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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LITTLE FOOT 3       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATUREM, AGES 5-8
Topic - Family
Description - Say it isn't so! Little Foot has a foot odor problem! Will King Arthur defeat Little Foot's crawly, stinky, creepy foot cooties just in time for the Yeti Snow Party? Join the adventure and find out in Little Foot 3!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I found Little Foot 3 entertaining, especially for its target age. It is a funny and heartfelt story about a Yeti named Little Foot who has a foot odor problem. He embarks on a journey to cure it in time for the Yeti Snow Party. This film is all about how you should never give up. I really enjoyed the animation of this film and the vibrant colors for the characters. It is amazing that the film's 14 voices are all made by five voice actors. I give Little Foot 3 - 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It releases on DVD and VOD December 6, 2022. By Elizabeth V., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Little Foot 3 is a fun, family-friendly mystery - full of adventure and definitely grabs your attention.

Little Foot 3 follows Little Foot the Sasquatch who goes into space with his snowman friend. While he's there, he visits Santa, who reveals to him that he's suffering from something called shadow toes. This is when your feet have a terrible odor, making you, and every room you enter smell. Throughout the film we follow Little Foot as he undertakes a journey to end his shadow toes.

Something that I really enjoy about the movie is its adventurous storyline. Little Foot's expedition is a constant process. He is always meeting fun new characters, some of which are helpful, and some -- not so much. Either way, it's entertaining to see Little Foot interact with all these different personalities. Additionally, the picture quality stands out. All the colors are very vibrant and fun. However, I will say that the audio track isn't always in synch with the characters' lip movement. At times it's very noticeable and can be quite distracting. This takes away from enjoying the film, because viewers are distracted. Lastly the storyline has a lot of creativity. They take already well-established characters like Snow White and Santa Claus, and put their own twist on them, by giving them different personalities or traits.

The message of the film is to never lose hope in finding a solution.

Little Foot 3 gets 3 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 8. You can watch Little Foot 3 on DVD and VOD beginning December 6, 2022.

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Little Foot 3 is one that I think younger kids would enjoy. The storyline is very unique, maybe a little repetitive. However, it is a funny story with many different and diverse characters.

This storyline is about a Yeti named Little Foot (Simon Hill) who has a foot odor problem. He treks all over the galaxy in search of King Arthur (Kelsey Painter) who can cure his sickness. He needs his foot to be odor free for the Yeti Snow Party. On his way he meets many characters in faraway parts of the galaxy including Santa (KJ Schrock) and Mr. Fox (John Thompson) from Robin Hood. It is a standalone sequel to Little Foot 1 and 2.

Little Foot 3 has a very impressive cast of voice actors. One thing that is so amazing is that there are only five voice actors, yet there are 14 voice parts! However, until I watched the credits I had no idea some actors voice multiple characters. The storyline is quite repetitive; every scene mostly involves Little Foot meeting someone and finding out where King Arthur is. There is one character that simply made me laugh every time -- Misty the Snowman; he never speaks and only makes sounds. Yet somehow Little Foot understands every sound he makes. The animation style is very unique; it uses a blurred background and the animated characters have very big heads.

The message of this film is to never give up and keep on searching as you may find what you are looking for.

Little Foot 3 gets 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. Little Foot 3 releases on DVD and VOD December 6 2022.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ELVIS THE PIG       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A young girl learns she may have to sell her beloved pet pig Elvis to a local farmer to save the family farm. Unbeknownst to her, the farmer is planning a pig roast and not a forever home. The whole family bands together to save Elvis, uniting to reclaim their farm, proving that love is worth more than money.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - How far would you go to save something you love? Many people have been faced with a dilemma such as this and, no matter how old you are, your love for something can run so deep that your heart involuntarily leads the way. Elvis the Pig is a film that allows viewers to appreciate the concept of deep love for family, even if that member is not human.

This drama film is about a young girl named Riley (Aggie Bell) and her beloved pet pig, Elvis, who live a great life on the farm they love until the family is forced to sell their home due to financial hardship. Riley's life is soon turned upside down when she learns that her best friend Elvis will not be moving to the city with their family. A local farmer makes a deal with the family to give Elvis a good home but his intentions are deceitful as his real plan for Elvis is to host a pig roast with Riley's best friend as the main course. Riley and her older sister, Nylee (Camryn Macdonald) make it their mission to find their missing family member and reunite him at the farm.

What I really like most about this film is the dedication the family has for one another and their willingness to bond together when they need each other the most. Riley and Nylee don't appear to have a close sister bond, but when Elvis's life is in danger, Nylee is not going to let her sister's best friend fall victim to a horrible fate. The film is very relatable as many families have pets which seem to be the glue holding families together. Elvis the Pig is a bit slow to get going and some of the scenes tend to be drawn out, but overall the storyline is enjoyable and it is a wonderful family movie. The set location of the family farm with its variety of animals is a dream come true for many kids and the talking animals give the film a special touch.

You don't have to be a big animal lover to connect to this film's message. Elvis the Pig is about love, friendship and special bonds. Love runs deep, no matter if that love is between family, friends, or pets; many people will go to great lengths to protect those bonds. Elvis isn't your "usual" pet, but one thing is for certain, he has won the hearts of his family and their lives would not be the same without him in it.

I give Elvis the Pig 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Elvis the Pig releases on December 6, 2022 on DVD and video on demand.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Elvis The Pig is such an exciting film; it keeps you on your toes and puts you in a good mood as you watch the show. Elvis' constant remarks lighten the mood of the film.

The film is about Elvis, a funny character with a good sense of humor that he portrays even in difficult moments. We witness quite a bizarre relationship between a young girl named Riley and Elvis the pig who are best friends. However, Riley's family struggles financially and has to sell their family farm and leave Elvis behind. Little does the family know that the new owner has plans to roasting a pig (Elvis), but this leads to new adventures and a better understanding between all the family members.

The theme of the film revolves around family and friendship. I enjoyed seeing the quality time that the family spends together and how they are able to put aside their differences and come together solve the issue at hand. The story is really beautiful and demonstrates how unity can help overcome our difficult moments. Elvis captured my attention from the start, especially with his humorous comments. He motivated me to continue watching the film. What really stands out in this film is how involved the animals are and how they are personified they are in communicating their thoughts. It gives you an insight of how you will imagine animals talking. I particularly enjoyed the voice of Elvis, by Ryan Coates, which is brilliantly done. From the beginning of the film, through the end, you are drawn to Elvis' comments.

The message assures kids that things always work out regardless of the situation you find yourself in. It also showcases the importance of family relationship. Lastly, it reminds you that "a man's best friend" doesn't only apply to dogs, but can be any pet.

I give Elvis The Pig 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It releases December 6, 2022 on DVD and VOD.

Elvis The Pig is an incredible film, full of life lessons that will influence audiences. I loved this beautiful story from beginning to end.

The storyline follows a little girl named Riley (Aggie Bell) who is unsatisfied with moving to another city and being away from her best friend, little Elvis, a pig. Something wrong happen and she and her sister help to rescue the pig from the hands of two silly bad guys.

The story is well written. I especially enjoyed the characters and their development during the film. They are special. My favorite parts are when the bad guys appear. Their scenes are so funny, because every time they plan to do something bad, they fail in a funny way. I also like the part when the parents are watching old family videos and they are emotional. I was emotional too during those scenes. The scene transitions are good and everything happens naturally. I love everything in this film. Congratulations to the production team!

The film's message is that love is above everything and, with teamwork, we can do things easier.

I give Elvis The Pig 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on DVD and VOD December 6, 2022.

By Anna Clara B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DISENCHANTED       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - It's been fifteen years since Giselle and Robert wed, but Giselle has grown disillusioned with life in the city. They decide to move their growing family to the sleepy suburban community of Monroeville in search of a more fairy tale life - unfortunately, it isn't the quick fix she hoped for. Suburbia has a whole new set of rules and a local queen bee, Malvina Monroe, who makes Giselle feel more out of place than ever. Frustrated that her happily ever after hasn't been easy to find, she turns to the magic of Andalasia for help, accidentally transforming the entire town into a real-life fairy tale, placing her family's future happiness in jeopardy. Now, Giselle is in a race against time to reverse the spell and determine what happily ever after truly means to her and her family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Disenchanted is a magical combination of part musical, part fairy tale and part adventure. The acting, singing and animated segments make the film truly shine as a worthy sequel to Disney's beloved Enchanted.

Disenchanted follows Giselle (Amy Adams) and her family as they move from New York City to suburban Monroeville to find a new "happily ever after." However, they are met with many challenges, specifically Giselle's daughter Morgan (Gabriella Baldacchino) has trouble fitting in at her new school. When Giselle makes a wish to try to solve all of their problems, it backfires, and they are left in a fairytale mess once again. Who knew that Malvina (Maya Rudolph) had the potential to be an evil queen? Will Andalasia disappear altogether? Or will Giselle find a way to save both worlds?

Featuring the entire original cast, Disenchanted is an excellent sequel. Although it includes all the same core pieces as Enchanted, it is more than a rewritten version. There's more music, with plenty of songs spread throughout the entire film. These upbeat and intense songs grabbed my attention; the ballads help tell the story and the softer pieces bring out the character's emotions. The dancing and animation help bring out the best in each song. One thing I noticed is that the songs are slightly repetitive. Sometimes, the song you're listening to sounds very similar to one you heard just a few minutes ago, which detracts from the musical aspect a bit. However, the singers are very talented. Specifically, Idina Menzel brings a lot to the table whenever she sings. The acting is also incredible. Amy Adams, Gabriella Baldacchino and Patrick Dempsey (as Giselle's husband, Robert) create a relatable family dynamic. The switching back and forth, between animation and live-action, is so cool. It makes the distinction clear between Andalasia and Monroeville, which could otherwise be a very confusing transition.

The message of Disenchanted is that you should be careful what you wish for. It may seem like there are so many problems that need to be fixed, but sometimes people need to solve them for themselves. Giselle wants to help Morgan fit into her new home, but her wanting to do that is unclear and causes more problems than before. Disenchanted also emphasizes the importance of family. Note that there is some very minor inappropriate language and some violence.

I give Disenchanted 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can watch Disenchanted on Disney+ now.



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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COLOR QUEST AR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
ST. BEDE SCHOOL
Series: APP, AGES 5-8
Topic - Education/Instructional
Description - Color, learn, and discover fun characters that come to life in your exciting augmented reality quest for health! Stayhealthy's new educational app includes fruits, vegetables, and a magical look into the human body with engaging new characters every month! Color your favorite character, press the magic button, read a fun health fact, and see your new creation come to life and dance in front of you in augmented reality (AR). Keep on coloring to unlock all the characters to win badges, play bonus games, and become the ultimate Magic Health Master in this coloring adventure!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Color Quest AR is a fantastic, interactive new app that I highly recommend. It is the ultimate creativity app, with a combination of digital drawing, coloring and augmented reality features that blew my mind.

In Color Quest AR, you can choose one of three fun characters available for free, or purchase any of other themed characters for a fee. Then, you proceed to the coloring screen, where you choose between various colors and brush sizes and use your finger to color in your chosen character. Once satisfied with your character, head on over to the augmented reality feature, where you can look through the screen and watch your personalized character come to life in front of you, no matter where you are!

There are apps for digital coloring; there are apps for augmented reality. But this one-of-a-kind app allows you to pursue both interests in a single app. My jaw dropped when I first saw my personally-colored character appear in front of me. I am so impressed by how real it truly seems. Your character just pops up in front of you, wherever you are. Another detail of the app that stands out is the wide variety of color options. There are six main colors, with five shades within each color option. In addition, there are four brush sizes. This allows you to color smaller areas without going outside of the lines, and use the brush more efficiently in larger areas. Even the eraser feature has different thicknesses, making it easier to make deletions. Color Quest AR has so many additional features that I can't even begin to name them all. An important one to call attention to is the educational aspect. While the character is being loaded into augmented reality, a health fact pops up. These involve animals, parts of the body and many fun facts. This helps hold your attention during the time the loading circle spins. There is also a music video with the app's characters, and background music options to immerse yourself in. If you look in the menu, you can even click to find a playlist that'll spark your creativity and motivate you as well.

Color Quest AR excels at developing creativity, problem-solving skills and patience while also being educational and tons of fun. It is totally child-safe. One thing I will note is that there are optional in-app purchases. While the app can still be enjoyed and used without these paid features, be sure that your child doesn't accidentally buy something without permission.

I give Color Quest AR 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Color Quest AR is available now anywhere you get your apps.



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


SPIRITED

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIRITED       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Each Christmas Eve, the Ghost of Christmas Present (Will Ferrell) selects one dark soul to be reformed by a visit from three spirits. But this season, he picked the wrong Scrooge. Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) turns the tables on his ghostly host until Present finds himself reexamining his own past, present and future. For the first time, "A Christmas Carol" is told from the perspective of the ghosts in this hilarious musical twist on the classic Dickens tale. From Director Sean Anders ("Daddy's Home," "Instant Family"), written by Sean Anders and John Morris, with original songs by Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ("La La Land") and production numbers choreographed by Chloe Arnold ("The Late Late Show with James Corden"), this modern retelling is a sweet and spicy holiday treat.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Spirited is a fresh new take on Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, paired with beautiful visuals and comedy. The film is incredibly entertaining, but misses the mark a bit in regards to the music and storyline.

Spirited follows the story of the Spirit of Christmas Present (Will Ferrel), on his mission to reform Clint Briggs (Ryan Reynolds) and his heartless ways. With the help of Past (Sunita Mani) and Future (Tracy Morgan), the spirits hatch a plan to teach Briggs about the error of his ways. Through a series of events, Briggs turns the tables on the Spirit of Christmas Present and together they re-examine their past in order to live the lives they always dreamed of.

Spirited is a fun and upbeat film, but the music leaves much to be desired. Ferrel and Reynolds are excellent comedic actors and every scene that they are in together is super entertaining and funny. Although they are great actors, neither of them is particularly musically inclined, so unfortunately, many of their songs and musical numbers fall flat. However, one musical number that I really enjoyed was the "Good Afternoon" scene as it is filled with great choreography and energy, which makes it really fun to watch. The concept of the film is so clever and refreshing, but its downfall is that the plot has a lot of holes in it. There are a lot of plot-lines that are introduced, but never followed up on, which leaves the audience hanging with questions regarding the storyline. Plus, the consequences that Clint Briggs has to his "cancel culture" concept lack impact. Spirited has a lot of jokes relating to current pop culture and news, which makes it lose its timeless quality, as many of the jokes may be funny today but will not make sense for future viewers. It also has a lot of curse words and adult jokes, which makes it a little less family-friendly. The visuals in the film are all beautiful, especially in the scenes with the Spirits and their office and also in the "transitions."

Spirited addresses the negative impacts of social media and finding yourself. The scenes regarding social media and cyberbullying are very impactful, especially for teenagers and younger audiences. Parents should be aware that the film has a lot of curse words and adult jokes, which may be inappropriate for younger viewers.

I give Spirited 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in select theaters and will be available on Apple TV+ beginning November 18, 2022.



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


CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
RA VISION PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Podcast host Laura Ross and her longtime friend and producer Paul are challenged to re-examine their personal and professional relationships when a listener submits the daily "Christmas Challenge" that promotes togetherness to their ambitious "Modernly Independent" podcast.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Christmas Challenge is the perfect holiday romance film to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy. With a humorous and engaging script and great performances, you'll love watching the dynamic between Laura and Paul evolve in this heartwarming film.

The Christmas Challenge follows two enterprising media professionals. Podcast host Laura Ross (Jennica Schwartzman) and her close friend and producer Paul (Zack Gold) are challenged to re-examine their personal and professional relationships when well-wishing friends pose as listeners and submit the daily "Christmas Challenge" that promotes togetherness to their ambitious "Modernly Independent" podcast. And when corporate representative Michale (Galadriel Stineman) enters the foray to assess their podcast, matters grow even more complex.

The writing by Ryan Schwartzman is one of the best parts of the film. With its natural dialogue and banter between Laura and Paul and the well thought-out plot, The Christmas Challenge doesn't miss a beat. Jennica Schwartzman steals the show as Laura; she captures the angst of a woman both desperate to be independent and desiring companionship with delicacy. And you have to love Zack Gold; as he plays Paul, the "nice guy" trope -- he's 100% invested in winning over Laura at all times and that wishful glint in his eye adds so much to the film. Overall, a wonderfully made film!

The Christmas Challenge promotes togetherness and love. For those who are especially focused on their work and intent on being independent, this film is a reminder that it's perfectly okay to: (a) succumb to your feelings and (b) spend time with those you love.

I give The Christmas Challenge 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Christmas Challenge on streaming platforms starting November 22, 2022.



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


DEVOTION

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DEVOTION       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Devotion, an aerial war epic based on the bestselling book of the same name, tells the inspirational true story of two elite US Navy fighter pilots who helped turn the tide in the most brutal battle in the Korean War: Jesse Brown, the first Black aviator in Navy history and his fellow fighter pilot and friend, Tom Hudner. Their heroic sacrifices and enduring friendship would ultimately make them the Navy's most celebrated wingmen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Devotion is an epically inspirational, heartbreaking and high stakes, action-packed war movie based on actual events. It's an emotional roller coaster that will fly you high into the sky and then crash you down into the ground.

Devotion is based on the inspiring true story of the first African American aviator in the U.S. Navy, Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and his friendship with another aviator, Tom Hudner (Glen Powell). It follows them as they help change the course of the Korean War.

This movie is based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, written by Adam Makos. The cinematography is profoundly marvelous. The scenes of the pilots flying are intense as you feel the pilots' bravery and the dangerous situations they find themselves in. I highly recommend watching this movie on the biggest screen possible to appreciate the film's full effects. This movie takes place in the 1950s and the sets, locations, props and costumes perfectly capture the era, making you feel as if you are transported back in time. Jonathan Majors (Jesse), Glen Powell (Tom) and Christina Jackson (Daisy) have the best performances. Jonathan Majors' embodiment of Jesse is truly so realistic and believable. Glen Powell seems to have a knack for playing airmen, and once again executes his role wonderfully. Christina Jackson is such a strong mother and wife in this movie, and she and Jonathan Majors have so much chemistry that they really create a real family dynamic.

The message of Devotion is to never give up, even when the odds are against you. This movie has violence, war and death, as well as tobacco and alcohol consumption. It also has profanity.

I give Devotion 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It comes out in theaters November 23, 2022.



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


STRANGE WORLD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STRANGE WORLD
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - Walt Disney Animation Studios' original action-packed adventure Strange World introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures. The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher's larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher's 16-year-old son, Ethan, who longs for adventure; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher's partner in all things; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia's fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Strange World certainly is strange! This sci-fi adventure is full of surprises, highlights the dynamics of a modern family, and is filled with diverse characters and strong messages.

Strange World follows the Clades - Jaeger and Searcher - legendary explorers of the city of Avalonia who could tackle any challenge and adventure. However, when Jaeger goes on a mission and doesn't return, Searcher stops exploring the outside world and finds an energy source called "pando" that greatly affects Avalonia. But when pando suddenly starts dying, Searcher must go on an important mission to fix the problem and explore the untraveled and "strange" lands.

My favorite part about this movie is the production quality. The world building of the "strange world" is so detailed - it's phenomenal. The new and weird creatures that they discover look like they could be straight out of Dr. Seuss or Avatar, and they fit right in. All of the places they discover are so exotic. This movie also intentionally focuses on representing a diverse and inclusive set of characters and shows us what the world is actually like. My favorite voice performances are by Jake Gyllenhaal (Searcher), Gabrielle Union (Meridian) and Dennis Quaid (Jaeger). Jake Gyllenhaal is perfectly cast as Searcher, the protective and caring dad and husband. Gabrielle Union portrays her character, Meridian, as a wise and admirable role model. Dennis Quaid's voice really fits the big and booming Jaeger Clade. The first half of the storyline is strong. However, closer to the end, there is a big plot twist that younger kids may find confusing as it is a bit complex.

The message of the movie is to remind parents not to put too many job and profession expectations on their kids and allow them to make their own choices. It also has environmental messages about respecting and caring for the Earth and its resources.

I give Strange World 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. This movie releases in theaters on November 23, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


FABELMANS, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FABELMANS, THE       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 - The Fabelmans is a 2022 American coming-of-age drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and written and produced by Tony Kushner and Spielberg. It is a semi-autobiographical story loosely based on Spielberg's adolescence and first years as a director, told through an original story of the fictional Sammy Fabelman, a young aspiring filmmaker who explores how the power of films can help him see the truth about his dysfunctional family and those around him. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Gabriel LaBelle as Sammy, with Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, and Judd Hirsch in supporting roles. It is dedicated to the memories of Spielberg's real-life parents Arnold Spielberg and Leah Adler.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments below
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Fabelmans is a touching and mesmerizing film that celebrates the acclaimed director Steven Spielberg while recounting his origins as a filmmaker. The film provides an absolutely emotional experience--it's mainly about the vicissitudes of family interaction while paying homage to cinema.

