KIDS FIRST! has endorsed 448 total FeatureFilm titles

Below are up to 26 of them

KIDS FIRST! has linked to external websites through which you may order many of the KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

Click above to view YouTube video of
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE
open in new window
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - In the epic finale to The Maze Runner Saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary last city, a WCKD controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get the answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze. Will Thomas and the crew make it out alive? Or will Ava Paige get her way?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is full of action from beginning to end. During the production of this film in 2016, Dylan O'Brien was severely injured on set. Because of that, the film was delayed and is just now being released. I'm so sorry about Dylan's accident and believe that the wait was worth it, as I love this movie.

This is the third and final installment of the Maze Runner trilogy. Thomas and his friends head to the last standing city to save their friend, Minho and take down the Government Association known as WCKD.

I'm quite a fan of the Maze Runner books, so I can vouch for the accuracy of this movie. Quite a bit of the story is different from the book. Even the plot of saving Minho isn't in the book. He is with the group in the book. However, all the major events are still the same as both stories involve taking down WCKD.

This movie is fast moving and heart racing. In almost every scene something exciting is happening. The film barely gives you time to rest. I feel like this keeps you on edge and it works. During some scenes I tensed up, with my fists clenched. The action is actually very effectively exciting. There are tons of explosions, and fire and gunshots. And they are all so cool. The special effects are really impressive.

This film is a dystopian story. The reason the world ends in this story is an illness known as the "Flare" that turns people into zombie-like creatures. The makeup used for the creatures, known as Cranks, is outstanding. Here's a shout out to the entire makeup department.

The acting is also really good. Dylan O'Brien, who plays Thomas and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Newt, have incredible performances. I will not spoil what happens, but one specific performance from them had me in straight up tears.

Also, the city where most of the film takes place, known as Last City, has a very neat design. It looks intimidating, yet beautiful. It felt like Los Angeles, but darker. I'm curious if the director, Wes Ball, plans to do the prequels, as there are two prequels. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out in theaters January 26, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Based upon the novel, The Death Cure by James Dashner, The Maze Runner the Death Cure is the third and final film in the Maze Runner trilogy. It is a very satisfying conclusion to the series and wraps up most questions for fans. This film is very fun and entertaining. The one thing that disappointed me was the length of time since the last film, The Maze Runner the Scorch Trials. It came out September 2015, so you may need a little refresher course prior to watching the final film.

My favorite character is Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster. I have cheered for Newt during the whole trilogy as he brings so much life to the entire film. His character has depth and passion, but in a light-hearted way. I find him very relatable and, with-out giving away any spoilers, his character will touch you deeply during this final film.

The bond of friendship is a strong theme throughout the trilogy, but nothing has been as powerful as it is in Maze Runner the Death Cure. I love how the screenwriter, T.S. Nowlin, pushes each character to their limits, testing their abilities and gives viewers insight into their mindset and true vulnerabilities.

As in the previous two films, the cinematography is amazing. While the backdrop is futuristic, you do not have the feeling that everything is overly CGI. Even the fight scenes are pretty realistic. I find it interesting that the whole film was shot in Cape Town, South Africa.

Maze Runner the Death Cure is rated PG-13 for intense sci-fi violence and action. There is some language, but not much. If you have been a fan of the Maze Runner series, Maze Runner the Death Cure will not disappoint. With a running time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, it is a bit long, but there are no drag times. You'll remain entertained the whole time. I recom-mend this film for ages 13 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters January 26, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

Click above to view YouTube video of
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY
open in new window
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Brilliant parapsychologist Elise Rainier receives a disturbing phone call from a man who claims that his house is haunted. Even more disturbing is the address -- 413 Apple Tree Lane in Five Keys, N.M. -- the home where Elise grew up as a child. Accompanied by her two investigative partners, Rainier travels to Five Keys to confront and destroy her greatest fear -- the demon that she accidentally set free years earlier.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This mystery/thriller film had me at the edge of my seat with all of its spooky scenes and the horror vibe it gives off by just looking at the title. Scary movies aren't my cup of tea, but this one is the exception. Insidious: The Last Key is the fourth movie in the Insidious horror franchise, which focuses on both paranormal investigator and psychic Elise Rainier as well as her sidekicks. Looking back at the first film released in 2018, it appears that Insidious: The Last Key is a combination of the old and new films that have been seen in the series. I like when the creators behind a movie series do this, because it makes all of the films have similar traits and maintains a unique essence to the series with the same message. It incorporates traits that make it stand out. Although the next film in the paranormal series brings back some of the crew that worked in the first films, this film has included a newcomer behind the camera.

The storyline is about both paranormal investigator and psychic parapsychologist named Elise Rainier who receives a disturbing phone call from a man claiming his house is haunted. She becomes more disturbed when she sees the address, which is the same home where Elise grew up and first experienced paranormal and haunted activity. She heads over to fix this situation along with her two investigative partners. She travels to Five Keys to confront and destroy her greatest fear, the demon that she accidentally set free years earlier.

My favorite scene is when Elise frees the demon that was trapped in the basement when she was younger. In the scene, she gets called down to the basement by this spirit and follows, because she is curious about what she might find. In the scene, she is very frustrated, because she notices that she is the only one that heard the spirit and wants to know why. She gets to the basement and finds a hidden red door and unlocks the spirit that is trapped behind it. Now, the whole process of her following the spirit's steps to find it is very creepy, but it gets even creepier when the spirit escapes and starts haunting the whole family. That's when all the breathtaking special effects combine to make sure the audience gets scared to death. I like this scene because it is the one that shocked me the most and set the standard for the rest of the movie. From that point on, I knew that I was going to leave the theater frightened, because if the movie started with that scene, I could just imagine how spooky and scary the rest of the scenes were going to be.

The important message for the audience is one of the most essential concepts in life: to have courage and forgiveness towards others. In this film, Elise notices that the demons feed on hate and revenge and she, along with her companions, realize that they could beat the bad forces by not feeding into those things, by being forgiving and showing compassion and understanding with the people around them. By changing their lifestyle and the way they treat others, they could turn the haunted vibes down and into something positive.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. This film is playing in theaters now so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Insidious: The Last Key has an amazing plot, making you question what is really going on. The film made me jump a lot, but it does have some humor that made me smile, which doesn't normally happen during a horror film. I like how the story behind the main character is melancholy, making the audience have to pay more attention to the relevance of her childhood and her current problem.

The story follows Elise Rainier, a real-life ghost buster and her haunted childhood house. The film travels back to her childhood when she realized she has a gift of seeing spirits and demons. Her mother tries to love Elise and her gift, while her father doesn't want anything to do with her. With her gifts she opens a door, allowing an evil spirit into the world. She comes across this spirit again 57 years later, when a man is having supernatural experiences in the same house that she grew up in. When she arrives, things are worse than when she was a child.

Elise Rainer is played by Lin Shaye who makes her characters' experiences seem very real. Elise's gang includes Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson). Elise's brother, who suffered equally as a child, is Christan Rainer (Bruce Davison).

My favorite part is when Elise finds out that her nieces survived and that her brother Christian accepts her for the person she is, including her talents. I like this part because it applies to the real world and reminds us to accept others for who they are and not to be afraid of their differences. Another message is that people's unique features have a purpose.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars. The special effects with the demons walking or crawling is so terrifyingly real, especially the Key Face's hand. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18 as well as adults, especially if they enjoy horror films. This film opens in theaters January 5, 2018 so, check it out.

Reviewed by Kamryn B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PADDINGTON 2

Click above to view YouTube video of
PADDINGTON 2
open in new window
PADDINGTON 2 - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 4-15
Description - Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber's antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This sequel to the hit family film, Paddington delivers in all the right places and truly lives up to its predecessor and even surpasses the 2014 film in many ways. Paddington 2, like the first one, is definitely a family film filled with many morals and messages, generally surrounded by unique jokes and fun adventures. To add conflict to the story, there are some dramatic scenes, but the film manages to always stay kid-friendly.

The movie picks up sometime after the first film. Paddington the bear still lives happily with the Brown family in London. By now, he has a daily routine and has become friendly with the whole neighborhood. In a few days, his aunt will have her 100th birthday. Paddington decides to get her a perfect present. Little does Paddington know that the present he has chosen actually contains a big secret and gets stolen. Paddington is blamed for the theft and sent to jail. Now two conflicts emerge, Paddington must fit in prison and the Brown family must figure out how to get him out of jail.

Paddington's realism really stands out. He clearly still contains character-like features with big brown eyes and heavenly fluffy fur, but he essentially fits-in properly with his surroundings. Not only does the special effects' team deserve credit for this, but the actors deserve double kudos for performing so realistically with a character that doesn't really exist. Adding a superstar as Hugh Grant also brings the film to a completely new level of goodness.

Rare for a sequel, the story stays original and separate from the last film while still maintaining the good parts of the previous story. The humor becomes almost slapstick at times, and other times it's purely situational and always results in a laugh. Paddington as a character really pulls at the heartstrings of the audience, both because of a well-written script and a bear who's designed to be adorable in every way. My favorite scene starts when Paddington gets into jail. He, of course, does not fit in as a well-mannered, kind bear. After proving his skill at making marmalade sandwiches for everyone, the prison stops looking like the one in Shawshank Redemption and begins to look like a cute bed and breakfast you'd pay to stay at. This really shows a large amount of irony due to the fact that many gruff convicts become well-mannered and kind. This scene not only demonstrates the power of the humor in Paddington 2, but truly brings up all of the main characteristics of Paddington as a character.

I recommend this film for ages 7 to 18. Surprisingly, in the audience, there were more adults laughing than kids, while the kids were simply fixed on the realism and adventures of Paddington. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for being an outstanding family film that truly outdoes its predecessor and leaves you wanting more. It opens nationwide in theaters on January 12, 2018 so, be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Paddington 2 seamlessly blends heart and comedy for a truly charming family film. This sequel revisits the title character, a precocious young bear living in London as part of the Brown family. As the movie opens, Aunt Lucy is celebrating her birthday in darkest Peru and Paddington is struggling to find a suitable gift to send to her. He settles on a pop-up book of London at a local antique shop and takes on a series of sometimes hilarious odd jobs to pay for it. One night, the book is stolen. Paddington is accused of the theft and sent to prison, but the real culprit is Phoenix Buchanan, a narcissistic actor who craves the spotlight and wants to use the book's value to fund his one-man-show. Paddington sets out to clear his name, while the Browns try to prove that Phoenix is the real criminal.

Paddington 2 is a warm fuzzy blanket of a film. Its title character is a symbol of kindness in a world that needs more of it. He never gives up and always believes in the best in those around him. I love coming back to Paddington's London and being reacquainted with the Brown family and their quirks. The cheerful tone of this film radiates throughout. The lesson of Paddington 2 is be kind to others, always, and its timing could not be better.

Paddington 2 surpasses the first Paddington film in many ways. It brings back endearing characters and everything you love about them, while introducing memorable new ones as well. I love how, once again the modern take on the widely loved story of Paddington Bear stays true to the character while still telling an original story.

Hugh Grant is very good as Phoenix Buchanan. Grant embodies Phoenix's charisma and sly humor. It is nice to see an actor typically known for romantic comedies go to a more villainous place to play this sinister has-been actor who will do anything to be famous again. Grant's top moments are his most bizarre. Be sure to stay for the credits for one of his best.

My favorite character in this film is Knuckles McGinty, the prison chef played by Brendan Gleeson. Gleeson subtly and comically shows us the intensity and warmth of his character. Knuckles's anger and pessimism is a nice foil to Paddington's constant glowing positivity. Gleeson also illustrates how Paddington brings out the softer sides of those around him.

I recommend this film to ages 4 to 15 and adults will love its positive attitude. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars for putting a smile on my face and recreating the magic of the original and then some. It opens nationwide in theaters on January 12, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This film is hilarious and made me cry a cry of joy and also of sadness, multiple times. It is amazing to watch live characters bond with an imaginary, animated bear. Even though there's not actually a bear there, you can feel the love within the family.

The film starts off with a little flash back showing how Paddington was saved from falling off the waterfall when he was a cub, by Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy. They adopted him and raised him as if he was their own son. Then it returns to present time. Paddington wants to get the perfect gift for Aunt Lucy on her 100th Birthday and decides on a present, but it is expensive. He works hard to earn enough money to buy the gift. One night while he is walking past the store where the gift is, a thief breaks into the store and steals it. Paddington chases after the burglar, but when the police arrive they assume that he is the thief. Paddington is sentenced to 10 years in prison even though he didn't commit the crime. His family tries to prove his innocence, but they don't have much evidence.

Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is supposed to be a young bear. Ben Wishaw, who does his voice, doesn't sound like a young bear to me. He sounds more like a polite and proper man. Even though he doesn't sound young, his voice matches Paddington's personality, particularly because Paddington is very polite, kind and sweet.

The animation for this film is very realistic. Paddington interacts with objects that aren't animated, which makes him seem like he is actually there. Paddington looks very realistic with very detailed fur, eyes and feet. My favorite part of this film are all of the jokes throughout it. They are so funny and sarcastic. The whole audience was laughing together. Everyone understood the jokes, adults and children both, which is always great.

The moral of this story is to be kind and positive, so that life will be kind and positive to you. Throughout all the hardships that Paddington goes through, he stays positive, remains kind and eventually everything becomes right in the end. Paddington 2 is such an amazing film to watch with your whole family. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters nationwide on January 12, 2018 so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Jolleen m., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 4-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

Click above to view YouTube video of
COMMUTER, THE
open in new window
COMMUTER, THE - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Insurance salesman Michael is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a mysterious stranger, Michael is forced to uncover the identity of a hidden passenger on the train before the last stop. As he works against the clock to solve the puzzle, he realizes a deadly plan is unfolding, and he is unwittingly caught up in a criminal conspiracy that carries life and death stakes for everyone on the train.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Commuter is a fun thriller, even if it does get a little too over-the-top for its own good. The acting and camerawork provide a tense feel to this movie, like many Hitchcock films. This is sure to please Liam Neeson fans.

The story follows insurance salesman Michael (Liam Neeson), who is caught in a criminal conspiracy on his daily commute. Michael meets the enigmatic Joanna (Vera Farmiga), who will give him a large sum of money if he finds a passenger with evidence against her. This must be done before a certain train stop. This leads to a frenetic chase to find the passenger, as elements of the conspiracy are revealed. Michael happens to be an ex-cop and will do anything to protect this passenger, but this comes with consequences.

Liam Neeson, as Michael, excellently presents his frantic need to find the passenger because every wrong move can result in an innocent passenger getting caught in the crossfire. He is spectacular in the fast-paced action and stunts. Vera Farmiga as Joanna, is my favorite character because of the intense threat and urgency she provides with her performance. It is also interesting to find out more about her conspiracy. Patrick Wilson, as Alex, is an incredible helper to Michael, but you can tell he has some secrets he's not sharing. Jonathan Banks, as Walt, presents a friend to Michael who commutes with him every day, while also helping him out.

