic help. This magic help gets her to the talent show and helps her ASL poetry sparkle.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an engaging film about believing in yourself and how you can make your dreams come true. Also, it emphasizes that you do not need to be perfect and that you must not be overly confident to the point that you lose your humility. It is all told in sign language but has words as well so, it is easy to follow and suitable for children who hear as well as those who don't. The special effects of the Magic Mirror are quite entertaining. It is visually appealing and has social and educational elements that make it valuable. The messages are positive: "If you can dream it, you can do it," "Believe in yourself." It is a subject matter than most children will relate to as many have a tough time believing in themselves and have a fear of performing in front of others. The story flows well and is easy to follow. It is entertaining and fun to watch. It also shows that if you keep trying, you can get better and better. It is set in modern day. There are fun signs at the end where children can learn to sign certain words.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This 22 minute show is very delightful and provides a universal message about confidence and humility in a very unique way. CJ Jones' portrayal of Sparkles is extremely entertaining and was reminiscent of my father when he is being playful and silly.

The program follows a young girl named Alice as she faces the internal conflict of lacking self confidence. After a talent show audition gone wrong, she gets another opportunity to prove her talent when magic comes in the form of a mirror and a little helper named Sparkles. However, not everything goes the way that Sparkles thinks it will and more problems arise, despite the new magical mirror. The whole show is done in American Sign Language (ASL) with voice-overs for those who cannot interpret sign language. My favorite moment of the program is when Sparkles attempts to fix one of Alice's problems by very creatively dressing up as an old woman. CJ Jones, the actor who plays Sparkles, standouts among the cast. He portrays a person who is sincere and genuine yet, at the same time, very lighthearted and amusing. That is very difficult to balance well and he is very successful in doing that.

The message of the show is that that people should believe in themselves and never give up despite struggles they might have to face. They need not rely on others or "stuff" to bring them success, because success can be earned because of one's own abilities. This is a very relatable message for people of all ages, because no matter the age, sometimes we all put ourselves down and lose our self esteem.

This film would be great for between the ages of 8 and13 since girls tend to gravitate towards shows dealing with personal conflicts more than guys do, especially at this age. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars due to its uniqueness of including ASL and for taking a modern twist on this classic children's story that is very fun and enjoyable to watch. Reviewed by Carissa P., age 16, KIDS FIRST! Juror
Runtime: 24 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


BIG HERO 6

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BIG HERO 6
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The special bond that develops between plus-sized inflatable robot Baymax, and prodigy Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes. Starring voice talent of Ryan Potter, Scott Adsit and Jamie Chung. Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams. Written by Don Hall, Jordan Roberts and 7 others.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The movie Big Hero 6 is adorable, funny, and downright enjoyable. The movie is about a young, intelligent, robotics fanatic named Hiro Hamada, voiced by Ryan Potter, who spends his days hustling adults in "bot fights" until his brother, Tadashi, voiced by Daniel Henney, introduces him to his college and friends. Hiro then spends his days trying to get accepted into his brother's school to apply his knowledge of robotics to a greater cause. Hiro later develops a loveable bond between himself and an inflatable robot named Baymax, voiced by Scott Adsit. After Hiro encounters a dangerous force that threatens his future and safety of the city, he turns to Baymax and his friends to make a heroic group called "Big Hero 6" to fight evil. The movie takes us through an action-packed adventure that provides laughter, tears, tension and relief.

The unpredictable plot makes the movie very exciting and hilarious. The movie is funny within the first few minutes which is really delightful because it avoids a slow beginning. Even though this movie is about superheroes fighting evil with intense superhero gear, it does not follow the typical superhero expectations because the heroes handle situations differently than expected. The movie provides realism and surprisingly does not sugar coat certain scenarios. There a certain times where one would think "wow, I'm surprised Disney did that" but that surprise is good because it makes the movie stand out from the rest in a new and different way.

The characters are so lovable, especially Baymax, an adorable robot whose only purpose is to make others feel better. Because of this, it is easy for the audience to get attached to the characters and engage with the movie emotionally. The movie is phenomenal and appeals to adults as much as children which is a very special aspect.

Not only does Big Hero 6 have clever dialogue, great special effects, lovable characters and nice music, but it also pays attention to little details and messages about education and friendship that contribute to an amazing movie as a whole. I will definitely watch this movie multiple times and recommend it ages 5 to 18. Be sure to check it out in theaters on November 7th. Reviewed by Harmony M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This film is a fun and hilarious adventure with a very unique story that the whole family will love.

The story starts when a technology genius, Hiro, is accepted into a technology university but, at the same time, something bad happens to his older brother. While he grieves, he finds his brother's medical robot, Baymax. Together they discover a deep and dark secret and they team up with four friends to get to the bottom of it.

This film is wonderful! The humor is unique and not boring, making the audience always roar with laughter. They don't concentrate on one theme. Instead, they surprise us with many different things to spice up the story. However, in many ways, I feel the story is a bit too complicated. It takes the film about 30 minutes just to finish the back story which makes the climax and conflict a bit rushed. Otherwise, its a great film!

My favorite scene is when Hiro first discovers Baymax. Hiro stubs his toe which activates Baymax. First, Baymax squeezes around a bed and the way he does it makes the audience laugh to tears. Then Hiro trips, gets stuck and things fall on him. The entire scene is just pure comedy which makes it a very memorable scene and sets the tone for their relationship as the story unfolds.

I recommend this for ages 9 to 18 and give it 4.5 out 5 stars its amazing, unique animation, humor and interesting storyline.

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

Big Hero 6 is a really fun movie! It is suspenseful, funny and creative. The writers, Don Hall and Jordan Roberts, wrote an awesome script. Each character has a different ability and a distinct personality. Yet, they all work very well together. I really enjoyed learning about each character!

