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LION KING, THE (2019)

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LION KING, THE (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - As the film rolled, and the first frames were displayed, I could not help but feel tears spring to my eyes with the opening sounds of the now-classic Zulu chant "Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba!" The sun rises on Pride Rock again as the new prince, Simba, (JD McCrary/Donald Glover) is presented to the Pride. Mufasa (James Earl Jones), the only returning original voice from the animated film, and Sarabi (Alfre Woodard), share their son with the Pride, noticing the absence of the King's brother, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Of the main characters, Scar is never one I believe. His role seems flat, given the prominence of his voice in the story. Simba's BFF and future queen, Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph/Beyonce Knowles Carter), is played well as a young and grown cub devoted to her friend, Pride and eventually, love. The toughest part about watching a live-action retelling of the classic animated film is the lack of emotion the animals bring to the screen. Whereas the animation allows more feeling drawn into the scene; lions, meerkats and warthogs don't have a lot of physical expressions. This small detail is an issue several times, as I wanted to connect to scenes on a deeper level.

The Lion King 2019 has all the feels - hope, sadness, pride, abundance and comedy. Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) are laugh-out-loud funny. Their casting is a match made in comedy heaven (live-action, animation...) Zazu (John Oliver) brings the punch line to many scenes as well - at times dry and others fully-animated. Oliver is an excellent choice to play a character who has to bring everyone to a level of knowledge throughout the film.

For some, the updated voices and darkness of the computer-generated animation will be a distraction. My guess is that Disney is betting (and banking) on the memories and emotions that millions have and are attached to from the 1994 animated film. I believe director Jon Favreau (who also directed Disney's 2016 live-action The Jungle Book) seeks a happy medium with this film. For me, I think he is very successful in telling the story.

I give this film 4 of 5 stars for its spectacular CGI and mindful frame-by-frame re-imagined storytelling. I was hoping for a few new tales, but this is not to be. The casting is exemplary, especially the humorous interludes between Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan's performances as Timon and Pumba. I love the NEW MUSIC, especially when Simba and Nala sings "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to each other. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults as it introduces or re-introduces the music of The Lion King and Elton John to younger generations. See it in theaters when it opens on July 19, 2019.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lion King is a hilarious and entertaining new Disney movie! This work of art lives up to the original animated version of The Lion King in a new and engrossing way. If you are a fan of Disney or just love movies in general, you will be infatuated by this new incredible film.

This movie follows heir to the throne, Simba, as he learns about ruling his Kingdom in the heart of the African savanna. The king of the lions, Mufasa, wants nothing more than peace in the savanna and to protect his son. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Mufasa's diabolical brother, Scar, is hungry for power and blood. This hairy beast will stop for nothing in order to obtain the throne. Simba and his new-found friends must act fast to put an end to his malicious uncle's plans.

There are a multitude of dazzling aspects in The Lion King, but the most stunning is the heavy and effective use of CGI. From the beginning to the end of the film, the computer-generated imagery creates animals that are incredibly realistic and authentic. This new lively take on a classic story is incredibly refreshing and engaging. Another factor I immensely enjoyed was the voice acting. Billy Eicher, who plays Timon and Seth Rogen, who plays Pumbaa, are absolutely hilarious. Every other line spoken from their mouths had me dying of laughter. Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who plays Scar, is perfect for his role. He left the audience completely despising his character, which is perfect for a villain the caliber of Scar. The only moment in the film that is slightly disappointing is the song Hakuna Matata. I think it is too different from the original version and not as intriguing. On a separate note, the writers wrote a touching and adorable script. I was delighted by the father-son relationship between Simba and Mufasa. The interactions and playful nature seen through their characters is heart-warming.

The Lion King reveals that bravery is an important attribute, but is only effective when executed in a selfless manner. This underlying message is valuable for our everyday lives. Parents should be aware that this film has a fair amount of violence.

I give The Lion King 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend to kids ages 8 through 18. Make sure to check out this film when it pounces into theaters July 17, 2019. Trust me, you won't want to miss it.

By Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The live-action adaption of The Lion King is bound to be a Disney classic. This CGI masterpiece brings a new twist to the story visually, as well as musically. The opening scene sets the tone for the whole movie, bridging the original animation with this new live action take, into one beautiful panoramic view of the film's setting. The entire film looks so realistic that it's almost like a nature documentary.

The well-known storyline hasn't changed much: Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is the head of his pride and the King of "all that the light touches" in the African Serengeti. His son, Simba, (the younger, JD McCrary and mature, Donald Glover) is brave, but mischievous. Simba's Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is bitter and angry that Simba is the heir to his brother's throne. In order to get Mufasa and Simba out of the way, Scar manipulates the hyenas into joining forces. He then arranges an "accident" to kill Mufasa and take over the kingdom. Scar blames Simba for Mufasa's death, and Simba runs away--but it's Mufasa's love and wisdom that brings Simba back to assume the throne.

The intense and serious aspects, and the comedic scenes, come together to create a beautiful balance. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa, bringing the comforting and strong tone we expect from the leader of the pride. His touching relationship with his son is the centerpiece of this film. Meanwhile, Ejiofor's, Scar, performs "Be Prepared" as a powerful villainous anthem, interpreting the character as very complicated and intense. Florence Kasumba's turn as Shenzi is also a fierce and threatening leader of her pack of hyenas.

The comedic acting is brilliantly funny. The comedy duo of Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumba, are the highlights of the movie. Their playful banter brings a sharp wit to some of the most intense scenes in the film.

While hyenas Keegan Micheal Key and Eric Andre's dysfunctional comedy shone a spotlight on the hyena crew, John Oliver's Zazu was a funny take on Mufasa's right hand bird.

The real star of the show is the incredible CGI animation that brings these animals to life. Their expressions and movements are so realistic and animal-like, but the personification of these seemingly wild animals seems so natural. Cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel of The Right Stuff, and Jon Favreau, director of The Jungle Book, make sure the entire movie was visually stunning.

The songs from the original movie feature heavily, and while they are performed and produced in a more pop-oriented way, the score is more sweeping and orchestral. Classics like " Can You Feel the Love Tonight?," and "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," are performed by pop stars Beyonc� and Donald Glover, and produced by Pharrell Williams. Hans Zimmer provides a dramatic score, that works with the feeling of the new film.

The message in this film is that we may doubt ourselves, but it's important to remember who we are, and that our friends and family can help remind us. There are some violent and intense scenes, so I wouldn't recommend it for very young viewers. But kids from ages 6-18 would enjoy it, as well as adults. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because Disney has created a brand new, can't-miss classic.

The Lion King will be released on July 19 in theaters nationwide. By Elle Cohen, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love this film! There are stunning visuals, a powerful story of betrayal, coming of age, re-birth and the circle of life. The idea of what it really means to be a king and all the original sentiment is intact. I love all the animals and think it is really impressive how they filmed this movie.

The story of The Lion King is about a little cub named Simba who is going to become king. One day, a wild stampede puts Simba's life in danger and his father, Mudasa, dies after he rescues him. Mudasa's evil brother Scar makes Simba believe it is his fault and forces him to abandon the kingdom. Simba carries guilt and feelings of not being brave when he runs away, leaving everyone, including his best friend Nala behind. He goes to a new land where he meets Timon and Pumba and they become the best of friends. His life is good, but lacks purpose. From there, Simba's friend Nala comes to find help and meets Simba after so many years. Scar's reign is despicable and all the animals are trying to stop Scar's evil plans. Simba needs to become the king he was meant to be.

I love the comedy in this film. I also love how, in one scene, they play a little piece of "Be Our Guest" - that's actually my favorite scene in the film and it is not in the original. I definitively think this is a perfect visual recreation of the original. I love that they chose The Lion King to be the next Disney Classic to turn into live action. Lately, Disney been only doing Princess stories, so I like that they chose animals this time. I absolutely adore the animals and I feel like they fascinate you during the entire film. This is not a reinvention of the story; it is pretty much just taking the original to the real world. The way the live action blends with digital imagery is fantastic. This photo realistic Africa on the big screen is splendorous.

There are so many messages in the film: stay true to yourself, being compassionate is more important that being powerful, and we can't change our past. It is very inspiring to hear again "Hakuna Matata." This words have been an important motto for people since the original Lion King was released in 1994. The song was composed by Elton John and was nominated for an Oscar. There's a new Elton John song - "Never Too Late," and other surprises in this new one. All the beloved classic songs play in this 2019 version, which makes the audience very happy.

I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13, and adults as well. Never forget: Hakuna Matata. The Lion King 2019 opens July 19, 2019, so look for it.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

There's no denying that the original Lion King from 1994 is a classic. Gorgeous animation, amazing story and absolutely timeless music. So making a remake was understandably going to be tricky. How can you remake something that's already so timeless? Well to me, the end result is okay at best.

I almost feel like I don't need to explain the plot as it's the same story as the original. There are barely any changes and, even then, the changes are very minor. So if you've seen The Lion King (1994) then you've seen The Lion King (2019). However there's one major change that in my eyes makes the remake suffer significantly and that's the graphics.

I should preface this by saying I do prefer animation to CGI "realistic graphics" because I feel animation just looks better. But my main concern is that realistic graphics ruin the storytelling greatly. The Lion King is a very emotional story. And when you have such an emotional story you need to connect and feel for the characters. The original was able to pull this off perfectly with fantastically detailed facial expressions. Unfortunately, because of the realistic graphics, the characters in The Lion King (2019) show little to no emotion. This kills basically every important scene, as I didn't feel invested in it. I kept thinking to myself -These lions do not look interested in what's happening. The realism also has another consequence: I could not tell the difference between the lions at times. At times I thought is that Nala or Simba's Mom? Because the original is animated, they can differentiate the lions through things like their fur color, eyes and facial structure. The CGI remake does not have this ability.

It also felt like the creators tried cutting down on the more "animated" scenes. The Mufasa ghost scene doesn't have Mufasa's spirit appear; instead they just have his voice come from the clouds and sometimes lightning will strike to form his face. I feel seeing his full appearance is more powerful.

The songs suffer as well. "Be Prepared" is severely cut down which is disappointing, because it's a favorite song from the movie. The "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" segment in the original has all this crazy choreography that integrated the various animals in unique ways that can only be done in animation. In the remake they just run around. I was actually somewhat bored, if it wasn't for John Oliver as Zazu.

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. The Lion King (2019) comes out July 19, 2019.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The adventurous CGI animated dramatic musical The Lion King is a classic! The acting and the music is astonishing, somewhat different from the original but unique in its own way. The adventures that Simba choses to explore are dangerous and leave him more curious. It made me think of the saying, "curiosity killed the cat." The action between Simba and his evil uncle Scar is so incredible, that I could watch that scene repeatedly and still be amazed.

The Lion King is a production directed by Jon Favreau, a well-known actor who starred in many movies. The movie is set in the African Serengeti, and stars many well-known actors and musicians such as Beyonc� and Donald Glover. There is also new music introduced -- one piece in particular is produced and written by Beyonc� called Spirit, and it is a very nice song.

The storyline follows Simba, a prince cub who will be king one day. As his father Mufasa is teaching him how to be king, his uncle Scar becomes jealous and sets out to kill Mufasa and Simba so he can be king himself. Simba learns through all of this drama how to be brave and responsible.

The characters Pumbaa and Timon are hilarious in the movie, even funnier than in the original. They still sing their original song "Hakuna Matata", which means no worries for the rest of your days. My favorite part of the movie is watching Simba turn into an adult while singing "Hakuna Matata" and the joke that Timon says (which isn't in the original movie) is extremely funny!

The message of the movie is about learning to be brave, responsible, and taking ownership. In Simba's situation he meets new friends to help him along the way and is able to mend broken relationships with his friends and family. The movie does have some risky situations that kids might imitate, such as going into dangerous places and not following their parents' rules; therefore, parental guidance is suggested.

Overall, I give The Lion King 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. I think adults will enjoy it too. It opens in theaters nationwide July 19, 2019, so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Navah W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CAMPING (2019)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CAMPING (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 4-12
Topic - Family
Description - It s the first day of Summer Vacation and The Cat in the Hat whisks Nick, Sally and Fish off on the greatest great outdoor camping adventure ever! Our gang gets back to nature as they hike through the Fickle Fern Forest, camp out overnight, trek over Mt. Weewobble and canoe down the Tickle Drop River....just in time for Fish to meet up with his family for a grand reunion. Along for the ride are Little Cats A, B and C, who discover there s wonder in nature once their electronic devices are powered off! Nick and Sally help keep the Little Cats out of trouble, while Fish tries to keep his jacket pressed and the mud out of his fancy fishbowl...all while getting up close to some of nature s most awesome sights, and learning how best to respect them. After being lulled to sleep under the stars by a chorus of animals, the morning brings fresh adventure with a spectacular race up Mt. Weewobble, complete with a cliffhanger ending! It s a slippery ride down the slope and into the Tickle Drop River, where a harrowing raft ride finally delivers them to the shores of Fish s family reunion. The Cat in the Hat and his loveable Little Cat cousins, Nick, Sally, Fish and all his family, gather together in a great Suessian-style musical finale... in which Fish and the gang are celebrated as true adventurers. Everyone agrees it really has been the Greatest Great Outdoors Adventure ever!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a great DVD to get you in the mood for the upcoming summer vacation! I'm a big fan of the Cat in the Hat and his shenanigans. This one does not disappoint! It's entertaining for the whole family and children, ages 3 to 9 will love it! I like that all the characters such as the Fish are included in this fun outdoor adventure. It also has a great story line from the beginning to end and it's just so fun to watch. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I also like that it is rather original and the animation and soundtrack are great. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and think that the adults will also enjoy watching this one with their young children. Reviewed by Denise Bloomfield, KIDS FIRST! Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Looking for adventure this summer? Look no further than the new DVD The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping! Join The Cat in the Hat, Nick, Sally and Fish on their trip to Fish's family reunion. Along the way they are joined by the Little Cats as well as an appearance by Thing 1 and Thing 2! Plenty of trouble ahead for this group.

On the way to Fish's family reunion his fancy new fishbowl starts to leak. The Cat in the Hat tries to fix this problem for his friend and as usual lands the group in more trouble. The "thingamajig" heads to a crash landing and Thing 1 and Thing 2 appear to help their friends. The group starts on a wilderness trek to help Fish make his way to his family when they discover the joys of nature.

This DVD features the incredibly talented and funny Martin Short as the voice of the Cat in the Hat! The illustrations and animation are what you would expect from the Cat in the Hat's world and I especially enjoyed the fantastical wilderness scenes. The river scenes in particular are my favorite animation on this journey.

The message of this adventure is to enjoy the great outdoors and don't get lost in your screen-time. Interacting with people, things and the world around you is more important than viewing life on a screen. The Little Cats learn this lesson several times on this DVD.

I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. The DVD is available now so look for it.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining and useful. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping has a duration of one hour and you can watch it in English or Spanish.

This DVD is about two kids named Nick and Sally pretending to camp in their backyard on their first day of summer vacation. The Cat in the Hat (Martin Short) comes to visit them with his friend Fish who has a family reunion at the time. The Cat in the Hat tells Nick and Sally that he is going to set up a camp at Fish's family reunion. Nick and Sally are very excited because they really are going camping. The Cat in the Hat takes his hat off and his three little cousins come out of the hat, Little Cat A, Little Cat B and little Cat C. During their journey to Fish's family reunion, The Cat in the Hat teaches the kids and the little cousins a lot about nature, insects and the beautiful landscape, with the help of a special electronic device. Meanwhile, Fish is worried about his special suit not getting ruined during their journey to the reunion and his fancy fish bowl not getting muddy (so he can show it off to his family). Unfortunately, this trip is not going the way Fish wanted to go.

The animation on this DVD is the same as other Cat in the Hat movies. The songs are catchy and pleasant to listen to. The show features Martin Short, from The Three Amigos, as the voice of the Cat in the Hat. My favorite scene is when the Cat in the Hat, Fish, Nick and Sally are flying in the air in the Thingamajigger singing "Go, go, go, go on an adventure."

The moral of this show is "no matter how you dress, how look, or what you have, your family will love you for who you are." Family doesn't care about your appearance or your possessions.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Adults can watch this with their kids and might even learn some tips about camping. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping! is available now, so you can enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I absolutely love all the different things I learned about from this DVD! The animation is spot on for this show which brings out a lot of cool stuff. In this collection, the Cat in the Hat, Nick, Sally, Fish, Thing One and Thing Two are all back for new and exciting adventures about camping. It makes the perfect summer DVD for kids who love Dr. Seuss's terrific characters and stories. I enjoyed watching this so much because it is interesting and enjoyable and shows so many different people from all around the world. I imagine that kids from everywhere will enjoy this since camping is something everyone can do.

My favorite scene features a crafty squirrel who borrows food. We are in the great outdoors and have to remember that humans are in animal territory so, they need to be kind to the animals. The voice actors truly fit their characters, especially Martin Short as the Cat in the Hat. Mr. Short's energetic voice over suits the Cat so well. His voice is very unique which makes his character always so fun, happy, encouraging and knowledgeable. He makes watching the show a treat.

Electronics rule the world today, so camping is great way to get back to nature. Leave the phones at home and go outside and enjoy the world. This is the great lesson on this DVD. I would like to go camping this year for a fun vacation. It might even start a family tradition that my family and I would enjoy - time away from electronics exploring the wonderful world we live in. It is so easy to sit and worry that everything will go wrong, but things tend to always work out. Spend less time worrying and more time enjoying life is a message I took away from this.

There is no fishing on this camping trip since the goal is to take Fish to his family reunion. We see family members coming together from all difference places to get reacquainted with one another and connect in new ways. It is always fun to see our family members from far away, listen to their stories about the past and learn about others in your extended family. I'm going to make this part of my summer plan.

I recommend this DVD for kids ages 4 to 12. You can learn a lot about camping, friendship and family reunions while watching this adventure. It is very catchy and perfect for summer. If you're looking for something to do this summer, then this will give you some wonderful ideas. I give this terrific DVD 5 out of 5 camping adventure stars. This fun DVD is available now so, go check it out.

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

To start off, I want to comment this DVD on how it impacts children in a positive way with its great vocabulary and important lessons that are taught in each episode. This series is very enjoyable for kids to watch. The plot is well designed for kids to understand and relate to the stories. I can understand why kids are attracted to it. The way the show is made, with all the colorful objects and cute plots draw the kids in quite easily and, in that moment, their life seems interesting.

All the episodes on this DVD have different stories and plots, but the format and the meaning is pretty much the same. All the adventures are different, but every one teaches the lesson that you can play and have fun in nature enjoying the most awesome sights. You can have a great time without damaging the environment yet, you still need to respect and take care of it. Along with that, the viewer experiences some great adventures that are unforgettable.

My favorite scene is at the end of one episode when The Cat in the Hat, Nick, Sally, Fish and all his family gather together in one musical finale extravaganza where they are all celebrated as true adventurers. I like this scene because it is very creative, has great songs and the little musical finale is so well organized. It definitely gets children's attention since it really stands out.

The important message gleaned from these episodes is that people and children can have fun without electronic devices. This DVD teaches kids about the wonder in nature. It shows how phones, computers and other electronic devices are not more fascinating than the activities you can do in nature. It shows you how to share quality time with the people you love and learn about your surroundings. This DVD is available now so, go check it out. It's just in time for summer vacation.

By Alejandra Garcia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Are you ready to go on the greatest great outdoors adventure ever? This DVD is full of fun! It has adorable characters, wonderful music and colorful animation.

In The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About Camping, Sally and Nick go on an enjoyable journey with The Cat, Fish and Little Cats A, B and C. Fish has to get to his fish family reunion so they have no time to waste. They hop into the thinga-ma-jigger and start flying, only to find that there is a leak in Fish's fishbowl and land to make repairs. It will not be fixed for two days so they are forced to hike through Fickle Fern Forest to try to get to Tickle Drop Falls to get to the family reunion on time.

The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About Camping is entertaining and educational at the same time. It teaches kids about nature, including the different types of flowers they discover on the trip. It has amusing music to accompany the scenes. Martin Short is the voice of The Cat in the Hat and he is so much fun in this role, with all of his clever phrases and rhyming. My favorite part is the race to get to the top of Mt. Weewobble and, of course, the Little Cats A, B and C.

There are many positive messages throughout the DVD, including teaching kids to love to learn, enjoy nature and that electronics aren't the only fun things. The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About Camping has no bad language, promotes positive behavior and they treat everyone appropriately. There are a couple risky things that kids might try to do such as wandering into a forest and racing to the top of a wobbly mountain.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Adults will think that this is cute. The DVD is currently available so look for it.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Spider-Man: Far From Home is bigger and better than its predecessor, Homecoming and another exciting entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Far From Home is a blast that'll have you on the edge of your seat and is a nice palette cleanser after the despair of Endgame and Infinity War.

