The Family category has 2038 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
Below are records 1 - 50 of them
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I STILL BELIEVE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I STILL BELIEVE
LIONSGATE FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Description - The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss that looks to prove there is always hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Still Believe is a sincere and true love story, held down by clich�d dialogue and plot development. The subtle messages and radiant leads stick their landing without feeling preachy. Adults and kids will admire this faith-based tale, perhaps in a matinee and a box of tissues.

This story brings the true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp (KJ Apa) and his remarkable journey with his wife Melissa (Britt Robertson). Their faith in God is tested when Melissa is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Still, Jeremy believes there is always hope and a faith worth sharing through his music and memories.

The two leads share great chemistry allowing for a believable relationship. KJ Apa, as Jeremy Camp, steps into the shoes of the Christian music singer, through his original music and devotion towards his wife Melissa. Speaking of which, Britt Robertson, as Melissa, is the best performance nailing the emotional gravitas of the real-life counterpart's plight. She fares much better in emotional scenes, and while KJ has great screen presence, he could improve his emotional chops. Both characters absolutely deliver a heart-warming dynamic that makes the ending all the more tragic, but also reminiscing. Nathan Dean, as Jean-Luc, adds a love-triangle dynamic that feels more at home in a CW show than a dramatic real-life story. Still, his character is charismatic and relatable in his struggles. Gary Sinise, as Tom, is Jeremy's father, adding more heart to Jeremy's unwavering love and choices.

Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin return after directing the Christian film I Can Only Imagine. The Erwins have a good grasp on not being preachy and instead, focus on the human relationships that bind. However, this film's first half panders with one instance of egregious product placement, unbecoming of its more mature second half. It feels tonally inconsistent in spite of KJ and Britt's natural chemistry. There's a scene involving a broken jar of pickles where the film becomes thoughtfully complacent about its conflicts. This is where the film began to click, and it ends up being moving and lyrically heartwarming.

The message of this film is to always keep the faith and stay close to those you love. They make us for who we are, and unfortunately, tragic things can happen. It's best that we stay close and not waste any day with them.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 due to strong thematic material. The movie releases in theaters March 13, 2020, so check it out.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


STARGIRL
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STARGIRL
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-14
Description - A boy becomes intrigued by a mysterious and quirky student named Stargirl and spends his time trying to know more about her.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stargirl is an amazing movie that encourages you to be yourself and not let anyone tell you who else to be. This movie could make a great impact on the world and it has such a powerful and positive message with the ability to inspire many people.

Stargirl is about a boy named Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere) and a girl, Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) who, after many years of being homeschooled, decides to attend a regular school and the two of them begin a connection. When Stargirl shows up at the school, positive things start happening, like the football team winning games, which it hadn't for YEARS)! But, when Stargirl makes a choice that causes the school to lose the championship football game, everyone turns on her and it's up to Leo to save Stargirl and win back everyone's love for her.

One of my favorite parts is when Stargirl sings Happy Birthday to Leo at the beginning of the movie, because that's when he starts noticing that this girl is different and wonders what she knows about him. What a surprise to have a complete stranger serenade you on your birthday, in front of the whole school! I also love the moment when Stargirl runs out of her house as Leo is leaving and kisses him. She's like, "Oh no, what do I do now?" and runs back into her house. I think that's so cute and funny and I love that he gets so giggly and happy about it. It is so adorable.

The message of this film is simple enough - be true to yourself and never let anybody tell you who to be or what to do, because you'll be unhappy with yourself in the end.

I love Stargirl and give it 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18. If you're in high school you'll be able to relate to at least one of the many likeable characters in this movie. And, Disney fans, as well as adults will LOVE this movie too. There's something for the whole family in this film. Make sure to have a box of tissues near by when you watch it. You just may need it for both the heartwarming and joyful moments. This movie is streaming on Disney+ beginning March 13, 2020.

By Lindalee Rose, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-14
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BLOODSHOT
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BLOODSHOT
COLUMBIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Ray Garrison, an elite soldier who was killed in battle, is brought back to life by an advanced technology that gives him the ability of super human strength and fast healing. With his new abilities, he goes after the man who killed his wife, or at least, who he believes killed his wife. He soon comes to learn that not everything he learns can be trusted. The true question his: Can he even trust himself?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments`
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Bloodshot because it has a unique storyline, awesome action and great stunt scenes. This film keep your attention throughout the entire movie.

Bloodshot is about a solider named Ray Garrison (Vin Diesel) who gets killed in action and is brought back to life by an innovative scientist named Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce), who fixes wounded soldiers by augmenting what the soldier lost in battle. One soldier, named Jimmy Dalton (Sam Heughan), lost his legs in battle so Dr. Harting gave him robotic legs. Ray lost his life and Dr. Harting replaced all of his blood with nanites, which can rebuild any part of his injured body.

My favorite part is the elevator shaft fight scene when Ray, Jimmy and Tibbs (Alex Hernandez) are fighting on top of the elevator. The digital effects are awesome, like how the nanites heal Ray every time he gets hurt. The graphics are perfect. The costumes look like army gear with special devices attached. There is some foul language and violence. The cast fits each character, especially Vin Diesel who perfectly playa Ray Garrison.

The moral of this movie is that not everything is what it seems. You have to see the film in order to understand the moral.

I give Bloodshot 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Bloodshot comes out in theaters March 13, 2020. Go watch it.

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

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


CRITICAL THINKING
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRITICAL THINKING
CQCM - CARIBBEAN CHAPTER
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - CRITICAL THINKING is based on the story of the 1998 Miami Jackson Senior High School chess team that defied the odds and overcame incredible adversity to become the first urban high school to win the U.S. Chess National Championship. John Leguizamo stars as Mario Martinez, the determined high school teacher who's unwavering belief in his students set in motion the rise of the Miami Jackson chess team from the city streets of1998 Miami, to the spotlight as national champions.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Critical Thinking is a film with incredible, fleshed out characters in an emotional story which surprises you at every turn. It gets you to connect with the characters quickly and made me actually feel bad for them when things go wrong.

Critical Thinking tells the true story of the lives of members of the Miami Jackson High School chess team during the U.S. National Chess Championship. It goes into the motivations behind the members and their team supervisor, Mr. Martinez, as they struggle to get out of a system that doesn't value them via the chess tournament. It follows their journey from the start, raising money to get to the tournaments, and the events that occur during the tournaments, as well as all the problems throughout. The film also goes into specific details of the members' personal lives to show their daily struggles.

The characters are developed incredibly well, making you feel as if you know the characters. It makes even the most insignificant characters interesting. They are all real people who make real choices about their lives, for better or worse. I really enjoyed the way they show the players develop during the competitions. They play like real people and make mistakes like them too. There are very complicated relationships between the characters that help them develop their abilities and personalities.

The score is subtle and matches the film. There was never a point when I noticed that the score was practically good or bad, but it fits the themes and changes when necessary. My favorite scene is the final chess match. Marcel takes risks which make sense for his character. The other members of his team appear genuinely nervous, because they don't know who is going to win. They put Marcel under a lot of pressure, and it is unclear if he is going to break because of it. There is one point when an offer is made to him and it is unclear if he would be willing to abandon his team for personal gain.

The film delivers a message that people who come from different places can still accomplish incredible things. It also addresses the problems with the school systems' view on people of color.

I give Critical Thinking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, because it covers some very mature topics. Critical Thinking will be released summer 2020.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

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


ADVENTURE BOYZ
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADVENTURE BOYZ
HOWARD FORD Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - When speedway racing champ Mike Harris has his kids for the summer holidays, he is stunned they want to sit inside playing on their devices. Insisting they get out into the real world for adventure and exercise, little does he realize, he is about to set off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Adventure Boyz is an engaging film in which family ties are tested and strengthened. The beginning of the movie shows the toll that family separation takes and the father realizing where his children are headed if they continue on that road. It ends with the returning of a missing family member and becoming a family again.

Adventure Boyz encourages family activities as healthy ways to nourish family relationships between parents and children, denouncing the use of electronics as some kind of epidemic that turns people into zombies.

What I found appealing are the main characters, the views and scenery. Plus, there is adventure and fun involved. Although the film lacks in creativity, it flows well most of the time. There are some things that don't quite make sense such as like the father being allowed to compete again and winning. It offers a please feeling of familiarity with the characters and their environments. The movie exceeds in showing positive family and faith values.

Adventure Boyz offers a positive message about family and the importance of good parenting. It emphasizes trusting God and positive advice that a committed parent should give her children. It does have some unnecessary physical violent scenes, that you should be aware of.

I give this 3 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 13 to 18. This film is available now on DVD and digital.

Reviewed by Carolina S., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Adventure Boyz because it has a good, interesting story. This film is full of action and adventure. It is cool how the two boys, Sam and younger brother Jake (Rory Ford, Felix Ford) work together to solve a mystery. I like how the boys' dad is a speedway racer, because that is something I'm not ever around. I also like the mom, because she is very protective of her kids. You can tell she loves them very much.

The story starts off with a news reporter reporting that 50 diamonds has been stolen in the castle. This grabbed my attention right away. When the two brothers are biking, they find a hideout where the diamonds hidden. That is just the beginning of their big adventure. The boys get chased by two bad guys pretty much throughout the movie and have quite a few close calls. They have to fend for themselves because their mom is away and their dad winds up in jail. It's really up to them to set things straight.

I love one of the bad guys in the story--one of the antagonists. He has a great personality, because he is always getting distracted by things and it's funny when he gets off task. The other antagonist is the complete opposite; he is very focused and very serious about his job. My favorite part is when one of the bad guys is admiring flowers. It's ironic because, earlier on in the film, he tells his partner he never wanted to be a criminal, he wanted to be a gardener.

The message of the film is to trust yourself. Sam sometimes has moments when he doubts himself and then, he learns to be more confident and does the right thing. I know when I'm more confident, I tend to do better at something, like when I'm singing, dancing and acting. There is one scary part, the abduction scene, when someone is tied up and has duct tape over his mouth.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 14, but even older kids and some adults may like it. Adventure Boyz is available now on Blu-Ray/DVD and streaming services, so look for it.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: Video and DVD


KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KOKOWANDA BAY BY RUTH AND EMILIA
RUTH WEBER, ENRICO LOPEZ-YANEZ AND EMILIA LOPEZ-YANEX PRODUCTIONS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-12
Description - URR the alien returns to Emilia's backyard to get her help in saving beautiful Kokowanda Bay which has become polluted. The two work together and sing these catchy tunes as they learn about recycling, reusing, and reducing, to make the world a better place.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The mother and daughter team of Ruth and Emilia have a winner of a new album on their hands with Kokowanda Bay, a rock 'em sock 'em joyous explosion of fun and educational songs of friendship, caring, love and wondrous discovery and includes a cute alien visitor from another planet for good measure. The production value and super vocals are indeed other-worldly with great use of instruments. (Hey, isn't that an oboe!) Songs move the story merrily along. A fun time is guaranteed for all - on this or any planet!

Kokowanda Bay by Ruth & Emilia is finely produced, well paced and flows easily. The album speaks to its target age group with messages of love, acceptance and care for the Earth. The arrangements are totally appealing and the vocals are terrific. I absolutely recommend this with its very positive and educational messages. It encourages that we all, regardless of age, can do our bit to be proactive. This album does not talk down to its audience, but uplifts them to a brighter understanding. All done in a loving and creative way.

The production value is terrific. The vocals are lovely and the musicians are on their game. It has lots of positive messages about going green, recycling and the wonders of nature. This would make a terrific tool for schools with its participatory projects, especially regarding science and the environment. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST! Music Specialist
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.99
Media: AUDIO


WENDY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WENDY
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Lost on a mysterious island where aging and time have come unglued, Wendy must fight to save her family, her freedom, and the joyous spirit of youth from the deadly peril of growing up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wendy is the new re-imagined version of the Peter Pan story and a very thoughtful and meaningful film. It is beautifully shot, and it reminds us of the power of imagination. Wendy is a very introspective story that combines adventure with drama but is not a colorful vibrant tale--instead it is filled with some sadness and a little gloom.

Director Benh Zeitlin co-wrote this film with his sister Eliza, a story where a little girl, Wendy, assumes the role of a mother figure to her brothers. The story explores adulthood and the challenges of a new self-acquired freedom.

Trains pass everyday just next to Wendy's house and everything shakes. Her life seems very methodical; she helps her mom at the dinner business that operates in the lower level of her house. On the top level, she plays and uses her imagination reading books and daydreaming about adventures. One day, when she is little, a kid disappears on top of a train in front of her pretty blue eyes. Years later, she decides to disappear on a train, too, followed by her brothers, curious to see what happens at the end of the journey. She meets Peter Pan and arrives in a remote volcano island. She also meets the kid that disappeared years ago, but he hasn't aged. She discovers the secrets behind staying forever as a kid as she learns the importance of growing and enjoying every stage of life.

The film was shot on location, in places that represented a real challenge to the crew. Zeitlin is a passionate filmmaker who challenged himself filming in 16mm, a format that is artistic but represents more efforts, technically speaking. The format definitively adds texture and works perfectly for the story. The young actors are excellent; they totally conveyed a wide range of emotions.

Wendy is about lots of things; definitively a coming-of-age film where Wendy deals with the fact of growing up and assuming responsibilities and being afraid of that. But it is also about family, respect for nature and grown-ups and older people. And this is probably my only issue with this film - at times, it feels that it has too many moments of symbolism which makes it hard to follow the main purpose.

The message of the film is we should always remember the good things about being a child, keeping a free spirit and use our imagination. But aging brings wisdom and we can't change the course of life.

I give Wendy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 10 to 18. Some images could be a little intense for young kids and this movie will not be very easy to understand for kids under 10. Wendy opens February 28, 2020.