Big Hero 6 is an animated film about a boy genius named Hiro (Ryan Potter) whose parents have died and he spends all his time "bot" fighting with robots he creates. When Hiro's brother, Tadashi, (Daniel Henney) dies, he discovers a robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) that his brother designed as a personal health care assistant. When a villain steals one of Hiro's inventions, Hiro must use his brain and technology to change Baymax into a robot superhero and, along with some friends, must stop the villain.

Big Hero 6 is a really incredible movie. This movie has a great mix of comedy, suspense and even a little bit of sadness. There is a lot of comedy from beginning to end. All of the characters are funny and face some tough challenges. Another thing I like about this film is that it kept me guessing what would happen next throughout the whole movie. I was completely surprised by some of the things that happened because I had a different idea in my head of what to expect. The 3D effect is also great! The animation makes it seem as if I could reach out and touch objects and jump right in with them. My favorite part is when Baymax learns karate. It is so funny because he looks like a giant marshmallow and looks so cuddly you want to hug him instead of fight him.

Big Hero 6 has a really great message. It teaches us to make great friends and to always put your friends first! The characters have to trust in their friendship and stop arguing to defeat the villain.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars because it is funny, adventurous and really creative. Kids and adults will love it, especially those who like comedy and science experiments. I recommend this film for children ages 4 to 18. This is a movie that the whole family will enjoy. Reviewed by Jeremy Badour, age 7, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic



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


THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THUNDER AND THE HOUSE OF MAGIC
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. Starring the voice talent of Cinda Adams, George Babbit, Murray Blue. Directed by Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The animated film, Thunder and the House of Magic is directed by Ben Stassen Jeremy Degruson. The story is about a small, orange cat named, Thunder, who is abandoned by his owners. While wandering the neighborhood, he happens upon a supposedly haunted house, which is full of magical toys and an old magician.

Although, Thunder is quickly accepted into the house by the elder performer, he is not immediately approved of by the rest of the group. Through several adventures and troubles arising with the magician's not-so-nice nephew, who is trying to sell the house against the magician's wishes, the group begins to bond.

My favorite scene is when the old magician does a magic show for children in a local hospital. The magic is funny, imaginative and it is sweet that he does a show for kids in need.

Parents should know that this film is not for little kids! In the beginning, Thunder is chased by a scary dog, almost gets hit by cars and nearly falls out of a tree. In the end, he is thought to be dead for a short period of time. There is also a bit of bad language.

Therefore, I recommend this movie for ages 9 to 14. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars for loveable characters and an original storyline. It is available now on DVD! Reviewed by Katie G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13.
Runtime: 85 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 15.99
Media: DVD


PUMP

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PUMP       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
XXX
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A documentary that tells the story of America's addiction to oil, from its corporate conspiracy beginnings to its current monopoly today, and explains clearly and simply how we can end it - and finally win choice at the pump. Directors: Joshua Tickell and Rebecca Harrell Tickell. Write: Johnny O'Hara. Starring Adhemar Altieri, Dr. Greg Anderson, Edwin Black, John Hofmeister, Elon Musk and Luiz In�cio da Silva.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - PUMP is an eye-opening documentary that tells the story of America's addiction to oil, from its corporate conspiracy beginnings to its current monopoly today, and explains clearly and simply how we can end it and finally win choice at the pump. This film is well researched and easy to understand. The directors, Joshua and Rebecca Tickell won a Sundance award for their 2008 documentary Fuel. They have honed their skills and come across stronger than ever. This film is a wake up call offering alternatives that you can implement today and help break the oil monopoly. Appearances are made by John Hofmeister, Elon Musk and Luiz In�cio da Silva. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer Blakeslee comments, "The purpose of this film is to spread the word that oil is not the only source of fuel for the U.S." Gerry Orz adds, "This film should be seen by everyone who thinks we pay too much for gas and appreciates how it negatively affects all aspects of our lives." See their comments in the youth comment section.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Riveting! This film examines the story of oil addiction in America. The question is, do we have a choice of fuel?

The purpose of this film is to spread the word that oil is not the only source of fuel for the U.S. I'm guessing parents out there love their cars and know that gas prices are the highest they've been in years. In order to take your child to school, you need to pay and pump expensive gasoline. Or, do you? This film shows that we can have a choice about fuel. Fuel is available that is safer, better for the air and cheaper. Pump proves these ideas with intriguing facts and mind-boggling statistics.

This movie's focus is not about which fuel is better. This documentary provides information about alternative fuels such as ethanol, methanol, natural gas and even electric. Each one has its pros and cons, but just being able to have the ability to choose is what moves this production along.

We hear extremely intellectual interviews with people who are strong about the subject. My only criticism is that the audience for this film is not young kids. Teens who are driving or those starting driver's education will find this important enough to watch. While I found the subject interesting, I do not think kids from 7 to 13 care about the big oil epidemic.

My favorite part is when we see the comparison of air pollution with regular gasoline and methanol, also known as "Wood Alcohol." Dr. Robert Zubrin conducts an experiment where he ignites both fuels. We see that methanol is clean and leaves no residue while gasoline is the opposite. It made me realize what we put in the air every time we run a gasoline engine.

My favorite person interviewed is Luiz Inacio Da Sliva, 35th president of Brazil. The movie states, "under Da Sliva's leadership, Brazil's economy grew by the trillions." He did something that no other country has ever done, achieve complete independence from foreign oil. He gave Brazil the choice of gasoline and ethanol. Da Sliva is what you might call a dreamer. He states, "I believe we will conquer this. I believe the world will learn to live without oil."

This film wants to expose U.S. citizens to the idea of having a choice. We know that there are other forms of fuel and you might think we would use them. This idea was introduced in 2006 with the "Open Fuel Standard Act." Sadly, it never left a committee for a vote. The reason being, that members of the Congress receive 32 million dollars in campaign contribution from big oil.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 14 to 18-year-olds. This film shows a great message and an even more amazing vision. This film was released September 12 so check your local theaters.