With pressure from being a superhero mounting every day, Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland), needs a break. He's ready to go on a school trip through Europe and confess his feelings for classmate MJ (Zendaya). Peter's easy going summer is mangled when creatures called Elementals attack the first stop on his trip. Peter is appointed by the head of S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury to assist Quentin Beck in taking the monsters down. Beck, a.k.a Mysterio, is ready to sacrifice anything to vanquish the Elementals after they destroyed his home and killed his family. Peter sets out to protect his friends and the world at large from the coming supernatural threat.

Tom Holland plays a great Spider-Man. Far From Home relies on him being likable and relatable and this time around, somewhat vulnerable too. Holland does all of these things really well. This film doesn't work if you're not invested in Peter Parker, but lucky for us, this version is perhaps the best incarnation of the character yet. The awkward, yet sweet interactions between Peter and MJ are a highlight of this film.

Far From Home has a fun atmosphere, even when the stakes are tense and thrilling. The comedy is sharp and witty, but the emotional nuance of Peter's arc is well-executed. Peter has to face the responsibilities of being a "friendly neighborhood Spider-man" and step up to fill the void left by his recently fallen mentor and friend Tony Stark, a.k.a Iron Man. Stark expected the best from Parker and trusted him with numerous gadgets and resources to continue to do good after he was gone. Parker has to live up to those expectations, while also mourning the loss of his friend.

I recommend this for ages 12 to 18 for some violence, peril and language. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a great teen comedy with a touch of science fiction, romance and heroism. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend you see this film when it swings in theaters July 2nd.

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

Spider-Man: Far From Home is one of the most exciting movies in theaters right now. Its thrilling action will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire runtime, and you'll leave the cinema smiling. This is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it truly did not disappoint.

This film follows your "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man", aka Peter Parker, leaving New York City to go on a school field trip throughout Europe. On his trip, he plans to spend time with his friends, tell his crush how he feels about her, and go sightseeing around the several countries he's visiting. But his plan will soon come to a halt when Nick Fury warns him about a new threat coming to Earth. With the help of a new superhero named Mysterio, Peter Parker will have to decide whether to enjoy his teenage years and have fun on his trip or to save the world, risking his identity in the process.

The performances and the comedy are this film's high points. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio and Tom Holland as Peter Parker absolutely steal the show and are both a pure joy to watch. This is Gyllenhaal's first Marvel flick, and it looks like he was born to be in one. Spider-Man: Far From Home, like most Marvel films, is hilarious; all the side characters had several lines that got the entire theater laughing. Something else I admire about this film is how well it encapsulates teenage life and all of the awkward, exciting, and confusing moments being a teenager brings. The film portrays teens very realistically, and I have to commend the director, Tom Watts, for this. The special effects are marvelous, especially in scenes dealing with Mysterio.

With many highs, this film also has its lows. My main problems with the movie are the heavy exposition scenes and the dialogue. The way it feeds the audience information and tells backstories is poorly written which makes the scenes feel unnatural. The predictability of the story took me out of the film several times, but the movie still contains many moments which utterly shocked the entire audience. Although it has its lows, the highs fully outweigh them.

All in all, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun-infused thrill ride that you will not want to miss. If you enjoy the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you will absolutely adore this one. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11-18, but adults will also appreciate it. Check it out in theaters on July 2, 2019.

Reviewed by Veronica S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

What I like about Spider-Man: Far from Home are the special effects, the quality of the storyline, the fight scenes and the fact that Spider-Man is my favorite superhero! I can't just point out one specific part. The MCU never disappoints.

Spider-Man: Far from Home is about the after-math of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame and how everyone that is destroyed in the snap that they call "The Blip" comes back the same age. It's been five years so, instead of their being 21 and graduated, they are still 16 and have to re-do their sophomore year of high school. So, the school year ends and the class is going on a summer vacation to Europe. Peter doesn't want to be Spider-Man on this trip, but coincidently Nick Fury happens to need Peter's help as Spider-Man. He fights along Quentin Beck (Mysterio) and, while in the comics Mysterio is the bad guy, it seems his role is reversed in this movie. While all this is happening, Peter is trying to tell MJ (the girl he really likes) how he feels.

My favorite part of Spider-Man: Far from Home is when Peter walks with MJ to give her a gift and tell her about how he feels. As he gets ready to tell her, she interrupts and asks him if he is Spider-Man. It's a very funny scene.

The message of Spider-Man: Far from Home is that the world doesn't need another you, it needs someone who can be better. Throughout the movie Peter is constantly reminded of Tony Stark (Iron Man) after his death in Endgame and Peter feels that he needs to be the next Iron Man. Then Happy reminds him that no one could ever be Iron Man and that Peter needs to be a better Spider-Man.

I give Spider-Man: Far from Home 5 out of 5 stars. It is a great cinematic movie with great performances and is a lot better than Spider-Man: Homecoming. I recommend it for ages 13 to18, plus adults because of the language and violence. Make sure to go see Spider-Man: Far from Home in theatres everywhere when it opens Tuesday July 2, 2019.

Reviewed by Madison M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The live action thriller movie Spider-Man: Far from Home is mind blowing and hilarious! I definitely enjoyed this movie. The action-packed fights between the superheroes are explosive, like bombs going off everywhere. The characters travel to adventurous places and weird sci-fi things begin to happen.

The storyline follows Peter Parker preparing for a high school field trip with his classmates to exciting cities in Italy and France. Peter is planning to finally wow MJ, the girl he really likes. However, he becomes frustrated when he is called on mission as Spider-man and tries to avoid the mission by "ghosting" Nick Fury's calls. Ultimately, that does not work and he finds himself trapped and forced into the mission.

The special and visual effects that take place are beyond awesome! They include four of the five elements of science - earth, fire, water and wind. The fighting scenes that take place in the cities that the students visit cause so much destruction of boats, bridges, buildings, cars and planes that it made me think, "Wow! Does this really get destroyed during the making of this movie?" However, I realized later it is simply special and visual effects, because I have learned that drones are used to make you think something is really happening when it is not. In addition to all the action, I also wondered if the superheroes did their own stunts or if there are multiple stunt doubles. Therefore, I did some research and found out that there are several stunt performers.

The message in this movie is about illusion versus real. In other words, everything is not what is seems to be, and people will believe anything, so trust no one. My favorite part of the movie is when Peter Parker gets to shoot his shot with MJ. You should know that there is some profanity and risky situations that kids may try to imitate, so parent guidance is suggested.

I give Spider-Man: Far from Home 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I also think adults will be amazed and enjoy it as well. It opens in theaters nationwide July 2, 2019, so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Navah W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


YESTERDAY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
YESTERDAY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-fetched this sentence appears and, as a music lover, it's preposterous! The Beatles have influenced thousands of musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable, this is the premise behind Director Danny Boyle's (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest film, Yesterday. When a 12-second global power outage occurs, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, EastEnders) is riding his bicycle, collides with a bus, and lands in the hospital with serious injuries. During his recovery, he casually utters statements, which are song lyrics from the Fab Four, and no one gets it. His confusion leads him to Google, where Jack types "The Beatles," only to received definitions of beetles. Try as he may, he can find no reference of The Beatles anywhere and, throughout the film; we learn other brands are also nonexistent in this alternate universe, such as Coke. Jack suddenly realizes he is the only person on Earth who remembers The Beatles.

Things get very interesting as Jack has always been a struggling musician. Think kid's birthday parties, lackluster music festivals and coffee shops. He is lovingly looked after by his lifelong friend Ellie (Lily James) who is also his manager, roadie and his only faithful supporter. If this level of closeness was not enough, we also witness unrequited attraction between the two main characters and, since the script comes from Richard Curtis (Love Actually), we know where this is headed.

Jack decides to learn the songs of The Beatles and make them his own - and he finds success! So much success, Ed Sheeran (playing himself) discovers him. Along with the pop superstar, comes his agent (Kate McKinnon), a money-grubbing, tremendously offensive yet also a funny woman who thinks she found the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. Things don't quite 'Come Together' entirely.

Things get ridiculous as Jack and Ed Sheeran embark on a world tour and meet a few interesting people along the way. The song selection is impeccable with "'Help" providing an accurate reading of the song's rarely spoken meaning, appropriate to the character and plot. The "Long and Winding Road" of the film is truly a musical journey.

I give this film 3 of 5 stars for the some of the casting, the humorous interludes, Kate McKinnon's performance, UNBELIEVABLE MUSIC (kudos to whoever had to manage clearances for this film - WOW!) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18 and introduce or re-introduce the music of The Beatles to younger generations. This writer found herself toe tapping, singing along and loving all the memories this music holds. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 28, 2019.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very entertaining. It has great songs, great singing and a little romance. The acting really pulled me into the story.

Yesterday is about a man named Jack who wants to become a famous singer. While riding his bike, the world's power goes out and Jack gets hit by a bus. After recovering, his friends give him a new guitar and he tries it out by singing a song by The Beatles. His friends have never heard the song before or even know who The Beatles are. So, Jack gets an idea to claim those songs as his own, so he can become famous.

This new world that Jack now lives in, is crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive. Can you imagine? The movie is creative in many ways, including using locations that inspired several Beatles' song titles such as Eleanor Rigby's grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack's manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful. My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on the Internet.

The message of Yesterday is to follow your dreams, put love first and tell the truth. It has a bit of bad language and a lot of drinking, but hey, it takes place in England, so I guess that is to be expected. It has some negative behavior and other risky things that kids might try to do.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will like this as well. This movie is in theaters June 28, 2019.

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

This is a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I really enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.

Yesterday is about a British musician name Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who writes his own songs. Jack is not a successful musician and is about to give up his career as a singer/writer, but his long time friend Ellie (Lily James) encourage him to continue with his dreams to keep writing and singing. One night, while Jack is riding his bike, the entire world suffers a 12 second blackout. Jack gets hit by a bus and sent to the hospital. For some reason, after the global blackout, The Beatles are erased from history; they don't exist. No one knows who The Beatles are except Jack.

The combination of comedy, romance and music is really good. Not only does Himesh Patel sing all The Beatles songs himself, he has an extraordinary voice and plays several instruments t=as well. My favorite part of this movie is seeing Ed Sheeran as himself. Ed visits Jack and invites him to sing with him. Ed's manager Deborah (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live) is extremely funny. She becomes Jack's manager and helps him make a great album singing The Beatles' songs. Jack becomes super famous.

My favorite scene is when Jack sings "Help!" on top of a roof, in front of huge crowd. I also love the cast, because they are all very funny. For example Jack's best friend Rocky is played by Joel Fry, who is hysterical and James Corden plays as himself and he is always very funny to watch.

The moral of this movie is not to lie. In the movie Jack lies by telling the world he wrote all the songs and becomes famous. Also, he is in love with Ellie and doesn't have the courage to tell her. Lying can get you into more trouble than you are already in.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18. This movie comes out in theatres June 28, 2019. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


MAIDEN

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAIDEN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY CLASSICAL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary is an incredible example about finding your passion. I found it very engaging and interesting. Before seeing Maiden, I did not know much about long-distance ocean sailing and how challenging it is. This documentary goes beyond my expectations.

Maiden follows Tracy Edwards and her all female crew as they are the first women to enter an 'around-the-world' sailing race. She goes against the odds and makes it happen. Maiden tells the story of her struggle for equal rights by entering a very dangerous race.

This documentary shows us how scary long-distance sailing is, whether you are male or female. It is one of the most challenging sports ever. We learn so much about Tracy Edwards and all that she accomplishes. She now advocates for girls' education. One thing that makes Maiden really fascinating is that Tracy, some of her crew and even her competitors narrate it.

The message of this documentary is about determination, finding your way, making sacrifices, putting fate into your own arms, having a voice event when it may not be heard, teamwork, friendship and so much more. It has some mild profanity and risky things that kids might try to imitate, such as running away and sailing in dangerous areas. There is some bad behavior like an abusive step-dad, getting expelled and being stereotyped.

I give this documentary 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults. Maiden opens in theaters July 12, 2019.

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

This fantastic film is one of the best films out in the film world. I cannot applaud this film any more. There are so many amazing things such as the message, the location and the actors.

This tells the story of Tracey Edwards and her crew that lead the first-ever all female crew (in the very male chauvinistic world of sailboat racing) in one of the biggest races ever, the Whitbread Round the World Race, back in 1989. The race takes nine months to complete.

I'd love to point out the location of this film, mainly because it is completely phenomenal. They used actual footage from the race and pieced it together to make the film. It is all original footage from the actual event from 1989 and 1990. I really enjoyed how unique this film is. I definitely think that director, Alex Holmes created a film that is from a different perspective. I love the interviews with the crew telling the story of the Maiden ship and all the clips that make the film something that most directors wouldn't touch.

The message of this film tells you that if you have a dream and the determination to fulfill that dream, then nothing can stop you. There is a very positive and uplifting message in this film that may really call you to action and give you the motivation to do something big. I would also note that it is very woman powered. There are not a lot of male figures in this film and it is about women showing men that they can do anything a man can do. There is a very small amount of profanity in the film.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 10 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. It opens in theaters July 12, 2019. Look for it.

Reviewed by Madison W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


LION KID, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LION KID, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Kidd Mane is a lion cub without a home - that is, until he wanders into the western settlement of Tuckerville, which happens to be a town without a sheriff! Meeting folks and making friends, Kidd applies for the job and, with a little help from the long-suffering town council - Judge Ryker, Miss Scarlet, and Miss Clarabelle - he becomes the new sheriff of Tuckerville! Unfortunately, this puts Kidd at odds with the notorious town founder, Mr. Bucktooth Tucker! With a new sheriff in town, Tucker's crooked schemes are in jeopardy - until he resolves to run Kidd out, just like he did to the previous sheriff. Teaming with his devious lawyer, Jeb Easton, and recruiting two brutish thugs, Cliff and Gnash McGavin, Mr. Tucker pulls out all the stops to retain control of Tuckerville! On a collision course with the town's old guard, it's up to Sheriff Kidd and his loyal deputy, Tibs, to stand strong and turn back Mr. Tucker's threat - or lose Tuckerville forever!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated tale tells of a lion that comes to the town of Tuckerville to take on the job as the sheriff. The town readily accepts Sheriff Mane as their new law enforcer. But some local politicians, such as Mr. Jeb Tucker, are envious of this young, new sheriff and he attempts to sabotage Mane's good name with falsified orders. The setting is of the Old West with the narrow, wooden, two-story buildings, old-fashioned carriages and outfits reminiscent of that time period. The only thing disconnected from the Old West setting is the airborne (Argonaut) carriages. In the end, Mr. Jeb Tucker's feelings' about Sheriff Mane come full-circle for very good reason.

The production quality of this film is excellent. The CGI visuals are of a Dreamworks' animation quality. The sound quality is clear and suitable for most people, as is the soundtrack. The animated location of The Old West is pretty accurate for its time, as are the costumes. The dialogue is appropriate for its target audience. There is no overly complicated jargon.

Taking all that in consideration, this production could be a bit more sophisticated. The scenes are a bit long and drawn out at times. As an adult viewer, I wondered if a young child would notice that and lose interest in some scenes. The Lion Kid appears to be modeling a Dreamworks' production such as Shrek, but its humor and overall liveliness isn't quite on the same par, although it is still entertaining. I would love to see more wit to the characters' repartee. The plot is rather straightforward and suitable for a young audience.

Parents should know that there are a couple of places when a character calls the donkey bureaucrat a "jackass," as a play-on-words. Unfortunately, this "blurs the line" in terms of mild profanity.

I recommend this for ages 7 to 12 and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars as I did enjoy the themes and animation of this film. It releases July 2, 2019 so, check it out. Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is very appealing, due to its excellent production and storyline. Children will enjoy the animated animals talking and being expressive. There's also a wild western location they will enjoy.

There are honest characters that I wanted to root for. The villainous characters entertain, but I still want them to be exposed. The content and language is suitable for its target age group. Some words might be a bit advanced for some kids, but are not at all inappropriate. The main villain, Mr. Tucker expresses hope for continued inequality and uncivil treatment. His comments are more thought-provoking than violent.

The storyline involves problem solving and is thought provoking. There are plenty of lessons to be learned that most will find relatable. I like the message that it doesn't take experience to recognize and protest against unfair treatment.

The Lion Kid is one of my favorite new films. I found it funny, thought-provoking and courageous. Kidd Mane is sure to become a fan favorite, because he has the heart for any job. He stumbles upon a town called Tuckerville. Oddly enough, this town is without a sheriff. Kidd is nervous, but he accepts the job with honor.

There are important messages in this film about facing fears, being an honest and hard worker and standing up for equality. Kidd Mane (aka The Lion Kid) is awarded the chance to transform a shattered community. He has support from his fellow animals, especially deputy Tibbs. Manipulation and rumors threaten Kidd's mission to transform this oppressed western town.

I recommend The Lion Kid for ages 8 to 12, as they would really appreciate the continuous learning and acts of courage throughout this film. Most will find the problems addressed easy to relate to. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It will be released July 2, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The animated film The Lion Kid is full of surprises. The story focuses on a lion named Mane who is looking for a job. The first surprise is that he is not what we think when we think of in lions: He's nice, not mean, and he's friendly.

Mane is traveling alone in a new town and meets a member of the town council who wants him to become the sheriff. Mane is interested in the job, but he doesn't realize that becoming the sheriff will bring him problems. Not everyone in the town is happy about this idea. There is a man who is running the town, and everyone is too scared to stand up to him. The problems Mane has to face will teach him that he is able to be strong and brave.

The animation is basic. There are not many special effects in this movie, and it doesn't look as real as some animated films. The cinematography is like the town: simple. I have to say that the movie is a bit slow at times. I was looking for more action and adventure, since it is set in a Western town. I thought it might have a little more violence, but I'm glad that it doesn't because a lot of kids' movies have too much.

I will say that I learned a lot, though. Some of the things I learned, I already knew, like that sometimes life is a big challenge. At first Mane faces challenges because no one wants to hire him without experience. That is why I was surprised when he becomes the sheriff. It is almost like he is forced into becoming the sheriff, and when he does, Mane promises to do his best and makes rules for people to follow.

Another good thing The Lion Kid teaches is that we should believe in ourselves. This is when the film shows that we should always have courage. For example, Mane doesn't back down to the people who try to run him out of the sheriff position. He stands up to them and for what is right. He shows that doing what's right is the best thing to do. I was happy to see that Mane does not back down and doesn't run away.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5 to 8. The Lion Kid releases July 2, 2019, so give it a shot and watch it because there's always something to learn.

Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This wholesome movie really made me smile. My mom strictly monitors the TV and movies that my siblings and I watch. There are actually a few PBS shows that my mom has banned. She says "they promote negative social behaviors." This film, however, exudes the positive qualities most parents want to teach their children. We are now allowed to watch anything written by B.C. Furtney without mom's prior approval.

Old-fashioned Western music introduces us to this high-flying town. This old west desert is complete with a general store, a showdown at high noon and, of course, a new sheriff in town. Animals from land, sea and air all live and work together in this oasis in the clouds. The town is run by a sinister donkey that plans and plots to turn the hard-working citizens into slave laborers. Hopefully, the new Sheriff, Kid Mane and his deputy can keep the inhabitants of "Skytern" free and happy.

Director James Snider and writer, B.C. Furtney join to bring us this CGE animated film. The two have teamed up for more than ten of this new film director's 18 animated movies. K.J. Schrock and Simon Hill give the main characters believable Western accents. Unfortunately, the voiceover and the animation is inconsistent. The movement of the character's mouths do not match the words being said. Young children will definitely enjoy the variety of talking animals, though, the dinosaur adds a lack of continuity. Some of the vocabulary and idioms give us older children a welcome challenge. I really enjoy the idea of different animals living peacefully together. It makes me hopeful for a time when all humans can do the same

Despite the needed improvements with the CGI, the lessons in this film make it extremely worthwhile. This movie teaches us to welcome change and encourages us to try new things and stay open to opportunities. It warns us against the perils of listening to gossip. Most of all, it exemplifies the Golden Rule: Do unto others as we would have them do unto us. There's a bit of borderline profanity, but it could be used as a teachable moment. After all, a donkey by any other name is still a donkey.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 13. You can find this movie on DVD July 2, 2019.

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

This animated, unique, funny and creative film tells a imaginative story that will keep you interested the entire time. This film takes you through the eyes of a fearless leader who is brave. This film was created by B.C. Fourteen (BC Furtney).

This film follows Kidd Mane who is a Lion Cub without a home - that is until he wanders into the western settlement of Tuckerville, which happens to be a town without a sheriff. As he searches for a place to settle, he comes across a helpful citizen named Tibs. Tibs suggests he find a job. Since Tuckerville had no sheriff, he applies for the job and is surprisingly hired. Unfortunately, this puts Kidd Mane at odds with the notorious town founder, Mr. Bucktook Tucker.

The lead characters in this film are the protagonist Kidd Mane, his helpful Deputy Tibs and Mr. Bucktook Tucker. My favorite character is undeniably Kidd Mane, because during Mr. Bucktooth Tucker's evil plan to turn every citizen of Tuckerville against Kidd, he stands by his word and tries to persuade each individual person into believing he wasn't apart of Tucker's evil plan. I also love how Kidd Mane cares about his new city and wants to protect it and everyone who lives in Tuckerville.