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

This soulful fantasy drama drew me in from the very beginning and never let up. It is so visually stimulating, with a lot of different camera angles and incredible stunts. The location is both beautiful and exotic. It's the perfect setting.

Wendy is a very different adaptation of the classic Peter Pan story. It follows a young girl named Wendy and her adventure to a mysterious island with her brothers. Once on the island, they discover the wonders of nature, freedom and the surprising struggles of life. Wendy fights to keep her family together, while trying to stay young.

Benh Zeitlin co-wrote the screenplay with his sister, Eliza Zeitlin, and also directs the film. The awesome thing about this twosome is that they didn't just, one day, think of this idea for a movie, but had the idea their whole lives. Benh also co-composed much of the dynamic music for the movie along with Dan Romer. Wendy was filmed on location in the Caribbean, using 16mm film versus a reliance on green screens for background settings. It features real nature! This movie has a wonderful cast of nonprofessional kids, such as Yashua Mack, who plays a very believable Peter. Gage and Gavin Naquin, as Wendy's brothers Douglas and James, have a visible bond with each other as brothers as well as in real life. My favorite character is Wendy (Devin France), because she is so brave, very curious, and has a kind spirit.

The messages of this film are that it is ok to grow up, but never loose joy, hope, wonder and freedom and to confront, not escape, life's difficulties. This movie has some mild profanity, some gory images and some very risky adventures, but the last is on purpose because they wanted these kids to be free to do fun and dangerous things.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will also like this movie. Wendy opens in theaters on February 28, 2020.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like Wendy because it is a totally different and more realistic version of the Peter Pan story. I like how this movie follows Wendy's life story and point of view about life.

This film is about a little girl named Wendy who has a pair of twin brothers and they are raised by their single mother. Their mom owns a diner and she works very hard in order to take care of her three children. They live upstairs above the diner and, next to their house, is a train track where they can see the trains pass by very close to their bedroom window. When Wendy was about two or three years old, her neighbor, Thomas, who was about eight at the time, jumped on one of the trains and never came back. That memory hunts Wendy. Years pass by until one night, Wendy sees a train that's similar to the train Thomas jumped on and she decides to wake her brothers up and jump on the train. Once they are on the train, they meet Peter, a young boy who takes them to an island where a group of children and a group of very old people named "The Lost Boys" live.

Wendy is not the traditional Peter Pan classic tale or movie that we are used to seeing. This movie is unique because Wendy comes from a low income and hard working family. She is raised by her mother only. The kids are dirty, sweaty and untidy. They are very hyper, wild and adventurous. They use foul language and fist fight with each other. There is only one graphic scene with blood in it. There is no Tinkerbell and the creation of Captain Hook is very original. It is a great new take on this fairy tale story.

The moral of this movie is to always be young at heart and to use your imagination and creativity in life. Wendy physically grows old, but in her heart she is young. She believed in helping her brothers overcome their sadness and bad experiences on the island, in order for them to continue to be young.

I give Wendy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Children under 10 could watch this film under the supervision of an adult. Wendy was released in theatres February 28, 2020.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 11

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


ONWARD
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ONWARD
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - Set in a suburban fantasy world, two teenage elf brothers embark on a quest to discover if there is still magic out there.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - As of now, this film is easily one of my favorite Pixar films. I adore the touching story and especially the world building. Overall, Onward is an amazing film.

Onward takes in a world much like our own, except it's populated with fantasy creatures. We follow two elf brothers, Ian and Barley Lightfoot as they discover magic still exists and thus go on a quest to revive their father for one day.

So, first the animation. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory. Since it is Pixar, the animation is absolutely outstanding. But, I specifically want to discuss the world in which Onward takes place. There are so many creative and diverse character designs and representations of mythological creatures (which I appreciate as a mythology fan). The world building is probably some of the best I've ever seen. I have contemplated the idea of a suburban fantasy, so I'm really happy seeing that idea brought to life. There's a lot of really funny gags surrounding this idea, such as an historically accurate "Dungeons and Dragons" and unicorns becoming the equivalent of raccoons. You can tell the artists really enjoyed designing the settings.

However, the world is not the only enjoyable aspect of this film. The characters are especially fun. The two brothers, Ian and Barley, have amazing chemistry. This is probably thanks to their voices actors - Tom Holland playing Ian and Chris Pratt playing Barley. They already have a connection from the Marvel movies, so their relationship feels real. But Ian and Barley aren't the only great characters in this movie. I would say my personal favorite character is The Manticore, played by Octavia Spencer. The Manticore is probably the funniest character and I really like her friendship with the brothers' mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).

Speaking of which, Onward is really funny. There's a specific scene involving The Manticore that caused me to laugh probably the hardest I've ever laughed at a Pixar movie. There are also a lot of gags involving the fact that the world is populated with fantasy creatures.

And as expected from a Pixar film, it's pretty emotional. And, given the context of the plot, I feel this might be one of Pixar's most heart wrenching films. When you think about it, who wouldn't want to bring someone back, even for one day?

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. It comes out on March 6, 2020 so look for it.

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

Onward is a spectacular film! I especially enjoyed the very well written story line and the animation. This film had me laughing and crying, as well as sitting on the edge of my seat. The characters are funny and very well animated, and remind me of humans that I know and love.

Onward is about two elf brothers named Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt). Their dad passed away when the Barley was very young and Ian was about to be born. All the two brothers want is to see their dad again. After getting their dad's old wizard staff and a spell to bring him back for a day, they find it is a lot harder than it seems and they need to work together to solve the puzzle.

The characters in this film are voiced by some very well-known names. Tom Holland (Spiderman movies) voices Ian Lightfoot and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) plays Barley Lightfoot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus voices Laurel Lightfoot, Ian and Barley's mom. Manticore, the fierce creature who helps the brothers, is voiced by Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures).

Onward has everything that a fairy tale adventure film needs. The whole film is filled with magic and magical creatures like a fairy tale films has, but it also contains just the right amount of action to make it qualify as an adventure film as well. Onward's story line is fantastic! Every single detail is spot-on. My only problem with this film is that the pace starts a little slowly, but it picks up as the story develops. Other than that, I love this movie!

My favorite character in this movie is Barley, Ian's big brother. He is my favorite because most of his lines are very funny and he had me laughing every time he opened his mouth. I admire him because the other creatures think Barley is weird, but he is confident in who he wants to be and he is always himself.

The message of this film is that sometimes the very thing that you are looking for is right in front of you. I give Onward 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020, so be sure to look for it! Now I will take my family to see this movie. By Eva W, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This animated fantasy film, directed and co-written by Dan Scanlon, is heart-warming and magical! Onward is a hilarious movie with terrific animation and special effects. Jeff and Mychael Dana's musical compositions are spectacular and really drive the flow of the movie.

Onward is about two teenage elves that receive a magical staff left to them by their father when he passed away. Their father was a magical wizard and created a way for them to use a magic spell to bring him back for 24 hours. Unfortunately, when they try to use it, the staff malfunctions and only half of their father returns. So, the brothers go on an adventurous journey to find the phoenix gem, so they can bring back the other half of their father. The catch is they only have 24 hours to do it, while solving the mystery using weird clues and some magic to get to see their dad again.

The protagonists are Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) and Barkley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt). The chemistry between the brothers is amazing, which is probably because Tom and Chris have worked with each other before. All the characters are well-developed. My favorite character is The Manticore (Octavia Spencer), because she is extremely funny. I love how she becomes the fearless warrior she was before the world stopped believing in magic. My favorite scene is when Ian uses the magic staff to make a gas can bigger and accidentally shrinks Barkley. Barkley jumps up and down, because he thought the magic worked, and then realizes it only worked on him. It is pretty funny. I also think it is clever how the unicorns play the role of raccoons and dragons act as pets. The special effects in this movie are spot on. I love the scene where Ian tries to bring his father back and everything flies around the room. Other scenes where Ian uses the magic staff are pretty cool too.

Even though the special effects are great, they are not what make this movie magical. The message of the film does. Many of the characters in this film have stopped believing in their own magic. In order for them to move onward, they need to believe in themselves, each other and the magic they each have. Adults may want to be cautious with children that have lost loved ones, as it might be disturbing to them.

Onward is an adventurous, family-friendly movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults will enjoy this too. Move onward to see this film in theaters opening in theaters March 6, 2020. Reviewed by Tiana Sirmans, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Onward is fun, exiting, adventurous, and an emotional roller coaster. Pixar delivers another wonderful film that is very appealing to new generations and easy to relate, despite characters from another world.

Onward is a computer animated, urban fantasy film directed by Dan Scanlon, who also co-wrote the script with Jason Headley and Keith Bunin. The story follows brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt), two teenage elf's who embark on an extraordinary quest. Their goal is to try and see if there is magic left in the world, in order to spend one last day with their father, who died when they were younger. This is a story about bonding between father and son, and between two brothers.

Tom Holland, as Ian, the younger of the two brothers delivers a very subtle, but engaging interpretation that makes the audience immediately connect with his loner behavior. Chris Pratt, as Barley, the eldest brother, is vibrant, optimistic and his personality is almost opposite to his younger brother. Octavia Spencer plays Manticore, a fearless creature who can fly and sends people on quests). I absolutely love Octavia's performance and Manticore is my favorite character. I've always loved Octavia as an actress, so I was really exited that she voices this character. Another great voice is Laurel, the brother's mother, by super fun and charismatic Julia Louise-Dreyfus.

The animation in this movie is very detailed and sometimes photo realistic. Pixar has developed digital animation over the years to a fine art, and truly this film displays that. You can see so many details in the characters' facial expressions. If you look very closely you can see that the elves all have freckles! There is also a lot of emotion in this movie and the animation displays it so well.

I'm pretty sure everyone who watches this movie will cry at one point. I sure did. One of the fascinating aspects of Onward is how these fantasy creatures interact with each other and go through a journey of redemption and self discovery.

Onward is entertaining all the way, but some jokes don't work out and, at some point, it's a little hard to feel fully invested in one of the characters that appears only from his waist to his feet.

The message of this film is - believe. The magic in the film is a metaphor for our own ability of make things happen and letting out the light within ourselves.

I give Onward 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 13. Make sure to check out Onward in theaters on March 6, 2020. By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Onward is Disney/Pixar's new action-packed animated movie with lots of magical laughs! There's hilarious physical humor, exciting chases and fights, but it's also a very moving film. You really feel the main characters' sense of loss at not growing up with their father.

Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley Lightfoot (Chris Pratt) are teenage elf brothers who live in a suburban mushroom house in a land that was formerly full of magic. They use a spell to bring their dad back to life, but only get his bottom half! They have 24 hours to complete a quest to finish the spell and see him one more time. All they need to finish the spell is the Phoenix gem, but finding it proves a lot more complicated than they first think. While they are working to bring him back, they have to bring their dad's legs and feet along with them for the ride.

The animators have created a beautiful imaginative world with lots of clever details that will make you want to watch again and again. The voice acting is top notch, with Tom Holland and Chris Pratt showing a range of emotions and humor as Ian and Barley. Octavia Spencer as Manticore brings her character to life with frantic energy. The introduction of her character is hilarious! She's a former magical adventurer turned family restaurant owner. I really like the part when Barley shrinks down to a tiny size due to Ian messing up a spell. I also like when Ian turns their boat into a cheese puff so they can eat their own transportation! I love Officer Colt and his catchphrase where he asks everyone if they are "working hard or hardly working."

There are a lot of positive messages in this film about family and loyalty. Another message is that you can go searching for things you've never had in life, but you might find they were right with you all along. Parents of younger kids might want to watch out for some of the risky actions the brothers take, like when Ian walks off a cliff, trusting in his magic to keep him safe.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 5 to 17, and adults will like it too. You can see Onward in theaters everywhere starting March 6, 2020. By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love Onward! It is a whimsical story filled with colorful and eccentric characters. Pixar nailed the animation, and the cast of voices is pure perfection.

Onward takes place in a magical world, that isn't quite so magical anymore. Brothers Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) are complete opposites in every way. Brave Barley is never is afraid to take a risk, especially when it involves magic. Ian, on the other hand, is quirky, and lacks confidence. Their mom, Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), is an important character as she is the glue keeping their family together.

The movie is inspired by the director, Dan Scanlon's own childhood. I love the setting of this movie. It takes place in a modern town, where everyone lives in mushroom-shaped houses. Unicorns, once a majestic creature, are now more like raccoons than anything else. Adorable mini dragons are kept as pets. The voice-over actors are wonderful. Mel Rodriguez, who voices Officer Bronco, has the funniest laugh. Octavia Spencer, who voices The Manticore, acts as wild as a Manticore should. Tom Holland (Ian) perfectly portrays an awkward kid. My favorite character is Barley, because he is a classic rock loving boy.

The messages of this movie are that family is the most important thing and sometimes what you're looking for has been with you the whole time. This film does have some magical scenes that kids should not imitate. It also reminds us to always pay your parking tickets.

I give Onward 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. People with siblings will especially like it as will adults. Onward opens in theaters March 6, 2020. By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CALL OF THE WILD, THE (2020)
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A sled dog struggles for survival in the wilds of the Yukon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Call of the Wild is an amazing film based on a book with the same name by Jack London that follows the story of a massive, clumsy dog named Buck, who gets taken away from his master, is forced into slavery and struggles trying to discover his true destiny.

When the movie begins, Buck is taken away from his home and must adapt to his new environment in the wilderness. I really like the way the movie shows him changing to fit in. They use a giant, black, shadow of a wolf with glowing, yellow eyes. Every time Buck needs to make an important decision, the wolf is there leading him to the best path.

