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PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet -- babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children -- much like fires -- are wild and unpredictable.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny. Playing with Fire is a 96 minutes filled with shenanigans. John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.

This movie is about four smoke jumpers played by John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, Tyler Mane and John Leguizamo, who save three kids from a cabin on fire. The three children are siblings and two of them, Will and Zoe, are under the age of 10. Their older sister Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand, X-Men) is taking care of them. The smoke jumpers bring the kids to their depot until their parents can come to get them. The kids constantly mess with all the equipment at the fire depot, which distracts the smoke jumpers from doing their jobs.

The storyline includes comedy and sometimes sad moments. The visuals are perfect. The fire scenes looks real. The child actors are great at portraying their characters. My favorite scene is when Will is feeding peanut butter to the smoke jumpers' dog and he accidentally spreads it on the firefighter truck. Will drops the industrial soap and takes the fire fighter hose to clean the mess and the truck makes lots of foam.

The moral of this film is that family fulfills your life, in addition to working hard to accomplish your professional goals. Jake's (John Cena) priority is his career. He works hard to achieve and accomplish his title in the firefighter department and forgets to have fun or remember that there are people around him that love him.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18 and adults can enjoy it too! Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019. On Digital January 21, 2020; Blu-ray� Combo Pack Arrives February 4, 2020

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, are 11

Playing With Fire is one of the greatest family movies I have ever seen! It is a family-friendly, feel-good movie with an important message - family is the most important thing to help you keep going. There is a lot of comedy in this movie that makes the audience laugh out loud.

The story line is both adventurous and exciting. There is lots of action, but it is not violent. The characters are super funny and the acting is phenomenal! If I had to recommend any film to watch with friends and family, it would be this one. Some parts are sad, but there is also plenty of action and comedy to keep the audience engaged.

Playing With Fire is about four smoke jumpers, which is an elite team of fire fighters. Jack and his friends are specially trained to jump into dangerous wildfires, so they can rescue people and fight fires. Their lives are perfect, until they find three kids trapped in a fire and this special group of men is forced to hang onto them until they can find their parents. Until then, they have to fight fires and take care of the kids. What could go wrong?

The cast in this film is amazing! The casting director, Rich Delia, not only picked some big names to be in this film, but also found some talented new-comers. The whole cast portrays their characters really well and they are hilarious too! Superintendent Jack Carson, head of the smoke jumpers, is played by John Cena, a well-known actor and WWE wrestler. Keegan- Michel Key, a famous comedian, plays Lieutenant Mark, a friend of the Superintendent and another smoke jumper. Jack's soft-hearted friend, Rodrigo, is played by John Leguizamo. Brianna Hildebrand plays Brynn, the oldest of the three kids. This film also has a dog named Masher, that is Jack's fierce firehouse dog. Masher is very well trained and his interaction with the kids is hilarious. Andy Fickman directs the film.

I give Playing With Fire 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019.

Reviewed by Eva W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Playing with Fire is a funny and a fantastic Nickelodeon movie. It has so many funny moments and cool stunts. There is also some scenes that are very emotional. It is very fun and up beat. It is an enjoyable movie for the whole family to watch.

The storyline is about fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters coming to the rescue of three siblings and realizing that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet--babysitting. The three siblings, Brynn (Brianna Hildebrand), Will (Chrisian Convery), and Zoe (Finley Rose Slater) cause trouble all over the fire depot and are uncontrollable, much like fires. There are lots of hilarious moments that everyone will laugh at, and sad moments where you might cry.

The cast of Playing with Fire, especially John Cena, Keegan Micheal Key, John Leguizamo, and Brianna Hildebrand, elevates the film and makes it amazing. They all put there own little twist on there character and it is really cool how they performed all of their stunts. The cinematography and special effects is fantastic as well. The director, Andy Fickman, did an outstanding job directing everything and everyone. The screenwriter, Dan Ewen, also wrote a funny and a great script.

The message of this movie is that family and friends are important. When someone needs some help, they try to help them like a family. The firefighters have to treat the siblings like they're their kids and teach them what and what not to do. All of them have to stay together for a little while and start to grow on each other.

I would recommend this movie for ages 6 to 12 (adults might like it too). Younger audiences would find it more fun and exciting than teenagers would. I give this movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019, so go watch it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Playing with Fire is a super-duper good movie. I like it because it shows the difference between only caring for yourself and caring for others. I also love how it shows all the crazy things that kids can get into at a fire station, when left alone. Originally, I didn't understand the title, Playing with Fire, because, even though the firefighters rescue people from fires, they don't "play with fires" at all in the movie. When I thought about the phrase "playing with fire" and what it means, it made more sense.

Playing with Fire is about a team of specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers led by Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson (John Cena), who saves three kids from a burning log cabin using a helicopter. Since he and his crew are unable to safely deliver the kids to their parents due to stormy weather, they take the kids back to the fire station until their parents return. In addition to taking care of the kids, Jake is also trying to get a promotion. He tries to find time to apply for this promotion while the kids are "playing with fire" or getting into all types of trouble at the fire station.

The protagonist is Superintendent Jake "Supe" Carson. The movie takes place at the smokejumpers' base in Redding, CA. My favorite part is when the young boy Will (Christian Convery) accidentally spills cleaning powder in the room where Jake's truck is stored and he tries cleaning it up with water from a hose. The room is filled with all these bubbles and he is flying around the room with the water hose. One weird part is when "Supe" first drops from the helicopter to save the kids; he doesn't have on the typical safety equipment that firefighters wear to help them breathe. He and the kids have an entire conversation in the middle of a burning log cabin and everyone is breathing fine in the smoke-filled room.

The message in the movie is that everyone has a soft side and it's okay to show it. It's okay to let your guard down and let people into your world. You never know what you could be missing out on in life if you don't. Some things adults should look out for are characters accidentally drinking lighter fluid and scenes where John Cena is shown shirtless or in the shower.

Playing with Fire is fired up with plenty of fun and laughs so I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may not enjoy the film as much, especially since most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. Playing with Fire comes out in theaters on November 8, 2019. Look for it. It's a fun family movie.

Reviewed by Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


QUEZON'S GAME

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEZON'S GAME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on a true story of Holocaust heroism during World War II in the Philippines by Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon--who rescued as many persecuted Jews as Oskar Schindler at a time when most countries were turning their backs--the release of Quezon's Game also marks the landmark 75th anniversary on Jan. 27 of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi's most-notorious concentration camp. Once forgotten to history, the incredible tale of what just one man can accomplish when defeat isn't an option ... a miraculous feat of human triumph. Starring Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, and James Paolelli and Kate Alejandrino. Directed by Matthew Rosen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is incredible. It really is a great expression of Manuel Quezon's heroism in the time of World War II. The characters are so physically and emotionally involved with the events that take place. Since this is a huge part of the true story, it really helps the audience discover the brutal reality of this situation and how the Holocaust affected so many innocent people. These unparalleled features in this film make it an educational and moving experience.

Quezon's Game is about the president of The Philippines (his term ran from 1935 to 1944) and an important telegram that is passed on to an American ambassador by several officials. The telegram, sent from Austria by a Chinese ambassador, says that there are Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Quezon comes across this and is determined to take action after being urged by his wife and an ambassador, Alex, who he works with.

Some of the lead characters are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters and the events of the story are based on true events, which is crucial, and the cast portrays them remarkably well. They really shine throughout the entire film. My favorite part is when Manuel, his allies and political advisors reach their goal of being able to transport the refugees from Europe to the Philippines. The victory is very emotional for everyone and Manuel, along with those working with him, are happy to welcome the people to the Philippines, their new home.

The message of this film is that if you fight for what you believe in, work hard and are determined, you will eventually reach your goal. The film, sets and emotionally-moving reality go hand in hand and make Quezon's Game one of the most memorable, true story-based movies I have ever seen. This movie definitely calls me to action with its powerful message.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. You can find Quezon's Game in theaters beginning January 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Ruby L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Quezon's Game, directed by Matthew Rosen, is an incredible and triumphant depiction of true life events that is a delight to watch play out onscreen. The film captures the beauty of the Philippines showing amazing landscapes and bright colors. The filmmakers show a persistent, noble, and accurate version of Quezon through the actor Raymond Bagatsing who dramatically captures the spirit of the iconic leader. In Quezon's Game, the acting is wonderful, the production is gorgeous, and the plot is intriguing and riveting. This is a very well made film.

Quezon's Game details the true story about the journey that Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippines, takes in order to help Alex Frieder bring Jewish refugees into the country in order to flee the impending doom of the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Quezon's health is deteriorating and his marriage suffers trials and tribulations. The film depicts a young President Eisenhower and diplomat Paul McNutt helping Frieder and Quezon. The actions taken by Quezon and his team, along with encouragement and help from his wife and his daughter, are moral, tenacious, and beyond heroic.

Quezon's Game is an extraordinary story, one that brought my mother and I to tears multiple times throughout watching it. I don't necessarily cry that often during movies, but Quezon's Game is so powerful and poignant, I couldn't help but shed more than a few tears. I am incredibly impressed with the high production value and gorgeous setting. It must have been such a joy to film on such a magnificent set. The acting is also high caliber as all the actors go above and beyond to embody their characters. The writing and the plot are intense and I was highly interested throughout the entire film. It is fast-paced, stimulating and easy to follow. It is emotional and astonishing. In addition to being a fantastic film, Quezon's Game promotes righteous morals and exceptionally positive messages. Quezon always perseveres through his challenges and does what's right. He puts the needs of others before himself and truly does heroic work. He never gives up and fights for the cause.

Quezon's Game is an incredible and inspiring film, one that I will remember for a long time. The acting is phenomenal, the setting is wonderful, the production values are high, and the plot is intriguing. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 due to some difficult themes and jarring images. Quezon's Game opens in theatres January 24, 2020. Be sure to see it!

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Quezon's Game is a beautiful movie that is based on true events. This movie has great music and acting, lots of drama and emotion. There are also some scenes that made me cry. This movie taught me a lot about what happened behind the scenes during World War II. My only complaint with this movie is that when they speak Filipino, there are Spanish words included. I'm not sure if that is accurate or if it is a mistake, but being Latino, it caught my attention.

The storyline follows Philippine President Manuel Quezon, in 1938, trying to save as many Jewish refugees as he can from Hitler and the Nazis before the Holocaust. President Quezon is fighting a personal relapse of tuberculosis at the same time. There are other historical figures of note such as future U.S. President Dwayne Eisenhower. This story is not very well known. It is certainly the first time I hears about it. Quezon's Game teaches about an aspect of history you might never learn in school.

The acting in Quezon's Game is fantastic. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, gives a heart stopping performance that captures every essence of the actual person. There is so much emotion and effort put into his performance. It is cool how much Raymond Bagatsing looks a little bit like the real Manuel Quezon. This movie has gorgeous scenery that makes you feel like this was actually filmed in the 1930s.

The message of this movie is to keep trying, no matter what problems come your way. It shows how Quezon goes through so much trouble and problems, yet doesn't give up on bringing the Jewish refugees to the Philippines. You should know that there is some mild profanity and it deals with difficult themes.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. This movie hits theaters January 24, 2020 so go watch, you won't regret it.

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age

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


TROOP ZERO

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TROOP ZERO       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - In rural 1977 Georgia, a misfit girl dreams of life in outer space. When a competition offers her a chance to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, she recruits a makeshift troop of Birdie Scouts, forging friendships that last a lifetime.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is a combination of comedy, drama, diversity and great casting, especially the children actors. This film is an Amazon Prime original and has a duration of 1 hour and 37 minutes.

Troop Zero timeline is the late 70's and the storyline is about a young girl named Christmas (McKenna Grace) who's obsessed with outer space, aliens and planets. She finds out there is a competition that offers her to be recorded on NASA's Golden Record, but in order to compete she needs to belong to a Girl's Scout troop. She recruits four challenging kids and asks her father's (Jim Gaffigan) co-worker, Mrs. Rayleen (Viola Davis), to be her Troop Mom. The five children go through tough and exciting experiences in order to earn their badges to enter the NASA's competition. During their journey, all five children create a strong bond and friendship.

My favorite part is when Christmas starts recruiting kids to belong to her troop. Troop Zero has amazing actors such as Award Winner Viola Davis, Jim Gaffigan, Allison Janney and McKenna Grace from The Haunting of Hill House. Charlie Shotwell, who portrays Joseph, Christmas' best friend, pulls off an amazing performance as a feminine boy. I am happy to see Johanna Colon (internet dancing sensation) play Smash, in this movie. She's great! The scenery and costumes are typical 70s style, including the hairstyles. The story line is bit slow in the beginning, but later it gets interesting. You will experience laughter, sadness and tears of joy with this movie.

The moral of this film is to have a child's heart when it comes to choosing your friends or recruiting a team. Christmas does not discriminate against skin color, gender identity, religion or personalities when it comes to recruiting her troop and becomes friends with all four of them because she sees their hearts, not what society considers flaws.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars because the beginning is rather slow. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Older adults might enjoy this movie as well. Troop Zero is available on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


DOLITTLE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOLITTLE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Dr. John Dolittle lives in solitude behind the high walls of his lush manor in 19th-century England. His only companionship comes from an array of exotic animals that he speaks to on a daily basis. But when young Queen Victoria becomes gravely ill, the eccentric doctor and his furry friends embark on an epic adventure to a mythical island to find the cure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wow! The long anticipation of Dolittle is well worth the wait! A big two thumbs up for director Stephen Gaghan, for knocking this action-packed, comical, fun-loving film out of the ball park! The film, although perhaps a little lengthier for younger kids, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats while they take in all the adventure, suspense, laughs and emotion that this film offers. I left the theater with an appreciation of the quote, "It's truly by helping others that you can help yourself!"