As a kid, Sam Fabelman learns an important lesson from his father, one of the basic principles of filmmaking: retinal persistence. Like magic, films are a simple succession of still images, which give the illusion of movement. When Sammy attends his first movie projection, the event turns into a life-changing experience. The story follows his life while he discovers his passion for movie-making supported by his family: his dad Burt (Paul Dano), his mother Mitzi (Michelle Williams), his three sisters, and his uncle Ben (Seth Rogen). His father is an electrical engineer, his mother a concept piano player--and this fusion of technicality with art certainly shaped his craft. The family's dynamic is beautiful yet cloudy at times; a source material turned into melodrama, perfect for great storytelling.

I love the humanity that The Fabelmans displays. And I loved the way the film shows and captures Sam's life overall, in the sense that it doesn't just feel like you are watching a story. As the audience I can really understand and feel the emotions Sam is feeling. Characters are the core of the storyline and the relationships between them. Despite that the Fabelmans are not a perfect family, they stand out in their unity and the bond between them. The relationship between Sam and his mom, masterfully performed by Michelle Williams, is mesmerizing to watch. There's a complicity that is put to the test, generating wonderful conflict. Williams' scenes are like study material for an actor. And yet every cast member is great at their craft in this film. The camera moves fluidly from the family dinners, to the action scenes contained in Sam's early films, through the corners of the houses where the family moved and the places that hide the deepest family secrets. Janusz Kaminski's photography brings the era alive visually and has the perfect warmth, and the score of John Williams stays in our hearts. The Fabelmans deserves Oscar nominations.

My favorite scenes are Sam experimenting and reproducing the train crash he watched in his first movie experience and Mitzi watching herself in her son's family movie. My favorite quote: "Guilt is a waste of an emotion" which I consider profoundly meaningful in terms of what this movie is telling its audience. The message of the film is to be able to find balance in adversity. Families are not perfect, but true bond should prevail. The Fabelmans is rated PG-13 due to mature thematic elements and brief violence and drug use.

I give The Fabelmans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for audiences 13 to 18, plus adults. The Fabelmans opens in theaters November 23, 2022.

By Zo� C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


LIMITLESS WITH CHRIS HEMSWORTH

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LIMITLESS WITH CHRIS HEMSWORTH       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - A different way we can live better for longer: regenerating damage, maximizing strength, building resilience, shocking the body, supercharging memory and confronting mortality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This six episode docu-series is entertaining to watch, and, at times, educational - in a very fun way. Limitless With Chris Hemsworth tests the limits of the human body and finds what may lead to a longer life.

Limitless With Chris Hemsworth follows -- you guessed it -- Chris Hemsworth, occasionally with his friends and family, on a six-episode journey to find ways to boost longevity and quality of life.

It's fascinating to see some unexpected ways we could achieve longevity and a better life. Of course, not all of these actions can and/or should be imitated by the average person, but there are ways that you can modify what's in the episodes and apply it to your own life. Examples include fasting for one day a month or turning the shower on cold for the last 30 seconds or spending time in a sauna - these practices can help lead to a longer life. Some of the episodes include Stress-Proof, Memory, and Strength. My favorite episode is Acceptance, where Chris gets to experience firsthand what it's like to be old and how to accept that. I really found it interesting to watch Chris Hemsworth outside of the MCU and be just himself. It adds something more personal and makes the audience feel connected to him in a new way.

The message of Limitless With Chris Hemsworth is to accept aging because it's a part of life, and yet there are ways to make life healthier and longer lasting. There are some very risky things done in this show that should not be done without expert supervision.

I give Limitless With Chris Hemsworth 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This series comes out on Disney+ November 16, 2022.



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


BLUE'S BIG CITY ADVENTURES

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLUE'S BIG CITY ADVENTURES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NICKELODEON
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Blue's Big City Adventure follows Josh (Josh Dela Cruz), who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to audition for Rainbow Puppy's (Brianna Bryan) Broadway musical, and Blue (Traci Paige Johnson) as they skidoo to New York City where they meet new friends and discover the magic of music, dance and following one's dreams. The entire "Blue's Clues" crew is reunited for this special movie event, with the beloved animated friends and all three hosts--Josh, Steve (Steve Burns) and Joe (Donovan Patton)--together for the first time in the Big Apple.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Blue's Clues & You cast takes a bite out of the "Big Apple" to follow their dreams in their new hit movie musical, Blue's Big City Adventures! This film has something for the entire family -- from big dreams, superb dance numbers, multi-talented guests appearances -- all while still managing to fit in Blue's clues to help along the way. While watching this magical film, you feel the joy and entertainment you always get from the Blue's Clues franchise!

Blue's Big City Adventures follows Blue's Clues & You host, Josh, (Joshua Dela Cruz), as he heads to New York for a dream audition for Rainbow Puppy, (Brianna Bryan), who is following her own dream of creating her first Broadway musical. As Josh and Blue (Traci Paige Johnson) start on the adventure of a lifetime to the big city, Josh realizes he left his handy-dandy notebook with the audition information and now has to uncover clues to help him get to the audition before three o'clock.

I love how well this film highlights all the incredible things that make New York, New York. From the busyness, its famous pretzels, Times Square jumbotrons, street performances, taxis and even, being known as the place where dreams are made true. This film is the perfect tour guide to New York. There are sensational cameos such as B.D. Wong, who helps Rainbow Puppy cast for her musical. The camera angles and the music are special features and contribute to keeping the storyline interesting and flowing, especially for younger viewers. Fun Fact: Joshua Dela Cruz's real-life story is very similar to his character Josh's in this film, in that he moved from Dubai to America to fulfill his dreams of being on Broadway the way Josh travels from Storybook World to New York to be on Broadway.

Of course, keeping with the Blue's Clues' theme of teaching life's lessons, Blue's Clues Big City Adventures, is packed with different messages. The biggest takeaway is how you should never give up on your dreams, otherwise, how will you know if you can make them a reality? Josh faces different obstacles while trying to pursue his "big break," including being nervous and losing his handy-dandy notebook, but he stays focus on his goal and ready to show what he can do.

I give Blue's Big City Adventures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults who will love it too. This is truly the perfect movie for a family. Blue's Big City Adventures is available on Paramount+ beginning November 18, 2022

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

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


SALVATORE: SHOEMAKER OF DREAMS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SALVATORE: SHOEMAKER OF DREAMS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Salvatore: Shoemaker Of Dreams is a portrait of a man whose vision, passion, and craftsmanship made him "shoemaker to the stars," an architect of Hollywood magic, and an enduring cultural, fashion, and artistic influence.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is a striking documentary that's inspiring and innovative. It welcomes you into a creative world that shaped multiple aspects of life today.

Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams follows the life of Salvatore Ferragamo, the incredible shoemaker with insane intellectual talent. By the age of 16 he was off to America where his career exploded as he built a huge reputation in the film business. Although he provided shoes for some of the biggest icons in history, life wasn't always the easiest for him. However, Salvatore Ferragamo remains one of the most loving, caring and well-known shoemakers to this day.

I really enjoy the storyline of this film; it's not only extremely inspiring, but educational as well. It shows viewers how you can do anything that you put your mind to. I also appreciate the fact that it includes interviews with people who know Ferragamo and understand his culture. It really emphasizes the importance of his childhood and how that shaped him. Additionally, the structure of the film is really helpful. Using actual video clips from Ferragamo's life, plus close friends and family members that explain his history is a really nice feature. This allows us to view Ferragamo on a more personal level. Plus, the quality of the more dated clips still have great sound and picture quality, which gives it a modern feeling, while remaining authentic to the time period. I also enjoyed the soundtrack and background music. The music is subtle and really makes a difference. In most of the montages, there is light piano playing in the background which elevates the film and really sets the mood/tone.

The message of Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams is to always follow your heart, passions and dreams.

I give Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams in select theaters now.

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 16

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


SANTA CLAUSES, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SANTA CLAUSES, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Scott Calvin is back! After being Santa Claus for nearly thirty years, he's as jolly as ever. But as Christmas declines in popularity, so does his Santa magic. Scott struggles to keep up with the demands of the job, as well as being there for his family. Upon discovering there is a way to retire from his post, Scott considers stepping down as Santa Claus and finding a worthy successor so that he can become a better father and husband.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hang up the stockings; get out the cookies and milk, and say ho-ho-ho to The Santa Clauses! This is the perfect show to say hello to Christmas and the winter season. It proves that perseverance is everything and family matters most. This is a great way to bring up past Christmas classics, The Santa Clause 1, 2, and 3.

The show starts off with Santa himself, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) and his elf, Noel (Devin Bright), giving presents to loving children all over the world, but something goes wrong: Santa's magic starts malfunctioning. Almost a whole year goes by after the catastrophe and the magic is back to normal, but during a present delivery, another incident happens - something really bad. After all that mess, Scott realizes that he has to do the two things he has dreaded all 28 years of his career -- find a new Santa and retire. Scott tries to find a new Santa within his first son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd) and his other son, Buddy (Austin Kane), but neither seem interested, and it leaves Scott heartbroken and stressed over finding the perfect new Santa Claus.

The thought of Christmas and snow and everything that makes winter the "holiday season" absolutely delights me, which is why this show is perfect. My favorite parts are the amazing special effects used to enhance the magic of Christmas. I love when Scott and Noel are flying above all of the houses with the reindeer -- even if it is just a lot of greenscreen and wiring. It gives the perfect image of Santa Claus trying to make every child in the world happy and believe in the magic of Christmas. I also love how the director, Jason Winer, keeps the original characters, since we all like them. Scott "Santa Claus" Calvin is still the enjoyable, ambitious character he once was 28 years ago, and Charlie is still the spontaneous, kind young man he has been and always will be.

The message of this show is that family will always come first, no matter the situation. Scott Calvin has proven again and again that, even when Christmas is in danger, he always makes room for his family.

I give The Santa Clauses 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Disney+ November 16, 2022.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Santa Clauses is a perfect series to watch with your family during the holiday season. I loved its spin on classic songs and its message about taking time for family.

The story follows Santa Claus (Tim Allen) making serious decisions for the future of the holiday season when he feels his magic starting to fade away. Mrs Claus (Elizabeth Michell), who has been living in the North Pole for almost 30 years, sees an opportunity to start a normal life, back in the city around normal people, with her family including her two children, Cal (Austin Kane) and Sandra Calvin-Claus (Elizabeth Allan- Dick).

This series has a modern spin to classic songs, vivid colors, great humor and realistic special effects, which all combine to bring a classic holiday story to life in a refreshing new way. One of my favorite scenes is when Santa, with his big belly, tries to get into a house - watch and see the secrets of being Santa! Kids around the world love and believe in Santa Claus. One girl in particular, Grace Choksi (Rupali Redd) insists on telling her father, Simon Choksi (Kal Penn) that Santa Claus is real and has always helped her decorate the house during the most magical day of the year. On one Christmas Eve, Grace receives a present from Santa Claus, which makes her Father research the truth about the existence of Santa Claus. Kal Penn, a businessman, with lots of interesting ideas, wants to find ways to make his business successful and sees an opportunity when he looks at the sky and watches Santa flying across the sky on his sleigh. For our beloved Santa, understanding that it is time to find a replacement isn't easy but he certainly has fun watching the Elves take the challenge to help him. I can't wait to watch the next episode of The Santa Clauses!

The message of this series is that magic is real if you believe in it and, if it is time to take a break and focus on your life, health and family, don't think twice.

I give The Santa Clauses 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available at Disney+ beginning November 16, 2022.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS, A       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
HBO MAX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Follows the now-adult Ralphie as he returns to the house on Cleveland Street to give his kids a magical Christmas like the one he had as a child, reconnecting with childhood friends, and reconciling the passing of his Old Man. Peter Billingsley returns to the role that has made kids of all ages anticipate Christmas morning like no other.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Christmas Story Christmas is the highly anticipated and long-awaited follow-up to the classic Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. It's full of new and old faces and, of course, plenty of hilarious scenes. This movie certainly gets you ready for the holiday season.

Peter Billingsley returns as Ralphie in A Christmas Story Christmas. He's back and all grown up, and tries to give his kids a magical Christmas, just like the ones he had when he was younger. But with an unexpected loss, he must do it by himself. Can he live up to his dad's standards and give his kids the perfect Christmas?

As the title suggests, this movie is the sequel to A Christmas Story, nearly 40 years in the making! It isn't necessary to watch the original movie to make sense of this one; however, there are references to the original movie that may be a bit confusing for those who haven't viewed it. Also, A Christmas Story is one of my favorite Christmas movies and is a joy to watch, so I do recommend it before watching this one if possible. One of my favorite parts of this movie is the fact that most of the original cast members play their same characters. Flick (Scott Schwartz), Schwartz (R.D. Robb), Randy (Ian Petrella), and even Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) all make an appearance. It is surreal (in a good way) to see what these former childhood actors now look like all grown up. I've never searched for their current appearances, so they are all a pleasant surprise. I also love how the sequel stays true to the original movie with all the sets, transitions and personalities of the characters. The narration is even similar to the first movie. Peter Billingsley, on top of just acting in this movie, also co-wrote and produced it. Kudos to him for all the work he did to bring us this movie. Speaking of some of the actors, my favorite performances are from Peter Billingsley (Ralphie), Julie Hagerty (Ralphie's mom) and Erinn Hayes (Sandy). Peter Billingsley keeps all his mannerisms and quirks from Ralphie even in his adult years, which makes this movie feel familiar and comedic. Julie Hagerty replaces Melinda Dillon as Ralphie's mom, and she fills her shoes so well. Erinn Hayes plays the newly introduced character Sandy and fits right in. She makes me feel as if she has been there forever because of the amusing interactions she has with other characters. The actors have so much chemistry, no doubt due to the fact that most of them have known each other for so long.

The primary message of A Christmas Story Christmas is that sometimes, it's the thought (and effort) that counts. This movie also deals with the loss of loved ones. There is some mild profanity and consumption of alcohol.

I give A Christmas Story Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Fans of original movie will enjoy this movie as well as those who are unfamiliar with the original. It comes on HBO Max November 17, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

A Christmas Story is a must-watch and part of many families' holiday traditions. Holiday memes, ads, cards and messages are riddled with the film's iconic quotes and scenes (remember the LEG LAMP?). For diehard fans of this Christmas classic comes the long awaited sequel, full of the adventure and comedy like what made the first movie so memorable. Can Ralphie Parker honor his dad, create holiday magic and achieve his dream of becoming a writer - all before Christmas day? A Christmas Story Christmas is a hilarious and touching continuation of the life of the character we know and love which will pull at your heartstrings this festive season.

A Christmas Story Christmas follows a grown-up Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) as he tries to navigate the adult struggles of Christmas after his father passes. Ralphie and his family - his wife (Erinn Hayes), daughter (Julianna Layne) and son (River Drosche) head to Indiana from Chicago to console Ralphie's mother (Julie Hagerty) and spread some holiday cheer. What Ralphie doesn't know is that filling his late father's shoes is no small task. Frantically shopping for presents and buying the biggest tree imaginable, Ralphie tries to create the best Christmas for his family, all while trying to meet his Christmas writing deadline. Yuletide joy and Christmas spirit are ever present throughout this exciting film.

The true magic in this movie is in how sentimental and relatable it is for families who have lost a loved one, but still have the audience cackling with laughter. I don't think I have ever heard so many giggles in one theater. Layne, as Ralphie's young daughter, contributes many funny moments, displaying expert comedic timing, being sarcastic, adorable and relevant all at once - a huge feat for such a young actress. Another hilarious element of this film is the relationship between Ralphie's mother and his wife. These two actresses perfectly capture the beauty and awkwardness of in-laws. Their petty remarks had the audience rolling on the floor laughing. A Christmas Story Christmas is definitely a feel-good classic in the making.

The key message of this film is that when people show up for each other, there can be magic. Ralphie is only one hero of this story. Each Parker family member comes through in times of need, and that is what makes their Christmas so memorable and full of light. Without the support of family, such happiness and prosperity is far less likely.

I give A Christmas Story Christmas 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 18 to 18, plus adults. You can see A Christmas Story Christmas on HBO Max beginning November 17, 2022.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NICKELODEON
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - A new species of Transformers must find their place and purpose among Autobots, Decepticons, and the human family who adopts them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the series Transformers: Earthspark! It is an action-packed adventure with heartwarming friendships and strong family bonds that I enjoyed with my whole family.

Fans familiar with the Transformers franchise will enjoy the familiar characters and meet some new ones. Anyone new to Transformers will quickly become acquainted with their history while discovering the first bots born on Earth along with a brother and sister duo, Robby Malto (Sydney Mikayla) and Mo (Zion Broadnax), who share a unique bond. Robby and Mo recently moved from Philly to small town Witwicky where their mom, Dot Malto (Benni Latham) has taken a job as a park ranger and they have left their friends behind. When Robby, frustrated with his new life, decides to bike back to Philly, his sister Mo, who is never left out of his adventures, follows along. A strange encounter with Autobots and some unusual spiderbots has them tumbling off a bridge and discovering a secret cave. Their curiosity and sense of adventure lead them to forming a bond with the first earthborn bots, Twitch (Kathreen Khavari) and Thrash (Zeno Robinson) who they are emotionally connected to. Through some humorous activities and harrowing adventures Twitch and Trash become the vehicle bots that suit their personalities and are part of the Malto Family.

The production quality is superb with vivid animation and crisp colors; the images are so realistic. For example, the texture of Mo's hair looks real. The voice acting is excellent with each character distinct and believable. Robby is voiced by a female but sounds like a teen boy and when Mo and Robby take a tumble their grunts and groans sound believable. And of course, the action is exciting and explosive! When the Transformers click into action the battles are fast and furious. The sound effects really enrich the story and propel the action. The Autobots whirl and rev into their Transformer selves. In terms of the storyline, the amazing bond that Robby and Mo share is special, and the strength and determination of Mo is truly inspiring. It's so great to see a female protagonist take the lead. Another strong female character is Skywarp (Nicole Dubuc); she is smart, self-assured and fierce. There are old school favorites from previous films in the franchise like Optimus Prime (Alan Tudyk), Mr. Malto (Jon Jon Briones) and Bumblebee (Danny Pud) who I love seeing here.

The message in these episodes revolve around togetherness and learning to fit in. These episodes are sure to be great fun with the classic struggles with the Autobot Decepticons Transformers robots, the togetherness of the human Malto Family, and the first Transformers robots to be born on Earth - the Terrans, who are learning how they fit in.

I give Transformer: Earthspark 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Transformers: Earthspark premieres on Paramount + Friday, November 11, 2022.

Madeleine H. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


PAY DAY, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAY DAY, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Set in a post-pandemic world, The Pay Day follows a broke and frustrated IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth millions on the black market. As if the dangerous pitfalls of her mission weren't enough, the sting gets more complicated when a charming con artist (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission attempting to swipe the loot for himself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A supremely well-shot entertainer, The Pay Day is a perfectly pleasant film for those looking for a heist film, even though there are some stilted dialogues and scenes that drag.

The film follows a frustrated and recently-fired IT technician (Kyla Frye) who is charged by a crime boss (Simon Callow) to embark on a one-woman heist to steal valuable data worth $500 million on the black market. Like all good heist films, it's about people who feel neglected in society. Frye's character is being evicted, and she feels that the whole world is against her. This opportunity to steal data is her chance to make it big. When a suave conman (Sam Benjamin) interrupts her mission to steal the loot for himself, matters grow even more complicated.

The cinematography in The Pay Day as well as the casting are two of the high points. Frye's portrayal of a harried, desperate programmer looking for a way to make some cash is equally stirring and entertaining... though the film does focus on the latter more, due to the writing. This heist film sometimes wants to be a comedy and other times a romantic film, which makes it feel a little disjointed and somewhat like a series of sketches. For example, random flirting between Benjamin and Frye occupies 20 minutes of the film while Frye tries to extract files from a computer -- whose, we don't know yet. Speaking of random things, there are a bunch of odd elements in the film that seem either implausible or infantile to the point of being ridiculous, like a scene where a character survives a shot to the heart and another with a stilted and suggestive exchange about pomegranates. It's largely the writing that makes the first half of the film drag, save for some scenes that really hit it out of the park. There are also tons of stereotypes thrown in, and some will make you cringe. For example a crime boss lounging with his cronies in a dimly lit bar; Pink Panther-esque background music; the typical green zeroes and ones speeding across the screen of a computer being hacked; and a scene where the protagonist sprints through sterile white walkways of every generic office complex.

The Pay Day promotes resourcefulness and resilience. There are some sexually suggestive scenes and discussions of smoking and alcohol.

I give The Pay Day 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Pay Day releases in theaters on November 14, 2022.

