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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLUMHOUSE'S TRUTH OR DARE

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BLUMHOUSE'S TRUTH OR DARE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone -- or something -- begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Truth or Dare is a new thriller that has the audience questioning their real abilities and intentions behind the fun-filled game. I am a huge fan of horror and thriller films and was so excited to see the amazing acting and suspense behind this work. This film offers jump-scares, second guessing and is loads of fun to watch with friends.

Olivia (Lucy Hale) and a couple of her college friends take a trip to Mexico for a final getaway before graduation. Little did they know it would turn into something more. While there, they meet a stranger who convinces Olivia to play a harmless, fun game of "truth or dare" with the others. The game starts and so does chaos which follows the group back to their hometown, releasing all their deepest and darkest secrets. The rules are quite simple, but fearful: tell the truth or die; do the dare, or die. No one gets out alive if you don't play by the rules. Or do they?

Growing up, my friends and I always played the game "truth or dare" at sleepovers. This movie made me question what secrets are we all hide in this game? If the consequences were real, such as they are in this film, how would we react? My favorite part of this film is how I was able to somewhat relate to the characters. They are all teens, as am I. So, it really had me feeling as if I was in their shoes and made me question what I have done in order to survive. I adore the cast, because each one has something to offer to the character they play.

The message in this film is about being honest with your friends and family and to trust one another in any circumstance. Olivia and her friends are torn apart towards the beginning of the film, due to their belief about whether or not the game was real. Once their eyes are opened, they work together in hopes of beating the game and surviving.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars. It has a great storyline, cast and cinematography. I it for ages 13 to 18. I recommend seeing it with a group of friends to really get the full effect. Also, it would be more fun! It opens nationwide in theaters on April 13, 2018 so, be sure to check it out. Think about this film the next time you play "truth or dare" with your friends!

Reviewed by Imani B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Blumhouse's Truth or Dare is a somewhat disappointing thriller with lots of initial potential. However, the acting and direction allow for some fun thrills. Fans of thrillers and horror movies may want to check it out but proceed with caution.

The story follows teenage friends Olivia (Lucy Hale), Lucas (Tyler Posey), Markie (Violett Beane), Penelope (Sophia Ali), Tyson (Nolan Gerard Funk), Ronnie (Sam Lernie) and Brad (Hayden Szeto) on a trip to Mexico. Along the way, they encounter Carter (Landon Liboiron), an amicable person with a dark secret, playing a game of "truth or dare". This quickly takes a turn for the worst, once the game summons a curse among the friends. Upon returning home, the curse sequesters the friends, forcing them to play a deadly game of "truth or dare" - one which will result in death if lost. Realizing they are all being forced to play the same game, the friends try to find a way to remove the curse.

Lucy Hale, as Olivia, delivers a commanding performance as the main lead, willing to go to any lengths to stop the curse. She excels in presenting her unstable relationship with her best friend Markie. Tyler Posey, as Lucas, is extremely determined to save his friends using logic to outthink the curse. Violett Beane, as Markie, is excellent with what she is given, but her character could have been more aptly written. She denigrates a repetitive plot point used to propel her inconclusive relationship with Olivia. Sophia Ali, as Penelope, wonderfully presents her character's nonchalant attitude to circumstances, until it's her turn to play the game. Nolan Gerard Funk, as Tyson, prominently portrays a smart yet misguided teen. Sam Lernie, as Ronnie, is the most careless of the group. Hayden Szeto, as Brad, is my favorite character due to his clever comic relief. Landon Liboiron, as Carter, mysteriously presents his character's involvement in the story.

Jeff Wadlow directs the movie with some fun thrills, but also many that are predictable. My favorite scene is Olivia's first dare for Markie to break her hand. It is well-acted with a visceral intensity. The flaws in the movie are in its inconsistent writing, which completely steal all the potential we see initially. Most of the characters end up in situations that are unintentionally funny. The characters are written to be hate-able and bipolar for the sake of the movie's plot. The conclusion ends up feeling rushed and used as bait for a sequel.

The message of this film is to always be careful of strangers and unknown places. I give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 because of the horror, sexual references and language. The movie releases in theaters on April 13, 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 ENDORSED
BOXCARE CHILDREN, THE: SURPRISE ISLAND

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BOXCARE CHILDREN, THE: SURPRISE ISLAND - SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-14
Description - One of the most-read children's book series of all time comes alive on the big screen in the Boxcar Children - Surprise Island based on the second book from the series by Gertrude Chandler, featuring the voice talents of Martin Sheen, J.K. Simmons, Griffin Cluck, Joey King, Dane DeHaan and more! The Alden children have a home with their grandfather now - but their adventures are just beginning! The first surprise comes when they learn they'll be spending the summer on their private island. A kind stranger who lives there is always happy to help the children out, but does this new friend have a secret?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The film, The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island is based on the second book in the series by Gertrude Chandler. In this series and film, the children now have a home with their grandfather (Martin Sheen).

The first surprise comes when the children learn that they'll be spending the summer on a private island belonging to their grandfather. Once on the island they meet Joe, an overseer of the island. During their visit, they turn an old barn into their home base and explore throughout the island. The children encounter many surprises as they cope with living on their own (as they always have), survive a perilous event and have many other adventures. Near the end of the film, a final secret "surprise" involving Joe is revealed.

The success of the book series is a definite draw and the "Surprise" feature will definitely entice young people towards the film. In many ways, the film comes across as very sophisticated and smart. It does not "dumb down" to the viewer. It is equally enticing for adults for those reasons. It is also very scenic and takes the viewer away as they envision themselves on the island with these characters. One drawback is that the plot is slow in developing, which could be a problem for some viewers. The CGI visuals are amazing and the sound quality is exceptional, especially the song that plays during the closing credits.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 14 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Fathom Events will be offering a special after school screening in 700+ theaters nationwide on May 8, 2018 so, be sure to look for one near you.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Summer is just around the corner, and there's no better way to start it than by watching this alluring animated film. I could not stop smiling the entire time, because I felt as if I was at the beach, enjoying my summer vacation. With humorous jokes, unexpected challenges and adorable animals, you will become captivated for the full hour and a half. If you are trying to figure out your fun plans for summer vacation, all you need to do is watch this film.

The Alden children have just begun their summer vacation and are truly ecstatic. After running home joyfully to see their grandfather, the kids are presented with exciting news - they are going to spend summer break on their grandfather's secret island. Little do they know, their summer will be filled with marvelous adventures, since they have to do everything on their own. But, the kids end up meeting a boy living on the island named Joe, who has a hidden secret. Join Benny, Henry, Jessie and Violet (four orphaned brothers and sisters) as they have the vacation of a lifetime.

Benny, played by Carter Sand, is such an optimistic, inquisitive young boy. He always wants to help his family, such as asking to drive his grandfather's boat. Jessie, played by Joey King, is a responsible girl with a big heart. She looks out for Benny and gives him his teddy bear when he needs it. I admire her compassion, because she exemplifies the perfect sister. John Alden, played by Dane DeHaan, is humble and thoughtful. He plants an entire garden for the kids to admire. I cannot wait to have my own garden when I am older.

The animation is impeccable. For a few moments during the film, I felt as if I had time traveled from the movie theater to the beach. I could not help but envision myself next to waves, listening to the beautiful sounds of nature. My favorite part is when all of the kids make their own first dinner. Once they sit down at the table, they begin feeding their dog some bread. This is hilarious, because it reminds me of how I always feed my dogs extra food. Dogs are adorable, and, no matter how much food you give them, they will always beg for more.

The message of this film is that when you work as a team, anything is possible. No matter what challenges there are in this world, you can transcend them. Life is short, so we need to make the best of it. Next time you feel that the world is not on your side, just remember that everything happens for a reason. These kids teach us to enjoy summer vacation and to never give up. If they can do this, so can we.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 12. It is the perfect family-friendly film, because you will see how important family truly is to the Alden children. This film will be offered as an after school by Fathom Events for one day only, on May 8th, 2018. So, go check it out. If you are ever stuck on an island, don't worry. This film will show you how to make an island your next home.

By Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Surprises, mysteries and new things to explore sounds like a lot of fun for the Boxcar Children so I suggest joining them on this new adventure to a mysterious island. I really enjoyed the funny characters, amazing animation and unique story line - all of which bring this film and its story to life.

One thing that is mind blowing about this film is the animation. While I watched it, I noticed all the tiny details and how lifelike the characters look. I believed multiple times that I was actually exploring the island with them and felt like I was part of the action. The animation is that good. There is lots of eye candy to look at with great depth so it almost seems to be in 3D even though it isn't. This makes the film very enjoyable and it widens the age rage so older kids would enjoy it as well as younger ones.

Carter Sand as Benny is just adorable. He is very quirky and reminds me of my younger friends. I also like him because he is good hearted and loves his siblings as much as the whole wide world. That is a trait that I think we all should share. J. K. Simmons as Dr. Moore is superb. I did a Farmers commercial once with Mr. Simmons and found him as charming off screen as on. He was an absolute pleasure to work with.

Joey King as Jessie is a smart, lovely young lady. I have interviewed her many times and she is just adorable and personable. The only difference is that last time I saw her she was wearing reindeer ears and in this film she is the older sibling who knows how to cook. I like seeing her cook delicious foods from scratch such as clam chowder, cooked peas and carrots, apple pie and other foods. It made me hungry for dinner.

Martin Sheen as James Alden plays a gracious and kind character. Everyone would love a grandfather like him because he is so kind to others, especially his grandchildren. He is willing to do anything to make them happy and even takes them to a special island for the summer. That is what I call great grand parenting.

