The Family category has 2502 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
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AMERICAN DREAM AND OTHER FAIRY TALES, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AMERICAN DREAM AND OTHER FAIRY TALES, THE
1 SOUL PRODUCTION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
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.
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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
BLUE FOX ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
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
101 STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
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...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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 ACG FEST
Series: BOOK, AGES 12-18
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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS DISTRIBUTION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
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
WOW NOW ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
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
AMAZON.COM Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: BOOK, AGES 8-12
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
WELL GO USA INC. Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
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
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
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....
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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
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - very empowering show for women that highlights household-name heroes and well as several unrecognized heroes
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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
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-18
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.
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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)
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
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.
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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)
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
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.
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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
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
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.
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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


SURFSIDE GIRLS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SURFSIDE GIRLS
APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - Follow Jade and Sam, who are psyched to spend their summer riding the waves and catching the rays. That is until they meet a ghost. The girls dive head first into a mystery about a pirate ship and a cursed treasure.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Surfs up! Perfect for the end of summer break, Surfside Girls is here with a great summer-ending, wild adventure that will take you on a magical, action-packed journey with plenty of secrets to uncover. Based on the best-selling young middle school graphic novel of the same name, this new Apple TV+ series will have you wanting to relive summer all over again.

Surfside Girls follows best friends, Samantha "Sam" Torres (YaYa Gosselin) and Jade Lee (Miya Cech), who are looking forward to surfing and enjoying the summer weather. That is until Sam finds a "magic" coin that leads them on a supernatural, mysterious adventure, complete with a pirate ghost, cursed treasure and a booby-trapped room. Also, the friends are slowly drifting apart because Jade is meeting new friends and maturing faster than Sam. Will they solve the mystery and save their friendship?

Surfside Girls will inspire viewers to go on their own adventures and discover more about their own towns. The main characters are Sam and Jade. Sam is adventurous and slightly care-free, while Jade is the more serious one. Despite their extreme differences, viewers will love both characters and relate to each of their experiences. The visual and special effects are very realistic and even hilarious at times, especially in one episode when Jade's book-bag becomes stuck to the magnetic force of a huge rock -while she's wearing it. I love how the series has afterlife aspects, such as the pirate ghost or the girls having the supernatural powers to travel through walls and time. My favorite parts are the cool rooms and secrets Sam and Jade explore throughout their journey. While this series mostly focuses on solving the mystery in Surfside, the main characters love surfing as well. Seeing their passion for it and how it's one of the things that draws them together is very heartwarming.

This series explores how true friendships are based on accepting and celebrating each other's differences. Sam and Jade couldn't be more different, and they are still best friends, not clones. Their Surfside adventure is just what they need to learn from their mistakes, forgive and bond with each other and even learn more about themselves.

I rate Surfside Girls 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it now on Apple TV+.



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


SONGBIRDS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SONGBIRDS
GRAVITAS VENTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - The Songbirds guitar museum hosted the world's largest collection of vintage guitars. Covid-19's devastating blow to the music industry forced the museum to permanently close. This documentary film explores the final hours and cultural impact of this special collection.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Songbirds is a touching documentary film about the world's largest collection of vintage guitars housed in the museum of the same name located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The film is written and directed by Dagan Beckett, who has a special connection with the place and was able to write, produce and film the documentary in record time: just two weeks before the museum closed its doors in 2020. The result is a love letter to the guitars, to his hometown and to a legacy that extends the life of the museum in a sort of digital memento.

Beckett is a professional musician and also a filmmaker, so combining both disciplines generates a fascinating work for all music lovers, young and old. Over 1,500 guitars, including rare and vintage are part of the collection and displayed throughout the film. The narration combines interviews with historians, artists, visitors and workers with footage of the museum with music clips of live bands that performed at the venue. The audience discovers how guitars are made, how they change through the years and why they mean so much to artists. Opened in 2017 and closed due to the pandemic, Songbirds was a museum like no other, but the maintenance of these relics requires a lot of effort and the operative cost was impossible to maintain during the pandemic, forcing Songbirds to close and relocate the guitars.

What I love the most is how Songbirds captures the emotion of how visitors experienced the opportunity to visit, work or simply be around this unprecedented collection of guitars that hold so much history and beauty. The documentary provides the viewer with the joy of discovering all these treasures, and the stories behind them, which produces a connection to these guitars through images and testimonies. For musicians like Joe Bonamassa, Vince Gill, John 5 and John Schneider, among others, Songbirds was like an artist's playground--while having all these special guests in the film sharing their thoughts was another challenge for the director.

Songbirds has received five awards including a regional EMMY in the Documentary Film-Topical category and is part of the official selection of multiple film festivals around the world. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Songbirds is now available on multiple streaming platforms in VOD including iTunes.

By Zo� C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


GIGI & NATE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GIGI & NATE
ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Nate Gibson's life is turned upside down after he suffers a near-fatal illness and is left a quadriplegic. Moving forward seems impossible until he meets his unlikely service animal, Gigi - a curious and intelligent capuchin monkey - who helps Nate find what he needs most: hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gigi & Nate is an uplifting movie with an encouraging message. This movie will put you through a range of emotions, and may even bring on the "waterworks."

After barely surviving a tragic accident that left him paralyzed, Nate Gibson (Charlie Rowe) has nothing worth living for, until he meets Gigi, a capuchin monkey. The two develop an inseparable bond, but not everyone's a fan of the relationship. Can Gigi and Nate stay together?

This movie is inspired by the organization Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled which helps to match people with disabilities to monkeys who will help them in their day to day life. The special effects are so impressive as I could barely tell when it switched from CGI to real life. Allie (who plays Gigi), the adorable capuchin monkey, makes her acting debut in this movie, and she is trained incredibly well. Too bad for Allie that there aren't Oscars for animals, because she would win one! Kudos to Allie's trainers for making her actions seem so organic and natural! The chemistry with Charlie Rowe (Nate) and Allie feels so real that sometimes I forget I'm watching a fictional movie and not a documentary.

The primary message of Gigi & Nate is to never give up - whether that means on yourself or on something you believe in. This movie has some profanity, alcohol consumption and attempted suicide.

I give Gigi & Nate 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Gigi and Nate comes out in theaters September 2, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 114 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: DVD


BREAKING
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BREAKING
BLEECKER STREET MEDIA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - When Marine Veteran Brian Brown-Easley is denied support from Veterans Affairs, financially desperate and running out of options, he takes a bank and several of its employees hostage, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Based on the true story.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Breaking is an intense and emotional film, filled with many levels of suspense that constantly grab the audience's attention.

Breaking, based on a true story, follows the main character Brian (John Boyega), an ex-Marine struggling after being discharged due to injury. After being turned down for financial support by the Veteran Affairs office, Brian has had enough. In order to get money he feels his only choice is to lock himself in a bank with two of its employees as hostages. While doing so, Brian manages to get the attention of police officers, FBI agents, firefighters and newscasters in order to make his situation known to the VA offices.

Breaking has an outstanding storyline. The execution of the meaning and message behind it--about how dysfunctional the VA offices can be-- is done really well. It definitely has an effect on audiences and educates us on this extremely important topic. Furthermore, the acting in this film is phenomenal--every single actor has such strong talent. They really lock you in with their words and emotions. Brian's character, especially, has so many different layers to him, and each one is showcased so well, and feels so believable. Finally, Abi Damaris Corbin's direction is one of my favorite aspects of the movie. Each angle feels so specific and his direction sets the tone strongly. For instance, a scene would zoom in on particular things, which not only highlights those actions, but makes the film feel overall more realistic and natural.

The message of Breaking is to never give up on what you believe is right. This film includes profanity and gunshots.

I give Breaking 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Breaking in theaters August 26, 2022.

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

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


SUMMERING
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SUMMERING
BLEECKER STREET MEDIA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - As their last summer before middle school comes to a close, four best friends face the uncertainties of growing up and embark on their biggest adventure yet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - We all know what it's like to face change and challenges. And we always desire the best possible outcome from a predicament. Summering tells a relatable story about young girls finding their way through a challenge, while delivering a distinctive storyline.

Summering focuses on four best friends Dina (Madalen Mills), Lola (Sanai Victoria), Mari (Eden Grace Redfield), and Daisy (Lia Barnett) who are about to start middle school. With that comes plenty of questions and new challenges. On the weekend before school starts, the girls find themselves embarking on a peculiar adventure. These four best friends must work together to find the answer to their mystery and prepare for this new chapter in their lives.

Even though the characters in Summering are facing a fictional and fantasy-like situation, the plot is still somewhat relatable. These four best friends have to explore themselves and find out who they really are as they are growing older. They know that it is best to go on this journey together, but they worry about what obstacles will get in the way. Dina, Lola, Mari and Daisy also all have specific issues present in their life, making their friendships even more crucial. Anybody that is going through significant changes, no matter if they are young or old, can find something applicable to their lives in this story. The plot of Summering does seem a bit incomplete and choppy at certain parts of the film--the main mystery and conflict aren't really resolved which can leave viewers confused after watching. The background music of the film is particularly interesting as it matches the tone of the film and the events taking place in the scenes. Summering has a darker style, and the dark music compliments that--"props" to Drum & Lace for providing this high-quality soundtrack.

The message of Summering is that a lot of times opposites attract. Dina, Lola, Mari, and Daisy need each other to balance themselves out. Each brings something different to the friend group, ultimately bringing them all closer together.

I give Summering 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. This film has minimal mild language and a middle school to high school demographic would enjoy it. You can find Summering in theaters now. So make sure you check it out!

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Just in time for back-to-school season, the new adventure film, Summering, is here to throw a plot twist into your summer adventures! Summering has a strong cast and loads of twists and turns. Even when the movie seems to be slowing down, something surprising happens.

Summering follows four best friends who are reaching the end of their summer break. With many events and drama amongst family members, including keeping secrets, the characters try to make the best of their last week of summer. One particular day, they head to the woods to leave memorabilia at a tree. While in the woods, the kids come across a man's dead body and set off on a mysterious adventure to discover his identity.

The leading young ladies in Summering are Daisy (Lia Barnett), Dina (Madalen Mills), Lola (Sanai Victoria) and Mari (Eden Grace Redfield). Overall, this movie is very interesting with multiple plots. Even though the plot doesn't answer many of the questions that are being uncovered, it still portrays the friendships and adventurous side of the four main characters. The parents in the film are interesting, too; they love watching their kids grow up together and seeing how they are just like them when they themselves were younger. There is a scene where the parents are peering upstairs and enjoying hearing their kids laughing and having fun together. Fun fact: This was the first film director, James Ponsoldt, has made for a young audience.

Summering touches on how friends are always there for you--the four girls are always finding ways to help and support each other when needed. And this film delivers the messages that things can always change, and that telling and knowing the truth is important. For example, Daisy's mother was not honest and kept a huge secret from her. The truth would have been less harmful and possibly saved Daisy from making poor decisions. Things parents must look out for are kids using a gun, a bar scene, creepy flashing images, the showing of a dead body, and the topic of suicide.

I give Summering 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Summering is now playing in theatres.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9
Media: FeatureFilm


SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SHE-HULK: ATTORNEY AT LAW
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - In Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) --an attorney specializing in superhuman-oriented legal cases --must navigate the complicated life of a single, 30-something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is a series that jumpstarts into action. It's an adrenaline-fueled, adventurous journey that ties into Marvel superhero movies. The series tells the engaging story about a lawyer who might lose her job due to some very interesting conditions.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law features Jennifer Walters, an attorney living in Los Angeles. Jen happens to be the cousin of Bruce Banner (the Hulk). Unexpectedly, Jen and Bruce got into a car crash. After the crash, some of Bruce's blood got into Jen's wounds, which caused her to transform into an adapted version of the Hulk--hence, the name She-Hulk.

The main characters in this series are She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga), Titania (Jameela Jamil) and Abomination (Tim Roth). These actors impersonate their characters incredibly well. Additionally, the sets and animation are extremely realistic. When there is a fight, the animation made my heart beat super fast. In the first episode, my favorite part is when Bruce is training Jen to learn how to control the intense amount of strength she has. After demonstrating how to throw boulders, for example, she adapts quickly, and sometimes even does the exercise better than the Hulk himself. I also appreciate the quote when Bruce proclaims that what triggers turning into a hulk is anger and fear, and Jen responds, "Those are like the baseline of any women existing." It's hilarious and also true. I would recommend watching previous Marvel movies, especially the ones that include the Hulk. However, it's not a necessity, although it would help knowing the backstory of how hulks were created.

The message of this series is that females can be strong, too. I believe that the "She-Hulk" nickname isn't merely random, but has a meaning to it, which is female empowerment. Furthermore, this series establishes that women's emotions are normal, and that it is okay to have strong feelings, including anger. There is a lot of fighting and violence, and it has rough language. If young kids have seen other Marvel movies with parent/guardian approval, they should be fine watching this series.

I give She-Hulk: Attorney at Law 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law begins streaming on Disney+ August 18, 2022. Each upcoming episode streams every Thursday after that.

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

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


PETITE MAMAN
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PETITE MAMAN
NEON Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - C�line Sciamma continues to prove herself as one of the most accomplished and unpredictable contemporary French filmmakers with her follow up to PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, the uniquely emotional, PETITE MAMAN. Following the death of her beloved grandmother, 8-year-old Nelly accompanies her parents to her mother's childhood home to begin the difficult process of cleaning out its contents. As Nelly explores the house and nearby woods, she is immediately drawn to a neighbor her own age building a treehouse. What follows is a tender tale of childhood grief, memory and connection.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Petite Maman is a warm bundle of cinematic magic. Director Celina Sciamma's French coming of age sci-fi hybrid never gets too bogged down in tedious specifics of its fantastical set-up. Petit Maman bends time to tell the story about the bond between a daughter and her mother that transcends it.

Petite Maman, which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Middleburg Film Festival, centers itself around a little girl named Nelly (Josephine Sanz) and her family, reeling after the death of a loved one, as they spend some time in Nelly's mother's childhood home. Nelly's mother leaves the family behind in the midst of the immense grief she's suffering, leaving her husband and daughter with little idea of when she'll return. In the meantime, Nelly ventures into the woods, where she meets and begins to pal around with a young girl, who she learns, by some twist of cosmic fate, is a much younger version of her own mother, who faces trials of her own. A single stretch of woods bridges decades between them. Together, they try to help each other cope in these moments of personal turmoil and Nelly can maybe get to understand why her mother left and what she's going through. This movie quite literally follows its two leads after their meeting, making food, building forts, making believe. Petit Maman uses those pastimes of youth to hit audiences with a surprisingly layered exploration of something as monumental as grief from a kid's perspective.

I loved, loved, loved the setup of this movie--it doesn't ever seek to explain how Nelly and this younger version of her mother meet in terms of time and space, but it uses that heightened concept to speak to something more human. Here, two children reckon with fear and their powerlessness in the conflicts they face, and in the comfort and security they give each other lies the courage to face them.

The lesson of Petite Maman is just to be there for the people you love in times of great difficulty.

I give Petite Maman 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It's an understated, but moving little gem that I hope doesn't escape people's radar. Petite Maman is currently streaming on various VOD platforms including iTunes and Vudu.

Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


13: THE MUSICAL
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
13: THE MUSICAL
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - 13: The Musical centers on Evan Goldman, who, after his parent's divorce, moves from NYC to small-town Indiana and must master the complex social circles of his new school and win friends by turning his Bar Mitzvah into the coolest party of the year. McNellis plays Lucy, a popular and mischievous cheerleader who has a crush on the boy that her best friend Kendra also likes. She plots an elaborate scheme to prevent them from kissing, roping in an unwitting Evan. The role, which originally starred Elizabeth Gillies on Broadway, also features one of the most elaborate and impressive musical numbers (Opportunity) of the whole film, with Frankie leading the song and dance routine.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - 13: The Musical is the perfect teen film! A relatable protagonist and outstanding acting help audiences see themselves in this movie. Elaborate choreography and an ensemble of young actors make you feel like you're watching a Broadway production.

13: The Musical follows Evan Goldman (Eli Golden), a twelve-year-old boy whose life has been turned upside down when his parents divorce. He prepares for his bar mitzvah and moves from New York to Indiana as he tries to figure out who he is and what he wants from life.