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



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


JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS HIDDEN ADVENTURES

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS HIDDEN ADVENTURES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Based on the show Camp Cretaceous, Hidden Adventure is an interactive special series where the campers survive more danger put against them on Isla Nublar. After a big storm, food is scarce -- and hungry dinos are everywhere. It's up to you to help the Camp Fam survive in this thrilling interactive special.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Hidden Adventures is an interactive episode that gets you involved and keeps you more entertained by deciding what happens next. It's fun to be able to choose what the characters do and what leads up to that because it's not something you can do with a regular movie or show.

This interactive episode is about Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams), Kenji (Ryan Potter), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), Yasmine (Kausar Mohammed), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) who are struggling in the aftermath of a huge storm that happened on the island. They have no food, no shelter and, to make matters worse, the dinosaurs have no food so the dinosaurs are out of control. The kids learn that someone has hidden food somewhere on the island and we have to make decisions for them to keep them safe and direct them to the food.

This is a great episode to watch. Something that I like about this show is the teamwork and the communication between the group. Even in such a dire situation, they communicate and run their decisions with each other before making it. I also like how, even if things take a wrong turn, you can always undo your answer and try again. My favorite character is Darius because we are Darius's thoughts and we make the decisions for him when he doesn't know what to choose and when the others don't know as well. Something that confuses me in the show is that, in the series before this, the group leaves the island - so how did they get back on the island? Regardless, I was entertained the whole time and the concept is just a great idea.

The message of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Hidden Adventures is that if you argue you won't get anything done; you need to compromise and work together. At times in the episode you see the group get into arguments about what to do next, and that's where your choices come in. You help them decide and you help stop their conflict. This show is totally family-friendly.

I give Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Hidden Adventures 4.5 out 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 12. You can watch this on Netflix starting November 15, 2022. Be sure to check it out!



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


BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - In Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M'Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T'Challa's death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of a hidden undersea nation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments below
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The beautifully crafted film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is heart wrenching, but also showcases the power of identity, culture, family and pride. The costumes are intricate and gorgeous; the music is moving; and the acting is just spectacular. I felt captivated during every moment of the film, and the nearly realistic world of Wakanda made me feel like I was there myself, even though it is futuristic and fictional.

The storyline follows Princess Shuri (Letita Wright) and the Wakandan army as they fight to protect Wakanda from a new force that threatens to attack their home. After the heartbreaking passing of King T'Challah (Chadwick Boseman), Shuri and her mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are left with the weight of the country on their shoulders. They must band together with Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o), General Okoye (Danai Gurira), and young scientist Riri (Domonique Thorne) as they constantly battle to save the only home they know from an otherworldly army, which threatens the secrets of Wakanda's renowned Vibranium. Will they win this excruciating battle, or will Wakanda fall?

Letita Wright, as the protagonist, Princess Shuri, performs beautifully. Her acting choices and authentic emotion are captivating. While this film is dark and somber, there is still enough comedy to keep you chuckling, just at the moment when a little happiness feels most necessary. The music in this film is perfectly aligned with every sequence in the story - powerful in battle scenes; sorrowful at moments of loss; and uplifting in moments of triumph. Without the music, viewers would not be so easily transported into Marvel's Wakandan world. The intricate and bedazzled costuming is gorgeous, displaying the marvelous variety of design from diverse cultures around the world. And last, but most certainly not least, the visual effects and CGI are spectacular. The beauty of Wakanda's futuristic world and technology is so real that you can almost touch it.

There are many messages in this film, but two stand out to me the most. First, always trust your heart; it will lead you in the right direction no matter how many paths there are to stray from. Second, no one is ever truly gone, they will live for as long as their memory lives inside you. These messages are uplifting for everyone who needs comfort. Although there is violence in this movie, there is not much gore. The use of a variety of weapons makes this film more appropriate for older children and teens.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters November 11, 2022.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the greatly anticipated sequel to Black Panther. This powerful and epic movie is action packed -- introducing new worlds, new characters and new conflicts.

Following the unexpected death of King T'Challa, also known as Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) takes control of Wakanda, and with being the most powerful nation on the planet comes its challenges. But when vibranium, one of the most precious and powerful metals in the world, is found outside of Wakanda, tensions rise and a new, unknown enemy appears. What will happen to the rest of the world on the brink of war? Watch to find out.

This film is based on the first movie, Black Panther. The storyline is separate enough that it isn't necessary to watch the original to enjoy this, but I highly recommend watching it because it is a terrific film. The tragic and unexpected loss of Chadwick Boseman, who played the Black Panther, was devastating to the Black Panther franchise, so the writers had to get creative to continue the franchise. Also, they honor Chadwick Boseman is a very lovely way. I like how the Back Panther franchise has a bit more freedom to explore new places rather than stay so closely connected to the Avengers and other Marvel franchises or series. It is very engaging to explore a new world. The costumes and sets are extravagant and immaculate, and it is super interesting to dive deeper into Wakanda and Talokan, a new world introduced in this move. I found the plot and performances a bit darker and gloomier than the original film. The strongest acting comes from Letitia Wright (Shuri), Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Dominique Thorne (Riri) and Tenoch Huerta (Namor). All of the emotion for the returning cast members, especially towards King T'Challla's death, comes from a very genuine place, because the cast and crew were so close to Chadwick Boseman; this makes the acting all the more realistic and alive. Dominique Thorne's character, Riri, is introduced in this film and positions her upcoming show, Ironheart. Tenoch Huerta really captivates the audience with his character and hints at his possible further journeys into his kingdom and relationship with Wakanda. This movie also feature's Rihanna's first solo single in five years called Lift Me Up, and it is an absolutely beautiful song.

The messages of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever are to fight to protect the things you love and to be your own person. Parents should be aware that this movie contains violence and intense action scenes.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Marvel and Black Panther fans will love this movie. It releases in theaters November 11, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever provides an emotional and thrilling experience for all MCU fans, yet continues to set up the future while focusing on the past. There has never been such a tribute film like Wakanda Forever within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel handles such a sensitive topic incredibly well by honoring Chadwick Boseman thoroughly, but still providing a classic Marvel adventure that all fans will enjoy. Wakanda Forever is beautifully shot. It arguably may have the best cinematography seen throughout the MCU, and possibly out of all superhero films in general.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever immediately addresses the largest question every fan has when entering the theatre. How will they cover the loss of Chadwick Boseman? The story starts off answering that question, while not going too in-depth (which is very respectful). In a world now struggling without a Black Panther, vibranium is discovered outside of Wakanda. This threatens the resources of vibranium for the people of Talokan (an underwater city of fish-like people). The King of Talokan, Namor (Tenoch Huerta), gives a threatening ultimatum to the Wakandans. They can either help the people of Talokan, or fight for what's right. The emotional depth this film goes into really defines the line between acting and showing human emotion. For the cast, they lost a family member when Chadwick passed away; on screen, they aren't acting. The actors behind the characters are also grieving for a man they loved. The audience can easily see this when watching the stellar performance from Angela Bassett, due to the theatre going absolutely silent and getting filled with goose bumps. Angela's feelings are absolutely raw. Her performance will hypnotize audiences, through thick and thin. It is genuinely one of the first times that it has been thought that a Marvel performance could win a major award.

Wakanda Forever teaches the moral that grief isn't beneficial until you move past it. As a result, the film has large themes of family, love and perseverance. Unlike other Marvel films, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is actually light with cursing and gore. Obviously the film still packs a punch with the average boatload of action, yet doesn't go to crazy lengths to emphasize the violence behind the story. This allows the audience to focus more on what the film is indirectly teaching rather than what is being shown directly on screen.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sprinting its way into theatres on November 11, 2022. So make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The highly anticipated sequel to the hit Marvel movie Black Panther is finally here. Each actor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever pulls their weight and produces captivating scenes, each proving critical to the story. This heart-wrenching, high-quality film is definitely one I will remember.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever follows the Wakandans as they try to move forward after the sudden death of King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman). Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Ramonda (Angela Bassett) are both thrown into new roles during their grieving process. When a new power threatens their nation, the country has to come together with the help of their warriors, Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) in order to fight back.

Watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in the theater was a surreal experience. Throughout the entire movie, when there weren't periods of laughter, there was complete silence. You could hear a pin drop in the room, which shows how invested the audience is in the story. The writers, Joe Robert Cole and Ryan Coogler (also the director), along with the rest of the cast and crew were given a task that some would find impossible. Not only did they have to create a beautiful sequel that would entertain and surpass the audience's expectations, but also tell a complete story without their lead man, Chadwick Boseman. Despite this setback, the writers crafted a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Like all Marvel movies, this film is action-packed with highly engaging fight scenes. This doesn't mean that the moments between the Wakandans and the Talokans aren't jaw-dropping and intense. This empire led by Namor (Tenoch Huerta) is determined to get what they want - no matter what, and they make great antagonists. The set and costume design of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is amazing. All of the major and smaller details come together to portray Wakanda's powerful kingdom and African culture. One of the most impressive aspects of this film is the way the actors use their real grief to fuel the moving scenes we see in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. I want to especially give credit to Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett who both deliver monologues that bring tears to the audience's eyes.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever conveys a multitude of themes. One of the strongest themes is: even when you face loss, there is always a reason to live. The entire kingdom of Wakanda faces an unimaginable loss. This is especially true for Shuri and Ramonda. However, they know they have to honor the ones they lost by moving forward with life and protecting their country.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever leaves you fulfilled and yearning for more. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever releases in theaters November 11, 2022. This is an experience you do not want to miss.

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 15

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a complicated, somber return to the world of Wakanda, packed with layers of intention, plenty of action and a whole lot of emotion. All of that amounts to a movie that--as rousing and thrilling and affecting as it is--can't help but buckle under the weight of its ambition.

In the time since the first film, Chadwick Boseman, who played the titular Black Panther a.k.a Prince T'Challa tragically passed away from cancer in 2020. This real-life loss heavily influences the plot of this fictional movie. Wakanda is in mourning, they've not just lost a king, but a guiding light, and their most powerful protector. The nation is already in a precarious place, having opened up their borders and making the unprecedented choice to share their knowledge and technology with the rest of the world, but losing T'Challa and all he represented puts them at great risk. T'Challa's sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) and his mother Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) mourn a loved one while gathering their ranks and preparing for battle against the mythic Namor (Tenoch Huerta). He resides in the underwater world of Talokan which has thousands of sea-dwelling creatures like him primed for battle. He comes to Wakanda with an ultimatum that could result in all-out war between the two empires.

If the first Black Panther was a coming of age story, a prince becoming a king, and the burdens he must carry to rule, this, too, is a coming of age story, but rather about that king's little sister soldiering on in the midst of suffering to lead and protect a people when they need it most. Wakanda Forever isn't simply a meditation on loss and grief, but, at points, an active engagement with the process of grieving, how far it can reach and how deep it can cut. From the shock of losing someone to the acceptance that they're never really gone, a foundational part of the fictional Wakandan culture is that the ones we love live on. And that part of the movie is something truly beautiful that ties into both the fictional world that Director Ryan Coogler has created on-screen and the off-screen passing of Chadwick Boseman.

Coogler hasn't lost his ability as an image maker. He understands the weight of every moment that acknowledges Boseman's impact and the void he leaves behind. His tomb ascending into a Wakandan cruiser--with the Black Panther insignia scrawled into it-- or the silence when we see glimpses of him, pieced together from the first film. No one gets the connection we had to the character and actor who played him better than Coogler does--it's remarkable the depth of feeling he is able to draw from his actors and the narrative regarding that idea. It will satisfy both fans of MCU and of Chadwick Boseman--honoring the legacy of Chadwick Boseman and looking at Marvel's future. It's definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of either. I laughed, I cheered, I was emotionally wrecked at times. Even with my quibbles, I can't argue it played me like a fiddle. It never fully balances the two narrative pillars of paying tribute to Boseman and advancing the plot of a larger universe with Namor and a whole new mythology, but it sure tries to.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. When it comes down to it, it's a labor of love to a fallen star taken much too soon, and the fact that this exists on those terms makes it all worth it. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in theaters November 11, 2022.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is full of action-packed scenes, phenomenal cameos, plot twists and a tribute truly fit for a king! Kudos to Director Ryan Coogler for creating a sequel that's not just a film, but an entire experience. Audiences should definitely pack tissues, and be prepared to be entertained as this film takes you on a journey through Wakanda and new worlds, as if you were there.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the follow-up to Black Panther and takes place a year after King T'Challa's a.k.a. Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) unexpected death. This film is the perfect example of art imitating life as Boseman's life is included in the storyline. The film follows Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) and her mother, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) as they try to cope with the loss of King T'Challa and continue to rule and protect Wakanda from outside threats. Meanwhile, Wakanda's precious and valuable resource, Vibranium, has been detected outside the country and new enemies arise. With the absence of Black Panther, Princess Shuri and Queen Ramonda must now figure out how to protect their people and the metal from getting into the wrong hands.

The main characters are Princess Shuri, Queen Ramonda, General Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and M'Baku (Winston Duke). They are joined by breakout star Riri Williams a.k.a. Ironheart (Dominque Thorne). Marvel fans will love Riri Williams' wittiness and fierceness. Newcomer, Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia), also joins the cast as the villain and king of the underwater kingdom of Talokan. Prepare to be amazed by the different aspects of the film that combine to create one of Marvel's best films yet. Some of my favorite parts in the film, of course, are the tributes to Chadwick Boseman.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever highlights the importance of family, heritage, identity, protection, grief and mental health. The overall theme is being true to who you are, protecting what's most important to you and taking care of yourself. Parents should be aware of mild language, slight violence, and scenes that may be triggering due to life experiences or young viewers' maturity levels.

I give Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it in theaters November 11, 2022. Be sure to arrive on time and to stay for the post-credit scenes so you get the full experience.

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

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


FAMILY MATTERS CHRISTMAS, A

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAMILY MATTERS CHRISTMAS, A       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Topic - Holiday
Description - Christmas is anything but ordinary when three bickering siblings from a newly blended household cannot see eye to eye. The youngest one, while completing his annual science project, accidentally calls upon the spirit of Christmas. They wake up to find themselves having switched bodies, unable to change back until they learn to spend the holidays together as a loving family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Family Matters Christmas is a fun, enjoyable film that really puts you in the Christmas spirit. It teaches an important lesson, while delivering a cute and interesting storyline.

A Family Matters Christmas follows the lives of three siblings living in a newly blended household. They are all struggling to adapt to their new family, especially during the holidays and this causes them to fight all of the time. However, when the youngest sibling Aiden, (Randy Vince Iii) starts to read fairy tales about Christmas legends who haunt siblings who can't get along, he realizes that they need to stop the bickering. Unfortunately, it's a little too late and their household is greeted with a special elf who causes all three of them to swap bodies. Now, the siblings must learn to tolerate and help each other, or else they will be stuck inside these different identities forever.

This film is truly an enjoyable viewing experience. The cinematographic quality of this film really stands out -- the camera work is very clear, and the colors jump. I really enjoyed the plot; the concept of the characters swapping bodies is really cute, and definitely creates a fun twist for a Christmas movie. It's really interesting to see how they all work things out in the end. Plus, all three actors portray multiple personas in different bodies exceptionally well, as they show us how their switched character might react to a particular situation. Additionally, the message of the film is really strong. It really emphasizes the importance of family, particularly around Christmas time, and reminds viewers how valuable our families are. This is an important highlight, especially for younger audiences, because it's something that can sometimes be forgotten.

The message of A Family Matters Christmas is that family is very valuable, and you should always hold to them.

I give A Family Matters Christmas 3.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. It releases on VOD and DVD November 8, 2022.

By Mikella G, KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 16

A Family Matters Christmas is all about family and love; it's the perfect movie to get you ready for the holiday season.

The storyline for A Family Matters Christmas is told by a grandma to her grandchildren. The story follows a boy named Aiden (Randy Vince III) and his sister Emily (Cheyenne Cummings) who are having a hard time getting along with their new step-brother, Brandon (Chase X Drewery). Ayden conducts a science experiment gone wrong and ends up summoning a Christmas spirit who makes him and his siblings switch places. They now must figure out how to walk in each other's shoes, and how to switch back.

The plot of this film may seem kind of basic, but there are a lot of twists that turn the basic story into something more. I really love the cinematography -- at the beginning, behind the opening credits, are some beautiful shots of the city which are just stunning. All the acting is outstanding and so is the script. I love the character of Grandma (Jo Marie Payton), because she's really sassy; I love the way she teaches her grandchildren to be nicer to each other. Another great character is Aunt Tracy (Tamieka Chavis), who is quite feisty as well and has a very powerful personality. I especially love the character Alternis (Stephen Fischer), the Christmas spirit, because his eccentric and loud personality is very exciting and fun. My favorite part of the film is when the kids first change places and don't know how to behave in each other's bodies.

The message of A Family Matters Christmas is that family is important, whether you are related by blood or not. Throughout the film, Brandon has a hard time learning to love his new siblings, but the body switch really helps him realize what family means.

I give A Family Matters Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This film releases on VOD and DVD November 8, 2022.

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

The "switch-mas" spirit is in the air with the new film, A Family Matters Christmas! It's a fun family film that forces you to think about the true meaning of Christmas and shows just how important it is for family to come together and get along.

A Family Matters Christmas follows siblings, Aiden (Randy Vince III), Emily (Cheyanne Cummings), and their soon-to-be brother, Brandon (Chase X. Drewery), whose parents are looking forward to getting married and spending their first family holiday together. However, the sibling's constant bickering threatens to make Christmas not-so-merry. Aiden creates an experiment to bring his family together, but with a little "help" from the "forgotten Christmas Spirit," Alternis (Stephen Fisher), his spell causes the three siblings to switch bodies. They must work together to learn the true meaning of family to break the spell and switch bodies back before Christmas morning.

The main characters are Aiden, Emily and Brandon. I love how much each sibling changes the other sibling's life, just by switching bodies. My favorite part was seeing the sacrifices each sibling makes for the sibling whose body they took over. It forces each one to experience life as that sibling, and even helps them. For example, since Emily is more outspoken, while she is in Aiden's body, she is able to stand up for him against bullies at school -- something Aiden would never do himself. The "switch" really creates some hilarious moments, like when Brandon is in Emily's body and get a dose of what it is like to be a girl. The film is so entertaining, that you forget it starts off as a story being read about the characters' journey. This is a storyline that some people will say has been made before and, while that's true, what's important is the message behind it; plus it is entertaining.

A Family Matters Christmas shows us that family really does matter and that it's possible to get along if you take the time to get to know one another. While you may not always agree with your siblings or be best friends, it's still good to create some kind of bond with them. Parents should look out for adult drinking and some slightly intimate parts.

I give A Family Matters Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to18, plus adults. A Family Matters Christmas releases on Digital and DVD November 8, 2022.

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

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


HONK

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
HONK       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
VISION FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 7-18
Topic - Holiday
Description - The power of love shines in this heartwarming tale of f friendship and inspiration between an unlikely duo. Cheryl inadvertently befriends a mourning goose, Honk, while recycling in the local park. As the budding friendship blossoms and Cheryl seeks Honk a new home, he becomes a viral sensation capturing the hearts and minds of millions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Honk is incredibly sweet and heartwarming documentary. The subjects are interesting and the story is exciting, due to its oddness. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story follows a woman who forms a friendship with a goose during the pandemic and ends up getting over 80K followers on Instagram.

Cheryl's story of meeting this goose during the pandemic is so unexpected and slightly crazy. The idea that she met Honk the good during a time when we were all social distancing and formed a relationship with him is endearing - both of them needed a friend, someone to be with. The cinematography is very good, keeping things exciting while also staying simple. A lot of this film is filmed on a cell phone, which works just fine. I love the locations, especially those at the park. And I like how Cheryl added little hearts on the side of her phone videos - which worked particularly well for attracting attention on social media. Her videos on social media are absolutely adorable. This story is so unusual, and Cheryl's motivations are honest and pure. When someone tells her that he must be a domestic goose, not a wild one, she is concerned about returning him to an appropriate environment and feels that she needs to find his mate. Honk is a character in his own right as well, something not always explored in the usual animal documentaries. Honk is the best "pandemic pal" a girl could ask for. He's safe, he's devoted to her, and he has a charming personality. There are some sad aspects to this documentary, such as when Honk dies two years later which Cheryl tells Honk's social media followers on Instagram, accompanied by sad music and clips of better times.

The message of this film is about the importance of bringing love and hope into people's lives - whether through a human or non-human. If you show love, you get love!

I give Honk 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Bring your tissues because Honk's passing is a reminder to us all how life is eternal. By Sandrine A. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!

Honk is a heartwarming documentary that follows the friendship between director and editor, Cheryl Allison, and a lovable goose. She successfully shows viewers how her friendship with a goose impacted her life. At a time when everything was uncertain in the world, this goose was the "honk heard 'round the world." He was able to reach out, in spite of social distancing constraints, and spread happiness to others.

This documentary is set during the COVID pandemic, when social distancing regulations were in effect. While on a walk Cheryl notices a goose approaching her. She names him Honk and they become instant friends. Cheryl decides to record her time with Honk and her videos and posts with him go viral on social media. She receives word from her friend, Mary Beth Purdy that Honk is a domestic goose and is in danger. Now Cheryl is on a mission to help save her goose friend from a harmful environment, predators and the new risks that social media has brought to him.