One thing that I don't like about this film is that the story is sometimes way too slow. Also, they have a mystery that they discover that goes unsolved. It is weird that the story didn't pursue that. It showed up and then they just dropped it. Other than that, the film is adorable and has a lot heart for families.

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 12 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. This will play in more than 700 theaters as an after school screening on May 8, thanks to Fathom Event. So, go check it out!

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 6-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

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MIRACLE SEASON, THE
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MIRACLE SEASON, THE - 0
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - After the tragic death of star volleyball player Caroline "Line" Found, a team of dispirited high school girls must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hopes of winning the state championship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Miracle Season is an inspiring account of a true story. The acting and narration respectfully accommodate the actual people involved. This is sure to be a worthwhile watch for any sports movie fan.

The story follows talented volleyball team, The Women of Troy, as they seek to win the championship. However, a tragic accident results in the death of team leader Caroline Found (Danika Yarosh). As a result, the team disbands in mourning, with coach Kathy (Helen Hunt) trying to lighten and reunite its hopeless members. Caroline's best friend Kelly (Erin Moriarty) chooses to become team leader and respect Caroline by espousing the championship. This results in a grueling training season where all team members must put aside their grief and work together to compete. With extreme stakes at hand, the team must win in order to fully respect Caroline's legacy and rectify their losses.

Helen Hunt, as Kathy, incredibly presents her tough-love attitude towards her team and their determination to win the championship. She performs wonderfully in depicting Kathy's attempt to imbue the team with a purpose in the most hopeless of circumstances. Erin Moriarty, as Kelly, excellently portrays her growth from novice volleyball player to motivating leader. Danika Yarosh, as Caroline, exceptionally characterizes her teenage friendship with Kelly, including some recklessness at times. This allows her accident to have an emotional weight to it. William Hurt, as Ernie, is my favorite character due to his character arc through his grief of his daughter's death, as he slowly pushes people closest to him away. His friendship with Kathy allows for a humanizing and emotionally charged redemption from his self-pity.

Sean McNamara directs the movie with a scenic chronological representation of the events that happened in real life. My favorite scene is one where Kelly and Ernie talk about their regrets, resulting in Ernie asking Kelly to stop being so harsh on herself. I love how it portrays a relatable aspect of life. The flaw with the movie comes in the first act, when it feels like another clich� teen drama. Fortunately, it improves once the more humanizing aspects of the story come into play. However, there is an overuse of mainstream music during much of the movie, which results in a few of the most emotional scenes being completely nullified.

The message of this movie is to always remain as a source of hope for others. Despite the extreme pressure the team faces, Kelly always finds a way to assure her teammates. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on April 6, 2018, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Miracle Season is a sports film based on a real life incident from 2011 when the captain of West High Schools volleyball team tragically died in a car accident. I found this film interesting because it remembers a teen, not an adult.

The storyline follows Kelly, who recently lost her best friend Caroline in a car accident. Now she has to lead the team. They have to fight through their loss and still play the game. They lose their first two games, but win the next fifteen games and are driven to win the state championship game in Caroline's memory.

Kelly is portrayed by Erin Moriarty who has appeared in the films Captain Fantastic and The Kings of Summer. Her coach Kathy Bresnahan is played by Helen Hunt, an Oscar-award nominee and winner, who has starred in the films Cast Away with and As Good As It Gets. These veteran actors bring the movie up as a whole.

An interesting thing about this film is that, even though it is a low budget film, it looks like a higher budget film. Also, it's based on a true story and is true to the original story including having videos of the actual games in the credits. Last, I found it interesting that the cast is mostly female, when sports movies usually feature all male teams.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It opens April 6, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
READY PLAYER ONE

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READY PLAYER ONE
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READY PLAYER ONE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spends their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone-the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the Oasis to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends-aka the High Five-are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film remarkably resembles its subject. Like virtual reality, it takes you into a world which you would never see without the gear. Like VR, it shows the future of technology. Like VR, it has its ups and downs that can be improved upon. Finally, like VR, Ready Player One has the potential to either change everything or to simply bring us back to the past. Ready Player One entertains the audience with its adventure-packed explosions that run the plot of the film and add a surprising amount of comedy, which the actors deliver perfectly.

Ready Player One's adventure follows the quest to find an Easter Egg. This hidden object requires a lot of effort as it is hidden in the massive virtual world called The Oasis, which has a land size greater than Earth and access to multiple planets. The value of it makes it worth the search, as the finder gets half a trillion dollars as well as complete control of this massive online world. While many of the independent gamers fight for this egg, there is also a large corporation fighting to make it a money-making opportunity instead of a skill-based experience. To them, the richest should win. The race is on to get the egg and to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

My favorite scene is what should solidify this film's nomination for an Academy Award in visual effects. This scene contains a challenge that unlocks another step in finding the Easter egg. The challenge takes place in the classic horror thriller, The Shining. Not only did I immediately love this scene, due to its dedication to the great mind and creator of The Shining, Stanley Kubrick., but I love it because it visually breaks all the boundaries. Despite The Shining being a much older film, with the sets that probably no longer exist, Ready Player One completely recreates the setting from the film and perfectly places the characters' avatars in that world too. Just like the films Star Wars and Avatar, which took your breath away because of ahead-of-their-time visuals, this film and specifically this scene does as well.

Ready Player One excels at bringing the visual world that Ernest Cline describes in the book to the big screen. The surroundings and the story are packed with references to different movies, comic books, games and TV shows. It would take months of constant replay to catch every little detail, which defiantly will delight the fans that are craving nostalgia. The CGI really is what makes this movie stand out. Despite it being branded as live action, it has more runtime in the completely animated environment than it does in live action. However, these visual scenes do not look like the standard animation of Pixar. They look and feel, unmistakably like real life. In a way, Ready Player One fails to portray a virtual world, because it looks so real. The acting has its ups and downs. Inside the Oasis, where acting relies primarily on voiceover and basic body movement, it excels. Outside, where the actors are left to the task completely on their own, they feel rather flat and somewhat monotone. The romance that runs throughout the story feels somewhat forced, partly due to the acting and partly due to the story. Interestingly enough, the romance feels more natural in the virtual world, than it does in the real life. The score of the film is one of the many pleasant surprises. Without the video, the score would still leave audiences satisfied. It does not quite reach the masterful skill of John Williams, but Alan Silvestri, known for his soundtrack for the Back to the Future series, creates beautiful harmonies that sound incredible.

The book and film differ quite a lot in a positive way. While the book (one of my favorites) is a joy to read, in many ways it would not translate well into a film. For that reason, while the main story barely changes, the actual events are structured much better for the movie and make it much more interesting. Instead of watching a person playing a game, the viewer is offered an opportunity to watch someone jump over zombies in a ballroom. The book has mainly 80s references, but the film mixes it up much more to include references from the games and movies that became popular in the last few years, which really allows the nostalgic adults, as well as the kids, enjoy the film.

Even though the messages and possible future is shown in Ready Player One should be shown to kids, there are some things that are a bit mature. For that reason, I recommend this to ages 10 to 18. Despite some issues with acting, it makes for a great adaptation of the book while keeping important messages in place. The biggest accomplishment would be the mass scale of the lifelike CGI that truly makes you believe you're in the virtual world of the Oasis. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Ready Player One is a delightfully nostalgic, modern-day sci-fi classic filled with Spielbergian magic.

Based on Ernest Cline's bestselling book, Ready Player One follows Wade Watts, a teen living in dystopian Columbus, Ohio in the year 2045. Like much of the population, Wade plays the OASIS, a multiplayer game in an expansive virtual world created by the eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday died, he told players he left a hidden Easter egg that will win control of the OASIS and his shares in his company Gregarious Games. A malicious corporation called IOI wishes to turn the OASIS from an imaginative escape to an ad-filled wasteland. Wade's avatar Parzival teams up with his friend Aech, his crush Artemis and a pair of best friends named Shoto and Daito, to take down IOI by finding the egg before the company does and foil its evil agenda.

Ready Player One, true to the book, is full of 80s pop culture references from Halliday's early life and his icon status. At the same time, much of the film takes place in the video game and is visually vibrant and futuristic. Steven Spielberg brings the OASIS to life very well. He sneaks in visual gags from Robocop to Street Fighter. The OASIS has an insane color pallet that totally matches the idea of what that virtual world is. There is a lot of CGI used, but it is necessary to tell the story and the characters' avatars look very realistic.

As a huge fan of the book, this film adaptation still holds up for me. Quite a bit of what happens in the book is different on the big screen, but fans should not despair because the film remains true to the book's main themes. This film is also very funny. The entire ensemble gets great one-liners. This is refreshingly different from typical sci-fi and it makes the ride through Ready Player One even more fun.

I give Ready Player One an age rating of 11 to 18 for some language and heavily implied violence. Older kids and adults will enjoy the film's crazy visuals.

I rate Ready Player One 4.5 out of 5 stars. This film is excellent and I recommend it for anyone who is a fan of anything pop culture. Whether it is music, film, video games or anime, Ready Player One has something for you. This film opens in theaters March 29, 2018 so check it out.

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

Ready Player One is an epic, nostalgic film filled to the brim with pop culture references. It has characters you can really connect to and a digital world we all dream about. It has all sorts of exiting scenes such as races, puzzles, battles and so many others. Based on the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, this adaptation runs very smoothly into a film version.

The story takes place in the year 2045. James Halliday creates the OASIS, a completely virtual world that everyone uses to escape reality. After his death, a competition begins to find the Easter egg in the OASIS. Whoever finds the egg will have complete control over the OASIS. Wade and his friends try to win this competition and stop IOI from beating them for total control of the OASIS. It is filled with twists that make it hard to predict what will happen next even, after if you have read the book.