This film hits every mark. The soundtrack is upbeat with catchy tunes; the dance numbers are exciting; and the acting takes center stage. Eli's performance as Evan is remarkable as it's light and relatable. He's a triple threat as his acting, singing, and dancing are superb. He's a rising star. Everyone can remember themselves as being thirteen when watching Eli portray Evan. The film is a perfect translation of the Broadway show. Every dance and song capture the greatness of its predecessor.

This film sets standards for what movies aimed at teenage audiences should be. This accurate representation of kids transitioning into teens is what viewers crave watching. Evan's desire for independence and uncertainty of who he's supposed to be is a bright take on our youthful years. He struggles with his parents' divorce and moving to a new town. He learns what it means to be a good friend and what love really is. His friend, Patrice (Gabriella Uhl), really steals the show. She's funny and kind, the type of friend anyone would want to have. Her chemistry with Evan makes viewers want more of this unlikely duo. This movie is visually beautiful. Every character wears bright colors; the lighting balances out the wardrobes, turning each scene into aesthetic pastel shots. Each character shines in their own way, intriguing viewers to find out more about them. All their personalities make this friend group as interesting as possible. Other standout cast members include Rhea Perlman, Josh Peck, Debra Messing and Lindsey Blackwell.

The moral of the film is that it's okay to not know who you are. Evan tries to solve all of his problems before his bar mitzvah. Throughout the movie he learns that life is messy and fun and to enjoy every moment of it. I give 13: The Musical 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It begins streaming on Netflix August 12, 2022.

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

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


NEVER HAVE I EVER: SEASON 3
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEVER HAVE I EVER: SEASON 3
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 14-18
Description - Never Have I Ever is an American coming-of-age comedy-drama television series starring Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, created by Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher. Though it takes place in the San Fernando Valley, the show is loosely based on Kaling's childhood experiences in the Boston area. The story centers around Devi Vishwakumar, a 15-year-old Indian-American Tamil girl from Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. After her father, Mohan, dies suddenly, Devi loses the sensation in her legs. This happens due to the psychological trauma of the event and she is unable to walk for three months. However, one day she miraculously recovers and stands on her legs. In the third season, Devi and Paxton have become an official couple much to the school's shock. After being shamed in the girl's bathroom and given advice by Dr. Ryan, Devi realizes that being in a relationship will not solve all her problems. After a confrontation with Zoe, she realizes that Paxton might not stay in a relationship with her if she doesn't have sex with him. After a conversation with Kamala, she realizes she is not ready to lose her virginity and Paxton supports her as well. Meanwhile, following Kamala's departure from Prashant's engagement dinner, the latter decides it is best for them to break up, much to Devi's grandmother's dismay while Fabiola, realizing that a long-distance relationship with Eve is taking a toll on her grades, decides to break up with her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The third season of this teen "rom-dramedy" is back and even more drama filled! Existing fans and new fans will enjoy this new season of Never Have I Ever as it picks up where it left off in season two and continues to deliver young adult entertainment.

The story of hotheaded but lovable Devi Vishmakumar (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) continues as she goes through the challenges of high school. And her love triangle with Ben (Jaren Lewison) and Paxton (Darren Barnet) isn't nearly over yet.

Since this is the third season, I highly recommend watching the previous seasons to catch up on everything in the storyline thus far. Returning fans will love that the series stays consistent with its themes: dramatic irony and horrible decision-making. The entire cast is super talented with the best performances coming from Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Devi), Jaren Lewison (Ben) and Poorna Jagannathan (Dr. Nalini.) As always, Maitreyi keeps the perfect balance of being rash and rage-filled with being sweet and relatable. She really makes you love to love and to hate her character. Jaren, similarly to Maitreyi, can be very cocky at points, but you can't help but forgive him. Poorna Jagannathan, while still the same person in essence, really morphs into a new character in this season. My favorite character is Dr. Jamie Ryan (Niecy Nash) because she delivers comedic relief while also providing comfort.

The messages of Never Have I Ever are similar to season one and two. Essentially, they are to make good decisions and think things through, while also remembering to have some fun along the way. The series also shows how powerful love from friends and family can be. There is profanity and some suggestive material.

I give Never Have I Ever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It comes out on Netflix on August 12, 2022.

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

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


KUNG FU GHOST
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KUNG FU GHOST
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - When a charming but na�ve young woman inherits her late -Grandfather's estate, she soon discovers the house's ghostly inhabitants who have taken a pledge to protect her family's century-old secrets and powerful artifacts. Now, to guard the future, she teams up with spirits of the past to fight treasure-hunting criminals and discovers the power of life itself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Kung Fu Ghost is a fun movie that is both action-packed and a love story. The cinematography is strikingly beautiful and it is filled with both kung fu fighting and teenager love which makes it appealing for a cross section of people and ages.

The story follows a young Vietnamese woman named Daisy (Jennifer N Linch) who inherits her grandfather's US estate. She plans to stay in the house only long enough to sell it and return to Vietnam to re-open her grandmother's restaurant. However, she discovers that her deceased grandfather's (David S. Dawson) ghost haunts the house along with his friend William (Noah Sargent). They are protectors of a magic relic. The film tells the story of the lengths the ghosts take to protect the girl and the relic from harm.

It is easy to be drawn into this film. The story flows seamless from scene to scene. The characters are believable and are very well developed and it is easy to be empathic to what everyone is going through. The vocabulary and concepts are suitable for the target audience and, although the kung fu fights are realistic, they are in the realm of martial arts and not particularly violent. There certainly is no bloody, gory violence. The cinematography is outstanding. The images are clean and crisp and the outdoor scenes are exquisite. The background music is also beautiful. I like how the film teaches us a bit about teenage Asian culture.

The message of the film is about honoring our elders and being open to new experiences.

I highly recommend Kung Fu Ghost for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases on DVD August 2, 2022.

By Pamela L., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Kung Fu Ghost is a unique film that incorporates different messages and the basics of learning something new. If you like to watch films with a good message that everyone can relate to, then you should check this out.

The story follows Daisy (Jennifer N. Linch) who has just inherited her grandpa's house, but discovers that the house is haunted and she has to stay there for a whole week. During her stay she encounters ghosts who have come to protect Daisy's family's secrets and special artifacts. When robbers come to steal these artifacts, Daisy has to learn how to defend herself and how to keep her family secrets safe.

This film is very family friendly. Although this film isn't a big budget production, I like how they got creative and used what they had. For example, Daisy's grandpa's house doesn't look like how you would expect it to look, but without all the cobwebs and trash all over the place, it is still a very nice house. At times in the film it is difficult to understand the dialogue because the characters speak too low or their pronunciation is off. When Daily first arrives at her grandfather's house you can barely understand what she is saying. But for the most part, the actors' performances are believable. My favorite character is William (Noah Sargent), because he is mysterious and he adds more suspense to the film, plus he is a nice guy. Anytime he appears in a scene, he makes you anticipate what is going to happen next.

The message of the film is that if you try hard enough you will succeed. In the beginning Daisy isn't a person that people would call "strong," so when she has to learn to defend herself it's not easy at first. In the end she learns how to do defend herself and proves people wrong.

I give Kung Fu Ghost 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases on VOD and DVD August 2, 2022. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Kung Fu Ghost is a film with many good qualities - a unique storyline and inclusion of up-and-coming new actors that do a fair job portraying their characters.

The storyline follows a young woman named Daisy (Jennifer N. Linch) who has moved from Vietnam to California after inheriting her late grandfather's (David S. Dawson) estate. Quickly after she arrives, she discovers that the estate is haunted by the spirit of her grandfather and a ghost named William (Noah Sargent). The ghostly inhabitants vow to protect her family's secrets and special artifacts, but when treasure-hunting criminals threaten the future, she teams up with the ghosts to try and stop them.

Kung Fu Ghost is a film with a lot of potential. I like that it shows us some new talent like Jennifer N. Linch, David S. Dawson and Noah Sargent. These actors are clearly passionate about this project and it shows in their performances. Jennifer N. Linch shows fear, admiration, shock, anger, disappointment and so many other emotions. Her reactions to certain situations are realistic, which makes the audience more interested in the story. You can also tell that the actors were well prepared for their roles. Kung Fu Ghost has a few editing flaws, such as the scenes where Daisy is on a video call with her aunt. The picture of Daisy's aunt is noticeably edited onto the phone. An honorable mention is Jennifer N. Linch, who serves as the director and producer, and also plays the lead role. Not only does Jennifer N. Linch have all of these credits for this film, but she also specializes in various martial arts, which is incorporated into the film. Adding this element to the Kung Fu Ghost makes it feel more authentic.

The message of Kung Fu Ghost is to give people a chance before you judge them. Although Daisy is quick to not want anything to do with her ghost grandfather, she finds that she can rely on him more than she initially thinks.

I give Kung Fu Ghost 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Viewers who enjoy movies about ghosts and spirits may find Kung Fu Ghost particularly fascinating. You can find Kung Fu Ghost on VOD and DVD August 2, 2022.

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

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


THIRTEEN LIVES
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
THIRTEEN LIVES
UNITED ARTISTS RELEASING Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Thirteen Lives recounts the incredible true story of the tremendous global effort to rescue a Thai soccer team who become trapped in the Tham Luang cave during an unexpected rainstorm. Faced with insurmountable odds, a team of the world's most skilled and experienced divers - uniquely able to navigate the maze of flooded, narrow cave tunnels - join with Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers to attempt a harrowing rescue of the twelve boys and their coach. With impossibly high stakes and the entire world watching, the group embarks on their most challenging dive yet, showcasing the limitlessness of the human spirit in the process.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely loved this film by Ron Howard! Thirteen Lives is based on the true story of thirteen people who got stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand in the summer of 2018. The storyline is action-packed and extremely suspenseful. It felt like my heart was racing a million miles a minute while I watched it.

Thirteen Lives takes us on the journey of twelve boys and their soccer coach getting stuck in the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand. The boys wanted to visit the cave; however, little did they know that there was an approaching monsoon that would soon after flood the entire cave. People from all over the world were watching their rescue attempt with the many challenging obstacles they had to overcome. Will someone find them inside the cave? If they do, will the boys get out of the cave in time before they starve, or run out of oxygen?

The acting in this film is phenomenal. The portrayal of these young boys, their coach and their rescuers is so believable that you feel like you are there along with them. The cast includes Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, Viggo Mortensen as Richard Stanton, Joel Edgerton as Richard Harris and Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell. The production team, led by director Ron Howard also delivered. The way the film is made makes you feel like you're actually in the cave with the rescue workers. It took a lot of effort and coordination, which is very impressive. Over 5,000 people, including cave divers, doctors, rescuers, Navy SEALS, farmers and others contributed to helping the boys. They put their own lives at risk to help the boys and their coach, whom they didn't even know! Without those people playing a part in this rescue who knows if they would have saved them. My favorite part is when the farmers give up their crops so water can flood them and divert the water from going into the cave. It took a lot of heroism and sacrifice to lose their entire crop in order to give the boys a better chance of surviving.

The message of this film is that working together is essential. You should be aware that there is a lot of blood in some scenes and there is some bad language used a couple of times.

I give Thirteen Lives 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in select theaters on July 29, 2022, and starts streaming on Prime Video August 5, 2022.



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


SEA BEAST, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SEA BEAST, THE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes - and none were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he's saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history. From Academy Award winning filmmaker Chris Williams (Moana, Big Hero Six, Bolt), The Sea Beast takes us to where the map ends, and the true adventure begins.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Sea Beast is an amazing animated film that I and my family loved! It has lots of hilarious moments and some sad moments. The cast is first class, and the movie is about fantasy, family and comedy.

The storyline follows an orphan girl named Masie (Zaris Angel Hator) who wants to be part of a ship's crew, but is too young to participate. However, after the ship almost sinks, Masie has an opportunity to be accepted by the crew and their leader Jacob (Karl Urban).

The Sea Beast is a fantastic movie. It has an exceptional combination of sad, funny and happy scenes. One of the sad scenes is when Masie tells the crew why she is an orphan living at a big orphanage and how her parents passed away when she was very young. There are also several funny scenes such as when Masie and Jacob travel inside of one of the sea beasts and explore the insides of the monster. Another funny one is when a sea beast named Red starts playing with Jacob, making him go up and down on a rope. One of my favorite scenes is when Masie finds a tiny sea creature and wants to keep it, although Jacob doesn't quite agree with her wishes. I love the animation; it looks so realistic. All the characters are wonderfully drawn and developed. Masie is terrific because she is so brave and persistent. She never gives up her dream of becoming a sea beast hunter or helping those she trusts and loves the most. There isn't much background music, but at times the music matches the scene perfectly like when everyone from the ship is at a bar and Masie tries to become one of them.

The message of The Sea Beast is that "No matter who you are or what you look like you can do anything! And don't always believe the past."

I give The Sea Beast 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is available now on Netflix.

By Keila V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


LUCK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LUCK
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Luck centers around the story of Sam Greenfield, the unluckiest person in the world. When she discovers the never-before-seen Land of Luck, Sam must unite with the magical creatures there to turn her luck around. When she ages out of foster care, Sam discovers the Land of Luck and embarks on a quest that could change her luck forever. Bob becomes Sam's partner in the quest to find a lucky penny in hopes of preserving his lucky life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Luck is a new film with so many twists and turns that it will have you captivated from the start. The high-quality animation supports an interesting storyline, making Luck a unique cinematic experience.

Have you ever heard the saying, "If it weren't for bad luck, you wouldn't have any at all"? Well that describes Sam (Eva Noblezada) in a sentence. Growing up as a foster child from a very young age and never finding her forever home, it seems as if Sam is doomed to a life of one unfortunate moment after the other. After forming a close bond with a young foster girl named Hazel (Adelynn Spoon), who reminds Sam a lot of her younger self, Sam realizes she wants nothing more than for Hazel to have a life much luckier than her own, even if it means sacrificing her happiness. After discovering a black cat she befriended can talk, Sam follows him into the Land of Luck to see if she can turn it all around.

Luck is an enjoyable movie to watch. The animation and visual effects in Luck are very impressive and give it a really fun vibe. The vibrant colors and action scenes really draw the audience into the adventure. The creative team translates the story beautifully from paper to screen. Kiel Murray and writing duo Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger keep the plot moving in an unpredictable way. With Sam sliding from the human world into the Land of Luck where there are creatures of every kind, the unexpected can and does happen, keeping the audience's attention throughout the movie. Kudos to casting director Jason Henkel for bringing together a star-studded cast for this film. Each of them portrays their characters in an authentic way. Although it's hard to imagine anyone having so much bad luck, Eva Noblezada makes us feel every emotion Sam feels throughout the movie, whether she is let down because of yet another unfortunate event, or optimistic at the thought of making someone else's day better.

The message of Luck is that even if it seems things never go exactly your way, if you stay persistent and never give in to what seems like misfortune, you'll be able to take whatever life throws your way. Sam experiences so many let downs and setbacks throughout her life, but she learns to always try plan B and plan C to achieve her goals. In the end, she realizes these experiences are what shape her into the resilient young woman she is.

I give Luck 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, though everyone in the family will enjoy it. Luck releases on AppleTV+ and in theaters on August 5, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Luck is a heartwarming film with great characters, a fantastical setting and a sweet story. I love this film! It made me think about good and bad luck in a whole new way; perhaps bad luck is not so bad after all!

Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada) is not very lucky, yet she wants her friend Hazel (Adelynn Spoon) to have all the luck she has never had. As Sam sets out on her own she is determined to find a lucky penny for Hazel to complete her collection of lucky trinkets. When her path is crossed with a black cat, Bob (Simon Pegg) and a lucky penny is found, Sam's luck changes. But before she can get that lucky penny to Hazel, bad luck returns when the penny goes down the drain, along with Sam's luck. Sam runs into Bob again and a pursuit begins for a new lucky penny which finds Sam in the land of luck.