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

This movie shows you the real, untold story behind oil usage, what we can do about it and how it affects real people. Pump is a film that shows the truth about the current oil crisis and the start of an oil movement.

This film has intensity wrapped together with a side of history and, of course, an educational aspect. All that while still presenting an entertaining documentary.

This examines our love for oil since the first automobile - our highs and our lows in oil history, the people who it affects and the people who are happily profiting from it. We see the businesses that have fallen and others that rose. Most importantly, this movie shows what we can do to stop this oil epidemic and make things better in U.S. as well as around the world.

I believe this film has a great message. We also see a story and a timeline based of the history of oil usage. The part where they describe how to adapt your car for healthier and cheaper fuel by just clicking on the computer is very exciting. But then, 20 minutes later, they mention it is illegal. I wish they pointed out this little detail right in the initial scene.

My favorite part which shows people trying to stop oil-dependency is when they talk about all these electric cars and natural gas cars and how hundreds of cars today can run on multiple fuels, if not all the cars. You know if you are using more than fuel in your car RIGHT NOW if you check your fuel tank cap. If it is orange, you have one of those special cars.

This film should be seen by everyone who thinks we pay too much for gas and appreciates how it negatively affects all aspects of our lives. There is a little bit of action, so I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. I also give it 5 out of 5 stars for its message and desire to make things better. I always admire those that stand by what is right.

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

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


BOOK OF LIFE, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOOK OF LIFE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - THE BOOK OF LIFE, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Just in time for Halloween comes this new animated feature by producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez. In an unique visual style, The Book of Life reveals the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch comments, "This animated feature is set in South America. It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of South America." See her full review in youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie. It's a terrific, animated family film full of adventure. It's a visual spectacular with fantastic sets, costumes and intriguing characters. And, it has a great positive message.

The movie begins with a museum tour-guide telling her field trip students about The Book of Life. Her voice is played by Christina Applegate who serves as narrator throughout, which is especially helpful with all the flashback and flash-forward scenes. In the book, it starts with a flashback to three children. Maria, Manolo and Joaquin are childhood best friends, living in San Angel, the 'center of the world' in Mexico, in the Land of the Living (aka Earth). As they grow up, we see the two grown men compete for Maria's affection. The story revolves around the celebration of the Day of the Dead, when Mexicans celebrate their loved ones who have passed away. As legend has it, as long as they are beloved, they live in the Land of the Remembered. For those not remembered well, they live in the Land of the Forgotten. The two rulers of these two lands, Meurta and Xibalba make a wager on which boy will marry Maria. The winner gets to rule the Land of the Remembered.

Great adventure and drama ensues as Manolo and Joaquin, voiced by Diego Luna and Tatum Channing, compete to win Maria's heart, and fend off the pressures from their families' expectations, while saving their home town. Joaquin's father was a war hero and Manolo comes from a long line of Bull Fighters, though he prefers to sing and play guitar.

My favorite part is when Manolo visits the Land of the Remembered and is reunited with his mother, grandfather and great grandfather, both matador heroes, who were killed. He learns of their common musical interests too, and what mother really wanted him to be.

This film has a terrific message: To never stop fighting for what you believe in, to follow your own dreams and be true to your heart.

The music throughout the movie is awesome and helps tell Manolo's story, especially with the songs "I Will Wait" and "The Apology Song."

The three sets are very distinctive and perfect for each of the three realms: San Angel is a beautiful town in the present day. The Land of Remembered is a colorful, vibrant, happy place and the Land of the Forgotten is dull, grey and has spiky architecture.

I really enjoyed the animation. The characters are wood-like with joints like Pinocchio. The boys have broad shoulders and super skinny legs. Maria and the other girls have skinny waists, full Mexican skirts and dramatic hair and eyes. While I love it in 3D, the animation is so good, it would be great in 2D also.

This is an all-around great family film. I recommend it for families with kids ages 7 to 18. There are some intense bull fighting scenes, slightly scary music and fights in the Land of the Forgotten. I give this film a 4.5 out of 5 star rating. Be sure to check out The Book of Life which is in theaters now. Reviewed by Katherine Starr, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9.

On October 17th Twentieth Century Fox brings a new Halloween movie to the big screen. This is sure to become a must-see for everyone at Halloween time!

This animated feature is set in South America. It is colorful and festive and I enjoyed learning about all the different cultural beliefs of South America. On the day that we celebrate Halloween, they celebrate Mexican Day of the Dead. This movie is funny, cute and the story keeps your attention from beginning to the end.

Many of the movies we see today seem like the same story or theme told in different ways. This movie is truly an original. There are many hints of movies you have seen before but overall, it is truly a different movie. The animators' attention to detail is mind boggling.

The characters are made of wood but, after the first five minutes you see them as real people. The intercut details are astonishing. The unique personalities and different characters will keep you entertained. Animals, people, spirits - this movie has it all.

Maria is my favorite because she is a little girl with cute pig tails. She is fun, bubbly, tough and adventurous. Her independence gets her in trouble but at the same time it is her greatest asset. We watch her grow from a child to a young lady. She keeps the same spirit and kind heart. She must choose who to marry between her two best friends. Zoe Saldana voices the character and really brings her to life.

The candlestick maker, voiced by Ice Cube, is laugh-out-loud funny. Even though he is not in the movie for very much time, you will leave with a smile on your face just thinking about him.

Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Hector Elizondo are three amigos who try to help one of our heroes win Maria's hand in marriage. The singing group is hilarious. The song choices are great and made me giggle.

There are many messages in this film. The two heroes follow in their father footsteps. We see how it is important to remember your ancestors but also know that you are your own person and should follow your own path. Although it has been a long-standing tradition, bull fighting is beginning to be thought of as wrong. The bulls should be allowed to live. We see how it takes a whole village of people to protect and look out for each other and how everyone needs to be on the same team helping everyone else.