The film follows the life of quirky veterinarian Dr. John Dolittle, of Victorian England, who has a sure connection with animals. Dr. Dolittle becomes reclusive, hiding behind the walls of Dolittle Mansion following the death of his beloved wife Lily. His only companions since her death are his furred and feathered friends that the animation department has excelled in giving anthropomorphic qualities to. Dolittle is quite content with his lifestyle, void of humans, until he has to make a decision when the very ill Queen of England calls on him to help save her from sickness. Dr. Dolittle appears to be the only person able to bring the Queen the secret antidote to reverse the symptoms of her sudden illness. The doctor, along with his humorous animal crew and new young, self-appointed assistant, set sail in search of the cure which will save the Queen from dying. They encounter several obstacles while on their journey, which adds to the suspense, adventure and comedy of the film.

The star of film, Robert Downey Jr. as Dr. Dolittle plays his role well. He also is one of the film's executive producers. Hats off to the very lengthy list of animators who bring Dolittle's friends to life and make us laugh at each of their personalities. The animatronics are by far my favorite part of this movie. It was also super fun to try to identify the many voices behind Dr. Dolittle's menagerie. I especially love the voice of Craig Robinson who plays Kevin, the squirrel with an attitude. The locations also deserve mentioning. Landscapes are lush, bright and so captivating, which adds such so much to this film.

The message in Dolittle is all about relationships. You have to have a sense of imagination to appreciate the connection between Dr. Dolittle and his animal friends, but the message is clear that no matter how diversified living things are, we can find a way to connect, communicate and appreciate one another. The film writers gathered together a variety of different characters that show that no matter what their limitations, they can interact with each other and build heartwarming friendships. This film allows us to open up our minds about differences and promotes positive interactions.

I give Dolittle 5 out of 5 stars and, if I could rate it higher, I would! I recommend it to ages 5 to 18. Dolittle is the perfect family film and adults will love it as much as kids. Dolittle opens January 17, 2020 in theaters. This is a film that you do not want to miss...mark your calendars!

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 9

What a terrific movie! The dialogue among the characters is so much fun and the cinematography, costumes and visual effects are so beautiful and well done.

Dolittle takes a new spin on the infamous tale of Dr. Dolittle, who is of course the doctor that speaks to animals. The story begins at Dolittle Manner, which is an estate provided to him by the Queen of England for serving as her veterinarian. Dolittle Manner is a sanctuary open to all animals until his wife passes away on an adventure and Dr. Dolittle closes it and isolates himself from people. As the Queen falls ill, Dr. Dolittle is convinced to go on an adventure to find a cure to help save the Queen before it's too late!

The movie trailer does not do this movie justice as I was not overly excited to see movie before going to the screening. My feelings changed greatly after I watched the movie. The writing is very clever with the dialogue for the animals. Everything they say is witty and playful. I also love that the animal characters aren't stereotypical, as they all need a lit bit of fixing. There are some magnificent actors in Dolittle, such as Robert Downey Jr. (as Dr. Dolittle), Harry Collett (as Stubbins, Dr. Dolittle's self-appointed apprentice), Emma Thompson (as the parrot Polly and Dr. Dolittle's advisor), Rami Malek (as the funny gorilla Chee-Chee), Octavia Spencer (as the enthusiastic duck Dab-Dab), Tom Holland (as the sight-challenged dog Jip), Craig Robinson (as the wise-cracking squirrel Kevin) and Selena Gomez (as the giraffe Betsy). My favorite character is Kevin since he made me laugh the most.

The messages of this movie are about perseverance and the importance of family and friends to help you overcome obstacles. Dolittle has no bad language, but it does have some mild violence and action scenes, primarily among the animals. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14. Adults will also like this movie. This movie opens in theaters January 17, 2020. Check it out.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Dolittle is a roaring, barking and chirping fantasy adventure story with great humor and special effects. The film has amazing CGI and the animals look completely real. The movie also has very creative dialogue that fits each of the characters very well. The film has very vibrant colors and beautiful landscapes. Unfortunately, even though the film is not very long (an hour and 41 minutes), some scenes seem very slow and the film feels a lot longer than it actually is. The movie is very comedic and has some laugh out loud moments, but sometimes the humor seems a little forced and unfunny.

Dolittle follows the retired Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downy Jr.) after his wife passes away from a ship-wreck. An odd boy named Stubbons (Harry Colltett) seems to have the same animal talking abilities as Doctor Dolittle himself and becomes his apprentice. When the Queen of Buckingham Palace (Jessie Buckley) falls gravely ill, Doctor Dolittle, Stubbons and the rest of the animal gang embark on a journey to attain the cure for the Queen to preserve the land they live on and the animal's sanctuary.

It is difficult to cast people for this kind of film, because we're dealing with lots of animals and I think the casting is amazing! The voice-overs for the animals really make a big difference because they add humor, drama and suspense. The dialogue is very creative and fits each animal very well, making them seem very real. For the most part, the dialogue is very entertaining and creative. However, some lines try to force the humor and come off as not humorous at all. Robert Downy Jr.'s performance is spot on, but his accent seems a little off and inconsistent throughout the film. It seems as if he is trying to be too exotic and it doesn't work.

Dolittle fits the PG rating. It has some action and possibly scary creatures that could be frightening to younger viewers. The message of the film is about helping other people, even when it does not benefit your personally. It also points out that when something gets in your way of reaching your goal, don't give up, figure out a new way to reach that goal. Be creative. Think outside the box.

Dolittle did not soar as high as the parrots do in the film so I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It has amazing visuals and CGI, but forced jokes and slow scenes. I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18. Dolittle opens in theaters January 17, 2020. Look for it.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Unfortunately, Dolittle left me confused because its storyline is all over the place. There are too many plot elements to follow and they do not tie together cohesively in the end. Most of the characters have vague back-stories which are presented in ways that prevent any character from becoming fully developed.

The story follows the grief stricken Doctor Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) who is mourning the death of his wife. He lives alone with his animal friends including Chee-Chee (Rami Malek), a gorilla and Yoshi (John Cena), a polar bear. When the Queen of England (Jessie Buckley) falls ill, she calls upon Dolittle for help. To save the Queen, he must embark on a perilous journey to find a mythical healing fruit.

Robert Downey Jr. has the quirkiness and personality to play an eccentric individual like Dolittle. However, his potential is overshadowed by his perplexing accent which feels forced and thus, his voice does not match his emotions or actions very well. Rami Malek plays my favorite character, Chee-Chee, and gives him a sweet, loveable personality. Unfortunately, due to the excess of poorly developed characters, Chee-Chee's character arch seems irrelevant even though he is one of the better characters.

The graphics are well done in some aspects but not in others. The gorilla, polar bear and the parrot all look realistic and have features that add to their cuteness. Other animals such as the dragonfly and the ostrich do not look realistic, which disrupts the mood, making it cartoonish, and contributing to the chaos I felt when viewing the film. Moreover, the graphics in exciting scenes, such as those that take place on the ships, are noticeably done in CGI and thus the realistic aspect is not achieved.

The saving grace is the creative incorporation of the animals. I enjoyed the scenes where Dolittle uses his gift of animal communication to ask for help, whether to solve the mystery of the Queen's illness or to run away from the antagonist.

The message of Dolittle is that the best way to help yourself is to help others. However, this message is stated by the narrator at the end and is otherwise loosely relevant to what happens throughout the film. I give Dolittle 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Check out Dolittle when it opens in theatres January 17, 2020.

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Dolittle does little in terms of original storytelling, but this reboot offers colorful ambiance and magical performances. Anyone interested in big budget family entertainers is sure to get their money's worth on a matinee.

The reimagining of the Dr. Dolittle franchise follows the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.), famed English doctor and veterinarian, who hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his collection of exotic animals for company. When the young queen (Jessie Buckley) falls ill, her daughter Rose (Carmel Laniado) asks a reluctant Dolittle to set sail to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his humanity and courage and gaining a young, self-appointed apprentice Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett).

Robert Downey Jr. brings his signature charisma and his posh British accent to fill the energetic void left by January releases. His conversations with his animals are seamless; keep in mind, he's talking to larger-than-life CGI constructions. Regarding the big ensemble cast voicing the animals, they're all great if a little bit reliant on star power. You wouldn't know big list actors are voicing the animals without background research or watching the credits. However, there are a few noteworthy exceptions including Rami Malek's Chichi, a paranoid gorilla, which is greatly characterized and developed. Emma Thompson brings her acerbic demeanor as Poly the parrot. I also enjoyed John Cena and Kumail Nanjiani, as Yoshi and Plimpton, the bickering and bantering polar bear and ostrich that serve as the film's comic relief. Finally, the film has impressive child performances from Harry Collett, who previously acted on Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk and Carmel Laniado, both of whose screen presence holds well alongside Robert Downey Jr.

I enjoyed the special effects as they are truly impressive to look at, even a bit too flashy at times. The director Stephen Gaghan blueprints the film in an honest way. However, his writing is trope-ridden and uninspired, at times hodgepodging rather than creating. Don't expect a developed plot, even if some good messages prevail.

The message of this film is about allowing friends to carry your back as Dolittle realizes his reclusiveness is unhealthy and decides to be better. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters January 17, 2020, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Dolittle is a great family movie - comedy, drama, adventure and fantasy all together. Not all is perfect in this film, but is definitively engaging for young audiences and totally entertaining.

The Story of Dr. Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts was written in 1920 by Hugh Lofting. In 1998 there was a modern cinema version with Eddie Murphy portraying Dolittle that was a commercial success.

In this re-imagined of the beloved characters by writer/director Stephen Gahan, we meet a grumpy Dr. Dolittle with very messy hair, living with a delightful assortment of animals in his Manor. The movie is set in Victorian England, just like in the original books. In this film, the Queen is very ill and about to pass away. Dr. Dolittle still hasn't recovered from the death of his wife seven previous, despite the efforts of all the animals doing their best to keep him alive. When a young boy tries to save an injured squirrel, he is guided by a colorful parrot (Emma Thompson) to Dolittle's manor. On his way, he meets Lady Rose, a sweet young Lady determined to bring Dr. Dolittle to the palace to help save her mom, the Queen. She manages to convince him and all that arrive at the castle to help. They discover the only way to prevent the Queen's death is to find a cure on a remote Island. They embark on a journey where they will face many dangers to find a magical tree that hopefully will heal her.

The movie starts with a cool animation that explains, not in depth, who Dolittle is and how significant his wife was in her life. Robert Downey Jr. is certainly graceful. He adds personality to a character that definitely lacks development. He is perfectly cast because he has the gravitas to make this film work and connect with the audience. The voice over cast is amazing; you'll enjoy the performances and discovering all the talented actors that bring the animals to life. Among my favorite are John Cena who plays the polar bear, Rami Malek who plays a gorilla with fear issues, Selena Gomez as the giraffe, Tom Holland as the dog and Kumail Nanjiani as the revengeful squirrel who, by the way, is the first actor I ever interviewed.

These characters remind us of the power of team work and the importance of friendship and loyalty. Not only do they all get along well, but they are family. They are also protectors of the man that devoted his life to rescue them. The actors make this movie engaging and bring lots of humor to it. On the technical aspect, a lot is recreated in a well done, not perfect CGI. The costumes are beautiful and the cinematography is colorful and thrilling, showing many eye candy locations.

Dolittle is a fantastic film for the whole family. A few scenes may be a little frightening for kids under age six. The message of this film is that you can accomplish anything and you can face your fears when you work together with friends. I give Dolittle 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 4 to 14. It opens January 17, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


UNDERWATER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
UNDERWATER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A crew of aquatic researchers work to get to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. But the crew has more than the ocean seabed to fear.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is a very thrilling film. It's a mix of drama, comedy and horror. The whole film is filled with jump scares and excitement that kept me on the edge of my seat. Underwater is a 95 minute long movie.

This movie is about a drilling crew that lives in a facility all the way down in the Mariana Trench, which is located in the western Pacific Ocean. The Mariana Trench is one of the deepest part of the ocean, basically like the Grand Canyon but in the ocean. Suddenly the facility suffers a type of earthquake, which the crew thinks has happened. Six survivors go through a difficult journey in order to get to the life pods and survive the catastrophe. It happens that it was not an earthquake that destroyed the facility, it is a kind of sea creature that is too big and powerful for them to defeat.

My favorite part of Underwater is when the crew discovers a new life form. It takes the crew and the audience by surprise. The costumes are very creative. They look like a heavy type of astronaut suit. The graphics are incredible. The underwater scenes look very realistic. A few scenes are too dark to figure out what is going on. There is fowl language, blood and gore - perfect for horror fans. The acting is perfect, especially Kristen Stewart (Nora) who keeps the audience in suspense. Vincent Cassel (the Captain) and T. J. Miller (crew member) are spectacular too.