My favorite scene is unquestionably when Kidd Mane's problem becomes resolved and everyone realizes they were wrong. It brings peace to the community and is a very enjoyable moment.

This film does have some bad language, also some things kids might try to imitate. There are important messages in this film about how you should never stop believing in yourself, even when others don't, facing fears, being honest and working hard.

I'd give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15. This film is available on DVD July 2, 2019. Make sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Nathalia Marie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

My grandfather would be so happy that they are bringing westerns back and I am to wear to my "Howdy Sheriff" hat and my horseback riding. On top of that, I absolutely love westerns and the innovation in this film.

The animation in this film is actually very dimensional and very colorful. Both combine to make a brand new world, filled with animals that can talk such as aardvarks, elephants and lions (of course). Oh my! And on top of that, flying high are sky-high balloons that can float up into the air, evil villains and so much more, which is a brand new twist on the Western tale. Speaking of villains, we have Tucker the evil villain, who wants to take over the whole town and the Lion Kid comes in to save the day. He's my favorite character in this film. He's not only kind and courageous; he's adorable. All characteristics of good lions of course. He's also the character who tells the moral of this story, which is that you need to stand up to the villains and, of course bullies, and tell them that they can't take over your town or your life. I actually love this character because of that.

I would have to say that one of the off things about this film is that when the characters talk, some of their mouths move a little weird and it seems dubbed. Other than that Dream Machine Animation, which created this film and James Snider, who directed it, did a terrific job.

I recommend this for ages 4 to 10, because of the lessons that we learn and the animation will captivate the audience. They will love the characters and the animation. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. This movie comes out July 2, 2019. Be sure to look for it.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 70 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


SESAME STREET: DANCE PARTY!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SESAME STREET: DANCE PARTY!       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SHOUT! FACTORY
Series: DVD, AGES 4-8
Topic - Family
Description - Everyone loves to dance--from furry little monsters to furry BIG Snuffleupaguses. This special collection includes over two hours of content that will make your child want to move and groove. Little ones will love to see real kids dancing flamenco, doing an Irish stepdance, clapping out West African beats, and cha-cha-ing all over the place. They'll learn to dance like a dinosaur, a robot, and Elmo! Includes appearances by Amy Ryan, Liev Schreiber, Maria Menounos, Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman, Jason Derulo and performances by Ne-Yo, Feij�o Sisters, Janelle Mon�e and Sara Bareilles. Bonus Features - Elmo's Music Magic
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This DVD is absolutely awesome! It is so enjoyable to watch and it's educational at the same time. It teaches you how to perform different dances, which can be very entertaining for active children.

Sesame Street: Dance Party has so much to watch. Every single scene is adorable, from Rosita and some friends learning how to do the chicken dance to Elmo teaching you the happy dance. And it has all of our most favorite and lovable characters such as Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus.

This DVD teaches your children what a choreographer is and does. Also, the episodes teach you different dances and you learn about where they came from. My favorite scene is when Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus try to find their favorite dance.

Throughout the DVD, there are a bunch of great messages. Some of my favorites are: learning is fun, dance can show different cultures and our voices can do amazing things. This DVD has no bad language and no bad behavior. There is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. Adults will also think that it is cute to watch with their children and can participate in some of the dances. It is available August 6, 2019. Look for it.

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

Stomp and slide while watching Sesame Street: Dance Party! What could be more fun than clapping your hands, stomping your feet, touching your toes and wiggling and jiggling your way to learning new dance moves with the Sesame Street characters and their special guests?

All of your favorite characters are included in this party, which starts off with Elmo's "Happy Dance." Elmo and friends learn about dances from all around the world with their friend Nina. Nina explains that you can learn to dance by learning one step at a time and to find the dance that's perfect for you. Different Sesame Street characters appear in various segments while learning about different cultural dances as well as the joys of counting and helping friends. What dance party would be complete without Zoe who makes her appearance throughout this dance party!

Love the settings throughout the party and especially the costumes in Zoe's production of "Six Swans," which is one of my favorite scenes.

The message of this DVD is to keep learning and to learn new things - including dance moves. Have fun while watching the Elmo Slide, Big Bird ChaCha, the Dinosaur, Snuffie's Hokey Pokey, the Conga and the Chicken Dance! It's always more fun to learn with friends and of course everyone loves Elmo!

I rate this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. This DVD comes out August 6, 2019 so watch for it.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This DVD is educational and inclusive! All of the storylines enlighten the audience with morals or teach new skills. The puns, irony and jokes are hilarious. Even though I am not in the target age range, I still enjoyed watching this DVD.

The different scenes feature the Muppet characters of Sesame Street learning all about dance. They learn different styles of dance from all over the world, how to dance, what a choreographer is and much more. The DVD also teaches the audience the dances and then they encourage people to get up and dance.

The Sesame Street Muppets are very colorful. Each looks very unique. I love that each one has a different personality. Some of them have best friends and others get along with everyone. The humans are also included in this community and interact with the Muppets. This complexity makes the DVD even more interesting. The set of Sesame Street looks realistic and is so colorful. The characters seem to have access to every part of the shops and buildings.

My favorite part is when Alan is pressured into being a swan for Zoe's "Six Swan Dance." He has to put on a swan costume, which includes a tutu. He also has to carry Snuffy, who is a large monster. I think Alan is very inspiring, doing all of these things for Zoe and remaining determined. It is really funny to watch his reaction to the seemingly impossible task requested of him.

Each of the scenes have different messages. All encompass taking dance, one step at a time, asking for help from the choreographer when needed and encouraging everyone to dance. Nina is the main teacher in this DVD and she is quite knowledgeable about all types of dances from all over the world. She helps the Muppets find their personal dance style and prevents them from becoming overwhelmed when trying to learn the dances.

This DVD is so adorable. It would be a great introduction to dance for children. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages of 2 to 6. This is releases August 6, 2019, so go check it out!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 136 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.98
Media: DVD
      Buy Here (Amazon.com)


MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Men in Black is bolstered by its talented two leads and visuals, but ultimately it remains an occasionally underwhelming installment in the franchise. Still, there are enough entertaining action sequences and humor to satisfy general moviegoers. Fans of the MIB franchise must check this out, but preferably on a matinee.

The film follows Men in Black 3 as London has a branch of Men in Black. After investigating and finding the MIB base, Molly (Tessa Thompson) joins them. The head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), pairs her up with the dashing hot-shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Molly, now Agent M, and Agent H become involved in a series of alien attacks that send them traveling around the globe, while a mole lurks among the MIB.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, as Agents M and H, are the main highlights here as their chemistry still impresses ever since their collaborations in Thor: Ragnarok. This really is just a big excuse to watch another Thor and Valkyrie buddy cop, and it's honestly a great one. I quite enjoyed Agent M's deadpan reactions to anything Agent H does. They really do fill the void that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones left behind from the previous three films. Liam Neeson, as High T, has some interesting contributions to the plot and, as always, brings out the veteran actor in himself. Kumail Nanjiani, as Pawny, is another highlight, being the new alien sidekick here. He has some of the funniest lines, and even serves as a good replacement for Frank the Pug. As always, it is nice to see Emma Thompson reprise her role as Agent O.

Director F. Gary Gray brings new life to the franchise taking over for Barry Sonnenfeld who directed the previous three. This marks the first director departure, and Gray's hipster influences reach out to a broader audience. He really bolstered by s a grasp on style and elegance. My favorite scene is when Agent M and H first discover Pawny, because it's just one gag after another with all sticking the landing. Pawny's dry humor adds to the overall vibe, and at this point, I wouldn't mind getting a MIB spinoff about Pawny. While the comedy delivers, the overall story does not. It runs around in circles, and the only redeeming quality to this is the density of the characters and settings. It is rather directionless at times and, after a while, it becomes like every other globe-trotting movie. Also, the mole subplot goes nowhere, and resolves itself quickly. This a huge disappointment, as someone who really admires insider plots.

The message of this film is that teamwork is essential. This is shown in the partnership of Agent M and H as they fight and try to peacefully resolve with the aliens. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some intense action, suggestive references and language. The movie releases in theaters June 14, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Men in Black: International is a hilarious sci-fi adventure that had me both laughing and on the edge of my seat! You can enjoy Men in Black: International without having seen any of the previous movies, because there are all-new characters and adventures. The story goes from Paris to Morocco to London and New York, as the heroes chase aliens around the globe.

The movie starts by introducing two different sets of aliens that both want the same weapon. One set of aliens is very creepy, because it can shape shift into people, and an even creepier kind of alien called the Hive has tentacles and can eat your face off! Both want to take over the world, of course! The Men in Black organization steps in to save the world with their superior firepower.

My favorite thing about this movie is the character of Steve the pawn. He's a little computer animated alien who gets all the best jokes in the film. I love the scene when he pushes the red button to take everyone into hyper-speed. The main characters are played by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, both from Thor: Ragnarok. The filmmakers sneak a really funny Thor joke into the movie that got a lot of laughs!

Parents should know that there is some profanity and action violence, although not really any blood. There's not a big message to this film. It's mostly just a big fun summer blockbuster, but I guess you could say that you should never give up when you're protecting the world! I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults who like sci-fi comedies should enjoy it too. Men in Black: International opens in theaters everywhere Friday June 14, 2019.

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

It's rare that you love a sequel more than the original, but that is definitely the case for this movie directed by F. Gary Gray. I grew up watching the previous Men in Black movies on family movie nights at home and this is my first time seeing one on the big screen, which is important, because of all the special effects.

Men in Black: International starts with a young Molly helping save a cute alien visitor in her bedroom. She escapes having her memory neutralized and then spends years searching for the mysterious government organization she saw that night and prepares herself to become an agent. Once she tracks the agency down she becomes probationary Agent M and is sent to London to complete her training and help discover a potential mole in the organization. Working with Agent H, they search for threats from the "fungus among us." My favorite character is Pawny. I love all the scenes with his snarky sense of humor, which adds to the hilarity of the movie, as he serves his queen, Agent M.

The special effects are awesome and as important as any character in this movie and I give credit to the talented team that put everything together. I love the women in power in this movie, starting with the reappearance of Emma Thompson as Agent O and the new Agent M, played by Tessa Thompson. I enjoyed Chris Hemsworth as Agent H with his big action personality. Liam Neeson, as his mentor and Agent High T stands out in the film as well. Barry Sonnenfeld is one of the Executive Producers along with Stephen Spielberg. The only thing missing is a cameo from Agents K and J, who sadly did not put in an appearance in this film. Also I would have enjoyed seeing a few more funky looking aliens.

The message of this film, other than advocating for intergalactic peace for humans and all races, is that "the universe has a way of leading you to the place you're supposed to be the moment you're supposed to be there." To me that really translates into living for the moment - whenever and wherever that may be.

I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18, and adults as well. Parents should know that there are many scenes the include violence, some profanity and some scenes which have other mature content. I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars. This movie opens in theaters nationwide June 11, 2019.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


POK�MON DETECTIVE PIKACHU

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
POK�MON DETECTIVE PIKACHU       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - In a world where people collect Pok�mon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie so much. I couldn't stop laughing and crying with tears of joy. Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is about a city named Ryme City where people are living with Pokemon. A young man named Tim Goodman travels to Ryme City to find out the reason for the mysterious disappearance of his father, Harry Goodman. In the process, Tim finds a strange, purple substance or gas that makes all the Pokemon act weird. Tim also finds his father's Pokemon Pikachu. For some reason, Tim can understand Pikachu. Yes, Pikachu can talk in this movie!

The movie is hilarious because of Ryan Reynolds, even though there are some jokes not suitable for children. Also, Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman, is so good. He is pretty funny, and he makes the audience feel emotional when he has sad moments. The visual effects are incredible, which make this movie different and better than other Pokemon movies or Pokemon TV shows.

The moral of this film is not to give up. Tim wants to give up on his mission. Instead, he teams up with Pikachu, and together they make a great team. Pikachu saves Tim from going home. The end has a very twisted mystery that leaves everyone in the audience with their mouths wide open. If you want to find out why, you'll need to watch this awesome film before your friends spoil it for you.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, but adults over 18 can enjoy it, too You can watch Pokemon Detective Pikachu in any theater near you starting Friday, May 10, 2019.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokemon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.

This story is about a boy named Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) whose father, Harry Goodman (Ryan Reynolds) dies in a car crash. Tim goes to Ryme City and meets a Pikachu with a detective hat who says that he is Harry's Pokemon, and a brilliant detective. Tim and Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) must find out who killed Tim's father and why.

This movie is great, all the Pokemon in the movie look realistic and lifelike. I found it very fun to search the movie and spot all the different Pokemon that they have in the movie such as Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Lickitung, Charmander and many more.

There is also a video game version of the movie called Detective Pikachu where you play in the Pokemon world and join Detective Pikachu in Ryme City to solve mysteries and crimes that Pokemon cause. It has a similar plot to the movie, so it is fun to get to play what you see in the film.

My favorite scene in this movie is one where Pikachu is very sad and starts singing some short pieces of the Pokemon theme song as he walks away from Tim, acting depressed. I like this scene because the way that Pikachu sings it is hilarious. Another good scene is when Tim, Detective Pikachu, Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) a journalist, and her Psyduck are running away from some Greninjas and Psyduck gets a headache. This is very dangerous because his head could explode. I like this scene because it is full of action and the way Pikachu gives Psyduck a headache is hilarious. My favorite character in this movie is Detective Pikachu because he makes a lot of great jokes about other Pokemon and his obsession with coffee. His humor is sarcastic and dry, but he is also cute and fluffy. This contrast is very amusing.

The message of this movie is that you should stay loyal to your friends and trust them. There is also a strong storyline about the relationships between father and son.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to18 because younger children may not understand the storyline. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


FAREWELL, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAREWELL, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
COALITION FOR QUALITY CHILDREN'S MEDIA
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Billi struggles with her family's decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, played tug-of-war with my emotions as I felt a constant push and pull between crying and smiling! I became a part of Billi's family, empathizing with the family members because they reminded me of my own.

Based on an actual lie, The Farewell tells the story of Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant in America, and the relationship with her grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), who lives in China. When Billi finds out that her grandmother only has a few months left to live, Billi must grapple with the fact that her family doesn't wish to tell Nai Nai. Along with dealing with Nai Nai's imminent death, Billi struggles with her Chinese and American roots.

The power of The Farewell comes from its simplicity. The most powerful scenes are those without music or dialogue, just Billi alone with her emotions. These scenes last several seconds and act as a window into Billi's heart. Awkwafina fully transforms into her character, letting her eyes convey Billi's indescribable pain to the audience. The cinematography by Anna Franquesa and Solano assists in amplifying the effect of the actors' emotions. The camera often frames Billi in the center of the screen, whether she is amongst a sea of people or alone in her room. Each time the camera does so, I felt how the sorrow forms a small bubble around her that is only visible to the audience, especially if she is pretending to smile or laugh. Once again, there is a simplicity in the cinematography that carries power. This simplicity even extends to the music by Alex Weston. The music is comprised of only a few string instruments and a simple melody. However, every time it plays it reflects the emotions of Billi, giving me goosebumps.

My favorite part is how this movie depicts immigrant families and their struggles. Being Indian, but born and brought up in America, I found several similarities between Nai Nai and my own mother and grandmother. At certain moments, I was laughing out loud because Nai Nai says something that I have heard countless times in my own family. In this way, The Farewell brings a story that millions of American families can relate to, that is not often found in Hollywood movies.

The message is that family is precious. I give The Farewell 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Be sure to check out The Farewell which opened in theatres nationwide July 26, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

This film rocked everyone's emotions. Although there are multiple instances where the film is a bit slow, the overall emotional impact is great. There are moments of comedic relief throughout. I think that everyone can relate to this film in some way. I made connections with some of the ideas and scenes even though I am not Chinese.

The Farewell is about Billi and her family's reunion in China. They reunite because their grandma has developed lung cancer and the doctor says she only has weeks to live. The family chooses not to tell Nai-Nai (grandma) that she has lung cancer. Instead, they tell her that they are reunited for a wedding. Billie's family tells her that the reason for not telling Nai-Nai is that it's not the cancer that kills, but the fear. The film is all about appreciating the time you have on earth and with your family. There are many moments of stillness, included watching the wind blow through the trees, for 30 seconds or more. I find this aspect of the film beautiful, as it reminds me of the phrase, "stop and smell the roses." But others might interpret these moments as filler scenes and pointless.

Awkwafina, as Billie, is an exceptional actress. You can feel the emotion she conveys through the screen, even if she doesn't say anything. For her role she needs to show the audience that she is deeply troubled, but also show that she tries to hide her feelings from her grandma. That is very difficult to do and she does it perfectly. Without this, the film would lose a lot of its emotional impact.

The music sets the mood very well for some scenes, but in others silence and black screens are set the mood. Sometimes it's the noise of nature, like the wind blowing through the leaves. Scenes like these are what makes the film divergent.

The message of this film is about being appreciative of all aspects of life. Billie begins to realize that while she spends time with her family in China. Every moment is a gift. I love that the film is quite simple yet it has such a powerful effect.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. There are innuendos, use of alcohol, cigarettes and some bad language. Despite this, the film will move you to tears so check it out! It comes out July 12, 2019 in theaters!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

I surprisingly loved this film. I was not excited about watching it, but after the screening, I realized that I have a lot of sympathy for this movie and the story resonates with me. It is about family grief and love, identity, having confidence and cultural identity.

This is the story of a girl named Billie (beautifully played by Awkwafina) who lives in NYC. She loves her grandmother Nai Nai who lives in China and she calls her every day. They lie to each other about how their lives are going. Billie does not know that Nai Nai has stage four lung cancer. And, when she finds out Billie is devastated. It is a Chinese tradition to not tell a person when they have terminal cancer, because they want to keep their spirit alive. There is a Chinese saying: "Is not of the cancer but of the fear." Nai Nai's family plans a fake wedding so everyone gets a chance to get together and say goodbye, without telling the truth. Billie struggles with the lies and debates between her life in the west, being from the east.

I found this film very interesting because it is based on a actual lie and is director's Lulu Wang's real life story. The storytelling is delicate and touching; the performances are absolutely honest.

I love the cultural richness of the movie and the colors. If you like art films or slow paced ones, I definitely recommend this movie. In the film, there is a little bird that constantly comes into a room that Billie is in and doesn't fly. I think the director wanted to use the bird as a reference to Billie, as if she is trapped in her own mind and inertia. I like the comedy, but I think the grownups watching this film enjoyed the jokes a lot more than I did. The Farewell is a drama that is intended to lift your heart and not make you laugh. Throughout the film and for almost half of it, Billie's family speaks Mandarin, but it didn't bother me and I understood the film perfectly by reading the subtitles.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 16, as well as adults. The message of this film is that expressing our true feelings impacts our family bond. It opens in theaters July 26 12, 2019 so look for it.

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

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


TIFFANY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TIFFANY
DARLENE HADRIKA
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 11-18
Topic - Family
Description - While packing away her deceased grandmother's affairs, Pauline discovers that one of their stained glass sculptures has come to life. As the lights in the house go out and their memories together begin to dim, Pauline realizes there is joy in celebrating the legacy of those who have been lost.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - What a beautifully animated short. This non-narrative piece tells a charming story that will delight young audiences. The animated is well executed, the background music adds to the storyline in a subtle way. I recommend this for tweens and teens, ages 11 to 18, as well as adults and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 11-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


PLAYGROUND TALES: CHILDREN OF WAR

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PLAYGROUND TALES: CHILDREN OF WAR
ERIC WHITE
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - When a sleazy businessman plans the demolition of the town's beloved youth center, eleven-year-old Briana must take matters into her own hands.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This has potential. I really like the main storyline, message and the characters. I like the whole idea of standing up for what you believe in, but recommend less violence, especially when the pre-school characters are included towards the end. This would be suitable for a wider age range with less violence and better problem solving. I give this a Qualified Yes because I see potential and enjoyed the over all story. As is, I recommend for ages 13 through 18 years. With appropriate changes it would be suitable for ages 8 through 18. I give this 3 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


DOGBISKIT: THE FASTEST MUTT IN HISTORY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
DOGBISKIT: THE FASTEST MUTT IN HISTORY
CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 9-18
Topic - Family
Description - When a paperboy befriends a stray mutt with an awesome gift for speed, he sets out to make history and win his dream girl's heart. Only a spoiled rich kid has the hots for his dream girl too and that's not his biggest problem. It turns out the mutt is more lovesick than the paper boy and rich kid put together.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed reading this script and I like the characters, especially Rusty and Dogbiskit. The script has originality and realistic dialogue. The characters are described so well that I can picture them all. I also like that the violence is very limited, even though there is conflict. The main benefit is entertainment, but there are also subtle lessons throughout the script. My favorites are: it really is that thought that counts and money isn't everything. I recommend this for ages 9 though 18 and adults as well. I give this 3 out of 5 stars.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments

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


WHISPER OF THE HEART

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WHISPER OF THE HEART       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GKIDS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on the manga with the same title, this animated film follows Shizuku, an inquisitive young girl and a voracious reader, who longs to be a writer when she grows up. One day she notices that all of her library books have previously been taken out by one Seiji Amasawa. Amid chasing after a large cat, befriending an eccentric antiques dealer and writing her first novel, Shizuku aims to find this mysterious boy who may well be her soul mate.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Whisper of the Heart is a soulful, intimate look at the trials and tribulations of adolescence and a worthy addition to Studio Ghibli's film catalog. This is the next film in the Ghibli Fest, a series of Fathom Events returning Studio Ghibli's films to the cinemas. Whisper of the Heart is director Yoshifumi Kondo's directorial debut and unfortunately, his only film.