There are many great moments in this film - Sam's spate of bad luck in her new apartment; her pursuit of the incredibly lucky black cat, Bob; her ill-fated job as a giant leprechaun shining pennies; Sam leading the "bunnies" in a choreographed dance set to Madonna's "Lucky Star!" (My favorite). Director Peggy Holmes gives life to the characters with her talent as a choreographer and keeps the story interesting with her skills as screenwriter pulling it all together to make a heartwarming film that speaks to hope and optimism, good and bad luck! Skydance Studios delivers animated characters in a vibrant and familiar way -- from the movement of Sam's hair to the fire of Babe the Dragon (Jane Fonda). Luck is partly set in a fantastical world of Luck where the backgrounds are colorful and magical in the land of good luck and dark and clunky in the land of bad luck -- even though they are mirror images of each other. I instantly related to all the characters, from the genuinely friendly leprechaun Gerry (Colin O'Donoghue), to the hilarious Jeff the Unicorn (Flula Borg), to the stern no-nonsense Captain (Whoopie Goldberg) and the easy-going, self-appointed mayor of the land of bad luck, Rootie (John Ratzenberger). Each one has fun, zippy dialogue and a distinct personality. The musical score propels the action, setting a quiet mood at one point or expressing the woefulness of being unlucky or the exuberance of being lucky at another.

This is the kind of story that is healing for our times. It's timeless in its optimistic message about facing challenges, helping others before yourself, and never giving up on luck -- good or bad!

I give Luck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases on Apple TV+ August 5, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

By Madeleine H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Luck is a cute and relatable movie for all ages. The animation is very well executed, and the plot is also very different than a traditional animated movie.

Sam (Eva Noblezada) is the unluckiest girl in the world. That is, until she meets Bob (Simon Pegg), a lucky cat, and gets accidentally transported to the magical Land of Luck.

Luck's world building is spectacular--the animation is so vivid and beautiful. The colors are vibrant, and the textures are so unique and striking. I also love the character designs of all the characters in the Land of Luck--the bunnies are adorable, and the leprechauns are all different and memorable. In the Land of Luck headquarters, it explains how and where luck (and bad luck) is made and all of the sections/offices that are created are hilariously relatable. The plot is so creative--I haven't seen many movies that deal with the age-old topic of luck and superstitions. This movie has a lot of star-power, including Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Fonda and John Ratzenberger, and the most entertaining performances come from Flula Borg, Jane Fonda and Simon Pegg. Flula Borg, as the voice of Jeff, has a hilarious -- although a bit stereotypical - German accent that's perfect for his character. Jane Fonda is very lovable voicing The Dragon. Simon Pegg as Bob the "lucky cat" is a joy to watch and hear. Although he's grumpy at first, the audience grows to love him.

The messages of Luck are to never lose hope even when times are hard and to find the good in the bad.

I give Luck 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. It comes out on Apple TV+ August 5, 2022.

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

Luck is a cute and lovely animated film. It's exciting and adventurous, while still feeling enjoyable and fun.

The storyline follows the life of Sam (Eva Noblezada), who has the most terrible luck. She just recently grew out of the foster care system, and often feels very lonely. However, one evening, as she's sitting all alone, Sam encounters a cat, which leads to a whole new mysterious world of luck that she never could have even imagined.

The entire Land of Luck idea brings a whole new imaginative world to life, and the concept is so unique from other films. Something that really stands out to me in this film is the quality of the animation. Everything feels so realistic, almost as if it isn't animated. This is a strong aspect that gives the viewer the illusion that they are actually there. All the backgrounds are beautiful and vivid. For example, in the area outside the Land of Luck, all the colors are quite vibrant and everything has a magical feeling to it. Plus, in the bad luck level, the tiki juice bar has such a fun vibe. The interior design of that is colorful and it lightens the mood of a not-so-lovely area. All the characters, both humans and special creatures are very lifelike. I really enjoy how each character has a distinct personality, and yet they have a lot of similarities with others in the group. Bob (Simon Pegg) is very high-strung, but loving as well. The Captain (Whoopi Goldberg) is all about taking charge and doing things her way; however, she eventually learns to love others. I really like the storyline and, although the story is geared for a younger audience, it definitely captured my attention. It has such a creative concept, especially when it comes to all the different types of creatures. The film has a calm feeling to it, but at the same time, it left me always wanting to know what would happen next.

The message of Luck is that balance of both good and bad things are necessary for the cycle of life.

I give Luck 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can watch Luck on Apple TV+ starting August 5, 2022.

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

If you're looking for an adventure filled movie with awesome voice acting, remarkable animation, and a great script with a sweet message for you and your family to watch, then I recommend Luck.

Luck follows Sam Greenfield (Eva Noblezada), the most unlucky person in the world. After finding a lucky penny on the street and then losing it due to her bad luck, Sam accidentally follows Bob (Simon Pegg), a lucky black cat, into a land of luck where she meets leprechauns, unicorns, magical rabbits and other crazy animals. There she must work together with these creatures in order to retrieve a lucky penny and turn her luck around for good.

The animation in this film is outstanding and very realistic looking. But, by far the best thing about this movie is the voice acting. I especially love the Irish accent Simon Pegg uses for his cat character Bob. Bob is one of my favorite characters. I love how practical he is throughout the film; sometimes it feels like he's the only sensible character. Another favorite character is Jeff (Flula Borg). He is just SO funny. My favorite scene when he is introduced, because he's dressed in a purple jumpsuit and just living his best life - it's hilarious. He doesn't care about what others think either. A detail that I love about him is that he speaks in Swedish sometimes. Somehow that really completes his character. All the characters grow a lot during this film, but I especially love the friendship that develops between Sam and Bob. What is really great is that Bob isn't a very affectionate character and yet Sam brings out the best in him with her bubbly and outgoing personality.

The message of Luck is that you can decide your own destiny. Sam grew up thinking that her life was one filled with bad luck and that was set in stone, but she eventually realizes that she can change her destiny and go down whatever path she chooses.

I give Luck 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases on Apple TV+ on August 5, 2022.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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


DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - In DC League of Super-Pets, Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis side by side. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince a rag-tag shelter pack--Ace the hound, PB the potbellied pig, Merton the turtle and Chip the squirrel--to master their own newfound powers and help him rescue the superheroes. Dwayne Johnson stars as the voice of Krypto the Super-Dog in Warner Bros. Pictures' animated action-adventure feature film "DC League of Super-Pets," from director Jared Stern. The film also stars the voices of Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, and John Krasinski.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - DC League of Super-Pets is sure to be a fan favorite for kids who love superheroes and animals! This animated movie is full of classic crime fighting battles as well as heartfelt messages, making it a perfect family movie.

Superman (John Krasinski) and Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), the Super-Dog, have been best friends since birth. When the entire Justice League is kidnapped, Krypto must create a crime fighting league of his own, so he enlists the help of shelter pets Ace (Kevin Hart), Merton (Natasha Lyonne), PB (Vanessa Bayer) and Chip (Diego Luna) to save the Justice League and all of Metropolis.

The animation is beautiful! The characters' designs, especially the pets, are so adorable and keep a cartoonish and comic book-like feeling. The humor is great; it pokes fun at other studios (like Marvel Studios) and also at itself (DC Comics), making it relatable to teens and adults who have seen the more serious Marvel and DC movies. The voice acting is outstanding. Everyone fits their roles so well and they really bring their characters to life, displaying each one's unique personality. The actors that stand out the most are Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Natasha Lyonne and Kate McKinnon. Dwayne Johnson as Krypto and Kevin Hart as Ace are a dynamic duo as their chemistry is so apparent - no doubt due to the many times they have worked together in other films. Natasha Lyonne perfects the voice of Old Lady Merton. Her comedic timing is spot on. Kate McKinnon, as Lulu happens to be my favorite character, but I can't say why as I don't want to give away any spoilers. What I can say is that her role appears to be written specifically for her.

The primary message of DC League of Super-Pets is that friendship, teamwork and love is stronger than any superpower. There are also themes of moving on and making room for new loved ones. Plus, this movie may inspire people to adopt animals from a shelter. I know I'm ready to!

I give DC League of Super-Pets 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus pet and superhero lovers! It releases in theaters July 29, 2022.

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

Fun for kids and families, DC League of Super-Pets is a fantastic addition to the DC superhero film franchise. My favorite DC superhero characters have come to life as pets in this new action-packed film and I love it.

After Superman's home, Kyrpton, is destroyed, he is sent to earth with a trusty companion, his super-pet Krypto. As Superman and the Justice League are kidnapped by a hairless hamster, Lex Luther's pet, Lulu, Krypto and his unlikely pet friends ban together to save them.

It is great seeing Batman (Keanu Reeves), Superman (John Krasinski), Green Lantern (Dascha Polanco), The Flash (John Early), Aquaman (Jemaine Clemente) and Cyborg (Daveed Diggs), aka the Justice League, in cartoon form. This film is perfect for a family movie nigh with the perfect mix of action, comedy and adventure. DC League of Super-Pets brings back arguably the best Hollywood duo to the big screen, Kevin Hart and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. As their characters are familiar and recognizable throughout the story I love how the writers shape them with new personalities, quirks and even genders. It is like rediscovering these classic superhero favorites all over again. My favorite character is Ace, played by Kevin Hart who embodies his pit-bull character really well. The comedy and punch lines land every-time, which is greatly appreciated.

The message in DC League of Super-Pets is that growth is inevitable, good for you and good for those around you. Be forewarned that this film contains some suggestive language.< p>I give DC League of Super-Pets 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters July 27, 2022. You don't want to miss it!

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

DC League of Super-Pets is a wonderful new film with great voice-acting, awesome animation, and a fantastic message. The whole family will love it!

The story follows Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), a super dog owned by the one and only Superman. Superman has been hanging out with his girlfriend, Lois (Olivia Wilde) too much, and Krypto feels left out. But after Superman is kidnapped along with the rest of the Justice League by evil guinea pig, Lulu (Kate McKinnon), Krypto meets a group of pound animals and he must learn to work together with them to save the Justice League, and the world.

The animation of the pets in this movie is terrific; all their crazy superpowers are animated so well. Kevin Hart's portrayal of Ace is one of my favorites. It's really funny when he's trying to escape from the pound. I also love PB (Vanessa Byer) and Ch'p (Diego Luna) because they make up a lot of the funniest scenes in the movie. There's one scene when both of them are they're trying to create an epic training montage, because you have to have an epic training montage, obviously. But it goes horribly wrong and their powers start going insane and they all start flying everywhere! Their friendship with Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne) is really fun to watch. One of my favorite things is the soundtrack. It's a combination of old and new songs that are all equally fun pump-up songs, with lyrics that are quite familiar to most people. This movie is very sweet and some scenes may even bring the waterworks as they did for me. My favorite scene is when Superman ditches Krypto to go on a date with Lois. Another scene I really like is the scene with Krypto singing Taylor Swift's song, "Bad Blood," while eating strawberry ice cream on the bed and watching The Great British Bake Off.

The message of DC League of Super-Pets is that sometimes you have to sacrifice for the people you love. It's a message that is seen throughout the movie through love between friends or pet and owner.

I give DC League of SuperPets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters July 29, 2022.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

DC League of Super-Pets is not only "dog-tastic," it's "fun-tastic" as well! I can't remember watching another movie with so much spontaneous laughter and applause from a screening audience. This animated story will be one your family will want to watch again and again.

In DC League of Super-Pets, Krypto the Super-Dog (Dwayne Johnson) and Superman (John Krasinski) are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime in Metropolis. When Superman and the rest of the Justice League are kidnapped, Krypto must convince an unlikely group of animal shelter heroes that they need to band together to help him rescue their human superhero counterparts. The movie trailer for DC League of Super-Pets gives audiences an accurate portrayal of the movie, in this rare instance, as well as interesting glimpses of the delightful characters and humorous situations which develop.

Our new heroes come to life in this animated action adventure film from Director Jared Stern who is also one of the writers. The cast is notably talented and Krypto's other canine member Ace (Kevin Hart) teaches him that love is unconditional and that you can't have justice without truth. This movie really has a fabulous ensemble cast and there are too many individuals to mention, and they all contribute to the hilarity of this story. Like the many pets they portray, the characters are fun, loyal and show us that we all need a best friend. My favorite scene is one where Krypto is jealous and gets up to some serious antics when he is home alone. It's set to the song "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift, which plays in the background when he indulges his feelings. Dwayne Johnson really brings his character to life and writers Jared Stern and John Whittington must have pets at home, as they capture the canine spirit perfectly. There is also the competitiveness between Batman and Superman, which underlies some of the humorous scenes and interaction.

The message of this film is that love is unconditional, even if it hurts. Krypto and his alter-ego, Bark Kent, are jealous of Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde). He learns that change and accepting new friends can expand the possibilities of love. Before the movie starts there is a segment about Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org) and how you can become a superhero to homeless pets. As a person who has adopted two homeless pets, I can't tell you how meaningful it is for DC Super League of Pets to recognize the love that these animals can bring into our lives just as Krypto experiences in the film!

I rate DC League of Super-Pets, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, but of course adults will enjoy the humor and storyline as well. It is available in theaters July 29, 2022, so don't miss this tail-wagging adventure!

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

The new animated film DC League of Super-Pets absolutely hits the mark for younger kids with a cute and sweet storyline that make it very family friendly. It's predictable, but still fun to watch, especially because the cast is outstanding!

DC League of Super-Pets is about how Superman's (John Krasinski) dog, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) and his pet friends save Justice League. When Superman falls in love, Krypto feels like he isn't needed any longer by Superman. Superman notices that and tries to get Krypto a friend, but he can't find one until he checks out the pet adoption center. When Superman is kidnapped, Krypto and his animal buddies have to rescue him and save the Justice League.

The graphics of this animated film are pretty neat. Add to that a super soundtrack and great voice actors. Each actor, from Dwayne Johnson's Krypto, John Krasinski's Superman and Kevin Hart's shelter dog, Ace and you've got a great cast of characters, whether they are being funny or serious. Additional starring roles are played by Keanu Reeves, Ben Schwartz, Kate McKinnon, Diego Luna and more. My favorite character is Krypto because of how funny and cute he is, which is no surprise since Dwayne Johnson excels at that! My favorite scene of Krypto's is when Superman is getting ready for date night and Krypto thinks Superman's girlfriend is going to replace him so, he starts crying while watching his favorite show that he and Superman would watch together. Another fun part is when he eats quarts of ice cream.

The moral of DC League of Super-Pets it that it's not about what you do, it's about who you are. Krypto learns this when he can't use his powers, but that isn't the problem. His father says he is the problem.

I give DC League of Super-Pets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theatres on July 29, 2022.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!

Who doesn't love a good superhero movie? Krypto and his new friends are here to save the day and, in the process, entertain the audience. With a hilarious script and fresh characters, there is never a dull moment in DC League of Super-Pets.

DC League of Super-Pets is about Krypto (Dwayne Johnson), the strong and powerful super-dog sidekick to Superman (John Krasinski). Superman and Krypto have been inseparable for years. But when Superman starts getting closer to his girlfriend, Lois Lane (Olivia Wilde), Krypto feels out of place. Before Krypto and Superman have the chance to see eye-to-eye, Superman and the rest of the Justice League get kidnapped. Finding himself without powers, Krypto has to learn to accept help as he teaches a group of shelter animals how to master their new powers, in order to save Superman.

DC League of Super-Pets is one of the most humorous and entertaining movies I've seen all year. One of the first things audiences will notice when watching DC League of Super-Pets is the comical tone. The script is very sarcastic and each character has their own moment to make the audience laugh. When Krypto and Ace (Kevin Hart) have scenes together, there's always a lighthearted banter between them. As Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart are best friends in real life, it surely makes them perfect for these roles; they both sound very natural and their comedic timing is impeccable. Along with the two of them, the other animals all have unique personalities that help them support each other. I commend the casting director, Ruth Lambert, for choosing actors that fit each role so well. In addition to the humor in the film, DC League of Super-Pets has multiple monologues and impactful scenes with important messages. When Krypto is feeling that all is lost and Ace goes to comfort him, we learn about Ace's past during a heartfelt monologue. He teaches us that if you care about someone, you should put them first no matter what. The pacing of DC League of Super-Pets makes it easy to follow and enjoyable. The story is thoroughly explained and it's an appropriate length.

The message of DC League of Super-Pets is that there's no such thing as perfection. Krypto is so used to being perfect with his powers that he has difficulty accepting anything else. He has to learn that Ace and the rest of the shelter pets aren't flawless, but that's what makes them who they are.

I rate DC League of Super-Pets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It's a great film for families and anyone can find something to enjoy. DC League of Super-Pets releases in theaters on July 29, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica Nesmith, KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

DC League of Super-Pets is a highly comedic movie. As expected with superhero movies, this film is filled with action and adventure, except from the most unlikely heroes and villains. Yet, there's something about furry friends that makes any movie feel more lighthearted. With a great message, engaging plot and talented cast, this is a film you'll want to watch again and again.