The moral of this story is to know our limits and respect other living beings' habitats. Humans are very curious to know more or learn more, to the point that we cross the line and trespass other living beings' homes. It's good to have more knowledge, but it is also good to know our limits.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus older adults. People with bad hearts or epilepsy should not watch this movie. Underwater opens in theaters January 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Underwater is under whelming! Despite trying to be scary, the only emotions I felt from this film were frustration and boredom. There is really not much to this movie and, what I do have to say is not good. Also, Underwater is a lack luster title for a movie. It's like calling a movie set in space "In Space."

The story follows a group of underwater researchers as they're attacked by mysterious creatures. That is really it. The story is pretty simple, yet the movie somehow feels super long. Towards the end I was begging for the credits to start rolling. However, that's only where my problems start.

First, the film doesn't establish anything. Barely a minute in, an explosion goes off and suddenly the main conflict is happening. Meanwhile you're confused because you don't know who anyone is, why they're underwater or what their goal is. This is such a huge issue, because when the true danger arrives, you don't care who lives or dies. You are not invested in these characters, so why you should care. The dialogue between the characters is also weak. If I had to guess why the film is like this, I'm going to assume the writers thought it would be scarier to throw you right into the action, but honestly it does the opposite. At first I thought the explosion scene was a dream, not only because it was so ridiculously sudden, but also because Norah, the main character, is just talking about dreaming for no particular reason.

That's my biggest issue, but it's certainly not the only problem. Another major issue is the "horror" in this horror movie. I hope you like jump scares, because that's all you'll get. I don't like jump scares, not just because I'm jumpy, but also they're incredibly cheap. They're like the horror equivalent to tickling someone to make them laugh - it's easy and simple but shouldn't count.

While this could be considered a nitpick, this really bothered me and should be mentioned. When the crew members aren't in these diving suits, they're in nothing but their underwear. There is no reason for this and I don't know why this is the case, other than the obvious excuse. But it's really impractical. The research facility is filled with water, wouldn't it be freezing?

I give this film 1 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Not a great start to the decade. It opens in theaters January 10, 2020.

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

Underwater is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller with a message about our planet. It's basically Alien, but under the sea. There's lots of blood and death and also some funny moments to lighten the mood. Underwater also reminds me a lot of The Meg, another deep-sea monster movie. What it lacks in originality, it mostly makes up through pure entertainment.

When a drilling station deep in the Pacific Ocean is damaged, a handful of survivors attempt a complicated plan that involves walking along the bottom of the ocean to escape pods. They quickly discover they are being hunted by an unknown creature from these unexplored depths.

The action starts very quickly, which makes it hard to care about the characters right away, but eventually there are some moments of character development. My favorite character, Paul (T.J. Miller) provides comic relief. I love how he carries around a stuffed bunny for comfort. I really like when the camera keeps turning to a first person perspective so it appears as if you're looking through one of the character's eyes. The best example of this is when Norah (Kristen Stewart) is looking around and suddenly we see two creepy eyes staring back at us through the darkness. As you would expect from a monster movie, the visual and sound effects are top notch. The lab sets are convincingly realistic and there's some strong acting, especially from Vincent Cassel, who plays the captain.

Parents should watch out for the language and violence in this movie, both of which made me wonder why it's not rated R. I have never before seen a movie where people both implode and explode like the graphic, gross and disturbing deaths in this film. Parents might also want to know that several characters end up running around in their underwear for no particular reason. The message of this film is that when we don't respect our planet, there are consequences. Emily, played by Jessica Hanwick, sums up this moral when she says, "We've drilled too deep. We've taken too much. Now [the ocean's] taking back."

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 17, as well as adults. You can see Underwater in theaters everywhere starting January 10, 2020. Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Underwater is a suspense filled movie that made me jump out of my seat. This movie has action and some scary scenes as well. Also, the sound effects make the jump scares even more shocking. There is a lot of emotion in this movie. The acting is amazing and the special effects are great.

The storyline is about a crew of aquatic researchers trying to get to safety after an earthquake like experience at their underwater laboratory. There is a blood thirsty sea monster they worry about that follows the six surviving workers as they travel through the ocean trenches. They are 5,000 miles from land and seven miles below the ocean surface.

The acting in this movie is very good. Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Norah is excellent. She puts so much effort and emotion in this role. T.J Miller's role as Paul is a wonderfully comedic performance. I really like how he diffuses a serious or depressing scene with a joke. I love how scary the sea monster is and how its made. The cinematography is amazing. The underwater camera shots look so real.

This movie contains some mild profanity and some scary scenes. There are also some intense and gory scenes. It is appropriately rated PG-13.

I recommend this movie for ages 13 to 18 and adults might like it also. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars. You can find this movie in theaters beginning January 10, 2020 so go watch it! Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


SPIES IN DISGUISE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIES IN DISGUISE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Topic - Family
Description - Super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is...not. But when events take an unexpected turn, this unlikely duo is forced to team up for the ultimate mission that will require an almost impossible disguise - transforming Lance into the brave, fierce, majestic...pigeon. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team, or the whole world is in peril.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Spies in Disguise is a slick spy film that mirrors James Bond, but at the same time sticks to its own authenticity. Several of the scenes are adopted from action and spy movies like Skyfall, but I was impressed by the way that they are altered for comedic effect. Despite its silliness at times, Spies in Disguise manages to be entertaining with a perfect blend of emotions.

The story follows the typical conundrum of a framed spy trying to redeem his image. Lance Sterling (Will Smith) is a #1 spy who is beloved by his agency, but when a mission goes terribly wrong, he finds himself the agency's most wanted criminal. With help from a tech specialist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), Sterling learns valuable lessons through his journey for redemption.

The animation and the screenplay are key to making this story intriguing. For instance, every spy film has a car chase and so does this one. Yet, this car chase involves a pigeon controlling the getaway car. It is one of the funniest scenes and, since the animation has a realistic look, the chase is exciting and imaginative, yet not too absurd. Additionally there is impeccable attention to detail. In the same chaotic car scene, there is a slow motion scene where a calculator in the car is tossed upside down to reveal the numbers turning into the word "help."

My favorite part about this film is what makes it unique: its message. Walter Beckett is a kind, nerdy individual who teaches his friend, Sterling, that every fight does not need to be fought with violence because we are all just people who make mistakes. This theme makes the film lovable and differentiates it from any other spy film. Furthermore, the film does not take itself too seriously which actually strengthens the comedy. I found myself giggling most when the film exaggerates the clich�s that are so typical to spy films such as the car chases, trips to exotic places and the slow motion action. Another message of Spies in Disguise is that you do not have to do everything alone.

I give Spies in Disguise 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Please check out Spies in Disguise for a fun adventure when it opens in theatres on Christmas Day, December 25, 2019. By Sahiba Kaur, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Spies in Disguise is a fun-filled, action movie that's not just for the birds! It stars two of the most currently popular and talented actors, Will Smith and Tom Holland, who entertain us from beginning to end.

The animated movie begins with a little bit of background about Walter Beckett, Tom Holland's character, and Agent Lance Sterling, Will Smith's character. Walter Beckett grows up alone and often isolated, despite being a genius and inventor for the C.I.A. He struggles to make friends and is often referred to as "weird." Agent Sterling thinks he has it all, as the best and most respected C.I.A. agent, but he does not work well with others and does not know how to be part of a team. He doesn't even bother remembering his coworkers' names! The two unlikely friends pair up out of necessity and eventually realize how much they need each other.

During the movie, Agent Sterling becomes a pigeon, which is of course, hilarious! Smith's voice-over of Agent Sterling is perfect. He brings his usual suave, debonair qualities that we often see Smith portray in many of his movies. During his time as a pigeon, his outrageous comedic chops brings the theater to laughter. Smith is truly an entertainer.

Even though Smith's performance is hilarious as always, Holland steals the show as the voice of Walter. He brings warmth to the film much like he does with his rendition of Spider Man. Walter is the heart of the movie. He teachers Sterling valuable lessons about how to care about others, work as a team, and make the world a better place. Holland's endearing and lovable voice-over brings the movie together. Instead of it just being a funny action film, the movie becomes a funny, sweet action film.

The message of the film is that you can defeat all by working together as a team. Agent Sterling becomes a better agent and person when he allows Walter to help him, and he learns how to effectively defeat the enemy without violence.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4-18. Adults will love it as well. The family friendly film opens in theaters on December 25, 2019. By Mia Gonzalez, KIDS First! Film Critic, age 9

I love this animated movie! It is action-packed and has a fun soundtrack. Also, the writing is very creative.

Spies in Disguise is about the world's best spy, Lance Sterling, who gets framed for a crime that he didn't commit. So, he turns to a very smart young man, named Walter Beckett, who is the complete opposite of himself to find a gadget to help him. Lance then accidentally drinks an elixir that turns him into a pigeon and now has to save the world as a pigeon, with Walter as his side-kick.

Before Spies in Disguise, I did not think that pigeons were all that smart or even had much of a personality. I learned that pigeons are very under rated. You'll find out how awesome they are when you watch this movie. There are some extraordinary actors in this movie, including Will Smith, Tom Holland, Ben Mendelsohn and Rachel Brosnahan. My favorite part of the movie is the escape scene in their car, because it is the funniest scene of the movie and takes place in slow motion.

The key messages of this movie are to be yourself and to not always fight fire with fire as many times you can solve problems with peace. This movie has no bad language; however, there is some violence with guns and other weapons.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Adults will also like this movie. This movie opens in theaters on December 25, 2019).

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Web Series


JUST MERCY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUST MERCY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Just Mercy is a must-see movie! It tells a great story about how the law treats people based on the color of their skin and how you may not be treated fairly if you are poor. This movie is so inspiring! Just Mercy is the perfect title because the movie helps show how people can have "mercy" for other human beings instead of just punishing them.

Just Mercy is based on defense attorney Bryan Stevenson's memoir of the same title. The film tells stories about cases Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) works on when he first becomes a lawyer. The main story in the movie is about a man named Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) who is an African-American man that is wrongfully sent to jail for a crime he didn't commit and sentenced to die. Stevenson helps McMillian appeal his case. Stevenson also works on other cases for other prisoners that are on death row. Many of the prisoners are not able to afford good lawyers and are unable to fight the law and the "bad" men in the town, so Bryan Stevenson, with the help of his co-worker at his business called The Equal Justice Institute, looks into their cases to help change the court's decisions.

The lead characters are Walter McMillan and his lawyer Bryan Stevenson. They build a great friendship and become more like family than colleagues. All of the actors fully bring their characters to life. One of my favorite parts is when the prisoners show support for each other by banging on the bars of their jail cells with metal cups. It is also a sad part because it usually happens when one of their friends is going to be put to death; however, it shows that the prisoners are all in this together, and it helps the one going to die not feel so alone.

There are different messages in this movie. The message for the prisoners is to never give up hope, but the message for the people making decisions for the prisoners is that it is good to show mercy for people even when the situation looks bad. Some of the things adults should look out for in Just Mercy are foul language and scenes when inmates are put to death. There is also a scene where a character has to remove some of his clothes (not all of them) when he visits the prison.

Just Mercy is an excellent movie that could really help people learn to treat each other as humans. I rate this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Just Mercy opens in theaters January 10, 2020. Make sure you stay for the credits!

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come. The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more as Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron's journey continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle commences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments

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


CATS (2019)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CATS (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cats, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, was one of the longest running Broadway musicals of all time. Now, with the help of director Tom Hooper, Cats has been adapted for the big screen, making the new movie a unique blend of both a musical and a major motion picture. Cats is filled with intriguing characters, dances and songs that are incredibly memorable.

The story begins in a mysterious alleyway when a car drops off a new, innocent yet unwanted cat named Victoria (Francesca Hayward). It is there that she stumbles upon a tribe of stray animals known as the Jellicle Cats. Once a year, the cats gather for their annual Jellicle ball, where they audition to be chosen by the wise leader Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) to go to the "Heavyside Layer", a place that will provide them with the new and better life that each one can only dream of. As they prepare for the life-changing event, Victoria encounters each of the cats that hope to win, such as the hilarious Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) and gluttonous Bustopher Jones (James Corden). Meanwhile, the evil Macavity (Idris Elba) and his partner in crime Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) will do anything to win, even if it means eliminating the competition.

From the beginning, the plot feels rushed and that it needed to be developed more. During the film, the characters constantly switch from different sets and have sudden outbursts of singing and dancing. While these aspects may have worked well on Broadway, it makes some of the scenes feel awkward on the big screen. Because of the rushed plot and lack of dialogue, it is not only difficult to follow what is happening in the movie, but also to sympathize and get to know the characters of Cats and their struggles. Audience members are not given enough time to really take everything in, making the movie a bit overwhelming at certain times. Also, the CGI that was used makes everyone seem to be a strange combination of both human and feline. Depending on the actor or actress, the CGI is either very distracting or more on the subtle side.

In spite of this, everything still feels very whimsical and as though you are being whisked away into the magical world that the Jellicle Cats are a part of. The sets for every scene are each incredibly giant, detailed and unique, adding to the fanciful and imaginative feeling. Although it is hard at times to sympathize with the characters, we get to see a more endearing side of them as the movie progresses. From the Magical Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson), an aspiring magician, to Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), an outcast who seeks acceptance, you can easily see that some of the cats in the film spark emotion. There are also some amazing vocals in the film such as Jennifer Hudson's "Memory" and Taylor Swift's "Macavity: The Mystery Cat".