I recommend this movie ages 7 to 18. It is about Halloween and the Mexican Day of the Dead. Although it is entertaining it is still about death and there is violence. I give this movie 5 out of 5 twinkling stars. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan Bertsch, age 9.

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


FORGOTTEN FOUR: THE INTEGRATION OF PRO FOOTBALL

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FORGOTTEN FOUR: THE INTEGRATION OF PRO FOOTBALL
XXX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - The EPIX Original Documentary, Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football tells the little-known story of four outstanding and brave African American men - Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis - who broke the color barrier in pro football in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were credited with integrating Major League Baseball.

The hardships and triumphs of the Forgotten Four are told through the recollections of their families and those who have researched these remarkable pioneers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football, an EPIX Original Documentary, will make its World Premiere on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at 8PM ET. The 60-minute documentary, narrated by Jeffrey Wright tells the little-known story of four outstanding and brave African American men - Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis - who broke the color barrier in pro football in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were credited with integrating Major League Baseball. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Keefer B. comments, "This proves the impact that these four football players had on history and I thank this film for bringing this information to an audience." See his full review in the youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Unforgettable! This documentary literally tackles the history of the first four African- American pro football players during the time of segregation.

Most people know that Jackie Robinson was the first African-American baseball player on an all white team. However you may not know that Kenny Washington, Marion Motley, Bill Willis and Woody Strode were the first African-American football players on major teams. Branch Rickey, who signed Jackie to the Dodgers, was part owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team and once told Marion Motley, "Had I not had the experience of seeing you and Bill Willis play in a contact sport, without incidence, I might not have had the courage to bring Jackie Robinson up into the majors." This proves the impact that these four football players had on history and I thank this film for bringing this information to an audience.

The film expresses the passion and philosophy of playing football in an honorable matter. I'm not much of a football fan or sports fanatic in general, but this film swayed me into believing how important football is to sports enthusiasts. The film teaches audiences that football is not just men running back and forth tackling each other, it is a way of life for the people who are good at it.

There were hard times for people like Kenny Washington and the film does not hide this. It provides pictures of African Americans being hanged or even burned and footage of African slaves working in plantations. After slavery ended, the world turned into a segregated society. Coloreds and whites were separated from each other. They couldn't even use the same drinking fountain. You're thinking to yourself, "I already know this,". Most of you do, but I give regards to the film for reminding us of that. If they didn't begin the film this way, the story of Kenny Washington or Bill Willis wouldn't be as remarkable. When Marion Motley and the rest of the African players stepped onto the field, they are not only representing themselves, but their whole race. Just imagine the weight of that responsibility.

This film not only recognizes the players, but Paul Brown, coach for the Cleveland Browns - the man who brought them together in the first place. I admire this man not just for his determination and teaching skills but, for his desire to win with the best players no matter the color of their skin. That belief, during that time, was unthinkable and courageous. That is why he is my favorite person in this film.

My favorite part is when Jim Hardy, one of the white players for the Los Angeles Rams, talks about the abuse Kenny Washington took from his own team mates. While playing a game one of the players "knocked down Kenny flatter than a mackerel." After the game, Jim placed his arm on Kenny's shoulder and said, "We got beat today but, I've never seen anybody play as good a football game as you played today." Kenny responds, his eye watering, "Jim, it's hell to be black" Hearing Kenny's emotional words made me melancholy.

The moral of this documentary echoes words from the Declaration of Independence, "All men are created equal." These four pioneers were all great at what they did and because of the color of their skin they were rejected. This tarnished everything our country stands for.

If you're amazing at what you do, you should do it, despite what you look like.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. And, I recommend it to 12 through 18-year-olds. There are images and language that might not be appropriate for younger audiences. Although I do believe that kids need to watch this film and learn about the four men who opened the door to a brig

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


DOLPHIN TALE 2

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOLPHIN TALE 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - The team of people who saved Winter's life reassemble in the wake of her surrogate mother's passing in order to find her a companion so she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital. Starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Nathan Gamble.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an inspirational continuation to the first Dolphin Tail film. When I saw that they were making a sequel, I couldn't wait to see what was next in store for Winter and her friends. When I saw it, I laughed, cried and was overall inspired to see more. This is a fantastic film that everyone will love and re-watch time after time.

This is a huge mixture of hilarious and unique jokes sprinkled over a fantastic and entertaining story wrapped up in one huge adventure taco and all based on true events.

The story starts when Winter has been at the hospital (or, should I say a full blown aquarium now) for 7 years and Sawyer and Hazel, still doing the same things, have both grown a lot and Sawyer is not so shy anymore - even a littlie bossy at times, However, when Winter's best friend, an older dolphin, passes away from old age, they have a challenging task. They need to pair Winter with another female dolphin or she will be deported from the aquarium.

This film is pretty awesome. The cast returned and does a wonderful job again and they make the story so it has five sub stories which makes it so ever interesting. The only negative thing is that most of the storyline is predictable.

My favorite scene is when Hazel feels like she is not treated like an adult by her father. She decides to ask for a health record for one of the dolphins, but does it wearing very professional attire and also talks very adult-like and sassy. I love this scene because it is funny, entertaining and shows how mature Hazel has become.

The only thing parents have to be worried about is a few thrilling scenes that show damage to some of the animals. I recommend this to ages 4 to 18 since younger kids may not completely understand the situation. I also give it 4.5 out of 5 stars for a good cast, a great director and fantastic cinematography. Reviewed by KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry Orz, age 12.

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


HERO OF COLOR CITY, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HERO OF COLOR CITY, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A diverse band of crayons strive to protect not only their magical multihued homeland but the imagination of children everywhere from a terrifying monster. Starring Owen Wilson, Christina Ricci and Rosie Perez.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Hero of Color City is an interesting film that has wonderful animation and a great message for our youth.