Jaume Collet-Sera wonderfully directs this film with a rapid pace and you feel you are a part of the train. My favorite scene is a one-shot fight scene on board the train, because of its impressive camera work. I also like how intense it is, due to the crowded environment. My only problem with this film is that, while the main story is extremely interesting, there are many over-the-top scenarios, which turn the movie into unintentional comedy. Also, some of the filming and editing feels rushed in places.

The message of the movie is that doing the right thing will never be easy, but could result in the lives of many being saved. Despite his good intentions, Michael is put into one risky situation after another and he always must risk his life. However, he saves many through his selfless acts. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of its intense action and language. The movie releases in theaters on January 12, 2018, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
POST, THE

Click above to view YouTube video of
POST, THE
open in new window
POST, THE - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers -- and very freedom -- to help bring long-buried truths to light.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Spielberg's The Post is a paean to the American ideal of freedom of the press. This highly intense, suspenseful film tells the story of Katherine Graham, owner of The Washington Post and its historic role in the publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the films stars Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham, Tom Hanks as the Post's editor, Ben Bradlee and a top ensemble cast.

Set in the classic age of newspapers and network television, before the internet age, The Post is a coming-of-age story on two fronts. The Washington Post goes from being a regional media outlet to a national newspaper of note. In the process, Katherine Graham, goes from being a society hostess to a strong female corporate owner. A former government analyst finds proof of a government cover-up regarding American involvement in Vietnam and leaks the information to The New York Times and The Washington Post. Graham's editorial team is in favor of publishing the material because it'll put the newspaper on the map, so to speak. Her legal and financial team are against it and warn that she could go to jail for contempt and lose the newspaper. What follows is an intense examination of all the pros and cons of the issue.

One of the most fascinating parts of the film is seeing the inner workings of creating a newspaper - the old printing presses, the dyes, the plates with all the metal letters and etchings of pictures. Spielberg clearly loves the traditional craft of printing a newspaper. The John Williams music is perfect for the suspenseful plot. The acting is impeccable. Both Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks have such amazing craft that they imbue their roles with intelligence and humanity. The beginning of the film sets up the true-to-life plot and players. Because of this, the beginning of the film may be difficult for younger viewers because they aren't aware of the politics of the 1970s.

The Post is very timely and reflective of our own time. In this day of "fake news" and media bashing, this film is a refreshing story of the integrity of newspaper organizations. Spielberg tries to show the importance of a free press in combating government malfeasance. The Post is appropriate for ages 15 to 18. Younger teens may find the film boring if they are not interested in politics or media. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars for its exceptional use of real life suspense. It is available in theaters January 12, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - There are very few films every year that keep you excited and entertained while delivering impressive visual achievements. The Post does not belong in this category because it far surpasses any expectations and delivers on a much higher level. Every single aspect of this film -from acting to directing to editing - are all superb.

The Post has many things to offer, but the biggest would be the drama surrounding this very real story. It feels like an adventure, even though it takes place on East Coast. It is sprinkled with just the right amount of funny moments here and there, with hilarious and perfectly timed jokes. Out of all the spectacular cinematic achievements, none of them would be possible without the exciting and truly eye-opening story. It dives into a major leak of top-secret information, ranging multiple U.S. presidents, all relating to the Vietnam War. At first, the film seems to be about the two newspapers, The New York Times and the Washington Post, both attempting to get this story. Later, it turns into a fight between freedom of the press and censorship as the Nixon Administration attempts to block both newspapers from publishing any information about their secrets.

The story comes to life under the masterful direction of Steven Spielberg. His most famous techniques are clear from the very first shot and continue throughout the film. In fact, the first scene, which takes place in the jungles of Vietnam, will remind you of Saving Private Ryan due to the heart-thumping sound design and chaotic cinematography that puts you right on the battlefield. The cast has their own achievements. Tom Hanks (Ben Bradlee) and Meryl Streep (Kay Graham) work perfectly together and truly become their characters. John Williams, the Composer for the film, manages to take the spotlight from the visual scenes and put them into the music. His original score sounds incredible and you'll find yourself swallowed by the soothing and memorable tones. But what really looks impressive in The Post is the film grain. The quality looks like a modern film, yet the colors and the lighting make it feel like the 60s which adds to the realism of the story.

The cinematography defines my favorite scene, the climax of the film. Kay Graham, publisher of the Washington Post, has to make the final decision whether the paper should publish the leaked documents or not. She is on the phone with multiple business partners, her editor (Ben Bradlee), and many journalists of the paper as well as some of her board advisors. Easily, this makes for the most intense scene in the entire film and truly brings Meryl Streep's character to life. Throughout the phone conversation, the camera angles make it feel like one long shot across multiple locations. Finally, at the moment she makes her decision, the camera slowly zooms into her eyes and mouth to show wonder, fear, curiosity and more - all at once. Finally, as Kay makes her decision, the camera zooms out and the feeling of intensity immediately leaves the room. Despite being just a few minutes long, it feels like an eternity and you, as a viewer, can't help but clench your fist in anticipation of what her decision will be.

The story has many mature elements and the concept itself is complicated at times. The messages related to journalistic oppression are very important for all ages. I recommend this to ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for perfect directing, astonishing acting, and cinematography so beautiful it belongs in an art gallery along with many other films directed by Steven Spielberg.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Click above to view YouTube video of
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
open in new window
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Description - Following the events of The Force Awakens, Rey begins her Jedi training under Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled about Rey's immense strength with the Force. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to continue the fight against the First Order, which is led by Kylo Ren and the mysterious Snoke.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Loyal audiences won't be disappointed! From the traditional opening scroll to the non-stop, action-packed 2:32 hours of characters new, known and loved, writer-director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is fantastic. As I watched the film, I thought about the yeoman's task to step into George Lucas' world, filled with beloved characters, and continuing the tale between good and evil, light and dark, all within The Force. After all, Johnson is known for film shorts and episodic television, not movie studio franchise blockbusters.

When we first see our hero, Luke, (Mark Hamill) I could not help but consider, "if Skywalker lives, hope lives." Hope is a central theme of this film and is voiced several times by Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega). Only Poe (Oscar Isaac) seems to have a less than optimistic view of the tasks at hand.

Rey demands Luke teach her the Jedi ways. She delivers Darth Vader's lightsaber to him almost as an offering. Luke declines to show her the Jedi religion telling her there are no more Jedi's. As he painfully explains the path his nephew, Ben Solo (Adam Driver) took from light, as a Jedi trainee, to dark as Kylo Ren, the pain is palpable. As Yoda later reminds us, "The greatest teacher is failure."

Carrie Fisher's final performance as Princess Leia is compelling and often funny. She reminds many crew members, "May The Force Be With You" often. At one point, her admonition to Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) is funny. In fact, there are many humorous bits within the film, humanizing the war among the worlds and battles within deep space. When we meet the Porgs, I laughed aloud at their antics, especially when they take flight with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).

The lessons in the film, spoken by various characters are impactful. My favorite is "saving what we love is the only way we fight hate."

Given the performances of the young actors, and possibilities at the end of the film, I wonder, can this story go on forever? As Luke aptly reminds us, "no one is ever really gone". Thank you, Luke. May we all know peace and purpose. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 as well as adults. Some battle scenes could be too intense for younger children.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As I sat back in the comfy leather seats and watched the star-dusted opening credits roll out in front of me, I reminisced about what it felt like watching the Star Wars series for the first time. It has been a long time since that happened and my only hope was that Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be just as mind-boggling as the others. Shame on me for ever doubting the legendary billion-dollar franchise, because (spoiler alert): It is!

If you haven't seen the previous installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, then I highly recommend you grab some friends to watch it with and get yourself back on track. Otherwise, you will be in for a big surprise. For those who have seen it, then you know that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) makes an iconic return to the big screen and this time, with a vengeance. Luke went into hiding, undetected, to the Porg-infested island of Ahch-To die. Rey (Daisy Ridley) has a mission to bring Luke back to fight the Resistance as war is once again brewing against the First Order. Millions of porg-encounters later, Rey finally persuades Luke to lend her his knowledge in combat, leaving Luke unsettled by the strength of her powers.

This time around, Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern) leads the Resistance due to unforeseen circumstances. Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Holdo go head to head as he refuses to follow Holdo's rules. This creates major conflict in the storyline, as some things don't necessarily go as planned during combat. We are also introduced to a new lead character, Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), a maintenance worker that guards the escape pods. She bonds with Finn (John Boyega) as she takes him to her wealthy home of Canto Bight. Though, there's so much more to this planet than meets the eye.

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) remains high and mighty, just for show. It's evident that he hides something deep within, something he cannot control - a slight hint of compassion. After a head-to-head conflict with Rey and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), the film finally reveals who he truly is.

Now that you have an idea of what the film is about, let's talk about the magic that goes on behind-the-scenes. To be quite honest, the writing has its lows. There are moments when the audience would let out an uncomfortable laugh due to the awkward, juvenile jokes that we know certain characters would never say or do. It felt somewhat out-of-touch with the Star Wars franchise, especially since they are thrown in during the most serious, suspenseful scenes. Despite that, the rest of the screenplay is groundbreaking. It gives the audience what they want and what they didn't know they needed. Also, the cinematography is phenomenal. Shooting in locations such as Ireland and Croatia, the visual effects team make it seem as though they are off in a galaxy far, far away, without straying from its natural beauty. Special effects, as always, are mind-blowing. It's nearly impossible not to fathom lightsabers being real. Top it all off with detailed costume design and award-winning acting, and you've got yourself a masterpiece.

Ultimately, Star Wars: The Last Jedi exceeded far beyond my expectations, and I urge you to go out with your Jedi Knight robes and lightsabers and experience it on the big screen. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. It opens December 15, 2017 in U.S. theaters so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Michelle C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19

Star Wars: The Last Jedi lives up to the hype because of its wonderful story and action. The acting has never been better for the series. This is sure to be a hit for all Star Wars fans.

The story follows the events set in place after Star Wars: The Force Awakens when Rey (Daisy Ridley) turns to the legendary Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), for help to turn the tide of the desperate battle between the Resistance and the First Order. However, Luke has lost all hope after his failure of letting Ben Solo (Adam Driver) become Kylo Ren. While trying to convince Luke, Rey further learns to control her ties with the Force, while learning mysteries of the past. Meanwhile, the First Order learns an advanced battle tactic that could destroy the Resistance under Leia (Carrie Fisher). This leads to a newly awakened Finn (John Boyega) forming an unlikely team with the smart Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and the determined Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), to save the Resistance.

Daisy Ridley, as Rey, excellently presents her newly learned powers and her inner battle between the light and the dark side as her character progresses to become an epic hero, like Luke. Mark Hamill, as Luke Skywalker, is the highlight of the movie and he is also my favorite character, due to his long-awaited return as the character, which delivers on all grounds. He delivers a more brooding edge to character as a hopeless Jedi who is adamant on his choices. Adam Driver, as Kylo Ren, is an incredible villain with well-developed motives, as you can feel his inner conflict with the Dark Side. Carrie Fisher, as Leia, delivers an impressive posthumous performance as the tactical leader of the Resistance. Her character is also tied up in a way that respects the actor. John Boyega, as Finn, delivers an excellent performance as his character stops being a coward and transforms into a brave rebel for the Resistance. Kelly Marie Tran, as Rose, is smart and resourceful in her team up with Finn. Oscar Isaac, as Poe Dameron, is a true maverick who refuses to follow orders for the safety of people.

Rian Johnson wonderful directs every scenic location, whether it is from the desolate ship of the First Order to the abandoned, yet beautiful landscapes of Crait. My favorite scene is the one where a certain choice must be made, on the side of Kylo to Rey. My only problem with this movie is that, while the performances between Finn and Rose are superb, their subplot drags the movie in a slower middle act. However, this a short part of a long movie is full of story and battles.

The message of the movie is about finding hope. The Resistance is put through extreme threats from the First Order, but they find a way to battle it with hope. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because of its intense action. The movie releases in theaters on December 15, 2017, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



Click above to view YouTube video of
FERDINAND
open in new window
FERDINAND - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: ANIMATED FEATURE, AGES 4-18
Description - Ferdinand, is a giant bull with a big heart. he is mistaken for a dangerous beast and is captured and torn from his home and family. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team for the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can't judge a bull by its cover.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I have to say, I really enjoyed this movie. It is definitely much better than I originally thought. I assumed it would be a bit bland, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This is the story about a bull named Ferdinand who dislikes violence. He is taken in by a girl named Nina and her dad. Due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he is taken to a ranch where they plan to put him in a bull fight. He is determined to escape and find his way back home. This is an adaptation of an old picture book from 1936, which I think is pretty interesting.

First, let's discuss the animation. I find the animation to be quite Disney-esque. It is fast, fluid and, best of all, colorful - just the way I like animation. The color scheme is very aesthetically pleasing. The flowers especially look amazing, as silly as that sounds. This movie has a good amount of star power with John Cena, Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, Daveed Diggs and more. The voice acting is probably one of the best things about this movie. Everyone sounds like they're having so much fun and that they clearly love their roles. That really helps every character feel so likeable. The voices of the horses are an excellent example. Their accents and mannerisms are hilarious.

Speaking of hilarious, this movie is actually really funny, a lot more funny than I originally expected. I assumed the humor would a bit like the general humor in most modern animated movies. Another thing I find interesting is that the movie is surprisingly kind of dark. Considering the whole story is about bullfighting, a few scenes are actually very serious. Certain scenes made me think to myself "this is a kids movie?!" I really didn't expect that. Honestly, a lot of things surprised me, which I'm really happy about. Since I never want movies to be bad, I love it when a movie surpasses my expectations.

Finally, I love the cast of characters. Lupe the goat, the hedgehogs and the horses are my favorite characters, but every character has something about them that makes them so interesting. The other bulls are likeable characters and so is the bullfighter villain. Even smaller side characters really made this movie. I love the message this movie puts out: peace over violence. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It comes out December 15, 2017 so go check it out.

Reviewed by Calista B. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 14

Ferdinand, directed by Carlos Saldanha is a spoonful of sugar! Ferdinand's compassion is contagious and, with his big innocent eyes and smile, he brightened my day. The animation is visually appealing and adds happiness and joyfulness to every aspect of this film. The music adds an exhilarating effect to the action scenes and made my heart pump faster and faster.

The story follows a timid, lovable bull named Ferdinand who loves flowers. He is born a fighter at a ranch, but has no desire to hurt anyone. He runs away and is taken in by a farmer and his daughter. Together, they grow up and through a series of events, Ferdinand is misunderstood and separated from his home and must do everything he can to return to his family.

John Cena plays Ferdinand and keeps a softness in his voice that reinforces Ferdinand's serene aura. Kate McKinnon plays Lupe, a hilarious, exuberant goat. The way she manipulates her voice made me laugh. The antagonist, Valiente, voiced by Bobby Cannavale, has an animosity against Ferdinand that is clear and terrifying.

The animation is sublime and gorgeous. There are many scenes where Ferdinand is sitting on his favorite hill, gazing into the distance. The landscape is intricately detailed. You can see the cracks on the cliffs and shadows with the pinkish orange sunset with the trees, flowers and grass swaying with the wind. These scenes transcend words and made me feel the peace and serenity that Ferdinand experiences. Ferdinand's expressions are priceless, revealing his feelings exquisitely. His ears flap when he is excited and his smile is enormous. The animation is excellent throughout.