The animation and CGI in this movie are great; all the dogs look incredibly realistic. There is a dog fight between Buck and another dog that is very intense and the dogs act just like normal dogs act when fighting each other. The cinematography, with the visual effects, is really outstanding. Each different landscape has thousands of small details that showcase the amazing power of mother nature, which is exactly what the movie wants to show to us.

My favorite character is Buck the dog; he is playful, kind, funny and all-around relatable character. Buck is the main character in the movie, even though he doesn't talk. My favorite scene is when John Thornton, Buck's final owner, is trying to drink his bottle of whiskey and Buck keeps knocking his glass out of his hand. Eventually, Buck steals the bottle and buries it in the yard. This scene was hilarious and it made me think that Buck was saying, "no drinking."

There are two different messages that this movie offers. One is, "you don't need to hurt people to be a leader; be kind and you will get your best team." The second is, "Mother Nature is powerful, don't try to take too much from it, only take what you need so the world can stay as beautiful as it is today."

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18 because some jokes most kids won't understand. This film comes out in theaters February 21, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

My feelings about this movie are quite mixed. On one side, the use of CGI helps to portray the strong emotions of the dogs. On the other hand, there are many scenes containing brutal animal abuse that many audiences will find disturbing and unsettling. The storyline, however, is incredibly well-structured and detailed.

The Call of the Wild is about Buck, a fearless, strong dog who has been through so much in his life. After being shut out on the porch of his California home, Buck's name is called and he finds himself in the hands of a dog seller, who locks him inside of a box for transport. A while later, he is recruited as a puller for a dogsled that delivers mail in Alaska. After a journey full of twists and turns, Buck discovers a whole new world with someone he loves and trusts by his side.

Some of the lead characters include John Thornton (Harrison Ford) Perrault (Omar Sy) and of course, Buck. What really stands out is the CGI that is essential in expressing the emotions of the animals. It is really effective in this aspect of the story. The dogs look almost human! With such emotion in their eyes, and their actions, there is barely anything that humans can't relate to. (Except for the furriness!) My favorite part of this movie is in fact the CGI. The difference it makes in it is emotionally impactful and helps the audience feel attachment to the characters, and love for them too. It improves the quality and aesthetic which makes the viewing experience vivid.

This movie strongly conveys a message of how perseverance is enlightening and can make anyone a stronger, more intelligent person who can take on more difficult challenges than ever before. It is definitely successful in signifying this empowering lesson through symbolism and emotion, and definitely reminds me to push through the problems that I run into in life. There is something that the audience should look out for. There is some extremely aggressive behavior that is inflicted upon animals, and between other characters. Several weapons are used, such as a whip, a bat, and guns. Minimal amounts of blood are shown. There really isn't any bad language, however.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find The Call of the Wild in theaters on February 21st, 2020.

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

The Call of the Wild is an action-packed suspenseful movie that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. The film follows many CGI created animals that seem very inconsistent and too expressive to be real animals. Throughout the film, there are laugh-out-loud jokes to lighten the mood from its intense plot and dialogue. The film has amazing landscapes showing the Yukon terrain and prospector theme.

The Call of the Wild follows a dog named Buck as he gets kidnapped and joins a sled dog team. At first, Buck doesn't seem to fit in anywhere, but throughout the film, he grows to be a more confident dog and learns to face challenges head-on. One day, Buck meets a man named John Thornton (Harrison Ford) who sees the abusive condition Buck is in and decides to save him. For the rest of the movie, John and Buck's friendship grows and you get a glimpse of the sweetest duo ever.

For The Call of the Wild, the CG images are critical. Even though the CGI is inconsistent, I give major props to all the visual artists for their work. A movie like this is heavily reliant on CGI and, frankly would not be possible without it. Harrison Ford once again proves that no matter whether it's Star Wars or Indiana Jones, his acting is spot on and he never disappoints. The photography is extremely crisp and makes you really feel the wilderness environment.

The Call of the Wild is rated PG and advertised as a family-friendly movie, but I disagree with this rating because throughout the entire film, the dogs face multiple levels of abuse that will make you put your hands over your eyes. The overall tone of the movie is sad and dark. It is a real tear-jerker and just makes you want to help these poor dogs. However the movie does teach viewers the importance of loyalty and companionship.

The Call of the Wild portrays multiple levels of animal abuse and cruelty, so I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 2.5 out of 5 stars due to graphics, but well-portrayed relationship between a man and a dog. The Call of the Wild opens in theater February 21, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 13

The Call of the Wild has such wonderful sets, cinematography and CGI. Although the film is pleasing to watch, the plotline itself is predictable and redundant. There are so many films out there about a man's best friend and there was nothing in The Call of the Wild that sets it apart from them.

Based on the novel by Jack London, the storyline follows a dog named Buck who is stolen from his home on a ranch. He is sold to become a sled dog to deliver mail. Buck has many encounters with a man named John Thornton who eventually becomes Buck's owner. They become very close and John takes him on a trip to the other side of the mountain in honor of his late son, because it is a trip that he would have loved. Unfortunately, another man named Hal, whose judgment is clouded by greed, believes that John is taking this trip because he knows where the gold is. Hal follows him with ill intentions. Because of this whole journey Buck, in the end, finds where he belongs.

Harrison Ford, who plays John Thornton, embodies his role and shows the audience the bond that Thornton develops with Buck. It's almost as if he sees Buck as his own son. The dog that plays Buck is named Buckley. He was a stray dog in Kansas and director Chris Sanders and his wife adopted him because he was the same breed as the dog in the novel. Buckley went from being on the streets to starring in a movie where he gives an amazing performance.

The story is set in Alaska where the scenery is quite beautiful. They capture the majesty of the frozen mountains and even the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The CGI for the dogs is photorealistic. It is super cute how they show the dogs' emotions by their facial expressions.

My favorite parts of this film are the various shots of the scenery. It really looks so beautiful in both the daytime and nighttime shots. I loved seeing it and it makes me want to visit those places.

The message of this film is about realizing that life is a journey and will be full of challenges, but through these challenges you will find your place. If Buck wasn't kidnapped from his home on the ranch he never would have truly been happy. Without the challenges that he faced, he would have never gotten his freedom in the wild. Everything happened for a reason, from being tortured to meeting John Thornton.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Even adults might enjoy this film. The Call of the Wild comes out in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out!

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

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


EMMA.
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EMMA.
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Jane Austen's beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Emma is a cheerful adaptation of Jane Austen's beloved novel. Readers of Jane Austen can rejoice as her characters come to screen. Others might not find this to be their cup of tea.

In this adaptation the "handsome, clever and rich" matchmaker Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor Joy) pursues adventuring through matches and romanticism to find love.

Anya Taylor Joy, as Emma, gives the best performance. Anya has grown from a being newcomer, and this demanding performance proves that, allowing for eloquent speaking and characterization. Her conversations with other characters are straight out of the classic Victorian tale; keeping in mind, she is American. Her love interests are Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, a dashingly critical friend, and Callum Turner as Frank Churchill, a rich gentleman. I also enjoyed Mia Goth as Harriet, as she helps Emma find her match.

Director Autumn de Wilde is artistic, but the pacing could be tighter. This is a slow movie as several scenes are long, drawn-out conversations. I feel this aspect is best achieved in books, though some movies can capture the audience's attention like that. This movie really must be your forte for it to be enjoyable. The character's parlance is always olden English, and there is a loss of stakes. The score by Isobel Waller-Bridge is authentically Georgian capturing the grounded roots of genteel women living in England.

The message of this film is to not rush love, as Emma and Harriet let time prove its worth after hasty pursuits. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, due to brief nudity, even though younger kids might not be interested in watching this. The movie releases in theaters on February 21, 2020, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

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


SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - After discovering a small, blue, fast hedgehog, a small-town police officer must help it defeat an evil genius who wants to do experiments on it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because is based on one of my favorite game characters. Sonic The Hedgehog is a live-action film--except for Sonic who is a CGI character (Ben Schwartz)--based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega.

The story of Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic, a small blue hedgehog who has super-speed powers. When Sonic was younger, his owl guardian gave him a bag of rings to help him escape to different planets in case anyone discovers and kidnaps him because of his powers. One night, after he comes to Earth, he is playing baseball by himself and he gets upset because he realizes he is very lonely. Sonic runs in circles as fast as he can because he is upset. He is so fast that blue energy comes out of his body causing the whole town to black out.

This power outage causes big problems for Sonic who is pursued by a crazy military man named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) or Dr. Eggman, as Sonic calls him. Fortunately for Sonic, the town's sheriff (James Marsden) catches him and helps protect him from Dr. Robotnik.

The graphics in the movie are excellent, and, with the new Sonic design, it looks like Sonic is real. The new design works better than the Sonic design Paramount Pictures had before redoing this movie. The special effects are impressive too, such as Sonic's blue lightning which also looks real. Ben Schwartz did and very funny voiceover for the Sonic character. He is really full of energy.

The moral of this movie is that you are never alone in the world. There will always be someone for you to be your friend, to talk to and to be by your side when you need it. When Sonic is feeling alone, Sheriff Tom, or The Doughnut Lord, as Sonic calls him, takes Sonic to protect him and help him get to the Mushroom planet where Sonic needs to go.

Sonic the Hedgehog is filled with a lot of action and fun. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. If I could, I would give this movie 100 out of 100 stars. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18 plus older adults. Sonic the Hedgehog comes out in theaters on February 14, 2020.

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

Sonic the Hedgehog fails to evoke the propulsive rush of its source material. There's so much possibility in translating this character and the mythology he brings with him from the video game to the big screen. Unfortunately, this film gets bogged down in familiar family film antics.

An adaptation of the popular game franchise of the same name, Sonic the Hedgehog follows Sonic (Ben Schwartz), a carefree, lightning-quick blue hedgehog who hides out, in fear of what those with villainous intent would do with his super-speed. Trouble comes calling in the form of a genius named Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey), who is brought in to deal with the growing threat of a rogue, ultra-powerful hedgehog. Sonic convinces a small-town police officer (James Marsden), who dreams of working in the big city, to help him retrieve a few of his golden rings to help Sonic flee this world and move on to a new one.

Jim Carrey delivers a next-level performance as Dr. Ivo Robotnik, and he's easily Sonic's most valuable asset. Robotnik is another entry in the pantheon of zany, almost manic characters Carrey plays so beautifully. Carrey hasn't been this in control of his comedic strengths in a long while and its great to see him back in his element. His performance is on an entirely different wavelength than the rest of the film and, yet, it feels like he knows exactly what this movie should be. Kooky, frenetic and even more cartoonish than the film's CGI lead, Jim Carrey gives Sonic the Hedgehog a boost of energy it desperately needs. Ben Schwartz works well as the blue speedster at the center of the film. There's an innocence and playfulness to Sonic that Schwartz radiates nicely in his vocal performance.

I don't understand the screenwriter's choice to coop Sonic up in a car for much of the film's runtime. A character that is known for his speed finally arrives on the big screen, and they chose to confine him to a car with James Marsden. At the point at which the road trip begins, it feels as though you see every moment on the journey ahead coming far before you're supposed to. When Sonic and his pal arrive at their destination, they reach a visually exciting climax, but no payoff can make up for the bland route that is taken to get there. These games are not the most modern and this adaptation does its best to rectify that with countless references to current trends and popular culture to middling results. Even so, Sonic the Hedgehog struggles to keep its finger on the pulse of the culture.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and an age recommendation of 4 to 12 for some peril and crude humor. Sonic the Hedgehog is not the disaster many expected, nor the surprise sensation nobody saw coming; it's just fine, and I was hoping for more than that from this film. Fans of this character will relish getting to see him on the big screen, but I'm not sure I can confidently recommend this to those who are not die-hard Sonic fans. Sonic the Hedgehog releases in theaters February 14, 2020

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

I've never played Sonic the video game and was never a really big fan of the character but I really like this movie. It is very well done and great for the whole family. I like the animation and I love the acting. The story is very human and has very little to do with video games. It is about friendship and friends that become a family.

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue hedgehog that ends up on earth and he's trying not to be discovered. He lost a ring that helps him transport to places. When humans find Sonic, he has to run away (something he does well because he moves at super sonic speeds). Sonic feels lonely and wants a friend. When he meets Tom, a police officer (James Marsden), they develop a great "bromance," but they have to face Mr. Robotnik who is obsessed with everything fast and wants to experiment with Sonic. In their journey, both learn they don't have to run away from their problems.

I love all the characters! Dr. Robotnik is so funny and pleasing to watch. He is played by Jim Carrey, who is one of my new favorite actors. His performance is amazing and he is definitely a fascinating villain. He is graceful, entertaining and full of life. I also love the character Sonic; even though it is an animated character he really looks realistic. I could really see all the details in Sonic and I felt like he was pretty much a stuffed animal, opposed to a virtual digital character. Sonic is played by Ben Schwartz, an amazing voice actor who gives the character a great personality.

It's so amazing to see a character that was made about 30 years ago continuing to fill children's hearts with joy. I think Sonic is 100% absolutely adorable and all the characters are so fun to watch. There are a lot of action scenes and wonderful colors in the film as well. The music adds so much energy; it is catchy and upbeat. Finally, I like all the jokes and they definitely made me laugh. To add to that, I love how Sonic gives everyone their own special nickname. That gives the movie its own special touch and I guess I'll nick name this film "Blue Speedy Furry with Heart."

I give Sonic the Hedgehog five out of five stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 13. The message of this film is that friends in our lives bring us the most joy and they are the family we chose. Another message is that humans will always be more important than technology. Dr. Robotnik keeps trying to make technology a greater power than humans, but Sonic and everyone prove that our simple life and connections are what really matter. Sonic the Hedgehog opens February 14, 2020. Look for it!