I love all the references to other films including The Iron Giant, King Kong, Batman, The DeLorean and Martin the Martian. The special effects are also incredible. I really enjoyed the effect whenever someone changes their skin in the OASIS. I also enjoyed the mix between animated and live action characters. This is impressive because it's hard to make these two styles be near each other without one being out of place. I really like how the world seems like a fantasy that people have today, yet is also a dystopia at the same time.

My favorite part is the introduction to the OASIS. This scene is really impressive and has so much squeezed into it. I also like the scene where the common people attack IOI. These scenes both show a huge variety of different characters from different parts of pop culture.

Mark Rylance's acting is incredible. He fills the role of James Halliday brilliantly. He is very erratic, yet sincere and makes the character relatable, even in extreme circumstances. The song choices are also great. I particularly like the use of the original King Kong theme.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and strongly recommend it to anyone ages 7 through 18 as well as adults. It is playing in theaters now so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THE MIRACLE SEASON - LD ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE 12-18
Description - The Miracle Season is a sports film based on a real life incident from 2011 when the captain of West High Schools volleyball team tragically died in a car accident
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Miracle Season is a sports film based on a real life incident from 2011 when the captain of West High Schools volleyball team tragically died in a car accident. I found this film interesting because it remembers a teen, not an adult.

The storyline follows Kelly, who recently lost her best friend Caroline in a car accident. Now she has to lead the team. They have to fight through their loss and still play the game. They lose their first two games, but win the next fifteen games and are driven to win the state championship game in Caroline's memory.

Kelly is portrayed by Erin Moriarty who has appeared in the films Captain Fantastic and The Kings of Summer. Her coach Kathy Bresnahan is played by Helen Hunt, an Oscar-award nominee and winner, who has starred in the films Cast Away with and As Good As It Gets. These veteran actors bring the movie up as a whole.

An interesting thing about this film is that, even though it is a low budget film, it looks like a higher budget film. Also, it's based on a true story and is true to the original story including having videos of the actual games in the credits. Last, I found it interesting that the cast is mostly female, when sports movies usually feature all male teams.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It opens April 6, 2018 so look for it.
Juror Recommended Age: - Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THE MIRACLE SEASON - LD ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE 12-18
Description - The Miracle Season is a sports film based on a real life incident from 2011 when the captain of West High Schools volleyball team tragically died in a car accident
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Miracle Season is a sports film based on a real life incident from 2011 when the captain of West High Schools volleyball team tragically died in a car accident. I found this film interesting because it remembers a teen, not an adult. The storyline follows Kelly, who recently lost her best friend Caroline in a car accident. Now she has to lead the team. They have to fight through their loss and still play the game. They lose their first two games, but win the next fifteen games and are driven to win the state championship game in Caroline's memory.

Kelly is portrayed by Erin Moriarty who has appeared in the films Captain Fantastic and The Kings of Summer. Her coach Kathy Bresnahan is played by Helen Hunt, an Oscar-award nominee and winner, who has starred in the films Cast Away with and As Good As It Gets. These veteran actors bring the movie up as a whole.

An interesting thing about this film is that, even though it is a low budget film, it looks like a higher budget film. Also, it's based on a true story and is true to the original story including having videos of the actual games in the credits. Last, I found it interesting that the cast is mostly female, when sports movies usually feature all male teams. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It opens April 6, 2018 so look for it.
Juror Recommended Age: - Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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PANDAS
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PANDAS - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - An American biologist embarks on a life-changing journey to China to help scientists breed giant pandas and introduce the cubs into the wild.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The fun family IMAX film, Pandas is wonderfully entertaining and educational. It is a documentary about the journey following one particular panda living in captivity, to its release into the wild. The movie begins when Chen Chen is just a pup, living with other baby pandas in captivity. Based on the black bear research of Ben Kilham, this lucky panda is released and followed in the wild. The American researcher, Jacob Owens and the Chinese researcher, Bi Wen Li work together to help bring Chen Chen into her natural environment. Along the journey, she has some awkward moments and challenging times. I won't tell you what they are because it would give away a big part of the movie.

My favorite scene is the beginning when we see Chen Chen and the other pandas playing together. In many ways, they seem just like little kids happily playing. My other favorite scene is when Ben Kilham is playing a peek-a-boo game with a black bear behind a tree (say that 10 times fast). The music, by Mark Mothersbaugh, is really child-like, which adds to the fun playfulness that we see with the pandas. The narration by Kristen Bell is spot on with her happy tone and soothing voice throughout the film. The sweetness in her voice adds to the enjoyment of the movie.

My favorite character has to be the adorable Chen Chen and also the researchers. Chen Chen is always entertaining because she is so cute, loving, has a great personality and is very curious. I especially love the part when the researchers say they will always be there for her whether it is in ten or 20 years.

The message of this film is that, through research, working with others and a lot of patience, pandas and other endangered animals raised in captivity can be successfully released into the wild. The message also is that it is important to save species from extinction because "once they're gone, they're gone"

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TO THE BEAT

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TO THE BEAT
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TO THE BEAT - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - To The Beat follows 14 year old twins Mia and Mackie Castillo - dancers since they were toddlers. Beginning at just three years old, that's been their one true passion. They support each other through competitions and rehearsals, even though they dance different styles. Mia loves tap and Mackie loves jazz. When their favorite pop star launches an online contest to find the most unique dance group for his next music video, the twins each form their own team to compete for the chance to dance in the video - enlisting their friends and family to help gain online votes. Meanwhile, their arch rival and neighbor, Avery, the best dancer of all (who knows it too) uses her charm and resources to get the upper hand in the competition.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This magnificent film kept me dancing on my feet the entire time. I used to take hip-hop classes, so I couldn't help but dance along. It amazes me how talented the dancers are, and their dedication truly inspires me. I cannot believe some of the girls have been dancing since they were 3 years old. Even if you are not a dancer, you will certainly want to become one after watching this film.

Twin sisters Mia (Brisa Lalich) and Mackie Castillo (Laura Krystine) are passionate, 14-year-old dancers who constantly support each other in every rehearsal and competition. Although they have danced for their entire lives, both have distinctive dance styles. Mackie loves jazz and Mia is exceptional with tap. Their honed dance skills are put to the test when their favorite popstar arranges a contest for the best five dancers to appear in his upcoming music video. The girls must create their own routine in order to advance to the next stage. Mackie and Mia form separate teams and get help from their friends and family to receive the most online votes. When one of the best dancers, Avery(Jayden Bartels), decides to join the competition, tension arises among the girls, because Avery tries her best to get the upper hand in the competition.

Mackie is such a strong, independent girl. She constantly encourages her sister Mia to never doubt herself, even when Avery thinks she is the best dancer of them all. My favorite character, hands down, has to be Avery's mom (Martha Madison), because she wants to be in her daughter's music video. She loves Paula Abdul and embarrasses her daughters, but she is Avery's number one fan. Each character is vastly different, but they juxtapose each other quite well.

The dancers' outfits are impeccable. A few girls wear leotards; some wear leggings. But Mackie's team has the best outfits. During the final competition, Mackie's team wears silver jackets, which are very stylish. In addition, this film is set in Simi Valley, which is not far from where I live. I go to the Simi Valley Town Center sometimes, and I enjoyed seeing the girls walk around where I shop.

My favorite part is when Mackie and Mia execute their handshake. You can see how they have an unbreakable bond. I love how both sisters appreciate each other and never fight. I have a younger sister and, seeing how they truly respect one another, reminds me of my relationship with my sister. I love my sister more than words can say and you will love your sibling even more after watching this film.

The message of this film is that hard work certainly pays off. Treat your family with love and care, because they are always there for you, through thick and thin. Never let competition keep you from achieving your dreams and always remember to believe in yourself.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Actually, it is perfect to watch with your family. After watching this film, you and your family will be closer together. This film is available now on DVD and Digital. Gather up your family and friends, get on your feet, and get ready to dance to the beat.

Reviewed by Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The dances in To The Beat! are great. I love the choreography because it is so precise and very fun to watch. The competitors all have a different style of dance. I found myself dancing just like Mia and Mackie because their moves are contagious. Each dance shows a person's personality and they all have their own unique style. I love the pirouettes and the tap dancing. Avery knows what to do when it comes to ballet and Mia is my top pick for tap dancers.

The characters in To The Beat! are all very distinct. Ambitious dancers and a contest of a lifetime can lead to one big competition. There are dancers everywhere and every one of them wants a part in the next big music video. So you have to watch your back and make sure that you are ready to move and grove to the beat.

Mia (Brisa Lalich) is my favorite character. I love her tap dancing. She adds a lot of fun and beauty to her passion. She reminds me of my grandfather Kenneth because he was an expert tap dancer. Jumping and clicking his heels in the air was his trade mark. Mackie (Laura Krystine) is the kind and noble sister who wants what is best for her better half. Avery (Jayden Bartels) is the average teenager who likes to dress up and be a dancer, yet her intensions are not what they seem. Mandy (Veronica St. Clair) is the amazing older sister who always saves the day. She helps everyone and has dreams and passions of her own. Alyson Stoner plays one of the celebrity judges. In real life, she is adorable. She was my dance teacher at a studio called The Millennium Dance Complex. She has moves.

I had a wonderful time at press day talking to Brisa Lalich, Laura Krystine and Bryce Xavier. These terrific dancers and YouTubers know all about competitions and humor. I loved meeting them and having a few good laughs and getting an inside scoop on the sequel to this, To The Beat 2! I can't wait to see it. Be sure to check out my one on one interviews with them to learn more about their personalities.