My favorite part is Ferdinand's personality. Ferdinand would never hurt a fly and loves everyone and everything. He always does what is right and, no matter how anyone treats him, he considers everyone his friend.

The message of Ferdinand is don't be afraid of who you are and let your true self shine. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 15. Ferdinand opens in theatres nationwide December 15, 2017 so be sure to put it on your holiday viewing list.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 4-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUSTICE LEAGUE

Click above to view YouTube video of
JUSTICE LEAGUE
open in new window
JUSTICE LEAGUE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I'm not sure why the reviews for this movie have been so squirrely. This is a very entertaining movie, with the kind of mindless, superhero entertainment one wants in a film of its kind. I personally think there is a bias against DC movies not made by Christopher Nolan, however I will defend Justice League in this review.

It should be known that I don't expect these types of films to have much in the way of development or good writing. After all, these aren't directed by Nolan and are more in the direction of what Marvel movies are - pure entertainment. It's a date night movie, or something for the family to watch together. It's not going to produce any Oscar worthy performances a la Heath Ledger, but the performances need to personify these characters and be believable. That's my criteria. Is it entertaining? Will audiences like it? Will its target audience be attracted to it? And the answer to all three of those is yes.

In the Critic's Consensus of the film on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the criticisms is "thin characters." To that I say, of course! The writing in a film such as this isn't supposed to provide subtle depth and deep character analysis. The characters are simple with personal issues that they get over and get past within two hours. They are figures to awe at, not people reflect themselves in. Just because Captain America: Civil War achieved that, doesn't mean every superhero action flick that comes out achieves that. Justice League is well enough acted to where these characters are quite believable. What more an audience seeking a Friday night romp ask for?

The most important thing is that the movie is only two hours long. It feels great! The recent trend of superhero movies and blockbusters taking two and half to three hours is a bad trend that doesn't serve the films (and it's why many them aren't very good), but Justice League is very well paced, very tight and a good length. DC has been clocking in their films at around two hours, twenty minutes. Justice League clocks in at 120 minutes precisely and it feels like a breeze. Directing and editing are well done as far as that goes.

Of course there are cheesy lines and over dramatized moments, but isn't there always? It's a formula that works and eventually we just ignore those parts because the action scenes are so entertaining. That word "entertaining" perfectly describes this movie from beginning to end. It's predictable as they come, formulaic as can be and not exceptional by any means. But, my goodness is it pleasant watch. It's just plain fun. DC has made a good movie that deserves to be seen. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It is playing in theaters now so be sure to go check it out.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is spectacular in two main ways, the comic book references and the special effects. There are so many of them such as The Flash and Superman racing. Also the CGI costumes look so real for Cyborg and Steppenwolf.

Justice League is about Bruce Wayne/Batman tracking down parademons. Meanwhile in Atlantis, Themyscira Steppenwolf invades and steals the mother boxes from them, killing a lot of Amazonian and Atlanteans troops in the process. Batman hears this news from Diana/Wonder Woman and decides to form a team to stop Steppenwolf from stealing the last mother box.

Batman (Ben Affleck) returns as the best Batman yet. He stands out from the other characters with his two Oscars, one for best picture and another for best screenplay. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also has an award for best actor from Teen Choice Awards. Award-winning actor J. K. Simmons plays Commissioner Gordon and, for the five minutes he's on screen, is awesome.

The budget of this movie is $300,000,000, so the special effects should be stupendous and that is correct. For Cyborg's character, his whole body looks like it is actually made out of metal and is glowing. The costume for The Flash looks damaged and made out of NASA grade material.

My favorite part of this movie is when The Flash and Superman are about to race. This is my favorite part because it is such a big comic book reference, which is why I like DC more than Marvel.

The message of this movie is to stand up as a leader because your friends will support you. This message is very positive for people that are reluctant to stand up. This film has a few iffy thing such as Aquaman drinking a whole whisky bottle and smashing it, but there are no risky things kids might imitate after watching it. There is some mile profanity. This movie is dark, yet funny and is riddled with references. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 18. This movie is in theaters now, so go check it out.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

This movie is definitely meant to please and entertain all the DC Universe fan's. In other words, for me this movie is just plain great. I really enjoyed how we got to see all the main Justice League characters in one big movie. Who wouldn't? Seriously, the way costumes are designed to the great acting is amazing.

One part I really enjoyed is when Batman starts swinging around and driving his Batmobile around town, because it shows the audience how cool Batman really is. Another part I really enjoyed is when Flash is introduced. Flash is that one character who ends up bringing all the comedy to the film, which I think is great.

The storyline in this movie is about how Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavil), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Auqaman (Jason Momoa) come together to save the day. They have to battle a dangerous alien race who is trying to destroy Earth so they can rule all. Throughout the movie we experience a lot of funny moments such as when Flash shows that he likes Wonder Woman and again when they're fighting the villain. There are also some really cool CGI effects that wow'd me.

The creators of this movie should be quite proud of their creation, because I believe Justice league will be a big hit. Everybody in the movie theater enjoyed the movie. You could tell by listening to their laughs and their clapping at the end of the movie how much they loved it. While watching it, I noticed that the CGI was similar to a video game, which I think suits this movie very well. I would have to say this is the best DC movie I have seen so far. Along with the cool graphics, the acting stands out, which I found very enjoyable. Also there are some really cool plot twists.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18 because there is some mild profanity and some mature scenes at the beginning. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now so be sure to check it out, whether or not you are a DC fan!

Reviewed by Kamhai B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STAR, THE

Click above to view YouTube video of
STAR, THE
open in new window
STAR, THE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE 5-12
Description - In Sony Pictures Animation's THE STAR, a small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free, and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told - the first Christmas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This incredible animated film had me laughing the entire time. On top of that, there are so many talking animals, ranging from horses to sheep and even dogs. I love dogs immensely, so seeing them talk kept my eyes peeled the entire time. Along with the talking animals comes an impeccable plot, so I promise that you'll never be bored.

When a donkey named Bo breaks free from the local village mill, he joins his friend, Dave the Dove, on the trip of a lifetime. On their journey to Bethlehem, they find a lovable sheep named Ruth and they all work together to keep Joseph and Mary safe. In doing so, they encounter numerous obstacles, such as fighting wild dogs and protecting Mary from being stabbed. This film is undoubtedly unique, because it tells the story of the First Christmas from an animal's perspective. Watch Bo and his friends discover the true meaning of the First Christmas, by following the bright star in the sky, which ultimately guides them through all of their encounters.

Steven Yeun, who plays Bo the Donkey, is hands down my favorite character. He is optimistic and truly cares about the well-being of others. Even though Joseph tells Bo to leave him and Mary alone, Bo will not stop until he ensures that Mary can safely birth her son. Gina Rodriguez, who plays Mary, is such a sweet woman. She truly cares for Bo and, while her husband Joseph doesn't want Bo around, Mary will never let Bo down. Zachary Levi, who plays Joseph, is an exceptional example of a husband. He never lets Mary down, comforts her when she's upset and will do absolutely anything to make her happy. He travels for miles to find a place for their son Jesus to be born and remains calm the entire time. I applaud him for his great patience.

The animation in this film is adorable. Bo the donkey is the cutest donkey I have ever seen. He has big eyes and, whenever he makes a mistake, you have to forgive him, because he doesn't mean any harm. Each character looks dramatically different. It's great to see such diversity in the film. All of the characters respect one another, no matter their backgrounds or appearances, which is a concept that should directly be applied to human interaction.

My favorite part is when Bo and Ruth are trying to warn Joseph and Mary of the bad guys. The audience knows the animals can talk, but Joseph and Mary don't, which makes it even funnier. All Joseph and Mary can hear is screaming animals and they see Bo and Ruth running around in circles, pretending to act as vicious, wild dogs.

The message of the film is to appreciate the meaning of the First Christmas. Before watching this film, I was unaware of the history behind it, but I am so glad I watched it, because it changes your entire perspective on Christmas. In addition, the film focuses on working together, never giving up on each other and always treat others kindly, even if they don't treat you that way. There is no reason to ever be mean to anyone and all of these animals are so kind to each other. If animals can do it, so can humans.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. It is the perfect film to watch this upcoming holiday season with family and friends. This film opens November 17, 2017 in your local theater, so go check it out. There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than by watching a film about why we celebrate the Christmas holiday.

Reviewed by Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Star is an amazing movie! It has some stunning animation and graphics. I could see every single hair on the animals. It also has a marvelous plot based on true events. This film gives a modern twist to the biblical story of Jesus' birth which makes it very interesting and keeps you at the edge of your seat. It also has a lot of comedy and funny jokes.

The Star is the story of Jesus' birth and the journey of all the animals in the famous nativity scene. Bo, a donkey, escapes the mill he was in and hid in Mary's house. Bo discovers that there is an evil king who wants to kill Mary, so he follows Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem to protect them.

One of the things I love about The Star is the great music (thanks to John Paesano) and its amazing artists, from Mariah Carey and Kelsea Ballerini, to Fifth Harmony and Pentatonix. I found a bunch of wonderful new Christmas songs in this movie and they are all so awesome. I also love the stunning animation. When Bo first goes outside of the millers, it had been a while since he had been outside. So when he did, you can see his pupils dilate. That shows the amount of attention to detail the animators made. This film makes this biblical story more interesting for kids, with a lot of action and engagement. It is also very funny. They crack a lot of jokes that made the whole audience laugh. My favorite scene is when Joseph tries to put a harness on Bo and Joseph keeps falling off.

The message of this film is that friendship is worth fighting for and, even if someone doesn't know that they need it, you should still help them. I recommend this film for ages 5 to 12 because it really is a great family movie and will teach kids a little more about the history of Christmas and Jesus' birth in a fun way. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for it stunning animation, modern plot and amazing new music. This film opens November 17, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Dariana A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 6-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DADDY'S HOME TWO

Click above to view YouTube video of
DADDY'S HOME TWO
open in new window
DADDY'S HOME TWO - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Father and stepfather Dusty and Brad join forces to make Christmastime perfect for the children. Their newfound partnership soon gets put to the test when Dusty's old-school, macho dad and Brad's gentle father arrive to turn the holiday upside down.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The subject matter of Daddy's Home Two hits close to home for my family as we are a mixed-family family and my children are in split households. When the first film came out, all of us went to go see it in theaters together. So we were all super excited to have the honor of attending the press screening and reviewing the sequel.

The story is wonderful and heart warming. It is a real treat to see co-dads in action. Seeing this huge split family come together and thrive is beautiful. My favorite part of this movie is seeing the fantastic work done in choosing the grandfathers' roles. Watching this, you really believe that Mel Gibson is Mark Wahlberg's dad and John Lithgow is Will Ferrell's dad. They deliver such believable performances. On the other hand, John Cena's character isn't given enough character development to make a big impact. My least favorite part of this film is the ending. I can't tell you what it is because that would be a spoiler. I will say that it takes place at a Showcase Cinema and maybe it's because I was at a Showcase Cinema watching this film, but I really did not enjoy the sequence of events at the ending.

All together though, the film is well done, light hearted and funny. It brings light to a difficult subject and hopefully inspires some parents and step-parents to try a little bit harder because, in the end parenting is about the children not parents. This movie is rated PG-13 for some language and suggestive material. I feel it is appropriate for ages 10 to 18 as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Daddy's Home Two is definitely worth seeing and is funnier than the first movie. In this hilarious sequel to Daddy's Home, we see Dusty's (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad's (Will Ferrell), friendship and co-parenting skills put to the test when both their dads show up for Christmas.

Towards the beginning of the film, one of the children expresses at a school play how sad it makes them feel about having two Christmas's in two different homes. After the play, Dusty and Brad come up with an idea and decide to tell the kids that they will have a together Christmas. Dusty's dad, Kurt (Mel Gibson) and Brad's dad, Don (John Lithgow) arrive during the time they are planning their perfect Christmas and that's when things start to get crazy. Don is a very talkative, affectionate and emotional type of dad. Meanwhile, Kurt is very an ultra masculine, loner type of dad, who is not the greatest parent. Kurt starts to instigate and stir things up between Brad and Dusty. The question is, will they have a successful family Christmas or will it be an epic failure?

I really enjoyed this film for its humor and the new cast additions. The humor is way better than the original. I must say that Paramount upped the comedy by a lot. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when they went to talk to Santa. That visit to Santa leads to a specific turkey hunt. I don't want to spoil it for anyone because it is very entertaining. I also enjoyed the performances by the cast. Wahlberg and Ferrell maintain their comedic chemistry like they did in the first film. The new cast members, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson are very comical and make it more entertaining with their facial expressions, sarcasms and crazy antics. The jokes are amusing because of their delivery. Lithgow and Gibson are the polar opposites and they are hilarious. Oh, and watch out for Scarlett Estevez and Owen Wilder Vacarro, those two are little scene-stealers. They each have moments where they really shine.

I must admit the movie can be a little childish and inappropriate at times. But overall it's worth the watch. After all, everyone should experience a little joy and laughter around the holidays. The message I took away from this film is that the dads in this blended family were willing to work with each other, despite their differences in parenting, for the sake of their kids so they could have a Merry Christmas together. I give this movie four out of five stars and recommend it to ages 9 to 18 as well as adults. I also recommend it to those who like family comedies. This opens Friday, November 20, 2017 in theaters nationwide so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This film is so incredibly hilarious. The humor is quite slapstick and exaggerated, but is written so well and timed so perfectly that it is not obnoxious in the slightest. The plot is interesting to follow. The writers squeezed a lot of important and comical events into a short amount of time. However it doesn't seem rushed or forced.

Daddy's Home Two, the sequel to Daddy's Home, is directed by Sean Anders and stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, John Lithgow and Mel Gibson. In this film, two kids urge their mom (Linda Cardellini), their dad (Mark Wahlberg) and their step-dad (Will Ferrell) to have a "together Christmas." They all agree before Dusty and Brad find out that both their dads (John Lithgow and Mel Gibson) are spending Christmas with them. The film follows this group of people as they try to enjoy a family holiday while tensions rise between each other.

The acting is awesome throughout this film. The delivery of the jokes is so on point and it makes everything funnier than it already was. I could not keep my eyes off of the screen the entire time because this film is so much fun to watch. I had an absolute blast watching it. The holiday theme makes it a great family movie to watch during the upcoming holiday season.

The message is about family and how important it is. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. You should know that there are slightly adult jokes. This film opens November 10, 2017 in theaters nationwide so go check it out whether you're with friends, family or even by yourself. You will have blast.