This documentary is touching and beautiful. My favorite scene is when Cheryl goes back to the pond the day after she first meets Honk and records herself calling to him. Honk immediately recognizes her voice and swims to her. She talks to him and he responds with his honking sounds. This shows how attached Honk was to her from the start. The film is a mix of interviews, zoom meetings and videos of Cheryl with Honk. The added footage of her initial recordings with Honk are delightfully entertaining. It gives viewers a better understanding of Cheryl and Honk's friendship and the bond they create with each other as time progresses. The information about animals in the film, by experts Mary Beth Purdy and Kathy Rogers, is insightful and adds depth to the understanding of caring for these types of animals. In addition, the music at the end of the documentary fits well with the theme.

The message of this film is about love and the connections you make with others. Love and a need for companionship is what drove Honk and Cheryl together. It then drove her to protect him. While watching, we also gain a better understanding of what animals need, the importance of protecting animals, and what we can contribute to help keep these animals safe.

I give Honk 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Honk releases November 15, 2022 on digital platforms and DVD.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Such a wholesome joy of a film is hard to come by. Honk should be required watching for those who feel like they're losing faith in the goodness of humanity and the beauty of companionship. Beautiful, raw emotion is captured in a mix of videos that were either collected from social media or filmed by the camera team, but beyond the technical bits of the film, the plot is what shines through. Especially for animal-lovers, this is a great watch.

Honk is a remarkable tale of unlikely companionship. Dallas native Cheryl Allison inadvertently befriends a loud, chatty goose she names Honk; she realizes he is mourning the loss of a loved one and their bond grows deeper. As the friendship blossoms, Cheryl seeks to find Honk a new home and he becomes a viral sensation across nations. The beautiful relationship between the two (not owner and pet but two equal friends) is wonderful to watch.

The direction and editing by Cheryl Allison are beautifully-executed. What's really nice is that the subject of the documentary is the same person who directs and edits it; this means that she has been able to choose the most moving portions of footage and cut it together. I also love how the choice of music accentuates the mood of the more emotional scenes; the lyrics from the credits -- "think about where we have been, the joy we shared with friends who cared, all the things we've seen" -- were especially touching as they summarized the theme of the film. I like the contrast between the footage taken by the camera team and how formal and traditional it feels compared to the footage taken by Cheryl, which is more fun and informal.

Honk promotes finding those who support you and, in turn, helping others, whether animal or human, in times of difficulty. The compassion exhibited by Cheryl in this film also serves to push the message that we should care for animals, even those we wouldn't consider domesticated or "pets," because they too have highs and lows in their lives like we do.

I give Honk 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Honk releases November 15, 2022 on digital and DVD.< p>By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16


Runtime: 46 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GOODNIGHT OPPY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GOODNIGHT OPPY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The film follows Opportunity, the Mars Exploration Rover affectionately dubbed Oppy by her creators and scientists at NASA. Oppy was originally expected to live for only 90 days but she ultimately explored Mars for nearly 15 years.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Goodnight Oppy, by Ryan White, is a documentary that brings both excitement and curiosity. I love learning about how the scientists related to Opportunity, nicknamed Oppy, almost as if she/it was their child. I also love that, no matter what went wrong, they never gave up and always thought she would go on. And she did! She outlived her life expectancy by 150 months!

The inspirational true story follows Opportunity, the veteran interplanetary Mars Exploration Rover, affectionately dubbed Oppy by her creators and scientists at NASA. Oppy was originally expected to live for only 90 days but ultimately explored Mars for nearly 15 years. The film follows Oppy's groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away.

Exploring the last 15 years of interplanetary exploration with Opportunity and her twin sister is so interesting. Opportunity and Spirit were identical twins, both 5'2" tall, with human like eyes. I love how the humans associated with them thought of them almost as their children. It takes a long 6 months to get to Mars from Earth. Spirit was launched on July 7, 2003 and Opportunity followed three weeks after that date. I found I it fascinating how, no matter what happened to the rovers, the scientists kept believing that they would work again. My favorite part of their day was the wake up song! It is amazing how Opportunity and Spirit could respond and think for themselves. I enjoyed watching their journey exploring Mars and all the photos they sent back. What stands out most in this documentary is how everyone believes in the two rovers; they never give up.

This inspiring documentary reveals the discoveries that these two rovers gave us about Mars. The film helps audiences understand the incredible amount of work that the scientists and the robots' creators put in to achieve the accomplishments of these two robots. They gave us so much information we never had previously.

I give Goodnight Oppy 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters November 4 on Amazon Prime Video November 23, 2022.

By Sariah R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Goodnight Oppy is a fascinating inside look at the stories of Opportunity and Spirit, with beautiful visuals and a cool soundtrack. This film appealed to me as I love learning about the importance of human resilience.

Goodnight Oppy is a documentary that tells the story behind the team in charge of the two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, which were launched in 2003. It starts at the beginning of the project with Steve Squyres, the principal scientist of the project, up until the project closed in 2018. The film shows the difficulties and challenges of the nearly 15-year-long mission, whilst showing the collaboration and teamwork of those involved.

It is clear that the director, writers and the whole production group had a lot of respect for the team behind Opportunity and Spirit. The film excels at showcasing the talent and determination of the all the scientists and engineers involved in the project and how hard they worked. The visuals of Mars are incredible and eye opening; it really helped me understand what the scientists saw and how their observations gave us new information about Mars. The juxtaposition between the scenes of the rovers and the scenes of the team show the interaction between the robots and the scientists. The difficulties that the rovers experienced are reflective of those of the team, which helps further connect the team with the rovers. I love all of the interviews with the team members as it gives us a more personal side to the story and is really entertaining. My favorite part is definitely the scenes involving the morning music; it brought a smile to my face every single time. It perfectly represents the unity and the family-like environment in the workroom and helps break up the serious moments.

The documentary showcases the work ethic and intelligence of the team at NASA, showing the audience the importance of resilience, collaboration and determination.

I give Goodnight Oppy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters November 4, 2022 and on Amazon Prime November 23, 2022.

By Emma D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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


GRATITUDE REVEALED

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GRATITUDE REVEALED       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
1 SOUL PRODUCTION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - An epic journey forty years in the making, Gratitude Revealed from acclaimed filmmaker, Louie Schwartzberg, the director of cult hit Fantastic Fungi, takes us on a transformational, cinematic Experience of how to live a more meaningful life full of gratitude through his intimate conversations with everyday people, thought leaders, and personalities revealing gratitude is a proven pathway back from the disconnection we feel in our lives; disconnection from ourselves, our planet, and each other.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A thought-provoking piece, Gratitude Revealed shows promise in its concept and features gorgeous footage, but falters to keep viewers engaged in the film past the midway mark.

Composed of stunning nature footage and high-profile interviews, Gratitude Revealed shows us how to live a more meaningful life full of thankfulness through filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg's conversations with everyday people and eminent personalities. Featured are chats with figures like Norman Lear, Deepak Chopra, Jack Kornfield and more. The film makes the point that we need a pathway back from the disconnection we feel in our lives, within ourselves, and with others.

The thought behind this film is remarkable. However, the substance of the film is revealed painfully slowly, and some of the insights are rather obvious. It is unfortunate that the film lacks momentum and vibrancy beyond cinematography, as this makes it a difficult watch for young viewers accustomed to a faster pace of cinema. If it was the intent of the filmmaker to slow down viewers caught in the rat race of life, he certainly achieved it... almost too well. The camera work and editing in Gratitude Revealed are the highest points of the film, along with the cachet of the big names Schwartzberg speaks with. I especially love the way the interviews are framed. I feel that some of the interviews are way too long and tedious. It sometimes feels as if the nature shots are being used to compensate for the repetition of certain points. This leads to Gratitude Revealed feeling less like a documentary and more like an experimental film.

Gratitude Revealed promotes finding joy in the small things in life and just "being." It's a beautiful message that is perfect for the Thanksgiving season.

I give Gratitude Revealed 3.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Gratitude Revealed releases on VOD November 1, 2022.

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

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


SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - Best friends Sophie and Agatha find themselves on opposing sides of an epic battle when they're swept away into an enchanted school where aspiring heroes and villains are trained to protect the balance between Good and Evil.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What is 'good' and what is 'evil'? Or is there no real difference? The School for Good and Evil explores these boundaries amid fast-paced action, constant comedy and incredible visuals. It is an amazing adaptation of a truly incredible book.

Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) are best friends, despite having completely different personalities. Sophie loves dresses and flowers and has the style of a princess. Agatha is friendly but prefers darker color clothing and has a less sunny personality. When the two of them hear the supposed myth of The School for Good and Evil, Agatha laughs but Sophie sees an opportunity to change her life and fulfill her dead mother's wishes. They are taken to the school, but when they're placed in the wrong schools, Agatha in The School for Good and Sophie in the School for Evil, they're thrown into a world of surprises.

This film is an adaptation of the first book in The School for Good and Evil series, written by Soman Chainani. I'm a huge fan of the series, so I was extremely excited when I saw the first trailer for the film. The School for Good and Evil lives up to my every expectation. The casting is spot on; the appearances and personalities of all the characters match the book's descriptions. In addition, the ideas of what people often think of as "good" are contrasted throughout the film. Every detail, however small, perfectly matches the school. At the School for Good the students wear dresses or armor to represent princesses and princes. Its environment is bright, colorful and happy and its classes teach make-up and wish-granting. In contrast, the School for Evil's environment is dark, gloomy and suspenseful and its classes include uglification and possession of powers. This contrast is important for plot elements later in the film and also creates an interesting environment for the social aspects of the story. There is comedy throughout The School for Good and Evil that helps maintain an intriguing social storyline. The actors play a big part in executing the script's comedy. Sofia Wylie uses Agatha's personality to pull off her character's funny moments. Another element worth mentioning is the beautiful sets and locations. The School for Good and Evil is a magnificent building with spectacular landscapes in the background including a moat, mountains and rivers. The sets of the indoor halls and classrooms match the exterior, providing a perfect background for the story.

The message of The School for Good and Evil is that every person has good and evil in them, and it is up to you to decide how you want yourself to be represented. By the end of the film, certain characters begin to realize that "good" or "evil" doesn't have to define them. Friendship is emphasized by the film's two protagonists, who ride an emotional rollercoaster throughout the film. There is one scene in which minor inappropriate language is used. There are also scary and intense moments.

I give The School for Good and Evil 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The School for Good and Evil on Netflix beginning October 19, 2022.



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


BOONIE BEARS, THE: MONSTER PLAN 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BOONIE BEARS, THE: MONSTER PLAN 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The second of eight installments in the Boonie Bears: Monster Plan series. This film will be available on DVD, DISH, InDemand, and Comcast on 11/1. AVod platforms, such as The Roku Channel and TubiTV to follow. We are also releasing Boonie Bears: Forrest Frenzy - all 16 films - on AVOD platforms starting in November.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 has funny jokes and focuses a lot on physical comparisons.

The Boonie Bears are a group of animals including bears, a monkey, a skunk, a raccoon and a wild cat. The animals all work together to overcome their weaknesses as they try to defeat an evil villain who is trying to steal their strengths. If one villain isn't enough, the animals are also being threatened by poachers. Each animal in the forest utilizes its unique strength or overcomes a perceived weakness such as being scared, stinky or not strong to help the friends along the way.

The quality of the animation is strong and vibrant. The animals live in a beautiful pine tree forest. Vick (Paul "Maxx" Rinehart) and Bramble (Joseph S. Lambert) are up against the Doctor Rex Vector and his hamster assistant, Mr. Pete. The crazy scientist and his assistant are trying to take their strength away by using a power absorbing gadget. Each animal in the forest utilizes its unique strength or overcomes a perceived weakness in their many encounters with the evil doctor. As they work to defeat Doctor Rex Vector and Mr. Pete, the animals build their confidence. I feel that the storyline lack cohesiveness as it jumps from one mission to the next, which might be difficult for younger children to follow.

The message of the show is that everyone has weaknesses and strengths. My one issue with the show is that it may draw too much attention to self-worth by utilizing negative self-worth language and calling characters things such as "stupid" and "fat." The intent of the message is good, but its execution could be better.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 gets 2 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It releases November 1, 2022 on DVD and many streaming networks.

By Angels G., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I enjoyed the film Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 a lot, mainly because it is Funny, Has Great Animation, Wonderful Characters, And Is Suitable For Young Kids, plus it could also entertain older kids. This film really held my attention.

The storyline follows two bears, Briar (Ricky Jay Glen) and his brother Bramble (Justin J. Wheeler). Briar, Bramble and their friends run into many problems with their arch nemesis Rex Vector, who wants to steal their powers and use them to destroy them. So Briar, Bramble and all their friends jump in to solve their problems with Rex Vector and others.

This film is really great. I really found the characters and humor outstanding and perfect for its target age group. All the characters have outstanding personalities; each with a terrific sense of humor. They are also thoughtful and kind to their friends, as well as people or animals around them. The humor in this film is also commendable; there are many things that made me laugh or smile. Even when something bad is happening it always finds a way to make me laugh. However, apart from all these positive things is one not so good thing - the sound. The characters' voices have issues with the sound quality, but the film was still very interesting. I also love the life lessons of this film - they are very heartfelt and real.

This film's life lesson is an inspiring reminder that no matter what happens to you, you are unstoppable as long as you have someone there for you. I relate to this because I have found the importance of support from a friend or family member in my life and believe that you can do anything and maybe even everything with the right support.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. This film can entertain people young and maybe even old. It will be available on most streaming platforms and DVD November 1, 2022. Be sure to check it out.

By Gavin S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 is an exciting and kid-friendly film, with beautiful animation and color, but it lacks some cohesiveness in its storyline.

The storyline follows Bramble (Joseph S. Lambert) and his friends on a fun adventure in the forest, on their quest to defeat the evil Doctor Rex and his sidekick Mister Pete. The evil duo devises a plan to steal some of Bramble and his friends' animal abilities in order to create a robotic monster. The gang uses teamwork and friendship to prevent Doctor Rex and Mister Pete from stealing all of their abilities and ruining their home.

The animation is, by far, my favorite part of the film. The animators' creation of the forest filled with beautiful creatures and plants is superb. The animals are especially well done and beautifully detailed. At first, I was a somewhat put off by the voices, but once I got over my shock, I found them very entertaining. Some of the voices are difficult to understand, particularly the skunk. I couldn't make out what it was saying at times. The storyline picks up at the end and I wish there was a recap at the beginning to give us a bit more context, since it left me with a few questions regarding the plot. Bonnie Bears: Monster Plan 2 is split into five parts, all with different plots. I wanted to better understand what took place in the episode prior to this one.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 promotes friendship, teamwork, kindness and resilience. It also highlights the importance of fighting for those you love and how important it is to overcome your fears if you are to obtain your goals.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 gets 3 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 4 to 10. It will be released on November 1, 2022, on DVD and many streaming networks.

By Emma D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 is one of the cutest children's movies I have ever seen! It's all about nature and saving the day. It also shows the importance of friendship and perseverance. This is definitely a children's movie favorite for me.

The storyline follows a bear named Briar who needs to save his friends from the evil Rex Vector and his hamster, Mr. Pete. Once Vector and Mr. Pete realizes the group has escaped, they start to work on another project that they think will be their greatest one yet. Briar, his partner Bramble (Joseph S. Lambert), and his human best friend Vick know that they need to save the day and they have a few adventures along the way.

My favorite part of this film is the funny voices used by the actors for their characters. I love how the bears' voices are all just so cute and adorable and Dr. Vector's voice is perfect for a young villain. I also love the setting of this film. It seems so peaceful and quiet when there isn't an evil scientist trying to rule all the animals. It's set in a park with all kinds of monkeys, skunks and other cute animals. The only thing I didn't exactly capture from the film is the emotions from the characters. Neither Rex Vector nor Mr. Pete show as much enthusiasm as I hoped for. For example, when Rex Vector laughs maniacally about a gadget of his working, he doesn't seem so excited. Also, once Mr. Pete answers a question Briar asks him, there is a small amount remaining of "unsureness" in his answer. Otherwise, I absolutely adore this film.

The message of this film is that you have to persevere in order to succeed. If the characters didn't persevere through the different challenges throughout the movie, they never would have stopped Doctor Rex Vector. They also would not have made it through the other challenges along the way.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 10. It is available on DVD and many streaming channels beginning November 11, 2022.

By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 is a fun, comedic film that's perfect for a kid's first action movie. Colorful animation brings out the best in the plotlines. Each character is funny, relatable, and helps to highlight the important messages and educational aspects.

The storyline follows a group of animals including bears, skunks and squirrels who navigate through life in the forest with various enemies and problems along the way.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 has colorful and vibrant animation. The settings are realistic, yet creative and bright. One example that stands out is s the hunter's pit. Some of the animals get stuck in a poacher's trap, and we see various angles from inside the hole. The attention to detail is incredible. There are little worms on the ground, weeds growing out of the sides of the walls and even indents in the dirt. Although these tiny details don't affect the plot, it makes situations seem so much more realistic and truly engages viewers. In addition, each character has its own unique features and physical characteristics that are emphasized in the animation. These characters also have very fun personalities. Each trait helps develop an important theme or subtly teach a lesson. The comedy is perfect for the intended audience; little kids will laugh their heads off while watching. It's cool that there are so many smaller, individual conflicts and plotlines that take place throughout the film. However, sometimes having multiple plotlines makes it difficult to stay engaged, follow the main plot, and keep watching.

The message of Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 is that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Many of the characters wish to be stronger or smarter, but they realize that, just because they aren't smarter or stronger, doesn't mean that they aren't talented in other ways. There are also other themes such as teamwork, kindness and friendship that are built upon throughout the film.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. You can watch Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 2 on DVD and many streaming services beginning November 1, 2022.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

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


BLACK ADAM

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLACK ADAM       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 - Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods--and imprisoned just as quickly--Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Black Adam is an action-packed movie filled with insane fight scenes and unexpected plot twists. The CGI looks virtually flawless, and the world-building is so detailed.

In the story, Teth Adam (Dwayne Johnson) is bestowed with unusual and strong powers by The Rock of Eternity in ancient Kahndaq. However, he uses these powers for revenge and gets imprisoned for nearly 5 millennia. Once freed Teth Adam (a.k.a. Black Adam) is met by the newer heroes of the Justice Society. What will Teth Adam do and can the Justice Society stop him?

This movie is intertwined with the origin story of Shazam, but it's not necessary to see it prior to watching Black Adam. It's also based on the comic characters originated by DC. I love the introduction of new characters and new worlds that are most likely relatively unknown to and unexplored by most people. In this movie, you'll find a few familiar faces along with the new ones, which makes it feel very fresh. Some of those characters include Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Hawkman (Aldis Hodge). Speaking of characters, my favorite performances come from Dwayne Johnson (Black Adam), Sarah Shahi (Isis), and Marwan Kenzari (Sabbac). Dwayne Johnson has a more serious role in this movie, and yet he balances it with his impeccable comedic timing. Sarah Shahi is such a caring and brave person in her role as Isis and inspires us to speak up for all of the injustice in the world. I can't reveal too much about Marwan Kenzari's character, but I think he is the perfect fit and will definitely keep you on your toes.

The message of Black Adam is to remember that there is a difference between a hero and a protector, and between justice and vengeance. There is violence and some scary scenes that may not be suitable for young children.

I give Black Adam 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It comes out in theaters October 21, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Black Adam is a very funny and interesting movie. I like seeing Dwayne Johnson as a DC antihero for the first time in his career.

Black Adam takes place in ancient Kahndaq where a boy was almost killed for being a hero but saved by the power of the gods. Five thousand years have passed, and Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson) wakes up to find himself in a modern age of Kahndaq where Teth helps the oppressed people in a very dark way. A new team of heroes is also introduced in this DC Universe: the Justice Society, which includes Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Hawkman (Aldis Hodge). Together they must team up and defeat Sabbac (Marwan Kenzari), a powerful demonic villain who wants to unleash hell on Earth. I would have liked to see a little backstory on these new characters, though, instead of them just showing up with these abilities that audiences have not seen before in the DC extended universe.

Black Adam includes outstanding performances from Dwayne Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, Joseph Gatt, Jennifer Holland, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Shahi, and Aldis Hodge. There is just the right amount of humor throughout the movie without taking away from the seriousness of the threat of the evil that is present. The director, Jaume Collet- Serra, brought the same dark Teth-Adam from the comics to the big screen. Teth is kind of good but in a very bad way as he kills to stop people. The graphics and CGI are impressive -- the fight sequences were especially action-packed and showed the true power of Black Adam. Costume designs are very interesting, and the background music is fitting to each scene. My favorite part of the story when Black Adam learns the word "sarcastic," and he starts using it and being sarcastic himself.

The moral of this movie is to learn to work together with someone, even if you don't like that person. Instead, focus on the main priority. For example, Black Adam and Hawkman did not want to work together but soon realized they had to, as there was no other choice for them to succeed in their mission.