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

I really love this movie! Sonic the Hedgehog's team has created a movie based on the SEGA video game of the same name. There are amazing special effects from the beginning to the end. I love how it includes parts from the SEGA game, such as Sonic running in vertical loops and his spin attacks. I felt as if I was watching a live version of the actual game!

Sonic the Hedgehog is about a blue, fast and funny hedgehog named Sonic (Ben Schwartz) who has to escape his home in another world and ends up on Earth. He accidentally causes a power outage and has to hide out in Green Hill, Montana. The government tries to hunt him down and hires Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey) to capture him. Sonic meets a cop named Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) or Donut Lord, as Sonic calls him, and Tom agrees to help Sonic, find his rings and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik, who wants to use Sonic's power to take over the world.

The lead characters are Sonic, Tom Wachowski and Dr. Ivo Robotnik. It is very clever that the movie takes place in Green Hill, Montana, since the first level of the actual SEGA game is called Green Hill Zone. My favorite character is Sonic because he is funny. I love how he is made to have lives, just like he does in the SEGA game. One of my favorite scenes is when Dr. Ivo Robotnik has a virtual reality screen behind him and it shows a dinosaur running after him. Jim Carrey uses his flexibility to lower his head to make it look like the dinosaur bit it off. The movie is filled with special effects, such as explosions and lightning when Sonic runs. Sonic's CGI perfectly match his character in the video game. This is something the producer went back to correct before releasing the film. The music ties into what happens for each part of the movie; however, I was a little disappointed that the song Super Sonic used in the trailer is not in the movie.

The main message of Sonic the Hedgehog is that you should consider home wherever people that care the most about you are. There isn't much to be forewarned about besides Dr. Ivo Robotnik uses some minor foul language.

I rate Sonic the Hedgehog 5 out of 5 rings and recommend it for kids ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially gamers, will also love this movie. Since it's based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video game by SEGA, it may remind them of their own childhood. It's a great action-packed, family movie. Catch Sonic the Hedgehog in theaters starting February 14, 2020. Be sure to stay for the credits.

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

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


HOPE RANCH
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOPE RANCH
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - A young girl and her mother are in danger of losing their ranch after the death of her military father. With a little help from their majestic white horse, they hatch a plan to save the ranch and learn to never lose hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I personally enjoyed Hope Ranch. This inspirational family drama kept me engaged, yet I wished that the storyline was a little more complex. I also wished the father (Jon Schneider) had a little more screen time. We don't quite get invested in him before he is gone.

The storyline is about a mother and daughter who go through a strong testing of their faith when the father goes off for a final duty in battle and does not return. The mother has to deal with the possible foreclosure of their ranch property and her daughter's faith is temporarily shattered after her dad is killed in battle.

The production quality of this film is outstanding. The picture resolution and sound are clear, the cinematography is beautiful. The subtle color scheme works well for a mid-western ranch in a mountainous region.

The message of "keeping the faith" is very straightforward and appropriate for its target audience. There are no deeper or entangled themes that might confuse the viewer. The subject of potentially losing one's home and losing a loved one in war is very relatable to many people and a very realistic storyline.

I give Hope Ranch 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14, plus adults. Hope Ranch is available on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really enjoyed Hope Ranch. It has a wonderful storyline and involves horses, which I love.

Hope Ranch is about a girl and her mother trying to save their ranch after her father dies at war. It's well structured and easy to follow and also deep at the same time.

It is live action with lots of beautiful landscapes. The camera explores lots of interesting angles. The protagonist, Grace (Grace Van Dien) loves her home, her family and her horse, Faith. But, she loses her faith after her father dies, which makes her horse's name ironic. The costumes are suitable to the story. The sets are either at the farm or the church. The music is very dark and emotional, enhancing the feeling that something is about to happen.

The message of this film is that even in the worst, darkest time of your life, if you have hope and faith, everything will turn out all right in the end. The only negative behavior is that Grace yells at her mother a few too many times.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Hope Ranch comes out on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020. Look for it. Reviewed by Kayenta C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Although the message of this film is quite uplifting and can help any person, it is directed at a Christian audience with its faith-based focus. I found the plot a bit slow in developing and the topic of the arguments between the characters pretty repetitive.

The storyline entails a mother Rebecca (Marisa Brown), a father Mike (John Schneider), and their teenage daughter Grace (Grace Van Dien), who move to a large, countryside ranch. Everything goes downhill when Grace's father is deployed in the military and passes away in battle. After this, she and her mom struggle to pay the mortgage and must do anything to save the farm, including hold on to hope, have faith and believe that not all is lost. Grace is a very emotionally driven character. She cares so much about the ranch and will do anything she can to make sure that she and her mom can keep it and continue to live a full life together.

What really stands out most to me in Hope Ranch is the music. The tempo and instruments in every scene tie everything together in an emotionally expressive way. The music helps the viewers to connect deeply with the storyline and the situations that the characters are experiencing. This film definitely promotes the admired social behavior of helping others in need and sticking together in times of difficulty, which is an effective choice, as it helps other people in desperate situations.

The message of this movie is that you should never give up or lose hope, and that if you persevere through tough times, it will only make you stronger than ever before. It is definitely successful in portraying its message.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Hope Ranch on VOD on March 3, 2020 and on DVD March 10, 2020.

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

Hope Ranch is an inspiring tale of loss and the power to overcome the obstacles life throws your way. Though the scriptwriting is a little clich�, the cinematography makes up for it. Hope Ranch impresses with its high quality production. The cast lacks a bit, apart from Marisa Brown.

Hope Ranch is about a girl, Grace (Grace Van Dien), struggling with the passing of her father and, in turn, acts out against her mother. Grace's mother, Rebecca (Marisa Brown), is trying to pay off their debt so they can keep their family farm, all while getting her daughter under control. As tension rises, both mother and daughter begin to lose hope - including hope for Grace's horse, Faith, to not be sold off to pay their rising debt.

This film starts off slowly and picks up pace slightly. When it comes to the storyline, despite Grace Van Dien's expertise, it's a challenge to make Grace's character come to life. The dialogue between Chris and Grace is, at times, embarrassing to watch, due to some awkward lines. These two are positioned to be the film's power couple, but they are also meant to be best friends. Many scenes between Chris and Grace are uncomfortable to the viewer. Although the screenplay doesn't excel at the romance in the film, it successfully delivers other messages quite well, especially when Rebecca is slowly breaking down from the pressure of holding the farm and her family together. The portrayal of feeling genuine pain is truly astonishing. I give Marisa Brown credit for holding this film together, particularly in this scene.

The message of this film is to never give up hope. No matter what is going on in your life, you will find a way through it. Whether it is with God or with your friends, that time will surely come to pass.

I give this film 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. You can find this motivational film on VOD March 3 and DVD March 10, 2020.

Reviewed by Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 85 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


I GOT YOU A PRESENT!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
I GOT YOU A PRESENT!
REIMAGINE PR
Series: E-BOOK, AGES 2-5
Description - A quest for the perfect birthday present leads to ever grander (and ever more imperfect) gift ideas from our hero, a duck. "I wanted to get you the greatest present ever,!" our narrator tells us. But somehow, none of the best ideas seem to pan out. First, there was the pair of hand-knitted birthday socks (have you ever tried knitting birthday socks?). Then, the ten-scoop ice cream cone (a disaster to carry), the magic kit (it disappeared, just like magic!), the apple juice-fueled jet pack (still a few kinks to work out) and the dinosaur (I couldn't find one anywhere). And now, time has run out, and our narrator still has nothing to give. Or, maybe there is something after all. Something that contains all those awesome gifts in one. Something that can be enjoyed again and again, just by turning the pages.

In their debut picture book, Emmy Award-winning children's television writers Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan have taken a metafiction approach (speaking directly to "you"). Cale Atkinson's is the illustrator. Though a book about finding the perfect birthday present is itself the perfect birthday present, it's also a simple a good read year round because it offers character education lesson on perseverance. There is also a live show.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are engaging and brightly colored, which will attract young children. The story itself is a fun read with a lovely message. Also, the character is very likable.

The story is about a quest for the perfect birthday present. The main character does not know what to get a friend for his birthday explores various options and why they are not suitable. The character finally comes up with a clever solution. The story flows very well and the ending is lovely. It makes sense and is very appropriate for preschool and early elementary age children. A young child could be asked questions about birthday gifts and what to get for friends and family. One could even ask them which gift idea they liked the best.

This is an e-book with visual appealing the illustrations. They really make the book. It is primarily entertaining but also has a message about birthday celebrations with people who are special to you. It might make kids start thinking about what they want for their birthday. (how fun is that?) My only concern is the vocabulary. I am not an expert in this, but I would pass it on to someone who is, because there are some words that might not be the most suitable for the target age.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - See adult comments

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-5
Suggested Retail Price: $ 18.8
Media: Book


TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TO THE BEAT! BACK 2 SCHOOL
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - Sisterhood is tested, rivalries heat up and new bonds are formed when students go back to their performing arts school to compete for an all-expense paid summer scholarship program to a prestigious Conservatory of Fine Arts.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is very entertaining and witty. Most typical teens will enjoy this film because they can easily relate to the story, as it presents situations that most high school student may face in real life.

The film is a high-school comedy with typical ingredients such as the nerdy students, the pretty student, the funny student and a common target. Its appeal because of its catchy plot, a variety of attractive and talented performers from varied racial backgrounds, and their (mostly) well-chosen wardrobe and background music.

The beginning of the film has some flow problems, but it quickly recovers about fifteen minutes into the film. Keep in mind that this is a sequel to To The Beat!, which I recommend watching first to know who is who and avoid confusion. In watching this, I found knowing the characters a little challenging. After I realized who is who, I could focus on the plot. The characters, settings, most costumes, soundtrack, plot, and selected talented cast makes this film appealing for any teenager. I enjoyed some of the jokes and funny behavior from some of the characters.

As to conflicts, it gets complicated because both the main and supporting characters have some form of internal conflict he or she is facing and must solve in order to grow. I like seeing a film making these internal conflicts part of the plot and trying to wrap up everything at the end of the film. The film drew me in by addressing these conflicts and showing how the characters come to terms with overcoming their obstacles. I also found alluring the use of clean humor and well-timed sarcasm.

I enjoyed most visuals, although some scenes are so dark it is difficult to see what's going on, like the ones in the dance practice room. The acting is pretty basic and could benefit from a bit more work from the secondary characters. The big plus for me is the inclusion of kids from multiple racial backgrounds, without making that a big deal. I also appreciate that the film does not go into any gender-related issues. The film is definitely entertaining, plus it touches on family and friendship values.

The message of this film is to about finding yourself. You should be aware that there is some inappropriate language, scenes where hatred is displayed and some inappropriate clothing.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. The message of this film is available Digital and DVD May 10, 2020 so don't miss it.. Be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - To The Beat! Back 2 School is a hilarious and entertaining new feature film! This film is so fun and there is never a dull moment. If you are looking for an engaging drama-packed movie, this is the one for you.

Tensions at Valley Performing Arts grow high when the twins, Mackie and Mia, return from spring break. The students are put to the test when offered the opportunity to audition for one of three scholarships to the Triad Conservatory of Fine Arts in New York City. Between the huge scholarship, Mia's new boyfriend and Mackie's newfound friend in her longtime rival, Avery, things are bound to heat up.

There are a bunch of incredible aspects to this film. One of my personal favorites is the writing. Susan Bernhardt and Jillian Clare crafted an incredible story that has plenty of plot twists and turns to make it engaging to watch. The actors are extremely believable in their roles at Valley Performing Arts. Sydney Bourne, who plays Cassidy, is insanely talented. I love when actors and actresses that play villains can make me genuinely dislike their character enough to stir emotion within me, and Sydney Bourne was able to do just that. One small problem I found with To The Beat! Back 2 School is that since I hadn't watched the first movie, the first few minutes were a little bit confusing, due to my lack of background knowledge. I really enjoyed how the soundtrack for the movie keeps the scenes lively and energetic. Another thing I thought kept the movie lively was the stellar choreography. Every dance scene is visually appealing and kept my eyes glued to the screen.

To The Beat! Back 2 School shows us that people can change and we should not to judge a book by its cover. Making instantaneous assumptions about a person doesn't tell you much about them. In order to understand a person, you should get to know them first. Another valuable message is taught is about respecting other people for who they are, as a person and not based off of their talent.

I give To The Beat! Back 2 School 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Make sure to check out this film March 10th, 2020 on VOD and DVD. Trust me, you won't want to miss it!

Reviewed by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
Runtime: 92 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO


FINDING GRACE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FINDING GRACE
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: VOD, AGES 12-18
Description - A troubled teenage girl is forced to provide community service in a retirement home. As she develops a friendship with one of the residents and becomes closer to her father, she discovers the power of family, hope and faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Finding Grace is a heart-warming film that presents the need of God in our lives through common, real-life situations. This film demonstrates the best way to handle even the most difficult moments in our lives through the sometimes direct, sometimes indirect connection to God. It shows that, even in the darkest moments, anyone can experience hope through God.

Finding Grace follows a struggling family facing new challenges when they are already are dealing with so many things. It has many appealing elements including the cast, the settings and the storyline. I loved the beautiful settings near the sea and I love that the cast includes elderly actors as extras, which something is not something found in films these days.

This film would appeal to the whole family or even a teenager who might be experiencing similar feelings as the protagonist. For example, the anger of not having the power to change or control of your own life, just as Alaska expresses in the film. The film flows well and, even though you are unfamiliar with the characters at first, it is easy to follow their internal conflicts as a broken family and as individuals. Things evolve and come to a happy resolution after inner changes and personal growth takes place, through a connection with God. The storyline uses real-life situations, from early youth, through mid-life, that any person might experience in their lifetime. Even though the cast is prominently Caucasian, there is good inclusion of other ethnic groups. I appreciate that the film gives a natural flow of life-like situations and presents a positive resolution.