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS

Click above to view YouTube video of
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
open in new window
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A lavish trip through Europe quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard a train. Everyone's a suspect when Detective Hercule Poirot arrives to interrogate all passengers and search for clues before the killer can strike again.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - As a colleague of mine said after the closing credits, "Ever once in a while, isn't it great to see a wonderful film." This gentleman has been in the theater and entertainment business all his life, as were the others with whom I attended this screening. With a wonderful cast, under the direction of Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as Poirot, this film did not disappoint. The script, based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie, is filled with wonderful dialogue that one likes to savor it in your memory. The cinematography and locations were awe-inspiring. The camera shots coming over a precipice to see the iconic train below stops your heart at times. Yes, I loved it. Other critics have panned it and I ask why. Perhaps because it's too slow for our U.S. audience that craves action and adventure. But, for me, I enjoyed the costumes, the idea of being on that train, of sussing out "who done it" and more. Of course, I already knew the story but I put that into the back of my brain so I could watch this as if it was fresh and new. And, that made me happy. I loved it! I recommend it! Unless you are a speed junky, I think you will too. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Murder on the Orient Express is an incredible film. It is a perfect example of a classic suspenseful mystery movie. It is based on the detective novel by Agatha Christie. Watching this film really made me want to read the book.

The movie follows Hercule Poirot as he makes a journey aboard the train, The Orient Express. When someone gets murdered in the first-class carriage, while the train is temporarily stuck in snow, he interrogates the remaining passengers to find the culprit. As he slowly starts unraveling the different stories, lots of contradictory clues start to appear and they lead you, along with Hercule Poirot to finally make sense of this twisting tale. I really like how the movie allows you to connect to all the characters as they tell their stories in detail.

My favorite scene is the inevitable big reveal at the end of the film, when Poirot solves the case. I love mystery movies. This is the part when you find out if you are right about who you think committed the crime. I saw this film at in 70mm which was awesome. It gave the film a really authentic feeling.

I love how all the actors portray their characters. During the interrogations, you can tell that each character has something to hide. I really enjoyed Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot. I feel that he really fits the character and portrays how Hercule is feeling at any given time. His moustache is fabulous. I particularly like his moustache guard that he wears at night. This is very funny.

I love the attention to detail in this film. I that there is a slow, rocking sound of the train throughout the entire movie and that there is always movement outside the windows, while the train is in motion. I also like the small connections to Agatha Christie's other books. I love how they use black and white footage to represent flashbacks. This makes very clear what happened in the past rather than the present.

The moral of this film is that there is more to any situation than meets the eye. Nothing is just black and white or right and wrong. There is a gray area in between where people's actions can be both.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for its real, authentic feel and recommend it for ages 10 through 18 as well as adults. This film opens in theaters November 10, 2017 so check it out.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I was excited when I watched the film, Murder on the Orient Express. This movie is truly amazing. I always love mystery movies because they really get me thinking. This one is particularly puzzling. It kept me guessing till the end. The storyline pulls it all together well. The movie has an old-time feel since it takes place in the past. The screening I saw it at was on 70mm film which added to the overall feeling of it. Some parts of the movie are a bit scary, but there are very funny moments too.

The stars of this film are Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, the protagonist, who is the most amazing detective. Penelope Cruz plays Pilar Estravados, a humble Spanish missionary and nurse. Willem Dafoe plays Cyrus Hardman, a stern German professor who keeps to himself while keeping an eye on everyone else. Other famous actors who are featured include Dame Judy Dench, a foreign princess, Michelle Pfeiffer, an American actress and Johnny Depp, a conman. They all play characters who are riding first class on the train, The Orient Express, when a murder occurs. Hercule Poirot must use his skills to collect the evidence and find the murderer. As the story unfolds, it is very hard to figure out who the murderer is and why. The tagline is "everyone is a suspect" and this turns out to be true, in the most unexpected ways.

My favorite part is in the beginning when Hercule Poirot solves a mystery of a stolen item and catches the culprit at The Waiting Wall. This scene is hilarious. Nothing about this movie is bad, I like when it shows the bottom of the old-fashioned train. Those scenes are particularly cool. The train drives through some awesome scenery on its journey from Istanbul to Paris. The message of this film is that things aren't always what they seem. The movie is based on the book by Agatha Christie and has a perfect ending to have a sequel, as they mention where Poirot must go next, which is the name of another book by the same author.

This movie is really amazing. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars for its awesome storyline and message. The movie is rated PG-13 and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Younger children might not understand the concept of murder mysteries and it contains violence such as stabbing and gun shooting. I believe adults will really enjoy it too.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10.

The new mystery film Murder on the Orient Express thrilled with the very intense and complex plot that develops along with the audience's assumptions and theories. When someone watches a suspense movie, you try to keep up and solve the mystery yourself. I could not take my eyes off the screen because of how entertaining this film is and the mystery that unfolds every second of the way. Of course, the plot is very well scripted. It is impressive how everything makes sense and connects at the end. Also, I love how every doubt or question is answered. You can really notice how the filmmakers and the crew were very careful and delicate with the plot and the making of this movie. On another note, what also makes this movie so successful is the cast, a majority of which are A-list, experienced actors that portrayed their characters in the most excellent manner. And at the end, their work pays off as the result is a wonderful film that is most enjoyable.

Murder on the Orient Express is about a lavish train trip through Europe that quickly unfolds into a race against time to solve a murder aboard the train. When an avalanche stops the Orient Express dead in its tracks, the world's "greatest detective" interrogates all the passengers, searching for clues before the killer can commit another crime.

My favorite scene is when the detective interrogates the passengers to get insight on who may be the possible killer. I like this scene because you have the opportunity to see all the different personalities of the various characters in their personal excellent close ups. Also, you get to appreciate the work of all the outstanding actors such as Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. They are also a big part as to why this movie is pleasurable. Their acting brings the plot to life.

The message of this film is there's more to life than simply right and wrong. In other words, black or white. There are sometimes human factors to consider. People should not be so quick to judged or criticize. The heart needs to be used instead of just thinking with the head or with superficial factors. The detective sees that and has compassion for many of the passengers and their situations. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It is in theaters now so, be sure to check it out.

By Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THOR: RAGNAROK

Click above to view YouTube video of
THOR: RAGNAROK
open in new window
THOR: RAGNAROK - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok, the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization, at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The science fiction film, Thor: Ragnarok fascinated me with its special effects, animation and all the technology used to make it so spectacular. It's very impressive how technology has improved over the years and how the previous Thor movies and this one reflects that. I believe one thing that attracts the Thor audiences as well as other superhero movies is that they love to see all the new technology implemented. It's thrilling to see. I also like that they added another side to this film. This one, of course, has a storyline related to the previous Thor movies, but the new film has its own unique touch that makes it stand out from all the previous ones. A lot of times, people complain that all the movies in a series have pretty much the same plot and here, this is not the case. This film has a completely different plot than the previous ones, which makes it more entertaining and exciting.

The storyline is about Thor being imprisoned on the other side of the universe and outside his own world. This situation leads him to commit some absurd actions, like having to face his former ally and avenger Hulk. He later finds himself in a quest for survival and on a mission to prevent the all-powerful Hela, his own sister, from destroying him, his world and his people.

My favorite scene is when Thor and Loki's sister, Hela makes her big entrance, showing that she is powerful and that she wants to control anything in her way. I love this scene because it sets the tone for how the movie will develop. She pits herself against her two brothers, claiming that she is there to stay and will fight them to get what she wants. At that moment, you understand there will be conflicts between these siblings and they are on two separate teams. It makes you expect and analyze what is about to happen. I also like this scene because this is the completely new part of the Thor story.

The positive message that this superhero movie teaches is that it's best if you have perseverance and courage to deal with problems in your life. The characters all have these qualities that they use to achieve their goals. In Thor's situation, it is beneficial for him to use this because what he has to go through is very rough. He has to process the fact that his own sister wants to destroy him, his world and his people. If he lacked the courage and perseverance to get past that, he would not have been able to fight for what was right. In real life, sometimes very difficult situations get in our way and keep us from doing what we want. That is when you pull out these qualities that help you keep going and strive for what is best. And that is what this film teaches the audience. I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. This is available in theaters now so go check it out.

Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Thor: Ragnarok impressed me because of its excellent action and style. The acting is top level and the wonderful direction captures every detail with an 80s retro feel. This is sure to be a crowd-pleaser for all Marvel fans.

The story is about Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the God of Thunder and former Avenger, who finds himself in the toughest match of his life when he is pitted against Hela (Cate Blanchett), the Goddess of Death, who destroys his hammer in a fierce battle. Thor escapes through a space portal, but is transported to Sakaar, a planet known for its gladiator matches hosted by the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Imprisoned, Thor is forced to fight on the gladiator ring, only to find out his opponent is the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who is unaware of their previous comradery. Meanwhile on Asgard, Hela is the new leader and executes a strict dictatorship. Despite being captured, Thor is trying to set up a team with the Hulk, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to escape and stop Hela before it is too late.

Chris Hemsworth, as Thor, excellently presents his desperation, despite being a hero of great power. His new-born comradery with the Hulk is well presented, due to their great chemistry. Cate Blanchett, as Hela, is one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to her nefarious behavior and interesting backstory that shines a new light on Asgard's history. Mark Ruffalo, as the Hulk, is excellent in his Jekyll-Hyde personality between being Bruce Banner and being the Hulk. Due to this, he is my favorite character in the movie. Jeff Goldblum, as the Grandmaster, is quirky and fun like always. Tessa Thompson, as Valkyrie, provides an initially flawed companion to Thor, but stops running away from her problems and face them, when she decides to team up with Thor. Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, is as deceptive and charismatic as ever.

The direction by Taika Waititi is splendid. Every scene in the movie is filled with style and well-timed comedy. My favorite scene is when Thor activates his true potential in the final battle against Hela because it is a huge leap for the character, and it leads to one of the most epic battles in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. My only problem with the movie is the tonal shifts the movie faces because the movie is filled with comedic scenes. However, in serious and emotional scenes, they feel rout of place.

The message of the movie is about believing in yourself. Thor is only able to last in the battle with Hela when he realizes his true potential is beyond his hammer. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action and suggestive references. The movie releases in theaters on November 3, 2017 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Marvel movies... They are either works of art with great plots, or completely confusing and the plots are like earbuds in a pocket - tangled and time-wasting. This one isn't (thankfully) the latter. It has humor around every corner which blends well into the story, making it quite enjoyable. This new, highly anticipated third film has cutting-edge CGI. Colorful new worlds are brought to life with realistic scenery and quirky new characters. It's surprising what modern-tech can do for a movie's quality.

Thor: Ragnarok is action-packed, like most of Marvel Studios blockbusters. The music really helps drive the already epic fight scenes to make them feel even more epic. There is also a really interesting storyline. It takes Thor into many different places and situations. I really enjoyed watching this film and am excited to see how Marvel will wrap up all the films that they have made and will make.

The jokes enhance their fair share to the story. They are witty and fun and take nothing away from the thick plot. Most are quick witted and fit in well into what is happening. Very few are cringe-inducing or make you feel disappointed in the world. Two are especially funny, one is about the battle tactic 'get help!,' about which you will have to discover for yourselves. The other joke is when Thor puts together a team to fight Hela (Cate Blanchett) and calls them the 'revengers.' An obvious nod to the Avengers.

Like many modern films, there is very realistic CGI, but this one is more artful than most in the computer generated imagery area. All things - the projectiles, spaceships, even monsters look detailed to the point of realism. The scenery is also beautiful, the real ones as well as the computer generated ones.

The fight scenes are quick and smooth and also look great with modern CGI. The camera angles, the weapons, even the grunts all enhance the action. The music helps the action more than anything else by amplifying the epicness of the combat. The plot is interesting and flows pretty smoothly. It begins with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) who fights monsters and then gets stranded on a faraway planet where people are captured off the streets and forced to fight. He finds Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and tries to get him to help in taking down the death goddess, Hela, who is invading Asgard after breaking Mjolnir, Thor's magic hammer. She is the reason Thor is stranded.

I like this film a lot, for its humor, CGI, plot and more. It is the best in the Thor trilogy. Some smaller things I like include the short Doctor Strange cameo and the inclusion of the "Contest of Champions." I liked the cameo because they never really have been placed in previous films, other than the ones from 'Marvel Man' Stan Lee. The Contest of Champions is cool because I have heard of it before, mostly from the Marvel game, which I admit to playing a bit myself.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars, because it is very well done and I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. It does have a fair share of violence and some inappropriate language as well. This blockbuster will be in theaters November 3, 2017, so make sure to go see it!

Reviewed by Nathaniel B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WONDERSTRUCK

Click above to view YouTube video of
WONDERSTRUCK
open in new window
WONDERSTRUCK - AMAZON.COM
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wonderstruck is a shining gem in the cinematic "cabinet of wonders." The film is adapted from the book Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, the same author who wrote Hugo Cabret. Directed by Todd Haynes and written by Brian Selznick, the film envelopes you in its beautifully detailed vision of old New York. The movie stars Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore and Michele Williams. I love this film because it combines the artistic style of old black and white silent films with the more modern color palette of today's films.

Wonderstruck tells two similar stories that have a connection. One story concerns a twelve-year-old boy, Ben, in the 1970s, who, after losing his Mom, decides to run away and look for his father in the big city. Recently losing his hearing from a lightning strike, he must deal with his disability without knowing sign language. Luckily, when he arrives in NYC he makes a friend, Jamie, who takes him to the American Museum of Natural History. The other story follows a young girl, Rose, in the late 1920s. It is portrayed as a silent black and white film, as befits the time period. Rose is born deaf and never learned sign language or how to properly talk, but she is talented at creating artworks with paper. She is depicted as a very shy, quiet type, but loves visiting her brother who works at the Museum of Natural History.

This film reminds me of Hugo and The Night at the Museum because of the attention to historical detail and the wonder inherent in the natural world. I also enjoyed how it keeps changing from a silent, black and white film to a talky, color film. It gives you the best of both worlds - old style filmmaking and more modern. Each time the film shifts time periods, the music changes as well. The film revels in many different textures, such as the gritty reality of NYC in the 1970s, all the old curiosities in the Museum of Natural History and even the paper cityscapes that Rose creates. The crux of the film is the director's fascination with the old "cabinet of wonders" and how it is the precursor to the modern museum. This film itself is a "cabinet of wonders," revealing many treasures in its depths. My favorite scene is when Ben and Jamie explore the secret rooms in the Museum of Natural History.

Before Wonderstruck, I was not familiar with the director, Todd Haynes. Until now he has created mostly sophisticated, art house, independent films. This film can be considered a fascinating, art house, family film. I give Wonderstruck 4 out of 5 stars for its creative way it combines two different artistic styles. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It opens October 20, 2017 in select theaters nationwide so look for it.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wonderstruck is such an amazing and inspiring movie. It has a great plot that is very inspiring to all kids. In the beginning, the story takes a while to develop so it's a little slow. Once you get to the climax, there is never a dull moment. If you stick around, it's an awesome movie! It also is a little hard for kids to understand, but if you are over 10, you should be able to follow it.

Wonderstruck is a story about a boy named Ben who gets in accident in 1977 which causes him to become deaf and inspires him to run away in search of his father. This story intertwines with another, set in 1927, about Rose, a young deaf girl who runs away looking for a mysterious woman whose scrapbook she has. As the story progresses, we find out more about how their stories really are alike.