I give Black Adam 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. For the amount of violence, I am amazed this film is rated PG-13. Black Adam comes out in theaters October 21, 2022, in a theatre near you. Don't forget to stay during the credits to see a "Super" mid-credit scene.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

If you love action-packed superhero movies then Black Adam is the film for you. It has all of that and much more.

The storyline of Black Adam starts with Teth Adam who has been given a gift from the gods right before his execution, becoming Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson). He uses these powers to overthrow the evil leader of ancient Kahndaq and becomes known as the champion. What is believed that one day the champion will come back to save Kahndaq. In the present, Adrianna (Sarah Shahi) and her brother, Karim (Mohammed Amer), uncover Black Adam's tomb where he has been imprisoned for 5000 years. Kahndaq is in need of a warrior, but a group of heroes called The Justice Society believes that Black Adam is not who he seems to be.

The film's strongest point is definitely the setting. Kahndaq is brought to life in this film so vividly. The buildings, the people, the scenery -- everything fits together perfectly. I love Black Adam's backstory and how well thought out everything about his character is. The movie has so much action and excitement it's hard to not watch. The acting is great, too. I especially love the character of Karim -- he's such a nice guy and some of my favorite scenes include his character. My favorite scene is when he's singing in the car by himself as his sister goes in to explore a cave and he stayed behind. Then his sister comes running out screaming because they are in danger and he has no idea what's going on.

The message of Black Adam is that family is everything. Between Adriana and her brother, or Adriana and her son, and even in Black Adam's own past we see this message play out. This movie has a lot of violence and a bit of bad language that parents should watch out for.

I give Black Adam 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases in theatres October 21, 2022.

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

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


GHOSTER

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GHOSTER       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - When a mysterious letter appears on the day they are being evicted, Elizabeth and her father can't believe their luck to discover they've inherited Echoville Manor, a sprawling, thirty-seven room estate. Upon arriving, Elizabeth finds that the mansion is inhabited by the world's cutest spirit, Ghoster, who has been trapped within a mirrored prison there for fifty years. Together, they must uncover the secrets to Echoville to free Ghoster before the nefarious Yuto captures her soul as well in his quest for immortality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ghoster is a spooky family film with twists, puzzles, and some comedy mixed in that is perfect for an autumn night. This exciting film invites you into a world of ghosts, dragons and legends that is both entertaining and filled with surprises. I was drawn into the magic, the unbreakable family ties, and the collaborative efforts of the characters as they race against time.

In Ghoster, Elizabeth (Sophie Proctor) learns she's the heir to Echoville Manor. Yuto, a wicked ghost dragon, is trying to fulfill a task that intertwines with the lives of Elizabeth, and those around her. When she and her father (J.R. Brown) arrive, she encounters Ghoster,(David Henrie), who implores her and her new friend, Mateo, (Josh Escayg), to help him find the light knife and destroy Yuto. They must work together or risk losing everything they care about.

My favorite scene is when Elizabeth and the rest of the "scare squad" forge a plan to scare away the bankers who want to take possession of Echoville Manor. The scenes are both suspenseful and humorous. The reactions and facial expressions of the characters to the hauntings are delightfully entertaining. However, some of the scare tactics didn't seem as though they would really scare anyone. Elizabeth and her father share a bond that is unbreakable, even in several trying situations. The actors work together to make this bond believable and touching. Elizabeth (Proctor) and Mateo (Escayg) also forge a great friendship and work well together in the film. The setting of Echoville Manor is well decorated to portray an older estate. The old furniture and details of many of other furnishings, like the mirrors throughout the manor, showcase the age well. The CGI is meticulous in detail, such as the spikes on Yuto which are very detailed. The background music and sound effects really capture the moods, especially the suspenseful ones. Some of the storyline is predictable but there are enough twists in the plot to keep the viewer entertained.< p>The message in this film is that it sometimes takes courage to do what is right and to conquer your fears. Elizabeth is nervous about the challenges she faces to defeat Yuto. However, she knows it is the right thing to do to help Ghoster, so she faces it head on with the help of her family and friends. Parents should be aware there are some scenes which may be scary for young viewers.

I give Ghoster 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18. Ghoster releases on Digital, VOD and DVD October 11, 2022.



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


FALCONER, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FALCONER, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
GRAVITAS VENTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - "The Falconer" centers around two best friends, Tariq (Rami Zahar), the son of a poor beekeeper, and Cai (Rupert Fennessy), a Westerner with a passion for endangered animals, living in Oman the summer before he is set to go off to college. They work together at a dilapidated zoo, blissfully separated from many of the troubles of the outside world. Their care-free friendship is challenged when Tariq promises to help his sister, Alia (Noor Al Huda), escape from an abusive marriage. Cai's worldview is pitted against Tariq's daring plan to steal animals from the zoo and sell them on the black market to help empower Alia to leave her marriage. They are forced to wrestle with morally complex choices that reveal the vast distance between their worlds.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From different worlds, separated by unique lifestyles, two friends model for viewers that no matter what divides us, we have a universal language that helps to form a strong bond. The Falconer, an award-winning adventure drama, is a one-of-a-kind film sure to wow its audience. It's the first international movie in history to be filmed entirely in this Middle Eastern town which alone sets this film apart from others.

Based on real life events, The Falconer highlights the friendship of two teenage boys living in a tiny Oman village and separated by other cultures outside of their small world. Tariq, an Omani teenager, the son of a poor beekeeper, is somewhat of the underdog within the relationship as his friend Cai, the son of Westerners, was born into an affluent world. Their passion for animals and the zoo that they work at solidifies their relationship and keeps them happy and shut off from the rest of the world, until their cultural difference becomes the wedge that will drive their friendship apart. Tariq's sister, forced into an arranged marriage, is being abused by her new husband and decides divorce is her only means to survive. Money -- which their family does not have -- is the only thing that can help her escape her marriage. The boys struggle with their moral conscience, but find that they can help Tariq's sister by stealing the zoo animals and selling them on the black market; however a line is crossed when Tariq decides to sell Cai's prize possession, the falcon he stole himself and dreams of one day setting free.

There is much symbolism in this film, which I find highly engaging. The falcon, for instance, is trapped in a captive life, much like many people who are born within a potentially hostile culture. This magnificent creature symbolizes the tension between a society that you are born into and the freedom that lives within you. This symbolism is deep-rooted and very authentic. What I also love about The Falconer is witnessing such breathtaking landscapes throughout the film. Some scenes are slow at times, but this allows viewers to take in the beauty that surrounds the actors and give us such an appreciation for Oman's landscapes and geography. Hats off to the cinematographers that capture such perfect footage. And a big two thumbs up for directors Adam Sjoberg and Seanne Winslow for creating such a timely, humanistic film.

The messages in The Falconer are about close relationships and cultural differences. Friendships are indeed critical while going through life, but those close bonds have limits and will always be second to family. Family is deep-rooted and sometimes complicated. We tend to only understand the culture we live in, and yet we must learn to respect our cultural differences with others. Parents should know there is some adult language in this film.

I give The Falconer 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Falconer is available now on a variety of streaming platforms.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-17
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LYLE, LYLE, CROCODILE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Based on the best-selling book series by Bernard Waber, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, starring Academy Award-winner Javier Bardem, Constance Wu and Shawn Mendes, is a live-action/CGI musical comedy that brings this beloved character to a new, global audience. When the Primm family (Wu, Scoot McNairy, Winslow Fegley) moves to New York City, their young son Josh struggles to adapt to his new school and new friends. All of that changes when he discovers Lyle - a singing crocodile (Mendes) who loves baths, caviar and great music-living in the attic of his new home. The two become fast friends, but when Lyle's existence is threatened by evil neighbor Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman), the Primms must band together with Lyle's charismatic owner, Hector P. Valenti (Bardem), to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places and there's nothing wrong with a big singing crocodile with an even bigger personality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is an outrageous musical movie that the whole family will adore, especially those who have read the Lyle the Crocodile books.

This film is based on the beloved books about the super adorable singing crocodile, Lyle (Shawn Mendes) who lives in New York City. Lyle can't talk, but he can certainly sing, and the first to discover that is an unemployed and undiscovered actor and magician Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem). After a failed attempt at becoming famous, Valenti leaves and Lyle is found by a young boy Josh Primm (Winslow Fegley), and they become best friends. But what will Josh's parents and crazy neighbor do if they find out? Watch to see

I love Lyle's character design. The CGI is realistic, yet cartoonish, and his face is so cute. I really enjoy his big size and chubby body as the animation makes his movements clumsy and unstable. My favorite parts of the movie are the original songs - "Top of the World," "Take A Look At Us Now," "Rip Up The Recipe," "Carried Away," and "Heartbeat" - and their respective scenes. Kudos to Shawn Mendes and the song-writing team for creating such fitting songs. Shawn Mendes, Constance Wu and Brett Gelman deliver my favorite performances. Shawn Mendes, as always, has an absolutely outstanding, beautiful and breathtaking voice, and I couldn't wait for him to start singing again in each scene. Constance Wu, as Mrs. Primm, is such a perfect fit for the loving and caring motherly figure. Brett Gelmen shows just how fitting the name Mr. Grumps is for his character.

The messages of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile are that joy can be found even when things seem hectic and overwhelming, and that friendship can be found in unexpected ways and places. This movie is great for the whole family. There are some scenes that may be a bit frightening to younger children.

I give Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Fans of the book will definitely enjoy this movie. It releases in theaters October 7, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is a fabulous musical film about overcoming your fears, to accept something new while pushing the traditional boundaries of what we call family.

The storyline follows a boy, Josh (Winslow Fegley), moving to New York City with his parents and being uncomfortable with new challenges like an unfamiliar home, crowded New York City and meeting new friends at a new school. Josh is a kind soul, but he's frequently afraid and lacks confidence. However he had no idea how much his life would change in a matter of days after his family's move to the new city.

This movie is funny; the music is contagious; and the love and care of one another is beautiful. The special effects and scenes of the film are incredible! What I love about the film is how Lyle the Crocodile (Shawn Mendes), with his special talent changes the lives of the main characters in the film. It starts with Hector (Javier Barden), a struggling showman who never gives up on Lyle's talent or his own and, after some bumps, learns the importance of friendship and family. Josh and Lyle become friends in a very awkward way and from then on never want to be separated from each other. Josh's Mom (Constance Wu) and Dad (Scoot McNairy) can't believe their eyes when they see Lyle for the first time, and their hearts open wide for the big creature. My favorite scene is when Josh and Lyle sing, without any fear, to the whole city. The trust between them is honest and cute. As in almost every film, a bad guy (and his pet) are around. In this case, Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman) - a very not fun and unhappy neighbor and his cat, Loretta, who almost destroy the show of a lifetime and a beautiful family. You must see it!

The message of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is "Trust and believe your family and closest friends; they are always looking out for you and your success."

I give Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters beginning October 7, 2022.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


MONSTER HIGH: THE MOVIE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MONSTER HIGH: THE MOVIE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Follows a half human and half werewolf, as she finally finds a place where she fits, but, when a devious plan to destroy Monster High threatens to reveal her identity, she must learn to embrace her true monster heart and save the day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Musicals are always a hit or miss for me -- they either invoke an uncontrollable cringe response, or completely engulf me in magical melodies. Monster High: The Movie is the latter. Imagine a colossal witch caldron filled with teen drama, hidden secrets, a monster with a vendetta, and true friendship. This film brews a mystical potion, enchanting the audience from beginning to end.

Unable to find her place in the "normal" world, Clawdeen Wolf (Miia Harris) applies to Monster High, a hidden school for monsters. There's only one problem, Clawdeen is half wolf and half human, and Monster High is strictly for full-blooded monsters. Armed with a deadly secret, Clawdeen attends Monster High determined to keep her skeleton in the closet. When her humanness begins to present itself, Clawdeen fears she will be shunned, or worse. Clawdeen will stop at nothing to rid herself of human half. With the help of true friends Frankie Stein (Ceci Balagot) and Draculaura (Nayah Damasen), Clawdeen finds comfort in being her true self.

Monster High: The Movie transports viewers into a fantasy adventure world. This film captures the essence of a typical high school, but is way more exciting. You cannot watch this movie without secretly wishing you could enroll as a student. Eager to find her place in the world, Clawdeen Wolf settles into her new high school and quickly makes friends with roommates Frankie Stein, who is also struggling to fit in. They later befriend a third dorm partner, Draculaura, only after realizing she too has a secret she does not want revealed. The trio has a mission to help Calwdeen rid herself of any humanness, and uncover a devious plan to destroy Monster High. The director, Todd Holland, uses well-choreographed dance scenes and catchy songs to tell a story of acceptance and perseverance. Monster High: The Movie models its characters after the infamous Mattel Monster High dolls. The characters' costumes capture the essence of these dolls; bringing a favorite toy to life. My favorite scene is when Frankie Stein, who is only 15 days old, struggles to understand what a "high five" is. I also love the scene where Draculaura magically makes a hideous pimple appear on the nose of the Monster High mean girl, Cleo De Nile (Jy Prishjulnik).

Self-acceptance is a strong message in this film. Many students in Monster High struggle to embrace their true selves. In the real world, teens grapple with fitting in, bullying, parental disappointment, academic pressures and identity issues. Monster High: The Movie highlights the everyday emotional battles of young people and does it in a way that empowers teens to love who they are, no matter how different. You should be aware that there is an LGBTQ+ marriage and same-sex kissing scene. Also, note that the movie is full of magic, sorcery, evil monsters and witchcraft.

I give Monster High: The Movie gets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 19, plus adults. This is a fun family-friendly film that everyone can enjoy. It releases on both Nickelodeon and Paramount+ on October 6, 2022.

By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


BLUE'S CLUES & YOU! RAINBOW PUPPY ADVENTURES

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLUE'S CLUES & YOU! RAINBOW PUPPY ADVENTURES       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NICKELODEON
Series: DVD, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description -
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Nickelodeon kids show Blue's Clues & You is back for yet another adventure with Rainbow Puppy. This DVD is full of captivating and fun episodes for younger children. Rainbow Puppy had such a positive attitude that it makes every episode so enjoyable to watch. If you are a Blue's Clue's fan or just a person ready for some adventure, you should check this out.

This DVD follows Rainbow Puppy (Brianna Bryan) as we watch her through multiple adventures with Blue (Traci Paige Johnson) and Josh (Joshua Dela Cruz) from "skidoo" to "skidoo" finding different clues to get answers to things. While she grew up in the Blue's Clues world, she's made it Broadway BIG in New York City! With a vibrant personality to match her colorful fur, she has a song in her heart and is always singing, dancing, and is positively bubbling with talent!

This is a great show for young children. The music in the show is one of the key factors that keeps the audience entertained. With catchy beats and lyrics, you will be singing along with them in no time. "Mail Time" and the theme song are definitely songs that get stuck in your head. I like all the different colorful places that they travel like Clue Lagoon and the colorful house they live in. This aspect could be something that audiences find appealing. My favorite character is Rainbow Puppy because she brings so much positivity and creativity to the show.

The message of this DVD is that life can be an adventure if you let it be an adventure. Blue, Josh, Rainbow Puppy and the other characters show that if you use your imagination and your creativity you can create your own adventures. This show is completely family-friendly.

I give Blue's Clues & You: Rainbow Puppy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. The DVD releases October 4, 2022. Be sure to check it out!


Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.96
Media: DVD


CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CATHERINE CALLED BIRDY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - The year - 1290. In the Medieval English village of Stonebridge, Lady Catherine (known as Birdy) is the youngest child of Lord Rollo and the Lady Aislinn. Her playground is Stonebridge Manor, a house that, like the family, has seen better days. Financially destitute and utterly greedy, Rollo sees his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. But Birdy, like all the great teen heroines, is spirited, clever, and adventurous, and ready to put off any suitor that comes calling in increasingly ingenious ways. Her imagination, defiance, and deep belief in her own right to independence put her on a collision course with her parents. When the vilest suitor of all arrives, they are presented with the ultimate test of love for their daughter.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lena Dunham's newest film Catherine Called Birdy tackles gender norms in the Middle Ages with tact and humor, making it a great introduction to medieval comedy for those of appropriate age to handle the gore and thematic elements.

Catherine Called Birdy, as you might expect, follows the 14-year-old Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey), whose nickname is Birdy. She's a tomboy to the nth degree, playing with her best friend, a goatherd, rolling in mud and dirt and scorning all that the Middle Ages would deem "ladylike" comportment. Her father, Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott), is deeply financially destitute and utterly greedy, so he aims to use his daughter as his path out of financial ruin by marrying her off to a wealthy man for money and land. What ensues is comedy gold, but also empowering, as Lady Catherine fights back against the repressive expectations for women of the time.

Lena Dunham's direction and Bella Ramsey's performance really add to this film. Dunham crafts every scene to be perfectly shot and cut, and the young Ramsey shows her talent as Lady Catherine, standing up to injustice and sexism with superb dialogue delivery and emoting throughout the film. I also love how the writers have crafted Lord Rollo's role; besides fueling the main conflict of Catherine Called Birdy, his character flaws make him perhaps the most complex character of the whole film. Andrew Scott works magic as Lord Rollo, especially in the final scenes of the film where the message is hammered in.

Catherine Called Birdy promotes standing up to rules you feel are unjust. There are some violent (but not graphic) and disturbing scenes, including a difficult childbirth.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

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

Catherine Called Birdy is absolutely hilarious! The film is light hearted and funny, with a star-studded cast. There is not a dull moment in this medieval comedy.

Catherine Called Birdy follows Catherine (Bella Ramsey), a 14-year-old Lady in medieval England. Catherine navigates life, dodges her father's suitors, and tries to find her place in the world as a woman. The film is based on the book of the same name.

This film is as hilarious as it is sweet. Catherine and her family are witty and messy. Catherine is a strong young girl, ready to make the best out of her situation. She loves her family and her friends, which makes audiences love her. Meanwhile, her father, Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott), is the funniest man in England. He's funny and crude, his comedic timing is on point. Each character has their own kind of humor, which adds to their dynamic. The best scenes are when the entire family is together and each one tries to lie through their teeth and diffuse the problems that Catherine has created. The costumes and wardrobe are another factor that makes this film a success. Each dress and accessory is elaborate and glamorous, effortlessly beautiful. Every Lord and Lady, members of nobility, has robes and layered dresses, showing their status as the elite rich. The wedding outfits are exquisite. The soundtrack is extremely creative. Modern songs are included with genres ranging from pop to rock. These tunes aren't overused and fit perfectly into the story and add more emotion.

The moral of the film is to make the best of every situation. Catherine watches the man she loves marry another woman; she fights with her best friend; her mother has several stillbirths - yet she still has a positive outlook on life. She's determined to have ownership on her life and never conform to the roles laid out for her.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

When you're just 13 years old and forced to grow up, life can be hard, but you have to make it through. Set in England's medieval era, this movie takes you through a year in the life of teenager who has to use her wits to get out of tough and almost impossible situations.

Catherine Called Birdy follows Catherine, aka Birdy (Bella Ramsey), who is being forced to marry a rich man, because her family doesn't have money. Birdy doesn't want to leave her home, get married or have to act like a lady. While dealing with puberty, betrayal and wanting to live the way she wants, Birdy has to find a way to change her father's mind before it's too late.

The main character is, of course, Birdy. I love the relationship Birdy has with her family, as well as her community. She's young and just wants to have fun, not fall in love, be formal, or have children yet. I love how she uses her voice throughout the film. My favorite part of the film is seeing the relationship Birdy has with her town and, even when she is playing in mud fights, or casually having fun with her friends. This film is based on the novel of the same name by Karen Cushman. It's a great adaptation of the novel and the costumes and setting really fit the era in which it is set. The storytelling method used for this film is creative, in that they feel like journal entries. While I agree it isn't the best for young viewers, it still has a good message behind it and will offer more mature audiences certain life lessons.

This film really drives home how you have to fight for what you want in life, and that it's okay for children to take their time growing up. Catherine just wants to have fun and live, not worry about making decisions that adults have to make, such as getting married and having children. She stands up for herself and doesn't give up, until her voice is heard. Parents need to be aware that it covers topics such as sexuality and abuse, plus has scenes addressing puberty, other adult behaviors and drinking.

I give Catherine Called Birdy 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Catherine Called Birdy releases globally on Prime Video October 7, 2022.

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

"Boredom is for the dull-witted"-- and the heroine in Catherine Called Birdy is anything but dull-witted! This timeless coming-of-age story which takes place in 13th Century England is witty and engaging. Catherine Called Birdy is relatable to modern audiences and kept me guessing while entertained.

Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey), known around the manor as Birdy, is a clever and stubborn 14-year-old girl who valiantly fights against medieval traditions for her independence. Her father, Lord Rollo of Stonebridge (Andrew Scott) seeks to find a foolish young man who will trade his fortune for a title by marrying off his only daughter. Fortunately, Birdy is not foolish and her rebellion proves to be entertaining as we see that her truest passion lies in avoiding chores, causing mischief at home and in her village, as well as routing her various suitors on her own personal crusade.