The best scene in this film is the fantastic dance competition because the choreography is magnificent and all the dancers are perfectly in sync with one other. I also that the dance competition is on stage and everyone's friends and family are there to support them.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 13 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. To The Beat! Comes out on DVD and digital March 13, 2018 so look for it!

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

To the Beat is a wonderful dance movie for girls, with real stakes at hand. The acting and cohesive plot provide a urgent, yet vibrant feel to the film. This is sure to please all dance movie fans.

The story follows 14-year-old twins and talented dancers Mackie (Laura Krystine) and Mia Castillo (Brisa Lalich). Despite being from different dance backgrounds, the two always have each other's backs and have an extremely loving bond. When a famous pop star launches an online contest to find the best dance group for his next music video, the twins must form their own teams to compete for the video. The duo impresses the crowd with their ardent love of dancing. However, their egotistical arch rival, Avery (Jayden Bartels), the self-proclaimed "best dancer of all" also uses her charm and resources to get the upper hand in the competition.

Laura Krystine, as Mackie, excellently presents her talented dance moves and her love for her sister. Brisa Lalich, as Mia, like her sister portrays a dancer who loves it, rather than using it as a popularity stunt. The character really shines emotionally, when a huge plot twist regarding her involvement on the team takes place. Jayden, as Avery, is a fun villain to watch, especially as her power- hungry schemes unveil themselves. Veronica St. Clair is my favorite character due to how grounded her character is. She provides a moral support for the team, while also trying to pass her medical exams.

Jillian Clare directs the movie with a high-stakes feel, as you feel the pressure being put upon Mackie and Mia. My favorite scene is the final dance, because it is the culmination of what the movie has been building up to. My only problem with this film is that, while Avery feels like a threat to be reckoned with, I feel as if in the long run she doesn't do too much to turn the tide around once the final dance is about to happen.

The message of the movie is that, if you are going to do anything, do it for the love of it, rather than for popularity. Despite being underestimated at times, Mackie and Mia never give up their love of dance. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 10. The movie is out on DVD and digital now, so check it out.

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



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SHERLOCK GNOMES
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SHERLOCK GNOMES - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - After a string of garden gnome disappearances in London, Gnome & Juliet look to legendary detective Sherlock Gnomes to solve the case of their missing friends and family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sherlock Gnomes is a frequently clever animated film that has a few fun moments, yet suffers from a jumbled story and too many characters to fully engage you in the movie as a whole.

Sherlock Gnomes is a sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet and brings together garden gnome versions of the famous detective and the Shakespearean couple from the first installment. Gnomeo and Juliet move to a new garden in London that disappoints their entire faction of gnomes. Gnomeo and Juliet are appointed the new leaders to turn the garden into a beautiful wonderland for their little village. Meanwhile, several gardens have been erased of all signs of gnomekind and soon, Gnomeo and Juliet's is too. The dynamic duo of the incredibly smart, but sometimes selfish detective and protector of London's garden gnomes Sherlock Gnomes and his trusty sidekick Watson are on the case and intend to catch the culprit and track down the missing gnomes, with the help of Gnomeo and Juliet.

Unfortunately the collision of these literary duos doesn't work very well. Their stories have very different characters and tones. The film makes clever references to Sherlock Holmes and his works that will be enjoyable for fans of the character's inspiration, but the collaboration still feels forced. Gnomeo and Juliet go through a storyline that feels out of place and their conversations have a repetitive message. The characters feel less developed against the more engaging Sherlock Gnomes.

My favorite character is Sherlock Gnomes (Johnny Depp). He embodies the qualities of the literary detective and makes his portrayal of Sherlock his own, giving him a more fun and comedic manner. He also nails Sherlock's complex relationship with Watson.

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 9 due to some crude humor. Younger kids will enjoy the film's bright colors and caper elements and older kids and adults might enjoy some of the humor. However, this film lacks the vivid animation and nuance that offers the same wide appeal of other animated films. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars because the story is a bit confusing, although it has some characters and good laughs. It comes out in theaters on March 23, 2018 so check it out.

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



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PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING
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PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity's victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father's legacy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This action-packed film is pretty decent. I like that the plot continues from the last movie. The characters are as interesting as their story. The one problem is the sequencing. Some scenes are pointless and are ordered in such a way that they don't make sense. However, if you like fighting robots, you'll love it.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to Pacific Rim. It takes place ten years after the war, which took place in the first film, was won. Jake Pentecost (John Boyegas), a carefree, retired pilot, is living life in a messed-up world. Through unwanted circumstances, he meets a 15-year old hacker named Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). With common personalities and different pasts, they create a bond that no one can break. With this new bond, old friends of Jake's and new friends of Amara's collaborate to fight the Kaiju for what is left of humanity.

This film is directed and written by Steven S. DeKnight, known for producing the Netflix series Daredevil. DeKnight pulls the story together without losing your attention on the main crisis with the Kaiju. My hats off to the special effects team. The robot close-ups are so realistic, it seems like you can reach out and touch them. The robot fights are also extremely real. The intense music by Lorne Balfe makes the movie extremely engaging. It is also surprisingly comical. Jake Pentecost's sarcastic tone makes you question whether the group is really living in a life or death situation or not.

My favorite character is Amara. She has a spark from beginning to end in the movie. Her ability to create her very own robot or Jaeger is amazing. Her curiosity and her attitude about doing the right thing is pleasant to see in an action movie. Seeing the connection between Jake and Amara develop throughout the film is a favorite part. The message of this film is that "despite who your family is, who you think you are or what you've done in the past, you can still be a hero."

I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It opens nationwide in theaters Friday, March 23, 2018 so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BACKYARD WILDERNESS

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BACKYARD WILDERNESS
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BACKYARD WILDERNESS - IMAX FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - Backyard Wilderness will surprise and entertain viewers with the unexpected wonders of nature that are right under our noses - in our own backyards. Spanning a seasonal year around a suburban home, the film displays a stunning array of unique wildlife images and behavior - all captured by cameras mounted inside dens and nests, and moving along the forest floor and pond bottom, to reveal its inhabitants in rare and breathtaking intimacy. We follow Katie, a young girl, and her modern family living next to the woods who are blind to the real-life spectacle around them, absorbed by an array of electronic devices in their busy lives. Katie gradually discovers the intricate secrets that nature has hidden so close to her front door and we experience the joy she finds in her interactions with this new world. The film reminds us that Wi-Fi is not the only connection that matters and that sometimes in ordinary places, you can uncover extraordinary things that can transform you forever - you just need to step outside.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Backyard Wilderness is a spellbinding documentary capturing magical moments in nature that we rarely get to see on camera or in our day-to-day lives and puts them on a large and intense scale.

This 3D IMAX film follows Katie, a young girl who lives in a house surrounded by a bustling woodland of animals and plants. Katie and her family are oblivious to the fascinating occurrences in the world around them because they are consumed by the technology at their fingertips. At school, she is assigned a report on animals. She chooses the spotted salamander whose whole life cycle happens right outside her house and her adventure begins.

The cinematography in Backyard Wilderness brilliantly highlights the beauty and vastness of the forests which are the main setting and leaves you wondering how they were able to get such unique moments on film. The film brings exciting moments to the screen such as when a pack of coyotes chase some deer or when you witness the dangerous journey of spotted salamanders to their breeding ground.

My favorite scene is when a group of newly hatched baby wood ducklings exit their nest for the first time and try to fly. You will laugh and cheer at the same time and the filmmakers use a perfect song to score this fun and adorable scene.

The lesson of the film is that there is an active and energetic world around us that is always worth exploring. As a society, we have become so concerned with social media that we forget to notice what is happening right in our backyards. Katie's life changes when she lets go of her electronics and begins to explore the landscape beside her home.

I recommend this film for ages 5 to 12. You will learn a lot from this film about how certain species interact with one another and thrive. It is very educational and has a valuable message. Adults and older kids will still enjoy the breathtaking visuals. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. If you like nature documentaries and the larger-than-life world of IMAX with some cool 3D effects, I highly recommend it. Backyard Wilderness is playing around the country in select IMAX theaters now.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ISLE OF DOGS

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ISLE OF DOGS
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ISLE OF DOGS - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, 12-year-old Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs is a movie to be reckoned with. This incredibly unique piece of stop motion animation is totally different from the norm of today's films. Written and directed by Wes Anderson, it stars the voices of Bryan Cranston as Chief, Edward Norton as Rex, Bill Murray as Boss, Liev Schreiber as Spots, Bob Balaban as King, Scarlett Johansson as Nutmeg and Jeff Goldblum as Duke. It also stars Koyu Rankin as the young boy, Atari. It is the second animated film from Wes Anderson, after the wonderful Fantastic Mr. Fox.

In future Japan, where dogs are viewed as savage and disease ridden creatures, a young boy, Atari, searches for his dog, Spots. This dystopian world, created by his guardian, Mayor Kobayashi, disparages dogs but worships cats. Atari defies his guardian and along the way befriends some loyal, passionate pooches who help him on his fateful journey of finding his lost dog.

One thing I particularly adore about Wes Anderson's filmmaking is his irreverent humour and creativity. It's almost as if Anderson has a patent on an new genre of filmmaking, that's entirely his own. During the making of this film, Anderson was influenced by his love for Japanese cinema and two of the most monumental Japanese directors - Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki. In an interview about his many influences for the film, he states "with Miyazaki you get nature and you get moments of peace, a kind of rhythm that is not in the American animation tradition...". Later on, Anderson explains that during the scoring of the film he and his composer, Alexandre Desplat, had to rethink their approach to the soundtrack because the movie longed to be quiet. He later specifies that this aspect of the film also comes from Miyazaki.