One of the many stunning things about Wonderstruck is the cinematography. The way they change from a silent film (Rose's story set in 1927) to a movie that is set in a future time (Ben's story set in 1977) is seamless. All the actors bring so much to the characters they play, especially Oakes Fegley (Ben) and MIllicent Simmonds (Young Rose) who are child actors and perform beautifully. Another marvelous thing about this movie is that it really gives you a look into what it's like to be deaf. Rose's story is a silent film, so you have to read people's facial expressions to know what they are trying to say. During Ben's time, there are moments where you can hear what Ben hears, which is almost nothing except for very faint sounds. Wonderstruck really gives you a glimpse into deaf people's lives and you learn to relate to them through the filmed story.

My favorite character is Jamie (Jaden Michael) because he is Ben's friend throughout the whole movie and that is his whole purpose - to be there for Ben. My favorite scene is at the end when Ben is standing on the rooftop of a museum with Jamie and another person (I won't say who because that's a spoiler) and they are watching fireworks in the Queens' skyline. I love it because of its beautiful cinematography.

The message of this film is that you may not always find what you're looking for, but what you do find, might be better. This is a really fortune cookie message, but it's the message I got because both Rose and Ben don't find exactly what they are looking for, but still find something great. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it has stunning cinematography, star power, great acting and gives you a peek into what it's like to be deaf. I would give it an extra .5 if the beginning wasn't so slow. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18. It opens in theaters nationwide October 20, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Dariana A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Wonderstruck is a wonderful, visually rich film with imagination, friendship and family at its core.

Based on a novel by Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck follows two different children in different time periods. Rose is deaf and lives in New Jersey in the 1920s with her father. She finds it difficult to find somewhere to belong and runs away to New York to meet her idol, Lillian Mayhew, an actress. The other storyline follows Ben, whose mother dies in a car crash and he moves in with his aunt and her family in the 1970s. Ben has an accident that leaves him deaf and a cryptic clue leads him from his hometown in Minnesota to New York City in search of his father.

Wonderstruck is magical. This movie is very different from your typical family film. It is fascinating to see a director like Todd Haynes, known for Far From Heaven and Carol, make a film in this genre. Haynes's vision makes this film faithful to Brian Selznick's work. Haynes helps you differentiate the timelines by making Rose's storyline black and white and silent and the other in color with some dialogue. This creative decision not only pays homage to silent films of the past, which figure their way into the film's plot, but it also honor Selznick's brilliant pencil drawings from his novels.

The score by Carter Burwell is fantastic. In long spans with little dialogue, his score is practically the only thing driving our understanding of how the characters feel. Burwell crafts beautiful pieces that evoke a sense of longing that our two main characters share.

This story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. The kids in this film don't feel clich� by any standard. They do things that any kid might do. They confront things that I know would be hard to deal. Seeing how they deal with the obstacles they face is a major part of the film. Their characters feel very real and emotionally complex.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. Younger kids might not stay engaged with the slow pace. Adults will appreciate the visual richness of this movie. I give Wonderstruck 4.5 out of 5 stars. This film is an enthralling adventure and you can see it in theaters everywhere starting November 10, 2017

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


ONLY THE BRAVE
ONLY THE BRAVE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Through hope, determination, sacrifice and the drive to protect families and communities, the Granite Mountain Hotshots become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the country. While most people run from danger, they run toward it -- watching over lives, homes and everything people hold dear, forging a unique brotherhood that comes into focus with one fateful fire in Yarnell, Arizona.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film takes time setting up each of the characters, making them feel very well developed. The use of practical effects makes the movie seem more real, because real fire is used instead of CGI for the fire. The characters also act like true heroes and seem very real.

The storyline is about a group of firefighters who want to become 'hotshots,' which are the elite group of firefighters that work in the fire itself. When it comes time to assess them, their Chief doesn't agree with the assessor's opinion on not burning the wood and takes his own path which risks having their certification taken away. But the chief thinks it's better to do it that way so they burn the logs, making the correct choice in the situation and, as a result, they get their certification. After that, they go into many dangerous wildfires to protect nature and homes. One day when the Yarnell Mountain fire comes on June 30, 2013, they are especially challenged.

Josh Brolin portrays Eric Marsh the fire chief. He has proved his skill in many movies including Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy and as Beck Weathers in Everest. Miles Teller, the actor for Brendan Mcdonough, the protagonist, has been in Footloose and The Divergent series which were both huge hits.

One interesting thing about this film is its timing. I live in Northern California where huge fires in the North Bay have left many people homeless and injured. Another interesting thing is that Only the Brave is one of the movies in the 21st century with the most practical effects.

The message is to get awareness for the firefighter community, which it got 100% loud and clear. Kids will be influenced to save people's lives. There isn't much reckless behavior except when someone falls asleep while driving. I recommend this for ages 12 to 18 who will understand the shear force of the message of this film, although I think it was intended more for an adult audience. This movie is fantastic and I am happy to give it 5 out of 5 stars. This movie hits theaters on October 20, 2017 so go check it out.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

Click above to view YouTube video of
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
open in new window
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Christopher Robin has a story with a magnificent heart, which is filmed brilliantly. I felt as if I was in England. I cried countless times because the characters are so relatable and there are many touching moments. The acting, photography and graphics are downright superb.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Goodbye Christopher Robin is a great film with top-notch performances from its A-list cast. You may think this is about the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh, which it is, but it is also about how the beloved bear's sharp rise to fame affected the family of A.A. Milne and the writer's own struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Goodbye Christopher Robin follows Milne's young son and his playwright father who finds it difficult to pen any new plays after his experiences in World War I. Father and son begin to spend time together playing in the woods around their new home in the British countryside. Soon, Milne has his friend and fellow soldier, illustrator Ernest Shepherd, visit his homestead to craft stories based on the Milne family's imaginative woodland adventures. Thus, Winnie-the-Pooh is created and a cultural icon is born. Milne gives his own son's name to Pooh's best fictional friend. Suddenly the press and public are eager to meet the real Christopher Robin. The onslaught of interviews and the dwindling time spent with his parents take a toll and he has trouble coping.

Domhnall Gleeson is great as A.A Milne. He shows us the effects PTSD can have on veterans and their everyday lives. Gleeson shows us the transformation from the playwright who feels lost in what he will do next to the author on top of the world grappling with how to deal with his fame and his faltering efforts to be a good father. Kelly Macdonald is also excellent as Christopher Robin's angelic and kind nanny, Olive. She is really the only one watching out for Christopher Robin. Olive has a positive glow that stays strong to the end of the film. She is my favorite character and I compliment Macdonald on making the relationship she has with Christopher Robin so heartwarming.

I give Goodbye Christopher Robin an age rating of 12 to 18 for some subjects that could be troubling for younger audiences. If you're looking for a bright testament to the legacy of Winnie-the-Pooh and the magic of childhood, this is not that film. But Goodbye Christopher Robin is an insightful, historical, sometimes dark drama that goes into other important topics. I give Goodbye Christopher Robin 4 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters October 13.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 12.

A creative imagination and playing games is fun, especially when you add the people that you care about your fun adventures! This is a story about what happens when someone takes those thoughts, turns them into books and shares them with the world. Goodbye Christopher Robin has a story with a magnificent heart, which is filmed brilliantly. I felt as if I was in England. I cried countless times because the characters are so relatable and there are many touching moments. The acting, photography and graphics are downright superb. They bring this true story to life.

War is devastating for everyone, especially the families of the soldiers. One of the worst wars in history was World War I. A.A. Mile returns from the war to rejoin his family and friends and has a hard time adjusting to normal life. Once he joins his son's world of fun and adventure, starring a fluffy bear, he reconnects with his son and finds joy. A.A. Mile wrote Winnie the Pooh stories for his son. They were so good that he published them. He wanted to share his new-found joy with the world and make others happy. The war caused much heartache and Winnie the Pooh made people smile. He thought it would also make his son happy.

The cinematography and graphics in Goodbye Christopher Robin are fantastic. The scenes of the woods are very vivid with lots of brilliant colors. The scene when the snow suddenly drifts into the air to make springtime is terrific. I was surprised with its beauty. I love seeing snow fall in reverse.

The acting is fabulous. Each performer seems to have the perfect personality for their character. Christopher Robin (Will Tilston) is adorable and huggable just like Winnie the Pooh. His happiness with his stuffed animals jumps through the screen and makes you smile. He looks like the Christopher Robin we see in the books. A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) is played as a stern man. He wants his son to be happy, but he also wants to turn Winne the Pooh and his son's stuffed animals into wonderful stories. His muse is his son. Through him he heals from the war and finds his voice again as a writer. He wants to find fame as a wonderful children's writer who brings joy to those who thought there was no joy left in the world. This is played perfectly because you hate him and feel sorry for him, at the same time.

Olive (Kelly Macdonald) is shown as the kind nanny who wants nothing but the best for Christopher Robin and treats him as if he is her own. She tiptoes a fine line between friend and paid help. I love her accent. Christopher Robin's Mother, Daphne Milne (Margot Robbie) wants fame and money. She has no motherly skills, but she does try. At times, she doesn't appear to care if Christopher Robin is okay, just as long as he does what he is told. She is thrilled with the New York Times articles and numerous invites for her family to attend events. I resonated with her emotions. Her crying scenes had me in tears. Older Christopher Robin (Alex Lawther) portrays his role in a very serious way. He creates an emotion of uncertainty. I could not decide if I liked him or not. Great acting sometimes creates an emotional roller coaster ride.

The best part of this film is when Christopher Robin and his father are in the woods making a door for owl's house. If you are a fan of Winnie the Pooh like I am, it is thrilling to see all the different adventures come to life.

I recommend this for ages10 to 18. It is a complicated and emotional story. Adults will love the scenery, the acting and the cinematography. I give it 5 out of 5 fluffy Winnie the Pooh hugs. This film comes out in theaters October 13,, 2017 so, go check it out. Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE

Click above to view YouTube video of
MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE
open in new window
MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Lifelong G-Man Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat," leaks information to the press that helps to uncover the Watergate scandal of 1974.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The opening of the film lead me to believe deep secrets would unfold. Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) encounters his former colleague Bill Sullivan (Tom Sizemore) and they exchange words recapping what appears to be a professional rivalry for the viewer's benefit. This film is an historical drama about men (FBI employees) whose job is to analyze every detail and research and report discrepancies. There are times when things do not add up. Mark often comments, "The President has no power over the FBI."

Given this film is created from Felt's 2006 autobiography and published a year after he revealed his identity as "Deep Throat" to Vanity Fair, the film does not deliver on the juicy details and unveiling I expected. The most appealing part of the movie is the historical retrospective of the film. At times, the details are unappealing, as the characters are hard to follow. The film flows well, although it took me a few minutes to determine which characters were members of the FBI and who else was in the room. As the film moves on, the characters develop into an amazing working team. I empathized with Mark Felt throughout the film. I felt the Director could have given us more insight into the walls of the institution where Felt worked for 31 years, and whose integrity he sought to protect from the interference of the Nixon White House officials.

When J. Edgar Hoover dies and Felt is passed over for his position, L. Patrick Gray III (Marton Csokas), a close Nixon ally, replaces Hoover as head of the FBI. Mark's integrity and hard work for more than 30 years are overlooked by the good-old-boy White House network. Leadership knows Mark is dangerous, given what he knows. When the Watergate break-in occurs, the FBI demands a 48-hour wrap and Mark knows this is the beginning of the end of the position he has served loyally and with integrity, even if he decides that spilling secrets is the best way to protect the FBI and manage his way out of an unmanageable situation.

While the office scenes are bland and the meetings with Bob Woodward (Julian Morris) in the parking garage seem contrived, there is substantial interest during sessions with Time Magazine's reporter Sandy Smith (Bruce Greenwood), who realizes Mark Felt is breaking his tight-lipped manner as Felt finally gives way. He tells Mark, "The FBI must be terrified of you." The characters are hard-hitting FBI employees. Their job is to serve and protect, even if it means keeping secrets to protect their peers, boss or the White House administration. For the most part, the characters are seen as positive stand-up men. It is only when Mark Felt makes a decision that we see his character stray, yet it is portrayed with shocking beauty. This film, based on true-facts, is brilliant. Many times, I found myself wanting to research more about this era, and the real men portrayed in the film.

The movie works hard to humanize Mark Felt, his family and fellow G-men. The subplot family story is warm, while most of Mark Felt's career interactions are harsh and direct. The film challenges the viewer's memory of historical facts. Is he a hero or a villain? Whatever you see, there is no doubt Mark Felt is the most impactful whistle-blower in American history so far. Many times, the film appears black and white and a bit grainy. In order to capture the times, I believe this is purposeful. As with any sleuth-type film, the graininess adds to the mystery. Another sign of the times, excessive smoking. While a total turn-off to this reviewer, it was prevalent in the 70s. The historical retrospective of this dark time in American history is invaluable. As the story unfolds, I was glued to the screen. The burden and power of the American landscape is presented in contrast with dark figures who believe secrets are best kept.

This film, with very adult themes, showcases a moment in history which is almost anti-climatic. The story focuses on the Watergate break-ins of the 70s and the ways and means the White House and other organizations lived and worked with secrets. Dare we say it parallels politics today? Because of the subject matter and fine details of "who's who" in the puzzle of facts, I recommend this only for mature teens. Many adults will find this tale riveting, especially those old enough to be aware of Nixon's presidency in the 70s. I recommend this film for ages 16 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. This film may prompt teens to research more about Mark Felt and his place in history. Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - While educational, offering a peek into the often hidden parts of our nations' government, this film is also entertaining. The writer/director, Peter Landesman shows authenticity while keeping us engaged. It is based on the true story about the anonymous whistle blower in the Watergate scandal from the 1970s, who we later learned was Mark Felt.

I really enjoy time-era pieces. This is a historical drama based in the 1970s, so between the costuming and set props, it is fun to learn more about life during that time in history.

Not surprising, one of my favorite characters is Mark Felt (Liam Neeson). He always plays more stoic roles, where he is demanding, but deserving of respect. It is funny to see him look older with white hair, and I did miss that he did not have any action scenes in this film. But, I also like that we catch a glimpse into his personal life too - one that is relatable, and sometimes full of conflict and pain.

There is not one particular scene that is my favorite. What I enjoyed the most is when Mark Felt had secret meetings with his colleagues Ed Miller (Tony Goldwyn) and Charlie Bates (Josh Lucas). It was nice to see their loyalty to each other and to their work. When learning about Watergate, this is often an unknown part of the process.

This quote from Peter Landesman speaks of why this film took so long to hit the screens. "In my worldview, events are not about history--events are about human beings. I'm fascinated by people under pressure and in crisis, and what happens to them and what they do." I find it interesting that this film was started in 2005 and did not come to completion until now. This speaks to how much investigating they did for the production.

This film is rated PG-13 for language, although I didn't find it overly profane. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, provided the viewer has some understanding the Watergate scandal. Otherwise I think they will get bored. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It opens October 13, 2017 in select theaters so be sure to check it out.

By Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MARSHALL

Click above to view YouTube video of
MARSHALL
open in new window
MARSHALL - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Young Thurgood Marshall faces one of his greatest challenges while working as a lawyer for the NAACP. Marshall travels to conservative Connecticut when wealthy socialite Eleanor Strubing accuses black chauffeur Joseph Spell of sexual assault and attempted murder. He soon teams up with Sam Friedman, a local Jewish lawyer who's never handled a criminal case. Together, the two men build a defense while contending with racist and anti-Semitic views from those who deem Spell to be guilty.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching and experiencing Marshall. The 1940s legal thriller is the story about a dozen years before young Thurgood Marshall challenged segregation's separate but equal premise in Brown v. Board of Education. For me, this film brought back my experience as a young person who lived in Virginia and experienced the separate but equal in my education.