The message of the film is how important it is to involve God in our lives as our guide and counselor. You should know that some scenes are not quite suited for young audiences, but can be well explained if the viewer is accompanied by an adult. Though it is not an explicit scene, there is one where Mrs. Foster is about to attempt suicide and gets caught by Alaska. The negative part of this scene is that there is no resolution at that moment for the suicide attempt, other than switching the dialogue over Alaska's experience with suicide.

I recommend Finding Grace for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. I do suggest that the whole family make this part of a great family night. I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Carolina S. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewers.
Runtime: 107 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95
Media: VIDEO
      Order FINDING GRACE Now!


LLAMA LLAMA FAMILY FUN COLLECTION
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LLAMA LLAMA FAMILY FUN COLLECTION
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 4-10
Description - Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD features the animated friends from Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama book series in 15 stories, including holiday stories for Halloween, Mother's Day and Valentine's Day. The friends learn to use their unique talents with some creativity to overcome day to day problems by following grown up advice and helping each other. In "Stage Fright," Luna Giraffe's upcoming dance recital is giving her performance jitters, but Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu are there to offer support, calming breaths and remind her to just have fun. Nelly Gnu is jealous of the attention her baby brother receives in the story "Jealous Nelly." Her new tree-house takes a backseat to babysitting and party planning for the baby. She misses her parents' and friends' attention, but soon realizes that being a big sister is the perfect role for her. The friends accept the challenge to do without their electronic gadgets when Grandma Llama and Mama Llama take them on an overnight campout in "Let's Go Camping." They use their five senses to appreciate the sights and sounds of nature. Upbeat, positive messages about friendship and family make these great for family viewing. Children ages 4 to 8 should enjoy these fun, engaging episodes. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Christine R., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is a cute, fun, and family-friendly DVD that is based on an award-winning book and TV series. The storyline and adorable personalities of the characters combine to make the viewing experience enjoyable. The characters' companionship is very sweet, and they care a lot about one another. They always have each other's back.

The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD is collection of episodes about a group of animal companions that go on a lot of adventures, meet new friends and solve problems along the way. In one episode, Llama Llama's friend, Luna the Giraffe, struggles with bad stage fright. She has a dance recital the next day. Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu have to help her, or she won't be able to perform without becoming nervous on stage. In another episode, Llama Llama and two of his friends, Gilroy Goat and Euclid Sheep, plan a sleepover together. What they don't know is that strange things will happen just as they are about to go to sleep. But maybe the friends' imaginations will wander too far.

Some of the lead characters are Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) and Llama Llama (Shayle Simons). They are an adorable mother-son duo, and they love each other very much. What really stands out in this collection is the incredibly detailed and expressive animation. The vibrant colors and homey scenery go hand in hand to create a wholesome, fun show for children and their families to watch. It really is a great choice for teaching good lessons to young minds.

The message of the DVD Llama Llama Family Fun Collection is that you should always be willing to help your friends, and that problems can be solved through the effort of a team. It is definitely successful in communicating its message through the close-knit friend group, and how they stick together and help each other face their fears. The message is definitely positive and uplifting, and can teach young children that companionship is an important life skill to have. There really isn't anything to worry about when children are watching this series. There is no bad language at all, and there isn't any negative behavior that young children may attempt to imitate.

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. The Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD is available now.

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

I like the Llama Llama Family Fun Collection DVD because every episode has a different main idea with an interesting story to tell. The animated characters each have their own thoughts about things and how to approach a situation. The only part I didn't really like is that the characters sometimes talk too slow and you want to make them talk faster, but it probably makes it easier for little kids to understand.

The Llama Llama Family Collection has 15 episodes and is based on the book series written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. The animated collection is about a llama and his friends who have awesome adventures together. Each episode has a moral to the story. For example, in one of the episodes, Luna (a giraffe, voiced by Vania Gill) is very scared to go on stage to perform a solo in front of an audience. Then Llama Llama and Nelly Gnu get a dance machine and it really helps Luna lose her fear of performing in front of an audience. Another story tells about Llama Llama, Euclid and Gilroy Goat having a sleepover, where they experience new and different things while at a friend's house. I know when I go to a sleepover, I find myself trying a new food or doing any activity that I wouldn't necessarily have done at my house.

I didn't recognize the voices of any of the characters, although after looking at who does the voices, I recognize Jennifer Garner, who voices Mama Llama. I like Luna's personality, but my favorite character is Euclid (Brendon Sunderland). He's smart, but in a funny way. I like when the group of friends take swimming lessons with Mama Llama in Eleanor Elephant's (Kathleen Barr) pool. Even though Llama Llama (Shayle Simons) isn't a great swimmer, his friends are supportive. And it is cute seeing Llama Llama's grandpa (David Hoole) learn to swim, too.

The message of the film is to be nice to others. It's important to help your friends, rather than make fun of them or bring them down. When I see someone making fun of someone, I try to stand up for them. It is nice to watch a film where a group of friends support one another.

I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 9. This DVD is available now, so go look for it!

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 165 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-10
Suggested Retail Price: $ 12.95
Media: DVD


SONIC BOOM: SEASON 1, VOL 2 (2 DISCS)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SONIC BOOM: SEASON 1, VOL 2 (2 DISCS)
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-8
Description - It's a Sonic you haven t seen before an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I am quite aware of Sonic the Hedgehog as a video game character, but have never watched any of his shows. I was pleasantly surprised as I watched this action-packed Season One, Volume 2 DVD. There is a lot of action as Sonic and his friends outwit Sonic's arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. I like that there isn't just the typical "good wins over evil." It is expected that good will win, but it is fun to watch too. Some of the humor is a bit dry if you are an adult watching the show. But, it is appropriate for children ages 5 through 12. I like that it shows teamwork and friendship, and all of the action makes it very entertaining to watch. The characters are very likable; my favorites are Sonic and Amy. I like that the characters are unique and each brings something to the show. Of course, Dr. Eggman is not a favorite of mine, but he also makes the series entertaining, especially since Sonic and his pals usually outwit him. I give this 4 out of 5 stars for its entertainment value. This DVD would make a great gift for a Sonic fan, since it is a Limited Edition Gift Set that includes Knuckles and Tails figurines. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is nearly five hours of laugh-out-loud, animated fun, featuring your favorite hedgehog. The physical humor and amusing adventures will keep kids entertained for hours on end.

The DVDs include 26 action-packed episodes, and if you get the limited edition gift set, you'll also get two action figures--either Sonic with Dr. Eggman or Knuckles with Tails. In every episode, Sonic and his friends protect their village from the evil Dr. Eggman. Of course, no matter how crazy the situation, Sonic and friends are able to save the day in the end.

There are some really funny storylines, like when Sonic and Knuckles spill nacho cheese on Amy's couch while house-sitting. They try cleaning it up with grape soda, which just makes it worse! Their next idea is to try to win a new couch by going on a game show, but they fail and one of Dr. Eggman's missiles ends up exploding the couch anyway. In another episode, it's hilarious when Sonic grabs the last chili dog that Dr. Eggman wanted, so to be nice Sonic goes all the way to the warehouse to bring his nemesis a chili dog. But Dr. Eggman wanted extra relish, so he throws a tantrum by trying to destroy the whole town by shooting it with lasers and attacking it with robots. Of course this is nothing Sonic and friends can't handle. One of the best jokes is when the boys compete against the girls in a survivor challenge. The girls decide the losers will have to do everyone's laundry, but Sonic says, "That's not fair for us boys - we don't even wear pants!"

The message of this series is that friends are stronger together. There's probably not a lot of content that parents will object to, but there is some cartoon violence that kids might be tempted to copy. The only thing that's a problem for me is that there is one episode out of the 26 that's only available with Spanish audio, no English at all. Unfortunately I can't understand what they're saying in the episode, "Fire in a Crowded Workshop."

I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12, and adults might enjoy watching with their kids as well. Sonic Boom: Season 1 Volume 2 is available on DVD February 2020.

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

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining. Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

The Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2 DVD, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment. The package comes with two DVDs, which include 26 episodes. What is nice is the gift set comes with two toys, Knuckles and Tails. Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog that has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures. Sonic's friends - Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) - help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock). Each episode has a different story line. The episodes do not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that's what makes it so entertaining.

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright. The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character. The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy. My favorite episode is "Bro Down Showdown," because it's extremely funny. It is about how Amy had to leave for a little bit, so Sonic and Knuckles ask her if they can stay at her house while she is gone. Amy says yes, but there is one rule - no foolish things in her house. So the first thing they do is eat nachos and spill on the couch. Conveniently a commercial comes on saying, "if you win the best bros contest you win a brand new couch." They immediately enter the contest. It turns out Dr. Eggman is spying on them. He arrives and starts bickering with Sonic about a bogus little thing. A guy working there sees them fighting and pairs them up, even though Knuckles is going to be Sonic's buddy. Knuckels finds a new partner and tries to win the couch. This is my favorite episode because this all happens, just because they spilled a nacho.

The moral to the stories is about "teamwork making the dream work," because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friend, to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

I give Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing too. This DVD is available now so look for it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 290 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


TURNING, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TURNING, THE
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after their parents' deaths. A modern take on Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'll admit, this film ended up being a lot more interesting than I originally expected. It actually managed to scare me a little and I got surprisingly invested. However the last act of the movie makes this experience very confusing and overall middle of the road.

The plot follows a woman named Kate who's hired to work as a nanny for two orphans named Flora and Miles. However, the longer she stays at their home, a giant mansion, the darker things get. Soon she begins seeing and hearing creepy things.

The plot is simple, however it managed to suck me in. That is because the movie sets up a lot of interesting mysteries about the true nature of the job and the kids. Yet, none of these mysteries are really resolved and that is disappointing. Plus, towards the end, the story gets even more unclear. In fact, the final moments of the film end up contradicting things that are set up earlier. While I like parts of the ending in concept, the inconsistencies in the story make it really hard to pin down whether the ending is good or not.

So, how about this film's horror? While it is mostly comprised of jumpscares; they are somewhat effective. One in particular genuinely scared me. This film definitely tries to insinuate a feeling of dread and does that quite well. It's not really that scary, but I appreciate the effort.

While I didn't really get attached to any of the characters, the acting in this film is honestly pretty good. Unsurprisingly, Mackenzie Davis as Kate and Finn Wolfhard as Miles are great. However I especially like Brooklynn Prince as Flora. She hasn't been in that much previously, but I believe she has a promising career ahead.

One thing I really like about this movie is the setting. I'm a sucker for historical aesthetics, so it makes sense that I would really enjoy Miles and Flora's mansion. The mansion is really beautiful ,yet creepy. We also see several locations outside that I would love to visit, specifically the forest area and the coy fish pond.

I would give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film comes out in theaters on January 24, 2020.

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

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


PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH FIRE DVD
PARAMOUNT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson and his elite team of firefighters come to the rescue of three siblings, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet -- babysitting. As their lives, jobs and depot get turned upside down, the three men soon learn that children -- much like fires -- are wild and unpredictable.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This laugh-out-loud comedy stars John Cena as forest firefighter Jake Carson, who has his hands full leading a bumbling, but surprisingly adept team including John Leguizamo at his manic best and Keegan-Michael Key wearing every emotion on his sleeve. Things get unruly after the firefighting team rescue a teenager (Brianna Hildebrand) and her younger siblings from a wildfire and must watch over them for a weekend until their parents arrive. The plot allows square-jawed Cena plenty of opportunity to strike exaggerated stubborn poses while trying to keep in check both his wacky team and the mischievous siblings, who have to be rescued a second time after they run away in an all-terrain vehicle and wind up trapped on the edge of a cliff. The smart script balances one-liners and occasional silliness against the moments of peril, which feels surprisingly intense, thanks to excellent special effects. The fast-paced action and jokes keep the plot moving, often in unexpected ways. Eventually the kids warm to Jake who starts to loosen up, rekindling a romance with animal scientist Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer). The unusual mix of comedy and danger lends a refreshing sweetness to scenes such as Jake fumbling to tell the two younger children bedtime stories. Playing With Fire is available on Digital starting January 21, 2020 and will release on Blu-ray and DVD on February 4, 2020. DVD extras include bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, "Storytime" with John Cena, and the cast reading humorous emails from the director during the shoot. Recommended for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie because it is very entertaining and super funny. Playing with Fire is a 96 minutes filled with shenanigans. John Cena makes the audience laugh and it is weird to see him with a head full of hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Playing with Fire is fired up with plenty of fun and laughs so I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults may not enjoy the film as much, especially since most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. Playing with Fire comes out on Digital January 21, 2020 and DVD/Blu-Ray February 4, 2020. Look for it. It's a fun family movie.

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

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


ELLA BELLA BINGO
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ELLA BELLA BINGO
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Ella Bella and Henry are best friends, but she becomes jealous when Henry wants to play with the cool new kid. When Henry runs away, Ella Bella and a new kid go on a bicycle adventure to find Henry and learn the magic of friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I really enjoyed the animation and the storyline of Ella Bella Bingo. I particularly like that Henry's father is constantly there for Henry, notably when Henry runs away to the clubhouse and they decide to go to the amusement park. I found the ice cream parlor salesman describing Henry using ice cream very interesting and niche-y.

The storyline is about Ella and her best friend Henry who have a fight and then both try to make friends with the new kid in town and everyone discovers true friendship along the way.

I believe kids will easily relate to this storyline, because it involves friendships and has age-appropriate vocabulary throughout. They will relate to the concept of magic and the visuals will draw them in along with the sharp and colorful animation. The entire story flows at an even pace from beginning to end and is sensible throughout. The structure and style reminds me of many DreamWorks productions in terms of the introduction to characters and situations, conflict resolution and the kid-friendly humor. I was absorbed in the story the entire time and felt empathy with both Ella and Henry.