This film is about a dog named Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) who is Superman's sidekick and also his best friend. They fight crime with each other, sharing the same powers. When Lex Luthor's guinea pig, Lulu (Kate McKinnon), takes away Krypto's powers and captures the entire Justice League, she tries to free Lex Luther from captivity so the two of them can take over the world. Krypto soon discovers that a pack of shelter animals has gained powers of their own, so he teaches them how to use and control their powers. Now Krypto and the shelter animals need to work together as a team if they want to stop Lulu's evil plan.

This is an amazing film to watch. Something I like about this film is the comedy. All the characters in this film are actually sarcastic and have a great sense of humor. When something serious is happening the characters find a way to make us laugh in the middle of an intense moment. I also like the character development for Krypto. In the beginning, Krypto is used to working by himself and not sharing with anyone else other than Superman. But, because he needs help from the other animals to save the Justice League and has to help them learn to live with their new powers, he has to share and communicate better. My favorite character is Ace (Kevin Hart), because he is kind and caring towards others, even if he doesn't seem that way at the start. He tries to be strong and tough in front of the others, but his actions throughout the movie show that deep inside, he isn't what he seems on the outside.

The message of this film is that sometimes you have to do anything for the people you love, even if it means sacrificing yourself. In the film we see multiple acts of heroism from different characters which shows how they would do anything for the people they really care about.

I give DC League of Super-Pets 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters July 29, 2022. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana Nesmith, KIDSFIRST Film Critic, Age 11

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


LIGHT & MAGIC
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LIGHT & MAGIC
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - Granted unparalleled access, Academy Award�-nominated filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan takes viewers on an adventure behind the curtains of Industrial Light & Magic, the special visual effects, animation and virtual production division of Lucasfilm. Learn what inspired some of the most legendary filmmakers in Hollywood history, and follow their stories from their earliest personal films to bringing George Lucas' vision to life. The series is directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and the executive producers are Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Justin Wilkes, Lawrence Kasdan, Kathleen Kennedy and Michelle Rejwan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Light & Magic is a documentary series that will blow you away! Go behind-the-scenes with renowned filmmakers and take a peek at some of the greatest special effects used in cinematic history.

Light & Magic introduces audiences to the VFX company, Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucasfilm, who have produced many of the greatest special effects in movies. George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and James Cameron are just a few of the filmmakers that talk about their experience working with Industrial Light & Magic and how this visionary company changed the way films are made.

This series has something for everyone. Never-before-seen content from Titanic, Harry Potter, and Avengers is provided in Light & Magic. Rare sketches and concept art are shown, and it's enough to thrill even an average fan. Hearing how all of these blockbusters like Avatar and Jurassic Park came together firsthand from the filmmakers is incredible. Directors who have taken the world by storm explain in detail where their visions came from and how Industrial Light & Magic helped the visions come to life. By the end of the series, viewers will feel like they worked on the movies themselves. The show, featuring several testimonials and anecdotes from the films' editors, producers and VFX artists, helps audiences truly understand how it "takes a village" to make a movie. For any aspiring young actors, cinematographers, and directors, Light & Magic is a must watch. A standout piece of the series is the introduction of the StageCraft, the immersive and adaptable video screens used in shows like The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It just goes to show how much technology has evolved over the decades and how George Lucas and Lucasfilm have been instrumental in its evolution.

The purpose of Light & Magic is to engage its viewers with tales of how green screens and VFX began, and how various technologies have impacted and revolutionized cinema.

I give Light & Magic 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. All six episodes of Light & Magic premiere on July 27, 2022, exclusively on Disney+.

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

Light & Magic is a good docu-series to watch, especially if you have ever dreamed of making movies. You can venture behind the scenes of movies created by Lucasfilm, the legendary company founded by George Lucas, which makes all of their Star Wars films and more. Discover how movie magic, or the creation of special effects, is made in each of the six 1-hour episodes.

This series showcases the filmmakers from Industrial Light and Magic, which is the special effects division of Lucasfilm. Light and Magic delivers a deep understanding about the background of some very popular movies, including Star Wars, Transformers and Indiana Jones. It shows how the filmmakers persevere even when things are hard and seem almost impossible. The filmmakers have faith in their vision and share how they follow their dreams when other people say it's not going to work out. It's inspiring for anyone who wants to work in film or other ambitious creative endeavors. Light and Magic mostly focuses on George Lucas' vision, Star Wars, since he's the founder of both Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic, and it is directed by Lawrence Kasden.

In a series that is all about making great movies, of course the production value is great. The music enhances the mood, captivates the audience, builds tension, and makes the resolution more clear. Dramatic music plays as the filmmakers explain how their project wasn't working out, but energetic music plays when the problem works itself out in the end. These episodes feature over 13 people, including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Dennis Muren, Ron Howard and many more. These are industry experts that any aspiring filmmaker should know about as they begin their own journey in making movies. Light and Magic also shares many clips from movies as examples to help bring their points to life for the audience.

The message of this docu-series is to persevere even when you are doubtful. This message is something that anyone can relate to, but especially artists who must have faith in their vision. Even people who created great hit movies have once doubted themselves, and new filmmakers can relate to that idea.

I give Light & Magic 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. All six episodes are available on Disney+ beginning July 27, 2022.

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

A long time ago in a galaxy, or warehouse, far, far away from a massive studio, a brave alliance of technological wizards challenged the creativity and standards of special effects in the motion picture industry. These unsung heroes came together and accepted the visionary challenge and used their ingenuity to create and build Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) which is an iconic part of the Star Wars' lore.

If you have any interest in the behind-the-scenes of making Star Wars, special effects or digital imaging, then Light & Magic is a series not to be missed! The archival footage gives viewers a peak behind the wizards' curtains into creating movie MAGIC and collaborative storytelling. Experience what inspired some of the most legendary filmmakers to let their imagination soar into any galaxy or dimension beyond.

Interviews with legendary directors including George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis and Jon Favreau add to the depth of this series and truly illuminate how instrumental digital filmmaking has become to storytelling. The rebel alliance at ILM created a digital revolution in the film industry which expanded into other areas of industry as well, which was truly life changing for many. Viewers get to experience snippets of various special effect scenes from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Terminator, Forest Gump, Jurassic Park and Mandalorian to name just a few! These groundbreaking artists under the guidance of visionary George Lucas show us that, just because something hasn't been done before, doesn't mean it can't be done. Lawrence Kasdan directs this documentary series and is in a unique position to guide us through the history of imagination and technological change.

The essence of this series illustrates that anything is possible. This ragtag group of artists accomplished things together that were light years ahead of current standards. Their hard work and dedication to the project and their craft truly produced something that is still magical today.

I rate this documentary series 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The six episode series launches on Disney+ July 27, 2022. Don't miss the magic and incredible journey behind the scenes!

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

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


HAPPY DAY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HAPPY DAY
JENN CLEARY
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-8
Description - Family-friendly, rocking kids' tunes for all ages to enjoy. Fun and educational songs with positive messages about appreciating our environment, using our imaginations, and validating the one and only you, plus a wonderfully relaxing sleep song and even a tune with a yak's perspective, co-written with the author of Yak Girl.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The artist - Jenn Cleary - has created an accessible, appealing musical experience in this CD Happy Day. There's an organic energy to the tracks that Cleary's voice rides with a sense of wonder - nothing is unappealing.

"I can hear Cleary now!" The album is custom made for its audience. The songs are kid-friendly, energetic and fun. The continuity of the ten songs flows flawlessly. It's professionally written and presents a wide variety of musical styles. It's totally appropriate for a youth audience, but families will also enjoy on road trips. Love of animals, love of the environment and love of self are all emphasized. The artist does not talk down to her audience and makes familiar subject matter fresh with a twist of whimsy. There is a genuine respect in the lyrics and a positive message throughout.

All the performances are first-rate, especially the lead vocals. The musicians rock and the production is excellent. With all the negativity in the world that children assimilate, positive input from music and stories such as this can have a lasting positive effect. One would hope that the loving appreciation of animals and the environment would be further fostered.

Jenn Cleary's terrific album is a bright sunshiny day on the children's musical horizon. Clear and present vocals, terrific musicians and stellar production value make this recording a winner - winner winner chicken dinner. When a song is lovingly scribed to the hard-working good old yak you can't go wrong. Imagination, magic, wonder and discovery make a fragrant potpourri of uplifting sounds and Happy Day delivers on all counts!

I give Happy Day 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8, plus adults. It definitely meets or exceeds the KIDS FIRST! criteria, is well produced, entertaining and has a place in the world of children's music.

By John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Review Pro
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The most appealing thing about the music on the Happy Day CD is that it is upbeat and it should capture the attention of little kids very well. Little kids like fun, catchy music, which most of the songs on the CD are. The least appealing thing for me is the type of music. It seems more like folk music, but that's just a personal thing.

My favorite thing about the songs is that they all have positive messages and an upbeat tone. I played a couple songs for my twin three-year-old nieces and they really liked the songs titled, "Turtle Time" and "Happy Days." The lead singer, Jenn Cleary, has a fun, soothing voice. I like how she includes the kids singing in the song, "Happy Days." I also like the instrument choices. The guitar and harmonica bring a fun vibe to the music. The music is age appropriate for its audience. The vocabulary is well chosen and the words are easy to understand and sing along to. The children can relate to the lyrics in the songs. I found myself singing along with my nieces with the chorus for "Happy Days." We played the song about three times. The quality sounds really good. Everything is clear. It is a professional level production. I've always wanted to start a garden and the song, "Plant A Garden" inspired me to want to do it even more.

This is a fun CD and adds a new flare to teaching children about the world around them, rather than the traditional ABC and nursery rhyme songs.

I give Happy Day 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. It is available now on digital platforms.

By Ava C., KIDS FIRST!

The CD Happy Day is really for younger kids, but I really like some of the songs. At first, the folk songs did not really interest me, but after I listened to the songs and the lyrics, I began to really appreciate this CD.

This CD, by Jenn Cleary, is filled with family-friendly kids' tunes for younger children. The songs have positive messages about appreciating our environment, using our imaginations and validating the one and only you.

My favorite thing is that the melodies are catchy. I found myself singing along to two of the songs, "I Like Candy" and "Turtle Time." Those songs were stuck in my head for a while after listening to the CD. Jenn Cleary is great at creating fun songs such as "I Like Candy." Her voice is clear and upbeat. She has the kind of voice that younger children will find appealing and soothing. Although the music is appropriate for kids younger than me, I still enjoyed many of the songs. The vocabulary is very kid-friendly, although very young children may not understand the full messages of some songs, such as "Only One You" of "I Am Unique." The performances are very good, with an easy blend of guitar, banjo and harmonica music of the folk music genre. The CD has excellent sound quality. "I Like Candy" turned out to be one of my favorite songs. The lyrics motivated me to eat more fruits and vegetables.

I give Happy Day 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. You can find this CD now on Spotify, Soundcloud or wherever music is available.

By Kira O., KIDS FIRST!

Funky and fun, Jenn Cleary's Album Happy Day is sure to make you gleeful and ready to bust out your best moves while learning!

Happy Day is a CD filled with jazzy and groovy music that shares a variety of topics that teaches us about loving ourselves and also our planet. This album features Jenn Cleary and includes Mad Dog Freidman. There are a total of ten songs on the CD, each one averages around three minutes.

Jenn Cleary's vocals are engaging, fun and calming, when appropriate. Most songs have a twangy, country vibe that is sure to make your head bob and foot tap. The instrumentals in this album are all fantastic; my favorite is It's Time to Go to Sleep. This particular song reminds me of the meditation app Headspace that helps relieve the listener of stress, which is exactly what this song does. All the way down to the sound effects in the background, each song has a story that reminds me of a podcast. This is a CD parents wouldn't mind sharing the aux for.

The message of Happy Day is to have fun and let loose, but don't forget to take a nap once and a while. This CD promotes positive social behavior.

I give Happy Day 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is available now on all audio streaming platforms such as Spotify. Be sure to give a listen!


Runtime: 36 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 15
Media: AUDIO


HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL:  THE MUSICAL:  THE SERIES:  SEASON 3
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES: SEASON 3
DISNEY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Season three of "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" is set at Camp Shallow Lake, a sleep away camp in California, as the Wildcats and their fellow campers are primed for an unforgettable summer ripe with romance, curfew-less nights and a taste of the great outdoors. With a high-stakes production of "Frozen" on the horizon AND a drama-filled "docu-series" of the production, the Wildcats will attempt to show who is "best in snow" without leaving anyone out in the cold.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready to join your favorite Wildcats at summer camp? Then don't miss High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: Season 3. Adventure awaits as our motley group reunites at summer camp and meets new friends for two weeks of fun in the sun!

After an amazing year at East High, the Wildcats journey to Camp Shallow Lake in California to start their summer escapade. What could be better than sleep away camp at a location primed for summer romance, intrigue and high-spirited jinks set in the great outdoors? It's an unforgettable summer as the campers prepare for a high-stakes production of Frozen.

My favorite parts are the audition scenes for Frozen. I really loved watching everyone dance and sing to some of the amazing songs and enjoyed the dialogue in this iconic production. I just can't "Let It Go" how these various auditions are spliced together in Season 3, capturing all the drama and competitive nature of auditions, while still maintaining the positivity and support among cast members. You won't be left in the cold watching the talent of this dynamic group. The music and original songs in Season 3 do not disappoint. That's really saying something since the music of this series has been so central to the show's popularity and success from the first two seasons. Tim Federle (Creator, Showrunner, Executive Producer) of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series really has created a collaborative and supportive environment on set with the cast, which shows in their performances. The show feels authentic with its teen cast and I really love its positivity.

The essence of this series is that you can personally grow and explore all life has to offer in a supportive and caring environment. Even when friendships and relationships change it allows characters to embrace their differences and support each other throughout the process. It's fun to watch the new experiences and growth in some of our favorite characters away from school expectations and pressures.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: Season 3 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, but adults will enjoy watching with their kids as well. Season 3 will begin streaming on Disney+ July 27, 2022 so don't miss this summer party!

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

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


JURASSIC WORLD CAMP CRETACEOUS SEASON 5
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JURASSIC WORLD CAMP CRETACEOUS SEASON 5
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - The show Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is back for its 5th and final season. This season's message and plot is deeper than the rest, because it deals with animal cruelty towards the dinosaurs. Even with that, this is still an action-packed season that you don't want to miss.

The final season of this show centers on friends Kenji (Ryan Potter), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), Yasmine (Kausar Mohammed), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) and Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams) who are hoping for a chance to get found as they are stuck on an unknown island. As Kenji's father, Mr. Kon (Andrew Kishino), appears, their hope for making it out is somewhat high, but not for long. Mr. Kon is planting chips in the dinosaurs' brains, leaving the dinosaurs with no control over themselves. They must work together if they ever want to save the dinosaurs and make it off of the island alive.

Something I like and find unique, is how the kids act towards the dinosaurs. Even though the dinosaurs sometimes try to eat them, they don't treat them like evil creatures or as if they are always the bad guy. The kids want to protect the dinosaurs and make their lives and environment better. Another aspect of the show that I enjoy is that they incorporated modern items, such as a tablet and phone, to what feels like a prehistoric time with dinosaurs. My favorite episode is "Shaky Ground" because it mainly focuses on Darius and Brooklyn trying to figure out how to cope with what they see and what they know. This episode shows how they are able to work a difficult problem through together. My favorite character is Darius, because he is the most gentle and caring towards the dinosaurs and he is a nice kid in general. I also enjoy the scenes with Ben because he has a great sense of humor. Even when things are not going their way, he finds a way to make the situation light. The message of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is that you should treat everyone and everything fairly. What happens to the dinosaurs in this season is unfair and the kids know it. That is why they go out of their way to help save them. This is totally family-friendly and a great show to watch.

I give Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This is also a great show for families to watch together. You can watch this show on Netflix starting July 21, 2022. Be sure to check it out!


KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The show Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is back for its 5th and final season. This season's message and plot is deeper than the rest, because it deals with animal cruelty towards the dinosaurs. Even with that, this is still an action-packed season that you don't want to miss.