Chadwick Boseman captures the essence of Thurgood Marshall's spirit. He brings the confidence, intelligence, cockiness as well as the charm and humor of Thurgood. It is an exciting performance from Hollywood's go-to-guy for playing important Black Americans.

There are many parts that I enjoyed. When Marshall meets Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), we see his cockiness from the moment he steps off the train in Bridgeport, CT., ordering his white co-counsel, Sam Friedman, to carry his bags. Another enjoyable scene is the Harlem night club with Marshall and his friends, Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.

The cinematography is outstanding. One scene when Marshall and Friedman are in the men's room, it looks as if they are in the mirror together, however you can see them individually. With its excellent role models and strong messages about courage, teamwork and tolerance, this film is a great movie for teens and families. You can expect to see fist fights and beatings, with bloody wounds and bruises. There's also a flashback to a suggested rape, with violent acts against a woman. There is a mild sex scene which includes kissing, however there is no nudity. Language includes several uses of the "N" word as well as "kike." Characters drink alcohol and there is background smoking.

This film celebrates standing up and courageously risking your own safety to fight against popular opinion and against difficult odds. The movie is about tolerance in a way that's more matter-of-fact than self-righteous. Characters work together in an effective way.

I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18 as well as adults and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Marshall opens Friday, October 13, 2017 in theaters across the country. Be entertained while learning about American history and a very powerful and influential man.

Reviewed by Juanita L.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Marshall is a sleek legal drama with great performances from Chadwick Boseman as the title character and Josh Gad. Don't be fooled by the snazzy vintage costumes, the real heart of Marshall's success is its screenplay and the chemistry between its lead actors.

This film follows pioneering Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in his earlier years as a lawyer for the NAACP. A white socialite in Greenwich, Connecticut, accuses a black man of rape and attempted murder. The NAACP believes the man, Joseph Spell, is innocent and sends Marshall to defend him. Marshall enlists local lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) whose previous track record involves tax or insurance cases. Friedman worries about his family's safety due to the unrest the controversial trial causes. Sam and Thurgood must work together to defend Spell...and each other.

This film is very good and so is its screenplay. The touches of comedy bring a welcome balance to its serious topic and difficult history. There is an array of good lines for Boseman and Gad. Several other actors get a chance to shine as well. I appreciate that Marshall takes its subjects seriously, but doesn't take on a dreary tone doing it. The scenes in the courtroom are intense and keep you interested in the action. As the case develops, these scenes get more and more engaging.

While Boseman is very good as Thurgood Marshall, his performance is disappointing considering how hyped his portrayal has been in the film's ad campaign. He gives Marshall a suave personality but the script limits his ability to show off his range and really take the character on a journey. On the other hand, Josh Gad is a standout as Sam Friedman. He plays to his comedic strengths as Marshall's sidekick while also giving a genuinely good dramatic performance as a central and evolved character. He is a nice foil to Boseman and their chemistry reminds me of a buddy cop comedy.

The lesson I take from the film is that you have to follow your moral compass even when it's hard. Sam's unwillingness to join the case makes sense. He is just starting out and worried that it could ruin his reputation. The fact that he does it anyway is a testament to the person Friedman must have been in real life.

I give Marshall an age rating of 14 to 18 because of some racial and offensive language and suggestive and violent content, including depictions of the alleged assault. And my verdict on Marshall? 4 out of 5 stars. Marshall opens in theaters on October 13, 2017 so go check it out.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY

Click above to view YouTube video of
EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY
open in new window
EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY - 0
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - From BBC Earth Films, the studio that brought you Earth, comes the sequel - Earth: One Amazing Day, an astonishing journey revealing the awesome power of the natural world. Over the course of one single day, we track the sun from the highest mountains to the remotest islands to exotic jungles. Breakthroughs in filmmaking technology bring you up close with a cast of unforgettable characters. Told with humour, intimacy and a jaw-dropping sense of cinematic splendour, Earth: One Amazing Day highlights how every day is filled with more wonders than you can possibly imagine- until now.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Earth: One Amazing Day is a beautiful, informational film that makes you really appreciate Earth and know more about it. This film captures nature in all its beauty and is simply breathtaking. This film is very touching, suspenseful and pleasurable. There is comedy, action, adventure, romance and non-fiction all in one film. There is something for everyone to enjoy!

This film explores all the aspects of one day on Earth. It follows the lives of different animals including iguanas, baby lizards, zebras, giraffes, lions and many more. The film shows all the struggles in nature, but also the wonderful and amazing parts. It makes you see the beauty of nature and makes you curious about what's out there.

The people who responsible for filming this, Robin Cox, Kevin Flay and Flying Glass used their cameras to capture the beauty of Earth. Doing this is a real challenge, but they managed to capture so much detail and were able to get incredible close ups. They recorded at different angles, which makes the whole film visually pleasing and close to what it's like if you were actually there. I also loved the narration of Jackie Chan and Robert Redford. Their voices are very mellow, blends in with the music and overall just fits perfectly for this film.

The events that capture are very cool. I especially like how the camera work shoots at different angles so you get a different perspective on the world. The film's visuals are very colorful and intriguing. My favorite part is when the giraffes fight over the land and the ladies. I like this scene because I learned something new. I had no idea that giraffes could bend their necks so much or that they would just swing their heads around to fight. It was really amusing to see their heads swinging around everywhere, but a little sad to see that they were bleeding.

The message of this film is to acknowledge the Earth and realize how lucky we are to be here. There are so many wonderful things happening around us that we don't notice. The film reminds us to stop and smell the roses and to make sure to protect the earth's beauty so future generations can enjoy it as well.

I loved watching this film so much. It really touched my heart and made me realize how beautiful the Earth is, on just one amazing day. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. I'm sure that everyone will enjoy this film, even adults. Definitely make sure to check it out. It opens nationwide in theaters October 6, 2017.

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Earth: One Amazing Day is an incredible feature length documentary that is a sequel to Earth, an acclaimed movie based on Planet Earth, the famous series of BBC wildlife documentaries shown on networks and in schools worldwide. The film features amazing cinematography, stunning graphics, and the audio quality at the screening I saw was brilliant thanks to the Dolby theatre vast speaker system. It had different layers of sound played at the same time creating a very realistic vibe.

Earth: One Amazing Day follows a huge variety of animals and the challenges they must face during a single day. It shows how animals are impacted by the rhythms of the sun and how it provides life to all creatures. It starts off early in the morning following marine iguanas. It then brings you to midday where we get an amazing view of a giant panda and her cub eating bamboo. Next, we get a view of a zebra and her foal attempting to cross a rushing river to get to where the grass will grow next. It continues telling different stories for every animal it shows.

My favorite scene is when it shows a group of bears scratching on trees to music. The scene is hilarious and is very well edited so that the bear's movements appear to go to the music.

The documentary is narrated by Academy award-winner, Robert Redford. The pauses he leaves between his words are timed brilliantly creating a dramatic atmosphere for each tale. Earth: One Amazing Day was directed by Richard Dale, Peter Webber, and Fan Lixin. This is currently one of the biggest collaborations on a film between China and the United Kingdom. The Chinese version is voiced by Jackie Chan who is known across the world for his martial arts movies.

The music matches the scenes seamlessly. I love how they tell a short story with each animal and how it makes the viewer invested in each and every one of them. They use clips taken over the course of several days and make them appear as one scene.

The moral of this film is that there is beauty all around us that can be seen every day. We must only look around us to see it. I feel that this is an important and inspirational message to appreciate our world, this isn't being said enough.

I give Earth: One Amazing Day 5 out of 5 stars for its unbelievable graphics and storytelling. I recommend it to children ages 6 to 18 and think that adults will also
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE

Click above to view YouTube video of
LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE
open in new window
LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE - 0
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - In 1923 Cecile B. DeMille made his first version of The Ten Commandments. He built a huge City of the Pharos. When he was done, it vanished. 30 years ago Peter Brosnan heard this story in a bar and decided to hunt for it. After wandering in the California dunes, he found it and now he wants to dig it up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille is an absolutely incredible documentary. It is interesting, captivating and educational. At certain moments, it is also quite humorous. The filmmakers created a story that combines elements of archeology, religion and the history of film and came out with an excellent documentary film.

This film stars, is directed, written and produced by Peter Brosnan. It is also produced by Dan Coblan. It follows Brosnan and his friend Cordoza as they unearth the lost set of the film The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille. The Ten Commandments is a silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille in the year 1923, which was later revamped into a non-silent version by DeMille in 1956. The set of the earlier film was shot on Guadalupe Bay, a beachside town just a few hours away from Hollywood. When production ceased, the entire set disappeared into the ground.

Going into this documentary, I must admit I had not seen a whole lot of old Hollywood films and had only vaguely heard about Cecil B. DeMille. Thanks to this documentary, I now know about his life, his work and the length he would go to achieve his goals. I learned so much about the history of movies, filmmaking and old Hollywood while watching this film.

The Lost City of Cecil B. DeMille captivated me from beginning to end. With intriguing interviews and dazzling footage, I was absolutely riveted throughout the course of the film. I was totally enraptured. It was so interesting for me to learn about the history of the Hollywood film industry through this documentary. My eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. Documentaries have a tendency be filled with boring, factual information, but that is not the case with this film. The information that it provides is educational and genuinely interesting. The ancient Egyptian imagery used in the film contributes to making it so intriguing to me, since I love all things ancient Egypt.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. This is a film that I will remember for years to come.

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REBEL IN THE RYE

Click above to view YouTube video of
REBEL IN THE RYE
open in new window
REBEL IN THE RYE - 0
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, "The Catcher in the Rye".
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching the dramatic biography Rebel in the Rye, directed by Danny Small which examines the life of J.D. Salinger, best known for his novel, Catcher in the Rye. I have not read this book, although I know that it was very controversial when it first came out.

The film has elements of determination, a bit of arrogance, some humor and an underlying bit of inspiration. J.D. Salinger not only has inner conflicts, but he also has a conflict with his dad Sol Salinger (Victor Garber). The film stirred my curiosity and I decided to down load Catcher in the Rye and listen to it in my audible library. The film inspired me to seriously begin writing a book. We see a young, smart-mouth J.D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult) as he experiences the horrors of World War II. The combat scenes are not graphically displayed. Salinger sees many people killed, including a good friend. He also sees a concentration camp and he is a victim of a mugging. You should know that there are scenes of drinking, partying and smoking, (common during this era), mild profanity and mild sensuality.

Strong characters include Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), as Jerry's tough mentor. You can see that he really believes in Salinger and pushes him to "find his voice." Another character who stands out is Hope Davis as Salinger's mother. The scene when she receives a copy of his novel is very moving. One of the funniest moments in the film comes when Salinger asked Little, Brown and Company to not send him any reviews of his book. In classic comedic fashion, the very next scene shows Salinger seen reading the reviews at home. I enjoyed seeing the secluded place where Salinger pursues his writing. It is very lovely and peaceful.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. I give it an enthusiastic 5 out 5 Stars. I plan to see it again. This film comes out on September 15, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Rebel in the Rye, directed by Danny Small, is entertaining and educational. This film is a docu-drama that reviews the life of J.D. Salinger, author of the classic book, "Catcher in the Rye." I found this film both insightful and inspiring. His perseverance as a writer is vividly displayed throughout the film.

The film allows the audience to jump deeper into Salinger's life and what makes him tick. We experience first hand his arrogance, quirky humor and determination. I like how they show the various relationships throughout Salinger's life. Because his father (Victor Garber) was condescending, it made Salinger fight that much harder to succeed. It was the encouragement and love of his mother (Hope Davis) to whom he dedicates his highly successful novel. We see how the betrayal of his love, Oona O'Neill (Zoey Deutch) hardened him and how he felt the relationship he had with his wife (Lucy Boynton) was too overpowering and intrusive for him to grasp. These aspects definitely made me feel more connected to him as a person and understand a bit more about his strange life.

My favorite character is Salinger's college professor, Whit Burnett, played by the award winning actor, Kevin Spacey. Kevin Spacey always manages to bring the audience into the heart and soul of every character he plays. I enjoyed how, at the beginning, Whit Burnett feels like any other professor - just there to teach an educational lesson. Life lessons are what he ends up actually teaching Salinger. Throughout the film we see him develop a true friendship and bond with Salinger. It actually hurts to watch their relationship tear apart and made me want to cheer when they are able to finally mend their relationship and move forward.

Even though the war scenes are very graphic and difficult to swallow, they truly help us see what formed Salinger as an adult and why he spiraled into a recluse.

Rebel in the Rye is rated PG-13 for smoking, brief violence and sexual references. The war scenes, while minimal, are very graphic. There are people smoking throughout the film, which was appropriate for that era, but I did not feel the language or sexual references were strong enough to make it inappropriate for younger teens. I do not feel that younger kids would appreciate the life of this author, or really gain too much enjoyment for this film. So, I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18 and give it 3 out of 5 stars. It is playing now in select theaters so go check it out.

Reviewed by Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
BATTLE OF THE SEXES - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women's movement, the 1973 tennis match between women's world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men's-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality, but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough) developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms ...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The themes presented in this film are still relevant and have merit. With that said, I want to add that ever since Ibsen wrote "A Doll's House," it's very rare to get a film (or play for that matter) that is charged with the theme of gender equality and presents it in a way that truly resonates. What do I mean? In films that aim to give a message or present an issues, such as when the writer wants to say something about the relevant society, more often than not, the writer portrays those characters in simple categorizations of good and bad. That may work in a superhero film, but in a piece of realism, where character development and relationships are key elements to the storytelling, simple good and bad just won't do. That's my issue with this film. The screenplay simplifies a few integral characters too much, in favor of hoisting up its protagonist.

To get this out of the way, the performances are fantastic. Emma Stone and Steve Carell lead the cast well, and the cast doesn't have a weak link in it. In particular, a lot of credit has to be given to Steve Carell. He took a character that was underwritten and perhaps even misrepresented and makes him sympathetic and someone to root for. Andrea Riseborough also delivers a very affecting performance and really gives us some great scene work with Emma Stone.

The directing is swift, well paced and well filmed. Kudos to the cinematographer who really has a wonderful grasp on stillness to promote an essential moment and exerts great uses of soft and hard focus to portray dramatic moments and internalize character feelings. The editing also deserves a shout out for some wonderful pacing and really effectively switching between the grainy, 70s like cinematography and more clear cinematography.