Overall, while there are some confusing scenes, it is balanced with comedy, singing and dancing. The film also shows the important lesson of learning to accept and be kind towards others, especially cats.

I rate Cats 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 as well as adults. You can see Cats in theaters on Friday, December 20, 2019. By Jordan M., KIDS First! Film Critic, Age 13

This film is a "claw-full fantasy tail" about a tribe of misfits called Jellicle cats. Directed by Tom Hooper, this live-action movie version of the musical Cats tells the story of alley cats that seem to be competing for another kind of afterlife.

The story starts in a big city setting with a sad thing that happens to many helpless animals: A young beautiful cat is abandoned by its owner in a dark alley. Soon she makes "fur-ends" with other cats of all shapes, colors and sizes. All the cats have their own unique personalities. Cats shows the "paw-some" nature of the cats, including the playful, sneaky and mischievous personalities of these human-like creatures. There are a few crazy cat characters, which were my most favorite to watch. They are in a competition for a better life and that is when the cat fight starts. Who will be the next chosen one?

The lead role is Victoria (Francesca Hayward), the abandoned kitty. Taylor Swift also makes an appearance as Bombalurina. Another of my favorites in this film is Bustopher Jones (James Corden). I really like this healthy cat and his funny scenes. My favorite of all is Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson). She is so "hiss-terical" in this role. I love the entire scene from the dancing mice and the army of cochroaches. The scenery colors are really electric, and I like how the set is realistically sized to the scale of the cats. The choreography and costumes are also very intriguing.

The Cats storyline is a little hard to follow, because there is more singing than dialogue. However, the overall meaning comes through, which is about finding your way in a big city, making friends, learning who to trust and letting the right people get what they truly deserve, and being honorable. There is no bad language, and it is very suitable for kids.

I give Cats 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It opened in theaters December 20, 2019 so be sure to check it out.

By Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Everyone get ready to transported to a world where cats rule, dogs drool, and humans are nowhere to be found. The actors are intriguing to watch, because you forget they are human. Their personification of individual cat traits and personalities keeps you glued to the screen. It is fun to watch our favorite stars such as Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and Jennifer Hudson behaving as if they are cats.

Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is a gorgeous dancer and singer. I have never seen a more graceful cat than her. When her journey begins it seems that she is a very scared young kitten, but as time goes on she grows to be a very graceful cat who knows what to do. Since she is such a great singer, she is my favorite character.

Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) is the most magical cat I ever seen and he always has trick up his sleeve. Plus, he is too gosh darn cute to ignore.

The song Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat by Andrew Lloyd Webber is magnificent and too cute to ignore. The cinematography is magnificent and the dancing is outstanding. One of the best moments in Cats is the song sung when Skimbleshanks is tap dancing and turns the whole stage into a railway station.

The graphics are eye candy. Everywhere you look there is something or someone to look at. One time, it's a giant bed the size of three people, another time it's a building in the background, or it might even be the cats themselves. No matter where you look your eyes are never bored and there is always a fun graphic or two or three.

The dancers are stupendous. When they are dancing they act like cats. When performing simple moves they have to land or do the move in a whole new different way. Plus all time they are standing like cats and walking on all fours.

The songs from Cats are all now going onto my fave playlist because they all are so good. Each song is sung by different artist, so we get a glimpse of many different art forms while watching the film. We also see the characters having fun and being themselves.

Cats is based on the award-winning Broadway play and book Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. It is definitely a must see for 2019. People who love song and dance and are animal fans will find it a fascinating and magical experience.

I give Cats 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18 years. Cats comes out in theater nationwide on December 20, 2019 so get tickets right meow.

By Morgan Bertsch, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

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


LITTLE WOMEN (2019)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LITTLE WOMEN (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 9-18
Topic - Family
Description - Writer-director Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) has crafted a Little Women that draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author's alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In Gerwig's take, the beloved story of the March sisters - four young women each determined to live life on her own terms -- is both timeless and timely. Portraying Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth March, the film stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, with Timoth�e Chalamet as their neighbor Laurie, Laura Dern as Marmee, and Meryl Streep as Aunt March
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little Woman (2019) is the eighth film adaptation of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. I really enjoyed this coming of age film, mostly because of the genuine performances, but also how these young women are so powerful, sensitive, smart and gentle. I also think in an era of super heroes, galaxies and futuristic sci-fi films with special effects, this classic story reminds us of the power of good classic literature and simple characters. I read the original book a long time ago, so when I found out the movie was coming out, I was very excited. This adaptation is well done and touching.

This movie is about four sisters in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Jo (Saoirse Ronan), Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen) occasionally get into fights, especially the youngest with the oldest, but they all bond and share a simple life together. They are united, but they have unique and different personalities. The story goes back and forth in time and the time reference in the film is unclear, which makes the story difficult to follow at times.

One the sisters, Jo, is trying to pursuit an art career. She loves to write books and is having trouble actually getting her book published or even come up with some new ideas. The film shows how the sisters interconnect with the book storytelling, while the sisters are trying to figure out their lives and how to deal with all the chaos in their lives. In the film we see them all under the same roof and how their life evolves as adults when they don't live together anymore.

All the performances are very good. I particularly like Eliza Scanlen as Beth who has a fascinating arc. I also love the performance of Timoth�e Chalamet as Theodore "Laurie" Laurencehe who falls in love with Jo but is Beth's love when he first appears in the sisters' lives. Chalamet and Ronan worked together previously in Lady Bird from the same director (Greta Gerwig) and they create a whole different dynamic in this film.

Laura Dern plays Marmee March, mother of the four sisters. Her caring portrayal is more supportive mom than a matriarch since these young ladies are definitively leaders of their own lives. Dern nails the tone that this character requires.

I really like the music by amazing film composer Alexandre Desplat. Director Greta Gerwig manages to retell the classic story in a new way, keeping the essence of a story that has captivated people over the years. It is soft, subtle and perfect for new audiences. I really like the costumes and color palette. Each and every scene is beautiful to watch, particularly the ones at the beach, perhaps because the romanticism of the sea.

Little Women shows girls who are independent, able to succeed without a partner and bond in a special way. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 17 and adults as well.

Little Women open in theaters nationwide on December 24, 2019. Check it out.

Reviewed by Zoe Cannella, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Little Women, the new adaptation of the well-known novel, incredibly portrays the revered classic! Little Women is also very satisfying to watch; I find myself lost in the aesthetics of the film, no matter the ambiance of the scene. Credits to Yorick Le Saux for the captivating cinematography. The wardrobe is detailed for the timeline that the clothes are meant to reflect, designed for our enjoyment by the skilled costume designer Jacqueline Durran. Moreover, the plot is fast moving and engagingly interesting, paired with timely humor and realistic tragedy.

Little Women is the tale of four sisters with alluring traits that set them apart. Joe passionately writes, Meg is a born actress, Amy gathers her dreams as an artist, and all that remains is the musical prodigy, Beth. These girls grow up in a society with an ever-present stigma against independent women. With the system rooting against them, how will a woman prove herself worthy of more than a delicate romance?

The harmony of the talent is intriguing, as each character portrays their own inner struggles. The character development is by far the most impressive aspect of this film, especially when the cast individually represent their characters as more than just little pieces of Jo March's story. The characters of Little Women come to life in their struggles as females within a sexist society, intertwining their experiences as he story weaves together. The casting is undeniably the cause of anticipation for this movie; Oscar-nominee Timothee Chalamet as Theodore "Laurie" Laurence, and award-winning Saoirse Ronan as Joe March amplify the natural realism of the story. And comic relief plays a large role in this film. My favorite humorous scene is when the frame shifts from an emotional scene to a view of Amy sticking her foot in a bucket of clay, claiming that she must make a mold of her pretty feet for Laurie. Overall, every part of the movie proves to be essential to the message of the film.

Speaking of message, Little Women shows that a person is the only one who can deem their own worth and their limits. A woman is not made to be sold off into marriage; she will choose her future whether the world accepts it or not.

I give Little Women 5 out of 5 stars. With mature themes from all corners of this film, I recommend this for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find this sensational movie in theaters near you, December 25, 2019.

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

There are a lot of good things about the movie Little Women, but I don't think the filmmakers had 10-year-old boys like me in mind as their audience. Parts of the movie are fun to watch, but I got lost when the scenes switched back and forth in time, and I had started to lose interest by the end of the movie. By watching this movie, however, I did get a good understanding of how people lived around the time of the Civil War.

Little Women is a fictionalized version of the early life of author Louisa May Alcott, and how she took her own personal experiences and turned them into a popular book in the late 1800s. The setting is mostly in Massachusetts, but there are some parts in New York City as well as Paris. There are four sisters, and the movie frequently switches back and forth in time for about seven years following their adventures, which is confusing at times. The sisters face various difficulties and have conflicts with each other, but they also help each other. Three of the sisters have love interests, so there are some male characters. However, most of the screen time features the women.

Little Women has some funny parts, but nothing very memorable. My favorite part is the realistic depiction of New York City, because I kind of felt as if I was there. Younger viewers will definitely recognize actress Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies as Meg. Some viewers will recognize Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Timothee Chalamet as Laurie. Overall, one of the best things about this movie is the period costumes that seem very realistic.

The message of this film is that people should try to reach their goals even when there is adversity, and perseverance can pay off, as demonstrated by the main character Jo, trying to get her writing published. Younger kids might be troubled by brief scenes of sibling violence and a near drowning, but it's rated PG and there's not really any inappropriate language or content.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. I think girls will appreciate this movie more than boys. You can see Little Women in theaters everywhere starting December 25, 2019

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This film version of Little Women tells the classic story of four young sisters after the American Civil War of the 1860's. It is heartwarming and has great storytelling in the screenplay, adapted from the Louisa May Alcott book by director Greta Gerwig. I liked this take on the classic book made into a movie. All the scenes were so true to the time period and shot beautifully. The bond between the sisters seems genuine and deep.

During the Civil War, many husbands and young men go off to war, leaving their loved ones to struggle to survive. Scarlet fever is killing people rapidly. It seems people are either really wealthy or really poor. This family in the film comprises the mother and four sisters who are the "Little Women." They love, play, laugh and grow together. They deal with starvation, illness and love. They pull together to help their neighbors in time of need. You see the challenges they face of this time period, and they question the way things have been, facing issues such as marrying to help their family or marrying for love. Or whether to pursue a career or not.

This film really takes us back to this time period, and we are able to get an understanding of the struggles of young women of those days. At first I didn't catch that the film was moving from past to present. The time switches made it a little hard for me to follow, but that did keep my attention as did the sets and costumes.

The actors did phenomenal work in their roles. I really felt the civil rivalry, love and bond between the siblings. The main character in this film is the oldest sister, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan). She aspires to help her family and to be a writer, so she writes stories and submits them to a paper. She was great to watch in this role. The other sisters are Meg March (Emma Watson), Amy March (Florence Pugh), who loves to paint and draw and who looks up to her sister Jo, and Beth March (Eliza Scanlen). Aunt March (Meryl Streep) is a well-to-do, snooty widow. She is really funny, annoying and uses her money to her advantage.

My favorite part of Little Women is when the man that works at the paper company wants Jo's book. He thinks he is smarter than she.

Little Women is about young sisters growing up, facing life challenges, making mistakes and forgiving. It really is good for all young ladies and women to see this film.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars rating and recommend this movie for ages 12 to 18. Adults will enjoy this classic as well. Little Women releases on December 25, 2019.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 9-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


SNOWMAN, THE (2019)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SNOWMAN, THE (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - One crisp, winter morning, a young boy wakes up to find a thick blanket of snow has covered the ground as far as the eye can see. Filled with excitement, the boy decides to build a snowman using a tangerine for his nose, coal for his buttons and eyes, and tops him off with a hat and scarf. Later that night, at the stroke of midnight, the snowman comes to life! The young boy and the snowman embark on a magical adventure of discovery where the snowman explores the young boy's world and in return he takes him flying to his home in the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole, the two join a party as the guests of honor to a very special person. Based on Raymond Briggs book, THE SNOWMAN is a family classic for generations to enjoy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This classic animated film, based on the Raymond Briggs book, is one of my all-time holiday favorites. I have seen it shown with a live orchestra accompanying it, which was an incredible event. I'm so that that NCircle is celebrating its 40th anniversary as I firmly believe it belongs in everyone's holiday film collection, to be shared with youngsters and family members annually. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

The Snowman (1982) harkens back to a more pure form of animation: hand-drawn, nearly wordless and not a pop culture reference in sight. The story of a boy whose snowman comes to jolly life unfolds in bursts of warm color, the images flowing into each other in a mesmerizing effect. Based on the popular children's book by Raymond Briggs, this 30-minute short was made for British television, earning a BAFTA TV Award and an Academy Award nomination. The texture and tremulous nature of the hand-drawn animation is of a piece with the author's original drawings, truly a book brought to life in a swirl of images and music, most notably the ethereal "Walking in the Air." This DVD release, celebrating the film's 40th Anniversary, includes two excellent bonus features: an alternate opening with David Bowie created for the 20th Anniversary and a 25-minute "making of" that goes into great detail about how the animation was done. Recommended for ages 4 to 18 and older. 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Michael F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

Winter is a magical time for children, especially when the snow falls. Every child looks forward to that one giant snowfall of the season. You know the one, where the whole world looks like it's engulfed in a comfortable, soft blanket. It makes even adults reach into their soul for their inner child and go outside to make snow angels, forts and of course... a snowman. The reality of the wonder of a heavy snowfall is what makes The Snowman such a wonderful story. The Snowman is based on the 1978 wordless picture book of the same name. The story is about a young boy who goes outside on a particularly snowy day to build himself a snowman. To his delight, at midnight the snowman comes to life! James and the snowman have all kids of fun together and even go on a little adventure to the North Pole! This story differs a bit from its source material, but it is a wonderful adaptation. The Snowman received a sequel called The Snowman and the Snowdog. This 40th anniversary DVD has some great special features, including an alternate introduction by David Bowie. This story has aged very well and the animation is still breathtakingly beautiful. This story is great for children ages 2 to 12, but anyone in the holiday spirit will really enjoy watching this! I give it 5 out of 5 stars for being so wonderful! Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Snowman is a masterpiece that will bring families closer together for the holidays. The film is based on the classic UK picture book by Raymond Briggs, which has sold more than 8.5 million copies since it was first published in 1978.