I like that the father is aware when Henry has a fallout with his best friend. This film teaches kids about looking out for the needs of others. For example, Ella and Henry realize and empathize that the new kid in town who has no friends. Kids may pick-up on the fact that the new kid brags about all his expensive gadgets, to compensate for his parents not being there for him. At the end, we see his parents trying to do the right thing, when they praise him for his circus performance. The overall message of the film is really about true friendship.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 12. Ella Bella Bingo comes out on VOD march 24, 2020. Check it out.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ella Bella Bingo is a fun movie about the joy and pain of friendship. Ella learns that friendships can change and new friends add new dynamics. I enjoyed the adventure of Ella Bella and Henry learning how to bring a neighborhood together through their explorations.

Ella Bella loves magicians and the circus and, when she finds out that her best friend Henry has never been to one, she decides to create a neighborhood circus so Henry can experience the magic for himself. Ella and Henry have a great time in the preparations and recruiting neighbors to help with the circus until a new boy, Johnny, moves into the neighborhood. Henry is torn between spending time with Bella and the cool new boy. Henry runs away when Ella and Johnny fight over him and the neighbors get involved in finding him.

The animation of this film is truly beautiful and filled with rich colors. All the voiceover actors are to be commended on their performances. I absolutely love all the animals in this movie; they add a great deal of humor to the storyline. The chickens are so funny throughout the film that they really steal the show.

The message of this film is that friendship and loyalty matter. Friendship is more important than having things or possessions, as Ella Bella learns about the special magic that is friendship. The movie also highlights the strength of community when the neighborhood comes together to produce the circus.

I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. It is available on VOD and DVD March 24, 2020.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: FeatureFilm


QUEZON'S GAME
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEZON'S GAME
ABS-CBN FILM PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Based on a true story of Holocaust heroism during World War II in the Philippines by Filipino President Manuel L. Quezon--who rescued as many persecuted Jews as Oskar Schindler at a time when most countries were turning their backs--the release of Quezon's Game also marks the landmark 75th anniversary on Jan. 27 of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi's most-notorious concentration camp. Once forgotten to history, the incredible tale of what just one man can accomplish when defeat isn't an option ... a miraculous feat of human triumph. Starring Raymond Bagatsing, Rachel Alejandro, Billy Ray Gallion, David Bianco, and James Paolelli and Kate Alejandrino. Directed by Matthew Rosen.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I was complete unaware of this story before watching this film. It provides homage to the heroic efforts of Manual Quezon and his advisors to rescue Jews trapped in German and Austrian ghettos.

Inspired by a true story, this docudrama directed by Matthew Rosen offers the viewer a recounting of how, just before WWII, the President of the Philippines, Manuel L. Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), rescued more than 1200 Jews from Germany, in spite of the anti-Semitic forces in his own country and world-wide. It begins with disturbing newsreel footage showing Jews incinerated by the Nazis. These were dangerous times and, had not Quezon acted in the way he did, these refugees would not have survived. High Commissioner to the Philippines Paul McNutt (James Paoleli) and Jewish American businessman Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion), along with young officer and future U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower (David Bianco) bring the plight of the German Jews to the President's attention and then attempt to get visas for more than 10,000 of them trapped in Nazi Germany.

The sets and locations artfully reflect scenes from 1938 Philippines, as do the costumes, manners and music. I love seeing the horse-drawn carriages, the men in their Panama hats, the women in white, and the tinted film - all of which appropriately show the time period. Raymond Bagatsing, who plays President Quezon, is shown as a young man hiding his life-threatening illness, tuberculosis, from those around him. His feelings of despair about the German Jews provoke him to put his own health aside in order to do what he can to rescue them. Aurora (Rachel Alejandro), his wife shows strength in protecting her husband, while knowing he is hiding something from her (his illness).

The rise of anti-Semitism pushes the President to take action, as we see newsreels of Jews being turned away as they arrive in Cuba and the Alex Frieder being turned away at the German club with the Nazi sign clearly in view inside the front door. David Bianco portrays a youthful Dwight Eisenhower who will become the U.S. President after the war. When the refugees arrive, looking emaciated and exhauster, they are greeted by the president, his family and advisors. Thanks to Quezon's efforts over 1200 Jewish refugees were saved. The closing credits include interviews with some of the refugees who were children at the time of their rescue. Their testimonials reinforce the selfless act of Quezon, to help their families when everyone else was turning them away.

The message of this film is about selflessness and honor; about doing the right thing, even when the world around you is not. I give Quezon's Game 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror.

Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is incredible. It really is a great expression of Manuel Quezon's heroism in the time of World War II. The characters are so physically and emotionally involved with the events that take place. Since this is a huge part of the true story, it really helps the audience discover the brutal reality of this situation and how the Holocaust affected so many innocent people. These unparalleled features in this film make it an educational and moving experience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reviewed by Leandro R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12.

This heroic, memorable, and passionate independent film embraces the heroism of Manuel Quezon during World War II. This bewildering and educational docudrama leads you back to 1939 to 1945 to experience the unimaginable reality of how the holocaust affected many. This film, directed by Matthew Rosen, shows the beauty of the Filipinos in rescuing Jews from Nazi Germany. In Quezon's Game, the actors created a realistic story, that urged me, as a viewer, to learn more.

Quezon's Game leads with the perspective of Filipino President Manuel Quezon and Aurora Quezon, his wife. In the film, the Filipino President is faced with a tough decision. A Chinese ambassador comes to Manuel seeking help for the Jewish refugees who need a place to go. Released January 24, 2020, this film marks the landmark 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. After being urged by his wife, Quezon finally comes to a decision.

The lead characters in this film are Manuel Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing), Aurora Quezon (Rachel Alejandro) and Alex Frieder (Billy Ray Gallion). The characters are based on actual characters and the actors portray them very believably. Their emotion and connection with each other makes it all seem plausible and real. My favorite part is President Quezon, his allies and family members accomplish their goal of rescuing the refugees and seeing them arrive in the Philippines. The victory is absolutely meaningful and emotional. Each character expresses bravery and strength.

This film has a little bit of profanity but there is no other inappropriate activity that kids might imitate. I love the scenery of the Philippines and the 1930s tropical vibe with beautiful scenery, colorful trees and beautiful tall, tower-like homes.

I give this film 4 � out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 15. It is available at select theaters January 24, 2020. Look for it.

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

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


GIGANTOSAURUS: THE BIGGEST, FIERCEST DINOSAUR OF ALL!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GIGANTOSAURUS: THE BIGGEST, FIERCEST DINOSAUR OF ALL!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-8
Description - In GIGANTOSAURUS, four dinosaur pals team up for big adventures around their community as they help others, solve problems, and learn about the mysterious Gigantosaurus that lives among them. Often it's Mazu's curiosity that leads the group's charge, and her friends Tiny, Bill, and Rocky eagerly join in her explorations. Whether it's returning a lost egg to its herd or saving an insect species from extinction, these dinosaurs never give up on a challenge.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is centered around four tiny dinosaur friends and their gigantic dinosaur friend, that have a love-hate relationship with. Each of the tiny dinosaurs has a different personality. One is brave, one gets scared but loves food, one's silly and one is smart. Together they form the perfect team and are able to solve any problem. Their friend Gigantosaurus doesn't talk, so Gigantosaurus isn't close with them. Gigantosaurus' size is beneficial to them because he is protect their herd, but his size can also cause some problems when he walks around. Therefore, the tiny dinosaurs still fear Gigantosaurus and they become cautious whenever he is near.

The voice actors for this series are all ages, to separate the adult dinosaurs from the innocent tiny ones. Even though there is this contrast between the adult voice actors and the younger voice actors, it is hard to tell the difference between the younger voice actors. Even so, the younger voice actors are quite remarkable. They are lively and portray various emotions well.

The animation is pretty detailed and very colorful. It is wonderful to see that the effort put into animating so many different types of dinosaurs, as well as other animals including birds, a rodent and an interesting walking fish. There is a lot of detail in their facial expressions which portray their emotions quite well.

My favorite part of this DVD is that it is so fun and educational. Hidden inside the plot are actual dinosaur facts that kids can learn, which is amazing.

There can be multiple messages in any episode, all of which are extremely valuable. It is great to see how encouraging the dinosaur friends are towards each other, as well as how all the characters are accepted. For example, Gigantosaurus is a large, scary-looking dinosaur, yet he is so caring, protective, and never means any harm. The tiny dinosaur who is considered to be the brave, adventurous one is encouraged by his friends to let out his soft, caring side. Most importantly, this DVD shows kids to look past the stereotypes and accept others, which I love.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is a wonderful animated DVD collection which kids will absolutely love and learn a lot from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. It comes out on DVD January 13, 2029, so make sure to pick it up!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is very funny and teaches children different morals. Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is approximately 90 minutes long and has eight 11 minute episodes including "Giganto's Laugh," "Frozen Giganto," "The Lost Egg," "The Island," "The Biggest Hero," "Treasure!," "Seeing Stars" and "Dinosia."

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! follows four dinosaur friends - Mazu, Tiny, Bill and Rocky - who team up to help animals in need and to solve their community's situations or problems. They also learn about the Gigantosaurus that live among them. Mazu is the leader of the group and her three friends follow her on different adventures. The graphics are neat and very colorful. The landscape is very detailed. The music is pleasant and appealing in each episode. The voice-overs match each dinosaur's personality.

One of my favorite episodes is "Treasure!" This episode is about the four dinosaur friends playing on a playground. Tiny says to get cave moss for Giganto before they leave. When Rocky gets the cave moss, he falls in some sticky water and Tiny pulls him out. Tiny notices a little shiny gold pebble. Mazu takes the gold pebble and brings it home. Eventually, almost all the dinosaurs are chasing each other for the pebble. The only one who's not chasing or fighting over the shiny gold pebble is Giganto. My other favorite episode is "The Biggest Hero," because it teaches an important lesson. This episode is about Rocky and Tiny fighting over who is the best hero. They compete by solving a ton of problems and trying to help everyone in need. At the end they are both heroes.

The moral of Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is about coming together as friends and never give up on any challenge or obstacle that you might find on your path. These four dinosaur friends defeat every obstacle and challenge without giving up and help their community and other animals in need.

I give the DVE Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus. This DVD is available now so look for it!

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

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is not my favorite DVD, but I can see how younger kids would love it. It's not really a show that makes you laugh, but there are lots of lessons that can be learned from each episode. I really love how every character has its own unique personality.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is an animated show based on the book by the same name by Johnny Duddle. The DVD contains eight episodes about four young dinosaurs that go on many adventures. They all work hard to face their own fears and solve problems together on their journeys. While they are on their quests, their frenemy, Gigantosaurus, who is the largest, fiercest dinosaur of all, makes appearances. Sometimes the friends help him and other times he helps them. The four young dinosaurs learn different things about Gigantosaurus during each adventure.

The main characters are Tiny (�ine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Rocky (Dylan Schombing) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), which are all dinosaurs. Even though they are all different species, they still treat each other like brothers and sisters. One of the things I felt lacking is more of the stories are not about Gigantosaurus, which is who the show is named for. I expected Gigantosaurus to be the main character, but he only makes a few appearances in each episode. The other characters talk about him a lot and they learn about him, but the four dinosaur friends are the main characters. My favorite part of each episode is how Tiny, Bill, Rocky and Mazu learn to overcome their fears. You can really see their true friendship whenever any of them needs a little help. They are always there to help each other throughout the day. I also love how they never give up.

The message in the movie is: everyone has a different talent that is useful for different things. You should appreciate others' differences and believe that their talent has a true purpose. Since this is a kid's movie, there isn't much for adults to look out for except parts where kids may imitate bragging and scaring people on purpose.

Gigantosaurus, The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! will have younger kids roaring with laughter. I rate it 4 out of 5 stomps and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. You can find it now on DVD.

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

I absolutely love this adorable animated series. It is unlike any other animated series I have seen. The dynamics between all the friends is interesting and it is so pleasing seeing how supportive they are of each other.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is centered around four tiny dinosaur friends and their gigantic dinosaur friend, that have a love-hate relationship with. Each of the tiny dinosaurs has a different personality. One is brave, one gets scared but loves food, one's silly and one is smart. Together they form the perfect team and are able to solve any problem. Their friend Gigantosaurus doesn't talk, so Gigantosaurus isn't close with them. Gigantosaurus' size is beneficial to them because he is protect their herd, but his size can also cause some problems when he walks around. Therefore, the tiny dinosaurs still fear Gigantosaurus and they become cautious whenever he is near.

The voice actors for this series are all ages, to separate the adult dinosaurs from the innocent tiny ones. Even though there is this contrast between the adult voice actors and the younger voice actors, it is hard to tell the difference between the younger voice actors. Even so, the younger voice actors are quite remarkable. They are lively and portray various emotions well.

The animation is pretty detailed and very colorful. It is wonderful to see that the effort put into animating so many different types of dinosaurs, as well as other animals including birds, a rodent and an interesting walking fish. There is a lot of detail in their facial expressions which portray their emotions quite well.

My favorite part of this DVD is that it is so fun and educational. Hidden inside the plot are actual dinosaur facts that kids can learn, which is amazing.

There can be multiple messages in any episode, all of which are extremely valuable. It is great to see how encouraging the dinosaur friends are towards each other, as well as how all the characters are accepted. For example, Gigantosaurus is a large, scary-looking dinosaur, yet he is so caring, protective, and never means any harm. The tiny dinosaur who is considered to be the brave, adventurous one is encouraged by his friends to let out his soft, caring side. Most importantly, this DVD shows kids to look past the stereotypes and accept others, which I love.