Now, back to the screenplay. What made and still makes "A Doll's House" the ultimate gender-equality script is that every character can be sympathized with. We learn more about the human condition and evils of society, rather than placing blame and anger on individual groups. There are only two men that can be rooted for without hesitation and that's our protagonist's husband and father. Every other guy is completely unlikable and has no arc, and Steve Carell's character can be questioned. Carell's character, who is a vital part of this story, isn't written very well or thoroughly. It's always hard to have two protagonists in a film, especially at a reasonable and well paced time. Carell's character is both an antagonist and protagonist or, at least attempts to be so. Carell's character opposes Emma Stone's. It's a man versus women ordeal and their tennis match is the crisis and climax of the film. But, here's the issue. Carell's character is NOT the antagonist. It's society! So why is Carell's character's standing within the realm of the film so questionable? Why doesn't he get his own arc? Every major character in "A Doll's House" takes a journey. That's what makes us empathize with them and come away disliking their society, and not the products of that society. The same would work with this film. But instead, there is a co-protagonist / antagonist that is not written for people to care about or even empathize with. He gets no arc, no change. He's unaffected. He may as well have been a smaller part.

Why is this an issue? Because Emma Stone's character is a catalyst. She's the driving force and vehicle used within the film to represent the affects of an unjust era and to showcase the positive effects that a change in this society would have. Unfortunately, because Carell's character and the real antagonists (the sexists who sit atop the societal ladder) don't change, because we only see them as unlikable, this story turns into something simple and ultimately unfulfilling. Stone's character merely wins the battle within the film and we come away knowing that and are momentarily happy. However, that soon goes away, which makes this entertaining dramedy perhaps a little forgettable. Had the writing been more substantial and caring to all its characters, and forgiving to all its characters and condemned society instead, we'd come away with a more profound understanding of where issues lie and are issued from. That's a memorable film. I suppose the cinematic world is still chasing Ibsen.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars for its entertainment value and performances and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It is playing in theaters now so go check it out.

Reviewed by Willie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


PROSPERITY

Click above to view YouTube video of
PROSPERITY
open in new window
PROSPERITY - WELL GO USA INC.
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Dr. Pedram Shojai is an author, filmmaker, founder of Well.Org, Urban Monk, husband and father. PROSPERITY is a feature documentary about his journey across the Americas to discover a more sustainable way for us all to do business and thrive on our Planet. 'The Urban Monk' tracks the organic roots of Rodale Publishing; the food revolution of Whole Foods Market; Guayaki's waged war for rainforest redemption; Terra Cycle's scheme to drain the oceans of plastic; architect CookFox's carbon-reducing skyscraper design, alongside many others. Through these companies and more, the documentary explores an exploding conscious business movement, one fueled by social responsibility, transparency, millennials, and the realization that business-as-usual can't go on. The film unveils effective ways for everyone to be a part of this movement and really drive the positive change needed in the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - "Urban Monk" author Pedram Shojai takes viewers on a wide-ranging exploration of how decisions made in relation to every day spending habits and company's bottom lines affect the world around us. Shojai visits a variety of companies both large and small that are succeeding at combining ethical business decisions that promote sustainability with profit, guided by a desire to improve the world. Examples range from struggling cacao farmers in Panama to Whole Foods, which began as a small organic market. Throughout, the idea that business decisions based on ethical considerations can make for a better world and still yield profit by, among other things, reducing waste, ensuring future customer growth and creating more productive and fulfilling work environments, is vividly portrayed.

The production quality is excellent and the editing brisk, while maintaining a serious tone. Shojai makes for a genial host and the 80 minute program is a stimulating and inspiring journey into the consideration of human behavior, collective and individual, based upon money and ways in which we can redefine true "prosperity." Recommended for ages 12 to 18 as well as adults. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Michael F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
VICTORIA AND ABDUL (2017)

Click above to view YouTube video of
VICTORIA AND ABDUL (2017)
open in new window
VICTORIA AND ABDUL (2017) - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Abdul Karim arrives from India to participate in Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen herself. As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching the British-American biographical drama, Victoria and Abdul. I learned facts about Queen Victoria, the British ruler of India and the real-life relationship between Queen Victoria (Judy Dench) and her Indian servant, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Directed by Stephen Frears and written by Lee Hall, it is based on a book written by Shrabani Basu. The film has regal pomp and circumstances, life lessons and humorous elements.

We see Abdul (Ali Fazal), a clerk in India, happily going about his duty recording the names of prisoners in a big log book. He is selected to travel to the UK to present a gold mohar, a coin, as part of the Queen's jubilee celebration. Abdul is selected because of his height. He is tall and very handsome.

Abdul is instructed on how to present the mohar to the Queen. He is told not look at the Queen and Abdul, because of his reverence for the Queen, decides to kiss her feet. This is the beginning of a unique relationship.

Abdul begins to share with Queen Victoria facts about India. He tells her about the Taj Mahal, Indian customs and teaches her Urdu. The Queen's viewpoint about how she rules begins to change as she learns more about the country and its customs.

My favorite scene is when the staff of Queen Victoria opposes her decision to give Abdul knighthood. Her son attempts to have her declared insane. She insists on facing the staff in person and she says, "I am cantankerous, greedy and fat. I am perhaps, disagreeably, attached to power. But I am anything but insane."

Victoria and Abdul shows the beautiful countryside of the UK, Scotland and India as well as some of the famous sites such as Windsor Castle. The costumes designed by Consolata Boyle, pay meticulous attention to historical detail even down to the Queen's monogrammed shoes.

This film is a story about a different kind of friendship and how it influenced the lives of everyone in their circle and beyond. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and some adults will enjoy it as well. You can experience the royal pomp and circumstances of Victoria and Abdul at your local theater when it opens September 22, 2017

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This incredible, historical film opened my eyes and made me better understand the world I live in. Given that racism is still a prevalent issue in today's society, it was mind-boggling to see it in Britain, at the turn of the 20th century. I admire how this film brings the past to the present, and made me question how racism can dissipate in the future.

This film carefully documents the relationship between Queen Victoria and her beloved servant, Abdul Karim. Queen Victoria reigned in the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. She was the longest serving monarch in world history. In addition to being a queen, she was also the Empress of India. Because of this, Abdul Karim and his friend Mohammed are sent from India to Britain to deliver a sacred coin: the Mohur. Abdul and Mohammed believe they are only going to remain in Britain for a short period of time, but they end up going on the adventure of a lifetime.

Judi Dench, who plays Queen Victoria, exceptionally portrays a queen who is tired of her constriction. All she wants to do is have Abdul be her full-time servant, but because of his origins, Queen Victoria's staff does not approve. Ali Fazal, who plays Abdul Karim, considers the queen a very special person and his kindness towards her is impeccable. He teaches her the Quran and shares his culture with her. As time goes on, both develop a strong friendship, which is truly heartwarming.

The setting is remarkable. I've never seen the Taj Mahal, Scotland or the queen's palace. This film takes the audience to all these places. After seeing the beauty in other countries, it makes me want to travel the world. My favorite part of this film is when Queen Victoria eats with her staff. She eats very quickly and, once she finishes her food, regardless if the others are done or not, the servants take all of the food away. It's hilarious to see people still eating their meals and have their food taken away in the blink of an eye.

The message of this film is that no race, culture or religion is subordinate to another, even though individuals are from many different backgrounds. Britain is usually portrayed as one of the most powerful countries, but not in this film. We have to learn to not categorize others as inferior because of their lifestyle. Differences make society beautiful. If we were all the same, everything would be boring.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 15 to 18 as well as adults. There are undertones of adult subject matter throughout the film. Queen Victoria is infatuated with much a younger, married man, which is why an older audience is more suitable for it. Check it out when it opens in select theaters on September 22, 2017. I guarantee you've never seen anything like this before.

By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

How could the Empress of the British Empire and a poor Indian clerk possibly have anything at all in common? The fact that there is much that they share is a major theme in Victoria and Abdul. One example is that they are both in "prison." You first see scenes with Abdul and Queen Victoria in their native habitats: waking up, doing their jobs and, we see that they both exist in confined situations. Abdul works in an actual Indian prison, doing a very boring job and Victoria later says she is "in prison" because she cannot do what she wants to do, which is to explore the world. In one surprising scene, Victoria actually falls asleep at the table at her Golden Jubilee dinner! Abdul catches her eye and he becomes a window to the wonderfully exotic world of Indian culture.

Every British character in this story, except Victoria, is a terrible racist. The Royal staff of Queen Victoria disapproves of her friendship with Abdul and are constantly conspiring to sabotage their relationship. In contrast, Queen Victoria is fascinated by India, the languages, architecture and just about everything. She wants to explore India, but she cannot because if she does, she likely will be assassinated by the oppressed Indian people. Her son and heir Bertie (later King Edward VII) is the most hateful of all. One of the first things he does as king is to burn all evidence of his mother's 14-year friendship with Abdul that exists among his mother's papers and photographs.

One of the things that really stood out for me in this movie was the dialogue. Many wonderful actors are very lucky to bring life to this well-crafted screenplay. Judi Dench, as Queen Victoria, is really funny and dramatic at the same time. Ali Fazal, as Abdul, is amazing because he shows the care, love and respect the character has for the Queen. Of course, Michael Gambon is appropriately arrogant as the Prime Minister (although his distinctive voice keeps bringing Dumbledore to mind!) Eddie Izzard, as Queen Victoria's son Bertie, is also phenomenal as the worst villain in a movie full of them - very realistic and believable. The director Stephen Frears and the writer Lee Hall are amazing because they capture an important piece of history in an entertaining way. (When I found out Lee Hall wrote Billy Elliot, I knew this movie was going to be great.)

I give Victoria and Abdul 5 out of 5 stars because it tells the remarkable story about how two people from very different worlds come together as friends. I recommend this movie ages 13 to 18 because there are no intense moments and the plot is slightly complex. There are only funny, sweet, beautiful and some sad moments. You can see Victoria and Abdul in theaters when it opens on September 22, 2017.

By Lucia Funaro, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 18
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, THE
Click to view online video of this title
Click filmstrip to view online video of
LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, THE
LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE, THE - WARNER BROS. ANIMATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - The battle for NINJAGO City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, also secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu (Jackie Chan), as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat the evil warlord Garmadon (Justin Theroux), who also happens to be Lloyd's dad. Pitting father against son, the epic showdown tests these fierce but undisciplined modern-day ninjas as they learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash the inner power of Spinjitzu.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What do you get when you mix a crazy cat, stealth ninjas and an evil villain? The LEGO Ninjago Movie which is an action packed adventure. I want to watch The LEGO Ninjago Movie again and again because the animation is fantastic and uses real life LEGOs. This story, told through the eyes of a young boy, captures your heart with friendship, parent controversies and team work.

The voiceovers are magnificent. It's as if you can feel the characters' emotions from the tone of their voices. This film has terrific characters such as Master Wu (Jackie Chan). I love Master Wu and the way that Jackie Chan portrays this character as someone who knows some amazing karate moves to help their students. My favorite character is Master Wu because he is hilarious and tells some good jokes, even when he doesn't know that he is making them. Guess what? A crazy fact about Jackie Chan (who has been acting since he was 7-years-old) is that he performs his own stunts and has broken every bone in his body. He is remarkable. I talked with him in person at LEGOLAND California just a few days ago. During our conversation, I discovered that his goal is to introduce children to martial arts and teach them how to find inner peace. Jackie Chan also plays Mr. Liu in The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Cole (Fred Armisen) is a very kind and musical ninja at heart. When I met Fred Armisen, I discovered that he is very musical and knows how to sing Jingle Bells very well. I love the way that he connects with Cole through music and I love that they both love being ninjas, even when not on camera. Cole is a ninja who is very calm and quiet, yet when it is time to lay a bet no one is better for the task than him.

Lloyd (Dave Franco) is an amazing ninja who tries his best to do what is right and find a way to eradicate the evil Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Lloyd is the kid in school who no one likes because his dad is the evil villain Garmadon. During the daytime, Lloyd deals with bullies. Then at night and when he is needed most, he turns into a ninja with his friends Cole, Jay, Kai, Nya and Zane.

Jay (Kumail Nanjiani) is the anxious, yet adorable kid who I love and, who in real life he thinks that the cat was a pain to shoot with. When they were shooting they used two identical, twin cats and it was very hard to shoot them for technical reasons. Kai (Michael Pena) loved the shoot and thought it was a dream come true because, when he was hired he automatically became a ninja inside and out and he loves that feeling. Zane (Zach Woods) says that he was practically born with a robot voice and that he didn't have to practice at all for this role. Nya (Abbi Jacobson) told me that we all are ninjas and that we don't have to worry about not being cool or amazing, as we are all those things at heart.

The best scene in this film is when Garmadon and Master Wu have a gigantic martial arts battle and fight each other for good vs evil. I love this scene because it is spot on with the timing and the ending was quite shocking. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 as well as adults. People will love it because of the adventure. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. You can see The LEGO Ninjago Movie on September 22 when it opens in theaters nationwide.

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The LEGO Ninjago Movie, directed by Charlie Bean, is confusing yet manages to deliver some humor and entertainment. With many story lines and disconcerting ideas, it is a bit difficult to follow. Some of the plot lines are left unfinished. However, interspersed through the movie are scenes and dialogues where I couldn't help but smile.

The story follows six ninjas - Lloyd (Dave Franco), Cole (Fred Armisen), Jay (Kumail Nanijani), Kai (Michael Pena), Zane (Zach Woods) and Nya (Abbi Jacobson), who protect their home against the abominable Garmadon (Justin Thereox). Garmadon is Lloyd's father but Lloyd would do anything to get rid of him. Together the ninjas journey to find an answer to eliminating Garmadon once and for all.

Dave Franco as the voice of Lloyd easily adds emotion to his character. In one scene, when Lloyd wakes up to answer a phone, his voice tells us that he is weary and has just awakened. In other scenes, when Lloyd is irritated or confused, he uses different vocalizations to easily emphasize these emotions.

The animation and cinematography are the most prominent aspects of this film. The water of the ocean and pools is very realistic. When something emerges from the water, droplets trickle down from the object. The reflection of water on different surfaces is life-like and beautiful. Each individual LEGO block is detailed and, when looked at closely, you can even see scratches. The animation of the faces also brings about a lot of the emotion. The lines of the faces move when the character feels different sentiments. For example, when a character is confused or angry, different lines appear and disappear on the face showing sentiments. The cinematography is unique. In each of the battle scenes, the virtual cinematography allows one to view it from many different perspectives. In one scene, the perspective is Garmadon's point of view while, in the next scene we see the civilians' point of view.

The message of this film is that the superpowers that are invisible are sometimes the most powerful. I give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Check out The LEGO Ninjago Movie when it opens in theaters nationwide September 22, 2017.

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Surprisingly, I found this movie really enjoyable. I say surprisingly because I am not a fan of Ninjago, yet I managed to find it as funny and charming as the previous LEGO Movies.

The movie follows the story of the Green Ninja Lloyd, as he struggles to cope with his father Garmadon, an evil villain. This affects how the citizens of Ninjago see him and how they treat him. After Garmadon takes over Ninjago, the ninjas take a journey to find the ultimate weapon to save Ninjago

Of course, I have to start this review by mentioning the visuals. This movie is stop motion animation made using LEGOs. And aside from a few live action parts, everything is made out of LEGOs. And, it looks amazing. Like The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, this movie looks so good. The city of Ninjago, the subtle Japanese atmosphere, the expressions all look great. Since this movie has a lot of action, it took over four years to make. It is so impressive and I can't imagine what patience it took to create.