In The Snowman, a young boy James wakes up one morning and finds snow on the ground. He quickly gets dressed and runs outside. He then builds a huge snowman. He gives it eyes, a nose, a scarf and a hat. He even gives it a big smiley face. After building the entire snowman by himself, it is time for James to go to bed. When he wakes up he notices that the Snowman has moved a little, so he runs downstairs and out the door. He then notices that the Snowman is glowing, moves some more and then, totally comes to life. James is flabbergasted to see a live Snowman. The Snowman and James introduce themselves and become great friends. The rest the film shows the two flying around having so much fun and adventure throughout the day.

The Snowman book was adapted for the screen in 1982 and earned a nomination for an Academy Award for best animated short film. The animation of the drawings is just amazing, bringing to life so many memories from the days of movie shorts. There is no dialogue, which makes it even more beautiful and somewhat old-fashioned. The music by Howard Blake, Peter Auty and the Sinfonia of London is amazing. It fits perfectly with everything the boy and the snowman are doing. Each song tells a story, with each pluck of a string or push of a piano key. The songs in the movie are catchy and addicting to sing along with. I am sixteen and I sung along with the songs!

The Snowman is directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates. This extravagant film has a little touch of magic which will keep you on your toes with excitement. I recommend this for ages 1 to 12 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

This heartwarming film about the winter season never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of myself during the holidays. For example, when the boy has to scrounge up snow for his snowman, I thought about when I tried to do the same thing!

In the film, a young British boy in a classic 1950s English rural home builds a snowman on Christmas Eve. At midnight, the snowman comes to life and takes the boy on a flying trip around the world! The scenes become grander and grander until you think nothing more can happen! After all of this is over, they travel back home. The next morning, the boy...well, you'll see. The ending brought meaningful tears to my eyes!

The detail in this movie is stunning! Even though there is no talking, the artistry makes up for that. Each scene is hand-drawn, which must have been a technical pain for the scenes in motion! These movies are based on Raymond Briggs' classic picture book. Besides young children, adults who have read this book in their youth will also appreciate this quality film. The unexpected ending is truly memorable!

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 2 to 6, as well as adults. This movie is available both on DVD now so check it out. Enjoy this winter delight!

Reviewed by Eden T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Holiday movies are one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Especially those that have adorable characters and a heartwarming tale. That is what this short film is all about. Add magnificent hand drawn animation and you have the perfect Christmas movie.

I love that this film has no words is both beautifully illustrated with animated images. The orchestra for the original film is Sinfonia of London. Their performance is stunning. Each piece of music fits the scene perfectly because it made me feel as if I was in the scene myself. Also the music is superb to relax to. So grab a hot cup of cocoa and put your feet up.

The images in this film are hand drawn with pastels and pencils, which make it special and unique. I like having a break from all the CGI we see and seeing animation as it was made years ago. This is something that many other kids will appreciate as well. This movie never gets old and people from all over the world will absolutely adore it. This DVD has become one I have added to my holiday collection and will watch it every year. Even really young children can watch it because it is so beautiful and the message is all about friendship, love, cheer and what the holidays are all about. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 golden stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 30 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


COSMIC DANCER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
COSMIC DANCER
EMILY O'BRIEN
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 7-15
Topic - Family
Description - Based around a primary school talent show - ALISTAIR, an introverted 10 year old is thrown into the world of magic when he comes across a leather bound magician's book by MAGIC ETOLIES' - one of the most famous magicians to have practiced. Alistair meets MARGARET, an outspoken witty 10 year old with the confidence of an 85 year old man - who helps him on his endeavor.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a simply wonderful short film that suits KIDS FIRST! Film Festival audience to a tee. It starts out a bit confusing and slightly eerie. But, as it develops you are quickly drawn in, especially when the boy finds his hero magician behind the curtain! I found the two key actors particularly engaging. The boy carries the story, but the girl fulfills the need to both nudge him along and to become his partner in performing his coup de grace magic act. The pace is quite good as is the background music, which lends a suspenseful tone at times, celebratory at the end, and much in between. The narrator helps lead you through the story without being intrusive and there is little dialogue. In the end, it is about friendship and dispelling the myth of those you hold in high esteem, but perhaps are unworthy. The sets and costumes are excellent and suiting. Really, this is a lovely piece. It does have a bit of mild profanity, but nothing a middle school student has not heard (shit). And bullies, there are some bullies, but they are really ineffective. Oh, love the animation with the credits at the end. Absolutely, production is beautiful. It's really about friends supporting each other. I recommend this for ages 7 to 15 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommend for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. You'll be glad you selected it. Reviewed by Selene W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a simply wonderful short film that suits KIDS FIRST! Film Festival audience to a tee. It starts out a bit confusing and slightly eerie. But, as it develops you are quickly drawn in, especially when the boy finds his hero magician behind the curtain! I found the two key actors particularly engaging. The boy carries the story, but the girl fulfills the need to both nudge him along and to become his partner in performing his coup de grace magic act. The pace is quite good as is the background music, which lends a suspenseful tone at times, celebratory at the end, and much in between. The narrator helps lead you through the story without being intrusive and there is little dialogue. In the end, it is about friendship and dispelling the myth of those you hold in high esteem, but perhaps are unworthy. The sets and costumes are excellent and suiting. Really, this is a lovely piece. It does have a bit of mild profanity, but nothing a middle school student has not heard (shit). And bullies, there are some bullies, but they are really ineffective. Oh, love the animation with the credits at the end. Absolutely, production is beautiful. It's really about friends supporting each other. I recommend this for ages 7 to 15 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommend for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. You'll be glad you selected it. Reviewed by Selene W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 15 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world's most dangerous game.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is pretty entertaining and hilarious, and a surprisingly impressive sequel. It's a good example of "stupid fun," and I mean that in a good way. And it is surprisingly emotional too.

This film takes place in an unknown time, sometime after the 2017 Jumanji. Spencer has gone back into the game and the other three players need to go back to rescue him. However, due to the console being broken, Spencer's grandpa, Eddie and his friend Milo enter the game along with Martha and Fridge, instead of Bethany.

Now, an issue with sequels is the possibility of new viewers being confused and alienated, due to not having seen the first one. However, because Martha and Fridge have to explain the rules of the game to Eddie and Milo, the movie explains the rules to the audience, without it seeming forced.

Speaking of Eddie and Milo, they're a pretty fun inclusion to this film. As a formula changer they work really well and they easily steal the show. They both have a nice chemistry and, having Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart (of all people) acting like elderly men, makes it even funnier. Honestly, the cast is perfect. Of course, all the returning actors are great, especially Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, since they're now playing new characters. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Awkwafina is in this film. She's recently become one of my favorite actresses, so I was really happy when she showed up.

Since this film is a comedy, you're probably wondering how good the comedy is. Overall, this film is pretty hilarious. In the beginning, most of the comedy comes from Eddie and Milo being confused about the game. While this is pretty funny, it does become somewhat repetitive. Thankfully, the film has a lot of really nice details, such as Eddie admiring his tattoos in the game and Fridge freaking out over cake, due to events from the first movie. Plus, the action scenes are really energetic and fun. They are the perfect definition of "stupid fun." They're absolutely ridiculous, but you're still having a blast.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. If you liked the first film I bet you'll like this. The film opens in theaters nationwide December 13, 2019. Look for it.

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

Jumanji: The Next Level keeps things playable, perhaps surpassing the first. The ensemble cast and direction add newfound levels of entertainment. Anyone interested in the Jumanji franchise must catch this on the biggest screen possible.

The game has changed as the gang returns to Jumanji to rescue one of their own. The players will have to explore parts unknown, from the salty deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to win the world's most dangerous game.

All of the returning original cast is great, and there is a longer setup that allows for further characterization. Alex Wolff and Morgan Turner, as Spencer and Martha, continue their budding romance as Spencer struggles to manage long-distance dating. Madison Iseman and Ser'Darius Blain, as Bethany and Fridge, show their maturity and growth since the first, especially Bethany who is more inclusive and less cliquey. Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, as Eddie and Milo, add heart and dynamic as their grouchy and forgetful antics are always a good laugh. As you may know from the trailers, the roster of characters makes it back, but not everyone is in the same avatar they were last time. Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan effectively play this change. Awkwafina makes a debut and standouts among this roster as her signature fast mouth is always hilarious.

Jake Kasan directs, as he did the first, and this is even better than the first in terms of stylistic choices and pacing. In fact, it captures the feel of a videogame better than the first. Every sequence feels like a level and the special effects are impressive, especially in the bridge chase which is inspired by the likes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and the monkeys add pure adrenaline rush. This is truly my favorite scene in the movie.

The message of this film is about teamwork, as the gang is willing to sacrifice themselves to rescue Spencer and leave no one behind. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to action, suggestive content and some language. The movie releases in theaters on December 13, 2019, so check it out.

By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Jumanji: The Next Level is one of the most entertaining films I've seen in a while and is an excellent sequel. The movie is funny when it knows to be and serious when called for as well. I do have a concern for this series though, because the entire premise is the same as the original and it could wear out in the near future. Also, some of the tonal switches are really sudden and it throws you off on how to feel in those scenes.

Jumanji: The Next Level takes place two years after the events of the first Jumanji movie. The four friends - Martha, Spencer, Fridge and Bethany - have all gone their separate ways. Over winter break they plan to get back together at a cafe called Nora's. When Spencer gets home he finds out his grandfather is staying with them as he recovers from hip surgery. The night before the meet-up Spencer is feeling lost and goes to find the Jumanji game console, which we thought had been destroyed. The following morning Martha, Fridge and Bethany show up at Nora's and wait for Spencer. They call him and he doesn't pick, which makes them suspicious. So they go to his house where he cannot be found anywhere. Suddenly they hear ominous drumming so they check the basement where a fixed Jumanji console sits.

My favorite part of this movie is the expansion of the already interesting video game world. They keep the video game aspect of the non-playing characters that serve the same purpose as the first film, but give them slight alterations like a classic video game. They also expand on the weaknesses and skills of each of the characters based on what's coming, as a video game should.

This movie has some amazing star power! My personal favorites are Danny DeVito and Karen Gillan. Danny DeVito is a veteran actor who has starred in films such as The Rainmaker and L.A. Confidential. On the other side of the age spectrum is Karen Gillan, an amazing young actress known for playing Nebula in the MCU and Amy Pond, the companion to the Eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who.

The message of this movie is the same as the original Jumanji - be yourself because ultimately that's what matters most. This movie will appeal most to fans of the first installment of the series and The Fast and Furious movies. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, but adults will enjoy it as well. I give Jumanji: The Next Level 3.5 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters December 12, 2019. Look for it.

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Jumanji: The Next Level is an action packed movie with some hilarious moments. It's pretty similar to the previous film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but with a few twists. I love all the new ways this film uses body swapping with humorous results.

At the end of the previous film, Fridge destroys the Jumanji game with a bowling ball so that no one else can be harmed by it. Well guess what? At the beginning of Jumanji: The Next Level, we find out that Spencer has not only saved the broken Jumanji, but repaired it and joined the game again! All of his friends try to join the game to help him, but Spencer's elderly grandfather (Danny DeVito) and old friend (Danny Glover) end up getting sucked into Jumanji as well. The old gang has to help the newcomers get used to the gameplay while at the same time navigating this new level of Jumanji, which has desert dunes, an oasis, and plenty of new villains and dangers to overcome. I won't spoil it, but there's a new section of the game that can only be passed by using geometry - but don't worry, this is Jumanji so it's not like a boring math class! Soon, the players learn that they will need to rely on each other and use everyone's skills and talents if they want to have a chance to save everyone and make it home safely.

This gets a bit confusing, but try to stay with me. My favorite part of the movie is when Kevin Hart is playing Milo, Danny Glover's character, while he's controlling the zoologist avatar, Mouse Finbar. Milo discovers that he knows everything about the animals they encounter, but he speaks so slowly that he can't get the information out fast enough to be useful. The results of this are pretty hilarious. The special effects are very effective, like the scene with a blimp crash that's done in a very exciting way. There's also a sequence with mandrills that are very realistic and scary. The most impressive thing about this movie is the acting. Everyone has to take on different personalities, impersonating at least two people with different accents and mannerisms. It's pretty cool to watch Akwafina playing Eddie, Danny DeVito's character, controlling a new avatar, Ming Fleetfoot.