The final season of this show centers on friends Kenji (Ryan Potter), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), Yasmine (Kausar Mohammed), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) and Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams) who are hoping for a chance to get found as they are stuck on an unknown island. As Kenji's father, Mr. Kon (Andrew Kishino), appears, their hope for making it out is somewhat high, but not for long. Mr. Kon is planting chips in the dinosaurs' brains, leaving the dinosaurs with no control over themselves. They must work together if they ever want to save the dinosaurs and make it off of the island alive.

Something I like and find unique, is how the kids act towards the dinosaurs. Even though the dinosaurs sometimes try to eat them, they don't treat them like evil creatures or as if they are always the bad guy. The kids want to protect the dinosaurs and make their lives and environment better. Another aspect of the show that I enjoy is that they incorporated modern items, such as a tablet and phone, to what feels like a prehistoric time with dinosaurs. My favorite episode is "Shaky Ground" because it mainly focuses on Darius and Brooklyn trying to figure out how to cope with what they see and what they know. This episode shows how they are able to work a difficult problem through together. My favorite character is Darius, because he is the most gentle and caring towards the dinosaurs and he is a nice kid in general. I also enjoy the scenes with Ben because he has a great sense of humor. Even when things are not going their way, he finds a way to make the situation light. The message of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous is that you should treat everyone and everything fairly. What happens to the dinosaurs in this season is unfair and the kids know it. That is why they go out of their way to help save them. This is totally family-friendly and a great show to watch.

I give Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. This is also a great show for families to watch together. You can watch this show on Netflix starting July 21, 2022. Be sure to check it out!



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


ZOMBIES 3
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ZOMBIES 3
DISNEY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 8-12
Description - It's Zed and Addison's final year at Seabrook and things are better than ever. The town has finally accepted monsters as a part of Seabrook and has become a safe haven for monsters and humans alike. Zed is on the cusp of receiving a football scholarship and becoming the first Zombie to ever attend college (and he's excited to join Addison who has already been admitted). Addison is excited to mark the opening of the town's brand new "cheer pavilion" by inviting cheer teams from all over the world to compete in an "international cheer-off." However, the town is shocked by the arrival of a new group of intergalactic outsiders - Aliens, who show up to compete in the cheer-off. Though they begrudgingly allow the Aliens to stay for the competition - the monsters and humans of Seabrook grow suspicious when they discover that the Aliens may be looking for more than a friendly competition. Some flashing lights sequences or patterns may affect photosensitive viewers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This Zombie-filled, "cheertastic," beastly and out-of-this-world film, is everything a Disney movie fan could want! With the same original characters from Zombies 1 and 2, as well as, some new extra-terrestrial friends, Zombies 3 will have fans singing, dancing, cheering and feeling every emotion.

Zombies 3 is about Addison (Meg Donnelly) who is still trying to find where she belongs and graduate from Seabrook High along with her zombie boyfriend, Zed (Milo Manheim), who is trying to break history as the first monster to go to college. While humans, zombies and werewolves have learned to co-exist in Seabrook, everything changes when aliens show up on Earth on a mission to uncover a code that leads them to their home planet. Will the aliens be able to reach their goal while the Seabrook students fight to win the Cheer Cup during their last year in high school?

The main characters are Addison, Zed and the aliens. As the third installment of the Zombies' franchise, this film still has the same spirit as the previous ones. The soundtrack is quite different, with more of an "alien-like" vibe to it. I love the aspect of inclusion in this film and how, even though the franchise is called Zombies, it includes many types of monsters with different powers among the humans. It's heartwarming to see how Addison is always there for everyone and welcomes them to Seabrook High. She is the activist, leader and overall best friend of everyone at Seabrook, plus newcomers. This film is based on Secrets Galore. Be prepared to be stunned by what is revealed in Zombies 3.

Some lessons from Zombies 3 are that anything is possible when you try, trust is always the key, and people have to do what they need to get what they want and need in life. This is demonstrated when Zed advocates to become the first zombie to go to college, how Addison trusts the aliens and welcomes them to join the Cheer Cup, despite their entrance and alien bodies, and how the aliens come to earth to find the most precious thing and will do whatever it takes to achieve that.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, plus adults. You can watch Zombies 3 on Disney+ now.

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

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


STRONG FATHERS, STRONG DAUGHTERS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STRONG FATHERS, STRONG DAUGHTERS
PURE FLIX ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - When a wealthy businessman learns of his daughter's sudden engagement to a missionary, he embarks on a quest to keep her closer to home, but when his efforts go awry he must reconsider what it means to be a strong father.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is a fantastic mix of romance, comedy and family life. The film is simply a must-see. Strong acting supports a well-developed plot.

The storyline of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters follows Steve Parston (Bart Johnson), the father of three kids and husband of Connie Parston (Robyn Lively). The couple's eldest child, Abby Parston (Carrie Wampler) returns to the family home in California after living in Mexico for months. Having had big plans to be business partners with Abby for years, Steve is shocked and unsupportive when she announces other plans. Will Steve learn to live without his daughter at home, or will he ruin everything with her in his refusal to move on?

The story of this film is very impressive, with each character having their own engaging subplot. Rather than awkwardly pausing the primary storyline to build on each of these subplots, the smaller stories develop in the midst of the main story, without viewers realizing it. As a result, there are characters that are cared for, many loose ends to be wrapped up and countless extra comedic and romantic bits in between. One of the best characters, Crystal (Arden Myrin), the wedding planner, is a perfect addition to the film. She is extremely enthusiastic about her job and very excited to be getting business; she brings lots of light to some of the bleaker, sadder scenes. These sequences provide the right balance of negative and positive energy. Another important aspect of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is the relatable family. This film truly demonstrates how, although family members disagree and argue, each person is seriously trying to help one another and do the best they can. Each of the three daughters goes through one or more realistic conflicts that they solve with guidance from their inner selves as well as from those around them. With a variety of difficult situations shown throughout the film, every viewer will have at least one struggle that is similar to something they, or someone they know, has dealt with. So many different connections allow Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters to reach many diverse audiences. The actors use these connections to make their character even easier to identify with. In particular, Kayla DiVenere gives an amazing performance as Zoey, the middle child in the family.

The message of Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is that you have to let people make their own choices, whether you agree with their decisions or not. Steve tries to prevent Abby from making her own decisions, and ends up realizing that it is not his choice to make. There is some minor language to be aware of.

I give Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters exclusively on PureFlix beginning August 1, 2022.

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

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is an emotional depiction of the ups and downs of the relationship between a father and a daughter. It's a superb summer watch.

Wealthy businessman, Steve Parston (Bart Johnson) just locked in a huge new deal based on his daughter Abby's (Carrie Wampler) pitch deck. Soon after celebrating this achievement, he learns of Abby's sudden engagement to Oz (Brandon Prado), a selfless missionary based in Mexico. Steve embarks on a quest to keep Abby closer to home and make her a partner in his new venture. However, when his efforts go awry, he must consider what it means to be a strong, supportive father.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters director David de Vos guides this film quite well, especially with the actors' performances and the cinematography, by Rick Pendleton. Each actor seems comfortable in their role, especially Robyn Lively as Steve Parston's wife, Connie. The Mexican angle seems a bit underdeveloped; it is rather inconsequential that we learn that Oz and his family are Mexican and run an orphanage in Mexico until the final scenes of the film. I'm not sure that this addition is meaningful and if so, why it doesn't it come up earlier. The writing is a bit stilted at times, but the emotion with which Bart Johnson, in particular, plays his role helps lift the film back up.

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters is all about trust and respect in relationships. It encourages parents to let go of their children when they wish to fly away, and it promotes altruism, both professionally and in personal relationships. Note that Christian missionary work is referred to, and we see children acting out in the film at times.

I give Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters releases August 1, 2022 in theaters.

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

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters teaches important lessons about family values. This family-friendly movie doesn't only benefit children; it also teaches fathers about letting go of their daughters, and to know when to step in to ensure a positive future. Based on the bestselling book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by author Dr. Meg Meeker, the movie shares heartwarming values that make the whole family comfortable watching it together.

Actors Robyn Lively and Bart Johnson play Connie and Steve, the parents to Zoey, Abby, and Bridget in the movie. The movie starts with Abby, the oldest daughter, coming home from a business trip and surprising the family with the fact that she's engaged. Not only is she giving up her career path at her dad's office, but she is also running away to Africa with her future husband to care for the poor as missionaries with the church. Steve struggles with finding a way to let Abby accomplish her own dreams and start a new path, instead of continuing the dream they have always had together, even the dreams of what her future wedding would look like.

Robyn and Bart who play the believable role of husband and wife, are married outside of the movie, it turns out! I can imagine how this would add more depth to their roles. Abby and her fiance Oz are played by Carrie Wampler and Brandon Prado. While these are the main characters, other actors that are important to the movie include Kayla DiVenere (as Zoey), Arden Myrin (as Crystal), David Barrera (as Carlos), and Maria Canals-Barrera (as Bella.) This movie is funny to watch, and the set design is exciting and colorful. Learning about the Mexican culture through the bright colors and fun decorations was also very interesting. The writing seemed predictable, though, without too many major twists. Not to give any spoilers, but I could imagine how it would end from the beginning.

The message of this movie is that families can persevere to solve different problems and to build strong futures together. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters has alcohol consumption and breaking the rules with social media. In one scene, a daughter sneaks out to a party with boys against parent permission.

I give Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on Pure Flix starting on August 1, 2022.

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

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


INTO FLIGHT ONCE MORE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INTO FLIGHT ONCE MORE
SOUND BEGINNINGS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - Into Flight Once More, narrated by Gary Sinise, brings the history of June 6, 1944 to the present through the lens of one squadron and their epic recreation journey across the North Atlantic to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day. Along the way we meet some of the last remaining D-Day veterans and younger generations of men and women who have re-charted their path to honor their sacrifice and thank them for their service.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Into Flight Once More is an engaging, educational documentary about honoring the veterans of World War II.

Into Flight Once More follows the flight of restored vintage aircraft to the beaches of Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of D Day. For those who are unaware, D Day marks the Allied powers siege on the beaches of Normandy to take back Nazi-occupied France. It is often marked as a major turning point in World War II that ensured an Allied victory.

Within the film, we get to see some of the brave pilots and servicemen who helped secure victory on that historic day. We also follow the teams of crafts persons and aviation enthusiasts who dedicated sweat, tears and valuable time to making sure this show of appreciation for those who served went down as planned. The intercutting of footage is very effective in this film. Not only is there some striking aerial footage where the camera is seated on the wing, but it also includes some black and white archival video captured during almost a century ago. There are also animated portions that illustrate the intricacies of the feat that took place on D Day. The frequent visual reserves keep the documentary consistently interesting. This film reminds us that we have a thin window of opportunity to show our appreciation for the sacrifices our WWII veterans made, as mentioned frequently in the documentary by many who participated in this commemorative flight. The chief reason for making sure this flight happened is to demonstrate a level of admiration to these veterans for their bravery and to do it while they're still here.

The lesson of Into Flight Once More is to understand and appreciate the sacrifices of those who fought and those who died to preserve our freedoms and way of life here in the U.S.A.>p>I recommend Into Flight Once More for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It helps to have some understanding of D Day because that puts the ultimate value of this endeavor in perspective. I give Into Flight Once More 4 out of 5 stars. I implore you to seek this one out. It's currently streaming on several video on demand platforms.



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


GABBY GIFFORDS WON�T BACK DOWN
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GABBY GIFFORDS WON�T BACK DOWN
BRIARCLIFF ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down tells the extraordinary story of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her relentless fight to recover following an assassination attempt in 2011, and her new life as one of the most effective activists in the battle for gun violence prevention and in promoting understanding of the language condition aphasia. Featuring extensive verite� filming of Gabby and her husband, astronaut-turned-Senator Mark Kelly; interviews with President Barack Obama and other friends and colleagues; and exclusive access to stunning videos taken in the weeks following her near-death experience, this film is the story of a rising star transformed by an act of violence, and a close-up portrait of the marriage that sustains her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A beautiful portrait of resilience and optimism, Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down is an uplifting film about Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and speaks to a timely political issue for audiences of all political affiliations. Giffords' passion and perseverance are not only inspiring, but also enrich the film through her interviews; archival footage and sound bites from her husband and mother are also well-placed and add greatly to the film.

Gabby Giffords is shot through the head at point-blank range at a Tucson, Arizona, Safeway in 2011 while hosting a meeting called, "Congress on Your Corner." That moment, that one bullet, would change her life entirely, as she went from a powerhouse to a nearly vegetative patient. The film shows some admittedly difficult-to-watch clips of Giffords' recovery in the hospital. She suffered from aphasia, which took away her language ability, and her doctors weren't sure if she would ever speak again. Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down follows her journey of recovery and also shows glimpses of her career and the path she took post-recovery. We see a strong, intelligent, inspiring, and spirited woman who has achieved, and is continuing to achieve, a great deal.

The film is edited masterfully and tells a rousing and moving story that enraptures viewers from the first frame. One of the most unique parts of Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down is that we see Gabby speaking in all stages of her journey -- hearing Giffords' voice is one of the most compelling aspects of the film, and it adds many endearing, bittersweet, and motivating moments. And what a journey: She gave up her big job to come home and run the family business, then transitioned to a TV commercial star, then to an Arizona Democrat--while staying an enthusiastic and charming cheerleader throughout. I especially love the scenes where Giffords is singing with her mother; not only does it show the strength of their bond, but Giffords is more at ease because, as with many who have aphasia or other brain-related injuries, her speech is most fluid when singing.

Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down is a film about perseverance. Even though watching Gabby go through the relearning process is difficult for viewers, it is also empowering -- it shows us that the human spirit, when set on achieving something, will achieve it... and how! Today, she is giving speeches, lobbying for change, and at the forefront of one of America's hottest discussions: the gun debate. Though there are mentions of the NRA and a decent amount of focus is placed on Giffords--Gabby's organization against gun violence--this film, much like Giffords herself, is not particularly bent toward one political ideology or party. There are mentions of politics, violence, and a good bit of gory imagery.

I give Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down is available now in theaters.



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


FIRE OF LOVE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FIRE OF LOVE
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ENTERTAINMENT - LA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Katia and Maurice Krafft loved two things -- each other and volcanoes. For two decades, the daring French volcanologist couple roamed the planet, chasing eruptions and documenting their discoveries. Ultimately, they lost their lives in a 1991 volcanic explosion, leaving a legacy that forever enriched our knowledge of the natural world. Director Sara Dosa and the filmmaking team fashion a lyrical celebration of the intrepid scientists' spirit of adventure, drawing from the Kraffts' spectacular archive. FIRE OF LOVE tells a story of primordial creation and destruction, following two bold explorers as they venture into the unknown, all for the sake of love.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A superb film for nature-lovers and a great film to study for budding documentarians, Fire of Love explores a dynamic relationship between volcanologists, with beautiful editing and archival footage; however, its pace somewhat undermines the beauty of the film.

In Fire of Love, we are introduced to Katia and Maurice Krafft, Alsatian French volcanologists and spouses. From the beginning, it is evident that Maurice is the one who jumps in with abandon, and Katia is the one who takes calculated, measured risks. Through footage and some interviews, director Sara Dosa shows the Kraffts in their daring exploits, filming, photographing and recording volcanoes--and getting within feet of lava flows.

The National Geographic documentary team behind this film has evidently spent a sizable portion of time collecting stunning natural footage and archival video and sound to tell the story of this legendary duo. They team successfully assemble a great audiovisual gallery.... But the film needs something more. There are times where inserted music and natural footage seems to take over the storyline and bring things to a halt. We get heartwarming glimpses of the couple's dynamic with one another--for the majority of the Fire of Love, we see the Kraffts at work, discussing their pursuits--but it would have been great to see more of them talking to one another, reflecting one-on-one. The film seems to waver between their relationship and their work, without discussing the intersection of both very clearly. For example, a question I wish was answered better by the film was how the two maintained a work-life balance. The most compelling, moving part of Fire of Love is the couple's blazing end--they died in a 1991 volcanic explosion in Japan--and it was captured with such deep emotion that I was left speechless.

Fire of Love is all about companionship, teamwork, and following your passion. There are of course some daring stunts performed in the film--the Kraffts, after all, are in a dangerous line of work.

I give Fire of Love 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fire of Love is available in theaters now.