This film follows Shizuku, an imaginative aspiring teenage writer who enjoys reading books and writing song lyrics. She spends her time hanging out with her best friend Yuko. The school year begins and she has an unfortunate series of encounters with a mysterious fellow student. She learns that this name is Seiji and he wants to build violins. The pair bond in an antique store and soon fall in love. They encourage each other to elevate their craft. Seiji leaves to practice building violins in Italy and Shizuku challenges herself to write a story about a prominent antique statue called The Baron, belonging to Seiji's grandpa, to improve her writing.

Studio Ghibli mastermind Hayao Miyazaki has directed some excellent animated films, but above all, he's a fantastic storyteller. Every time we get a glimpse at Shizuku's story, the film gains a sudden magic and wonder. The romantic dialogue between Seiji and Shizuku is more often than not, genuine and sweet. This story has very few of the fantastical characters and worlds that have been a mainstay for a lot of Miyazaki's other work. Seeing his characters grow firmly in reality shows a different side of his storytelling abilities.

Something I admire about nearly all of Ghibli's work is that, even when characters are involved in pursuits of mythical proportions, they always bring it back to the human elements of the story. The same goes for this film, although with a more realistic plot. There are some particularly great shots of the city below Shizuku's town that demonstrate Ghibli's skill with bringing worlds to life on the big screen.

If you enjoy the work of Studio Ghibli, in Whisper of the Heart there are Easter Eggs pointing to films like Porco Rosso and My Neighbor Totoro. If you enjoy this film, check out The Cat's Return, which stars the protagonist of Shizuku's story, The Baron. I recommend Whisper of The Heart for ages 10 to 18, and adults. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Fans of Miyazaki will enjoy seeing a new side of his storytelling onscreen.

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

This 1995 romantic, anime-animated film takes you through the wild high school life of Shizuku. As this film develops, you get see the perspective of Shizuku being a best friend, daughter, sister, high schooler and girlfriend. This dramatic film was written by Hayao Miyazaki, Aoi Hiragi, Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt and released through Studio Ghibli.

The storyline follows Shizuku and Seiji Amasawa, her fellow classmate, and many more. Their adventure begins with Shizuku's plan to read 20 books before the end of her week. This plan leads to having to explore for a particular person who seems to pop up in every aspect of Shizuku's life. This search causes Shizuku to get distracted from studying for her high school exams. As this film develops, the exploration begins to seem more meaningful.

The lead characters are Shizuku Tsukkisima (Yokko Honno), Seiji Anasawa ( Isley Takahashe) and The Baron ( Shigeru Tsuyuguchi). My favorite character is Shizuku Tsukkisima, not only because she's the protagonist, but because she cares about others. She always puts others before herself, and thinks about their sensitivity. Another thing I love about Shizuku is, when she wants something, she will do whatever it takes to achieve or accomplish whatever it is.

My favorite scene is when Shizuku's teachers inform her she has a male visitor and he emphasizes the word "male" in front of her class. She steps outside and talks to him on the roof and her classmates follow discreetly, then Shizuku notices and yells "Hello?"

This film shares an important message, which is to be brave and keep on trying even through hard times.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15, as well as adults. This film plays July 1 and 2 at theaters nationwide through Fathom Events. Check it out.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This year GKIDS and Fathom Events are back with Studio Ghibli Fest 2019 and the next film in theaters is Whisper of the Heart. Directed in 1995 by Yoshifumi Kondo and written by Hayao Miyazaki, it is a touching yet bittersweet animated film that deals with the realities of growing up.

It tells the story of a curious teenage girl named Shizuku, who is both an avid reader and an aspiring writer. During her many visits to the library, Shizuku discovers that the books she has been reading have all been previously checked out by a mysterious boy named Seiji Amasawa, voiced by Issey Takahasi. Soon enough, she figures out that Seiji is a boy at her school, who she believes is irritating and rude. One day, when Shizuku sees a cat riding on a train, she decides to follow it, leading her to a whimsical antique shop owned by Shiro Nishi, with a magical cat statue called "The Baron" inside. Later on at the shop, Shizuku gets to know Seiji, learning that he dreams of becoming a master violin maker. Both he and the Baron motivate Shizuku to listen to the whisper of her heart and follow the dreams of her own.

This film has a very engaging plot and heartwarming characters that audiences will fall in love with. Also, this film is perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli films. like myself. This film has outstanding animation that perfectly captures the signature style of the Studio Ghibli films. The artwork really comes alive in the scenes at the antique shop. The film score, composed by Yuji Nomi, include references to the John Denver song "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which is a big part of the movie.

Personally, I enjoy the part where Shizuku first dislikes Seiji, because it's a funny hint to the audience that shows that she actually really likes Seiji. Whisper of the Heart is very different compared to the other works of Studio Ghibli, because its characters encounter real-life situations that most teens and adults can relate to, such as first love and pursuing your passion in life.

It teaches audiences that, even when you don't believe it, dreams do indeed come true. Regardless of how old you are, everyone can take something away as you watch the characters experience everyday issues.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. You can see it in theaters on July 1 and 2, 2019 through Fathom Events.

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

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

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BRAVEST KNIGHT, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HULU, LLC
Series: WEBSERIES, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - The new series "The Bravest Knight" is breaking boundaries, featuring a household with two dads (Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew), making it one of the first children's television series with an openly gay main character. Following the inspiring and perseverant former pumpkin farmer, Sir Cedric, now grown and married to the prince of his dreams, "The Bravest Knight" recounts personal tales of his journey. Sir Cedric shares his story with his adopted 10-year-old daughter Nia, on how he transformed from day-time farmer to full-fledged knight. Nia, who is training to become a brave knight herself, learns important values such as honor, justice and compassion; proving that knighthood is much more than slaying dragons.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In this children's animated series, The Bravest Night, the main character, Sir Cedric tells his adopted daughter Nia, vignettes of his younger days, as a way of explaining to her many of life's lessons. For example, in the second episode, Sir Cedric explains how losing to a "tiny" jouster in his younger days made him a better jouster in the long run. The moral of the tale is to never underestimate the other player or, in other words, learn humility.

The series is to be considered groundbreaking, because of its openly gay characters - Sir Cedric and his husband Prince Andrew - along with the multicultural aspect of the two dads adopting an African-American child. A very positive aspect about groundbreaking programs is the potential for storylines the public has never before witnessed in other series. The animation is pretty simple and appealing to the target audience.

Each episode runs approx. 19 minutes long, is concise and flows well. The screener copy showcased three episodes. The pictures and sounds are clear enough. I recommend it for ages 5 to 8 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. The release date on Hulu is June 21, 2019.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer

I found this animated series to be both engaging and entertaining for its intended age group with its bright colors and well-drawn characters. There are funny moments, including the phrase "not-yet-knight," that is sure to bring a smile or even a laugh from the audience.

The Bravest Knight is about a young boy and his adventures on the way to becoming a knight and how, as a grown up, he uses the stories to encourage his daughter to the same achievement.

Each episode has a clear story line, following the same format, about the father using his younger self to solve a problem. It celebrates the inclusion of all the characters for the task in hand and celebrates achievements by both boys and girls equally. The three episodes I watched certainly made me want to see more, especially as the underlying theme of a missing dragon made ne wonder if it would ever appear and, if so, what would it look like. I particularly like the theme of learning new tasks that is featured in each episode. Each episode feels almost like reading a chapter of a good book where you are keen to start the next chapter (or in this case episode).

The stories are easy to understand and will capture any child's imagination. I should mention that each episodes works well as a standalone and can be watched on its own, which is useful for a child viewer. There is an underlying theme about a troll searching for a lost bridge and a missing dragon, which helps to bring continuity to the series. As a viewer, you get to know the main characters thru the stories and learn their weaknesses and strengths. The stories are shown from a child's perspective and the vocabulary is appropriate for the target audience. The concepts of respecting others and working as a group are well tailored to a child's understanding. This animated series has very good quality. I particularly like the backgrounds, which are very detailed. The characters are all drawn well. The daughter of the protagonist is particularity well drawn and portrays the energy and enthusiasm of youth. The father as a young boy is also excellent. I suspect that this series might invite inquiry by some children into learning more information about knights or kings and queens.

There is some mild risky behavior that children might imitate. One is a scene of a child climbing up to a tower and in another, a tree. Also there is a scene of jousting, but I don't find it worrisome. The word poop is used twice in episode two and three, but its in the context of the joke and isn't derogatory.

I recommend it for ages 5 to 10, as well as adults who would enjoy watching with their children. It has a good story line, fun non-offensive characters and even the so-called bad characters are not particularly scary. It is about inclusion and fun in learning new tasks, but also about recognizing achievements of others and yourself. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. This series premieres on Hulu June 21, 2019 so look for it. I think you'll enjoy it greatly.

Reviewed by Richard L. KIDS FIRST! Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This show is incredibly charming, even though there are currently only five episodes available. It's super cute and really fun.

The show follows a knight named Sir Cedric, who is retelling the story of how he became a knight to his daughter Nia, who wants to be a knight as well. The episodes focus on Cedric teaching Nia important morals and lessons about being a knight. While the main focus of the show seems to be teaching lessons, there is also an overarching story based on how Cedric became a knight.

The animation in this series is very simplistic, but very adorable. The style gives me the vibe of a children's book. Which fits the fairy tale theme and overall tone. There really isn't much else I have to say about the animation other than I really enjoy it.

Now arguably the most notable aspect of this show so far is the representation. On the surface it seems like a simple enough kids show, however I was excited to learn about the amazing diversity in the cast. I mentioned that Cedric has a daughter. Well it turns out that Cedric is married to another man and Nia is his adopted daughter. Not only that, but Cedric's husband Prince Andrew and their daughter are both people of color. While Andrew and Nia are the major examples of representation, there does appear to be themes of discrimination with the troll characters. Cedric's companion on his quest is a troll named Grunt and there are two instances where other characters assume the worst or are rude to Grunt because he's a troll. I think the theme of discrimination is presented really well and in a subtle way. I'm a firm believer that children are able to handle complicated subjects in media, so I always get kind of happy when I see media treating kids as smarter than most people give them credit for.

However, the representation is not all there is to this show. After all, this show is not mainly about the diversity. Although I must say, I think the characters so far are really fun and likeable. Nia is adorable and fun while Prince Andrew, who kind of plays the role of the straight man to balance out Nia and Cedric rounds out the central trio very nicely. Cedric is a bit of a basic protagonist, but it's clear he'll develop as the series goes on, which is always a good sign.

I give this show 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. And episodes are currently premiering on Hulu, so check it out!

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Bravest Knight, directed by Shabnam Rezaei, is a perfect opportunity for younger audiences to learn important life lessons in adventurous ways! The fairytale setting, featuring knights and trolls, creates a fun and imaginative world for children to become immersed in. Each episode contains multiple messages that are explained as a short lesson at the end.

The story follows Nia (Storm Reid), a "not-yet-knight," who strives to learn the skills to become a real knight. Her father, Sir Cedric (T.R Knight) teaches her lessons that are necessary to achieve knighthood. Through his tutelage, Cedric tells Nia stories of his own childhood with his best friend Grunt (Chance Hurstfield). These stories often follow tales of when Sir Cedric was a "not-yet-knight" and the adventures he faced.

The animation made me feel as if I was in a pop-up fairytale book. In the beginning of each episode, trees or hills appear to move in such a way that the focus on Nia or their home becomes clear. The animation resembles the way that pop-up story books become clear when the page flips. This illusion continues throughout the episode as the characters are drawn simplistically. However, the background is more detailed with a wide variety of colors and ornamentation wherever Cedric and Nia's adventures take them.

My favorite part is how there is an overarching story that continues throughout several episodes. In Cedric's stories, young Cedric is determined to help Grunt find the troll who ousted Grunt from his bridge. Every episode contains a clue that brings them closer to achieving this goal. This form of storytelling intrigued me and made me want to watch the next episode. In contrast, there are elements of the screenplay that made me lose interest at times. Grunt and Nia have personalities that separate them from the other characters in the show. Cedric, the main character, lacks such a personality and he is less compelling to watch. Nevertheless, Grunt and Nia's characters make up for this downside and it will not be noticed by younger audiences.

The messages of the series are about not giving up and that things are not always what they seem. I give The Bravest Knight 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. Be sure to check out The Bravest Knight on Hulu when it launches June 21, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The Bravest Knight is a sweet and fun animated series for younger kids. Each 12 minute episode is funny and entertaining and held my interest even though I'm a little older than the target audience.

The Bravest Knight is about Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew and their adopted daughter Nia. Nia really wants to be a knight like her dad, each episode has a story Sir Cedric tells her about when he was also a "not-yet knight." Young Cedric has a troll friend named Grunt who accompanies him on his adventures. Together, they save people from a witch, enter a jousting tournament and escape a giant's vault in the clouds.

My favorite part of this show is the character Grunt, the troll. He gets the best lines and got a few laughs out of me. The animation uses nice colors that will appeal to kids and the music really fits the style of the show. The voice actors, both young and old, are great at bringing their characters to life.

The message of this series is summed up in the theme song: "Be the real you, be the true you, it's the bravest thing you can do." There are some positive messages about teamwork, caring for others and avoiding stereotypes. There's a bearded fairy named Lucy who replies that names belong to people, not genders, when Grunt the troll asks if he has a girl's name.

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. Adults probably won't mind watching it with their kids if they ask them to. The Bravest Knight is available for streaming on Hulu starting June 21, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Web Series


SONIC BOOM: GO TEAM SONIC!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC BOOM: GO TEAM SONIC!       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 7-15
Topic - Family
Description - It's a Sonic you haven't seen before -- an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he's up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. On this action-packed DVD, join Sonic and the gang as they accept a dare from Dr. Eggman. Tag along with Sonic and Knuckles as they enter a game show. And find out what happens when Sonic's status as the town's biggest hero is threatened. And so much more!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Though somewhat predictable, the show has some very funny moments and can serve as an entertaining break during the day, since the episodes are so short. The message of the story centers around the conflicts between friends. This includes Doctor Eggman, whose role is more of a rivalry than a serious threat of evil. If parents want their kids to get more out of this show, then they should pause between episodes and discuss the characters' adventures with their child, comparing to their child's own experiences with questions such as, "What would you do if your friend acted like that? Can you think of better ways to solve that problem? How might this whole scenario have gone differently?"

Younger kids will enjoy the bright, energetic characters' antics with their friends, as well as making fun of Eggman for always losing. Slightly older kids might appreciate the show, because they're familiar with other materials from the Sonic franchise.

The plots of each episode, though simple, make the usual cartoony sort of sense. Problems are set up, faced and resolved in the next episode. Further consequences are glossed over. The show is not designed to be accurate in the way it portrays animals or technology. There is plenty of punching, lasers, breaking robots and making things explode, but nobody actually gets hurt. Both heroes and villains engage in "don't try this at home" stunts. On another note, nearly all the characters are portrayed as gullible and unintelligent, particularly the stronger ones, like Knuckles. This could be interpreted as the common prejudice that big plus strong equals dumb.

Though less stunning and more simple than the computer animation seen in most contemporary cartoons, the show has some pretty background sets. The action sequences are also well-animated.

This show could be considered educational by its portrayal of the frictions that often arise between a group of people, particularly friends. The gang's interaction with Eggman could even provide a teachable moment, such as showing kindness to your enemy, even when you know he'll turn around and try something bad again tomorrow.

This program is a collection of episodes having to do with solving conflicts between friends. The episodes point out problems that often arise such as jealousy, feeling underappreciated, unpopular hobbies and wanting to make up for thing's you've done wrong. I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12.

Reviewed by Beth T., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this DVD. I love any show that has to do with my favorite childhood game characters. In this case, the DVD is about Sonic, a super fast, blue hedgehog and his friends.

This DVD includes eight episodes and a bonus episode from Season 2, "If You Build it They Will Race". It also gives you a choice to watch the episodes in English or Spanish. Each episode is approximately ten minutes with a total of 90 minutes of fun. In every episode, Sonic and his friends -Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Sticks - come together to stop crimes against their number one enemy, Dr. Eggman. Dr. Eggman is an evil scientist who wants to destroy Sonic and his crew. In every episode something evil happens to Sonic and his friends, but they always manage to save the day.

My favorite episode is "Counter Productive" because it is about Sonic's friend, Knuckles, fighting a giant robot. This archaeologist named Charlie meets Knuckles and, from there on, Knuckles decides to help him with his work. At one point, Knuckles becomes a bit annoying because, instead of helping Charlie, he interrupts his work by messing it up. Knuckles and Charlie do not get along, to the point that Charlie constructs a giant robot to fight big, red Knuckles. Of course, I am not going to tell you who wins the fight, because you need to watch this cool DVD to find out.

I like the graphics and the music is intense. The voice-overs are so cool, especially because it's the first time I hear Sonic and his friends talk. They do not talk in the video game, rather than saying "Oh Yeah!" Each episode is funny and fun to watch, because they are short, so it keeps your attention the whole time. I got to see a sneak peek of the first episode of Season 2. I like how the bonus episode of Season 2 plays the theme song from the "Knight Rider" show.

The message of this DVD is "team work makes the dream work." When Sonic and his friends work as a team, they accomplish their mission by defeating the bad guy, Mr. Eggman.

I rate Sonic Boom, Go Team Sonic! 5 out of 5 stars, because I enjoyed watching Sonic and his friends in a cartoon show, besides playing the game. I recommend this for ages 7 to 18 because teenagers will also enjoy watching this DVD. The DVD is available now so look for it. Looking forward to watch Sonic Boom Season 2!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Go Team Sonic! This DVD includes eight Sonic-Powered episodes that will take you on numerous wild adventures alongside Sonic the Hedgehog and his pals. This 90 minute DVD also includes a bonus episode. How fun is that! On this action-packed DVD, you get to tag along with Sonic the Hedgehog and his pals as they escape from the evil enemies, fight for justice, work together as a team, defeat evil and so much more.

This DVD follows Sonic the hedgehog aided by his sidekick, Tails and his friends Knuckles, Amy and Sticks. Each episode focuses on a new wild adventure as the whole gang fights their evil arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. As each action-packed episode goes along, you find out how Sonic's status as the town's biggest hero is threatened. Not only do you get to fight alongside the leaders, you get to find out what life is like being a hero.

The lead characters are Sonic the Hedgehog, his sidekick Amy, Tails, Knuckles and Dr. Eggman. My favorite character is, without-a-doubt, Amy because she's very outspoken, brave, fearless and powerful. What I love most about Amy is the fact that she brings excitement to each episode, whether it's through her ambition to fight, her unexpected plans or even the real truth (which always ends up coming out of Amy's mouth).

My favorite episode on this DVD is Episode 4, "Fuzzy Puppy Buddies". I enjoyed this episode more than others, because it has a surprising twist when one of Sonic's pals becomes Fuzzy Puppy Buddies with their enemies. It brings so much suspense to the table.

There is no bad language in this DVD, no risky actions that younger kids might try to imitate. This film shares an important message about always helping a friend in need.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 16, as well adults.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I really enjoyed watching the DVD Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic, because the characters are super fun. There are a couple of things I found somewhat distracting such as the mouthing of the characters which is out of sync and the characters seem a bit bland, which detracts from the show.

Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic is a collection of nine episodes from the computer animated Sonic Boom TV series produced by Sega of America and Technicolor Animation Productions based on the video game Sonic the Hedgehog. It stars Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends. In every episode, there is a funny and creative conflict with one of the characters and their band of friends come together to help them solve it with the main leader Sonic. There is a fully developed plot and each of the characters have their own quirky personality.

This series stars Robert Craig Smith voicing Sonic the Hedgehog. His friends are voiced by Colleen O'Shaughnessey (fun fact, she is the first female to ever voice the character Tails), Cindy Robinson and Travis Willingham. It is created by Evan Baily, Donna Friedman and Sadrine Nguyen. Their voices have distinct personalities, so the lip synch issue is not too noticeable. The characters are very well constructed and you really see their personalities come through. However, the animation gives them very blank expressions, which distracts from what is actually going on.

This series is entertaining and doesn't have a great moral message, except reinforcing the concept of friendship and solidarity.

I would give this series 3 out of 5 stars with an appealing age range of 5 to 8 years old and you can find this on DVD and at the KIDS FIRST! Film festival.