The message of this film is that when you find your people, you should stick with them. Also, you should not hold a grudge, but it's never too late to forgive. Parents should know that there is some profanity, including the s-word twice. There are a couple of inappropriate jokes that made me feel embarrassed to watch them - a long back-and-forth conversation about someone's privates being cut off, and a joke about a boy playing a girl avatar and grabbing her body parts. There's also some scary stuff like action violence, and a really gross part where a bad guy feeds a lump of meat to hyenas while he explains it's human - from a man in his group he killed for making a mistake.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 12 to 18. I believe adults will like it too. You can see Jumanji: The Next Level in theaters everywhere starting December 13, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


HERE BE DRAGONS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HERE BE DRAGONS
STEVE BRUMWELL
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - After discovering a mysterious old hermit in an abandoned coal mine, four friends searching for their missing classmate team up with him to fight off the machinations of a local businessman using dark magic to further his sinister ambitions. A young boy who has lost his belief in magic, an old man who has lost his faith in humanity....together they must face down a powerful evil.... When their classmate goes missing, four pre-teen friends set off into the wild countryside outside their remote Welsh village where they stumble into a disused coal mine. Inside they are terrified by the presence of a decrepit old hermit who looks at least a hundred years old and smells like a thousand cigar smokers. They run in fear and soon find themselves lost in the cavernous and obsidian dark of the mine, to their surprise the Old Man finds them and leads them to the exit. They explain about their missing friend but the Old Man has heard or seen nothing of him. He tells the friends he is waiting for something or someone but cannot remember what it is, just that he knows he is supposed to be here right at this moment.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the story and I have to admit that, besides Harry Potter, I am not big on stories of dragons and warlocks. This was engaging and entertaining and I really like how well the conflict is resolved. The characters are engaging and the dialogue holds your attention, especially the humor. There is also a message of friendship and teamwork and good winning over evil. I give this 3.5 points out of 5 and recommend for ages 12 through 18 years old.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


TWO POPES, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TWO POPES, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world. Inspired by true events.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie. Even though the subject of this movie is based on a religious story, it is filled with humor, sport and a fascinating storyline. The acting is also magnificent and the best part of the movie.

The Two Popes is inspired by true events telling the story of Pope Benedict being elected following the death of Pope John Paul II in 2005 and Pope Francis being elected in 2013 when Pope Benedict resigned. During this time, the Catholic Church is losing followers and is in the midst of various scandals. Cardinal Bergoglio, who ultimately becomes Pope Francis, is one of Pope Benedict's harshest critics as he is frustrated with the Catholic Church and wants to retire. Pope Benedict invites Cardinal Bergoglio to Rome not to discuss his retirement, but to discuss other matters, including a scandal that the Catholic Church is facing that could ruin its stability.

I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would and I learned a lot about the Papal election process. Even if you are not Catholic, you will still like it. The movie also uses real footage of some of the events.

Jonathan Pryce (Pope Francis) and Anthony Hopkins (Pope Benedict) are absolutely brilliant playing their parts. As a bonus, they even look like the real life popes that they are playing. My favorite character is Pope Benedict because he slips a joke in whenever he can - even if the joke is not funny.

The message of The Two Popes is that it's okay to have different opinions and if you work hard enough together you can find common ground. This movie has some bad language, some disturbing violent images and some discussion of child abuse. It is rated PG-13.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this for ages 12 to 18, and adults will really like this movie. This movie is on Netflix December 20, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


QB

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
QB
MURAT KARAMANOGLU
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Kemal Hunal believed in the existence of aliens and tried to contact them for a long time. In 1979, when NASA launches the SETI project in search of messages from extraterrestrials, Kemal wants to find them first. One night he hears a signal and believes he has succeeded. He goes to bed happy and never awakes. Enter Ata and his mother, who inherit Kemal's house and Ata finds his grandfather's diary, radio telescope and the recorded signals he heard. He learns of a planet where all the adults died but the children who hid in shelters are now the rulers and they need to go to Earth and extract its uranium so they can live. Ata meets shares his story with other kids who believe the alien story and search for the QB who has come to extract the uranium. QB knows he must leave the world and fulfill his duty and is aware of the danger of leaving Earth with the uranium. A relentless pursuit begins and a big surprise awaits them all.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an interesting story. Very imaginative. Well produced with great visuals and audio. Lots on unexpected twists and turns. This has the added benefit of an intergenerational connection, a space adventure and kids pursuing their dreams. The acting is quite admirable. I particularly enjoyed the child actors. The visual effects are well executed, a bit corny at times, but in a fun way. The shots of earth from space are particularly well done. This was made in Turkey and hence the dialogue is in Turkish with English sub-titles, which have some poor translations at times, but nothing that detracts from understanding the storyline. I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


HOME FOR CURIOSITIES, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HOME FOR CURIOSITIES, A
BEN TOBIN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 6-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young boy discovers a house full of forgotten imaginary friends. Along with his friend Alice, Wallace helps bring these curiosities back to the real world to meet new human companions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an unusual film and something that definitely falls outside the mold. If you are looking for something different, you have found it here. The storyline is about a kid who goes bird watching, gets lost and starts to daydream. In his dream, he discovers a house with an eccentric beautiful woman living there who invites him in. She explains that she is an imaginary friend. That part initially confused me, until I realized that she was part of his dram. Once I got into it, I liked the idea of imaginary friends and learning how they operate. The film is very well shot. Excellent camera work and editing, although the scenes are a bit fast in moving back and forth between the forest and the house. I like how the forest looks so alive and real and the house is quite wonderful and full of character. The background music is quite suitable and the protagonist, the kid, befits his character. The message is about allowing your daydreams to guide you at times and you'll discover other worlds you didn't even know existed. I'm not sure how many of our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival partners will pick this up, but I do recommend it to them, as something that is fun and interesting. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ethan P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is an unusual film and something that definitely falls outside the mold. If you are looking for something different, you have found it here. The storyline is about a kid who goes bird watching, gets lost and starts to daydream. In his dream, he discovers a house with an eccentric beautiful woman living there who invites him in. She explains that she is an imaginary friend. That part initially confused me, until I realized that she was part of his dram. Once I got into it, I liked the idea of imaginary friends and learning how they operate. The film is very well shot. Excellent camera work and editing, although the scenes are a bit fast in moving back and forth between the forest and the house. I like how the forest looks so alive and real and the house is quite wonderful and full of character. The background music is quite suitable and the protagonist, the kid, befits his character. The message is about allowing your daydreams to guide you at times and you'll discover other worlds you didn't even know existed. I'm not sure how many of our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival partners will pick this up, but I do recommend it to them, as something that is fun and interesting. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ethan P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


THERAPIST'S SECRET, A

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THERAPIST'S SECRET, A
12 PING�INOS S.L
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 11-18
Topic - Family
Description - Dr. Gweneth Glane, a child therapist, loves the magic of writing. Only problem? She's good at therapy, bad at writing. That is, until she realizes each of her patients has their own rich life story. She signs up to a writing website mentioned by one of her patients, Rainey Tomdale, and begins writing. She finally feels in control of her writing - until her patients discover their lives online...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Well produced. Great cast and camera work. Interesting storyline. I had a real issue with the story when the therapist violates her client's trust by writing their stories, but surprise twist at the end turned it all around for me. Some people will get a serious laugh out of this. Just be sure to watch it through to the very end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Marsha S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Well produced. Great cast and camera work. Interesting storyline. I had a real issue with the story when the therapist violates her client's trust by writing their stories, but surprise twist at the end turned it all around for me. Some people will get a serious laugh out of this. Just be sure to watch it through to the very end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Marsha S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


PETS 4D! (2D VERSION)

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PETS 4D! (2D VERSION)
XAVIER PIJUAN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-15
Topic - Family
Description - In "PETS 4D!", three cute and cuddly puppies, ready for adoption, are stolen from the pet shelter. It's up to two cats, two dogs, a pig, a parrot and a rat to save the day. The Rescue Heroes use their unique animal skills to track down and confront the bad guys. Along the way they meet a hungry porcupine, a spitting llama and a barn full of captured critters. It's a fun, fast, funny adventure for the entire family. (Shot entirely with Rescue Animals!) Movie Short in 3D!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a delightful short film about shelter animals. Pets 4D! is a short film about a group of shelter animals that come together to rescue stolen puppies. I absolutely love all the animals and giving them voices. What's amazing is how they build the entire storyline around these actual animals. When thieves come into the shelter and take off with some puppies, all the other animals team up to go find them and bring them back. The storyline really showcases all the different animals and their various quirks. I love the beginning, when the animals dream of what they would love to have happen. The storyline has lots of narrative and physical humor. This is a well-done production from the camera work, to the background music, to the special effects, everything is top rate. Of course the animals are cute and cuddly. The shelter looks very warm and loving. The only thing that doesn't quite make sense is how close the barn is to where shelter is. The music is fun with good tempo. All the animal sounds are great. I don't think this is meant to be a believable story. It's just cute and funny. I love that every animal in this movie was a rescue animal! The only think I don't care for is the narrator at the beginning. His voice reminds me of a bad science film narrator and it's a turn off. The message of this film is "stick together with your friends and consider adopting a shelter animal. There is some slight profanity, where "butt" could have been used instead. Most importantly, watching this made me want to adopt a shelter animal. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, plus adults. It is funny, cute and easy to watch. I think our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival venues would love to include this. Reviewed by Selene W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What a delightful short film about shelter animals. Pets 4D! is a short film about a group of shelter animals that come together to rescue stolen puppies. I absolutely love all the animals and giving them voices. What's amazing is how they build the entire storyline around these actual animals. When thieves come into the shelter and take off with some puppies, all the other animals team up to go find them and bring them back. The storyline really showcases all the different animals and their various quirks. I love the beginning, when the animals dream of what they would love to have happen. The storyline has lots of narrative and physical humor. This is a well-done production from the camera work, to the background music, to the special effects, everything is top rate. Of course the animals are cute and cuddly. The shelter looks very warm and loving. The only thing that doesn't quite make sense is how close the barn is to where shelter is. The music is fun with good tempo. All the animal sounds are great. I don't think this is meant to be a believable story. It's just cute and funny. I love that every animal in this movie was a rescue animal! The only think I don't care for is the narrator at the beginning. His voice reminds me of a bad science film narrator and it's a turn off. The message of this film is "stick together with your friends and consider adopting a shelter animal. There is some slight profanity, where "butt" could have been used instead. Most importantly, watching this made me want to adopt a shelter animal. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, plus adults. It is funny, cute and easy to watch. I think our KIDS FIRST! Film Festival venues would love to include this. Reviewed by Selene W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
Runtime: 25 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


FLYING WAGON

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
FLYING WAGON
KUNAL NARULA
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Cheel Gaadi is a local term used for airplane (Flying Wagon) which literally translates as Cheel: Eagle & Gaadi: Vehicle. It's a story of a 10 year old boy who works in a tea stall near an airport and has a dream to sit in an airplane one day. To buy the tickets he collects money by betting with the customers on the next flight's colour. He spends his days working in the tea stall and his nights in an abandoned sewer pipe, on a broken bridge outside the airport wall, which he has converted into his version of home. And finally when he collects the amount needed, his journey starts in the so called mature world of adults to acquire the ticket "Cheel Gaadi" is set up in the heritage city of Jaipur, Rajasthan and has been supported with a very unique folk musical perspective on storytelling; its depth and magic lies in the innocence of the kid. The film has a playback song, which is a fine rendition of a Rajasthani folk song, sung by the actor himself, adding to the rooted flavour of the film.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful film with a wonderful storyline and terrific music. This whole film gives us a glimpse into the culture of India, especially for impoverished children. The music alone makes this compelling to watch. But the star of the show is the young actor, Sabir Khan, who plays the 10 year old boy. Excellent camera work, great acting by every cast member and well paced. We feel for the impoverished boy and admire his spunk and drive. When all his money is stolen from him, we share his heartbreak. The ending is very satisfying and the whole film will grab your attention from start to finish. Beautiful. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