Gigantosaurus: The Biggest, Fiercest Dinosaur of All! is a wonderful animated DVD collection which kids will absolutely love and learn a lot from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. It comes out on DVD January 13, 2029, so make sure to pick it up!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


JUNGLE FUN WITH MUNKI & TRUNK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUNGLE FUN WITH MUNKI & TRUNK
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD AGES 2-8
Description - Munki and Trunk: Ain't no mountain high enough, river wide enough, or banana big enough to tear these two apart! Our brave, curious monkey and big-hearted elephant live together in the jungle, as children imagine it: a playground with vines to swing on, trampoline mushrooms to bounce on, and a crew of jungle buddies to share endless adventures. Munki and Trunk explore their world together, facing fears, having fun and helping friends in a comedy adventure that s brim-full of heart, and built on a bedrock of friendship. Includes 8 tree-crashing, rock-smashing, water-splashing, fruit-mashing episodes!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk is an adorable selection of stories compiled onto one DVD. The fun adventures that Munki and Trunk experience are simple, yet engaging to watch. These best friends sure know how to have a good time!

This compilation of episodes follows two main characters, Munki and Trunk, as they explore the world together. Along the way, these jungle animals learn lessons about nature, their friendship, as well as their own unique qualities. The protagonists quite often face their fears with one another and help them grow as individuals.

An interesting part of the world the characters live in is how they communicate through noises and actions, rather than actual words. Brent Dawes, the voice actor for Munki, and Alison Lambole, the voice actress for Trunk, are terrific at making the animal noises comprehensible for the audience. I love how bright and fun the animation in this show is. The jungle and characters all have a very playful vibe that keeps the audience super intrigued with each adventure. For example, each tree is animated with a particular texture that is incredible to look at. One issue I have with the DVD is how repetitive it is, but I believe that is effective for younger viewers. The two goofballs (Munki and Trunk) are amazing at bringing creativity to really simplistic scenarios. For example, the two characters are chasing a rainbow and decide to run through it. When going through the rainbow they change colors like a chameleon and then end up swimming up the rainbow.

Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk has many lessons to teach viewers. My favorite is that each animal is their own individual, yet they all get along and coexist so well with one another. I think we can use this in our lives - to not worry about other people's perceptions of us, because we should all be kind to one another regardless. Another moral of these stories is how effective teamwork is in problem solving. It seems that every episode has some type of roadblock or obstacle to overcome, and only when the two friends stand together they can prevail over the problem.

I give Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk 4 out of 5 stars and recommend for kids 2 to 8. It is available now on DVD, so go check it out!

by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is cute and funny to watch. It makes me smile through all eight episodes, each around seven and a half minutes. Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk DVD is approximately 60 minutes long. The adventurous episodes include: "Hot Stuff," "Rainbow Rising," "Bubble Trouble," "Copycat," "Hypno-Munki," "Boing Boing," "Sticky Situation," and "Midnight Run."

Jungle Fun with Munki and Trunk is about an elephant and a monkey who live together in the jungle. They have adventures that range from comedy to scary situations. Munki is a very curios and friendly monkey, while Trunk is a big-hearted, kind elephant. They are friends with everyone in the jungle and very nice to other animals in need. The jungle is their playground. The vines are their swings, the mushrooms are their trampolines to bounce on. The graphics are super amazing and the colors are very bright. The animation can be compared to Disney's animated movies. The forest looks so realistic; it looks like a real forest with real animals. The music and theme song are very pleasant and delightful to listen to. There is no dialog in this DVD.

My favorite episode is "Rainbow Rising," because it is very funny. It's about Munki and Trunk finding berries that makes their skin or fur look blue. They go around showing every one that they are blue. Then, the blue wears off and they get upset. Munki and Trunk soon see a rainbow. They play in the rainbow and soon it makes them change colors, so they are happy again.

There are multiple morals for different episodes but the overall moral is about accepting people for who they are, with their perfections and flaws. Nobody is perfect and true friendship is about accepting each other for who they are. Part of the lyrics from the theme songs says, "Ain't no mountain high enough, river to wide enough, or banana big enough to tear these two apart!" Munki and Trunk are completely different animals, but they are still inseparable best friends.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars because and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults can enjoy this DVD with their children as well. It is available now so look for it

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

I like this film for its animation, but I typically enjoy films that have dialogue (which this doesn't). The characters are cute, especially the hedgehog with his spunky attitude. I also like how colorful the scenes are. It is nice to see a change of scenery, since I'm often surrounded by snow, living in northern Minnesota.

This DVD is a collection of episodes about the jungle adventures of two friends--a monkey named Munki and an elephant named Trunk. They have fun together and meet new friends, but always seem to get in a little bit of trouble. They discover really cool things in the jungle and luckily can use many of the things they find to have some fun.

In one episode the elephant (Trunk) and monkey (Munki) start out being too hot, so they find different ways to cool off. They try to find shade and find themselves getting to a place that has snow, where they roll a huge snowball to try to get the hot spot cooler. At another time, they have fun changing colors and use grapes to turn purple, but then the rain washes away the colors. After finding a rainbow, they and other animals start changing colors. In their next adventure, Munki and Trunk find themselves in space because they chewed too much bubble gum. They start copying each other and get all the animals around them involved. Munki winds up hypnotizing all of the animals so they start acting like monkeys. In other adventures they find a plant that has a liquid that causes them to turn into Jell-O. They lose control over their bodies, while another liquid sticks to everything. There's an ostrich that appears throughout the film that is always trying to protect her eggs.

My favorite part of the film is the music, composed by Andries Smit, because it is very catchy. It's exciting and upbeat. It brings out the happiness of the characters. Some episodes on this DVD are a bit cheesy, but would probably appeal to a younger audience. I found myself laughing at one point when Munki and Trunk are squished in a bubble and get stuck in a tree. It is also fun to see all of the animals change colors and watch how excited they get. Listening to the animals just make noises gets a little annoying, but the animation, done by Infinite Studios, is great and gives lots of personality to the characters.

The message of the film is to trust your friends. Munki and Trunk show that you can get through almost any sticky situation by working together and using the problem as the solution.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this DVD to ages 4 to 8. The DVD is available now, so look for it.

Reviewed by Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 60 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 6.99
Media: DVD


TOYS & PETS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOYS & PETS
VISION FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-12
Description - A little toy with a wish and a robot from the future team up to find a fabled mystic and rescue their friend from the evil rat Flash. On this magical animated journey, they discover that teamwork and friendship will help them save the day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Toys & Pets is well produced and has a Hollywood quality to it; it reminds me of Toy Story.

Toys & Pets is an animated film following the protagonist, Nathan, who meets up with a robot, Timebot, and their adventures to find the mystical 3G. Many obstacles get in their way.

The sound and picture quality of this film are excellent, with clear and vibrant color. It is very action-oriented and will keep viewers engaged. The one thing that I would warn audiences of is the violence, which is a bit intense for its target audience. For example, a truck delivery driver slaps a delivery boy a couple of times. This is meant to be humorous, but from an adult point of view, it's not. Another example is during the climax of the film, when Nathan crunches down on the tongue of a toad, accompanied by exaggerated sound effects. The last one is when Nathan falls into a fiery coal-ridden kiln. Does the Flash fall in as well? He is not shown falling, but is not seen after that incident.

This story is okay, but a bit disappointing. It is straightforward and makes sense, but gets lost at times in the action. Produced in Hong Kong, it may be a bit confusing for a U.S. audience, since the characters - porcelain figurines, robots, toads and rats - would not be considered as either toys or pets in the United States.

I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 13. It is available on DVD January 14, 2020.

Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

This film is completely entertaining. I loved watching the adventures of the toy Nathan and his Robot friend. It has humor and adventure. I love the animation and the music. It is fun to watch, but has a real message about friendship as well. The storyline flows well and, of course, good wins over bad. But, the main message is of friendship. I like that it shows how friendship really is the answer to many things, such as the question, "How can I avoid being controlled?" It also shows that it is often better to focus on the here and now, and not just on the future. I recommend this film for ages 4 through 18. It really is something that the whole family could watch together. Very nicely done with enjoyable characters, animation and overall story. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Toys & Pets is appealing to me because it shows how two strangers meet, build a special friendship and help each other through a tough journey.

The storyline follows Nathan who can't understand why he can't change colors like his friend. Nathan meets Timebot, thinking she's from the future. Timebot is willing to help Nathan figure out why he can't change colors. The two of them become good friends and go on an adventure of a lifetime.

I love the storyline because the writer creates a special friendships between two strangers and it taught me how strangers should be kind and caring to everyone. Directed by Gary Wang, the film made me feel as if I was riding the best rollercoaster in the world. The camera work is flawless and amazing. It has great details in every scene and for every character.

I love the character Nathan, because he's a risk taker. He and his friends are created by the Toy Master and Nathan is the only one that can't change colors in water, like his ceramic tea toy friends. He goes on a magical adventure with Timebot trying to find out why. Jason Kesser plays the voice of Nathan. Mr. Kesser is an actor and producer (Girls Gone Dead, Rio, A Story of Love, Fury, Unforgotten). I also love the Timebot character; she's caring and helpful. She and Nathan become friends and go on adventures with Nathan. My favorite part is when Nathan gets stuck under water and can't figure out how to escape. The Toys and Pets costumes are like every day wear. The locations for this film look very realistic - inside a warehouse, a child's toys chest, science lab, baseball stadium. It reminds me of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story. The music is very futuristic, upbeat and happy. The special effects make it seem like you're watching it in 3D.

The message of the film is that good friends are hard to find and you should love your neighbors. What I learned from Toys & Pets is that it doesn't matter if you're different, you should always have self-confidence and be kind to others. There is no profanity but it does show a scene with the characters risking their lives going into a sewer drain. That is not healthy or safe, so I would hope that kids wouldn't imitate that.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on DVD January 24, 2020 so look for it.

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

I like Toy & Pets because it has a very interesting storyline and reminds me of Disney's movie Toy Story. It's produced in China from light Chaser Animation Studios.

Toys & Pets is about a ceramic toy figure made by an old toymaker. One day, the toymaker makes two toy figures, a geisha named May and a chef named Nathan. The toy maker's wife collapses while holding May and a strange, rat-looking creature comes out of the sewer and steals May. The toymaker's wife passes away and he stops making toys. One day, some customers are examining the different ceramic figures and discover that they change color when they get wet, all but the little chef. The little chef is upset, because he doesn't know why he cannot change color. Along comes a robot from the future into the shop that meets the ceramic toys. The robot doesn't know where it came from, so the little chef teams up with him to help him find out also learn why he cannot change color when wet. During their journey they fall into a sewer and meet Flash, the evil rat. Flash has a huge collection of figurines and one is May. The Robot and Nathan come up with a plan to free May.

My favorite part of this Chinese made animated film is when Nathan finds a Ferris-wheel snow globe in the sewer and gives it to the robot as a friendship gift. The graphics of this film are simply amazing. The colors are very bright and the animation looks real, almost like a 3D movie. The background and landscapes also look very real. The voice-overs match the characters quite well and the sound effects are perfect. For example, every time the toys move, you can hear the clanging sound of ceramic.

The moral of Toy & Pets DVD is that teamwork and friendship, together, help save the day. The robot and Nathan become friends and put their idea together to rescue May.

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Older adults can enjoy it with their children as well. Toy & Pets is available on DVD now so look for it.

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

Toys & Pets has many characters to fall in love with. There are funny, quirky, loyal and intelligent characters as well as villains to befriend in this film. Join in the adventure of tea toy Nathan and his pal Time-bot as they seek answers and a missing friend.

The Toy Master creates a group of ceramic figurines which are tea toys. The last figurine the Toy Master creates cannot magically change color, like the other toys, and sets out on an adventure to discover why. The villain of this story is a rat named Flash who likes to own all that is beautiful and steals the last completed tea toy made. Find out what happens when Nathan and Time-bot encounter Flash and enter his underground lair.

The movie is written and directed by Gary Wong, who has created quite a few funny and quirky characters. The plot is a little difficult to follow, because there are so many characters in this story. The special effects in this movie are really outstanding and steal the show. Animation is by Amp Wong and you can really visualize this world he has created and the characters that live there, because the animation is absolutely brilliant. The visual effects are by Yang Xiaoqi and truly enhance the production. The sound effects engage the viewer and are supervised by Wu Zhe; the music is composed by Guo Haowei. There are many voices that lend their skills to this production that add depth to the characters and their humor.

The message of this film is that friendship and loyalty matter. The future is now so share it with your friends.

I rate this DVD 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available on DVD now, so look for it.

By Selene Weiss, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12
Runtime: 98 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


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

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

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

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

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

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

I recently saw the inspiring new Amazon Prime movie, Troop Zero, and love it. It's a warm-hearted coming-of-age story with a beautiful, positive message and a fun adventure throughout. The movie guides us through the story of a quirky girl, Christmas Flint played by the talented McKenna Grace and her rag tag group of Birdies known as Troop Zero.

Christmas is passionate about science. She wants to connect to the universe and her late mom through a NASA competition. The winner will have their voice recorded and sent out to the universe for posterity on a Golden Record. This movie is a journey of self-discovery, not only for Christmas, but everyone that is a part of her adventure. Each person learns more about themselves as they work together.

One of my favorite scenes is at the end of the movie, when the cast comes together and performs at the jamboree competition. I won't give away what happens but it is an emotional moment when they take a stand to be accepted for who they are. Another favorite scene is the baking fight scene. I bet it was so much fun for the actors to film, because it is absolutely hilarious and, at the same time, cathartic as a baking food fight between Troops Zero and Birdie. My question for you is: Who do you think won? LOL.