The movie is about a little boy who enjoys coloring and drawing pictures. He has crayons that come to life every night once he falls asleep. When the crayons come to life they travel to a town known as Color City. Trouble begins when one of the crayons, Yellow, is left behind and wakes up two unfinished drawings, King Scroll and Gnat, who both follow yellow to Color City. The unfinished drawings are mad at Yellow for not coloring them and they try to destroy Color City. It's up to yellow and her friends to save Color City.

The message of this film is to believe in your self; throughout the film, yellow is fearful and lacks courage. Throughout the adventure, Yellow learns a lot about her self which helps the others at Color City as well.

My favorite character is Blue. I like him because he is always very positive and optimistic. My favorite scene is when you are able to see the entire town of Color City. The city is bright and colorful.

The voice actors Elizabeth Daily, Christina Ricci, Rosie Perez and Wayne Brady are wonderful at showing their expressions and bringing the crayons to life.

Hero of Color City is a perfect movie for Kids ages 2-8. I give this film 3 out of 5 golden stars! The Hero of Color City will be in theaters October 3, 2014. You do not want to miss this spectacular movie!

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BOXTROLLS, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOXTROLLS, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - THE BOXTROLLS are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised an orphaned human boy named Eggs in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of a city called Cheesebridge. The story is about a young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors who tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator, the town's villain, Archibald Snatcher. When Snatcher comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls. Eggs decides to venture above ground and "into the light," where he meets and teams up with fabulously feisty Winnie. Together, they devise a daring plan to save The BoxTrolls family. The film is based upon the children's novel 'Here Be Monsters' by Alan Snow.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Splendid! The Boxtrolls is another fantastic stop motion film by Laika. In the city of Cheesebridge's a human boy named Eggs ( Isaac Hempstead- Wright) is raised by Boxtrolls, creatures that rummage the streets at night and live under the city. Mr. Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) intends to exterminate every last Boxtroll, all for the love of cheese and a white hat. Eggs needs to teach his family to stop hiding.

Stop motion dates back to Wallace and Gromit, Gumby and many of our favorite Christmas specials. Laika has created movies I adore such as Coraline. This film is another success with its fast pace stop-motion. The way the boxes fold, stack and bend are impressive to watch. The designs of the characters are distinct and detailed. From the trolls who are dirty with glowing eyes and pale blue skin, to the proper humans who are clean with fancy clothes and perfect hair.

The small scale sets are marvelous. The film transports you into two opposite worlds. Once is the view from above the city where we see buildings and streets of stones. At night it's dark with only lamp posts to light the way. The Boxtrolls' under ground lair is a whole other picture. The ground is covered in boxes and tin cans for the characters to slide around on. The room is lit with light bulbs they find and is filled with inventions that they have made.

The writing is witty. The comedy comes through in a very playful manner with its shock humor and, at times, straight-forward jokes. There is even a scene with a rim shot. The trolls, even though they speak gibberish, bring a lot of emotion into their delivery. Speaking of which, the voice talents are sensational. The villain Archibald Snatcher, who is my favorite, uses his amazing voice talents to create this mean, eccentric character. He fits the image that we see on screen. Same goes for the rest of the cast, particularly Elle Fanning who plays Winnie, a snobbish brat that befriends Eggs.

My favorite scene is in the middle of the credits. When the credits roll, please stay in your seat! What you will see is one of the funniest fourth wall jokes to be seen on-screen.

The moral of this story is you can change your nature. The Boxtrolls are used to sneaking around and hiding. Even when they are in danger, they don't fight back. They learn that they can change.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this to 7 through 18-year-olds. This movie gives the audience jokes, engaging characters and beautiful visuals which make it a great film.

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

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


MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS - RAINBOW ROCKS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY LITTLE PONY: EQUESTRIA GIRLS - RAINBOW ROCKS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Music rules and rainbows rock as Twilight Sparkle and pals complete for the top spot in the Canterlot High "Mane Event" talent show. The girls must rock their way to the top, and outshine rival Adagio Dazzle and her band The Dazzlings, to restore harmony back to Canterlot High.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This movie Music rules and rainbows rock as Twilight Sparkle and her pals compete for the top spot in the Canterlot High "Mane Event" talent show. This latest installment of the My Little Pony franchise does not disappoint and is perfect for your younger set as well as the die hard Brony fans. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O, age 12 comments, "It is definitely a combination of adventure with a cr�me of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped up in a friendship sandwich." Samantha A adds, "This movie teaches kids that friendship is stronger than any powers or spells. See their full reviews in the youth comment's section and catch Gerry and Haley's interviews with Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Will Anderson, Jamie Foxx and more at the premiere below.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What an addition to the "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic" franchise! This film has references to the first movie, a bit of story from the last season of the show and even all the little extra characters that My Little Pony fans love!

It is definitely a combination of adventure with a cr�me of comedy and a sprinkle of excitement all rapped up in a friendship sandwich.

The adventure starts when a band performance is planned at Canterlot High where the kids can make bands and raise funds and three very unusual girls turn it into a super competitive battle of the bands. When they run out of things to do, Twilight's friends from that world call to another world where Twilight is. Will they be able to come there and save them or will evil prevail?

This film is just fantastic! Hasbro was smart to include a lot of little fun things from the shows that fans adore including the beloved Derby Hooves pony who is really never part of the story, just in the background for fun. The songs are great as well. We hear not just the classic My Little Pony songs from the TV show. Instead, the music is very pop like which suits the story well. I imagine that sing-along coming to the fans shortly and being a smash hit. The show's creators also connected to the first Equestria Girls movie which I thought was perfect.

My favorite scene is when girls are having a sleep-over at Pinkie Pie's house. When Twilight gets out of bed and walks to the kitchen she finds Pinkie's older sister feeding her pet boulder. I love this scene because, in the show, there is an episode where we meet this sister. So, I thought having her in the movie is a great idea and so unexpected.