Reviewed by Lukas L, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-15
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD
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TURTLE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TURTLE
MATT KENCHINGTON
Series: SHORT, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - It was a blistering hot day, and, as a chubby kid on summer break, Bruno's only goals were to avoid his chores and stay cool while awaiting the sweet jingle of the ice cream truck. After emerging victorious in his quest for frozen delights, things didn't go as planned, and the sugar high only lasted so long. Whether it was the heat, the sugar crash or serendipity, he won't ever know, but what happened next turned that day into one he could never forget.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Oh my gosh, I absolutely love this short film. It so reminds me of my own childhood, which was completely different but has elements of similarity. First, the writing is exceptional. I love that narrator, without whom this piece would not make the impact it does. The narrator helps us know what's going on in young Bruno's mind. The characters are excellent and well defined, as well as well acted, particularly the young actor that plays Bruno, Terrence Little Gardenhigh. Very good camera work and editing. Good sound effects. It's really a perfect short film for a tween and teen audience, ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Adults will get the nostalgic aspect of it. I give this 5 out of 5 stars as it really is that well done. This will play well at festivals geared for youth and families. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


THE SECRET OF THE TWO HEADED DRAGON

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
THE SECRET OF THE TWO HEADED DRAGON
PETARDA PRODUCTION LTD.
Series: FEATURE 6 - 12
Topic - Family
Description - Barbara and Thomas are spending the summer holidays with their grandparents in the blacksmith's shop 'Under the Dragon Rock', where the unusual helper, the two-headed little dragon, Smokey, works flat out. One day, the children discover an old map in the dragon's cave. Smokey, whose one head speaks Czech and the other Slovak, begins to tell a story about the Dragon Kingdom, the love of Princess Adele and Prince John, the long-lasting curse, the malicious dragon, the goblin Spitup, the mystery of the Forget-me-not Meadow, the lost dragon egg and a couple of kangaroos. Would you like to know how dragons dance hip hop, how Christmas is celebrated in a dragon's cave, what the magic power of a dragon's tooth which has not been cleaned for 100 years is and why the dragon has got a headache?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Secret of The Two-Headed Dragon. This film is very appealing due to excellent storyline and acting. It is somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet plot, about a girl and a boy who fall in love but their love is forbidden. I love the fantasy aspect of it, especially flying with the dragon. The locations are excellent as are the special effects. It's not quite as believable as I would like, but it is still very enjoyable. Adele, the young girl stands out. She is very beautiful and sings quite well. I learned that through the world, great movies are made. My favorite part is the ending, but you'll have to see it to find out what happens. I highly recommend this for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals and give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It's a wonderfully fun fairy tale. Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.
Runtime: 99 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SELFIES FEVER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
SELFIES FEVER
SAGE DRAKE
Series: SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - An experimental silent film about quirky characters who try to find themselves through cell phone selfies. Official selection at Independent Shorts Awards, Buenos Aires International Film Festival, Olympus Film Festival, Finalist at Oniros Film Awards, Best Experimental short at Global Film Festival Awards.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ok, this made me laugh the entire time. It is so indicative of the "selfie" culture that we are experiencing when, sometimes it seems that people are more interested in the picture than the experience itself. A big over the top, but it's a film so hey...! I particularly like the clip of the young ballet dancers that whip out their phones in the midst of their performance. Hysterical. There is one scene where it appears that one woman offs the rest in her group by sword, but there is no bloody graphic violence, only the scene of the dead bodies. This would play well at a festival for tweens and teens. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult reviews
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BROKEN SOULS

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BROKEN SOULS
SANELLE SIBANDA
Series: SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Priscilla Smith's sanity is tested when she is separated from her beloved husband Adolph who is called for military service in Afghanistan. Left to raise their only child Sophia alone, Priscilla struggles with self-esteem issues and hopelessly uses prescription drugs to help her cope with the emptiness she feels in a community that has lost its men to war and prisons.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This short provides insight into the circumstances of broken families. There's tragedy, economic struggles and the effects on war. It follows the life of Priscilla, who suffers from addiction as a way to cope with loss. It also shows how cycles can repeat themselves over generations. I find this film appealing because it starts with a love story. It has a realistic feel when it comes to supporting a growing family. Although the fairytale fades away, it kept me feeling engaged and empathetic for the characters. The storyline is intriguing. I wanted to find out how and why Priscilla has such pain. I like that there are multiple families that share the experiences of loss. Many children and adults could learn from or connect with these stories. I found the content quite good. There are some tight shots where the actors appear a bit out of frame. Some scene changes also have hard cuts, such as the kitchen scene. Some outside audio is choppy as it merges with the background music. I like the music selection and found myself dancing with the "Let's Boogie" dance crew at the intro. There is a great visual effect i the escalator scene. The costumes are suitable for the story lie. My most favorite is the dance group, officer/inmate, and Priscilla's attire. I enjoyed the visuals in the outdoor scenes of the park, mall and the West Oakland sign. The crew was creative with the pharmacy and Afghanistan scenes. The music enhances the emotion of each scene. There are some choppy lower audio transitions. I really like the special effects with the flashbacks and the black & white filter during the romance scenes. My favorite actors are Priscilla, Nick and Sophia. I found the range of emotions shown to be believable and realistic. Nick really displays advanced emotions at such a young age. My favorite scene is when the pharmacist joins Priscilla and connects with her. The message warns us how war and the prison system can damage not only its prisoners, but all those involved. It sheds a light on how various communities need more resources - ways to help vets find employment, affordable therapy and programs that help them cope with depression. This short made me think about how little resources can cause big circumstances. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Note of caution there is a brief bare butt scene. I do recommend it for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. This film touches on some very real-life circumstances that shouldn't be ignored. It's a great conversation starter when it comes to loss, abuse, war and depression. This film has special interest for interracial and military families. Reviewed by Elle S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 45 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


NEEM JAMUN

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NEEM JAMUN
KAMAL MOOLWANI
Series: SHORT, AGES 5 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Neem Jamun is a short film which explains relationships we have with our grandparents. Upon realising that his father is not letting his Grandmother go to his Uncle's place, Sonu, a 12 year old boy takes up a journey with his Grandmother to make sure she reaches where she wants.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a lovely short film for the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival partners. The story is about a boy named Sonu taking his grandma to go visit his uncle. I enjoyed the focus on the relationships between kids and grandparents. I have a strong relationship with my grandparents and I like seeing a story all about this relationship. I don't think I've seen many other films that cover this bond. The story feels rather basic and isn't all that engaging. It takes place in India and the dialogue is Hindi, with English sub-titles. It gives us an inside look at the lives of an Indian family, and some of the family relationship struggles they have that are not unlike those we experience in our own culture. When the father tells his mother she cannot go visit her other son, her grandson takes her and they sneak out in the middle of the night. They clearly have a close bond with each other and the boy is quite adept at finding their way. The scenery when grandma and Sonu are travelling is quite beautiful and gives us an overview of the topography and architecture of India. The attire looks very typical of what people wear in India, which is also interesting. We don't really know where the grandma and Sonu are travelling to, but I'm not sure that matters. One thing I really enjoyed is the song that plays while they are traveling. It sounds nice. Ssince it is in Hindi, I couldn't really understand the lyrics, but that didn't get in the way. It still gives a joyful feeling to the traveling scenes. It does show the boy doing a risky thing (sneaking out in the middle of the night to take his grandma to see her son). It made me appreciate my grandparents more. I enjoyed the focus being about the relationship between the boy and his grandma. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
Runtime: 12 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ADELA

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ADELA
UNNUR J�NSD�TTIR
Series: SHORT, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Adela is a 7 year old girl who struggles with social isolation. She's bullied at school and desperately needs a friend for support. Her mother is feeling quite helpless regarding her daughters isolation but when she sees how strong Adela's need for social interaction is, she realizes the perfect solution.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This beautifully constructed film from Iceland addresses an issue often overlooked - social isolation. The relationship between the little girl and her mother is so lovingly depicted and the mom's concern about her daughter is very tangible. Also, her solution for her daughter's isolation is perfect. I really love this film and highly recommend it for any youth or family film festival. It's perfect for kids ages 8 to 18, as well as adults and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 19 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BLUE BALLOON
ESTUDIO GIZ
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 11-15
Topic - Family
Description - A film about a lonely boy, his relationship with the sky and with a gas balloon, vehicle to which he transfer the pain caused by his mother's absence.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a beautiful and sensitive short film about a boy dealing with the loss of his mother and coming to grips with how to live without her. It's well made with beautiful camera work and editing. The actor that portrays the young boy is quite believable as his dad. From Brazil, the dialogue is in Portuguese, with English subtitles that are well executed and easy to follow. I recommend this for tweens and teens, ages 11 to 15, as well as adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 11-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HERBIE & THE SMUSHIES: BULLIED AT THE DOG PARK

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HERBIE & THE SMUSHIES: BULLIED AT THE DOG PARK
HANGIN' OUT WITH HEATHER
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 4-8
Topic - Family
Description - Based on my children's book; Herbie an adorable Boston Terrier gets bullied at the dog park and goes on a journey meeting new doggy friends as they all discuss how they were bullied and become friends through this bond.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This animated short addresses the issue of bullying, showing it from a dog's point of view. It has a happy ending, which I like and the dogs are all super cute. If you like dogs, you'll love this. In the beginning, Herbie (a dog) is in the park with his human mom. Another dog takes Herbie's toy and refuses to give it back. After they go home, he makes friends with some other smushie-faced dogs. It is well made with 2D animation. The animation is pretty simple, not great, but it's the story line that drives this film. The message about bullying is appropriate for humans, as well as dogs and the characters are all super cute. I really enjoyed the little theme song. The message is: be happy that you are different and don't bully others. I like the anti-bullying message of the film. I never thought about dogs getting bullied before watching this film. My favorite character is Tony because he is very lovable. I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it or ages 4 to 8. If it helps to stop bullying, that's definitely a plus. Kudos to the director for taking on this difficult topic and giving it a fresh look, from a dog's point of view. Reviewed by Katherine S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic and KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This animated short addresses the issue of bullying, showing it from a dog's point of view. It has a happy ending, which I like and the dogs are all super cute. If you like dogs, you'll love this.

In the beginning, Herbie (a dog) is in the park with his human mom. Another dog takes Herbie's toy and refuses to give it back. After they go home, he makes friends with some other smushie-faced dogs.

It is well made with 2D animation. The animation is pretty simple, not great, but it's the story line that drives this film. The message about bullying is appropriate for humans, as well as dogs and the characters are all super cute. I really enjoyed the little theme song.

The message is: be happy that you are different and don't bully others. I like the anti-bullying message of the film. I never thought about dogs getting bullied before watching this film. My favorite character is Tony because he is very lovable.

I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it or ages 4 to 8. If it helps to stop bullying, that's definitely a plus. Kudos to the director for taking on this difficult topic and giving it a fresh look, from a dog's point of view.
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


WONDERS OF MUSEUMS, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WONDERS OF MUSEUMS, THE
PUBLIC TELEVISION SERVICE, TAIWAN
Series: EPISODISC, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Expand your horizons with The Wonders of Museums. The Wonders of Museums is an eight part series profiling museums in seven international cities: Taipei, Taichung, Singapore, Okinawa, Kyoto, Berlin, and Belfast. Audiences both young and old will enjoy an unforgettable journey through these family friendly exhibits. This season includes: The Berlin Museum of Natural History, The Titanic Museum in Northern Ireland, The Kyoto Railway Museum, The Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, The Singapore Zoo, The National Taiwan Museum, and The National Museum of Natural Science in Taichung.While The Wonders of Museums features world-class destinations, each travel documentary is also infused with the educational merits of each institution. These include painstaking efforts to uncover human history and to document the course of human evolution (Natural History Museum); the human ingenuity that utilized the railway, a marvel of the Industrial Revolution, to expand our perceptions and experiences (Railway Museum); a reminder that technological advancement will never overcome the interventions of Mother Nature (Titanic Museum); an exploration of how renewable energy inspired the construction of a virtual garden and a cityscape more beautiful than even nature intended (Gardens at the Bay); and how humans can truly live in harmony with the natural world (Singapore Zoo and Churaumi Aquarium). Why choose these eight locations from the many museums worldwide? What is it about these collections and their behind the scenes construction that mystifies visitors? What is the secret behind their innovative approach to harness the joy of learning? Would you believe that these museums are also important hubs for researchers? Do you know how to distinguish true dinosaur fossils from a replica? Why does a natural history museum need taxidermy? Why is the Titanic such a memorable disaster? What is the imaginative design behind an open concept zoo? How do you display flourishing Japanese railway culture in a museum? How does a man-made garden harness renewable energy to become more environmentally friendly? What's the use of a pollen sample database? What does the appearance of both the many visible and invisible insects living in our homes mean for us? The Wonders of Museums will reintroduce audiences to museums on a journey through the mystifying splendor of the unknown. This program is sure to provide a fresh perspective as we explore a familiar institution through new vantage points.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a show about the joys of visiting a museum. You follow the presenters as they check various exhibits & get to see the work behind the scenes where they meet people who work there. The presenters are extremely enthusiastic about the subject which makes you want to watch right from the start. The combination of interesting facts to go along with the exhibits shown is very engaging. It shows how much there is to learn from museums. I like way the presenters treat the viewing in similar way to perhaps a child would view items. The whole story, whether viewing or looking at the behind the scenes work of the museum, moves along in a clear and understandable way. The camera work follows closely the presenters, giving the viewer the feeling they are walking with them. The angles help to show the size of larger exhibits viewed and close-ups allow easy viewing of smaller objects. On a couple of occasions, the view is slightly darker than would be ideal, but again that does help the viewer feel what the inside of the museum is like. Also the subtitles are at bottom of the screen and are not intrusive or impacting to the viewer. The presenters dress in casual wear, similar to most kids would wear and thus helps keep the format of a exciting day out. The sets are effectively the main areas of the museum that the public sees, these are chosen well, helping give an understanding of the inside of a the building and how exhibits are displayed. The behind the scenes visit helps show the technical side of the work. Additionally the scenes in the catalogue rooms help bring to life the vastness of the collections. The music at the beginning helps build excitement to viewing the episode. It clearly portrays this is going to be entertaining. The two main presenters really work well and are incredibly enthusiastic, which helps engage the viewer. Both come across as genuinely interested in the things they learn along the way. They show amazement and also respect the exhibits and the museum, making the trip fun but educational at same time. I think the title explains the message ideally. The messages are: Museums are fun to visit, do an important job and there is plenty of stuff to learn - so plan a visit. I actually learned a really interesting fact about dinosaur teeth that I was truly amazed by. The way the experts explain details of their research gives plenty of food for thought. I can imagine if I was watching with my kids much discussion would be created by these insights. I certainly felt I should plan a museum trip this summer with them.

My favorite, but also most poignant scene, is when the taxidermist shows the catalogue of extinct birds. Both producer and director have won awards for their work previously in various countries. I heartily give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults.

It is just so interesting. Viewing makes you want to learn more and see more episodes. The facts are well presented and I imagine kids will be engaged from the start. This would be suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival for an educational component. Don't get me wrong, it is also quite entertaining. Reviewed by Richard L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This is a fascinating educational program about two people (Xianghan and Pierre) who go to a museum to learn new stuff. In this show, they visit the Berlin Historical Museum where they learn about dinosaurs, birds and more. It is very well done, although it is in a different language with sub-titles, which move very fast. It is very educational if you can read the sub-titles quickly enough. The camera shots are well done with interesting camera angles. I found the Berlin Historical Museum very interesting. The music is very suitable. The two people play themselves. Xianghan stands out the most because she is dressed so cutely. Its theme is: Learning is fun and cool. You should know that it does contain some profanity. I learned too much to even put on here. I especially like when they go to the archives. Pierre is a well-known YouTuber. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 27 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY BETTY
KASHA FAUSCETT
Series: SHORTS, AGES 4 - 8
Topic - Family
Description - It's an ordinary birthday party for Adam, with his ordinary friends having an ordinary good time. When he loses a tooth like most ordinary kids, his Grandpa August tells a not-so-ordinary tale of the Tooth Fairy over slices of pizza, leaving Adam and his friends to wonder whether the legend really was real, or just a myth. After Grandpa August gives a beautiful but mysterious doll as a gift to Adam's sister, something extraordinary happens while Adam and his friends sleep, waking them up to a whole new world of discovery.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Cute rendition about the mysterious tooth fairy. Although the storyline is quite predictable, it is well made with good camera work, audio, and special effects. I recommend this for ages 4 to 8 and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 16 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LOSER

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LOSER
ADDISON FULTON
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 11 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - A high school student explores the labels we put on ourselves and others and realizes that the most important thing to be is yourself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Yes, love this student short. Great topic - self esteem. And great ending. This non-narrative animated piece tells its story quite cleverly and teaches a wonderful lesson about being yourself. Recommend it for tweens and teens, ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 11-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MY LITTLE PRINCE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MY LITTLE PRINCE
AZANFILM STUDIO
Series: SHORTS, AGES 10 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This film is about a lonely boy who went on the journey to find a friend. Main character, the Little Prince, exploring society of adult people through a perspective of a kid. His journey is an internal perpetual question - "should we grow up?" Asked to himself after each acquaintanceship with members of adult society . He finds a friend not among people, but among animals who behave more humanistic than some people do. A famous French author - Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry, wrote this story but also it was visualized and inspired by an Azerbaijani artist struggling from Down syndrome - Maryam Alikberli. Her oil paintings are present in film, moreover, her child-like nature and world perception has something mysteriously common with the Little prince himself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Oh my, what an interesting and compelling short film. Based on the classic story The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exup�ry, this incorporates a young girl with Downs Syndrome in retelling it and with images of her beautiful paintings based on the story. I have always loved this story and, as I get older its messages changes and expands all the time. Kudos to director Arif Maharramov's rendition of this story. He is truly masterful in creating something that is joyful and insightful and filled with imagination. From Azerbaijan, the dialogue is in Azerbaijan with English sub-titles. The animation is truly first rate, filled with minute details that make you forget you are watching an animated piece at times. The interspersing of live action with the girl is done deliberately and carefully. The background music is quite suitable for the film. There is one scene on one of the planets the Prince visits with drinking of alcohol, but it is not offensive, simply something to be aware of. I heartily give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. This would play well at a children's or family film festival. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 30 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


BAD SCIENTIST

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BAD SCIENTIST
FALON DANITA
Series: SHORT, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Mary von Grubenstein thinks she's finally done it! She's created an evil monster that will make her the best evil scientist around and make her late father proud, but... things go a little awry when the monster wakes up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Well made black and white, film noir short by a college student with a good storyline that flows well, has a positive message at the end that kids will relate to. The protagonist's acting is a bit over the top, but fits well with the style of the film. Good sets, interesting camera angles. I recommend this for tweens and teens, ages 12 to 18, as well as adults and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 9 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MAGIC COMB, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MAGIC COMB, THE
RONI BROWN
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 5 -18
Topic - Family
Description - With mommy out of town, a father nearly loses his relationship with his little girl and his sanity when he uses a mysterious magical comb in order to do her hair.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very sweet story about a dad and his little girl trying to survive together while momma's away. It all comes down to the girl's hair! And Dad has one heck of a time dealing with it until he discovered what he thinks is the solution. Well shot. Terrific actors. Very believable storyline. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The actors are African American but this story is relatable to any culture. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Will play in any children's or family film festival. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 10 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ZOG: THE FIRST FEMINIST

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
ZOG: THE FIRST FEMINIST
BENJAMIN FOLSTEIN
Series: SHORTS, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - This four minute animated ballad chronicles the adventures of a prehistoric feminist. Almost 250,000 years ago, Zog, the first feminist, is born. She spends her life railing against societal expectations. After revolutionizing systems of hunting and agriculture and receiving no credit from the patriarchal establishment, she convenes a village meeting for women only. To the women of the village, she says: "Don't let those men tell you can't, because you can!" The village chief is not pleased, and orders her execution.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Oh my word - best film I've seen all day! This pro-feminist short that has a clever combination of animation and live action truly delivers a positive message about women. Delightful humor. Excellent production values. This will play in a youth or family festival for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 4 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER!

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LLAMA LLAMA'S BEST SUMMER EVER!       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DVD, AGES 2-11
Topic - Family
Description - Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood memories. On this DVD, join Llama Llama as he camps, boats, floats and swims his way through his BEST summer ever! Adventure and learning awaits with Llama Llama and pals!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! DVD is tons of fun and will appeal to kids and families. It's a bright and happy animated series that is based on Anna Dewdney's books about an adventurous llama and his circle of family and friends. This DVD has eight episodes with an option to play all the episodes or select them one at a time at an approximate run time of 90 minutes of lively entertainment. The series employs bright colors, fun animals and engaging story lines that align with the daily activities that many kids are involved in, to capture their interest. The cute story lines deliver positive messages. For example, Llama Llama's kite is torn on the last day of summer and his mom teaches him resourcefulness. There's no need to buy a new one, we can fix this one and it will be better than before. The writing structure is straightforward and geared towards its target audience. The continuity and style reinforce each episode's message, teamwork, resourcefulness and helping others. The series uses vocabulary that appeals to young kids. For example, when Llama Llama's kite is torn his mom states that she will help him make a swirl-o-rama kite!

Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming and kite flying. The series visually appeals to kids with its bright colors and cute animal friends. The DVD cover is appropriate and appeal as it features Llama Llama and his friends. There is also a listing of each episode included, with a picture next to it representing what the episode is about. There are educational benefits as kids are taught about problem solving and teamwork. For example, Llama Llama wants to help his friend buy a new bike tire, so he opens a lemonade stand to earn the money. His friends help him improve his product and help with marketing it. Additionally, kids are shown that everyone can be included even if they don't do the same things. i.e. Euclid the Sheep shows up when everyone's flying kites. He doesn't have a kite, but he can make calculations on wind, temperature and time to help the other kites fly. There are several messages in this series about teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship, family and helping others. The DVD menu has an option to watch all the episodes or select them one at a time. I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11.

Reviewed by Jennifer V., KIDS FIRST! juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama is an animated series full of family values and nature adventures! This heartwarming series is based on the beloved children's books by Anna Dewdney who also illustrated the books. There are eight episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever!

Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping and around the town. The series features Jennifer Garner as the voice of the loving Mama Llama. My favorite episode is "Last Day of Summer" where Llama Llama seizes the day with friends and goes to the park to fly kites and ends up using imagination when the weather complicates their plans. Change can be exciting and fun!

The message of this series is to learn from family and friends and to enjoy childhood. Change can be tough but you can always enjoy time with family and friends.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. The DVD is available now.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Llama Llama's Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content. The short episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained.

This DVD is about Llama Llama and his friend having the time of their lives on their summer vacation. Episodes include Let's Go Camping, Beach Day, Boat Float and Last Day of Summer. Wherever Llama Llama goes, there will always be fun.

The Llama Llama animated series is so cool, because they are based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. There are several lovable characters including Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe. This DVD is approximately 90 minutes long with eight episodes. My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer, because it shows that even if the weather is bad you can still have fun indoors during the summer.

There are a lot of positive messages in this DVD including keeping a positive attitude when your plans change unexpectedly and, if you go with the flow and have a positive attitude, the outcome can still be fun. We also learn that a little bit of practice can make you feel more confident and that if you feel as if you are not getting enough attention from your parents, just know that they still love you. This DVD has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that kids might try to do. However, there are scenes showing jealously.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This DVD is available now. I totally recommend this DVD for your kids.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-11
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD
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TOY STORY 4

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TOY STORY 4       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love this film! It is funny, colorful, joyful and impeccably made. The animation is a lot better too! This sequel to Toy Story is not like the other ones, which I like; so it does not repeat the first three. Toy Story 4 goes one step forward and closes the circle... uhmm, maybe? There will be always room for more toy adventures.

In this new film there are some awesome new and unique characters. And there is a transformation of an old character, but you need to see the movie to find out which one I mean!

The story is basically about a little girl, Bonnie, who gets all of Andy's toys because he goes to university. Bonnie loves all her new (at least new for her) toys, but she doesn't play with Woody often. He feels sad but doesn't want to show it. Then one day comes, and it's Bonnie's first day of kindergarten. In class she feels lonely but Woody, breaking all laws (toys don't go to school because they can get lost) comes in her backpack. Woody gets some material and Bonnie makes, literally, a new best friend: Forky. But there's one problem: Forky thinks he's made out of trash and consequently he has issues. When Bonnie's family goes on a road trip, Forky feels he doesn't belong--he gets lost, and from there the toys have to face multiple obstacles to rescue Forky.

The story is mainly focused on Forky and Woody and some new characters that you meet. What is interesting is that you don't really see the other group of old toys that much. Like every Toy Story film, the toys work together to help fix a conflict. But this film focuses on a completely different character, Bonnie, and not on Andy. Woody will go to infinity and beyond to rescue Forky. His sense of loyalty is contagious, and Forky is so funny with his issues. Completely different characters, brand new conflict and new frontiers make this film unique.

I also love the colors which are beautiful. Something I find very interesting is that the animation is so well done that you sometimes forget that you're watching an animated movie. I loved the new characters like Duke Caboom, and I think Keanu Reeves is the only person who could bring life to Caboom with a distinctive voice. I also like the character of Gabby Gabby; she was very interesting, intriguing and the more you find out about her the more you want to know.

The message of this film is be loyal, be the best you can be and listen to your inner voice, so that you can decide your own destiny.

I would recommend watching other Toy Story movies before this one if you haven't already. I love this film so I would give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-10 and adults as well. Toy Story 4 is in theatres June 21, 2019

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

This movie is the best Toy Story film yet! It has our favorite old characters, very funny new characters, a fun and emotional story line and a fantastic new director.

Toy Story 4 begins with Bonnie making a new friend in her kindergarten orientation and bringing it home. His name is Forky and, when he comes alive, all he knows is how to be trash. Forky spends most of his time trying to escape and eventually does so from a moving RV when his family is on vacation. Our hero Woody is forced to go after Forky to make sure Bonnie is happy and to convince Forky that he is Bonnie's toy. During their travels they encounter several new toys and a few old ones as well.

It is so amazing that the Toy Story saga has been going on for 24 years and that so many of the main characters are voiced by the same actors from the previous movies including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Annie Potts. The voices behind some of the new characters include Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and Tony Hale. We all thought that Toy Story 3 had the perfect ending, but this movie is even better. The director, Josh Cooley, is brilliant as he is able to pull out the best performance from all of the actors, to the point that you think that the toys are real people, not just animated characters. My favorite part is when Buzz finds his inner voice.

The message of Toy Story 4 is about transitioning from one situation to another through bravery, perseverance and friendship. You should know that there are a few risky things that kids might try to imitate such as jumping out of a RV, messing with a car and going under a carousel.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 15. Adults will love this movie as well. This movie opens nationwide in theaters on June 20, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I absolutely LOVE this film! Not only does Toy Story 4 contain hilarious humor, but also emotional scenes, which make the film well balanced with seriousness and laughter throughout and make an interesting storyline. I love the way the characters use their feelings and gut to help lead themselves throughout the story.

In the film, Bonnie makes a new toy out of recycled materials in kindergarten and instantly falls in love with it. But her new toy, Forky, feels like he is not meant to be a toy. Instead, his heart's desire is to belong to the trash. This results in Forky trying to escape to the trash at every chance he is given. Fortunately, Bonnie's other toy, Woody, stops Forky from running away, but then the toys find themselves lost on the search for their beloved Bonnie. Will they fine Bonnie or stay lost in the woods for good? You will have to see the film to find out!

My favorite part of Toy Story 4 is definitely when Woody and Forky find their friendship through many changes of plans and difficulties. Their journey shows how things can change over time. I also really enjoyed the animation and how clear the voice actors voices are during the movie. The plot, characters, and voice acting are all groundbreaking.

The message of this film is to always follow your heart and do what your heart desires. It is always important to do what you feel is better for you. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Toy Story 4 releases in theaters, June 21, 2019. Be sure to look for it.

Reviewed by Jada P., KID FIRST Film Critic, age 12.

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


GIRL AT THE END OF THE GARDEN, THE

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GIRL AT THE END OF THE GARDEN, THE
DYEHOUSE FILMS
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - A slapstick comedy about an unhappy young girl whose life is turned upside-down when she finds a mysterious runaway with psychic powers in her back garden.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Lucy, a young unhappy girl lives with her single mother who cannot afford to purchase a tablet device she desperately desires. However, a chance encounter in her back garden, with a young refugee camp runaway possessing psychic powers, changes her life. Children do not want to have to figure out how to generate income. They prefer a world where things are simple, where they are happy and all their needs are met. This film captures the essence of a child's wide imagination. I like that the story explores serious social issues, such as poverty and the ills of war through themes such as man against society, from a child's point of view and the universal concept of friendship.

This film has great cinematography! The camera angles effectively move the story along, without being on the nose. The dreary Irish weather and the night scenes are very believable. I like the gray skies, which are characteristic of Ireland's weather. The scene of Lucy in the garden at night and of Zed when the door opens work effectively to build tension. The costumes suit the story and work well.

The background music and sound effects certainly drive the plot forward. At one point when Lucy sees Zed in her garden at night, the music rises, builds tension and comes to a climax when Lucy finds Zed hiding in the shed. In another scene when Lucy's mum comes home early and Zed falls as he attempts to escape, the music builds tension as Lucy has successfully switched places with Zed when the blanket is pulled back.

There are no grand special effects that stand out, except for the magic tricks, which fooled me initially. The most believable characters are Lucy, Zed and Lucy's mother. They very much own their roles. Lucy reminds me of a young Dakota Fanning, endearing yet feisty. The interplay between the two children is very convincing. My favorite scene is the ending one when the two families are united because of the chance meeting between the two children.

The message is about how our differences really do connect us. You should know that it does show kids doing risk y things, that other kids might imitate. I have to say that it heightened my interest in conspiracy theories.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. It validates children and youth in their views about life. It's educational in that Lucy, who could have been prejudiced against a black kid who appears even needier than her, isn't. She simply sees another human being, just like her. I think this would make a great addition to a youth or family film festival.

Reviewed by Frances B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MIIKSHI THE MEEK SHEEP IN THE COSMIC POTATO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MIIKSHI THE MEEK SHEEP IN THE COSMIC POTATO
LINDSAY LEE
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 6 - 16
Topic - Family
Description - Shy sheep scientist Miikshi has just launched a potato into orbit, and her journalist best friend Chickelyna begs for the first radio interview. Miikshi's fear of public speaking soon takes back seat when her science experiment is on a collision course with Mibukiville!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Very professional production. Love the quirky puppet characters and the storyline. Love the close-ups and the miniature backgrounds. The sheep scientist is quite wonderful and the idea of launching a potato into space absolutely hysterical. This is a great take off on the space program. I recommend it for ages 6 to 16, as well as adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 14 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-16
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Video and DVD


LONDON'S HOME

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LONDON'S HOME
JENNIFER TREUTING
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 - 14
Topic - Family
Description - When a fire destroys the apartment that nine-year-old London and her family have called home for years, everything's suddenly different. Everyone's ok, but where will they stay? The apartment building is no longer safe. Learn what happens to London and her family when disaster strikes, and how the idea of "home" changes when you don't have one.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is a well constructed documentary about a subject that most kids are not thinking about until tragedy strikes. I love the cheerfulness of London who guides us through her family's experience of losing their home, living in a shelter temporarily and finding a new home. She is the epitome of positive energy, as are the other members of her family that we meet. I recommend this for a tween and teen festival, ages 12 to 18, plus adults, and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you are looking for something that reflects how families respond to tragic circumstances in their lives in a positive way, you will love this film. reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror. To submitter: Congratulations! We are delighted to include your film in our national KIDS FIRST! Film Festival where it will be available to 50 venues that partner with us. Please see required deliverables in the official letter of acceptance from film freeway. Send your digital file through dropbox, google docs or similar. Allowing a download from film freeway is also acceptable. And, we need your poster art in 72 dpi (max height 3") or a production still for online publicity purposes. One more thing, KIDS FIRST! is starting a new Digital Channel in association with xerb.tv. We will send you more information about how you can participate in that, if you so choose.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


TIA AND PIUJUQ

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
TIA AND PIUJUQ
MARIE-HELENE COUSINEAU
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Topic - Family
Description - Tia is a 10-year-old girl Syrian refugee who has recently moved to Montreal with her parents. With her father taking classes and her sick mother confined to her bed, summer moves by slowly for Tia, who struggles to make new friends. Her summer changes when she finds a magic portal that transports her to the arctic tundra. Here she befriends Piujuq, an Inuk girl of her age, camping with her grandmother. She starts making frequent trips, becoming more confident through her adventures until strange things begin to occur, as if a mysterious force is following her. When something or someone threatens Tia's return, the girls immerse themselves in a world of Inuit myth and magic, using all their bravery and smarts to bring Tia home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Oh gosh, what a beautiful film that explores the magical friendship between two girls from such different cultures - Tia, a Syrian refugee and Piujuq, an Inuk girl. We learn Tia's backstory through her interactions with her mother and dad and see how difficult it is for her to make new friends in her new surroundings. The story follows Tia's adventures once she discovered a portal that takes her to the Arctic where she meets Piujuq. This film is beautifully shot, combining wonderfully animated illustrations at times and shots of the arctic landscape at other times. The heartwarming storyline is exquisitely told and holds the viewer's attention as one adventure follows another. I applaud all the actors, but especially Tia Bashra who plays Tia. I highly recommend this for KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals, give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 15. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 75 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-15
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK N ROLL

ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK N ROLL
CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The film tells the story of the long troubled town of Asbury Park, and how the power of music can unite a divided community. A once storied seaside resort, Asbury Park erupted in flames during a summer of civil unrest, crippling the town for the next 45 years and reducing it to a state of urban blight. A town literally divided by a set of railroad tracks, the riot destroyed the fabled Westside jazz and blues scene, but from the flames of the burning city emerged the iconic Jersey sound. Asbury Park returns Asbury sons Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon and Bruce Springsteen to the legendary Upstage, the psychedelic after hours club where they got their start, featuring never before seen interviews and performances. Shuttered for four and a half decades, the Upstage remains a perfect time capsule of the Club, which united both sides of the tracks in Asbury and acted as a crucible for young talent. Now, as Asbury Park enjoys its long awaited renaissance, it is music, which has brought it back from the dead. The film is supported in association with Jersey Mike's, which allows all profits worldwide to be dedicated to promoting and creating music education programs for wide distribution. This message contains information which may be confidential and privileged. Unless you are the intended recipient (or authorized to receive this message for the intended recipient), you may not use, copy, disseminate or disclose to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. If you have received the message in error, please advise the sender by reply e-mail, and delete the message. Thank you very much.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an energetic documentary detailing the rarely discussed music scene that flowered in Asbury Park, New Jersey in the 1960s. Focusing largely on the area's most famous musical export, Bruce Springsteen (who named his first album "Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ.") the 80 minute film traces the roots of the beachside city's musical explosion, very much a product of racial segregation that led to a mingling of white and black musicians in the clubs on the west side of town. The film combines copious interviews with musicians and archival photographs and video to paint a well-rounded portrait of the late-night club scene that started developing in the 1950s encompassing jazz, blues, soul and rock and roll and that contributed greatly to the Bruce Springsteen sound. The troubled city's downward spiral in the 1970s and rejuvenation in the 2000s is also well-documented. Recommended for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike Fishman, KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult reviews

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


RECREATIONAL

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
RECREATIONAL
JASON KURTH
Series: VIDEO, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Ten-year-old Trevor Schott is introduced to the thrilling world of roller hockey by his older cousin, James "Penney" Carver.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Excellent. Well made short film about the sport of roller hockey and introducing it to a young boy by an adult cousin. Lots of action. Great relationship between the boy and adult. This is the first episode of a series, so we can anticipate more in the future. I recommend this to tweens and teens, ages 10 to 18, as well as adults and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult comments
Runtime: 11 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-15
Topic - Family
Description - Max the terrier must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. When the family takes a trip to the countryside, nervous Max has numerous run-ins with canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon catches a break when he meets Rooster, a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Love, love, love this movie! Can't wait to see it again this Friday. This film is absolutely hysterical. Both the audience and I laughed throughout the screening. Everything about this film is dog-tastic, from the screenwriting to the art, animation, sound, special effects and characters.

Secret Life of Pets 2 continues with the story of Max and Duke, but this time Katie gets married and has a son named Liam. At first, Max doesn't really like having Liam around, because he never leaves him alone. Then they start to bond. Max starts to really care about Liam and vows to protect him. Katie decides to take a family trip to a farm and this introduces a whole new cast of characters and funny situations on the farm. Max meets Rooster, a brave dog who rules the farm and teaches Max how to handle a lot of his issues. Meanwhile, back in New York City, all of Max and Duke's pet friends continue with their crazy antics, including rescuing a white tiger from the circus and Chloe helps transforming Gidget into a cat, to get out of a messy situation. My favorite character is Snowball, the white rabbit. His superhero scenes rescuing the tiger with his new pal Daisy are hysterical.

Max's voice is portrayed by Patton Oswalt and Duke is, once again, performed by Eric Stonestreet. The introduction of Rooster, voiced by Harrison Ford, adds a lot of depth and meaning to Max's outlook and the film. The animation is breathtaking, from the first scenes in Central Park, to the various scenes around the farm. The cast are all very talented portraying their various vocal roles. Brian Lynch's screenplay pulls it all together, with amazing humor for every character.

The message of this film is to be brave and embrace change. Max worries about the changes a baby will bring to his family, but learns to love Liam and become his best friend. Max continues to learn about changes at the farm and how to deal with them, as Rooster advises, "Some stuff happens and then it's over." Accept and move on, because change can be positive.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, but adults will enjoy it as well as evidenced by all of the audience laughter. This movie opens in theaters June 7, 2019. Look for it!

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I absolutely love this family-friendly animated sequel. It has so many superstar voice actors and the animation is dramatic and ingenious. The creators introduce new zany and lovable characters.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is about a bunch of New York city pets and their daily adventures - from parks to farms and more - while their owners are away at work. The writers are very creative. They are successful intertwining different stories throughout the entire movie. For example, when Max and Duke get a new kid named Liam, they take a trip out to a farm where they meet a new character named Rooster. Snowball meets a darling new friend named Daisy and the two of them save a white tiger named Hu. My favorite part is when Pops is doing puppy school.

The best thing about this film is that you don't have to see the previous movie to enjoy the sequel. I think The Secret Life of Pets 2 blows The Secret Life of Pets out of the water with its incredible music and star-studded cast. The voice actors include Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Harrison Ford and Eric Stonestreet.

The messages in The Secret Life of Pets 2 are: It is okay to be afraid and 2. Teamwork is important. Note that it does have some mild violence, a couple fight scenes and some chase scenes. There are a few risky things that kids might try to imitate such as running into forests unsupervised, fighting wolfs and saving a wild animal. But, really, it's pretty tame. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15, as well as adults. I highly recommend this to all pet lovers. This film opens in theaters June 7, 2019 so look for it.

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

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a phenomenal, all-around fantastic movie. The film is enjoyable and puts a smile on your face. It's a movie for everyone to enjoy with their friends and families. The movie has different aspects to it. It is also cool to see how the pets interact with each other and seeing how they work together as a team.

The storyline is about different pets going on adventures and exploring New York City. The protagonist Max goes through changes in his life, when his owner gets married and has a child. On the other hand, a cute bunny named Snowball and a puppy Daisy go on a crazy adventure saving a tiger from an evil circus owner. The movie has crazy, funny jaw-dropping moments that you don't want to miss.

Some of the highlights of this is the cast and storyline. Big ups to writer Brian Lynch for a great screenplay. The message of the film is to always look out for each other, not just family and friends, but others we may not know. In this movie, these pets always have each others' backs and really look out for one another. As human beings, we should do a better job of that, especially in our society. It would make the world a better place.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to18, as well as adults. Note that it has some rude humor. It opens in theaters nationwide June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Kendall M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


DARK PHOENIX

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DARK PHOENIX       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 - This is the story of one of the X-Men's most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic DARK PHOENIX. During a life-threatening rescue mission in space, Jean is hit by a cosmic force that transforms her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. Wrestling with this increasingly unstable power as well as her own personal demons, Jean spirals out of control, tearing the X-Men family apart and threatening to destroy the very fabric of our planet. The film is the most intense and emotional X-Men movie ever made. It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we've come to know and love must face their most devastating enemy yet -- one of their own.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like this movie. I love super hero movies, especially Marvel movies. Unfortunately, I was a lot younger when I watched the previous X-Men movies, so I don't remember them that well. When I was watching Dark Phoenix, I was a little lost on the background of the characters.

Dark Phoenix is about the super hero team we all know as X-Men. The main character is the one and only Jean Grey portrayed by Sophie Turner who we also know as Sansa, The Queen of the North from Game of Thrones. The movie shows how Jean Grey meets Professor X (James McAvoy) after a fatal car accident and how she joins the X-Men team. Professor X sends Jean and the X-Men team off on a rescue mission in space. They have to rescue a group of NASA astronauts. During the rescue mission, Jean suffers an accident, causing her to start losing control of her emotions and power. Her uncontrolled emotions are mostly anger and rage, which accounts for the title of the movie, Dark Phoenix, because you see a bit of the dark side of Jean Grey. The villains in the movie are a group of aliens that lost their planet in an explosion, so they come to planet Earth to kidnap Jean and acquire her powers.

Besides Sophie Turner and James McAvoy, this movie has another well-known actress, Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), who we know as Katniss Evergreen in The Hunger Games. In this film, we see a different Mystique, showing her good side and her protectiveness for her team. The sound and visual effects are amazing. My favorite scene is when the X-Men team rescue Jean and have to fight off the aliens. There are some sad parts such as the loss of some characters, which, of course, you need to watch the film in order to know which ones are gone.