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

The film Fire of Love is a documentary full of information about volcanoes and the live story of Maurice and Katia Krafft. It takes the audience through a range of emotions including love, fear and curiosity. You're sure to leave this movie with a new appreciation for volcanoes. Most of all, you will be inspired to follow your dreams.

This documentary follows a couple, Maurice and Katia Krafft, who are volcanologists. Their interest in volcanoes started at an early age, and their love for volcanoes is what brought them together. In the film, we see close-ups of erupting volcanoes and, at times, the devastating aftermath. Maurice and Katia traveled across the globe studying them and, in most cases, risking their lives to do so.

The great thing about this film is that most of the photographs and videos included were actually taken by Katia and Maurice. This gives the film an authentic feel as we get to observe volcanoes through the eyes of volcanologists. From France, Maurice and Katia mostly speak French throughout the film, though Katia speaks some English. However, the film is narrated by Miranda July, which helps the audience better understand what is happening. In the film, we learn about Maurice's peculiar dreams. For example, he wanted to canoe down a river of lava into the water, and he wanted to live on the volcanoes; if only he could eat rock. Something else I really like about the film is the relationship between Katia and Maurice. Even though Maurice wants to do these things that even Katia thinks are crazy, she still wants to be with him. She loves him and doesn't want him to do it alone, even if it means dying together.

The message of Fire of Love is that curiosity is stronger than fear. Even though it is very dangerous to get as close to an active volcano as they do, that doesn't stop them. Some of the videos and photographs in the film may be disturbing to younger viewers, but it is a wonderful documentary to watch with your family.

I give Fire of Love 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in in theaters. Be sure to check it out!

Giana N., KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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


GRAY MAN, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GRAY MAN, THE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - The Gray Man is CIA operative Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling), aka, Sierra Six. Plucked from a federal penitentiary and recruited by his handler, Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton), Gentry was once a highly-skilled, Agency-sanctioned merchant of death. But now the tables have turned and Six is the target, hunted across the globe by Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), a former cohort at the CIA, who will stop at nothing to take him out. Agent Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas) has his back. He'll need it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Gray Man is, first and foremost, a classic spy movie. The draw of its elaborate action scenes, the size of its cast and the charisma of its lead performances keep it afloat in the pool of familiarity.

Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) is a CIA operative who carries out killings of whomever they desire, as part of a deal he made decades ago to dodge prison time. On a job in Bangkok, as he dies, his target reveals the unexpected kinship he holds with Court and gives him a drive containing damning information about the people Court works for. These two discoveries force him to drop everything and go on the run with the intel. Back at the CIA, Court's boss (Reg�-Jean Page) is furious about the intel leak and Court's betrayal. In response, Court's boss calls in a former operative named Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans). Rejected by the CIA for his violent, psychotic methods and his lack of concern to amend them, Lloyd has no qualms about eliminating whoever stands between him and his mission's objective. And so, a cat and mouse chase begins between Court and Lloyd, a battle of wits and ability that tracks the entire globe.

The Gray Man has a lot going on besides Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, but they are absolutely the reasons to see this movie. Ryan Gosling tones Court down-- you really believe he was nurtured in his line of work, not born into it. Gosling is eternally tired in the role. Every obstacle, every adversary gets the same tossed off "Are we really doing this?" look from Gosling. Yet there's also an eternal spark: his wit, as if the opportunity to fire off a quip is what keeps him going through stab wounds and raining gunfire. The quipping brings something new to this spy archetype--the sense that this is just a particularly tough day on the job for Court and Gosling communicates that really well.

Every performance has its equal opposite reaction; so the yin to Gosling's yang is Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen. Where Gosling is just barely limping his way from explosion to explosion, Evans is confidently striding after him. He walks into this movie with a prominent mustache on his lip, or "trashstache," as Court calls it, and a smile on his face, ready to do his thing. Lloyd enjoys his job. He waxes poetic about the joys of improv in torturing and the opportunity to kill the prized asset of his former employee only sweetens the deal and raises his spirits. Evans is whistling and skipping as he inflicts government-sanctioned mayhem. It's fun to watch him play a character this unraveled and unafraid of any repercussions for his psychotic actions.

The Gray Man also features setpiece upon setpiece of impressive action. It's not always the best-presented, and the editing can be discombobulating, but there are points where directors Russos find their footing. And the magnitude of some of the confrontations between Court and enemy forces also make seeing this movie worthwhile. A tram racing through the streets of Prague with Ryan Gosling dodging enemy fire, for example, or a fistfight in the middle of a firework launcher with fireworks erupting all around--there are moments in The Gray Man that are undeniably cool.

There is no real lesson to The Gray Man other than maybe staying out of the hitman industry. However, there are moments of action in The Gray Man where scale and invention and starpower all line up for something that feels truly thrilling. Even if it doesn't reinvent the wheel and it feels as if The Gray Man lacks an "X-factor" to set it apart from other cinematic spy fare, it's a reminder of why the genre is so irresistible: the stars, the scope, and elite operatives with big personalities and shifting allegiances.

I give The Gray Man 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults, for language, intense action, and multiple instances of torture. The Gray Man is in theaters for a brief period starting July 15, 2022, and launches on Netflix globally on July 22, 2022.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


LONESOME TRAIL, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LONESOME TRAIL, THE
FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - The story begins when a cattle baron starts using trail hands to terrorize homesteaders in a small mining town a preacher comes to the rescue. With a Bible, not a gun this man is able to sway the homesteaders into standing their ground for their rights to free land. The homesteaders are rallied by preacher Carson to hold their position and not be frightened away by the constant barrage of raids on their families. Mike McCray, the cattle baron, doesn't stand for the resistance, claps back and causes much damage to the preacher's family and homesteaders. Frustrated with the outcome, one of the preacher's own family members turns against him and sides with the McCray clan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A blast to the past! The Lonesome Trail captures the dramatic and heartwarming history of how faith is used to keep hope during dark times.

The Lonesome Trail, set in the American cowboy era, follows a preacher named Brent Carson (Peter Wray) who just recently moves to a small mining town. With the help of the local teacher Elizabeth Turner (Kelly Schwartz), he makes it his mission to ensure that the new visitors are welcomed and accepted despite their race and ethnicity. However, he faces some challenges when the town founder Mike McCray (Donald Imm) starts plotting to remove him and other new residents out of town.

The Lonesome Trail captures the true environment of an old western film quite well. I am a big fan of Western films starring Black actors such as Buck and the Preacher with the award-winning Sidney Poitier. However, some modern elements do not mesh well in this film such as the appearance of some of the characters where the haircuts of the male characters are too modern. The sets and props are authentic to the time. The cinematography gives us an old Western vibe however; in some instances you cannot fully see the characters because the lighting overexposes the actors. Another thing that makes a Western film special is the set. This was clearly shot against a greenscreen and I missed having it take place on an actual Western set. I am curious if director Arlette Thomas-Fletcher did this intentionally in order to provide the audience with what a film may have looked like in the 1950s. The music is appropriate to the theme. The twangy, western tune that is often heard during tense moments makes the film feel familiar and nostalgic. My favorite character is Preacher Carson because, in every scene, he seems like a genuine person that you would want to get to know in real life. My favorite scene is when Preacher Carson stands up to Mike McCray. I love how he uses faith to combat the hardships he faces. What an important lesson, especially in times of difficulty.

The message of The Lonesome Trail is to be true to who you are and be kind to others. In times of inequality and unfairness, we must respect each other and have faith. You should be aware that this film contains scenes that mention racial inequality.

I give The Lonesome Trail 4 out 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The Lonesome Trail comes out on digital July 12, 2022.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

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


PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAWS OF FURY: THE LEGEND OF HANK
PARAMOUNT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Description - A down-on-his-luck hound Hank (Michael Cera) finds himself in a town full of cats who need a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain's (Ricky Gervais) evil plot to wipe their village off the map. With help from a reluctant teacher (Samuel L. Jackson) to train him, our underdog must assume the role of town samurai and team up with the villagers to save the day. The only problem... cats hate dogs! Also starring Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Kylie Kuioka, and Cathy Shim.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is a new action comedy movie that will have you captivated from the beginning. With a star-studded cast, and a simple plot, the audience will be able to relate to the movie and enjoy the story.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is about a loveable dog named Hank (Michael Cera). All Hank wants is to become an incredible samurai. When he finds himself in a town desperate for one, he thinks he's going to get what he's always wanted. But there's a problem--it's a town full of cats, and he doesn't know how to be a samurai. After receiving help from an ex samurai named Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson), he has to find a way to save the town and prove to everyone--including himself--that he can be great.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is a very lighthearted and enjoyable movie. Something that impressed me about this film is the animation of the cats. Each cat has its own distinctive look and personality, which makes it easier to tell them apart. For instance, Ichiro (Aasif Mandvi) and Chuck (Gabriel Iglesias) are best friends whose characteristics complement each other. Ichiro is a long-haired, black and white cat, while Chuck is a chubby, white and orange cat. We would never mistake one for the other due to their unique appearances. One reason that Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is so comedic, is because of the pairing of Michael Cera with Samuel L. Jackson as Hank and Jimbo. The banter between the two is very sarcastic and their delivery is very fast paced. The scenes with both of them move the story forward, while also making the audience want more from them. The training montage, when Jimbo is helping Hank, is sure to be a fan favorite as it showcases the harsh but humorous personality Samuel L. Jackson is known for. Casting director Debra Zane certainly picked the perfect actors for these roles. Having such well-known and talented actors in the film makes it increases its appeal.

The message of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is that everyone deserves the chance to be successful. No matter who you are or what you look like, everyone should be treated fairly. For example, even though Hank is a dog, he still deserves to be taken seriously as he attempts to become a samurai.

I give Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, although anyone can enjoy this film. Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank releases in theaters on July 15, 2022. So make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is a hilarious animated film that the whole family will love! It has an all-star cast, hilarious one-liners, and very clever cat jokes.

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank follows Hank (Michael Cera), a dog who travels across the border with dreams of becoming a samurai. After almost being killed, he is offered a job defending a town in need of a hero to defend them, but the cat-filled town hates dogs. He is quickly taken under the wing by Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson) a once great samurai who is now addicted to catnip. The storyline is all about friendships and learning to love people that are different from you.

This movie is hysterical. There are way too many cat jokes to count. There isn't much music in the film, but there is one sad scene that has music that matches it perfectly. I love the animation in the flashback scenes, it looks like a comic book! This cast is great! Every voice fits the character perfectly. I especially love the character of Emiko (Heavenly Joy) because her character is so sassy and she really voices her well. Samuel L. Jackson is hilarious as Jimbo, and never disappoints us. My favorite part of film is when Ika Chau is about to be pushed into a giant toilet bowl and says, "Wait, I have something to tell you," and proceeds to say, "Luke, I am your father." Then, he laughs it off and says he was joking.

The message of Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank is to follow your dreams. Hank worked so hard to become a samurai, and in the end, everything works out for him because he never gives up.

I give Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theatres July 15, 2022.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

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


HALLELUJAH, LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HALLELUJAH, LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG
SONY CLASSICAL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10-18
Description - Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is a definitive exploration of singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen as seen through the prism of his internationally renowned hymn, "Hallelujah." This feature-length documentary weaves together three creative strands: The songwriter and his times; the song's dramatic journey from record label reject to chart-topping hit; and moving testimonies from major recording artists for whom "Hallelujah" has become a personal touchstone. Approved for production by Leonard Cohen just before his 80th birthday in 2014, the film accesses a wealth of never-before-seen archival materials from the Cohen Trust including Cohen's personal notebooks, journals and photographs, performance footage and extremely rare audio recordings and interviews.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This captivating documentary shows the origins and evolution of the iconic song "Hallelujah," written by poet, author, singer/songwriter and musician Leonard Cohen. A song that transcends generations, "Hallelujah" is more than music; it is a work of art and this film is an immersive exploration of this iconic song.

The documentary narrates how Cohen started his music career back in the '60's. Disappointed by his lack of success in the literary world, Cohen decided to explore a career in music, despite not intending to sing or play an instrument. In fact, Cohen didn't start writing songs until age 30. The narration in the film explores his early success in music and other aspects of his life, including his Jewish roots, politics, relationships and more. He was a spiritual seeker and his oeuvre constantly gravitated around spirituality. "Hallelujah," his most renowned song, was released in 1984. The song is a moment of realization--a revelation--about love and loss, and it touches the listener in so many different ways. The song is so larger-than-life it's almost its own person, and we see how it has become an anthem.

As of today, there are over 300 cover versions of "Hallelujah." Originally 150-180 verses were written for "Hallelujah" until the perfect edition of the song was written. More popular versions have come from artists Eric Church, Jeff Buckley and John Cale. Through many different interviews, the documentary shows how most people know the song through Jeff Buckley and many thought he wrote it. It was really interesting to me to see how a lot of the film is devoted to Leonard's spirituality. One of my favorite clips was the 2009 Coachella concert where Cohen sang "Hallelujah," and you could really feel how moved and captivated the audience was. The visuals, the archived interviews and footage are all nicely arranged. I particularly enjoyed listening to the interviews with various artists, reporters and people that were close to Cohen and to witness the warmth that emanated from him. One I found very interesting was with Vicky Jenson, where she talks about how "Hallelujah" was used in the movie Shrek. Another was how singer Judy Collins remembers when she first met him how he didn't believe in his own music. Cohen's work was not always praised as some music labels rejected his albums, but his talent has proved to be immortal.

he message of the film is that music is cross-generational, and it establishes an emotional connection that unites people in a powerful way.

I give Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for audiences 12 to 18, plus adults. Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song opens in select theaters July 15, 2022

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


WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - From the best-selling novel comes a captivating mystery. Where the Crawdads Sing tells the story of Kya, an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the dangerous marshlands of North Carolina. For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" haunted Barkley Cove, isolating the sharp and resilient Kya from her community. Drawn to two young men from town, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world; but when one of them is found dead, she is immediately cast by the community as the main suspect. As the case unfolds, the verdict as to what actually happened becomes increasingly unclear, threatening to reveal the many secrets that lay within the marsh.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Where the Crawdads Sing is a must see coming-of-age and murder mystery movie based on the blockbuster novel by Delia Owens. The movie is wonderfully cast as every performance is stellar.

The story follows two different timelines that slowly come together as the movie progresses. The first is the trial for the murder of Chase Andrews (Harris Dickinson) and the second is about Kya Clark (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young girl who, after being abandoned by her family, learns to thrive in the marshes of North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s.

The movie mostly follows the storyline of the book it's based on, Where the Crawdads Sing, with a few slight changes. The storyline is engaging and keeps you guessing right until the very end. The sets and locations, along with the costumes of the marsh and the town, transport us into the 1950s and 1960s so much that it feels like we are living at that time. Each and every member of the cast have spectacular performances; my favorites come from Daisy Edgar-Jones and Jojo Regina. Daisy Edgar-Jones, as the older Kya, and Jojo Regina, as young Kya, have absolutely phenomenal performances. It feels as though they are real people in a documentary. You feel their pain, their joys and their triumphs. Other stand out-performances come from Harris Dickinson (Chase Andrews) and Taylor John Smith (Tate Walker) as they elicit a range of emotions with the portrayal of their roles and interactions with Kya.

The strongest message of Where the Crawdads Sing is the power of perseverance and one's ability to overcome challenges. Nature also plays a big role in this movie. You should be aware that this film has several adult themes and scenes, including rape, domestic violence, and similar, as well as profanity, so I do not recommend it for young audiences.

I give Where the Crawdads Sing 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out in theaters July 15, 2022.

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

Where the Crawdads Sing is a great movie that kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The acting is terrific and the excitement and suspense of the plot are incredible. I love a roller coaster of a good mystery and highly recommend this one.

Where the Crawdads Sing is based on the book by Delia Owens. It follows the life of a young woman, Kya (Daisy EdgarJones) who survives growing up in the marshlands of North Carolina by herself. Although she is considered an outsider and does not fit in with the people of the surrounding town, she finds a way to persevere. A major turning point in her life occurs when she becomes the prime suspect of a crime.

Daisy Edgar-Jones brings Kya's character to life very powerfully. When we first see her, she is shy and reserved; she rarely leaves the marshes. Kya enjoys the beauty of nature and loves drawing pictures of insects. As a person who loves nature, I really appreciate the scenery in the film with the details of the water, grasses and plants. It is beautiful. Although the movie takes place in the 1960s, the attire is similar to what people wear today and seems realistic. My favorite part of the film is the ending when we the truth about the murder is revealed. My sister and I enjoyed discussing the outcome of the story. There are so many possible outcomes of this story. It is interesting to see the many different interpretations from other people. This will definitely be a conversation piece for me and my friends for a while.