This film does not have anything parents should be worried about and for extremely little kids who do not understand the ponies, they will enjoy the bright colors. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for its original story, fantastic songs and those little characters that fans and Bronies love so much! If you want to see "My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks," it comes out in theaters, near you, September 27th 2014.

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

My Little Pony, Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks is a movie about a group of friends (Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack, Rainbow Dash, Pinky Pie, Flutter Shy, and Rarity) who battle three girls (new to the school) who use their dark magic to turn people against each other and then feed off of their negative energy. This movie teaches kids that friendship is stronger than any powers or spells.

I think that this movie is PERFECT for any little girl because it has singing, you get to see all of your favorite ponies (and even some new characters) AND it has a few great messages. There are three that come to mind: 1) there is no power greater than friendship, 2) never let anybody put you down and 3) always keep your head up.

Some of my favorite movies are animated movies because I think that it's AMAZING how people can change their voices to sound like their characters. Sometimes they don't even change their voices but still change the way they sound to match the characters' expressions. Tara Strong does a great job with that when she plays the voice of Twilight Sparkle. Ashleigh Ball plays the voice of two characters, Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash. And, Andrea Libman also plays two characters, Pinkie Pie and Flutter Shy. They all are fantastic will give you yet ANOTHER reason to like this movie.

While this movie doesn't teach any subjects like math, it teaches kids about teamwork, forgiveness and especially friendship. I think that this is one of the few kid's movies that I have seen with actual role models and these role models would be all of the ponies. Even though they all have their little flaws (for example Rainbow Dash has a huge ego), they all show great personalities and each pony has a good quality that shows throughout the movie like Twilight Sparkle's leadership skills.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 4 to 7 because it is a movie that has singing, and a lot of little jokes that kids will love. And, the best part is that it doesn't have any bad scenes so it is completely kid friendly. This is also a movie that most kids over the age of 7 or 8 will probably not enjoy as much as those younger than that. Unless, of course you are a "My Little Pony" fan. This movie will have you singing songs and laughing all day long!

Reviewed by Samantha Alexander, age 11, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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


BULLY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BULLY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PBS KIDS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - This year, over 13 million American kids will be bullied at school, online, on the bus, at home, through their cell phones and on the streets of their towns, making it the most common form of violence young people in this country experience. BULLY is the first feature documentary film to show how we've all been affected by bullying, whether we've been victims, perpetrators or stood silent witness. The world we inhabit as adults begins on the playground. BULLY opens on the first day of school. For the more than 13 million kids who'll be bullied this year in the United States, it's a day filled with more anxiety and foreboding than excitement. As the sun rises and school busses across the country overflow with backpacks, brass instruments and the rambunctious sounds of raging hormones, this is a ride into the unknown. For a lot of kids, the only thing that's certain is that this year, like every other, bullying will be a big part of whatever meets them at their school's front doors. ...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a film that really shows what's going on and what educators are doing about it. Kids are bullied too much and this documentary shows the sad reality. This also shows the much sadder truth that the educators (who are supposed to be protecting kids at school) are doing nothing but making them shake hands. Bully is all of this and more.

Bully has true drama with a lot of messages behind it. This film is not funny so, if you are looking for a good laugh this is not it. This is not reality TV but a true look into the lives of real people.

This film follows multiple kids and families with kids who did something to them or to others due to bullying. It shows each of their stories and what real kids experienced. Let me tell you, nothing in this film is made up. The horror these families, their friends and their children go through is real. To add to all of this, the school administration is not much help.

I am happy that there is a film that shows what really is going on. The creators also do a very good job at making it as real as possible and they don't fake any emotions. I also like how they include more than one story in this. There is one thing I did not like. As a very active anti-bullying advocate myself, I agree with them. Yes, there is a lot of bullying and it is somewhat of a global epidemic. Yes, we know educators are not helping much and their hands are tied for many reasons. But now what? At the end, this film left me feeling that there is no POSITIVE message. It is definitely helpful to see that all these real stories and, hopefully it will be an eye opener for many people that will see it. But now what? What should we do? What is the right thing for these families to do? I also didn't think it was necessary to make a family show where the son hangs himself. They have been though so much. In my opinion, they could have told their story without going through this once again.

My favorite part and least favorite story is about the boy who grew up happy and energetic but over time became quite and alone. He was bullied and harassed and eventually he committed suicide. To add to the sadness, even though the father was extremely devastated, he had to give the exact amount of love to his other children, which is one of the hardest things to do after something so terrible. There is such a huge dose of reality when I think that it could have been me and my parents who could have experienced something similar to this.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18. T0here are bad words and intense scenes but, if you want to educate children about bullying, then they have to see it what could happen if they remain silent bystanders, bullies or victims. It is not about rainbows and sunshine and holding hands. It's about actions that we can take to save lives. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for its good message. It's a great film but I felt like it wasn't quite finished. Perhaps, Part II is in order?

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

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


JACK AND THE CUCKOO CLOCK HEART

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JACK AND THE CUCKOO CLOCK HEART       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Edinburgh, late 19th century. Little Jack is born on a day so cold that his heart remains frozen. Madeleine the midwife replaces his heart with a cuckoo-clock. It will work, as long as Jack follows the rules, mainly not falling in love. But his encounter with a fiery-eyed girl singing on a street corner and his decision to chase after her will test the resistance of his makeshift heart to the breaking point... Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart is a magnificent love story set in an exciting period full of fabulous inventions, eccentric characters and fantastic adventures. Adapted by Mathias Malzieu from his best-selling novel and the gold-selling album by his band Dionysos, this superbly animated movie is about passion and acceptance of others. Produced by Luc Besson. Music by Mathias Malzieu. Starring Michelle Fairley (Lady Stark, Game of Thrones), Samantha Banks. Directed by Stephane Berla.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a phenomenal romantic animation! It is tricky to do an animated romance, but they did a pretty good job at it!

Interestingly enough, this film is not just about romance - it has that tiny little grain of comedy with adventure and thrills wrapped up in a great story!