The stop motion animation style pairs perfectly with the pure grittiness of its creativity. In most animated films you don't hear the roughness or coarseness of the actors' voices, but in Anderson's film you do and it is the most lifelike. Also, despite the humor, Anderson doesn't sugar coat the seriousness of the story. His films are always truthful and cut to the heart of the matter.

I recommend Isle of Dogs for ages 12 to 18, due to its violence and sophisticated humour. Younger kids might not understand the ironic tone. I give it 5 out of 5 stars for bringing an incredibly unique vision to the mostly mundane animation of today.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Isle of Dogs is a genius concept that only Wes Anderson could conjure up and makes for an enjoyable animated film with a quirky aesthetic.

Isle of Dogs takes place 20 years from now in a futuristic Japan. A disease spreading among dogs ravages Megasaki City and the mayor issues a decree that banishes all dogs to a vast, sickening wasteland called Trash Island. The film focuses the story on a pack of dogs who spend their days roaming, trying to stay alive among fierce competition. A young boy named Atari crashes onto the island one day in search of his dog and the pack decides to help him.

Wes Anderson's direction is excellent. He thrives in stop-motion animation because he can meticulously craft each shot. His sometimes bizarre, yet charming style remains resonant, despite it being a change of pace from the stories he usually tells. Isle of Dogs is an homage to Japanese filmmaking, especially the films of Akira Kurosawa, and relies on Japanese language and culture to tell its story.

The film's voice cast includes a range of famous actors, including longtime Wes Anderson partners Bill Murray and Tilda Swinton, as a pug oracle, as well as Yoko Ono as Assistant Scientist Yoko-ono and Jeff Goldblum as Duke, one of the dogs in the film's showcase pack.

My favorite character is Chief (Bryan Cranston). He is a stray dog who goes through a moving transformation as he starts off dreading the idea of having a master. But through his adventure with Atari, Chief starts to learn what it is to care about people and open himself up to them. Cranston gives Chief a weariness that lets you know his character has been through a lot.

I recommend this film for ages 11 to 18, due to some violence involving dogs, some suggestive content and minor offensive language. Note that, despite animation and dogs as main characters, this is not a kids' film. It's really geared pre-teens to adults.

I give Isle of Dogs 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this film for Wes Anderson fans and those who like a good adventure featuring man's best friend. Although this film misses the chance to develop really interesting ideas and characters, it is still fun and hilarious in all the right ways. Isle of Dogs opens in theaters March 23, 2018 so check it out.

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

Isle of Dogs is an essential Wes Anderson movie. The fluid voice acting and stop motion encompass a twee yet poignant story. This is sure to be a must watch for any dog lovers out there.

The story follows a future dystopian Japan where dogs are outlawed due to a disease outbreak. A young boy Atari (Koyu Rankin) crash lands to Trash Island in search of his dog. This initiates dogs Chief (Bryan Cranston), Rex (Edward Norton), King (Bob Balaban), Boss (Bill Murray), and Duke (Jeff Goldblum) to help Atari on his quest. As a result, Mayor Kobiyashi (Kunichi Nomura) places a hunt to find Atari and suppress the dogs helping him. Meanwhile in Japan, a bevy of riots begin to circulate as people claim on the unfairness on the bans that Mayor Kobiyashi has placed as a possible cure is in the works for dogs.

Koyu Rankin, as Atari, debuts with an incredible performance, despite most of his dialogue not being translated. He effectively characterizes his love for his dog through tone and actions. Bryan Cranston, as Chief, excellently portrays his character development from a violent outcast to careful protector of Atari. Edward Norton, as Rex, is my favorite character due to the way he portrays his character's pragmatic approaches and smart wit. Bob Balaban, as King, effectively presents a wise yet outspoken companion. Bill Murray, as Boss, depicts a clever member of the pack. Jeff Goldblum, as Duke, characterizes his dog through the use of his hilarious gossip talks. Kunichi Nomura, as Mayor Kobiyashi, evokes a malicious yet sympathetic character.

Wes Anderson directs the movie full of his unconventional yet astonishing quality which only he himself can deliver. My favorite scene is a scene where Atari and Chief bond at a park of sorts. It is a touching scene which really forwards the care and friendship from a man's best friend. My only nitpick for the movie is that there could have been more characterization for the backstories of Rex, King, Boss, and Duke.

The message of the movie is to always be hopeful in the care of young kids. Despite all the odds the pack is faced with, they always provide hope for Atari to reunite with his dog. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because of its infrequent bloody images and mature themes. The movie releases in theaters on April 13th, 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 ENDORSED
TOMB RAIDER (2018)

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TOMB RAIDER (2018)
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TOMB RAIDER (2018) - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination -- a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn't be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Tomb Raider is one of the more enjoyable video game adaptations. The acting and the direction provide the same sense of adventure and excitement as the video game. This is sure to be a must-see watch for fans of Lara Croft or anything adventure related.

The story follows Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), an intelligent yet reckless thrill-seeker, who embarks on an adventure unlike any other, when she finds evidence of her father's disappearance. Seeking to solve the mystery of Richard Croft (Dominic West), Lara enlists the help of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a ship captain. However, their adventure lands up in the worst when their ship crashes to Yamatai. Lara soon finds herself in the hands of Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), a rival archeologist who will do anything to unlock the tomb within Yamatai. Realizing the tomb will unleash global genocide, Lara must find a way to stop Vogel while discovering secrets about her father.

Alicia Vikander, as Lara Croft, is my favorite character and splendidly presents the character of Lara Croft and her struggle/rise to become the well-known "Tomb Raider." Her acerbic wit and vulnerability add a relatable extension to the character. Dominic West, as Richard Croft, excellently delivers his love for Lara and adventure. His mystery adds to plot, which leaves you wanting to know more about it at every turn. Daniel Wu, as Lu Ren, is a capable and funny companion to Lara and he shows a caring need to help the poor. Walton Goggins, as Matthias Vogel, portrays a threatening, yet over the top performance as the main villain, and it works for the most part. His involvement in the Croft conspiracy is interesting as well.

Roar Uthaug incredibly directs the movie with a knowledge of the video games, resulting in a brisk pace from one scene to the next. My favorite scene is when Lara has to find a way out of a plane which is slowly falling off of a river bank. It is extremely intense and it reminded of me of fun, innovative levels from the Uncharted and Tomb Raider games. My problem with the movie is, despite a superb first half, the second half falls from an overreliance on CGI and over-the-top scenarios, often leading to unintentional comedy. It feels jarring when compared to such a first half.

The message of the movie is to always be hopeful, as this allows Lara to keep fighting, even in the toughest of times. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action. The movie releases in theaters on March 16, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This action movie had me at the edge of my seat the whole time. I loved it! I like that it is filled with lots of suspense and tense moments that make you feel as if you are inside the scenes. I love when a movie draws me in like that, because there are unexpected surprises. What also attracted me is the actors' work and the impressive way they portray the characters that make you feel as if you are with them and feeling what they are going through. The storyline and the actors combined make you forget what is going on around you and focus on the interesting film that is unfolding right in front of you.

The storyline is about Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), the independent daughter of an adventurer who mysteriously disappears for years. Croft embarks on a journey to find her missing father, in hopes to solve the mystery of his disappearance. She goes off to a weird destination she reads about in one of her father's journals and leaves without hesitation. Even though the destination is a tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan, she leaves with the drive to find out what happened to him. Lara must trust herself, mind, and spirit, to make it out alive of this adventure.

My favorite scene is when Lara is stuck on the airplane and about to fall into a waterfall. This scene marks the moment when I most felt as if I was living this tough moment with her and the one that completely drew me. It is a complex scene where she finds herself at the top of a waterfall almost falling and then, finds an old helicopter that she can hold unto. She gets on top of the helicopter, but later realizes that the old helicopter is breaking down and she has to get out of there as soon as possible. Watching her go through all that without falling made me feel super anxious and nervous, as if I was in the scene with her.

The important messages of this film are to never give up and to always fight for what you believe is the right thing to do. In the movie, Lara always has this drive to accomplish any goals she sets herself to complete. I think that is the secret for all challenges in general and all the objectives Lara reaches in the film. You need to believe in your abilities to achieve the goals you want and need to have the motivation that helps get you there. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for people from 13 years old to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters March 16, 2018 so look for it.

By Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Tomb Raider is one of the more enjoyable video game adaptations. The acting and the direction provide the same sense of adventure and excitement as the video game. This is sure to be a must-see watch for fans of Lara Croft or anything adventure related.

The story follows Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), an intelligent yet reckless thrill-seeker, who embarks on an adventure unlike any other, when she finds evidence of her father's disappearance. Seeking to solve the mystery of Richard Croft (Dominic West), Lara enlists the help of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a ship captain. However, their adventure lands up in the worst when their ship crashes to Yamatai. Lara soon finds herself in the hands of Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins), a rival archeologist who will do anything to unlock the tomb within Yamatai. Realizing the tomb will unleash global genocide, Lara must find a way to stop Vogel while discovering secrets about her father.

Alicia Vikander, as Lara Croft, is my favorite character and splendidly presents the character of Lara Croft and her struggle/rise to become the well-known "Tomb Raider." Her acerbic wit and vulnerability add a relatable extension to the character. Dominic West, as Richard Croft, excellently delivers his love for Lara and adventure. His mystery adds to plot, which leaves you wanting to know more about it at every turn. Daniel Wu, as Lu Ren, is a capable and funny companion to Lara and he shows a caring need to help the poor. Walton Goggins, as Matthias Vogel, portrays a threatening, yet over the top performance as the main villain, and it works for the most part. His involvement in the Croft conspiracy is interesting as well.