The message of the movie Where the Crawdads Sing shows how being abandoned by the people you love impacts your life and relationships. Although Kya survived on her own and created a life for herself, she never had the opportunity to deal with her past and how it affects her life in the present. You should be aware that there are some very suggestive sexual scenes in this film that make it unsuitable for younger children. I felt quite uncomfortable seeing those myself.

I give Where the Crawdads Sing 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 18 to adult. It releases in theaters July 15, 2022.

By Ava C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris tells the story of a widowed cleaning lady in 1950s London who falls madly in love with a couture Dior dress, and decides that she must have one of her own. After she works, starves and gambles to raise the funds to pursue her dream, she embarks on an adventure to Paris which will change not only her own outlook, but the very future of the House of Dior.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is an exciting fashionable adventure. It's comedic and moving at the same time, and is definitely entertaining.

Based on the 1958 book by Paul Gallico, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is set in the 1950s and follows Mrs. Harris (Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning lady from London who feels very lost after the recent death of her husband. She seems to be struggling with what to do next, but realizes that when she listens to heart, her husband is leading her in the right direction. With hard work and a little luck, Mrs. Harris is able to save up and take a trip to Paris to come in contact with her real dream -- a Christian Dior couture gown. While visiting the House of Dior, she realizes the true importance of Dior and helps others acknowledge this along the way.

This film really taps into the 1950s era with sets, costumes and locations that fit the decade. The film takes into account all the events happening at the time and incorporates them into the storyline. For example, the war had just ended and that is referred to multiple times, and woven into the story. There was also a strike in Paris going on that led to dirty streets, which we see in the film. In so many ways, the film is so true to the era and you see it in a multitude of details. I really enjoyed seeing how fashion is incorporated into the movie. Since the storyline revolves around a major fashion designer, Christian Dior, and his brand, we see how that affected society across from many socio-economic backgrounds. There is a lot of fashion history included in the film, which is especially interesting to me, since I love fashion. I enjoyed how each character's wardrobe is so outstanding and typical of the 1950s.

The message of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is to always follow your heart, and stick up for what you believe in.

I give Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris opens in theaters July 15, 2022.

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

I enjoyed Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and so will people who stand up for what they believe. Ada Harris is an admirable character that serves as a positive role model.

The storyline follows Ada Harris (Lesley Manville), a 1950s widowed housekeeper. After falling in love with a Dior dress, Mrs. Harris decides she must have one of them and takes off on a journey to Paris, where she discovers what she truly needs in life.

I love everything about how this film looks from the scenery, to the actors, the music, the script -- everything fits the storyline so perfectly. All the actors are fabulous; every prop is in the exact right place; there is just so much hard work put into this film and it really shows. One of the most outstanding contributions to the movie is from the writers. The script is so perfect. Mrs. Harris' story sticks out to me because, while all of the other characters are young and have years to figure out what's important to them, Mrs. Harris is already half way through her life, and still isn't truly happy. Alba Baptista who plays Natasha did an amazing job! I loved her performance so much! My favorite scene is the Dior fashion show. Everything about that scene is terrific; the dresses are beautiful, the actresses playing the models made me feel as if I was in the Dior showroom.

The message of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is to never give up. Mrs. Harris is determined to help the workers at Dior when she helps them strike. She is determined to buy the dress, and best of all, she never gives up.

I give Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It releases in theatres on July 15, 2022.

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Fashionable, inspiring and magical are just the words to describe Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris! Based on the book of the same name by Paul Gallico, this film will make you smile and encourage you to follow you heart and dreams. This wouldn't be a fairytale without a dress, and this princess wants a Christian Dior dress from Paris.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris follows Mrs. Ada Harris (Lesley Manville), a post war widow and housekeeper in London, who becomes mesmerized with one of her wealthy client's Christian Dior dresses. Mrs. Harris decides she must have the dress, which was created by the House of Dior in Paris, France. She doesn't quite have the money to purchase the dress or even get to Paris, but she doesn't let that stand in her way. Through luck, other's kindness and hard work, Mrs. Harris gets the chance to try to fulfill her dream.

This is a must-see family film. This film is a heartwarming, drama-filled romantic story of Mrs. Harris and her trip to Paris, as she searches for what she wants, but also gets more than what she thinks she needs. Mrs. Harris is a strong protagonist. Fans should not make the mistake some of the film's characters do and underestimate Mrs. Harris. She is fierce and witty; looks out for everyone and is sure to be a fan favorite. From the Dior fashion show scenes, the stunning Dior dresses, and the behind-the-scenes shots -- this film gives a real insider tour of the Paris fashion world in the 1950s. The Christian Dior dress Mrs. Harris wants symbolizes dreams, newfound respect, an opportunity to be seen again and overall, a new life for her. Throughout the film, you will emotionally connect and relate to Mrs. Harris and her journey. The flow of this film is perfect, and all the characters are likable and relatable.

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is about dreaming big and following your dreams despite any obstacles that may get in your way. We all want "something" in life. Mrs. Harris dreamed about going to Paris and purchasing the sparkly Dior dress. She didn't let lack of money, discrimination or anything else hold her back from trying to get her dress. Parents should be aware there are scenes with drinking and some rude language.

I give Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters July 15, 2022.

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

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


DISNEY SUMMER MAGIC QUEST
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DISNEY SUMMER MAGIC QUEST
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SHORT, AGES 5-12
Description - Disney's Summer Magic Quest, the third installment of Disney's popular "Magic Quest" specials, is set to debut with Zombies 3 stars Meg Donnelly, Pearce Joza, Kylee Russell, and Matt Cornett competing in a playful battle royal featuring new monumental challenges. This installment takes our competitors through the iconic locations of EPCOT where the impossible becomes possible. The two teams race around the world and beyond, competing throughout all four neighborhoods. The competing stars also get premiere access to the all-new Wonders of Xandar Pavilion with the "Guardians of the Galaxy": Cosmic Rewind attraction and get an insider's look into the Remy's Ratatouille Adventure attraction.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for the most exciting adventure of this summer? Disney's Summer Magic Quest is an entertaining game show full of crazy challenges and thrilling quests that's sure to keep you anxiously anticipating the newest experiences at Epcot Center in Disney World.

In this next installment of the Disney Magic Quest specials, we follow the stars of the new movie Zombies 3 as they go head-to-head across the world, and beyond, in Walt Disney World's Epcot Park after hours. During the show, Team Red and Team Blue compete in games and try out the exciting new rides that Epcot has to offer all while trying to win the first ever Disney Summer Magic Quest.

Disney Summer Magic Quest is so much fun to watch. It is so interesting to see some of the cast of the Zombies movies, such as Milo Manheim, Meg Donnelly, Matt Cornett, Kylee Russell, and Pearce Joza, outside of their movie character personas and to watch their own, genuine reactions. The competitors also get access to the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Remy's Ratatouille Adventure rides, which really makes me want to go to Epcot now! The cinematography is excellent, as it perfectly captures and enhances all the challenges.

The message of Disney Summer Magic Quest is to both celebrate the world and give back to it. Note that the activities of the stars in the parks should not be performed while visiting the park on your own.

I give Disney Summer Magic Quest 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, plus adults. It releases on Disney Channel June 26, 2022 and comes to Disney+ August 12, 2022.

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


THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - movie reviews, by kids for kids,thor,love and thunder,Taika Waititi,Marvel Cinematic Universe,appetite for destruction,Avengers: Endgame,Chris Hemsworth,Guardians of the Galaxy,Marvel Universe,Gorr the God Butcher,Christian Bale,Natalie Portman,Zeus
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Marvel Studio's Thor: Love and Thunder officially redefines the definition of film and on-screen art. Taika Waititi's background as a painter can be seen throughout the film, through the use of a vibrant color scheme and specific tint isolation. This is incredibly aesthetically pleasing and, quite frankly, nothing that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has shown us before. Matched with a rocking soundtrack -- Appetite for Destruction from Guns N' Roses, Thor: Love and Thunder is quite literally an "appetite for destruction."

Thor: Love and Thunder picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is still tagging along as one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. After all his paths have been severed from his battles with Thanos, he finds himself without a pathway. In all of his thousands of years of living, this has never been a concept that Thor has had to tackle. This puts him on a journey of self-exploration. Although, obviously in the Marvel Universe, that can only last so long when the new villain Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) comes to town. Gorr vows that "all gods will die." Thor recruits the help of his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) who seemingly became a Thor herself. These two learn to work together to defeat Gorr and how to navigate the world while rekindling their old relationship.

Thor: Love and Thunder emphasizes the idea of "love" in the title because that's how audiences will feel about the film's color variations and banging soundtrack. Christian Bale completely steals the entire show as Gorr the God Butcher. In every scene he is in, your eyes are glued to his worldly-like presence on the screen. Although he is terrifying, the audience will not be able to get enough of him. Christian Bale finds a way to make this a Christian Bale film and not a Chris Hemsworth film. As much as Gorr the God Butcher's storyline is golden, which is ironic given his black and white color scheme, other branches of the film feel unnecessary. During the film, certain plot points are used that feel somewhat like a cheap excuse to move the story forward. The characters spend a solid 30 minutes exploring something new, yet later we learn that it has no overall impact or relevance to the story. Part of the film is wasted on the focus of Zeus. It may be comedic and light-hearted in the moment, yet it almost feels like it is only introduced to help set up future Marvel projects, rather than focus on the film we are currently watching.

If the title doesn't make it obvious, the film deals with the theme of love persevering and expresses the concept that relationships aren't forever, but the love behind them is eternal. Following previous Marvel content Thor: Love and Thunder continues the trend of pushing PG-13 boundaries and getting darker. When I say that Christian Bale is incredibly terrifying, that is really true. Marvel does not hold back on his character, especially when a large part of his role is about abducting children. Given that, plus the barrel of intense action throughout the film, this film is not to be taken lightly.

I give Thor: Love and Thunder 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Thor: Love and Thunder raining its way into theatres on July 8, 2022. So make sure to check it out!

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

This ends here and now ... Thor is back with a comedic, out-of-this-world all-new adventure! This new installment about the God of Thunder, Thor: Love and Thunder has everything a Marvel fan could want. With two Thors making an appearance, you get things you didn't know you wanted and needed. It's called "Love and Thunder," so of course there is plenty of love.

Thor: Love and Thunder starts with a backstory about a villain named Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) as he experiences a great loss and seeks help from a God. When he refuses to help him, Gorr wants revenge and goes on a mission to kill all Gods. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) learns of Gorr's quest and un-retires to go save his home, Asgard. Along the way, his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), now the Mighty Thor with Thor's powers, joins him to help save Asgard and the Gods.

The main characters in this film are Thor, Jane Foster, King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taika Waititi) and Gorr the God Butcher. Thor's comeback, wearing a rock-and-roll outfit and set to 80s music, is epic! Make-up, especially for Gorr, is realistic, creepy and jaw-dropping. This film allows you to connect with each character on a different level where you care about each of them, even Gorr. It's the perfect balance between romance, tragedy, comedy, drama and action. My favorite part is the fight scene with a new generation of warriors, including a surprise appearance from another Marvel character's son. There is even a hilarious scene with a stuffed bunny used as a weapon. Marvel and Disney are leading the way for more LGBTQ+ representation in their movies, and Thor: Love and Thunder is a great reflection of today's society.

Thor: Love and Thunder's theme is that love is worth fighting for. All the main characters battle for the thing and/or person that they love the most. They are all in pain, seeking love and want revenge for how they feel, and are willing to fight for it. Parents should be aware that there is a brief nudity scene, some mild cursing, and heavy topics such as cancer and relationships.

Marvel has outdone itself with Thor: Love and Thunder and I give it 5 out of 5 hammers. This may be the funniest, "lovingest," and most entertaining Marvel film yet. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch this movie in theatres starting July 8, 2022.

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

I like the new Marvel Cinematic Universe release Thor: Love and Thunder because of how comical and emotional it is. I also like that the movie has a female kind of Thor, Jane (Natalie Portman), who becomes as powerful or more than Thor.

Continuing from Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has to get in shape so he can help the Guardians of the Galaxy's team fight off enemies on other planets. While this is happening, somewhere in the desert, Gorr (Christian Bale) the God Butcher is trying to save his daughter from dying and asks the god of his planet for help, but the god declines, laughing at him. The god previously kills a man holding a sword called the Necrosword, the only sword that can kill gods. The sword chooses Gorr, and then Gorr grabs the sword and kills his god and sets out to kill all gods.

The graphics and CGI in Thor: Love and Thunder are exciting. The visual effects technology used in this movie is the same as used in The Mandalorian. The audience can see a muscular Jane Foster with arms noticeably bigger in this film. Her costume is on point, similar to Thor's. The music really rocks on every scene, literally. My favorite part is when Thor has to help a planet, since the Guardians of the Galaxy couldn't, so he took off his cloak and went on a rampage while throwing in some comedy at the same time. Another favorite part is when Zeus (Russell Crowe) flicks his disguise and that accidently takes all of it off--at that point Thor screams, "You flicked a little too hard." This film has other great actors, including Matt Damon, Chris Pratt, Melissa McCarthy, Sam Neill, Vin Diesel and Taika Waititi.

There are multiple moral messages in this film, but the most important one is love is more important than greed or revenge. Gorr learns this the hard way while facing Thor.

I'd give Thor: Love and Thunder 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. Thor: Love and Thunder will be released on July 8, 2022.

Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Thanks to this new film based on the Marvel character, Thor, I am now a lifelong fan of comic book-inspired movies. If you plan to see Thor: Love and Thunder be prepared to laugh and cry. Prepare to spend two hours on the edge of your seat.

The storyline follows Thor, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), who sets out to defeat Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), an unhinged villain determined to single-handedly make god extinct. With the assistance of Korg (Taika Waititi), ex-love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Thor sets out to protect the gods and rescue the guardian children.

Director, Taika Waititi, delivers an action-packed comedy that tugs at the emotions. If you are, like me prone to cry at sentimental films, be prepared to shed a tear. Thor: Love and Thunder serves up nonstop laughter, fear, excitement, sadness and love. The fourth film in the Thor movie collection follows the God of Thunder as he is jolted from his carefree retirement when a father scorned, turned deity-slayer attempts to end humanity. Fortunately for Thor, his trusted friends refuse to let him enter the battle alone. Chris Hemsworth is absolutely consuming in his portrayal of Thor. Hemsworth is charming, unintentionally hilarious, and an unbreakable warrior whom you can not help but love. In an unexpected twist, Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) is called to power by Thor's old weapon, the hammer Mjolnir. Fully equipped with the strength of a Thor and the will to fight, Jane Foster is a mystical wonder on the battlefield and on camera. We witness Jane Foster and Thor fall back in love as they save the world. This review would be incomplete if I did not mention the spectacular onscreen work of Tessa Thompson, who plays King Valkyrie. Her leadership, relentless devotion to her kingdom, and dedication to her friends makes her one of my favorite characters.

The film Thor: Thunder and Love teaches us that the most profound mission in life is helping others; a second powerful theme is the power of love. Whether the love is between friends, spouses, or parent and child, when gifted with the chance to experience it, you should embrace the opportunity. Note: there is a scene where Thor is stripped of his clothing and the camera flashes to his exposed back side.

Thanks to this film I now consider myself a Marvel fan. I give Thor: Thunder and Love 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Thor: Thunder and Love releases in theaters July 8, 2022.

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

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


ACCEPTED
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ACCEPTED
GREENWICH FILM ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of Ivy League college admissions and the true cost of getting that first foothold into elite American society. In his first documentary feature, director Dan Chen grounds a broader look at the inequities in the American education system with unbelievable access to T.M. Landry and the deeply personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome countless obstacles to achieve their dreams. Four high school seniors in rural Louisiana attend T.M. Landry, an unconventional K - 12 school housed in a sparse warehouse made famous for sending its graduates to elite universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. The students aim to meet the intense expectations of Mike Landry, the imposing founder of the school who charts a relentless course towards their college dreams. When the New York Times publishes an expose on Landry's controversial methods, the school buckles under the scrutiny. Each senior is left to contend with uncomfortable truths about their school and the college admissions system, and decide for themselves what they are willing to do to be accepted.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Accepted offers a unique and intriguing look at the world of selective college admissions in the US; it shows the cost of climbing the social ladder through education and the extent to which people will go to get to the ranks of the country's intelligentsia.