The story starts when a newborn, named Jack, has a frozen heart. An expert with mechanics puts a clock in his chest to keep him alive. Sadly his 'heart" is very fragile so he can't fall in love, but when he meets a girl of his dreams, he can't stop it.

This is a fantastic film! I love how they veered off from comedy in animation to a romance film in animation! However, after about 60 minutes I knew the ending and it became a bit boring. Otherwise the film was fantastic!

I think my favorite scene is in the beginning when Jack is born. The lady who helps the mom give birth is very smooth and looks very warm. And how about pancakes - of course, they are the best and no one should give birth on a empty stomach! That was pretty funny!

This film has some dark discussions so I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. I also give it 3.5 out of 5 stars for a good film but a bit boring at times and the story feels a bit stretched. Also there were so many plots it got confusing at times.

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

I didn't think I could love French cinema any more than I have. I've watched some of the best of live-action French cinema, but I've never seen an animated French feature (produced by Luc Besson produced, no less). Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart kindled an interest in me to watch more French cinema.

The beautiful thing about this movie, other than the way it looks, is its style. It is based on a rock concept album by the rock band Dionysus, so it is a musical - a feature animated musical. Simply put, Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart is the best animated feature since Toy Story 3 (not counting The Wind Rises for the sake of our mostly American readers) and it is the best musical since Sweeney Todd and Hairspray.

The movie has a very unique animated look. It is not quite as clay animated as Mary and Max but not as "normal looking," per se, as Finding Nemo. It comes off as a cross between the two. I'll admit, I am no expert in the creation of animated films but I do know what works in a film. Another aspect of the film's look, its art direction, is quite beautiful. It is dark, mysterious and effective in its tone. Speaking of which - the tone is quite dark with an underlying feeling of loss and rejection.

Even the score, in its happiest moments, have a heavy feeling under the surface. Although love does find its way into the story and the objectives of the characters, loss and judgment resurface. The themes are quite adult and not appropriate for young children.

As to the finest aspect of the movie - the score and songs, I would love this to be turned into a Broadway musical. The style of the musical and the editing combined is reminiscent of Moulin Rouge, filled with vivacity and rapid pacing. The songs each carry their own beat and enhance the personalities of each character and its intentions. There is a mixture of ballads, rap, rock and even Latin. I would buy the soundtrack to this movie.

The story itself is about a boy born with a heart so weak that falling in love would be too much for him. The movie follows his early life where he inevitably falls in love (screenwriting 101) and the strength of his heart is put to the test.

I have learned over the years that just because a film is animated, it's not necessarily designed for children. Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart isn't exactly The Grave of the Fireflies but it is not for young children either. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. And my rating is 5 out of 5 stars. It is a wonderful film. It is one of the top five animated features of this decade.

Reviewed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15.
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 24.97
Media: DVD


EQUATION OF LIFE, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EQUATION OF LIFE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GERRY ORZ
Series: SHORT, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Seven-year-old Nathan is a lively and sweet child who wants nothing else but to please his mother, but getting constantly emotionally abused at home. Five years later, 10-year-old Adam moves to a new city where he meets Nathan who has become a violent bully and abuser himself due to the torment he continues to experience at home. Adam's sister, Miranda, encourages Adam to ask for help but fails to convince him. After 111 days of suffering, Adam makes a mistake and takes matters in his own hands. The tragedy that follows will captivate viewers hearts, show how one act of kindness could have changed the lives of many people and impacted future generations. It stresses how important it is to educate youth about how to take proper safety measures when faced with bullying.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This film is about a young boy who moves to a new school and is bullied on the way home from school every day by an older boy. In the beginning, we see the bully being verbally abused by his mother, which leads him to bullying himself. The younger boy tells his feelings while videotaping himself and, on occasion, talks to his older sister who tries to suggest solutions. Ultimately, in the process of fighting back, the younger boy has a tragic accident and the older ones goes to prison. The boy's family disintegrates. One mom loses her job and is depressed. His sister runs away from home. There are number of issues presented in this film besides bullying. Among them are the issues of child abuse, gay parents and life as a runaway. This film ends on a hopeful note about what could have happened had the characters grown up differently or handled the situation differently. This is a student production by an elementary student who deserves commendation for the intelligent way this film is produced and the authenticity of its story.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Genuinely spectacular! This is a well done story about the truth and tragedy of bullying. Directed, written and starring 10-year-old Gerry Orz, he portrays Adam Syder, the new kid in the neighborhood. Adam's being bullied by Nathan (Zane Paul), a boy who has a mother (Willow Hale) that treats him like garbage. Day after day Adam is beaten up and called names by Nathan and soon Adam takes enough.

One of the many reasons this film shines is the message it's stressing- Speak up! Bullying is problem in society. Whether it's physical, verbal, or cyber-bullying, it needs to stop and the message is addressed in a passionate way by the filmmaker. Orz shows the reality of what happens to many children who suffer through bullying. He doesn't take the easy route where someone is picked on and the teacher comes in and fixes the problem. He tells us the truth.

Everyone's point of view is examined including the bully Nathan, which I love. The bully is not the villain. He wants to be friends with Adam, but his mother says otherwise. Whenever someone picks on me, my mom always tells me, "You don't know what happened behind closed doors." She's right, I don't. The bully could be going through abuse or they might be jealous and bullying is the only way they know how to express it. My hats off to Zane for an outstanding performance. We also have a heartbreaking story with Adam's sister Miranda (Kaitlin Morgan). She knows Adam is being bullied, but she doesn't tell anyone. She thinks Adam will take care or it, which he does, in the wrong way.

By far, my favorite character is Adam's mom (Kate Orz). Let's just say something tragic happens and we see this emotional scene between her and Miranda. It's hard to sit through because both Kate's and Kaitlin's performances make this film even more powerful. It shows the struggle of not only the person being bullied, but the family's side of the grief.