I really like the moral of the movie: you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Jean Grey needed to know how strong and powerful she is, because she doesn't have a choice. Another message is about how family will always be there for you and will help you through tough times. The X-Men and Professor X are Jean Grey's family.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. plus adults. I don't recall any profanity in the film, but there is a far amount of graphic, bloody death scenes. The film opens nationwide in theaters June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Dark Phoenix is an exciting, action-packed ending to the current series of X-Men films. The humor, special-effects and solid acting make this a great choice for a summer movie. If you're not familiar with the most recent X-Men movies, you might want a refresher, before you see this one. I watched a quick recap on YouTube and it helped me become familiar with the characters. Even though I haven't seen any of the previous films, it wasn't as confusing as I thought it would be, and I still understood enough to enjoy it.

Dark Phoenix is in the same timeline as X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. It centers on the powerful mutant, Jean Grey. In 1992, the X-Men are sent on a space mission to retrieve a crew from a solar flare. Jean Grey, a.k.a. Phoenix, saves them by going inside and closing up the holes. While doing this, she absorbs a cosmic force and becomes Dark Phoenix. Some aliens find out that their source of power was absorbed and taken to Earth, so they morph into the shape of humans and start doing normal bad guy stuff - they want to take over the world, destroy the world, which is basically all any of the bad guys want to do in these comic book movies!

My favorite thing about this movie is definitely the incredibly awesome fight scenes! The special effects are very impressive and I love how they show all the mutants using their abilities together. There's a scene on a train where my favorite character, Nightcrawler, uses his powers of teleportation to fend off the aliens. I was looking forward to seeing Quicksilver, but he actually isn't in the film much. I'm disappointed because he really could've helped the storyline along.

Parents should know that there's plenty of violence and some blood, and a main character meets a distressing end. There's not a lot of bad language, but there is one big, dramatic F-bomb that kids might be tempted to imitate. The message of this film is that you should be prepared to face the consequences of your actions. Charles Xavier is presented as a flawed hero who makes choices both good and bad, so if you're looking for a movie where the main characters do no wrong, this might not be for you!

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults who like comic book movies should enjoy it too. Dark Phoenix opens in theaters everywhere Friday June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Dark Phoenix is a conclusion to the X-men franchise. The best aspect of this film is the actors. Sophie Turner, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender put up some great performances, as always. But, this film lacks the sort of intensity and depth that makes you want to care about the characters. Also, the visual effects are lackluster. It has the most exposition by one character, which is so constant that you feel like you're having the entire movie spoon fed to you.

Dark Phoenix follows Jean Grey, an X-men. She is infused with what is thought to be a solar flare. When Hank runs a test on her, the stats are off the charts, even though she was exposed to the solar flare. She fights with her emotions to prevent hurting her friends and people she loves. She figures out a repressed secret about herself and goes to Eric for guidance, only to be rejected.

My favorite scene is the train fight scene, because it provides some great action and develops the story a bit. It shows the teamwork between the X-men. We see the baddies crawling over the train, trying to reach Jean, with all of the mutants holding them back. I have an issue with this scene though. When Nightcrawler lets a guard die, he gets infuriated and releases his anger on the bad guys. This scene bothers me, because Nightcrawler is generally pretty passive and, because he lets one person die, he turns into Azazel, a villain in X-men: First Class.

This movie has some great stars. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey / Phoenix is easily recognizable for her role as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones. Co-star James McAvoy who plays Professor Charles Xavier is known for his past performances as the Professor in the previous X-man films. Michael Fassbender plays Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr and is well-known for his role in the Alien films and the Steve Jobs biopic.

The message in this movie is that even though everyone around you is saying you're bad, doesn't mean you are. I recommend this movie to people that liked the previous X-men films or other action films. There is not much risk in this film. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults and give it 2 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters nationwide June 7, 2019. Check it out.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

This is an incredible Marvel science fiction movie. The special effects are on point and there is so much action and a great plot. I really enjoyed the superheroes. Watching their awesome super powers is great fun.

The storyline is about a girl named Jean Gray (Sophie Turner) who has incredible strength and special powers, which are a blessing and a curse. She has no control over these powers she possesses. Doctor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) takes her into his special school for super humans and raises her as his own. Along with her are several other fictional superheroes including Mystique, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler.

I love the costumes for all these characters. Each one has its own personality and they are all well developed. These super humans have not always been considered superheroes by others. Some have been excommunicated. Their missions can be life threatening and one turns absolutely deadly. Jean is absorbed by a cosmic force into the galaxy, which turns her into the most powerful mutant of all time. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Gray is an English actor known for her role as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. She is excellent in this role, showing a range of intense emotions and a fierce competitive personality. She really brings it to the table. I enjoyed watching her trying to figure out what was happening to her and how she plays both good and evil sides to the character. Director Simon Kinberg wanted this film to have a realistic ending, which it does.

My favorite scene is when Jean gets the fire flare in her eyes and her red hair begins to float as she becomes more powerful than ever. It seems Jean is torn between her biological family and her superhero family. Will her family come back together or turn against her? I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. This film opens in theaters June 7, 201. Be sure to see it!

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a one of kind slamfest, despite some bland plot points and characters. The excellent cinematography and special effects really immerse the audience into the ring. All fans of summer monster movies or just summer blockbusters, in general, must check this out in the biggest screen possible.

The film follows secret agency Monarch as its members face off against a battalion of god-sized monsters, or kaiju, including Mothra, Rodan and the ultimate mastermind - the three-headed Ghidorah. These threats leave humanity's very existence teetering towards impending apocalypse. But sometimes, one must fight fire with fire. Their only hope relies in the mighty kaiju Godzilla, who intends to kill these monsters for dominance.

The ensemble cast of Monarch includes many A-list actors from Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford and Sally Hawkins. All of them give their best, but the mediocre screenplay really gives the human scenes a much more lethargic feel. The family drama between Kyle Chandler's Mark Russell and Vera Farmiga's Emma Russell feel out of place, and it really just adds nothing to the overall plot. Thankfully, Milly Bobby Brown adds a complex perspective with expressive acting and a signature defiant attitude. Bradley Whitford is the most memorable character here, with his wit and well-timed comic relief. Charles Dance, as Jonah Alan, is a great addition as the veteran actor gives his all in this menacing new threat. It's really all in the kaiju here, with their unique designs and characteristics. I quite enjoyed Ghidorah's banter between each of his three heads.

Michael Dougherty spectacularly directs with each roaring fight and exploration of lore. He pays homage to the best of the old Gojira movies. However, I do miss the more small-scale feel that Godzilla (2014) had. Gareth Evans really added something new to the monster movie genre with that. But, there are tons more fights here, which should alleviate fans' complaints about the lack of fights and monster screen-time in the previous movie. The soundtrack helmed by Bear McCreary roars, paying much respect to the original themes that started it all. My favorite scene is a climatic moment, but I can't spoil. It explains most of the surrounding lore and contains one truly chilling scene with Ken Watanabe's excellent acting. McCreary's track elevates this to one of the best scenes this year overall.

The message of this film about the commitment to family, whether from the Russells or between fellow Monarch crewmates. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, due to intense monster fights and language. The movie releases in theaters on May 31, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Although I wasn't really exited about this film, I have to admit that I like it! Godzilla: King of the Monsters is pure Kaiju extravaganza. This movie is entertaining and made for the big screen and for fans of the beast.

Kaiju is a Japanese film genre with humongous monsters, usually battling with other monsters or military forces and it is beloved in Japanese culture. The third cinematic installment of Godzilla produced by a Hollywood studio is the sequel to the 2014 film Godzilla.

The film follows the heroic efforts of crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face a battle of gigantic monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, which collides with Mothra, Rodan and their final enemy, the King of Three Heads - Ghidorah. When these ancient super species, thought of as myths, rise again, they all compete for supremacy. The balance of the very existence of humanity is shaking. We also see humans fighting for power and, according to Dr. Emma Russel (Vera Farmiga), humans are the infection. Millie Bobby Brown plays Madison, Dr. Russell's daughter and her character makes very brave decisions. I liked seeing the mother-daughter relationship and how their connection impacts the world. Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe reprise their roles as Dr. Graham and Dr. Serizawa.

Godzilla is a metaphor for ecological disasters and we see how humans try to interpret, control, manipulate and even take advantage. The acting is good, but this is a movie more about the creatures and special effects than the actors. There are too many confrontations between the monsters and that, in my opinion, causes the impact of seeing the creatures appear on the screen to be lost, as well as the interest in the story. Godzilla King of the Monsters relies on the strength and power of Kaijus, while humans basically support the scenes.

The special visual and sound effects are very good. The locations and set designs are perfect for the story. My favorite scenes are when Dr. Emma Russell and her daughter Madison witness the birth of Mothra and when she turns into a butterfly.

The message of the film is that we should understand and respect nature and humans should work together to resolve environmental issues. I recommend Godzilla King of the Monsters for ages 12 to 18 and I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now, so look for it.

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

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is over two hours of nonstop monster action! I loved watching the extraordinary action scenes with giant monsters battling each other. The best part of this movie is definitely the special effects, which are amazing!

The action starts with a flashback to the previous Godzilla movie from 2014, but you don't need to have seen that film to enjoy this one. The plot revolves around a new communication technology that allows scientists to control ancient monsters like Mothra, Rodan and of course, Godzilla. Unfortunately, some bad guys steal the technology and try to release the monsters from captivity to destroy the planet, including the terrifying Monster Zero. The good guys have to decide if they want to take the risk of helping Godzilla defeat Monster Zero, potentially making him stronger than ever before.

My favorite part of this movie is a hilarious joke about a fortune cookie, delivered by my favorite character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. He's played by Ken Watanabe, who continues his role from the previous movie. Millie Bobby Brown, who you may recognize from Stranger Things, gives an excellent performance as the daughter of two of the scientists who built the technology that communicates with the monsters. There are lots of exotic locations, including Antarctica and overall the special effects are the most important part of this movie, particularly the monsters and especially Godzilla, who frequently shoots something like a giant blue laser beam from his mouth.

Parents should know that there's a lot of bad language and lots of people are killed in various battles, so younger kids are advised to stay away. Also, be warned that there's a very scary preview for the movie IT Chapter Two that plays before the film! So if you don't want your kids to see Pennywise The Evil Clown, make sure to come just as the movie is starting. Godzilla: King of the Monsters doesn't really have a strong message, it's mainly just action, action, action! Don't forget to stick around for the post-credits scene that sets things up for the next film in the franchise: Godzilla vs. Kong.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Some adults will like it too, although my dad didn't think it was very good. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is in theaters everywhere Friday May 31, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

I love this movie so much because of the cool creatures that lurk in the world. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

This awesome movie is about a family that is trying to save the world from creatures called The Titans. Godzilla is the main titan in this movie. The movie focuses on the wife, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her ex-husband Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler). Both of them are trying to save the world, but this villain veteran (Charles Dance) tricks Dr. Russell to unleash all of the Titans. She unleashes one of the oldest and strongest, three-headed monster named "King Ghidorah." King Ghidorah and the rest of the Titans that are awaken destroy numerous countries and it is Gozilla's duty to stop them.

Something cool is that famous actress, Millie Bobby Brown, from Stranger Things, plays Madison Russell, Emma's and Mark's daughter. She has a very important role and tries to fix what her mom did wrong. The special effects and sound effects are so good that it feels like you are actually there, live! And you can see everything. Seeing Godzilla fighting with King Ghidorah kept everyone in the movie theater on the edge of their seat. At the end of the fight, one of the Titans has a special connection with Godzilla and something very interesting happen.

The moral of this movie is that Godzilla is the one and only Boss. In this movie we learn that family comes first and the monsters second when seeing how Dr. Russell does not pay attention to Madison, because she was so fascinated with the Titans.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because there are some curse words and some scenes with strong content ,not suitable for little children. You can see this in theaters on May 31, 2019.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


WONDER PARK

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WONDER PARK       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 4-12
Topic - Family
Description - June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals - only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she's the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the characters, the animation and the imagination. I also like that it does not drag, flows smoothly and the conflict is resolved. I love the message of always remembering that, even when there is darkness, there is light that surrounds us.

The characters are original and the dialogue and animation are something that children will enjoy. The vocabulary is perfect for the target audience. It is fun. The animation stands out as quite amazing. There is conflict, but it is resolved and there is a happy ending.

It flows well from beginning to ending. There is sadness at times, but there is so much more happiness. The characters are all very likable, especially the main characters. June is creative, bright and has a wonderful imagination.

There is a very important lesson throughout the film about using your imagination. The other message is that even if that even though darkness may be there to never forget about the lightness that also surrounds you. I love this message!

Wonder Park delivers more than I had expected. It shows how important imagination is and shows teamwork and hope. It is entertaining with likeable characters and amazing animation. I recommend for ages 7 through 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for a wonderfully fun and imaginative family adventure family movie? This exhilarating, thrilling, interesting and adventurous film was created by Josh Appelbaum and Andr� Nemec. This refreshing film will have you on the silliest adventure ever. Make sure to buckle up for this wild ride through the imagination of the "Wonders in Wonderland."

This film follows a wildly creative girl named June who, with her mother spend countless hours imagining, designing and building models of an amazing park, all from their imagination. The heart of Wonder Park exists in the relationship between June and her mom, which is extremely beautiful to me. It reminds me of my mom and me.

As the film progresses, you get to see June enter this world in real life and from a different perspective. You also get to see June go on a wildly and festive ride through her imagination. She gets to encounter her own fantasy characters, which she created when she was little.

The lead characters are young June (Sophia Mali), Cooper (Ken Jeong), older June (Brianna Denski), Greta (Mila Kunis), Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell) and many more. My favorite character is clearly the favorable and cheerful Boomer. I adore Boomer because he is the friendliest and most outgoing character of them all. I also love that he is always positive and gives second chances to all his boon companions. An example is when June explains how she generated the darkness in Wonder Park. When June apologizes to Boomer she feels as if she disappointed him. Though he is always friendly, he felt unhappy when June let him down.

The animation by Peter Chan and Nathan Fowler is simply marvelous. It is colorful, unique and imaginative - from the beautiful sky to the detailed roller coasters, to the crazy popping popcorn machine. This animation should be acknowledged because it is amazing to see the Wonder Park as such a bright and innovative Wonder Land.

The bonus features on the DVD include a heart-warming set of scenes which go along with the original film. You'll understand the meaning behind June, the main characters backstory and the reason of her sadness. I enjoyed the bonus features because they gave me more information to go with the original movie and helped me understand the characters better. In the beginning of the bonus features, there are many scenes showing how June's mother became sick and how Wonderland was created when June was a little girl. My favorite scene is when June and her Mom began to build their own Wonderland.

This film has no bad language or dangerous actions that children might attempt to imitate. It does teach children to always carry an imagination throughout their life because it can be healthful and healthy throughout good and bad times.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. This film is available on DVD June 18, 2019.

Reviewed by Nathalie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This animated fantasy film is awesome! It has a good message for younger viewers, is whimsical, bright and colorful. The music is very inspiring.

The storyline is about a little girl's extraordinary imagination. She and her mom have a special bond, sharing a passion for creating a magical place called Wonderland. Then, an unexpected life-changing event occurs, causing June's world to change forever. She becomes very depressed and decides to put Wonderland away. She quits doing the things she loves most. Will the wonder ever come back to Wonderland?

The lead character June is played by Sofia Mali. Her voice-over work is outstanding. You're really able to connect with her adventurous heart, emotions and struggles as she experiences them. Steve, the porcupine is played by Jhon Oliver. He secretly admires Greta the hog. He had me laughing throughout the film. Whenever he gets nervous, he loses his sharp quills and you had better run!

The jokes in this film are very practical, as June is somewhat of math genius. Some of my favorite scenes are the homemade roller coaster that June and the neighborhood kids attempt to make. One particularly funny scene is when they are on the bus and June wants to escape. This is when she discovers there is really a Wonderland. The park is full of unexpected rides, zero gravity fun and chimpanzee zombies. June remembers how she created Wonder Park by whispering into her stuffed animal Peanut's ear and remembers that anything is possible. Her stuffed animals are her inspiration and caretakers of the park. The music and singing really carries you through the scenes. They are very relaxing and beautiful. The theme song "Wonder" was written by Ali Dee, Doug Davis and Anthony Mirabella and performed by Rachel Platten. The screenplay is written by award-nominee Josh Appelbaum.

I like that this film, which is a fun animation, has a much deeper meaning. It is very emotional and I cried a few times. Junes has a loving father and mother that encourage her to create and dream. However they face difficult times, as many families do. Many children may face times in their life that are not easy to understand. Losing someone close to you and having your life turned upside down breaks your spirit. So you stop being a kid and stop enjoying life and doing the things you love to do. Here, June stops imagining a land where everything is different.

There are some scenes where June and her friend make risky decisions like going off on her own. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 12. Teens may enjoy it also. It is available on DVD June 18, 2019. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This movie is really appealing, from beginning too end. There is not a moment when I got bored watching, nor wanted to stop. Not only that, but the movie has a really different and amazing plot.

Wonder Park is about a girl named June that, with her mother, creates a park named Wonderland. They would stay up late to create new rides and attractions for the park, but as time passes June's mother gets sick and has to leave to get treatment. That causes June to loose inspiration to continue creating Wonderland, until one day she comes across something that leads her back to Wonderland.

I like the originality of the story line. I have never before seen a movie with such an idea and it makes the movie catch the attention of the viewer. The animation of the film is very detailed and cute. I like that the characters of June and her mother aren't ones commonly used in movies. The way Wonderland is brought to life is also great. It makes one want to go visit the park in real life. The songs are all quite beautiful and enjoyable. The protagonist, June definitely stands out the most in her very energetic way of being, which makes her unique. My favorite scene is when June and her mother sit in her room and create new rides for Wonderland. Greta the pig's voice is played by the amazing actress Mila Kunis and Mila's Mom's voice is played by Jennier Garner, who is also quite brilliant.

Its message is to not let fear consume you, as it will only things worse and makes you become different that you really are. It affects not only you, but everyone surrounding you gets affected as well. I learned to always keep the light shining within me, no matter how bad thing can get, to always keep going and make the worst things and moments become better.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12, as well as adults. It really is a family friendly movie that parents will easily enjoy with their young children. This comes out on DVD June 18, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Hennesi V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DOG'S JOURNEY, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOG'S JOURNEY, A       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - A dog finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he meets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film A Dog's Journey, directed by Gail Mancuso, is the most heartwarming, tear-jerking, wholesome film yet to hit the theaters. This movie (the sequel to A Dog's Purpose directed by Lasse Hallstr�m) is much better than the original film, because it incorporates characters from the previous film as well as adding a whole new plot. The film is about a dog (Josh Gad) named Bailey (initially) and the many lives he experiences while trying to help and protect toddler Clarity Kathryn Prescott) from unnecessary hardships.

My favorite part is when Bailey does a major chase throughout a neighborhood in New York City in order to reunite with Clarity for the second time. The tension as well as the suspense of Bailey being lost for even just a split second, and then the progression of Bailey's character conveyed through his determination to make it to Clarity ties the movie together. This event effortlessly launches us into the next plot twist which is a key detail that I love even though it is a small event (timewise).

My least favorite thing about the film is the slow-paced beginning. I was so excited to finally get a sequel to the amazing original film, but the beginning is unnecessarily lengthy. A movie that good doesn't need the cushion of a background story, especially since we already have the previous film to refer to.

I give A Dog's Journey 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, although adults are sure to love this movie as well. You can catch this movie in theaters near you starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I absolutely love the emotional journey that Bailey takes in this film! Bailey's sense of humor shines throughout the film as he tries to make sense of the actions of his various owners and his meaning in life. He balances his purpose with his love for bacon and all disgusting smells.

A Dog's Journey continues with the story of Bailey and the humans in his life. His relationship continues with Ethan on the farm until Ethan gives him a new purpose which is to protect Ethan's granddaughter, C. J. Bailey goes through many changes and continues to be puzzled by humans. He protects C. J. at any cost from the time she is a toddler through her adult experiences. Some of my favorite scenes are those where he deliberately misbehaves or manipulates to get rid of her boyfriend Barry. Bailey gathers people into his human packs and eliminates others that don't belong.

Bailey's voice is portrayed by Josh Gad who has a brilliant sense of comedic timing and he adds so much humor and depth to Bailey's character. W. Bruce Cameron who wrote the book, also worked on the screenplay. Dennis Quaid returns to the role of Ethan and the movie just wouldn't be the same without him. Casting is by John Papsidera and the entire cast is talented and works together seamlessly in their humorous and very touching roles under the guidance of Director Gail Mancuso.

The message of this film is to find meaning in your life experiences. In all of Bailey's lives he learns things which fulfill his purpose and allow him to find meaning in his actions with his humans. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, joy, love, tears and bacon.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, but of course adults will definitely enjoy it too. This movie opens nationwide in theaters May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

A Dog's Journey is my second favorite reincarnating dog movie. Opening this week, it is a sequel to the 2017 film, A Dog's Purpose. It's much like the first one with plenty of cute doggie screen time and Buster who dotes.