17 SECONDS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
17 SECONDS
ASAF YECHESKEL
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An intimate coming of age drama documents four teenagers, outstanding athletes living in a prestigious sports academy, where the intense daily routine forces them to sacrifice youth in favor of success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - 17 Seconds is a phenomenal debut documentary feature from Alon Marom. They film follows the lives of four young athletes fully committed to succeeding in their sport. Their pursuit towards absolute victory and a promising future influences every aspect of their lives. It is extremely well-made, filmed in Israel with dialogue in Hebrew and English sub-titles. Each of the athlete's stories flows quiet well and together they weave a revealing story that feels very authentic. Sometimes the camera work leaves something to be desired, but taking into consideration that it is the director's first feature, one can deal with that. Masterfully directed, we get up close and personal with everyone of the subjects. Sometimes we are just watching this activity from the sidelines, at other times we are put inside the headspace of the athletes. You should know that there is a bit of language (including multiple "F" word), but it is an excellent film which I believe teens will really enjoy and relate to the key characters. I recommend 17 Seconds for ages 12 to 18, due to the strong language, and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 17 Seconds is a phenomenal debut documentary feature from Alon Marom. They film follows the lives of four young athletes fully committed to succeeding in their sport. Their pursuit towards absolute victory and a promising future influences every aspect of their lives. It is extremely well-made, filmed in Israel with dialogue in Hebrew and English sub-titles. Each of the athlete's stories flows quiet well and together they weave a revealing story that feels very authentic. Sometimes the camera work leaves something to be desired, but taking into consideration that it is the director's first feature, one can deal with that. Masterfully directed, we get up close and personal with everyone of the subjects. Sometimes we are just watching this activity from the sidelines, at other times we are put inside the headspace of the athletes. You should know that there is a bit of language (including multiple "F" word), but it is an excellent film which I believe teens will really enjoy and relate to the key characters. I recommend 17 Seconds for ages 12 to 18, due to the strong language, and give it 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 84 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TOUGH LOVE SHOW

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TOUGH LOVE SHOW
TOMMY TUCKER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - This is the Story of how I went Viral trying to reach my son! Watch as we travel through a once in a lifetime series of events, that catch us completely off guard. We give an inside look at what it's like to be a father & son while the whole world is watching. You'll see our inner most feelings on display, as we adjust and persevere through life's hurdles. Stay tuned there's SOOO much more to come.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Inspiring story. Hats off to this dad who took an unconventional approach to reaching his son. This documentary chronicles the ups and downs of their journey and all the people they reached along the way. This film is filled with heart and love and accomplishment. Highly recommended for youth and parents. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Inspiring story. Hats off to this dad who took an unconventional approach to reaching his son. This documentary chronicles the ups and downs of their journey and all the people they reached along the way. This film is filled with heart and love and accomplishment. Highly recommended for youth and parents. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
Runtime: 40 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


5 MINUTES PEACE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
5 MINUTES PEACE
SAHRA BHIMJI
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A mother dreams of having just five minutes of peace to try out her new meditation app. However, her two kids have other ideas on how best to spend the day. This short family film is a playful look into the struggles of being a parent - and the magic power of being a kid!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short, live-action film made me laugh. It shows a mother struggling to deal with her sons while trying to find time to relax. It shows the struggles of parenthood while never condemning either the mom or the kids. It does feel that the story feels a little rushed. However, there are some interesting usage of center frames and the children's imagination is well represented. Some of the costumes are a bit cheesy but, in a way they emphasize a childlike wonder. I particularly enjoyed the imagination sequences. Overall, this film pretty well represents life as a mom, struggling to find some quiet space for herself. The characters are pretty normal, middle class kids and mom; there's nothing unique about them, but they're quite likable. The message of this film is that, despite their stress and struggles, parents are there for us. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18, as well as adults. Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This short, live-action film made me laugh. It shows a mother struggling to deal with her sons while trying to find time to relax. It shows the struggles of parenthood while never condemning either the mom or the kids. It does feel that the story feels a little rushed. However, there are some interesting usage of center frames and the children's imagination is well represented. Some of the costumes are a bit cheesy but, in a way they emphasize a childlike wonder. I particularly enjoyed the imagination sequences. Overall, this film pretty well represents life as a mom, struggling to find some quiet space for herself. The characters are pretty normal, middle class kids and mom; there's nothing unique about them, but they're quite likable. The message of this film is that, despite their stress and struggles, parents are there for us. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18, as well as adults. Reviewed by Calista B. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! jurors.
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


AMERICAN MARRIAGE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
AMERICAN MARRIAGE
GIORGIO FONTANA
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Leonardo, an Italian immigrant who lives in New York, marries a Latina woman, Nikki, to obtain the American green card. Through the comedy of it all Nikki and Leo fall in love "for real" but it looks like "Uncle Sam" will be the one to have the last laugh.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed this short film, which addresses the issue of immigrants marrying just to get their green card, but end up finding true love instead. When I first read the synopsis of the film I expected it would be fairly political and, in a way, it is. However, it has a sweet underlying story about finding love when you least expect it. The cinematography is quite good, with bright and vibrant the colors. The costuming is very good, as is the set, especially in the apartment. The locations are also very beautiful. I found the actors quite sweet and the one who steals the show is the young boy, who is unequivocally the essence of sweetness, especially when he steps in at end to rescue his mom. The immigration office, played by Lori Hammel, is a little over-the-top, but they can be that way in reality, so I let it go. And the two principal actors that play the supposedly married couple are straight out of central casting, and quite believable. The message of this film is about finding "true love" when you least expect it. There is a bit of mild profanity. I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18, plus adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


DOMBRA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DOMBRA
RAUSHAN SAPARBAYEVA
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-15
Topic - Family
Description - Asset, who had learned how to play the tune, would have preferred to play in the field, accompanied by his vicious friends. But when he learned that Aigerim was coming to the concert, he decided to turn all his effort into it. However, it was not easy to Asset, having vicious friends and broken dombyra. From Kazakhstan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully told story not just about a boy and his dombra, but about his entire community. With excellent camera work and editing, the film shows us life in a small rural village in Kazakhstan, reminiscent of when life was simpler. There are no electronic gadgets in this village and child's play is riding inside a wheel that rolls down the hill, landing in a pond. The gang of boys that are Aset's friends are little troublemakers, nothing too serious mind you, just stealing the neighbor's apples or breaking their friend's dombra perhaps. The young actor, Yerasyl Boroo (I think), that plays Aset is charming. He seems to get along with everyone, yet has his own struggles balancing his relationship with his family, his friends and the girl who sparks something in him. We really get a wonderful view of life in this community in this film, as well as the life of this coming-of-age young boy. Highly recommended, I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18.Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 27 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TOO MUCH RAIN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TOO MUCH RAIN
OUT OF OUR MINDS ANIMATION STUDIOS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Into every life a little rain must fall. Those with innocent and appreciative eyes can enjoy every drop. But what happens when life gets out of control? Using the art of New Orleans' artist Mark Bercier, Out of Our Minds Studios created 'Too Much Rain' to take a look at overwhelming circumstances through the eyes of a little girl. When her "Magic" and her world are swept away by a flood, she navigates waters of sorrow and nature and still maintains hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Have you ever had a day when it rains way too much? Well this short animated film will have you checking out the nearest ark for sure, but will also remind you to enjoy the little things. The storyline is about a little girl, her dog Magic and the rain. It starts to rain and rain and rain until it turns into a flood. The flood carries Magic away and carries the girl's house away too. The little girl tells the story in great detail, which amuses you and keeps you watching. The animation was very creative and original. It looks like cardboard cutouts. The background music is classical music and that, with the little girl's sweet voice are quite soothing. The message of the film is to have hope. The girl never despairs and, in the end, Magic comes back. (that's a spoiler so don't tell anyone) I learned that we should pay more attention to what's around us and to be more positive about life, enjoy the little things, even if it is the sound of the raindrops dropping into a bucket. I highly recommend this film for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 4 to 12, plus adults. Reviewed by Ethan X. P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TROPHY HUNTER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TROPHY HUNTER
BILL JARCHO
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A little boy with a BB gun fantasizes of being a big game hunter. Selected: 9th Balne�rio Cambori� International Film Festival; International Film Festival of Larissa
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wow, I am such a fan of Sean Burns' work. Kubo and the Two Strings is one of my all-time favorite animated films. It is so brilliant. He is brilliant. Thanks for submitting your short film to our festival. We are honored. This short film tackles a not uncommon situation of a boy with a love for playing with guns. We watch him stalk the wildlife in his own backyard until he finally gets a hit, leaving him unsatisfied and aware of the value of living things. The animation is remarkable in its attention to details and beautiful color palette. The music and sound effects are spot on. The storyline is told without dialog and we get the message loud and clear. My favorite part is when the boy realizes he did wrong by killing the bird. It's heart-breaking. My second favorite part is watching him discard the gun by the tree and seeing the tree grow year by year, season by season. Beautiful piece. 5 out of 5 stars. Recommended for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ethan P. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review

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


EMBARKO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
EMBARKO
KAILEE HAGUE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - When two delivery dogs on a job discover buried treasure in the mountains, their conflicting interests lead to dire consequences.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is adorable and pretty unique. I really enjoyed that there aren't any words, yet it is so clear what the animals are saying to one another. I also love the twist and resolution. It appeals to me because it has lots of action and adventure, while not overpowering the storytelling. Another aspect is the unexpected ending which is surprisingly happy. Embarko flows extremely well. After the first 30 seconds, I found myself engulfed in the film and loved it. The ending is my favorite part, due to the twist. The story doesn't have any plot holes and makes a lot of sense. The only thing that took me by surprise is the scene showing the raccoon's revolver. Having a gun included raises the audience age. The soundtrack is really appealing, it helps shift your mood in the various scenes and increases your engagement. The animation style is pretty unique. I love the way the animals are portrayed. The 2D characters are simply illustrated, but effectively so. The mixture of unusual animation, cohesive storytelling, and a well-written plot about delivery dogs finding treasure in the mountains makes this a great film. I adore that the story has no dialogue, clearly defined characters, an unpredictable ending, and plenty of action and adventure. It is the perfect amount to keep a short film exciting and entertaining. My only concern with Embarko is when the antagonist raccoon pulls out a gun, it raises the maturity level of the film. I recommend this film for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals due to its unique animation and great storytelling. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

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


BRACEBALL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BRACEBALL
REYHANEH MORTEZAEE NIA
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 6-18
Topic - Family
Description - A disabled boy who loves soccer and tries to make his dreams come true in his imagination and brings himself closer to the sports champion.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful and touching film about including a boy with a physical disability in a neighborhood soccer game. The story is well told, starting from the boy's dream in the beginning to him being included in the street soccer game at the end. Touching without being cloying. Well shot, good background music. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Bill N. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TALENT SCOUT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TALENT SCOUT
PROMOFEST
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 13-14
Topic - Family
Description - Dominique had been the most prestigious talent scout in Paris. Now, he is only the shadow of his past until he discovers Sof�a, an Spanish flamenco dancer who emigrates to France because of the Spanish civil war and who hides the secret of the greatest talent in history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautiful and surprising at the end. Well executed with excellent animation, very stylized, great music, great storyline. A film that has a message about acceptance and inclusion. Love this! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


IAN, A MOVING STORY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
IAN, A MOVING STORY
PROMOFEST
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 13-14
Topic - Family
Description - Ian was born with cerebral palsy. Like all kids, he wants to have friends, but discrimination and bullying keep him from his beloved playground. Ian won't give up easily, accomplishing something that will surprise everyone.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a beautifully told story although one reviewer had difficulties with the textured skin of the animated along with them dissolving and reassembling through the wire fence. But, the message of the story, about a boy with CP wanting to be included on the playground with the other kids is a strong one and the ending is heartfelt and encouraging. Non-narrative, the story is told through images and imagination. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Bill N. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Jurors.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MY GRANDPA KNOWS KING KONG

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY GRANDPA KNOWS KING KONG
PROMOFEST
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 7-12
Topic - Family
Description - An incredulous Grandfather and his excited granddaughter go to the cinema to see a film of King Kong. The film is from when King Kong was in the grandfather's town. From Spain with English sub-titles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Delightful and imaginative piece of animation. I love the little girl and her persistence to get her grandpa to take her to the movies. The animation is wonderfully executed. The voice over talent is outstanding. The storyline is engaging and fun. The dialogue is in Spanish with English sub-titles, so I recommend this for ages 7 to 12. If playing at your festival, you may want a reader so younger children can follow along. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. It's quite lovely. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


RAINBOW FRIENDS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RAINBOW FRIENDS
PROMOFEST
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 13-14
Topic - Family
Description - Wollywell, the black sheep wants to make new friends, but the white sheep are not very open to meet him and this saddens sweet Wollywell. Diddl devise a plan to cheer him up, jumping into a fun and colorful adventure where everyone will learn a valuable lesson of joyful tolerance."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Once upon a time a lone black sheep wanders into a field of white sheep only to be rejected by them. She is cheerful and buoyant, but they flee from her for no apparent reason at all. Then, she is befriended by Diddl and his friend who take him under their wing and into the their home. The sheep rides down a long, twisting slide from the upper story of the house to the ground and lands smack dab into a pile of paint cans. All the characters end up colored a multitude of colors which somehow makes the black sheep appealing to the rest of the fold. This non-narrative film has a take on the black sheep story has a unique twist, that drives home a sweet story about acceptance. Oh that the world would be so simple! And yet, it can be, at least in the movies. Charming and colorful. We recommend this for ages 2 to 5 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 13-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BLUES TIME

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BLUES TIME
PROMOFEST
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 14-18
Topic - Family
Description - Some people say that life is like a song. Melodies may rise, melodies may fall... and suddenly, we find ourselves lost in the rhythm. Blues Time is a short film that has been put together in such a way that people with sensory disabilities are able to experience it without difficulties.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What an interesting film. This touching storyline brings to light the relationship we have with time and aging and, more specifically our grandparents. I loved watching the interaction between the musician and the young girl. At first, I was concerned about the scene in the bar, but was comforted when the bartender/musician/mentor calls the girl out over wanting a drink and hands her a juice. The dialogue is brilliant. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to older tweens, 14 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 14-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GABRIELLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GABRIELLE
NICOLA ROSE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - When 13-year-old Gabrielle signs up for ballet, she encounters bullying from her teacher -- and friendship in an unexpected place. A story about friendship, overcoming bullies, body image, and knowing your worth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Beautifully told story that tackles a domain not many have taken on in the bullying discussion - the dance world. Having grown up in this world myself, I can relate to the truth behind this story. The ending is a bit far-fetched, but charming. This film is well executed from the camera work, to the acting, to the background music, editing - all is commendable. This would make a lovely addition to any youth or family film festival. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror. Kudos to the filmmaker for creating such a lovely short film.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BEWARE THE WOLF!