T.M. Landry College Preparatory is an unconventional K-12 school in a poor rural town in Louisiana famous for sending its students to elite universities like Harvard, Yale, Wellesley and Stanford. Students aim to meet the intense expectations of Mike Landry, the imposing, relentless, rousing-speech-giving founder of the school who has a personal and professional stake in the process. When the New York Times publishes an expos� on T.M. Landry falsifying student transcripts and its controversial and, at-times, abusive methods, the school crumbles. Each senior has to figure out school and the college admissions system on their own from there, and they have to decide for themselves what they are willing to do to get into college.

In his first documentary, director Dan Chen beautifully captures the personal stories of four dynamic students looking to overcome the seemingly insuperable obstacles they face to achieve their dreams. One, for example, has a widowed mother and two disabled sisters, and she must care for them while balancing an 11-hour school day at T.M. Landry. The interviews of the four seniors guide the film, as does interwoven footage of Landry working with students, hyping them up, and continuing his work at home. The film is incredibly well-constructed -- holes in T.M. Landry's story are reflected in the plot (such as when it is revealed that Mike Landry told one of his students to call him when the filming team came to his house so he could project the image of a caring, fatherly figure). The footage is stable; lighting is modulated to reflect the mood of each scene (dark in times of despair, bright in times of hope), and the storytelling is seamless. Accepted keeps your attention throughout; there's not a single dull moment. As a student going through the admissions process right now (albeit with a very different background and very different schools than those in the film), Accepted resonates with me on an emotional level at various points. It's one of the best traditional documentaries I've watched this year.

Accepted is a film all about finding success with honesty and hard work. Where T.M. Landry fails, as a student says, is that they set out to solve the problem of a ridiculously selective university system, but became a part of the problem by falsifying records and losing integrity.

I give Accepted 5 stars out of 5 and recommend if for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Accepted releases July 1, 2022 in theaters and on demand.



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


MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-12
Description - In the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru is growing up in the suburbs. A fan boy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, Gru hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them. Luckily, he gets some mayhem-making backup from his loyal followers, the Minions. Together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto--a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please--deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons and pull off their first missions. When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles Alan Arkin, Gru interviews to become their newest member. It doesn't go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. On the run, Gru will turn to an unlikely source for guidance, Wild Knuckles himself, and discover that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In his world, Gru is the most powerful villain anyone has ever seen. But the question is: how did he become this dominant force? Minions: The Rise of Gru shows us the exciting story of 12-year old Gru and the path to his villainous life. Both the familiar faces and the new characters come together to make this make this film highly entertaining, yet nostalgic.

Minions: The Rise of Gru provides the backstory for how Gru (Steve Carell) came to be the notorious villain he is today. After being rejected as a replacement for Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) and failing to earn a much-coveted spot in the supervillain group Vicious 6, Gru unexpectedly finds himself on the run. As fate would have it, Gru's dream of being mentored by Wild Knuckles soon comes true, but not without Gru having to now lean on Wild Knuckles and his minions to fight back against the Vicious 6.

The three main minions--Kevin, Stuart, and Bob--each have unique character traits that make these films work. In Minions: The Rise of Gru, you can see how each minion plays a different role in how Gru grows as a villain and as a person. Kevin is the smart and responsible leader--he makes sure everything is going according to plan. Stuart is the one who is always in touch with reality, and makes sure the truth is known--he may seem uninterested, but he's very helpful. Bob is the lighthearted and innocent soul who always tries to make the best out of a situation. Without all three of these characters, this movie wouldn't be the same. There are many subtle references to the previous movies that add to the comedic tone, as well. For instance, in the scene where Gru and Wild Knuckles attempt to rob the bank, the bank president shows them an image of his grandson, who turns out to be none other than the aspiring villain, Vector. Of course, young Gru isn't aware that Vector will play a big role in his future, but the audience definitely is. These subtle references are what contribute to the nostalgic feel we get from watching this film. And, of course, we can't forget about Gru's iconic wardrobe, which he's already wearing as a young kid.

The message of Minions: The Rise of Gru is that everyone needs a little help sometimes. Even though he doesn't realize it right away, Gru eventually recognizes that he needs help in order to be the successful villain he desires to be.

Minions: The Rise of Gru is such a fun movie to watch. The lovable characters just make the audience continue to yearn for more. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12, though anyone can enjoy this movie. Minions: The Rise of Gru releases in theaters on July 1, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Minions: The Rise of Gru is exemplary, in that it contains all the wow factors I look for in a movie. It is funny and intriguing. The animation is amazing.

Minions: The Rise of Gru takes place in the 1970s when Gru (Steve Carell) was a child. The storyline follows his journey of trying to become the most dangerous supervillain. To make his dream come true, he tries to join a group of villains called the Vicious 6. His audition quickly goes downhill and suddenly Gru and his minions are on the run from the Vicious 6 villains.

They've come a long way since the original 2015 Minions movie. Gru's life story is told throughout the Minions and Despicable Me series, however, this addition to the storyline adds more details and fills the gaps of Gru's life that was missing. Just like the prior films, the minions are so hilarious and never lack for personality. A good thing about the Minions and Despicable Me films is that they are consistent with the character's personalities. There is the right amount of character development that brings all the characters to life, which gives it a realistic feel. The minion's language is interesting because it is mostly gibberish, called "minionese," mixed with a few recognizable Spanish words. Although most times you cannot understand them verbally, you can figure out what they are trying to communicate by their tone and facial expressions. They are just so cute! The minions wear their classic denim overalls, but some wear other outfits that fit their personalities. My favorite part of the movie is seeing the perseverance by the characters. It sends a positive message about not giving up and continuing to reach for your dreams, even when it gets tough.

The main message of this movie is that no matter how independent you think you are, everyone can use some help. Even the best supervillain needs help every now and then. We see this message portrayed throughout the entire film.

I give Minions: The Rise of 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it movie for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is a very funny and adventurous film that kids and adults will enjoy. It opens in theaters July 1, 2022.

The writers of the exciting film Minions: The Rise Of Gru, Matthew Fogel, Brian Lynch, and Matthew Fogel, definitely created a strong storyline. In this film we see who Gru's idols are and who he looks up to when becoming a villain. I definitely could not stop laughing while watching this film and I bet you won't be able to stop, too!

The film starts off with an object, which looks like an amulet, being stolen, and we meet the Vicious 6 (Gru's idols.) They betray their master and kick him off the team. So now Gru has an interview to work alongside the people he looks up to and become a Vicious 6 villain. If you want to see if he joins the team you're definitely not going to want to miss this film. We also see what things are like at home, school, with his mom and the overall backstory.

This film is definitely a fan favorite and with Steve Carell playing the voice of Gru it will be a crowd-pleaser. There are so many jokes and the things the minions do and say will make you laugh so hard. For example, the way they speak and, especially in this film, the mix of Spanish with "minionese." Like every previous Minion film, it has such a spark, the kind that truly entertains you and makes you laugh. What is unique in this film is the creation of a storyline that reveals Gur's childhood. We learn how rough it was for Gru at school and how his relationship with his mom caused him to become the person is in the future. The animation in this film is similar to the previous films, but way better.

The message of this film is to never leave a friend or someone you care about behind because one day they might save your life. There are a lot of action scenes, including ones where they fight and one where they use needles. So, I would warn parents that this may not be suitable for younger kids.

I give Minions: The Rise Of Gru 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. You can find it in theaters July 1, 2022.

By Miguel C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JAZZ FEST: A NEW ORLEANS STORY
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story weaves together live performances and interviews from the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival, featuring some of the biggest names in the music industry, along with a wealth of archival documentary footage from the past half century. This film not only captures the Festival in all of its beauty and glory, but also delves deep into the rich culture of The Big Easy.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story is a one-hour-and-a-half documentary about the history of the annual Jazz Fest in New Orleans. A Jazz Fest documentary would not have been my first choice to watch, but I did I learn something new and would like to visit the Jazz Fest in New Orleans one day. And, if you are a person who is interested in jazz music and the history behind it, this is absolutely the movie for you.

This film is about one of America's greatest festivals held in Louisiana, New Orleans. Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story takes a deep dive into the meaningful history and culture behind the iconic jazz fest. Furthermore, the movie shows the celebration of the music and the food of Louisiana.

There is so much talent and extraordinary culture that brings this wonderful event to life. Clips shown of the different jazz performances and cultural dancing all display the beauty behind it all. It's wonderful to see how they can keep the traditions and cultural aspects of Jazz Fest alive. From this documentary you will learn why the festival has a deeper meaning than just a fun festival that happens every year. It brings a positive and warm feeling to the people who attend Jazz Fest, while making the culture known and bringing awareness. Additionally, there were inspirational dance acts with beautiful clothing. The dance portrayed the meaning of the music while being played. This was my favorite part and very cool to watch.

I give Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters June 10, 2022.



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


NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED: THE UNDERGROUND ROCK EXPERIENCE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED: THE UNDERGROUND ROCK EXPERIENCE
CARTOON NETWORK Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SPECUIAK, AGES 5-12
Description - Calling all rock stars, fashion icons and naked mole rat lovers! Mo Willems' fan-favorite Naked Mole Rat, Wilbur J. Mole Rat, Jr. emerges from his underground tunnel for a stunning CGI-animated hour of "underground" music and comedy in Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience! Based on Willems' book, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed this animated rock opera strikes a power chord about accepting others. The musical event is accessorized by a fun and funny tale about a sensitive, curious and rockin' Naked Mole Rat named Wilbur (Jordan Fisher) who "scandalously" decides to (gasp!) get dressed! Find out what happens when Wilbur's newfound love of rocking outfits rocks Naked Mole Rat society to its core.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The adorable film Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience by Mo Willems and Mr. Warburton gives viewers a story that explores the true meaning of originality. Wilbur The Mole Rat is loveable and a fan favorite and, even though he is an animal, we can all relate to his search for acceptance within his community. In this film, viewers will find a deeper meaning behind the well-crafted plotline and creative music. The viewers will root for Wilbur as he explores how clothes can give us personality.

The storyline follows the protagonist, Wilbur (Jordan Fisher) as he discovers the potential for clothes to bring joy. He also happens to live in a community of naked mole rats who shudder at the thought of a mere sock. Although he aspires to open a clothing store in the town center, his band mates (Yvette Nicole Brown, Kate Mucicci, Michael Richardson) discourage his newfound dream, threatening to turn him in to the great Grandmah. Although she is a hero to the colony, she is also the most feared and powerful mole rat to exist. Will Wilbur continue to fight through the constant bumps in the clothing road, or will he become a menace to the colony and no longer be able to follow his dreams?

Jordan Fisher plays Wilbur with an innocence that makes his already charming character even more relatable. Yvette Nicole Brown as Wilbur's bandmate, Grande is hilarious and brings sass into this sweet film. Music is the most special part of this film- bringing emotion to the plotline. Because this film is directed towards younger kids, the music is easy to understand and the beats are catchy! The animation is unique and each mole rat is special and diverse. The clothes add a touch of color to the colony which enhance the message of this film. My favorite part of this film is the first time Wilbur watches clothes fall from the sky. He is filled with wonder and sings an upbeat musical number celebrating the beauty of self-expression.

The message of this film is that everyone is special no matter what they choose to wear, act, say or do. Following the trend may not always be right for everyone and that is okay, because being oneself makes us happy and the whole world more interesting. This is an amazing message to send to every kid and adult who feels like they don't belong because they are "different." This is definitely a film for younger kids, but parents/guardians would enjoy watching it with their children.

I give Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults. It releases on Cartoonito on HBO Max June 30, 2022

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

With adrenaline pumping rock 'n' roll, high fashion and naked mole rats, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience combines three unrelated things and makes a perfectly-mixed animated production. Based on best-selling author Mo Willems' children's book, this is a super fun and funky animated adaptation.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience is also a rock opera that tells the story of strong-willed, progressive-thinking, and fashionable mole rat, Wilbur J. Mole Rat Jr. (Jordan Fisher), who decides that he is willing to risk public humiliation to stand for what he believes in.

The cast of this film are all strong actors and actresses with a reputation for delivering excellence. Mo Willems and Tom Warburton are the geniuses behind the script for this remarkable film. With the help of world-renowned music composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, the script adaptation turned out to be a lighthearted, inspiring, rockin' good musical. The storyline follows Wilbur facing scrutiny and resistance from many mole rats in the community, including law-abiding and gentle-natured Tall (Kate Micucci). Venti (Kevin Michael Richardson) refuses to get dressed; there is nothing he cares about more than being a rock 'n roll musician, his mole rat bandmates, music and being naked. Yvette Nicole Brown gives a remarkable performance as Grande, the lead member of the high demand rock band, "The Mole-ing Stones."

This film encourages viewers to be courageous enough to ask the question, "Why not?" It's no longer enough to go along to get along. Wilbur reminds us that tradition is not a strong enough motivator to deny the passion and purpose you have in life. Thanks to Wilbur Mole Rat Jr., the moles in the tunnel are now liberated and dressed to the nines.

I give Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5 to 12, plus adults. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience releases on Cartoonito on HBO Max June 30, 2022.

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

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


RISE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RISE
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Audiences have never seen a story like that of the Antetokounmpos. After emigrating from Nigeria to Greece, Charles and Vera Antetokounmpo (Dayo Okeniyi and Yetide Badaki, respectively) struggled to survive and provide for their five children, while living under the daily threat of deportation. With their oldest son still in Nigeria with relatives, the couple was desperate to obtain Greek citizenship but found themselves undermined by a system that blocked them at every turn. When they weren't selling items to tourists on the streets of Athens with the rest of the family, the brothers-- Giannis and Thanasis -- would play basketball with a local youth team. Latecomers to the sport, they discovered their great abilities on the basketball court and worked hard to become world class athletes, along with brother, Kostas. With the help of an agent, Giannis entered the NBA Draft in 2013 in a long shot prospect that would change not only his life but the life of his entire family. And last season, Giannis and Thanasis helped bring the Milwaukee Bucks their first championship ring in 50 years, while Kostas played for the previous season champs, the Los Angeles Lakers.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - All rise for the heartwarming, inspirational biographical story of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family! Rise is a story of family, sacrifice, love, and basketball. Perfect for the entire family, the Antetokounmpos' story is sure to score in the hearts of viewers.

Rise follows parents, Charles (Dayo Okeniyi) and Veronica (Yetide Badaki) Antetokounmpo, as they leave their home, and oldest son, in Nigeria due to immigration laws and head to Greece. There the couple struggles to find work and raise their children, Thanasis (Ral Agada), Giannis (Uche Agada), Kostas (Jaden Osimuwa), and Alexandros (Elijah Shomanke). Even though they are struggling to survive and dodging immigration, Giannis and Thanasis take up basketball for a local youth team. They find a passion for the sport and eventually are noticed by scouts, which starts their quest for the NBA ... but not without still playing defense against deportation, racism, and laws preventing them from getting work permits.

While the movie focuses on the rise of the Antetokounmpo brothers, the entire family is the star of this film. Everyone makes sacrifices in order for Giannis to get drafted into the NBA, which opened doors for his brothers. Every day leading up to the 2013 NBA draft is a challenge to avoid deportation. One wrong move can expose them and send everyone back to Nigeria. The film is an emotional rollercoaster as you follow the Antetokounmpos' journey from Nigeria to Greece to the NBA. My favorite aspect of the movie is seeing all the sacrifices each family member made for the overall goal. I enjoyed the old-school and hip-hop songs, which will draw in audiences of all ages. The camera angles also help engage viewers and give a close up understanding of the family.

Rise is all about family and sacrifice. The family shows what you can accomplish when everyone sticks together. Throughout the film, we see how Charles Antetokounmpo constantly reminds his children that "if one scores, then they all score." He instills in them the value of family and how they can't make it by themselves. Considering that Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas became the first trio of brothers to win championships in NBA league history, I would say they understood the assignment.

Rise is not just for basketball fans ... it's the perfect family movie that is just the inspiration we all need to keep pushing forward. I give Rise 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Rise tips off on Disney+, June 24, 2022.

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

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



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