One strength, compared to the original, is that it spends more time on one particular canine / human relationship rather than jumping around to lots of new people. For a movie for dog lovers, this sure shows a lot of dog deaths. As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old St. Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog's spirit to watch over his granddaughter C.J. throughout her life. That's exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Molly to help C.J. as a child, next as a terrier named Max who helps teen and adult C.J. (Catherine Prescott).

Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed in which his spirit is currently living. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans aided by Mark Isham's sentimental musical score. This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it's based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. For example, one character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There's also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.

The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen in your life. You need to surround yourself with people who you care about. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 but, adults will like it too if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog's Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.

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

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


ALADDIN (2019)

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALADDIN (2019)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Young Aladdin embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Aladdin is one of my favorite stories and I enjoyed Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin with its mesmerizing, exciting, colorful and heartwarming scenes. I particularly enjoyed the way the movie begins with the story telling by the Mariner (Will Smith) to his two young children.

The performances by Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) are very good. They display warmth and love for each other in a playful way. Will Smith plays Genie and makes the character his own. I could feel the rapper, actor and creativeness of Will Smith.

My favorite scene is when Aladdin uses his first wish to be a prince because Princess Jasmine is required to marry a prince. Genie creates several possibilities and finally gets to Prince Ali. The pomp and circumstance and pageantry of his entrance into the kingdom of Agrahbah is spectacular with color and thunderous music and marching bands.

The CGI is excellent. The scenery is breathtaking. There are some scenes that are a bit scary but exciting such as when Aladdin is in the cave to retrieve the magic lamp, an eruption causes him to be thrown around. Aladdin is a film with messages about the value of friendship, courage, integrity and a clear reminder of love and family.

I give Aladdin 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Some adults will like it too. It opens May 24, 2019 in theaters nationwide. Hop on your magic carpet and see it!

Reviewed by Juanita Seon L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn't quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out.

The film centers upon the beloved classic story, taking a few liberties. The adventure roams as "street rat" Aladdin (Mena Massoud) frees a genie (Will Smith) from a lamp, granting all his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince so that he can please beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). But, every hero has his villain as evil sorcerer Jaffar (Marwan Kenzari) is determined to secure the lamp for his own sinister purposes. He threatens to do this at any cost necessary, and only Aladdin can outsmart him.

First off, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, is fantastic with his charisma and kind heart, while also proving his physical prowess in the adventurous parkour scenes. His chemistry with Jasmine is well realized and moves forward their iconic romance. However, his singing does not fare well, with most of it appearing like a mediocre lip dub. This appears to be more of an error on the production side, than that of Massoud's. Will Smith, as Genie, is my favorite character because it's really just a medley of charm and swagger. I was worried that he would just try to imitate Robin William's signature fast talk. Thankfully, he really does his own thing, and it works. Naomi Scott, as Jasmine, is stellar with her overall strength, and a few liberties are taken to establish her as more independent than her predecessors. Her aspirations to become a ruler among Abragah are well-fleshed, and her singing fares the best, despite some choppy editing. Unfortunately, Marwan Kenzari, as Jaffar, gives his best, but fails to leave an impression. His character is terribly one-note with his nefarious intentions. The script fails to develop his motive, but then again, he was never the classic cartoon's strength. He always was a moustache-twirling villain.

Guy Ritchie elegantly writes and directs with many dazzling musical numbers and soaring perilous adventures. His movies always contain a unique style, but at times, style outweighs substance. Here, it's mostly not the case as the brilliant acting talent carries emotional and humorous scenes relating the story. The pace moves fast from one Saharan setting to the next. The production value and costume design are always wondrous. My favorite scene is the "Friend Like Me" number which doubles down on the craziness of the original. It's a familiar, but faithful take that highlights Will Smith's ability to helm the iconic musical number. New numbers such as "Speechless" are welcome additions that highlight the changes in Jasmine's overall character in this version. They also showcase Naomi Scott's range as a singer, and that musical number also stands among my favorites.

The message of this film is that love conquers all. It is not just in Aladdin and Jasmine's love for each other, but also in the brotherly fulfillment of promise on the Genie's side. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 due to some action and peril. The movie released in theaters on May 24, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Aladdin is an enchanting retelling of the classic Disney animated film.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a streetwise thief living in Agrabah, stealing to survive with his monkey Abu. He has a chance encounter with the Princess of Agrabah, Jasmine (Naomi Scott), disguised as a handmaid and romance blossoms. While sneaking into the palace one day, he is seized by the nefarious Jafar (Narwan Kenzari), an advisor to the Sultan, who sends him to retrieve a powerful lamp in the magical Cave of Wonders. Once he gets the lamp, he is granted three wishes by mystical Genie (Will Smith). Aladdin wishes to look like a prince in order to get closer to the Princess, but has to prove to her and to himself that he is worthy without truly being a prince.

Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.

I love the performances in this film. Will Smith is measuring up against the pretty iconic voice performance of Robin Williams as Genie in the previous film. He makes the role his own and really gives a unique, colorful flair to it. Smith's performance is charismatic, energetic and, above all - fun. Naomi Scott is very powerful as Princess Jasmine. She does a lot of this film's emotionally heavy lifting and has amazing vocals. Mena Massoud is likable and relatable as Aladdin and has a strong, comedic rapport with the Genie.

Jafar is a weak antagonist in this film. I think the character's motivations are well-executed, but Marwan Kenzari's overdone performance lacks the qualities that make the character compelling.

This is one of those films made to be seen on the big screen. From the sprawling landscape of Agrabah, to the magical, magnificent Cave of Wonders, the visuals in the land are excellent. Director Guy Ritchie mixes in some of his familiar trademarks with a lot of really colorful set pieces. Every musical number feels huge and well-made. From costumes to sets to cinematography, on a visual level, Aladdin is astonishing.

I recommend Aladdin for ages 8 to 16, for some implied violence and scenes of peril and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Aladdin is a feel-good summer movie and a magical ride well worth taking. I highly recommend you check it out when it swoops into theaters May 24, 2019.

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

This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.

The story is about a poor boy named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) who lives in Agrabah and falls in love with the Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). At the beginning of the movie Aladdin faces challenges when he is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). The sorcerer sends him into a dangerous, but treasure filled cave to retrieve a magical golden lamp. After getting trapped in the cave, Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp and, voila - the Genie (Will Smith) appears. Soon after, Aladdin sets out to impress Princess Jasmine and their adventure begins.

Disney has make so many spectacular movies from Snow White to Moana, and now this live action movie Aladdin, which is by far one of the best. Of course this is no surprise, because it has many wonderful actors like Will Smith, Mina Massoud and Naomi Scott. The costumes are dazzling. Not one detail is missed. I absolutely love all the costumes. My favorite scene is when the Genie describes how he lives inside of the itty-bitty golden lamp for 1,000 years. It's very cramped. My favorite characters are Dalia and the Genie. Dalia is innocent, giddy and funny. The Genie is magical, entertaining and charismatic.

The message of Aladdin is to be yourself and don't do anything to change that. It has some negative behavior and some risky things that kids might imitate, but that's unlikely.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars I recommend this for ages 6 to 15. Adults might like watching this with their kids. This movie is in theaters on May 22, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Aladdin is one of the best re-created films that I have seen. It's funny, colorful, has lots of action and amazing special effects, and the hip hop flavor of the songs and choreography helps to keep the audience alert and watching. Although all of this makes me happy, there are times when little ones, like my four-year-old sister, tend to close their eyes and ears. So, I recommend this movie for ages 6 to 18, as well as for adults who are still kids at heart.

In this upgraded adaptation of Disney's 1992 animated film, you still get that magical feel of the original Arabian Nights in Agrabar. There's singing, dancing, princesses, sultans, sorcerers, monkeys, magic carpets, parrots, tigers and even a charismatic "street rat". The infamous Cave of Wonders, while a bit more scary, still offers jewels and gems, and houses the lamp of that big, blue, blubbery genie, that we all know and love, once brought to life by Robin Williams.... That character is now portrayed by Will Smith, who takes on the comedic challenge, sensitivity, and power like a champ! Bringing a touch of that "Fresh Prince" swag and humor to this live-action film really sets it apart from other remakes. Seeing this newly-improved genie as a buff, ladies man definitely flips the script from the original, and gives moviegoers a little bonus. Other characters, such as Marwan Kenzari, who plays Jafar, are not as frightening in this movie, but nonetheless he is a beast as a result of its booming CGI. The sultan, Navid Negahban, not as clumsy and stubby as in the Disney version, also helps to keep the sacred story of Aladdin together.

Writer/Director Guy Ritchie sticks to the original story. This film is straight to the point, has some intense moments, and teaches the importance of just being yourself. The best part is seeing the heart to heart talks that Genie and Al have, and being able to feel for both characters. Actress Naomi Smith brings strength and "woman power" to Princess Jasmine's character, which makes you forget that at some point she kind of becomes a prisoner, and her handmaiden, Dalia, played by Nasim Pedrad, serves as a great comic relief. Although I like this 2019 reboot, Iago should be funnier, and Raja is supposed to be more fierce! At the end of the day, it's our charming thief who steals the show and his way to Princess Jasmine's heart. Mena Massoud, real-life actor playing Aladdin, is awesome! He executes backflips and popping when he dances. His swag makes all of the ladies love him, and his good heart and promise keeps him right with Genie. Overall, this movie is a must-see for anyone who calls themselves true Disney fans.

Aladdin not only continues to bring smiles to faces of many, it also represents doing the right thing. Sometimes we get caught up in our own problems, and forget that if we help others first, everyone can come out "royal". I give Disney's Aladdin 5 out of 5 stars. It's another one for the entire family, unless loud noises, flashes, and some mild violence bothers you. Go see Aladdin at a theater near you Friday, May 24, 2019. Remember to like and subscribe to our channel and newsletter. Reviewed by Brandon James R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9. That's a wrap. Peace out!

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


HUSTLE, THE

KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
HUSTLE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the men who have wronged them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Hustle is an extremely mixed bag of a movie. On one hand, it's very entertaining and had the entire theatre laughing because of the raunchy humor and continuous jokes, but this is also its weak point. The jokes keep on coming and coming, but they are all so similar that after awhile they get boring. The jokes are either fat jokes or raunchy sexual jokes and easily get stale.

The Hustle is adapted from the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and it features two huge stars in the lead: Anne Hathaway as Josephine and Rebel Wilson as Penny. The story follows Penny, a con artist who catfishes men and takes their money. She is coincidentally on a train with world-class con artist, Josephine. Josephine overhears Penny's tactic to get money from an old man. She is afraid that Penny is going to "take over the market". So to get Penny out of the city she operates in, Josephine trains her and doesn't pay her, just to make her mad and force her to leave. This causes Penny to retort and purpose a turf war.

The Hustle has two huge stars leading the film. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are both predominant stars. Anne Hathaway is an Oscar-winning actress for her works in Les Mis�rables and has gotten praise for her performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. Rebel Wilson has been in franchises like Pitch Perfect and Night at the Museum.

My favorite part of this film is when Penny is getting trained by Josephine to be world-class con artist like herself. Josephine shows Penny how to react to any situation by teaching her tricks that are used in a heist and not really to scam a man for money.

The message in this movie is that just because you're a con person trying to steal money from men who have done you wrong doesn't make all men evil. This movie has a lot of swearing and crude sexual remarks, and I strongly advise parents to look into the content before taking their kids. This film is no doubt entertaining, but once the jokes get stale the film does as well. The Hustle is appropriate for children 14 to 18. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. The Hustle hits theatres Friday, May 10, 2019.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. She is not the type of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported. Falling in love with him will not be her story. Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents' high expectations. Never a poet. Or a dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store - for both of them. Every moment has brought them to this single moment. A million futures lie before them. Which one will come true?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I don't even know where to start this is a heartwarming, breathtaking, star-studded movie. The Sun Is also a Star is a magical, romantic drama that kind of takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. One scene is exciting, then one is sad or joyful. You might shed a few tears and have a laugh at the same time. But, it is an enjoyable film and I really loved it.

This movie is about a boy named Daniel Bae and Jamaican-born young lady Natasha Kingsley. They meet and fall for each other in one day, amidst the fervor of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two who might never meet again. With just hours left on the clock on what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family's deportation just as fiercely as she's fighting her growing feelings for Daniel.

The best parts of the film are the story line and the screenplay. All of that is on point and should be applauded. Also, the sets and locations are perfect. New York City, the Big Apple is the perfect setting for the situation of the movie, because there are lots of people who live there and have many amazing stories, not unlike Natasha Kingsley's.

The message of this movie is to always have faith and believe, even when you in doubt. The film really portrays that well and it's a real good message. A lot of people don't believe or have faith and they often struggle in life. Always believe and you can accomplish nearly anything. That's what we as human beings should focus on and maybe we'll have a better world.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It is funny, emotional, interesting and very well developed. Big ups to Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Dutton for producing this wonderful film and making it so amazing. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Note that it does have some mild profanity and some rude humor. It opens at theaters nationwide May 17, 2019. Be sure to check it out.

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


TOLKIEN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOLKIEN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the "fellowship" apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tolkien is an incredibly heartwarming film telling the story of John Ronald Tolkien's life and how he drew inspiration for his books. This film is extremely entertaining for a biopic. It tells his life story in a way that shows how events throughout his life fueled his imagination to create his incredible fantasy stories. It brilliantly represents how people make connections with other people and events that inspire creativity.

Tolkien begins with J.R.R. Tolkien in a small camp in a WWI trench, where he is having visions of mythical creatures battling. It then cuts to him as a child and shows how he always loved these mythical creatures that he wrote about. Suddenly, due to a lack of money, his family is forced to move to the city where he has no friends. He and his brother are admitted to a prestigious school on scholarships where he makes some lifelong friends.

The use of imagery in this film is incredible. Lots of normal things are transformed by John's imagination into incredible creatures from myths and legends. Many of the things that John experiences over the course of his life are mirrored by the events in his books. The film excels at showing that Tolkien was really passionate about his writing and the use of language. The war scenes in the movie are quite graphic and hard to watch, but show the inspiration for Tolkien's epic battle scenes in his writings.

One thing I disliked is the way the movie starts. It begins with a scene of two CGI horses being ridden into battle. The CGI used isn't that great and is a terrible choice for the opening scene, because it instantly turns down the audience and makes it just a little bit harder to get their support. However, the story is strong enough to compensate for that and you become quickly lost in the world of Tolkien's imagination.

The moral of this film is that you should try to accomplish your goals and overcome obstacles. This is told throughout Tolkien's journey. He constantly tries to accomplish different goals and is incredibly dedicated to finishing them. There is also an integral message about dealing with loss. This is shown in how he deals with the many devastating losses in his life.

The music in this film is great. It is exciting and conveys a strong tone that matches the film incredibly. It is very interesting and has a lot of variety. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 through 18, because it covers some heavy topics that are unsuitable for younger viewers. Any fan of the writings of JRR Tolkien will love this. It is one of my favorite films and I am certain I will watch it again. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

At this point, it's hard not to know about J. R. R. Tolkien. Given that The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings are behemoths in pop culture, you've no doubt heard of the author. Even though I'm not a Tolkien fan, I'll admit this movie is quite interesting.

This movie is a biopic about the early life of J. R. R. Tolkien showing his high school years, him building his strong friendships, falling in love with Edith Bratt - all culminating in the creation of The Hobbit.

A mind like Tolkien is very intriguing. I was interested in how creativity and imagination are the central focus of the movie. As I writer, I get very excited when I hear how "creativity can change the world," because that is something I believe in very deeply. So, I enjoyed that very much.

A big focus of this movie is about how friendships we build in school can push us and help us ascend to become better artist. Early in the movie, Tolkien befriends three boys - Robert Gilson, Christopher Wiseman and Geoffrey Bache Smith. They form The TCBS Club which created such a strong brotherhood that it probably would have lasted a lifetime, if not for the war. Most of the scenes in this movie focus on their relationship and the performances really bring their friendship to life. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the performances in this film. The two leads, Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien and Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, work really well together. Not only do they have a lot of charm, but they also have a lot of chemistry. There's one scene where they're in a restaurant and talking about Tolkien's stories and languages. The dialogue feels very natural. Something about the whole scene is very immersive and charmingly romantic, without being cheesy, which is very rare in modern cinema.

I like how references to Tolkien's future works are sprinkled throughout the film. From he and Edith going to see an opera about a magic ring, to a very well shot scene from Tolkien's time in World War 1 where he sees fantasy creatures throughout the battlefield, it reminded me of how I picture scenes for my own stories.

I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out May 10, 2019. Look for it, especially if you are a fan of his literature.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


NIGHT LIGHT

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
NIGHT LIGHT
JONATHAN DE LA UZ
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 2-18
Topic - Family
Description - A wide-eyed, newborn sea turtle named Fin finds himself on the illuminated beaches of Miami. It is a perilous time to be a hatchling, with hazards of artificial light and debris present at every turn. With the help of Abueluna, his caring, celestial guide, Fin will make the daring trek from his cluttered nest to the open seas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this animated short film! It has a great message about how sea turtles are threatened. It also has great animation and amazing music. What I like about the story line is how it is all put together in a way that makes the theme really clear. The playfulness between the sea turtle and the light bulb character is very cute.

The story line is about a sea turtle wrangler, Abueluna, who helps baby sea turtles reach the ocean after they hatch. When one sea turtle gets left behind, a little light bulb finds him, doesn't tell the wrangler and they get into an argument about it all and the baby turtle wanders off, almost getting killed by a car.

This animation is absolutely fantastic. The sea turtle's eyes are so expressive. I especially like the beginning when the babies are hatching and their heads pop out of the sand. The colors are brilliant. I love the turtle wranglers outfit and her moon wand. I love the sets. The streets are lit up and the beach has incredible detail! The music definitely drives the action of the story line. I love how the music is calm, then suddenly gets really dramatic! It's light and playful, just like the baby sea turtle. My favorite scene is when the little baby sea turtles pop their heads out of the sand after hatching. It's so cute!

All the characters are charming - the Sea Turtle Wrangler, the baby sea turtles, and the little light bulb. The baby sea turtles are particularly adorable and lovable.

The message of this film is about protecting baby sea turtles because their survival is threatened by both natural and man-made materials. Light pollution causes interruption of the hatchlines' natural instinct to follow moonlight into the ocean.

Although I have learned about this in school, seeing it on screen emphasizes its importance. I live near where this film was made and have attended educational seminars about sea turtles as it is an important part of my local environment. For kids who don't live hear the ocean, they are probably not as aware and this film would definitely bring new awareness to them.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11, plus adults. I think this is very suitable for a KIDS FIRST! Film Festival because it teaches you many things and is fun to watch. Any festival near the ocean would be particularly interested in it. Protecting the environment and the animals that live here is so important. Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Runtime: 8 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GAMEBOY

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
GAMEBOY
STEPHEN BURHOE
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGES 10-18
Topic - Family
Description - Jason must talk his video game obsessed brother out of running away from home, by showing him the futility of his position.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The story line of this film is about a boy, who has no other goal than playing a video game. It portrays the struggles of his mother and sibling to encourage him to treat his school work seriously. It has a comedic ending to complete the tale.

I found myself instantly engaged in this short film. The story is straight to the point, with very clear context right from the start. It is well told, especially in the time frame.

I like the story as a whole as it is so engaging. I was disappointed that it ends so quickly, despite the fact I knew it was a short film, which is clear indication of a story well told. There is one scene of cross words between an adult and child, but without this context, the story would not make sense. So from the story's point of view it is justified. The overall cinematography is quite good. The images are clear and easy to watch. I also like the outtakes played during credits. All the costumes are suitable for the story. Having the main character wear a game branded t-shirt which is also worn by the girl who ends up being his gaming buddy, is a clever idea. The single location of the house of the family is ideal.

The music helps bring the story to life with some upbeat exciting music at the start to engage the viewer and a very catchy song at the end. Also the game boy game effects before the picture starts evokes thoughts of playing a video game. There are no other specific effects, other than the gaming noises which are exactly as you would expect the game to sound.

There are three main characters. The mother who is played realistically by Kay Tierney comes across as a normal, everyday person. The brother who helps his younger sibling is well played by Calvin Olson who gives a standout performance with well delivered lines and expressions. Portrayal of the gaming brother by Andrew Olson is also performed well.

The message is it's okay to have fun, but performing well in education can also feel rewarding if the two things are balanced correctly.

It shows children they should accept help from others (in this case their sibling) if they find a task difficult. I also believe it make any parent think about their own reactions to their children playing video games. I certainly thought how I would handle that situation. I really liked the song at the end of the film. It is very catchy and entertaining musically. The writer/director is recognizable, Stephen Burhoe. He also wrote and directed Diva's Perfect Posse, The Gandydancer and Blackmail. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults Its entertaining and provides a very positive feel whilst still sending a good message on good versus bad behavior. I think it definitely is well suited for a youth and family film festival. Reviewed by Richard L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult review
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO



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