The incredibly clever screenplay, written by Lena Denham, is based on the book of the same name by Karen Cushman. Bella Ramsey, as Birdy, has wonderful comedic timing and utilizes the witty dialogue to capture the audience, while confusing her various suitors. I enjoyed watching Birdy's cleverness and frustration in overcoming social norms and assumptions from that time. All teenagers can relate to parent's expectations and interference while struggling against them. Lena Denham also directs the film and you can tell that it is certainly a labor of love. The scenes in the countryside and manor are quite beautiful and the cinematography, under the guidance of Laurie Rose, truly adds to the story and film. The set decorator Stella Fox, along with costume designer Julian Day, complete the audience's immersion into the manor and village of Stonebridge.

The message of this film is that you should not be burdened by the expectations of others - even if they come from those you love or feel an obligation to. Under pressure, Birdy doesn't fly the coop, but instead she stays and fights for her future and her independence.

I rate Catherine Called Birdy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film opens in select theaters September 23, 2022 and on Prime Video October 7, 2022. Don't miss this relatable and enchanting tale.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


FOR TOMORROW

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FOR TOMORROW       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON PRIME
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Follow the journey of grassroots innovators dedicated to fighting some of today's most pressing sustainability issues. Through actions, big and small, everyday change-makers are tackling local problems and inspiring their communities with ingenuity, resilience and vision. Whether it's a solar-powered car built from recycled materials by a self-taught engineer to combat air pollution or a line of cleaning products made from food waste by someone with no chemistry training, grassroots solutions are setting the planet on a more sustainable path. But for a real breakthrough, governments, global institutions and the private sector must recognize these innovators and actively seek out their ideas. From the streets of Baku to a farming community in the Andes and the mountains of Northern India, our documentary follows five innovators on their quest for real, actionable change. Their journey to innovation is never simple-how do you keep going when even your husband doesn't believe in your idea?-but the power of their vision keeps them going. Is the world ready to finally listen to them and change the way it handles and solves global problems?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - One of my favorite documentaries of the past year, For Tomorrow is an uplifting, inspiring and thought-provoking portrait of human resilience and innovation. With immaculate cinematography and compelling storytelling, young minds will be nourished by this wonderful film. Even the K-pop group BTS thinks so.

"Minds on the margin are not marginal minds." This line perfectly sums up For Tomorrow, which, yes, was promoted by the Korean pop band BTS. Following five grassroots innovators from across the world, this documentary, narrated by Daisy Ridley, strives to go beyond labs, think tanks, and name brands to show the real people making change happen. One, a disability rights activist in Baku, Azerbaijan, fights for the construction of elevators in metro stations to make public transport more accessible for the 620,000 disabled Azerbaijanis. Another change-maker is an inventor in Sierra Leone, working to bring electricity to rural areas and get more solar cars on the roads.

An Tran's direction elevates this already incredible film, as she creates mini-portraits of each of the innovators featured in the film, showing what their daily lives look like and how they tackle the challenges they face every day, whether that's mountains of trash outside or water scarcity. The cinematography is just WOW; it's clear that production was clearly highly valued. For Tomorrow was produced in association with the acclaimed platform fortomorrow.org and the UN Development Programme; the UN could not have made a better filmed or edited documentary to promote their site. I love how For Tomorrow both intertwines, but also separates, the stories of each change-maker. This makes the film easy to follow and constantly engaging.

ForTomorrow promotes finding unique solutions in, at-times, dire situations and empowers others. The world's biggest problems won't be solved with just one person's effort -- collaboration is the key.

I give ForTomorrow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. For Tomorrow is available Amazon Prime Video September 16, 2022.

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


HOCUS POCUS 2

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOCUS POCUS 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lock up your children and grab some salt just in case! Just in time for Halloween, the wicked Sanderson sisters are back in Hocus Pocus 2, the live-action, comedy sequel to the 1993 film Hocus Pocus. The musical performances in this film are to die for.

Hocus Pocus 2 follows the Sanderson sisters -- Winifred "Winnie" (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Mary (Kathy Najimy), as they seek revenge on the town that cast them away ... again. It's been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the 17th-century sisters, and they have a spell to settle. Three high-school students accidentally bring back the Sanderson Sisters to modern-day Salem and must figure out how to stop the child-hungry witches from wreaking havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow's Eve.

This film is perfect to get you in the Halloween spirit. In this sequel, we finally learn the origin of the Sanderson sisters, which helps us understand why they are who they are, why the sisters were banned from Salem as youngsters, and why they became involved in witchcraft. I love that the original actors who played the sisters reprised their roles here. With this film taking place 29 years later, it makes for hilarious moments watching the sisters get familiar with the "new town," such as watching them search for new beauty products to become younger and having young fans wanting to take selfies with them. The Sanderson's spell-bounding rendition and performance of "One Way of Another" (Hocus Pocus 2 Version) they sing to the residents at the festival is entertaining and original.

Hocus Pocus 2 is about friendship, sisterhood, and forgiveness. Many of their issues are resolved once the trio realizes what is most important to them and stop holding grudges. Even the high school teenagers have to realize they are better together than apart. This film also highlights the importance of reading labels and ALL of the instructions and spells; otherwise, you may miss an important warning. Parents should be aware of the reference to virgins that have to light the Black Flame Candle (but with a hilarious "parent-like" definition), which will probably have kids asking more questions.

Hocus Pocus 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. I recommend watching the original film, since this one has plenty of references to Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus 2 premieres September 30, 2022, exclusively on Disney+.

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

An exciting, heartwarming and nostalgic adventure, this film brings back old memories of day-one fans, and will captivate and capture a new audience as well through its wild fun journey.

Hocus Pocus 2 returns to Salem, Massachusetts where it all began. It follows the original film, after years have passed with the Sanderson Sisters being nothing but a spooky story. However, not everyone believes that they are just a myth, particularly Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy(Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie(Lilia Buckigham), who are three teenage girls that have always had a fascination with magic and witches. On Halloween they find themselves doing their yearly spell rituals, expecting nothing from them, when they accidentally find themselves bringing back the iconic Sanderson Sisters. The girls now must find a way to stop the child-hungry sisters from finding a way to stay alive forever.

The execution of this film is outstanding. Although it is a sequel, this movie truly lives up to the original. It continues the story with a modern twist, and still has that same nostalgic feeling. Years have passed, but watching this movie takes you right back, and the Sanderson Sisters weave their way back to the top. It's evident that Director Anne Fletcher fully understands the nostalgic feeling of this sequel, which we see in every aspect of the film. Another thing that really stands are the costumes. The time put into each and every detail is magnificent and all the accessories and outfits are so personal to each character; that is something that I personally really appreciate and adore! Lastly, I truly enjoy the constant comedic moments. This movie really gives the audience a good laugh. They really take into account the difference of a new generation watching this and play a lot with that aspect in the script.

The message of Hocus Pocus 2 is that "in the end, nothing is worth it if you don't have those you love most there with you."

Hocus Pocus 2 gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Hocus Pocus 2 now on Disney Plus+.

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

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


SIDNEY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SIDNEY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - From producer Oprah Winfrey and directed by Academy Award nominee Reginald Hudlin, this revealing documentary honors the legendary Sidney Poitier and his legacy as an iconic actor, filmmaker and activist at the center of Hollywood and the Civil Rights Movement. Featuring candid interviews with Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Robert Redford, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, Spike Lee and many more, the film is also produced by Derik Murray, in close collaboration with the Poitier family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sidney is an inspiring documentary that will ensure generations to come to love and appreciate the impact of Oscar award-winning actor, Mr. Sidney Poitier. The techniques used to tell his story, the events shared and the contributions to the film will keep viewers engaged. Described by producer Oprah Winfrey as one of the most extraordinary people she's ever met, Mr. Poitier would be proud of this documentary about his life.

Sidney reflects on the life and legacy of iconic actor, filmmaker, and activist, Sidney Poitier. Born and raised in the Bahamas, the film shows life for him once he arrived in the USA as a colored man and how he rose to become an icon and the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, despite racism and other obstacles. The documentary creatively tells Poitier's story in his own words from interviews from Ms. Winfrey's personal collection. Anecdotes from his family and heavy hitters such as Denzel Washington, Spike Lee, Halle Berry, and Oprah Winfrey herself included.

This film is truly a celebration of Mr. Poitier's legacy, the contributions he made, and a life well-lived. I love how the interview clips from the younger Poitier seamlessly blend together with the elder Poitier picking up the story. My favorite part of the documentary is the clip from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner when he says, "You think of yourself as a colored man. And I think of myself as a man," because it perfectly summarizes how he felt about himself and how he demanded other people to look at him. For me, this is what enabled him to break so many barriers and pave the way for other actors, including myself. The film does not hold back and includes some of Mr. Poitier's not-so-proud moments, which really help show the different sides of his complex life.

This film is about perseverance and being confident in who you are despite how the world sees you. I love that Mr. Poitier understood that he was not identified by his color and made sure everyone else knew it too, on and off-screen, even demanding scripts be rewritten to make his character stronger.

I rate Sidney 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Sidney on Apple TV+ starting September 23, 2022.

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

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


UNDER WRAPS 2

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
UNDER WRAPS 2       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY CHANNEL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - While Amy is preparing for her father's Halloween-themed wedding, she, Gilbert and Marshall discover that Harold and Rose may be in danger. An evil mummy is unexpectedly awakened and out for revenge.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As a horror film enthusiast, I must admit, I fancy a well-executed spooky comedy. If you are anything like me, Under Wraps 2 is a film to watch. This film really gives viewers just the right balance of Halloween fright, mummy madness, gut-busting humor, and friendship feels. If eerie films, impromptu dance scenes and happy endings are your thing, don't deprive yourself of watching this scary, family-friendly fun film.

Chaperoned by a kooky and delightful friend, Buzzy (Melanie Brook), best friends Marshall (Malachi Barton), Gilbert (Christian J. Simon), and Amy (Sophia Hammons) prepare to attend the Halloween-inspired wedding of Amy's father (Claude Knowlton) and his adoring fiance (Anotion Cayonne). Marshall, Gilbert and Amy are soon met with unexpected chaos when they crack a mystery museum burglary. The mystery reveals their best mummy friend, Harold (Phil Wright) and his doting mummy bride Rose (Rryla McIntosh) are in grave danger. These pals will do anything to rescue their ancient companions from harm.

This spooktacular live action film follows the trio as they race against the clock to save their mummy besties from the spine-chilling, evil mummy named Sobek (T.J. Storm) who was accidentally resurrected, by a naive museum guard, Larry (Jordan Conley). Sobek wants nothing more than to destroy Harold and run away with Rose, and with the help of a hypnotized Larry, he might just get away with it. The director of this film, Alex Zamm hooks viewers in from the beginning. His ability to make horror films fun to watch speaks to his creative genius. The comedic timing of the characters such as Larry and Beuller, the jeweler (Adam Wiley), gives the film a light-hearted element. There are several times throughout the film that viewers experience unanticipated twists that seem to fit perfectly. Under Wraps 2 has remarkable camera work that gives you the illusion that you're in the film with the actors. Also, the sound effects are so stellar you feel like you're watching the movie in surround sound. I would be remiss if I did not mention the realistic special effects. The mummy masks and costumes are detailed and frighteningly realistic. My favorite scene in Under Wraps 2 is when Harold and Rose order an astronomical amount of room service and end up in a synchronized dance battle at the town's Halloween fair. As a close second, there is a scene where a party of people experience a messy chocolate fountain mishap -- that is hilarious.

Subtly, diversity and inclusion are cleverly wrapped in the fiber of this film, which is overflowing with empowering messages. Under Wraps 2 reminds us of the power of friendship as these besties show us how real friends will go to any length to help one another, even when it means facing your deepest fears. It also reminds us that "love is love" and to never judge others, simply because they are different. You should be aware that there is an LGBTQ+ marriage and same-sex kissing scene.

Under Wraps 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. This is a family fun movie that everyone can enjoy. Under Wraps 2 released on Disney Channel September 25 and will be released on Disney+ September 30, 2002.



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


BOONIE BEARS, THE: MONSTER PLAN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BOONIE BEARS, THE: MONSTER PLAN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - The crazy scientist, Doctor Rex Vector, and his hamster assistant, Mister Pete, return to Pine Tree Mountain with Vector's new, evil invention: a robo-monster complete with animal abilities. But first, Vector needs to collect these skills. He comes up with a power absorbing gadget, which he often disguises, in order to trap and steal abilities from the innocent animals. Vick, Briar and Bramble, along with other animal friends, must stand up against this "monster plan" of Vector's. It's going to be a fierce fight between wild animals and poaching villains.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Entertaining, kid-friendly, and adventurous are just the words to describe the animated film, Boonie Bears: Monster Plan! From adorable characters to an amazing animation style, young kids are sure to love watching.

Dr. Rex Victor, the evil and crazy scientist, and his hamster assistant are back in Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 3 with a new, evil invention: a robo-monster with animal abilities. They are wreaking havoc on Pine Tree Mountain with their "monster plan" and it's up to the bear brothers, Briar (Rick Jay Glen) and Bramble (Justin J. Wheeler) to stop them. With Dr. Victor trying to create a perfect monster, the Boonie Bears stand up against him, which sends the characters into endless adventures.

This is a great film that's sure to keep young viewers entertained. Boonie Bears: Monster Plan is the third installment of the Boonie Bears: Monster Plan movie series. This is the most popular Chinese kid's television show and it's cool that it not only has been adapted into a film franchise but also is translated into English for non-Chinese speakers to watch and enjoy. I love the animation style as well as the voice acting which is very soft and cute, just like you would expect from a kids' show. My favorite part of this film is when Briar, Bramble and Logger Vick help save Dr. Rex Victor by dressing up as him and distracting the Badger from chasing Victor.

There are multiple messages of Boonie Bears: Monster Plan. The film shows how important friendships are and that they are something worth saving, because a friend is someone who is there for you and always cares for your well-being. It also highlights the importance of teamwork and how, when you work together, you can accomplish more, whether it's to help someone or to accomplish a joint project.

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and, since it is very kiddy, I recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can watch Boonie Bears: Monster Plan on digital platforms and DVD starting October 4, 2022.

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

What do you get when you combine a mad scientist, a crazed hamster sidekick, a pack of brave bears, and a forest full of animal friends? You get a lighthearted, adorable, funny animated comedy. Boonie Bears: Monster Plan is quirky and fun to watch.

The storyline follows Doctor Rex Vector and his dedicated hamster comrade, Mister Pete, as they set out on a vicious mission to create a robot monster. The wicked duo has a brilliant idea to steal the animal abilities from the forest animals and give their powers to the robo-monster. Led by the bears, Briar and Bramble, the animals join forces to prevent Doctor Rex Vector from stealing their special skills and taking over the forest they call home.

As a lover of animated films, I must admit that this cast presents some of the most unique and comical voices. For example, you might expect the bears would have deep baritone voices. Ironically, the bear characters in this film have high-pitched, squeaky voices; this makes them fun to watch. The storyline follows bear best friends, Briar (Rick Jay Glen) and Bramble (Justin J. Wheeler), as they team up with the other animals to defeat the evil scientist. This dynamic duo makes an excellent team and is incredibly entertaining to watch. They are best pals, but they are more like brothers. It is as if one bear always knows what the other is thinking without them having to say anything. Their connection ultimately helps save the day. My favorite part of the film is when the animals have an intense fight scene with Doctor Rex Vector, Mister Pete, and a weapon that fires jelly and ice. Despite a determined Doctor Rex Vector and Mister Pete, they are no match for the forest animals. The fight between the forest animals and the wicked villains kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

This film empowers viewers to never accept defeat. Doctor Rex Vector is relentless in his mission to steal the forest animals' special skills, but they persevere and never give up. The story reminds us that, sometimes, the only way to be victorious is to work with others. The animals alone are not strong enough to fight Doctor Vector and Mister Pete, but together they are a mighty force.

I give Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9; it is perfect for family movie night. Boonie Bears: Monster Plan releases on VOD and DVD October 4, 2022.

By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Boonie Bears: Monster Plan is a fun and upbeat romp through the forest! There are lots of fun forest friends and many loveable characters to get to know in this wildly popular animated series. You don't need to have watched the previous episodes to fall in love with these furry friends and join their adventures saving their home.

The story follows bear pals Briar and Bramble, along with their animal friends, who must stand together to defeat the "Monster Plan" of crazy scientist Doctor Rex Vector and his hamster assistant Mister Pete. Rex Vector returns to Pine Tree Mountain with his newest invention, a robo-monster, made with various animal abilities. Mister Pete is sent on a mission by his master to steal the best abilities from different animals and the Boonie Bears have their work cut out for them to defeat Rex Vector's technological wizardry and save their friends.

The animation in Boonie Bears: Monster Plan is really superb. I love the detail and the movement of all the various characters, as well as the beautiful forest backgrounds. There is so much detail and movement in all of the character's facial expressions. The forest scenes are so beautifully depicted that you can see each leaf and appreciate the depth of field. The voice actors in this series each take on multiple roles and really bring each character to life through dialogue and all their funny sounds. The music directors Kate Qin and Zhiping Li bring in a fun and upbeat tempo to the series as well.

The message of this series is that you can choose to do the right thing and follow your instincts. It is important to pay attention and learn your lessons while supporting your friends. However, friendship can be complicated and it is interesting to watch the forest friendships evolve.

I rate Boonie Bears: Monster Plan 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. These new episodes will be released on October 4, 2022.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99
Media: FeatureFilm


AMERICAN DREAM AND OTHER FAIRY TALES, THE

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AMERICAN DREAM AND OTHER FAIRY TALES, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
CHICAGO MEDIA PROJECT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Abigail Disney looks at America's dysfunctional and unequal economy and asks why the American Dream has worked for the wealthy, yet is a nightmare for people born with less. Using her family's story, Disney explores how this systemic injustice took hold and imagines a way toward a more equitable future.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever wondered if the cast members and staff at the "happiest place on Earth" are actually happy themselves? Well, The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales is the documentary you need to watch! It's eye-opening, and shocking, and exposes the wealth inequality among employees at Disneyland and other companies in the United States.

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales follows philanthropist and co-director, Dr. Abigail Disney, the great-niece of Walt Disney and the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, as she embarks on a journey to bring awareness to pay gaps between the rich and poor workers at companies such as Disney. The story starts in 2018 when Dr. Disney is contacted by Disneyland employees for help because they are struggling to afford food, housing, and even cover medical expenses.

This documentary uses videos of protests, court proceedings, cast member interviews, and experiences to tell the stories of how employees that help create the magic at Disneyland don't have fair and equal pay and how that needs to change. My favorite part of this documentary is seeing how all the workers featured were willing to share their stories, rally, protest, and even host food drives for workers to help make a difference. While most would be scared to make a film like this, I love the bravery it took for Dr. Disney to speak up and make these issues public, especially since the fight is against the company that bears her name and family legacy. It's a documentary that is sure to stun its audience.

The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales highlights how companies must have fair and equal pay for all employees. It's not right for people to work hard to make CEOs and others rich at a company and still have to be on food stamps and homeless. While there isn't anything for parents to look out for, I wouldn't recommend showing it to young viewers to avoid ruining the magic of Disney for them.

While the topics covered in The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales are very serious, somehow Dr. Disney and co-director Kathleen Hughes courageously deliver this bold film in a very easy-to-understand and entertaining format. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This inspiring documentary will debut first in Orlando, Florida, starting on September 16, 2022. It will be available in additional markets and video-on-demand on September 23, 2022.

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

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


RAILWAY CHILDREN

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RAILWAY CHILDREN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Inspired by one of the most beloved British family films of all time, Railway Children is an enchanting, moving, and heart-warming adventure for a new generation. 1944 -- As life in Britain's cities becomes increasingly perilous, three evacuee children -- Lily (Beau Gadsdon), Pattie (Eden Hamilton) and Ted (Zac Cudby) Watts -- are sent by their mother from Salford to the Yorkshire village of Oakworth. There to meet them on the train station platform are Bobbie Waterbury (Jenny Agutter, reprising her iconic role in the original film), her daughter, Annie (Sheridan Smith), and grandson Thomas (Austin Haynes), and with their help the evacuees are soon settling into their new life in the countryside. When the children discover injured American soldier Abe (KJ Aikens), hiding out in the railyard at Oakworth Station, they are thrust into a dangerous quest to assist their new friend who, like them, is a long way from home.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A heart-wrenching and adventurous new film set partway through World War II, Railway Children is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. The excellent acting highlights the emotional plot twists in the well-written script, and the time period is clearly depicted through costumes and props. Grab some popcorn, grab some tissues and get watching!