Roar Uthaug incredibly directs the movie with a knowledge of the video games, resulting in a brisk pace from one scene to the next. My favorite scene is when Lara has to find a way out of a plane which is slowly falling off of a river bank. It is extremely intense and it reminded of me of fun, innovative levels from the Uncharted and Tomb Raider games. My problem with the movie is, despite a superb first half, the second half falls from an overreliance on CGI and over-the-top scenarios, often leading to unintentional comedy. It feels jarring when compared to such a first half.

The message of the movie is to always be hopeful, as this allows Lara to keep fighting, even in the toughest of times. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action. The movie releases in theaters on March 16, 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 ENDORSED
WRINKLE IN TIME (2018)

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WRINKLE IN TIME (2018)
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WRINKLE IN TIME (2018) - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-18
Description - Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace, have been without their scientist father, Mr. Murry, for five years, ever since he discovered a new planet and used the concept known as a tesseract to travel there. Joined by Meg's classmate Calvin O'Keefe and guided by the three mysterious astral travelers known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the children brave a dangerous journey to a planet that possesses all of the evil in the universe.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed this, but had some disappointment as well. I wanted to like it more. Maybe it was all the hype. It seems a bit like a comic version of the story, especially the primordial celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who). Maybe it was the sequined eyebrows on Oprah. At any rate, it didn't quite hit it out of the park. Don't get me wrong, I would take my grandson to see it. I am not sure if I would take another adult. Great special effects! Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Wrinkle in Time is an enjoyable, yet somewhat flawed interpretation of the classic novel of the same name. The direction and special effects provide a world unlike any other. This is sure to be a watch for sci-fi fans.

The story follows Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a genial teen who is the daughter of famed scientist Alex Murry (Chris Pine). After her father disappears, she goes through a period of insecurity and despair. Four years later, a group of primordial celestial beings - Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) visit Earth to help Meg find her father. Meg's brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and friend Calvin (Levi Miller) also join the quest to find Alex. However, Meg is also brought in to help fight the "It", an entity of darkness that threatens to destroy people's happiness.

Storm Reid, as Meg, excellently presents her inner struggle to be happy and accept herself and this adds a unique element to the story. As the movie progresses, she slowly rises beyond her doubts to become better. Chris Pine, as Alex, delivers an ardent love for science in his character and, while much of his character is witnessed before he disappears, the rest of his scenes add a performance filled with remorse. Deric McCabe, as Charles Wallace, is my favorite character due to his charismatic performance - full of comic relief. Levi Miller, as Calvin, encompasses a respectful companion who seems to be rather enamored by Meg. Oprah Winfrey, as Mrs. Which, is a wise mentor for Meg who guides her throughout her journey. Reese Witherspoon, as Mrs. Whatsit, is the least wise of the three celestial beings, but she provides a kind companion. Mindy Kaling, as Mrs. Who, represents an encyclopedia of character teeming with knowledge.

Ava DuVernay incredibly directs the movie, as you feel as if you are a part of the world through her use of word building to convey a story. My favorite scene is the resolution to the main conflict, as it feels like an appropriate conclusion. My problem with the movie is that is unevenly paced, with the first half of the movie following generic clich�s, despite a great first 10 minutes. But the movie gets running as soon as the second half begins, going into uncharted territory unlike any other movie. I also feel that the scenes for Alex and some other plot points are limited, resulting in a few disjointed, convoluted narrative at times and that could throw off some audience members.

The message of the movie is about believing in yourself and accepting who you are. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on March 9, 2018, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I liked, but did not love this latest Disney film and here's why. This film is an adaptation of the book, "A Wrinkle in Time" written by Madeleine L'Engle. It is visually stunning, but unfortunately falls short in the storytelling. The protagonists are Meg Murry (Storm Reid) and her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Their scientist father, Mr. Murry has been missing for four years. Meg has had a rough time at school ever since her father's disappearance. Her younger brother, Charles Wallace introduces Meg to three mysterious astral travelers. Meg is very skeptical of them at first, until she and Charles Wallace are informed by them that their father is not dead, but was taken by a dark force. Meg, Charles Wallace and her classmate Calvin (Levi Miller) go on an adventure with the three astral travelers, called the Misses. Will Meg and Charles Wallace find their dad? Well you must see the movie to find out the answer.

I like the visuals, the cast and the message of this film. The visuals are very stunning. The scene where Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) becomes a leaf and gives the kids a ride looks very spectacular. It almost looks like this could be possible in real life. I also like the transitions of the worlds changing as a result of the characters' actions. The visual effects bring this world to life. Another thing I like is the cast. Oprah's, Reese Witherspoon's and Mindy Kaling's performances as the Misses are exceptional. They show different personalities which make them unique. Mrs. Whatsit is more negative, unlike Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), who is wise and uses quotes from famous people to relay her messages. Mrs. Whatsit is more direct and rude, unlike Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) who guides Meg when she is scared or unsure. Lastly, the messages in this movie are very important. They are about embracing your uniqueness, recognizing the importance of love and being brave enough to discover your inner warrior.

One thing I do not like is the pace. In the first act, the pace is slow and that is fine, since it builds up the exposition. However, the final act of the movie feels very rushed and is unsatisfying. I feel the script has some holes in it which made me feel like the movie is missing some important details. This is why I did not really love the film.

Even though this film is not "Pixar great" it still is a good movie to watch with your family. I give it 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to kids ages 7 to 15. Adults might like it as well. I recommend this to people who have read the book or like book adaptations and fantasy movies. A Wrinkle In Time comes out March 9, 2018 in theaters nationwide.

Reviewed by Ryan R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AMERICA'S MUSICAL JOURNEY

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AMERICA'S MUSICAL JOURNEY - MACGILLIVRAY FREEMAN FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - In America's musical cities, musical stories come together to create a soundtrack that showcases the nation's diversity and its collision of cultures, culminating in a unique blend of sound, music and innovation unlike anywhere else in the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - America's Musical Journey is a visually breathtaking, insightful documentary about the power of music and its importance in U.S. history, especially in some of its best-known cities.

America's Musical Journey follows singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc's journey across the U.S.A. as he visits towns and cities important in music's history. We visit places such as Nashville, Memphis, Miami, Chicago and see flash mobs, acrobats, dancing waiters and meet talented musicians along the way. Morgan Freeman narrates the journey and his deep and iconic voice is a perfect fit to accompany this colorful film.

I appreciate that this film shows its audience the music of different time periods. This shows younger audiences how much music has changed in only a couple of decades and should remind older audiences of the powerful legacies of artists like Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong. This film helps keep those artists' spirits alive so that their mark on the music industry never disappears.

My one complaint about this film is that it is too short for all it tries to accomplish. America's Musical Journey introduces a person or location and then immediately moves on, leaving some parts of the film more interconnected than others. In this way, the film can be like one of the jazz pieces described in the film: sometimes all over the place, but always with lots of thought and creativity put into it.

I enjoyed seeing all the various locations larger than life on-screen. I like learning about towns I didn't know about and, even more, about ones I thought I did and how important their imprint on music is. I was especially happy to see my own hometown of Washington D.C. featured in the film in a particularly flashy fashion.

The lesson of this film is that music is an important part of our past and present and, who we are as a country. Music can transport us to different worlds, tell stories and portray realities. Music does this in a way that is different from any other art form and holds a critical role in our culture for a long time.

I recommend this film for ages 3 to 18. It is educational and everyone will get something out of it in one way or another. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK PANTHER

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BLACK PANTHER
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BLACK PANTHER - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - After the events of Captain America: Civil War, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In the latest production from Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), we see the original story of the Black Panther. We were introduced to the Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War. This film depicts the story of King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the Black Panther tribe.

When T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, beautiful and technologically impressive nation of Wakanda, a fictional country in Africa, he is named the new leader following the death of his father. True to custom, he is challenged by the tribesman and becomes the new King.

Elsewhere, a cousin unknown to him returns from the United States to challenge T'Challa's reign, and chaos ensues. Warmonger (Michael B Jordan) and his political beliefs are diabolical and the opposite of T'Challa's. As foes set forth to destroy Wakanda, Black Panther teams up with a C.I.A. agent and a neighboring tribe to prevent the country from a world war. The path from light to dark, and back to doing good in the world beyond Wakanda is refreshing.

The film is pure Marvel action-adventure with a broad political and socially aware feeling. It is awake and unique. It may be a superhero film, yet it is also steeped in real political and social issues similar to those we face today, especially diversity and inclusion. The strong female characters - Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are phenomenal.

I love this film! From the casting, cinematography and directing, to the special effects and female empowerment, it is fulfilling. The action is believable, many of the fight scenes are based on African martial arts, although the CGI at times is a little whack. Overall, I was displaced, forgetting I was sitting in a theater. The costumes are fantastic with attention to detail befitting royalty. Wakanda forever!

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars for the cast, social and political awareness, technology focus and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. I caution younger viewing due to fight scenes which may be disturbing. It opens in theater February 16, 2018 so, check it out!

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Wow! Exciting! Thrilling! I thoroughly enjoyed Black Panther!, Marvel's block buster film with a person of color as its star. The storyline, the fine strong black cast and the visuals are all excellent. The camera work and visual special effects are woven together to create a fantastic movie mosaic.

T'Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his hidden, technologically advanced African home nation of Wakanda to be crowned king. He is threatened by not only internal strife but also outside forces. T'Challa's challenge is to save his people from a world war.

One of my favorite scenes happens when T'Challa, Nakia (Lupito Nyong'O) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) travel to Korea to retrieve a stolen object and its thief Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). We see glamour and a bit of humor when Okoye is irritated by a wig she wears. They have a plan and, as plans often do, it goes astray. They are forced to fight and we see Okoye's wig go flying across the room as she goes into battle.