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BEWARE THE WOLF!
PROTOTYPES ASSOCIES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Once again, Little Red Riding Hood has to bring a cake, a jar of jam and butter to his grandmother. But this time, the wolf is not at the rendezvous.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love seeing Red Riding Hood outsmart the Wolf, or so we think, at the beginning of this animated short. Jumping from place to place, making herself hidden and almost invisible while she travels to Grandma's house is cleverly executed and you want to cheer her on. The surprise ending comes out of nowhere and makes you giggle with delight. Well executed. Recommended for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


SMALL SPARK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SMALL SPARK
PROTOTYPES ASSOCIES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A small mouse lives in the middle of books and their epic adventures. When the candle goes out and when the matchbox is empty, it's her turn to live a dangerous adventure throughout the house, in search of a small spark.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A cut short animation about a mouse that lives among the books of a home library and whose life is challenged by the existence of a cat in the same house. The "book mouse" is undeterred when his candle goes out and he heads out in search of a match so he can continue reading. The characters are all 2D and charming in their own ways. They are not as textured or complex as today's standard animation, but the clever storyline holds your attention and is worthy of consideration. I love seeing the mouse reading by candlelight. Somehow it gives me hope for the world. Recommended for ages 8 to 18. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by William N., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - SEE ADULT COMMENTS
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WHAT NOW !?

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHAT NOW !?
PROTOTYPES ASSOCIES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - The day ends, as the children are now sleeping, Jean-Marc can read his newspaper quietly. But his little boy Tom just wakes up because of a nightmare. He was walking on the roof of a huge building when he felt. His father has a scientific explanation to that.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a charming animated film, cleverly making use of animated stick figures as the characters. It's super short, sweet and to the point. I particularly love the alien invasion at the end and think that kids, ages 8 to 18 will enjoy it. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MOON GIRL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MOON GIRL
PROTOTYPES ASSOCIES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - In a Parisian basement, a little roach overflows with unconditional love to the moon. He puts on a bow tie and his most beautiful shoes. Tonight, he'll try again to reach her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Who falls in love with the moon? Maybe we all do at some point in our life. This clever storyline featuring a little roach as the protagonist will charm even the most hardened insect hater. Love the animation and the jazzy background music. Cute cute cute. And fun. Love the escape the cat makes, flying on a paper airplane to the moon. Wonderfully magical. 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 10 to 18. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 3 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MARS 3752

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MARS 3752
PROTOTYPES ASSOCIES
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-13
Topic - Family
Description - A little boy looks at stars dreamer. Such a falling star, cosmonaut's helmet which falls of the sky. The future of the boy seems all mapped out.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Cute and clever and timely. I really enjoyed the animation of this short film and the idea of a young boy becoming so attracted to the concept of space that he ends up building his own space ship to travel into space on his own. What happens there is something else and the ending interestingly reflective. Recommended
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 2 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-13
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


PRESSURE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PRESSURE
ANTHONY LAMBERT
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Created by multiple award winning music artist Luke James Shaffer, "Pressure" follows a kid named PRESSURE as he faces a slew of obstacles throughout the school day. He's dealing with what feels like the weight of the world on his shoulders, all while still attempting to do the right thing. Will our hero come out victorious? Or will he melt under the pressure?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Brilliant and poignant short. Love the music and the concept from the get go throughout the entire film. Clever how the characters are named by the types of people they are. Wish that real people walked around with named like this on them! (just kidding). Wonderfully animated, great storyline, excellent message. Really suitable for tweens and teens. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A DICTIONARY, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A DICTIONARY, THE
VIJAY SUBRAMANIAN
Series: FOREIGN INDIE SHORT, AGES 7-15
Topic - Family
Description - Krishna a tech-savvy kid is being given a Dictionary as a gift for his birthday. This is not what he wanted. How the Dictionary finds the meaning of it's existence forms the rest of the story.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a brilliantly written story. I absolutely love this and think that you will too. The dictionary is an unlikely hero, but in this story, that is exactly what it/he/she is! Wonderful camera work, acting (especially the young boy), voice over and storyline. This is exactly the type of film we love to play at KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. Kudos to the creator for making a wonderful film, based on a great storyline, rather than special or visual effects. It is totally refreshing. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 15, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WANDERBOY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WANDERBOY
THOMAS BERNOS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 14-18
Topic - Family
Description - At death's door and ready for his final voyage, old Ben is visited by Paco, the imaginary friend he grew out of long ago. Ben cannot see nor hear him anymore, but the boy won't give up and will follow his old buddy till the end of the road - to mysterious islands or fantastic worlds? - where it leads matters not.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wow! This is a very impactful film. Shot in black and white, it delivers a punch. Excellent camera work and editing. It is abstract in its storytelling, but you get the gist of the old man reliving his past and seeing his death in the future. I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for older teens, ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Marsha S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 16 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 14-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


KARMA OF BOCCE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
KARMA OF BOCCE, THE
DUNCAN PUTNEY
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A young boy meets a young girl at a local park. They watch her grandfather and his elderly friends play bocce as she reads the boy a story, his imagination is set free and he watches the heavens move with every toss in the old men's game.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an engaging short with a powerful message about the importance of having an imagination. The characters are very descriptive. I felt as if I could picture them and their dialogue is very real and easy to relate to. I recommend this for ages appropriate for ages 8 to 18 and adults. I can see this on the big screen and I give this 4 stars out of 5. Very well written.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


DARK WATERS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DARK WATERS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - From Participant (Spotlight, Green Book), DARK WATERS tells the shocking and heroic story of an attorney (Mark Ruffalo) who risks his career and family to uncover a dark secret hidden by one of the world's largest corporations and to bring justice to a community dangerously exposed for decades to deadly chemicals.

Corporate environmental defense attorney Rob Bilott (Academy Award�-nominee Mark Ruffalo) has just made partner at his prestigious Cincinnati law firm in large part due to his work defending Big Chem companies. He finds himself conflicted after he's contacted by two West Virginia farmers who believe that the local DuPont plant is dumping toxic waste in the area landfill that is destroying their fields and killing their cattle. Hoping to learn the truth about just what is happening, Bilott, with help from his supervising partner in the firm, Tom Terp (Academy Award�-winner Tim Robbins), files a complaint that marks the beginning of an epic 15-year fight--one that will not only test his relationship with his wife, Sarah (Academy Award�-winner Anne Hathaway) but also his reputation, his health and his livelihood.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dark Waters is a compelling look at one man's fight against the corrupt practices of a multi-billion dollar company.

Based on a true story, Dark Waters follows Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), a corporate lawyer who gets a call from a family friend named Wilbur (Bill Camp) about a disturbance on his farm in West Virginia. Over 100 of Wilbur's cows have died and he suspects it has something to do with the creek running through his property. Wilbur's hunch becomes a frightening truth as Rob investigates decades' worth of wrong-doing by the DuPont chemical company.

Mark Ruffalo portrayal of Rob Bilott is excellent. He's plays the legal scenes with conviction, but he feels more like a vessel to receive information than a fully- formed character. We see plenty of Bilott's moral standards, but we rarely get a sense of what drives him to do the work he does or who he is emotionally. It makes it harder to fully connect with and invest in his character. A performance worth noting with much less screen time is Bill Pullman as lawyer Harry Dietzler. Pullman gives Dark Waters a boost of energy. He's not comedic relief, but he's certainly a breath of fresh air.

Todd Haynes's direction is both impressive and overbearing. Haynes has a flair for stylistic flourishes in his other films and here the moody, muted lighting that clouds much of the film creates a feeling of anxiety that makes every step of Rob's journey and what he discovers uncomfortable in a way that's very effective. By the same token, the color scheme is dark and dreary throughout and the film ends up with a dull sheen and a tone that feels at times heavy-handed.

An aspect of the filmmaking I love is the use of tracking shots to show not only the lives that DuPont destroyed, but the communities too. Dark Waters is unflinching when it comes to depicting the consequences of DuPont's malpractice. It tells and more specifically, shows it, in a way that rightfully stirs up an audience reaction of anger and injustice.

I recommend Dark Waters for ages 12 to 18 for some shocking images and brief language. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. If you're looking for a good or feel-good time at the cinema for the holidays, this isn't it, but Dark Waters is definitely an informative and important film. Dark Waters opens in theaters November 27, 2019.

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

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This artful and intimate meditation on the legendary storyteller examines her life, her works and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

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


OVERFLOW

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
OVERFLOW
JOCELYN CHANG
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Riley desperately wants to help his friends that live in the ocean, but massive piles of swirling trash endlessly arrive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a lovely short film emphasizing the issues surrounding pollution of our oceans. This would make a wonderful addition to any youth or family film festival looking to make an impact on their audience about our connection with our planet. Beautifully illustrated, wonderful background music, lovely and simple storyline. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WORST DAY OF MY LIFE, THE
JARET MARTINO
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - A middle school student is forced to move schools after horrific bullying, despite processing grief and making a huge transition she's able to clear the way for a brighter future. (Based On A True Story)
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Bullying is a serious issue in our culture, both nationally and world-wide. Dealing with it can be pretty tricky. This short film offers one solution, which appears to have worked. Kudos for the young woman and her family for being able to resolve it in this way. I believe this film will be helpful in opening up a conversation among young people and parents about the subject, and perhaps offer insight into what is going on in schools and elsewhere. Thanks to the filmmaker for bringing the situation to the forefront. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15, plus adults. Reviewed by Marsha S., KIDS FIRST! juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 13 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WHEN I FIND YOU

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHEN I FIND YOU
XI WANG
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 10 TO 18
Topic - Family
Description - A toy car and a puppet grew up with a girl together. Nowadays, she doesn't play with them anymore because she is addicted to play video games too much. The toy car and the puppet feel so sad about it so they run away from home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Sweet short with a good message for young kids. A bit unrealistic perhaps, but still inspiring. This would make a fine addition to a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival collaborator and perfect as an interstitial. Kudos to the filmmaker for excellent filmmaking work. The action of the car is particularly well executed. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 8 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HOUSE OF CARDIN

HOUSE OF CARDIN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
2 OF EACH, INC.
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Millions know the iconic logo and ubiquitous signature but few know the man behind the larger than life label. Ultimately we seek to answer the question: Who is Pierre Cardin? What is the story behind this legendary icon? House of Cardin is a rare peek into the mind of a genius, an authorized feature documentary chronicling the life and design of Cardin. A true original, Mr. Cardin has granted the directors exclusive access to his archives and his empire, and unprecedented interviews at the sunset of a glorious career.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This exuberant documentary (French with English subtitles) from directing team P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (Mansfield 66/67, Dear Mom, Love Cher) provides a well-rounded portrait of fashion designer Pierre Cardin, still sharp, spirited and working at age 97. Alternating between interviews and a plethora of archival footage, the filmmakers deftly illustrate Cardin's wide-ranging creativity, which evolved from radical and influential women's wear into men's clothing and beyond, eventually encompassing lamps, furniture, theaters, a car and even an airplane. The filmmakers provide welcome context throughout as the Cardin brand is shown growing globally over the decades from his beginnings in the Paris fashion world of the 1940's. The filmmakers utilize brisk, snappy editing and a myriad of examples of Cardin's clothing and designs to provide a comprehensive overview of the Cardin style. For those not familiar with Cardin, the documentary does an admirable job at conveying the unique flourishes that defined his approach. While effusive throughout, the film does not shy away from a critical consideration of the controversial licensing of the Cardin brand, nor his open lifestyle. Recommended for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. 5 out of 5 stars. Review by Mike Fishman, KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This exuberant documentary (French with English subtitles) from directing team P. David Ebersole and Todd Hughes (Mansfield 66/67, Dear Mom, Love Cher) provides a well-rounded portrait of fashion designer Pierre Cardin, still sharp, spirited and working at age 97. Alternating between interviews and a plethora of archival footage, the filmmakers deftly illustrate Cardin's wide-ranging creativity, which evolved from radical and influential women's wear into men's clothing and beyond, eventually encompassing lamps, furniture, theaters, a car and even an airplane. The filmmakers provide welcome context throughout as the Cardin brand is shown growing globally over the decades from his beginnings in the Paris fashion world of the 1940's. The filmmakers utilize brisk, snappy editing and a myriad of examples of Cardin's clothing and designs to provide a comprehensive overview of the Cardin style. For those not familiar with Cardin, the documentary does an admirable job at conveying the unique flourishes that defined his approach. While effusive throughout, the film does not shy away from a critical consideration of the controversial licensing of the Cardin brand, nor his open lifestyle. Recommended for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. 5 out of 5 stars. Review by Mike Fishman, KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 14-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm



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