Railway Children follows three kids, Lily (Beau Gadson), Pattie (Eden Hamilton) and Ted (Zac Cudby) who are sent away to the countryside in England for safety during the war. There, although missing their mom immensely, they live happily with a temporary family. One day, while playing hide and seek in a train station, they discover a person living in one of the abandoned train carts. At first, they believe it is a German spy, but they later come to learn a lot about the boy, Abe (KJ Aikens), and his story. However, when Lily receives news that Abe could be more than he's let on, they have to decide whether to help him illegally or turn him in.

Railway Children is an epic combination of emotion and action. It pulls you in and keeps you watching and then slams you with grief. All of the actors who play the five leading kids, Lily, Pattie, Ted, Thomas (Austin Haynes) and Abe, are fantastic at conveying the sadness to the audience. Beau Gadson as Lily stands out as being a strong and emotional actress. In addition, the costumes, props and accents help express the settings and develop the characters. One example is the school uniform. Although they are all basically the same, each character has a spark in their outfit that matches their personality. This could be the hairstyle, headpiece, belt, scarf or shoes. The kids' costumes look absolutely adorable on screen, especially on the little siblings.

The message of Railway Children is that you can always make a stand and fight for what's right. Lily is a strong-willed older sister who is determined to help Abe no matter the cost. Teamwork is also encouraged in this film. What seemed like life or death disputes at school quickly dissolve when another kid is in need of their help. There is some minor inappropriate language and violence.

I give Railway Children 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus adults. You can watch Railway Children in theaters only on September 23, 2022.



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


HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
THE ROKU CHANNEL
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Welcome to Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer is just another one of the nobodies dreaming of a better day. But when she's unexpectedly taken under the wings of the three beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity finally start to come true. Until JD shows up -- the mysterious teen rebel who teaches her that everyone fears being a nobody, but its murder being a somebody...
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Bring Broadway to the small screen with Heathers: The Musical! Sit in the front row and witness the musical that took the world by storm. The witty and creative production continues to revolutionize theater and lives.

Heathers: The Musical is a musical theater adaptation of the 1988 film Heathers. When Veronica (Ailsa Davidson) wants to fit in with the cool crew at her new school, the most popular girls, the Heathers, (Madison Firth, Vanka Panka, Teleri Hughes) take her under their wing. As Veronica realizes that being popular isn't all it's cracked up to be, she tries to escape the clique she's become a part of, and soon finds that it'll be much more difficult than she thought.

Heathers: The Musical brings the off-Broadway production to audience's homes. The recording of the musical makes it easy for theater fans of all ages to re-watch their favorite play. The film really captures the magic of the theater and hits every mark. The live audience reaction adds to the feeling that viewers are in an opera house, watching the production live. The acting is colorful and easily defines the characters' personalities. Veronica dangles in the morally gray character. She's awkward and funny, but will cross the line between innocence and murder. Meanwhile J.D. (Simon Gordon) is someone who may not be the best boyfriend, but he's a character we can't help but love. All of the actors' performances are outstanding; they emphasize character development, belt out high notes and dance to difficult choreography. It's clear that every actor is a triple threat and enjoys performing for live audiences. The standout performance is Ailsa Davidson, as Veronica. She is a star and captures every scene she is in. Each musical number is fantastic and gives insight to each character and their life. The most recognizable song is "Candy Store." This performance upholds its reputation and proves why it is the most famous song of the soundtrack.

The message of the film is a reminder to be yourself. Veronica craved to be popular and, once she thought she had good friends and changes her entire personality, she realizes that what she really wants is to be herself. This film is inappropriate for younger audiences due to crude language, partial nudity, heavy sexual innuendo, murder and suicide.

I give Heathers: The Musical 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It launches on the Roku Channel September 16, 2022.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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


DISNEY PRINCESS: BEYOND THE TIARA

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DISNEY PRINCESS: BEYOND THE TIARA
EPIC INK
Series: BOOK, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - Everyone knows the Disney Princess characters, but how did they become the cultural icons we know today? From the Princesses Walt Disney and his artists brought to the screen in the 20th century, such as Snow White and Aurora, to the recent additions such as Moana, Tiana and Rapunzel, each Disney Princess character's influence has expanded beyond their original film. Each of their unique, individual stories create a fabric with the power to inspire our imaginations, spark social conversations, and empower us. Featured Disney Princesses include Moana, Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White. Organized by themes of origins and inspirations, re-imaginings, toys and collectibles, fashion, music, parks, fandom, and more, the book features memorabilia and interviews with Disney historians, directors, voice talent and fans. Explore the different eras, influences, and legacies of the Princesses with Disney Legends such as Jodi Benson (voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid and author of the book's foreword), Lea Salonga (the singing voice behind two Princesses, Jasmine and Mulan) and composer Alan Menken.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara is an enlightening book that gives you true insight into character design and animation beyond the ball gowns, princes, and tiaras. The reader learns about the process of Disney filmmaking from the steps of animating the characters to the fashion designers behind the classic "princess dresses."

Author Emily Zemler engages the reader with an abundance of colorful and appealing photos. These images help you recognize the immense amount of work you never knew was necessary to create your favorite princesses. My favorite part of this book is the chapter on the fashion designers and artists who worked tirelessly to create perfect dresses that matched each character and their personality.

This book would be a fascinating read for Disney-loving families or teens and adults. Each chapter of Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara describes a different element of this process including animation, music, fashion, marketing, and merchandising, as well as its famous theme park, Disneyland. Readers will enjoy learning about the development of animation from the early 1930s with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the early twenty-first century with popular films such as Moana and Encanto. It even offers the reader insight into how classic animated films have been adapted into modern live-action movies, many with actors we all know and love.

By including pictures, quotes, illustrations and memoirs written firsthand by Disney voice stars, every type and age of reader can easily engage in the storytelling. Although this book contains positive information about the Disney Princess franchise, it does not address the issues the company faced with complaints such as princesses having an unrealistic body image or the lack of diversity.

I give Disney Princess: Beyond the Tiara 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Kids under 12 would benefit from reading it with their parents. It will be available starting September 20, 2022, at online retailers and in bookstores.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 40
Media: Book ISBN # 978-0760373620


ANDOR

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ANDOR       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS DISTRIBUTION
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - The series explores a new perspective from the Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor's journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It's an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Perhaps the best Star Wars spin-off series so far, Andor's superb script, visuals and performances will grip you throughout its duration. The force is indeed strong with this dark, grounded show, which comfortably departs from the Star Wars formula in significant ways.

A gritty, layered prequel to the highly popular (and also prequel) movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Andor follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) on a five-year journey as he grows from a revolution-averse, shifty, cynical con man to a selfless, Empire-defying rebel against the Galactic Empire. When confronted with enemy after enemy, Andor continually proves himself to be the perfect sort of spy, revolutionary and killer.

Thank you, Tony Gilroy, for creating this series. It's simply incredible. Driven by mood, Andor seems more like a crime drama or a Ridley Scott sci-fi film than a true Star Wars film. Though the first two episodes are a bit slow and offer pretty low-stakes, with lots and lots of exposition, Luna pushes the series, one of his best performances yet, to excellence. Episode three, especially, is WOW. His power to add nuance to what starts as a one-dimensional personality -- surly dude disillusioned with his surroundings -- is remarkable. We're lucky he reprised his role. Adding a tiny note here, I love how Luna keeps his native Mexican accent in all his portrayals of Cassian Andor. It adds something to the role! The plot of Andor is simple enough, and this allows for both the trademark character development and world-building of the Star Wars universe and also the slow reveal of the Rebel Alliance forming. Stellan Skarsg�rd's portrayal of Luthen Rael is subtle without being dry, and he helps elevate the show and make it even more riveting. The production quality, much like the acting, is off the charts; every scene is engineered to be utterly stunning. Half the time the feeling of dread is offset by, "oh my goodness, look at the sky." All of this -- the new tone, new feel, new style -- might be too different for some, but the utter novelty is to be appreciated. Finally, the beautiful score by Nicholas Britell adds so much to the retro-futurism of Andor and makes the performances pop even more.

Andor promotes fighting for good causes, allowing yourself to be taken by passion, and leading others for the greater good. Beyond these lessons, it's also a master class (tonally, visually, sonically) for filmmakers playing in the sandbox. There are some sexual undertones in the first episode and violent scenes.

I give Andor 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Andor releases on Disney+ September 21, 2022.

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

Andor, a prequel to Rogue One, is the latest Star Wars-inspired series to debut to much enthusiasm from expectant fans. Despite some exciting cameos, though, the series lacks the boldness of its predecessors.

Andor follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), before he was known as Captain of the Rebellion. When he murders two officers and has an arrest warrant on his head, he meets Luthen (Stellan Skarsg�rd) who offers Cassian the opportunity of a lifetime: to join the early formations of the Rebellion against the Empire. Viewers will recognize the character of Cassian from Rogue One. In the film, he's witty, smart and callous. In his own series, however, he's described as being a playboy and smooth talker, though in many ways he doesn't really live up to that description; it's rare that we see him engaging or displaying these qualities. The series has some strong points. The CGI is extremely realistic, transporting viewers to never-before-seen planets. The fight scenes keep you on your toes, always waiting for the next blaster battle. In the past several years, Disney has produced outstanding and mind-blowing Star Wars shows like Obi Wan Kenobi and The Mandalorian. Both series have deep connections to the Star Wars universe and set the bar high for upcoming Star Wars projects. Audiences can decide if Andor meets the expectations set up by those series or not.

The theme of the show is to fight for what you believe in. In the early days of the Rebellion, there weren't many fighters for the cause, and it was a risky gamble to join up against the Empire. Cassian takes the risk to fight against oppression and to take a stand.

I give Andor 3 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Disney+ September 21, 2022.

Andor is the latest Star Wars story set between the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One -- it's fast-paced, gritty and compelling. Yet even with its fast pace, it feels like it's slowly building to a greater conflict over the course of the season.

Andor takes place after the fall of the Jedi, but before the events of the original trilogy. The show follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), long before he'll become a hero of the humble rebellion and sacrifice himself to procure the plans to the Death Star. In this series, both the heroic rebels and villainous empire are at very different places from where will eventually see them. Andor, after an encounter with some imperial soldiers that goes wrong, needs to get off-world and fast. After saying his goodbyes, he meets a man (Stellan Skarsgard) who invites him to fight the empire head on. Andor accepts, and he's thrust into a whole new way of living with secrets, danger and espionage.

Andor focuses its lens away from lightsaber duels and feuds between galactic royalty and onto the beginnings of a rebellion and how one guy plays a small part in the building of that grander rebellion. Diego Luna is good as the title character. He takes a relatively small character in Rogue One and makes him feel worthy of his own show. Andor's a little more naive and curious here, captivated by the minutiae of where and to whom his journey to rebellion takes him, but there's that same chip-on-his-shoulder cynicism that we saw in Rogue One. Andor doesn't seem as accessible to younger audiences as the other Star Wars stories and is probably best watched with the family--even with its share of comedic droids and puppet-like creatures, it's no theme park ride. There is less pure wonder imbued in it, but in Andor's case, it's a feature, not a drawback. Andor's a different kind of Star Wars story, largely set on the ground, about what people do when they find themselves under the thumb of oppressors and they don't have a lightsaber on hand.

I wouldn't say Andor has a lesson, per se, as much as it's about what Star Wars has always been about from the perspective of the rebels: Fight for what you believe in like you've got nothing else to fight for.

I give Andor 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend if for ages 12 to 18, for some violence and intense action. Andor's first three episodes release on Disney+ on September 21, 2022.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Andor is the latest action-packed sci-fi series in the Star Wars franchise. This twelve-episode series will entertain old and new Star Wars fans alike, as it did me.

Andor reveals the origin story behind Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). It tells the story of the key events that molded Cassian into who he is, including the struggles from his childhood as well as the people who change his life leading up to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This series is a prequel to the Star Wars movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so it's unnecessary to watch anything else in the franchise in order to understand what's happening. Unlike the other films in the Star Wars series, it doesn't jump right into a world we know or connect it to other films or series in this franchise, which gives it more freedom to explore this part of the universe. That being said, Andor has a complex plot that seems confusing and slow at first, but picks up excitement as the episodes continue. I viewed the first four episodes (out of twelve to be released), so I only got a small taste of this. The production value of this series lives up to the high standards of a Lucasfilm production as the sets and costumes transport you into the iconic galaxy from a long time ago, far, far away. I enjoyed how the audience gets to see a whole new part of the galaxy that we are unfamiliar with and know little about. However, I feel like the characters and the script fall a bit short. I don't feel as much of a connection with the main character as I would want to keep me engaged. My favorite performance comes from the new character, B2EMO (Dave Chapman). B2EMO is a quirky droid with a unique personality that is sure to become a fan favorite.

The messages of Andor are to stand up against injustice and protect what you care for. Be aware that this series has 0depictions of violence and death.

I give Andor 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This series launches on Disney+ September 21, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


FISHTALES: SEAL WORLD

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FISHTALES: SEAL WORLD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Topic - Family
Description - Alba the seal is leaving Fishtale Reef to go to Seal School in the big bay! All her friends in Fishtale Reef work around the clock to prepare the best farewell party for the adorable seal in Fishtales: Seal World! The latest in the acclaimed Fishtales series. Available on IN demand, DISH, and Comcast. Exclusively streaming for FREE on the FamilyEntertainment.TV app - available on Roku, Amazon and Apple TV.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fishtales: Seal World: Seal World is a very sweet show. It's geared for a younger audience than me, but I believe it will be a favorite among younger kids. Parents will like it too as aspects of it are educational.

The latest in the acclaimed Fishtales: Seal World series, the storyline of Fishtales: Seal World: Seal World follows Fifi, a bubbly pink fish, and her best friend Lily, a whale, who get news about one of their friends moving away. They go visit the Magic Pearl who is the only one that can confirm if this is true and if so, why? It turns out that Alba the seal is leaving Fishtale Reef to go to Seal School in the big bay! Fifi and Lily struggle with keeping the secret, but once the secret comes out they decide that they're going to throw Alba the best surprise farewell party ever.

I really like the way Fishtales: Seal World: Seal World quietly sneaks in life lessons threaded throughout the storyline. It's smart and yet subtle; perfect for a kids' TV show. I love how vibrant and colorful the entire show is - the backgrounds and the characters -- both in looks and personality. I also appreciate how detailed the characters are. Fifi is a fish and, obviously, her parents are the same type of fish, but you can clearly tell who is who because of the slight changes in color, eyelashes or headpieces. I really like how they paid so much attention to these small things. The same applies to the backgrounds. There are two rooms that look almost exactly the same, but have small differences, barely noticeable, but enough so you can appreciate it.

The message is that you have to be happy for others and want the best for them. Lily and Fifi are obviously sad that Alba is leaving, but at the same time, are happy she gets to live out her dream of going to Seal School. There are some really nice lessons for young children in the film - touching topics like secrets, not getting what you want and similar.

I give Fishtales: Seal World: Seal World 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Fishtales: Seal World: Seal World will be available on VOD and DVD beginning September 6, 2022. Go check it out!

By Alma K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Fishtales: Seal World is a film that really shows how people, or fish, can care for each other. It really speaks to my heart; what makes it amazing is how it has so much love and support for all the characters.

This show is about a fish named Fifi and a baby whale named Lily. They find out that Alba, the seal, is leaving and plan a surprise party for her called "Operation: Secret Party." All of this has to be kept secret from Alba the seal.

There are so many cool things to talk about in Fishtales: Seal World. First, there are so many minor characters, which is so amazing. Throughout the show the main characters, Fifi and Lily meet many diverse characters that help them out and give them advice. Second, there's even a moment where the characters of the show break the fourth wall and address the audience. For example, it asks kids to figure out a word starting with the letter "P" that means: asking nicely. Third, the animation is quite good and differs from other animation I've ever seen; it really showcases the marine life in a different, more kid friendly way. The voice actors, starting with Sarah Taylor, KJ Schrock and Simon Hill, are all so impressive. It can often be hard to figure out how a sea creature might speak, yet these actors manage to pull it off. The voice actor for Tickles, a starfish, has a very bland animated face but the voice actor really brings him to life by giving him more excitement and joy than his face portrays.

The message of this film is that secrets should stay secrets, especially if they're not yours to tell. We should always trust and care for each other.

I give Fishtales: Seal World 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. It is available now on DVD and digital.



KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99
Media: FeatureFilm


ORDER OF THE NIGHT JAY: THE FOREST BECKONS

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ORDER OF THE NIGHT JAY: THE FOREST BECKONS       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
AMAZON.COM
Series: BOOK, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Making friends can be hard for a nervous bear, even at summer camp. But Frank's about to discover a mystery... and the camp needs him to save the day!

Frank is perhaps the most un-bear-like bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. Actually, he's probably the ONLY bear Camp Jay Bird has ever seen. And there are tons of bugs, he's getting picked on, and he can't seem to earn a single badge! But there's Ricky, an excitable little raccoon who shares Frank's love of Mega Bunny comics. But Ricky's friendship might be more than Frank can handle. After breaking camp rules, getting lost in the woods, and discovering ancient secrets about the long-forgotten Order of the Night Jay, how will Frank explain all this to his dad?
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons is a heartwarming graphic novel that shares a tale of friendship, bravery, and discovery. Through detailed and colorful graphics, the reader journeys with a bear named Frank during his first experience at summer camp. My favorite parts of the book are the letters that Frank sends to his father describing his daily adventures.

Order of the Night Jay follows the protagonist Frank, a shy, anxious bear, who is just looking for some friends. Because he is the only big animal at camp he feels out of place. Teased due to his size, he worries whether he will ever fit in. When he meets Ricky, an extroverted and bubbly raccoon, his whole outlook begins to change. On an overnight trip, the two friends discover a secret code. What does this code mean? And most importantly, where will this code lead them?

Author Jonathan Schnapp engages the reader with earthy and original graphics. Even though the characters are animals, the drawing style makes their emotions relatable and their facial expressions almost human. By using letters home, we get a glimpse into Frank's mind. And Frank writes his own comic, within the comic, so we are able to see the creativity behind his quiet and shy fa�ade. The words he uses are ones we have used or could easily relate to. Each of the characters has a unique backstory and graphics, too.

This book is perfectly suited for any child who is about to start something new, like a new school year, a new activity after school, or even going to summer camp for the first time. The graphics are most appropriate for elementary school-aged children. The story could start a little more quickly, so I would encourage readers to keep going because the story gets good!

I give Order of the Night Jay: The Forest Beckons 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. It is available September 20, 2022 at online retailers and in bookstores.



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


MAIKA: THE GIRL FROM ANOTHER GALAXY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAIKA: THE GIRL FROM ANOTHER GALAXY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
WELL GO USA INC.
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Topic - Family
Description - After losing his mother to illness and his best friend to an unexpected move, a young boy discovers a crashed spaceship and makes a new friend with awesome powers (although she does need a little help with her earthly social skills). Together, they embark on a zany, fun-filled adventure while taking on the bad guys and helping Maika find her way home.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy is an adorable and impeccably-filmed story of friendship and exploration. It's the perfect sci-fi adventure for the whole family this September.

Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy follows the story of Hung (Phu Truong Lai), a young boy in Vietnam. After Hung's mother Hang (Elyse Dinh) passes away from lung disease, and he loses his best friend My to an unexpected move to Saigon, he discovers a crashed spaceship and makes a new friend, Maika (Chu Diep Anh), with powers. Together, they embark on fun-filled adventures while taking on various villains like the head of an aeronautical company before helping Maika find her way back to her home planet.

Ham Tran's direction truly ties this film together; even though the film is based on a Czechoslovakian TV series that became a cultural sensation in Vietnam in the 1980s and '90s, it comes across as an original film. My favorite part of the film was the special effects, as I think it should be in a sci-fi film. When Maika does her "magic," purple beams emanate from her fingers; it is beautiful! The performances by Chu Diep Anh as Maika and Hung by Phu Truong Lai steal the show; I was moved by Lai's emotive performance in the initial scenes where his mother is hospitalized, and An's chirpy, bubbly character stole my heart.

Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy promotes finding your own adventures, fostering positive friendships, and overall being a good, virtuous person. There is one scene to watch out for where Maika, unaware of Earthly social norms about clothing, pounces on Hung naked; she is shown from the neck up, though.

I give Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Maika: The Girl from Another Galaxy debuts on digital outlets on September 6, 2022.

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

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


WOMAN KING, THE

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WOMAN KING, THE       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Topic - Family
Description - The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Inspired by true events, The Woman King follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Oscar�-winner Viola Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life. Some things are worth fighting for....
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Woman King is a scintillating portrayal of powerful women protectors driving change in one of world history's most pivotal and often heart-rending times: the era of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Yet even through the beautifully-filmed and well-choreographed battle scenes, moments of love triumph and make this film worth watching.

Set in the 19th century in the West African kingdom of Dahomey, The Woman King follows the all-female group of warriors, the Agojie, and their general, Nanisca (Viola Davis) as they fight, not just against the rival Oyo and Mahi tribes, but foreigners who wish to destroy their way of life and take their people. Along the way, Nanisca must grapple with her past... and Nawi (Thuso Mbedo), a young girl among the ranks of the Agojie who turns out to shape Nanisca's future.