T'Challa's role model as a king is his father, until he learns of a negative deed. Then he is conflicted with what it means to be a good king. You have to see the film to find out how he resolves this issue.

I love the beautiful scenes with the water falls and forest. The GGI works well. The costumes are beautiful and extremely colorful. You can expect lots of action, violence and a sprinkling of romance.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Many adults will enjoy it also. The film opens in theaters nationwide on February 16, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Juanita S. L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Honestly, this movie is just amazing. There are so many things this movie does incredibly correctly. This might be one of the greatest Superhero movies of all time!

The story is about T'challa, prince of the secluded, incredibly advanced nation of Wakanda, who struggles to defeat an enemy wanting to take his throne. He teams up with some phenomenal females to secure his role as King.

This film is just visually incredible, especially the city of Wakanda. The city looks so amazing. All the buildings and creations are so cool. But that's not all. The designs of the weapons and spaceships look very realistic and straight up awesome! Kudos to the visual effects team! I also loved the Black Panther suit. I love the idea of the suit absorbing hits into stored kinetic energy and using it as a shockwave like blast. The movie starts with a re-telling of the creation of Wakanda, but it was made out of sand. It looked so cool. In general, the aesthetic nature of this movie is just marvelous.

The nation of Wakanda also has a very interesting culture. I like that it blends futuristic technology with a tribal feel, in terms of the fashions, locations and culture. It may seem like an odd blend, but it works well. Even the music reflects this combination. Speaking of which, the music is also fantastic.

The characters in this film are multi-dimensional. I really enjoyed Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and Black Panther himself (Chadwick Boseman). Plus, Sterling K. Brown (one of my favorite actors) is also in it and, while he has a small part, it is a key role. Hands down, the best characters are the female leads. The Future is Female! And there are some cool dudes. This movie has some wonderful female characters that everyone can look up to such as Danai Gurira, who I already love from AMC's The Walking Dead, plays the highly skilled warrior Okoye. Letitia Wright plays T'challa's tech-savvy little sister, Shuri and Lupita Nyong'o plays Nakia. I love these women and I'm sure many young kids will too.

This movie also has very interesting messages. The whole movie presents engaging thoughts on whether or not you should enter in other nation's affairs and the possible consequences of doing so. This is a pretty intriguing and well done storyline. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It opens in theaters February 16, 2018 so go check it out!

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

Black Panther is a stunning first solo outing for its title character that wowed me with its strong ensemble cast, inventive visuals and multi-layered story.

Black Panther follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), King of Wakanda, an advanced and highly powerful territory that is disguised as a third-world country. He also protects his nation and its people as a masked vigilante called the Black Panther. After the death of his father, T'Challa is chosen to take the throne and receive the powers of the panther god. Just after his extravagant coronation, a threat finds its way into Wakanda's borders by Erik Killmonger. Killmonger is a fierce and skilled soldier who wishes to replace T'Challa and usher in a new age for the country. T'Challa will be tested and must protect the throne from Killmonger.

My favorite character is Shuri (Letitia Wright), T'Challa's whizkid sister who helps him maintain the mantle of Black Panther and stay one step ahead of the villains he faces. Letitia Wright delivers hilarious one-liners with near perfect timing. She nails the rapport between Shuri and her brother, interacting in a way that is both believable and develops both their characters.

An outstanding performance in this film comes from Michael B. Jordan who is brilliant as Killmonger. He abandons the genre's usual vague "destroy-the-world" motivation and creates a genuinely complicated character. Jordan has cutthroat moments that make you dread his presence, but his sinister manner is evened out by moments where you come to sympathize with his character.

The deep, emotional part of the film's story is unexpected and caught me by surprise. It is an important moment for the main character and what drives his actions for the rest of the film. Sometimes, these comic-book heroes make poor decisions and have to fight against their own demons as well as the bad guys. This has been done before in both comics and film, but here we really see T'Challa change through his experiences.

I recommend this film to ages 12 to 18. There is some action and violence with spears and swords that feels more violent than what I'm used to from comic book films. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. This opens in theaters February 16, 2018 so, be sure to check it out. Black Panther is easily one of the greatest comic-book films I've seen. Period.

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

This movie surprised me because it was more violent than I had anticipated. Director and writer Ryan Coogler drives the remarkable story of Black Panther in an exciting and action-packed way. One of the beginning scenes shows Black Panther challenged by a rival tribe that attempts to kill him, but fails. The scene takes place on top of a waterfall, which gives you an idea of just how many things Coogler had to deal with to choreograph the fighting for that scene.

Black Panther is about a young boy, T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) that becomes King of Wakanda after his father dies in an explosion. When T'Challa takes the throne, he and his people find out that someone stole a weapon made with the precious metal vibranium from a museum. They embark on a mission to find the weapon and its thieves. A character named Klaw (Andy Serkis) intends to sell the weapon. T'Challa's cousin Erik (Michael B. Jordan) also aided in stealing the weapon because Erik seeks revenge for T'Challa's father killing his dad. Without giving away the plot, Wakanda is threatened and, with the help of T'Challa aka Black Panther and his team, they fight to keep their nation alive.

What really stands out are the transitions from scene to scene because ach one is so unique. The soundtrack is unbelievably effective, fittin the movie perfectly with each song at the right place at the right time. I was surprised to find that Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) playing W'Kabi. This movie also includes some humor. My favorite character is Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) because he plays a really good guy.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Black Panther at a theater opens in theaters February 16, 2018, so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Lucia F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOVE, SIMON

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LOVE, SIMON - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it's a little more complicated. He hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay, and he doesn't know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he's fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm not the typical 14-year-old girl. I am not a big fan of love stories. I find them very clich� and not that enjoyable to watch. This movie is an exception! I actually really like the romance in this movie.

This film is about a closeted gay teen named Simon (Nick Robinson) who, after learning about another gay kid on a school website, begins to search for him while also figuring out how to come out.

The most important aspect of this movie is, of course, the fact that this is a gay love story. I feel like this movie handles the whole thing very well and very respectfully. It's a very positive and inspirational film. But it's also a gay love story in mainstream media. This is not an Indie film. It is a story about LGBT love that is in wide release. I believe this movie makes a very big step in normalizing LGBT characters in mainstream media, made specifically for teens.

But this movie isn't just amazing for that. I love this story in general. It's kind of a mystery and comedy with a little touch of love. Who is Blue? You really get into the mystery. I remember tensing up and whispering to myself whenever I was scared for the characters. I became so invested in them and hoped it was the person I wanted it to be. It is also about friendship and how fragile our friendships can be and how we use and treat people.

The characters boil down to one trait as their whole personality, but I still liked them. I would have liked to see more depth in Simon's friend circle. I like Abby's (Alexandra Shipp) character the most. She's Simon's newest friend who has just moved from D.C. and it seems like every guy is interested in her. But she is not the typical "hot teen, mean girl," she is kind. Simon, of course, is a total show stealer. Not surprising at all, Simon is a charming character who you wish you were best friends with too. You just want him to find Blue so he can be happy because, as the movie posters say, "Everyone deserves a great Love Story."

My only issues with this movie come down to how weird the theatre teacher and the vice principal are. They are a little over the top. While I liked Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell), she swore at students (which isn't allowed), even though they deserved it. And, it felt as if the vice principal (Tony Hale) clearly wanted to be seen as cool, but he ends up being way too invested in people's love lives.

All in all, I love this romantic comedy and give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It comes out March 16, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
EARLY MAN

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EARLY MAN
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EARLY MAN - LIONSGATE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Set at the dawn of time, when prehistoric creatures and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, Early Man tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they unite his tribe against a mighty enemy Lord Nooth and his Bronze Age City to save their home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This fantastic, animated film from Nick Park and Aardman Animations had me laughing the entire time. Hands down, it is the best movie I have seen this year. With a unique storyline, exquisite action scenes and a rollercoaster of events, your eyes don't want to leave the screen.

Set in the Stone Age, when cavemen and wooly mammoths inhabited the Earth, Chief Bonbar and his tribe are driven out of their homeland by a Bronze Age army, led by Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston). Lord Nooth claims the Stone Age is over, and Chief Bonbar's (Timothy Spall) tribe is forced to remain in the volcanic badlands outside of the new city. A young caveman named Dug (Eddie Redmayne) tries to attack, but is knocked into a basket heading to the city. He tries to hide, but ends up being mistaken for a football player. When Dug and Lord Nooth finally meet, they make a deal: If Chief Bonbar's tribe beats Lord Nooth's team in a game of football, then the cavemen can have their valley back.

Dug looks at every situation with optimism. He cares about his tribe and will do absolutely anything for them. Even though he knows he could lose his valley, he constantly perseveres and doesn't think about giving up. Hognob (Nick Park) is the funniest character in the film. He is Dug's pet boar and, although he has no dialogue, he makes the weirdest noises. Hognob is so adorable that I want a pet boar now. The relationship Hognob and Dug share is loving and reminds me of the relationship I have with my pets.

The animation is ingenious, because each character is unconventional. With crooked teeth, messy hair and big eyes, these characters are ones you haven't seen before. My eyes were peeled the entire time, because I couldn't stop admiring the unique animation. My favorite part is when Dug tries to steal some balls from the Bronze Age city. Hognob distracts Lord Nooth and has to play the harp for him, while he takes a bath. Hognob tries to sing and play the harp, but it sounds so terrible that it makes you laugh.

The message of this film is to never give up under any circumstances. Don't ever feel intimidated by somebody, because with teamwork and optimism, you can accomplish absolutely anything. Appreciate your differences and remember that nobody can bring you down.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because I have never laughed so hard while watching a film. I recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, and adults would enjoy it too. It is perfect to watch with your family and friends, because it will put a huge smile on your face and show you how important it is to follow your heart.