All these aspects of the film are amazing and what makes it truly phenomenal is that it's done by a ten-year-old. Gerry Orz, tells a story in a mature manor that allows all ages to comprehends the dangers of bullying. Gerry's introduction to the film explains why he made it and what he wants you to learn from it. Just this introduction is worth the price for this film. He doesn't want anyone else to go through the pain of being bullied and this proves the power of film making. This is a film for adults and kids, especially.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to 8- to 18-year-olds. This film has one word in it that is not terrible, in fact it's appropriate, but parents may not want their kids to hear it. Even with that I still highly recommend this film to kids so they can know to speak and STOP bullying. This film comes out on DVD October 14, 2014.

Reviewed by Keefer C. Blakeslee, age 14, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic

Independent cinema nowadays is not what it used to be. Indie films used to be the unique ones, the ones with low budgets yet they still entertained. These films could get away with a lackadaisical script or acting in return for a fun or a good message. Keep in mind that films like Cloud Atlas, with a budget of over 100 million, are considered also independent films. What the young Gerry Orz has created is truly a throwback to true indie films.

The Equation of Life, directed, produced, written by and starring Gerry Orz, is a moving film that needs to be seen by anyone going to school. It is a film that is not just about bullying, but about understanding. It is about tolerance and guilt and reasoning. The Equation of Life is a unique anti-bullying film not because its message is different or because it presents the message in a different way, it is different because it doesn't rush to judge. That is the key to any film trying to get to the foundation of a problem - to make sure all the characters and their situations are considered in order to give the audience true, unbiased understanding.

As I stated earlier, a lot of independent films lack something due to having smaller budgets and little resources. The acting in this movie is tolerable. There are some truly moving moments from the cast and a few cast members are pretty good and, for the most part, the characters are believable. I promise you, their performances do not get in the way of the experience.

And the experience is quite moving. In a script like this that tries to teach and explain, both problems and solutions are offered. The Equation of Life offers problems and solutions so real, and so probable, that it comes off as a documentary at times. There aren't any crowd-pleasing cop-outs in order to make the film prettier. The movie is direct. Take this from a guy who has also done what Gerry has done. It is a difficult task to make a movie by yourself, with little financial support. But with a fine idea, support from family and friends and artistic know-how, any movie can be good. The Equation of Life, for that reason, gets 4 out of 5 stars from me. I recommend it for 6 to 18. Kids at the younger end here may not understand it but I believe they can get the concept. This film deserves to be shown to every student from elementary school until they graduate high school. It relates to any adolescent. It certainly does to me.

Congratulations Gerry, you did a very good job. Here's to a fine career! Reviewed by Willie Jones, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 32 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


POSTMAN PAT, THE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
POSTMAN PAT, THE MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A veteran postman finds his beliefs challenged after he enters a TV talent show competition. Starring Jim Broadbent, Jane Carr and Robin Atkin Downes. Directed by Mike Disa. Based on the book by the same name.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animation has tons of color that burst all over the screen with music that will make you want to dance. Pat, (Stephen Mangan-Voice), a small town postman finds his priority system challenged after he enters a popular TV talent show competition. Meanwhile Mr. Carbunkle, (Peter Woodward-Voice), plans to take over the SDS postal company with robots.

I really enjoy this film. The part that I like the most is that every character has their own personality. Not one person has the same feelings and attitudes as any other character which makes it really great to feed off of each other. The music has an upbeat tone and keeps you energized throughout the film but the opening song makes you feel really good. It literally gets you in the mood to dance and I was snapping my fingers to it. You can understand the plot and the little ones will have no problem in comprehending it. Pat's Cat, Jess, tops with being my favorite character. He has a humorous personality and is very cute. He makes the most adorable facial expressions and actions. My favorite scene is when Jess accidently pops the soccer ball that Pat is playing with. The air escapes the ball; Jess launches airborne and flies all around into the sky. Being jerked around by a soccer ball and hitting many different things in his path is definitely not what he wants to happen. When he finally gets shoved in the car by the ball, no one even notices what's happening. It's my favorite scene because it's funny to see and no one seems to notice Jess's struggle.

Postman Pat: The Movie also stars Jim Broadbent (CEO-Voice), Jane Carr (Mrs. Goggins-Voice) and Robin Atkin Downes (Simon Cowbell-Voice)

When you meet people, you should treat them nice. It's just the right thing to do and one of the main messages in this film.

Little kids, girls and boys, will enjoy this film and I recommend it for ages 7 to 13.

I give this film 4 out of 5 five stars because of the message, the beautiful colors and of course the wonderful music with its upbeat tone.

Postman Pat: The Movie is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. So please check it out.

Reviewed by Brianna Hope Beaton, Age 14, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 88 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99
Media: DVD

Buy Here (from PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT)


25 DAYS OF A TROPICAL CHRISTMAS

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
25 DAYS OF A TROPICAL CHRISTMAS
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: BOOK, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The e-book, 25 Days of a Tropical Christmas is a celebration of the holiday season incorporating beautiful illustrations with a variation of a classic melody. Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful beach- themed illustrations. Written by D.G. Stern and Illustrated by Susan Lane.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Similar to the 12 days of Christmas but extended with a beach / tropical theme, this is a fun and entertaining read with beautiful tropical beach themed illustrations. It makes me think of a warm Christmas instead of the traditional snow covered Christmas (which I have personally only seen once) and it will be easy for children to relate to that live in warmer climate places. Being a native of SoCal, I can relate to the reality of a sunny warm Christmas and so I really enjoyed this book. It is simple and easy to read and the illustrations remind you of beautiful water color beach images. I would recommend for all ages but is best for ages 5-18. 5 stars!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kids loved this. It sparked giggles and comments about Christmas on the beach. Those in SoCal could relate to it in particular. They loved the illustrations and said they would share it with friends. "I think this would make a cool Christmas present for kids." And, they loved the $1.99 price point.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 1.99
Media: Book



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