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood outdoes herself. Beyond being a film that does its bit to rectify historical exclusion of African narratives in Hollywood, The Woman King is a superb crowd-pleaser, with familiar thematic beats of moralism, love, and community and a fresh-enough take on the "historical war film." The sets transport viewers to pre-colonial Benin, and the cinematography, especially the use of light (inside the palace barracks) and color (the earthy tones of Dahomey's villages), further enhances the viewing experience. The background score by Lebo M. and Terence Blanchard draws on traditional West African music. It's simply goosebump-inducing to watch the Agojie charge into battle accompanied by soulful singing and the djembe and marimba. Good Lord -- can Viola Davis do no wrong? The highly-proclaimed actress is perfect for the role of the ruthless, defensive, protective leader; the emotional depth Davis taps into is frankly impressive. She hits all the notes -- trauma survivor, bereaved mother, sister in arms -- impeccably. Davis' character's more conservative, regimented, typically "top brass" attributes are beautifully offset by Thuso Mbedo's portrayal of Nawi, the newest recruit who seems to challenge every rule so carefully enforced by Nanisca (and isn't afraid to confront Nanisca as an "arrogant old woman"). Nawi and Nanisca's relationship flowers in a way that will make viewers say "aww" and though the two tussle every so frequently, the duo becomes the most lovable part of the film -- a tough contest. A close second favorite is Izogie (Lashana Lynch), a more experienced member of the Agojie, who is equal parts hilarious, profound, and sweet. My favorite line of Izogie's is essentially, "We all have a lot to cry about; it is better to laugh."

The Woman King promotes liberty, staying true to yourself, standing up for what is right, keeping your head held high (but your arrogance in check), obeying authority while also making wise decisions for yourself, and protecting those you love. Nanisca fights against King Ghezo's (John Boyega) vision to sell their prisoners of war to the Europeans for guns and other "valuable" goods, acting as a strong voice against racism and the commodification of humans.

I give The Woman King 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The Woman King releases in theaters on September 16, 2022.

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

Female power at its finest! The Woman King is a vibrant celebration of the fierce determination and courage of women. This action film combines a powerful story, vibrant characters, humor and melodrama and--believe it or not--it's inspired by true events.

In the early 1800s, an all-female military regiment battled against slave trading and protected the African kingdom of Dahomey. They were called the Agojie, and they served their king. Although they were the king's wives, they were confined to stay celibate. Leading the group of brave warriors is General Nanisca, gracefully played by Viola Davis. A young girl, Nawi (Thusi Mbedu), decides to be part of the army and through her journey we discover how the Agojies operate. She develops an intriguing relationship with Nanisca who trains the next generation of fighters and reminds us of a mother figure to all the brave army. When the kingdom of Dahoney faces the imminent threat to their freedom of European colonialism, they must fight for their lives.

In a movie industry crowded with latex-wearing super heroes, the down-to-earth tone and naturalistic cinematography encourages us to stay connected with the story. The score immerses us in an epic adventure while the audience vibrates with the sounds of the orchestra. The performances in this movie were absolutely captivating and energetic. The ensemble of actresses embodies diversity and personalities, some being more charismatic and stronger; others more vulnerable and funny. Viola Davis is the perfect actress to portray Nanisca and her mannerisms bring all the gravitas required to play this role. Thusi Mbedu plays Nawi with fragility and forcefulness, and Lashana Lynch in her role of Izogie refreshes the screen with subtle humor and flawless charisma. The script by Dana Stevens is based on a story by actress Maria Bello; together, Stevens and Bello remarkably find the most fascinating facts in the true events and deliver a powerful storyline with fictional poetic license. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood delivers an entertaining film, if somewhat overwhelming, with some crowd pleasing elements that may push the film as a big commercial success.

The Woman King shows women can serve their own passions like loyalty to their own country and principles and not focus on pleasing men. The message of the film is we can decide our own destiny, and that some things are worth fighting for. There are some strong violent scenes and brief nudity.

I give The Woman King 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 and up. The Woman King opens September 16, 2022 in theaters.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The Woman King is one of the best movies of this year! This is a story for all women that shows just how remarkable we are when we put our minds to it.

The Woman King is about the incredibly strong and incredibly daring all-female unit of warriors who protect the powerful kingdom of Dahomey (Africa). We follow the fierce General Nanisca (Viola Davis) as she trains new recruits and battles foes that threaten their kingdom to protect their freedom and survival.

This movie delivers on all aspects of a great movie - action, costumes, music, acting, storyline and more. It's based on the true historical events surrounding the remarkable warriors of Dahomey in the 1800s. The music is rhythmic and powerful, reflecting the African culture, ranging from lighthearted to intense. The sets and locations are breathtaking. The village is vibrant with color and bustling with activity. The palace, specifically the women's area, is stunning and feels like we are being transported back in time to a secret world. The acting is spectacular in so many ways. While watching, the acting shows that the women were not just an elite army, but they were sisters. Kudos to the stunt doubles as well, because this movie wouldn't be what it is without their incredible skills. Viola Davis (General Nanisca), Thuso Mbedu (Nawi), and Lashana Lynch (Izogie) all stand out for portraying their roles. Viola Davis, as General Nanisca, shows such depth in her character; she's caring, stern, loyal, adamant, sensitive and sturdy. Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) comes of age and finds herself as a young woman suddenly thrust into a soldier's role. Lashana Lynch, as Izogie, is one of my favorite actresses in this movie because her character brings an aura to wherever she goes.

The primary messages include the importance of fighting for what's right, discovering and embracing the strength of women, and working together to achieve a common goal. Strong topics of sisterhood and hard work are additional themes. Be aware that there is profanity, some very intense battle scenes, partial nudity and scenes showing sexual assault.

I give The Woman King 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases in theaters September 16, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


GUTSY

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GUTSY       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Topic - Family
Description - very empowering show for women that highlights household-name heroes and well as several unrecognized heroes
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gutsy is a documentary series worth the watch! It's a very empowering show for women that highlights household-name heroes and well as several unrecognized heroes.

Gutsy follows former first lady Hillary Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, as they meet "gutsy" women and answer the question: what it means to be "gutsy". They share the interesting and inspiring stories of admirable women throughout eight episodes.

The documentary is based on The New York Times' best-selling book, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite stories of Courage and Resilience, authored by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Some of the episodes include Gutsy Women Have the Last Laugh, Gutsy Women Refuse Hate, and Gutsy Women Seek Justice. Other topics explored include women being rebellious, taking leaps of faith, exhibiting their strengths and motherhood. It's fascinating to hear stories about people you didn't know outside of movies and shows, or even at all. Some of the interviewees include Dr. Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Megan Thee Stallion, Goldie Hawn, Amy Schumer, Kate Hudson, Wanda Sykes, along with many more accomplished women. Hillary and Chelsea Clinton are such natural hosts and make it easy to enjoy watching them.

The main messages are to be "gutsy" and to not let your hard times define you. There is profanity, and mature topics are discussed.

I give Gutsy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This movie comes out on Apple TV+ September 9, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


IVY + BEAN

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
IVY + BEAN       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
NETFLIX
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - Two unlikely friends, the loud and fearless Bean, and the thoughtful and quiet Ivy. Yet the two discover that an adventure can reveal that even seemingly different people can become the best of friends.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ivy + Bean is a three part movie series based on the iconic Ivy + Bean children's book series. Full of talented actors and a nostalgic plot, everyone can find something they enjoy in Ivy + Bean. Buckle your seat belts, because Ivy and Bean are two best friends that take the audience on a crazy ride.

Ivy + Bean is about two young girls with very different personalities. Ivy (Keslee Blalock) is quiet and reserved, while Bean (Madison Skye) is loud, outgoing, and a risk taker. At first, the two want nothing to do with each other. But once they realize they have a similar imagination, they become best friends and find themselves on plenty of adventures.

Ivy + Bean is a great family friendly movie to watch when you're just looking for some fun. The set design of Ivy + Bean is very well done, especially Ivy and Bean's houses. Both houses and the girls' rooms have a different tone, which highlights the differences between the two. Ivy has a lot of spells and ingredients in her room, but it is also neat. Meanwhile, Bean's room is animal themed and relatively more chaotic than Ivy's. This displays how Ivy is more reserved and organized and Bean is more wild and daring. We can also find examples of descriptive backgrounds in Ivy and Bean's backyards. Ivy has this nice area she calls her secret garden with paper butterflies and flowers that she takes Bean to. However, Bean mostly stays in her backyard with holes that she's dug and her tree houses. Props to the set and production designers for using these elements to expand the story. Having too many movies can sometimes backfire if they're long and don't have an interesting plot. However, the three Ivy + Bean movies have perfect continuity and each one brings something new. My personal favorite is the second movie, The Ghost That Had to Go, because of the involvement of all of the new characters and the craziness of trying to get rid of the ghost.

The message of Ivy + Bean is that having a big imagination and being willing to try new things can lead you to greatness. Both Ivy and Bean were hesitant before becoming friends. When they finally tried to see eye to eye, they realized that they have a lot in common, and could be a better duo than they thought.

I give Ivy + Bean 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. You can find all three Ivy + Bean movies on Netflix on September 2, 2022. So make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 15

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


PINOCCHIO (2022)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PINOCCHIO (2022)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Topic - Family
Description - A live action and CGI retelling of the beloved tale of a wooden puppet who embarks on a thrilling adventure to become a real boy. Other characters include Geppetto, the woodcarver who builds and treats Pinocchio as if he were his real son; Jiminy Cricket, who serves as Pinocchio's guide as well as his "conscience"; the Blue Fairy; "Honest" John; Sofia the Seagull and The Coachman.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our favorite wooden puppet, Pinocchio, is headed your way more real than ever in Disney's upcoming musical adventure of the same name! Fans will get to enjoy a breathtaking new version of the song "Wish Upon a Star," live-action adventures, and real-life CGI elements with this new adaptation of Pinocchio's story. We even get to learn how he gets his name. Pinocchio is perfect for the entire family to enjoy.

Narrated by Jiminy Cricket, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the film follows elderly woodcarver Geppetto (Tom Hanks) as he creates a kind-hearted puppet named Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) from white pine to become the son he never had. One night, Geppetto wishes upon a star for his creation to come to life. The Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) later appears in a stunning illuminated blue fairy dress to make his wish come true. Pinocchio must now prove he is brave, truthful and unselfish, so he can become a real boy, which sends him on an adventure full of mischief.

Academy Award� winner Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks have created another stellar film together. Pinocchio is the star, but his "conscience," Jiminy Cricket, also plays a key role in protecting him and guiding him to make the right decisions. He has his hands full as Pinocchio's journey leads him to join a puppet show, get swallowed by a whale, and narrowly avoid being turned into a donkey. Tom Hanks gives a phenomenal performance as Geppetto and shows his acting mastery as the sole actor onscreen, with all the other characters appearing in CGI. He is almost unrecognizable as Geppetto. One of my favorite parts is when all of Geppetto's clocks go off at the same time and each one has a connection to a Disney character or film. It was fun guessing the different films. The film stays true to the vibrant period-specific costumes that the characters wear. The music numbers and performances are engaging and fun.

Blue Fairy delivers the message of Pinocchio herself when she tells Pinocchio that, regardless of what you are made of; it's what in your heart that counts. Pinocchio's mission is based on him wanting to become a real boy to make his father proud of him, but learns that what is your heart and what you do with your life matters most.

I give Pinocchio 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Pinocchio's journey to becoming a real boy debuts on Disney+ September 8, 2022, as a Disney Day exclusive release.

The best film of the year arrives! The beloved tale Pinocchio graces screens once more in this beautiful live action plus CGI retelling from Disney. Audiences will fall in love with this story all over again.

Pinocchio follows Geppetto (Tom Hanks), who builds a puppet in loving memory of his son who has passed away. He names the puppet Pinocchio, and wishes on the Blue Star to transform the puppet into a real boy. When the wish is granted, and Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) comes to life, he learns what it means to be "a real boy."

This movie captures viewers' hearts and won't let go. The CGI animation is a cross between realism and classic Disney style art. While Pinocchio is clearly made of wood, his face is sweet with bright and big blue eyes, and the way he moves and bounces along is the perfect combination of realistic and animated. Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the cutest insect you'll ever see-- adorable and witty. Every character has brilliant expressions. Pinocchio is wide-eyed and curious, and the Fox (Keegan-Michael Key) is creepy and bares his teeth every chance he gets. The filmmakers examine these characters deeply and emphasize their traits and personalities in their body movements and expressions. The writing is as creative as it gets. Jiminy makes hilarious jokes and side remarks, and there's some modern comedy. Having comedian Keegan-Michael Key tell a Chris Pine joke is a highlight of the film. Another fantastic detail is all the clocks in Geppetto's shop. At the stroke of midnight, some familiar faces like Simba, Snow White, and Roger Rabbit appear. Keep your eyes open to spot all your favorite Disney characters.

Pinocchio has had several retellings since the iconic animated film in 1940. However, many studios don't understand how to handle the story. Pinocchio will look too realistic, and it becomes very creepy and unsettling, or the theme of film won't strike audiences as it should. Having the tale of Pinocchio back in the hands of Walt Disney Studios and Robert Zemeckis at the helm proves that, fittingly, Disney filmmakers best grasp the concept of what the story is all about.

The lesson Pinocchio learns is that it's what's in your heart that counts, not what you're made of. Pinocchio always believed that to be considered a real boy, he would have to transform from puppet to real boy; and to do this, Pinocchio has to prove that he understands the emotions and has the conscience of a real boy. Pinocchio grasps the concept of what it means to love and have friends, and he realizes that's enough for him.

I give Pinocchio 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. It begins streaming on Disney+ September 8, 2022.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The upcoming musical fantasy film Pinocchio, by filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, is engaging and fulfilling. This nearly two-hour long film brings viewers back to the original 1940 film, with a bit of a twist on the backstory and characters alongside Pinocchio. The film offers a legendary cast, which includes Tom Hanks (Geppetto), Keegan-Michael Key (The Fox), Luke Evans (The Coachman), and more.

The storyline follows Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) as he embarks on a thrilling adventure to fulfill his one true dream of becoming a real boy. Tom Hanks as Geppetto, the woodcarver, builds and treats Pinocchio as if he were his real son. The turning point in this film arrives as Pinocchio and his "conscience," Jiminy Cricket, both end up trapped in some sort of containment. After Jiminy Cricket is finally able to free himself, he immediately rushes to help Pinocchio. After being set free, they decide to make a run for it and get Pinocchio home. However, their plan quickly goes wrong and viewers will see in what way.

My favorite character is Jiminy Cricket (Jimmy Gordon-Levitt.) Jiminy, the long-time fan favorite, is not only Pinocchio's "guide" and sidekick, but Pinocchio also views him as a best friend. Jiminy's ultimate goal is to help Pinocchio become a real boy. However, with Jiminy's dedication to Pinocchio known to those who don't agree with Pinocchio's wish, such as Mangiafuoco, Jiminy becomes a threat which doesn't make his job to help Pinocchio any easier. Even though he is put in multiple difficult situations, Jiminy still manages to always find a way out with Pinocchio and proves his unmatched loyalty and resilience.

My favorite part of Pinocchio is the moment Pinocchio and Jiminy reunite with Pinocchio's father. It is the exact moment I feel a gush of hope and eagerness that Pinocchio will finally get his chance at his dream. Shortly after, this hope is diminished by uncertainty after his father is severely injured. However, through the power of his singing and with a single teardrop, Pinocchio is able to bring his father back--for me, those 15 minutes were the most aching and nerve-racking moments of the entire film. Finally, Pinocchio and his father embark toward home. Although he doesn't get exactly what he wants, Pinocchio gets his family back.

Pinocchio has many unexpected moments that will inspire different emotions. The message of this film is: You may not always get precisely what you wish for, but sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and decide if what you want is what you truly need.

I give Pinocchio 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. This film is set to be released on Disney + on September 8, 2022. Make sure to check it out!

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


GROWING UP (2022)

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GROWING UP (2022)       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Topic - Family
Description - Growing Up is an innovative hybrid docu-series that explores the challenges, triumphs, and complexities of adolescence through ten compelling coming of age stories. The series uses narrative, experimental, and documentary filmmaking to follow one casted individual, ages 18 to 22, as they tell their story. They represent a wide range of lived experiences, giving audiences emotionally powerful narratives that offer an engaging look at teenage-hood and the diverse social, familial, and internal obstacles young people face on their path to self-discovery and acceptance. Each 30-minute episode features one young person, or "hero," and their experience growing up. Each episode is anchored by a deeply personal interview that allows our heroes to walk us through their childhood and teenage years. Alongside these interviews, creative cinematic reenactments help bring their major inflection points to life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Growing Up is a very touching and well thought out docu-series. With so many inspiring stories it really speaks to my heart and made me think.

This series, created by Brie Larson, is about a lot of different heroes including Gavin Arneson whose story is about poverty, Sofia Ongele whose story is about meeting expectations and Amiri Nash whose story is about growing up Black and gay, along with many others. They all share their stories of growing up that ranges from living in poverty, or depression, and of friendship. Throughout this series there are many different lessons and stories to be learned and shared.

Growing Up incorporates so many amazing things. There are well thought out moments such as connecting to one's younger self. There is often an actor portraying the younger version of the person speaking and we see them hug or hold hands with each other. There are also many different reenactments that enhance the way the person's story is told like a prom scene or a summer camp scene. One scene that is particularly striking is in the Gavin episode, the last episode of the season, when he gives his graduation speech. Instead of finding the actual people that were there, the other heroes are listening to him. Then, to top the whole scene off, we see actual footage from his graduation speech. Another thing that impressed me is how these heroes are willing to share their stories. It can often be frightening to share your personal life story on screen for so many to see, and these heroes really stepped up to the plate. Another big part of this series is having a room where all the heroes sit to tell each other their stories; this room is shown repeatedly throughout the series and often heroes from different episodes talk to the hero currently sharing their story.

The message of this docu-series is to always be yourself, love yourself and know you are never alone.

I give Growing Up 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. This series begins streaming on Disney+ September 8, 2022.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


CARS ON THE ROAD

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CARS ON THE ROAD       Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
DISNEY+
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
Topic - Family
Description - Set months after Cars 3, the new series follows Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater on a cross-country road trip across the United States as they journey eastward to attend a wedding for Mater's sister. The episodes depict the characters in various scenarios, for example, them being chased by dinosaur-like cars. It is set in new locations with a multitude of new characters, including their new friend Ivy, a girl monster truck who travels with them, as well as featuring the return of already established characters from the franchise.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Get ready to go "Lightning" fast when you watch Cars on the Road, a new spinoff series from Disney/Pixar. With nine episodes ranging around ten minutes in length, this show is perfect for pre-existing Cars fans and younger kids. The catchy tunes are a wonderful backing for the colorful animation and short stories happening on screen. Get comfortable in your seat because Cars on the Road will keep you riveted with its action and adventure.

Cars on the Road follows Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) as they go on a long road trip to attend Mater's sister's wedding. A distinct mini-plot takes up the majority of each individual episode, with the only overlapping plot points being the roadtrip. One of the best episodes involves a well-developed character who discovers her inner self and finds where she belongs. With appearances of other characters from the original Cars movies, as well as many brand new characters, Cars on the Road is sure to keep you watching.

Cars on the Road has some of the most real looking, 3D-seeming animation I've ever seen. In one of the episodes, Lightning and Mater arrive at a speed stop, where cars are getting attachments in order to drive faster. They stop to talk and there's a building and trees in the background. It is truly stunning how much the cars look like they are popping off the screen. The animation throughout the show is also colorful and fun, setting a cheerful tone. However, when the show hits a couple of dark moments, that cheerful color vanishes, replaced by a dark and gloomy feel. So, not only is the animation pleasing for the eyes, it helps to tell the story with changes in moods. On the other side of things, the music is so upbeat and fun. It's engaging and catchy. The theme song that plays at the beginning of each episode is the perfect short clip for this show. On top of that, there are a few other songs spread throughout that have to do with that episode's story. They are naturally included, and I always look forward to when the next song will appear. The animated dancing that goes along with these songs is also pretty brilliant. To put a cherry on top, the acting performances are wonderful. A few of the original Cars actors star in this show, as well as plenty of actors new to the Cars world. They make their characters' personalities funny, vulnerable, sweet and always lovable by kids. One character and acting performance that stands out as adding positive energy to the show is Ivy, who is played by Quinta Brunson. She gives the already lively character her own personal spark. Ivy truly shines throughout the show.

Cars on the Road is definitely a perfect pick for a young child. There are vital messages that are clearly conveyed in each episode. Sometimes, the characters even talk about that episode's lesson and reflect on how they could've been a better friend or sister. Among many others, teamwork, healthy friendships and knowing that your opinion isn't the only opinion are some of the primary themes of Cars on the Road.

I give Cars on the Road 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. Three-two-one-GO! have some fun watching Cars on the Road exclusively on Disney+ beginning September 8, 2022.



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



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