Catch this film in theaters nationwide on February 16, 2018. Find out what it means to be an early man.

Reviewed by Samantha M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PETER RABBIT

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PETER RABBIT - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching Peter Rabbit, based on the classic book by Beatrix Potter. It is a wonderful combination of CGI and live action, telling a modern, funny version of the story of a rebellious Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit (James Corden) along with his sisters, Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) continue their family quest of sneaking into Mr. McGregor's (Domhnall Gleeson) vegetable garden.

One of my favorite scenes happens in the beginning when Peter Rabbit assigns roles, based on each rabbit's talent, to attack Mr. McGregor's garden. There's a lookout person to let Peter know Mr. McGregor's location in the garden and one rabbit serves as the catcher for the vegetables as they are harvested. It is very funny!

The animated characters are excellent. The rabbits look so real. You can see their hair moving in the wind and they have wonderful human-like actions. Bea (Rose Byrne) shows portrays a neighbor who believes that nature and humans can live together. She is the protector of Peter Rabbit and his sisters.

The story and the characters demonstrate a range of different emotions from both the humans and the rabbits. Mr. McGregor decides he must find a way to keep the rabbits out of his garden and resorts installing an electric fence. He does not foresee Peter Rabbit outsmarting him and using electricity against him. That is a hilarious scene and, if you want to know the outcome, you will have to see it yourself.

The visuals and music are funny and work well together. There are elements of mild violence, romance and a bit of rude humor. Kids will probably enjoy the funny animal characters. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Many adults will enjoy it also. The film opens in theaters nationwide on February 9, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Peter Rabbit is one of my favorite kid's movie of the year so far. It's an adorable film that is perfect for the whole family. I love this film because of the acting and CGI.

Peter Rabbit follows Peter Rabbit, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton Tail and Benji as they get into mischief by taking vegetables from the garden next door. They take the vegetables from Mr. McGregor who tries desperately to get them out of their garden by using explosives and even an electric fence. The rabbits hang out with loveable characters like Bea. She helps the rabbits by giving them shelter when it rains and helps them get food.

Throughout the movie, we see great acting from all the actors and voice actors in the film. I love how Domhnall Gleeson acts like a soulless man with the rabbits who he is trying to kill, but with Bea, he acts like in he's love. I found that Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) really does seem to be in love with Bea. I also like how the voice actors portray the rabbits. Each one of them has a personality that is well portrayed in their voices and actions. For example, Cotton Tail is a memorable character because of how wild and reckless she is. The way Daisy Ridley voices her shows how wild she can be.

The CGI in this film is extraordinary. The animals look so realistic. If you really focus on the rabbits, you can see the individual hairs on them. You can also see it on the pig character that hangs out with the rabbits. During a fight sequence with Peter and Mr. McGregor, they actually look like they are fighting and not like he is fighting a fake bunny.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 7 to 12. This movie comes out on Friday, February 9, 2018 so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Carla P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Adorable, humorous, charming and a heartwarming tale just in time for Easter and spring! You will be hopping as fast as you can to catch up with the rabbits and all the other animals that are, once again, calculating how to get into Mr. McGregor's Garden.

Peter Rabbit is based on the books by Beatrix Potter. Beatrix Potter lived from 1866 to 1943 and is one of the best-loved children's authors. She wrote and illustrated 28 books and each one has been translated into more than 35 languages. They have sold over 100 million copies. This is important because one of the main goals for the director and the cast was to stay true to her vision.

The beauty of this film is that the rabbits all look as if you could touch them because the animation is so life like. The scenes with the garden and house look like places that I would enjoy living because they look like a fairytale that came alive. Of course, if you don't share your vegetables your life will not be enjoyable.

The moral of the film is about getting along with others, telling the truth and being honest. Everyone makes mistakes and we need to find a way to fix them.

Thump, click, crack, snap, thud - all these noises, plus thousands of other sounds effects add to the humor of this film. The music is outstanding. I cannot wait to purchase the soundtrack. There is a combination of movie symphony music, sounds from the 80s, new original songs and a plethora of songs and sounds that will put a smile on your face.

Reviewed by Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE

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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 - This science fiction film grabbed my attention starting at the beginning because of its very interesting plot and fascinating storyline. I was riveted to see what would happen at the end. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen because of the combination of topics that I love seeing in movies - the action scenes, the various unpredictable events, character's journeys, sentimental scenes. Since all of those points drew me in, I wanted to finally find out what would be the outcome of the movie. I was excitedly waiting for this movie to come out since it is the third film in the Maze Runner series. I watched the previous films when I found out about this sequel and was counting the days for this one to finally arrive.

The storyline follows Thomas leading some Gladers on their most dangerous mission yet, which could change everything. To save their friends, they must break into the Last City, a controlled labyrinth that could be the deadliest adventure yet. Anyone who makes it out alive and in good state will get answers to the questions that the Gladers have been asking since their arrival in the maze.

My favorite scene is when Brenda is helping a group of kids escape from the Last City and saving them from being in a critical situation. I love this scene because she is hiding in a bus with all the kids, waiting for the officers to leave so she can run away. But, the second she starts the bus, all the officers notice and start chasing her. Eventually, she finds herself trapped in a situation where she is surrounded and it seemed as if there is no way out. She steps down from the bus and confronts the officers, which seems like a stupid choice. Then, something happens which is completely a surprise. The solution is surprising and impressively successful. I love how intelligent and practical the creators and writers of this film are in making this and other scenes with unpredictable solutions possible. Once again, they leave me with my mouth open. I was so shocked that they were so logical in figuring out a solution that I couldn't.

The important message in this film is to always stay positive when looking at a situation. Sometimes the impossible has another way to solve it. In this film, the characters experience extremely difficult problems and situation. What sets them apart is that they never give up.

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 as well as adults and rate it 5 out of 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 26, 2018 so go check it out. Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
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

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is an action-packed thrill ride and the final chapter in the Maze Runner franchise. Although it never quite escapes the burden of underdeveloped storytelling, loyal fans of the franchise will wish to see how the saga is brought to a close.

In this final chapter, Thomas is going to the main headquarters of WKCD - the organization that has imprisoned kids immune to a virus wiping out humanity - to discover the truth behind its practices and save his friends. He will need to work with his fair share of friends and enemies to bring WCKD's wrath to an end. You will be lost if you haven't seen the first two films or read the books. The Death Cure picks up right where the first two left off with no recap.

My favorite part of this film is the opening action sequence, an intense rescue mission from a speeding train. All the characters are brought back in good ways and the action feels amusing and sometimes highly absurd, but still entertaining. This scene represents exactly what I was expecting and hoping for from this film: a fun action adventure film that would be an enjoyable way to spend two hours.

After an exciting start, the film's pace starts to falter. The Maze Runner: The Death Cure has many of the components to craft a solid finish to this tale: a likable cast of characters, some surprising twists and dazzling stunts. It has good action scenes, but they begin to blur together with little furthering of the plot or character development along the way. My favorite characters in the first two films felt like faces in the crowd. For example, Newt had brought levity to the generally dreary plot of these films. Here, he is left to brood like his fellow teens. The Maze Runner: The Death Cure introduces too many new characters and subplots to cleanly close out these films and seems to rely on explosions to tell a story more than a well-crafted plot and dialogue.

I recommend this one for ages 13 to 18 for some gross imagery and brief violent moments, as well as some moments of peril. I give it 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it mostly to the Maze Runner diehards. It arrives in theatres January 26, 2018 so put it on your calendar. Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY

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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

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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
COMMUTER, THE

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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

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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

In a time of political discourse, The Post's release date arrives not one day too soon. As I sat in the theater, I could not help but compare Nixon's secret White House to today's events and the question of who is controlling the press. While the film uncovers decades of Presidents, four to be exact, who were not always honest with the American people, mainly as related to the Viet Nam War. In today's terms, the film presents leadership who defined what is now referred to as 'fake news.'

The crux of this film and the conflict throughout is defending a constitutional right, freedom of the press. Director Stephen Spielberg masterfully presents this film which focuses on the Washington Post's editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) as they defy the Nixon administration to publish classified Pentagon Papers, revealing the government's lies about the war in Vietnam.

Following the suicide of her husband, Mrs. Graham is thrust into leading her company in the 1970s when women were not in leadership roles. I gasped when Mrs. Graham was not heard, time and time again. The words are spoken and not heard. Men in her circles preferred she "throw parties," rather than ring the bell on Wall Street as her company went public. My favorite line delivered by Graham, "This is no longer my father's company; it's no longer my husband's company; it is my company."

Ben Bradlee, on the other hand, is played as larger than life, cocky and driven. The only time his feathers are ruffled occurs when he is told he cannot handpick a reporter to cover Julie Nixon's wedding.

In the 70s, The Washington Post was a local paper. It was the actions of the newsroom, and consequential alliances built across newsrooms internationally, which brought this paper, and the employees who covertly worked to defy the government's admonishments, to become an international leader.

The fervor of the newsroom is electric. Active news desks buzz and the energy is palpable. At times, Spielberg guides us to the Washington he wants us to see. The film is fast-paced and opens with historical context focused on Nixon's predecessors who also hid facts about Vietnam from the American people. When Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) openly lies to the press near the beginning of the film, the stage is set for lies affecting lives, which is presented as news.

While I appreciate Stephen Spielberg's talent, I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for heavy-handed directing. This film is appropriate for mature viewers, 13 to 18 years of age as well as adults, due to themes of suicide, excessive smoking, war, and violence. It opens in select theaters December 22, 2017 and nationwide January 12, 2018. Be sure to put it on your "must see" list.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
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

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
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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:



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FERDINAND
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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:



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