Similar to the other LEGO Movies, this film manages to be both hilarious, yet deep and meaningful. The story is all about a kid's life being in influenced by his dad's bad choices, which is a heavy subject. It is handled very seriously and maturely. Kudos to the writers, Dan and Kevin Hageman. They've made an amazing product. The movie has moments where Garmadon and Lloyd just talk about their relationship and their broken family, and it's really well done. The voice actors are also really great. Kumail Nanjiani as Jay is a particular stand out. For some reason, I found his voice very adorable and energetic. Honestly, all the voice actors show a lot of energy and effort.

As I previously mentioned, I don't know much about Ninjago. I was nervous that I wouldn't understand this movie because I don't follow the series. Thankfully, I can say that is not the case. I know almost nothing, yet I easily got the general idea of the story. So, if you're worried about not understanding the story, you're in luck. This movie stands on its own.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Remember, you don't need to like Ninjago to enjoy it. This movie comes out in theaters on September 22, 2017 so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Calista B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12 What do you get when you mix a crazy cat, stealth ninjas and an evil villain? The LEGO Ninjago Movie which is an action packed adventure. I want to watch The LEGO Ninjago Movie again and again because the animation is fantastic and uses real life LEGOs. This story, told through the eyes of a young boy, captures your heart with friendship, parent controversies and team work.

The voiceovers are magnificent. It's as if you can feel the characters' emotions from the tone of their voices. This film has terrific characters such as Master Wu (Jackie Chan). I love Master Wu and the way that Jackie Chan portrays this character as someone who knows some amazing karate moves to help their students. My favorite character is Master Wu because he is hilarious and tells some good jokes, even when he doesn't know that he is making them. Guess what? A crazy fact about Jackie Chan (who has been acting since he was 7-years-old) is that he performs his own stunts and has broken every bone in his body. He is remarkable. I talked with him in person at LEGOLAND California just a few days ago. During our conversation, I discovered that his goal is to introduce children to martial arts and teach them how to find inner peace. Jackie Chan also plays Mr. Liu in The LEGO Ninjago Movie.

Cole (Fred Armisen) is a very kind and musical ninja at heart. When I met Fred Armisen, I discovered that he is very musical and knows how to sing Jingle Bells very well. I love the way that he connects with Cole through music and I love that they both love being ninjas, even when not on camera. Cole is a ninja who is very calm and quiet, yet when it is time to lay a bet no one is better for the task than him.

Lloyd (Dave Franco) is an amazing ninja who tries his best to do what is right and find a way to eradicate the evil Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Lloyd is the kid in school who no one likes because his dad is the evil villain Garmadon. During the daytime, Lloyd deals with bullies. Then at night and when he is needed most, he turns into a ninja with his friends Cole, Jay, Kai, Nya and Zane.

Jay (Kumail Nanjiani) is the anxious, yet adorable kid who I love and, who in real life he thinks that the cat was a pain to shoot with. When they were shooting they used two identical, twin cats and it was very hard to shoot them for technical reasons. Kai (Michael Pena) loved the shoot and thought it was a dream come true because, when he was hired he automatically became a ninja inside and out and he loves that feeling. Zane (Zach Woods) says that he was practically born with a robot voice and that he didn't have to practice at all for this role. Nya (Abbi Jacobson) told me that we all are ninjas and that we don't have to worry about not being cool or amazing, as we are all those things at heart.

The best scene in this film is when Garmadon and Master Wu have a gigantic martial arts battle and fight each other for good vs evil. I love this scene because it is spot on with the timing and the ending was quite shocking. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 as well as adults. People will love it because of the adventure. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. You can see The LEGO Ninjago Movie on September 22 when it opens in theaters nationwide.

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The LEGO Ninjago Movie, directed by Charlie Bean, is confusing yet manages to deliver some humor and entertainment. With many story lines and disconcerting ideas, it is a bit difficult to follow. Some of the plot lines are left unfinished. However, interspersed through the movie are scenes and dialogues where I couldn't help but smile.

The story follows six ninjas - Lloyd (Dave Franco), Cole (Fred Armisen), Jay (Kumail Nanijani), Kai (Michael Pena), Zane (Zach Woods) and Nya (Abbi Jacobson), who protect their home against the abominable Garmadon (Justin Thereox). Garmadon is Lloyd's father but Lloyd would do anything to get rid of him. Together the ninjas journey to find an answer to eliminating Garmadon once and for all.

Dave Franco as the voice of Lloyd easily adds emotion to his character. In one scene, when Lloyd wakes up to answer a phone, his voice tells us that he is weary and has just awakened. In other scenes, when Lloyd is irritated or confused, he uses different vocalizations to easily emphasize these emotions.

The animation and cinematography are the most prominent aspects of this film. The water of the ocean and pools is very realistic. When something emerges from the water, droplets trickle down from the object. The reflection of water on different surfaces is life-like and beautiful. Each individual LEGO block is detailed and, when looked at closely, you can even see scratches. The animation of the faces also brings about a lot of the emotion. The lines of the faces move when the character feels different sentiments. For example, when a character is confused or angry, different lines appear and disappear on the face showing sentiments. The cinematography is unique. In each of the battle scenes, the virtual cinematography allows one to view it from many different perspectives. In one scene, the perspective is Garmadon's point of view while, in the next scene we see the civilians' point of view.

The message of this film is that the superpowers that are invisible are sometimes the most powerful. I give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Check out The LEGO Ninjago Movie when it opens in theaters nationwide September 22, 2017.

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Surprisingly, I found this movie really enjoyable. I say surprisingly because I am not a fan of Ninjago, yet I managed to find it as funny and charming as the previous LEGO Movies.

The movie follows the story of the Green Ninja Lloyd, as he struggles to cope with his father Garmadon, an evil villain. This affects how the citizens of Ninjago see him and how they treat him. After Garmadon takes over Ninjago, the ninjas take a journey to find the ultimate weapon to save Ninjago

Of course, I have to start this review by mentioning the visuals. This movie is stop motion animation made using LEGOs. And aside from a few live action parts, everything is made out of LEGOs. And, it looks amazing. Like The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, this movie looks so good. The city of Ninjago, the subtle Japanese atmosphere, the expressions all look great. Since this movie has a lot of action, it took over four years to make. It is so impressive and I can't imagine what patience it took to create.

Similar to the other LEGO Movies, this film manages to be both hilarious, yet deep and meaningful. The story is all about a kid's life being in influenced by his dad's bad choices, which is a heavy subject. It is handled very seriously and maturely. Kudos to the writers, Dan and Kevin Hageman. They've made an amazing product. The movie has moments where Garmadon and Lloyd just talk about their relationship and their broken family, and it's really well done. The voice actors are also really great. Kumail Nanjiani as Jay is a particular stand out. For some reason, I found his voice very adorable and energetic. Honestly, all the voice actors show a lot of energy and effort.

As I previously mentioned, I don't know much about Ninjago. I was nervous that I wouldn't understand this movie because I don't follow the series. Thankfully, I can say that is not the case. I know almost nothing, yet I easily got the general idea of the story. So, if you're worried about not understanding the story, you're in luck. This movie stands on its own.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Remember, you don't need to like Ninjago to enjoy it. This movie comes out in theaters on September 22, 2017 so, go check it out.

Reviewed by Calista B, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LEGEND OF AKAM, THE
LEGEND OF AKAM, THE - PIERRE MEYNADIER
Series: FEATURE FILM AGES 12-18
Description - Akam is a caiman. He crosses the Great Kingdom in search of Zoa, a princess he has fallen in love with. In the Invisible Kingdom, the love they share is curtailed by the birth of little-ones. In her eyes he no longer counts, and he wishes to devour them but changes his mind when he learns that they are his own children. He banishes himself to spare Zoa and encounters some creatures who teach him of the existence and the virtues of family, and that everything happens for a reason. The little-ones are surrounded by all their enemies, but just as they are about to be devoured, Akam returns to save them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Legend of Akam is a fantastic film that takes the viewer on an unforgettable adventure. Everything about this film is made to perfection. The film is very unique. The cast consists of real life animals with voice-overs interpreting what the animals are saying. This is a treatment that I have never seen. It doesn't use human actors. The actors are animals! The location where the film is shot is breath taking. The film takes place in the Amazon. The viewer truly feels as if they are with the animals. There are very cool animals and they are quite funny at times. The different camera shots constantly pan the environment and capture the natural beauty of the area. The only down side is that it starts off slow in the beginning. Eventually, as the character develop, the story becomes increasingly more interesting. You should be aware that the voice-over is in French with English sub-titles. Slow readers might have a difficult time keeping up with the written words. In a film festival situation, I would have a reader there to read so that the younger ages can keep up with the story development. The film is made very beautifully. The camera shots are diverse; the sound is spot on; the sound effects and background music are perfect and keep the pace moving forward. The actors' voices are interesting, especially the main character Akam the Valiant. The location in the Amazon is mesmerizing. This film is outstanding in many ways. I think a film festival would be great venue to screen this film. It's fun and interesting for the kids, and not too childish for adults to enjoy. It give us an interesting perspective on nature since we see it through the eyes of an animal. The story does focus on family and love as well. I recommend this film for ages 9 to 18 as well as adults. It is a perfect film for the entire family to enjoy. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Talia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LEAP!

Click above to view YouTube video of
LEAP!
open in new window
LEAP! - WEINSTEIN CO, THE
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Paris, 1884. An orphaned girl arrives in Paris from Brittany. F�licie Milliner is 11 and has no money but one big, passionate dream: to become a dancer. With nothing left to lose, F�licie takes a big risk: she 'borrows' a spoiled brats identity and enters the Opera Ballet School. But how long can she be someone else? Mentored by the tough and mysterious cleaner, Odette , F�licie learns that talent is not enough - it takes hard work to be better than her ruthless, conniving fellow students. That and friendship. Felicie's inventive, exhausting and charismatic best friend Victor also has a dream: becoming a famous inventor. Together, they both encourage each other to reach for the stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Leap! is a great film with a big meaning. This film teaches it all - honesty, perseverance and the importance of practice, family, believing in yourself, believing in your dreams and passion. F�licie makes a lot of mistakes during her journey, which set her back, but that doesn't stop her from continuing to push through.

The story begins when F�licie and her best friend, Victor escape from an orphanage. They take a train to Paris so that F�licie can attend a dance school there and Victor can become an inventor. They arrive in Paris without any money. During their journey, they encounter many challenges. As F�licie meets new people, a love conflict arises as well as a conflict with a wealthy lady who is pure evil and wants to crush Felicie's dream.

A wealthy woman Regine (Kate McKinnon) is cruel, rude and arrogant, but a boy with a crush on F�licie protects her from Regine. McKinnon makes Regine sound totally wicked in a bad but great way. The boy, Victor (Natt Wolf) is portrayed as a timid, but an optimistic and caring friend.

The animation in this film is spectacular! It is very detailed and their mouths move with the words they are saying so well the animated characters seem real. The voice acting is spot on. The voices are filled with emotion and an inspiration to the audience, including me.

My favorite part is when F�licie watches a ballerina at the French dance school. She takes just one look at the ballerina's dance and knows she wants to dance and that she can dance. You can really see Felicie's passion for dancing right there. The whole movie is all about passion and the movie will inspire viewers to follow their dreams.

The message of this film is to follow your dreams. It show how, in order to succeed, you have to work very hard, believe in yourself and have passion. F�licie is an exemplary role model.

Leap! is a very inspirational film with a very important lesson and a pleasure to watch. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults will love this movie as well. I really enjoyed watching this film. Definitely check this awesome movie out when it opens nationwide in theaters August 30, 2017.

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Leap!, directed by Eric Summer is a fun filled, adventurous experience! A quick dive into the storyline and action captivated me from the beginning. The animation engrossed me with its beautiful and realistic settings of buildings, streets and skies. The designs of the characters' outfits are unique and exquisite.

The story follows two best friends, F�licie (Elle Fanning) and Victor (Dane DeHaan) who have tremendous dreams. F�licie yearns to be a ballerina and Victor, an inventor. Together they escape their home at an orphanage and arrive in Paris to pursue their ambitions.

Elle Fanning as Felicie's voice communicate sadness when she sniffles, happiness as she squeals with joy and courage with a firm voice. Through Felicie's voice, I connected to her. Dane Dehaan as Victor's voice adds great joy and lightness to the film. The humor in his voice made me laugh out loud along with the audience.

The animation is the highlight of this film. The settings and surroundings are intricately detailed. When F�licie and Victor walk through the streets of Paris, the walls of the different buildings are covered with posters that have been ripped or worn down, the individual bricks or stones that make up the walls and street floors are covered with moss and miniscule cracks which adds to their realistic look. The architecture is angelic. The images of the Grand Opera house does true justice to the actual opera house. The ballet choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, wonderfully creates dance masterpieces. Although animated, I felt as if I was watching F�licie dance in real life. In one scene, two girls dance side by side and gracefully migrate from the stage to the chairs in the audience, to outside the stage. They use multiple areas as their stage and still look skillful and elegant.

My favorite part are the costumes. Designed to be sophisticated, from the ballerina's tutus to the vest of the Director of Opera, they have beautiful flower prints with bright colors and are very visually appealing.

The messages of this film is "never give up on your dreams" and "persevere towards your goals." I give 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It opens nationwide in theaters August 25, 2017 so, check it out.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Leap! is a marvelous movie that is so inspirational. It has a classic plot of a dance movie, with amazing twists that keep you on the edge of your seat wanting more. Leap! has fantastic animation and shows some of the real struggles of being a ballerina. This film shows how hard work pays off and really motivates you to work as hard as the characters in the film. I love how it has clich�s, but still kept me glued and wanting to know more.

The storyline is about an orphan girl, F�licie (Elle Fanning) and her best friend Victor (Dane DeHaan) who escape an orphanage to pursue their dreams. Felicie's dream is to dance and she gets her own chance to pursue that. Along the way, she faces challenges and setbacks that help her learn about her longing to dance.

Something really amazing about this film is that during the group dance scenes, they only show the dancers feet, while they dance on pointe. I love it because of how in sync all the feet are and how realistic the animated ballet shoes are. The one thing I didn't like about the movie is how old some the characters sound compared to their age. For example, F�licie is 11 years old and is voiced by Elle Fanning whose voice sounds much older. In some scenes, Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) who is much older than F�licie sounds younger than her. But, the animation is so beautifully unique and unlike anything I've seen in any other movie. My favorite scene is when Victor (Dane DeHaan) and Rudy (Tamir Kapelian) fight over F�licie and it turns into a very funny slap fight. My favorite character is Odette because she is the one who teaches F�licie how to dance and always believes in her no matter what happens.

I think there are two messages in this film. The first is to follow your dreams because, if you can dream it, you can do it (shout out to Walt on this one). The second message is that practice makes perfect. This is what F�licie has to do in order to achieve her dream. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars because it is such a marvelous movie that I loved watching. I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18 because even my 17-year-old brother enjoyed it! You can find this film in a theatre near you on August 25.

Reviewed by Dariana A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



NEW SEARCH

All content ©Copyright 1991-2018 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media

Database search interactivity by NET MAN
Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook
Loading Search...