The acting by McKenna Grace as Christmas Flint and Viola Davis as Miss Rayleen, is perfect. Each of them make the audience believe in the struggles they face during the movie. McKenna really embraces her character with the lopsided haircut and awkward, quirky moves. However, I particularly connected with her character's father, Ramsey Flint (Gaffigan), because he so perfectly portrays the ideal father. He reminded me of my own father, who while not perfect, truly loves his daughter and wants her to be happy and achieve her dreams. Indeed, theirs is a father-daughter relationship very touching that I think families will connect with.

The moral of the story is to be yourself, listen to your heart and, if people try to knock you down, just keep on fighting the good fight for what you believe in. This is definitely a triumphant movie of self-acceptance and overcoming life challenges and one definitely to watch. This film would be especially enjoyable for those who love science. The transition of Troop Zero becoming Troop Hero is inspiring and uplifting. At the same time, the critic in me did find the film a little slow moving at times. All said, I think it is a wonderful movie and give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It is airing on Amazon Prime beginning January 17, 2020.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


MOLANG: SEASON 3
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MOLANG: SEASON 3
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 4-8
Description - Join Molang, a round, fluffy, and happy rabbit, and his best friend, Piu Piu, a poised, timid, and reserved yellow chick, as they explore everyday life. Despite their many differences, Molang and Piu Piu enjoy a special friendship. They have amazing times together ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Whether performing in a rock band, becoming superheroes or enjoying a hike with friends, Molang and Piu Piu embrace every daily adventure together. No matter what happens, every single moment with these two is filled with warmth and humor. Embark on 52 adventures with Molang and Piu Piu!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this DVD because it is very cute and nice to watch. Every story has its own moral and they are all very interesting.

Molang: Season 3 is about a white, round bunny named Molang and a little, yellow chick named Piu Piu. They have amazing adventures together that always teach them something new. No matter what happens, Molang and Piu Piu always laugh even through tough times. There are 52 episodes of different stories. The DVD is about three hours of unforgettable fun. The main menu consists of two features, "Play All" which plays everything and "Stories," which play each episode.

My favorite episode is "Santa" because it's about how Santa comes to Molang and Piu Piu's house to give them presents. When Santa is about to put the presents under the tree, the tree falls on Santa and knocks him out. When the tree falls, it makes a loud noise so Molang and Piu Piu wake up to see what happened. They see Santa knocked out, so they decide to take the gifts to every one to save Christmas.

Another one of my favorite episodes is "The Long Trip." This episode is about how Molang and Piu Piu are flying a kite and a bird hits the kite which causes the bird to fall on the ground. Molang and Piu Piu take the kite off the bird's neck and they realize the bird can't fly any more. They get in the car with the bird and follow the bird's family so the bird can reunite with his family. The graphics are pretty good. This animation reminds me of looks the Hello Kitty animation. The colors are vibrant and the background has different patterns and colors. The voice over is funny because is just gibberish; there is no dialogue going in these stories.

There are multiple morals, but the main moral of this show is that we should treat each other equally and learn to get along. Even though Molang is a bunny and Piu Piu is a chick they still are best friends. Just because they are different doesn't mean they cannot get along and have fun together.

I give Molang, Season 3 DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 18, plus adults can enjoy it with their children too. It is available now from NCircle Entertainment so look for it. >p> By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

This animated, unique, funny and creative film takes you along adventures that will make you laugh and wish you were part of Molang and Piu Piu's world. I must say, Molang and Piu Piu love ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary on a daily basis. Get ready for amazing adventures, each with its own moral.

This film follows Molang, an accommodating, nurturing, kind and happy round fluffy rabbit and his best friend, a little duck that loves quack time named, Piu Piu. Despite their many differences, Piu Piu and Molang enjoy their special friendship. Whether it's helping a delivery worker or exploring a haunted house, joining a competition or joining a rock band, they embrace every day adventure together. No matter what happens, every single moment with these two is filled with warmth and humor.

The lead characters in this film are the hilarious and wild Molang and his goofy and tiny friend Piu Piu. Throughout all episodes you meet new characters. Many characters are recurring, such as the neighborhood watch group.

My favorite episode is "Top Model," because it brings so much humor. It's one of the opening episodes and really starts off the show with a bang. I savor this episode specifically because of one scene when Molang and Piu Piu call all the models and take their photos. The faces on the bunny are hilarious.

This film disregards bad language; every adventure in this mirthful and amusing DVD is safe. There are several important messages in this DVD including never stop believing in yourself even when others are fearful, be honest and work hard. The main message is that, although Molang and Piu Piu are different, they got along just right.

I'd give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 11. This film is available on DVD now. Make sure to check it out.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Molang is a very cute animated kids' series about a big, fluffy rabbit and his best friend, Piu Piu, a tiny, yellow chick, who every day come across a different problem. Those problems can be from losing the instructions to build a hammock, to trying to find out how to make a carpet fly in the air. Even if Molang and his friends don't speak English, or any real language whatsoever, the series is still so easy to understand.

What I like about this series is how the creators and animators make the characters look. The animation is so cute, and I was impressed with how they made the tiny little arms and cheeks. The best part is that when the characters get excited their eyes glow! I also like that the creators use a fake language--that way it's easier for everyone to understand what's going on in the plot. Although since the cartoons facial expressions are very easy to read, we probably don't need a fake language!

This show has no bad language (they just make sounds) or bad actions. The message of this film is trying to teach you or your kids that there is always a way to get over a situation that you might have trouble in.

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars! Molang is perfect in every way possible! My age recommendation is ages 2 to 6. This series might be more interesting for kids those ages, but even though I am almost 12 I was very interested in this cute series! This DVD is available now so look for it. By Ava L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Runtime: 186 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


KARMA OF BOCCE, THE
This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
KARMA OF BOCCE, THE
DUNCAN PUTNEY
Series: SCREENPLAY, AGES 8-18
Description - A young boy meets a young girl at a local park. They watch her grandfather and his elderly friends play bocce as she reads the boy a story, his imagination is set free and he watches the heavens move with every toss in the old men's game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

WHEN I FIND YOU
This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WHEN I FIND YOU
XI WANG
Series: STUDENT FILM, AGES 10 TO 18
Description - A toy car and a puppet grew up with a girl together. Nowadays, she doesn't play with them anymore because she is addicted to play video games too much. The toy car and the puppet feel so sad about it so they run away from home.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO

HOUSE OF CARDIN
HOUSE OF CARDIN
2 OF EACH, INC. Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Millions know the iconic logo and ubiquitous signature but few know the man behind the larger than life label. Ultimately we seek to answer the question: Who is Pierre Cardin? What is the story behind this legendary icon? House of Cardin is a rare peek into the mind of a genius, an authorized feature documentary chronicling the life and design of Cardin. A true original, Mr. Cardin has granted the directors exclusive access to his archives and his empire, and unprecedented interviews at the sunset of a glorious career.

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

AERONAUTS, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AERONAUTS, THE
AMAZON STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - In 1862, pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) teams up with daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world, they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love The Aeronauts because the visual effects are so realistic and you feel as if you're actually there, living in that timeline! This is such a dramatic and romantic film. It's so rich in remarkable acting and amazing back-stories of characters. The actors really bring life to their roles, making it seem like they aren't actors at all, but actual people in the 1800s.

The storyline is about a young widow Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) and a scientist James Glashier (Eddie Redmayne). Amelia is a brave and courageous woman who wants to make a difference. James is a scientist who wants his ideas to be heard. They both go into a gas-air-balloon to try to make discoveries which would change the world entirely. In this epic journey, and what seems to be a crazy idea at the time because, James says he wants to try and predict the weather, they learn about themselves and each other. The more you watch the movie the more you learn about the characters' pasts, which is just one of the reasons why I love this film.

My absolute favorite part of the film is when James goes to visit his father, Arthur Glaisher (Tom Courtenay) and they talk about how beautiful the twinkling stars are at night. The costume designer, Alexandra Byrne has made some amazing costumes. I really love them. They really suit the 1800s setting. An absolutely remarkable detail in this film is that everything done in the balloon actually happened. This film is inspired from a true story and the balloon actually aloft in real life during producing the film.

The message of this film is to live life at its fullest because, life is short. You can't change in the world if you don't try.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. You can find this film in the theatres December 6 and on Amazon Prime December 20, 2019.

Reviewed by Bella B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


FROZEN II (2019)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FROZEN II (2019)
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen II, she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award�-winning team--directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez--and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen 2 opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I must admit. I love Disney. I loved the very original Frozen and love Frozen II! The music is captivating, as are the loveable characters we fell in love with when Frozen debuted in 2013. The core characters, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf and Sven are back and living seemingly normal, happy lives in Arendelle. Olaf ratchets up the comedy and has a plethora of entertaining lines and musical trips down memory lane.

Everyone has grown-up a bit since we last saw the fine people of Arendelle. Kristoff can't get out of his own way in his desire to propose to Anna and life seems to be merry for all, until a calling is felt by Queen Elsa and the group goes in search of answers in the Enchanted Forest, a forbidden place. Along the way, we meet new characters including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown), Yelana (Martha Plimpton) and Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews). They all have a part as Anna and Elsa's quest to learn their family history begins and it gets a little dark as many ventures into the past can be.

When it comes to music, I predict "Into the Unknown" is going to become this year's "Let It Go." I'd be willing to predict the Golden Globe and the Academy Awards nomination for Best Original Song. I also predict Disney will sell millions of iguanas over the holidays. Disney's sequel to Frozen has a built-in fan base, and the Disney marketing machine partnered with the world to ensure we know the film opens just before Thanksgiving, in plenty of time to entertain the entire family!

I give this film 4.5 of 5 stars for its beautiful animation, music and comedy. I would have loved more character development, especially for the new characters. This film will appeal to ages 3 to 18. There is one segment which may appear scary to younger children. Frozen II opens in theaters November 22, 2019. See it!

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror, Ageless

We have dived into the unknown with Disney's latest installment to its chilly universe of Frozen with Frozen II. As a big Disney fan, I can honestly say Frozen was never one of my favorites, as after a while I think we can all agree that building a snowman is anything that you'd like to hear again. I must say though, this sequel is filled with tons of hilarious and amazing surprises.

The film starts in the past, giving us a peek at Elsa and Anna as children, playing with snow in their rooms. We see their parents and get to know them a little better as they tell the sisters a story about an enchanted forest that neighbored the kingdom of Arendelle. What happens next sends the story full-throttle into a whirlwind of emotions as Elsa sets out on a dangerous, but remarkable path of events, that ultimately teaches the pair of sisters how to fix what's been broken and to make things right.

In Frozen, we watched Elsa take the throne of Arendelle and come to terms with her magic. Despite this, we just barely got to see who Elsa truly was. Frozen II gives us everything that we missed out on in the first film, and powerfully gives us an inside look at her mannerisms, thought process, hardships and more. We see her struggle more with her truth, and more specifically her past, as she's itching to know who she really is and where she possibly came from. She's not the only character we see develop though, as Olaf turns into a far more mature little snowman and offers tons of fun facts and questions for audiences to hear along the way. Much like her sister, we see a very different Anna in this film. With crazy mood swings, endless bravery and one big leap of faith, we see the princess grow from fear and confusion into confidence and faith. There is no doubt that you'll get to enjoy all the new sides to these iconic characters.

There are a handful of new characters, one of which is the cute little salamander, Bruni. Surprisingly enough, he is quite the powerful and pivotal character. And of course, how can we forget about Sven and Kristoff? This legendary duo smashes it on the big screen with their great chemistry and 80s rock ballad--oh, yeah. You might want to prepare yourself for some crazy Kristoff vocals.

Disney once again knocks it out of the park with their incredibly detailed animation. Every frame of the movie feels immersive and looks stunning. I still can't wrap my head around the countless amount of hours it must have taken to create a flowing stream of water, and it is done so flawlessly. The soundtrack itself is quite catchy. I've been humming multiple songs to myself since I left the theatre and I only just realized it. With its perfect moments of tenderness and just the right amount of hilarity, Frozen II is set to be a hit for families everywhere.

Frozen II is rated PG for its action, peril and some thematic elements. I recommend this film to ages 5 to 18, as well as adults and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now, so don't miss it.

Reviewed by Michelle C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 21
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Frozen II is a beautiful continuation of one of the greatest animated films ever made. We know the story and characters from the 2013 film, so it's not as original, surprising and innovative as the first one, but as the story evolves so does the animation. The characters grow in their arc, becoming more mature, with stronger relationships and technically, Frozen II is a much better film than its predecessor.

Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven have become a family. Now, they try to discover the origin of Elsa's powers in order to save their Kingdom because it seems as if Elsa has awakened some powerful spirits. They leave Arendelle, their hometown, and embark into a Nordic odyssey, in the impetuous fall, where they will face dangers and will meet new characters.

During the film's 103 minutes, we are delighted with seven new songs, most of them as iconic as those in the previous film and 19 score tracks. "Into the Unknown" stays with you and I'm sure we will hear this beautiful composition at the Oscar ceremony. Frozen II feels like a musical at times and that just makes the movie better.

The story is well narrated and easy to follow for little ones. Sisterhood is a powerful force and the bond between Anna and Elsa only strengths during the whole movie.

Frozen II is absolutely eye candy with a beautiful color palette similar to the original adding the warm tones of autumn. The filmmakers traveled to Finland, Iceland and Norway for inspiration. They consulted with a botanist in Oslo to make sure the forest resembles the authentic vegetation there. The animation is not just beautiful, but also a great representation of the Nordic folklore and the geography of the places.

We can also appreciate the advances in technology in the new characters. Among the most challenging to animate are Nokk, the water spirit and Gale, the wind spirit. The costumes are very detailed and gorgeous and, even Olaf gets to wear one!

The actors from the original cast reprise their roles and Jason Ritter makes his Disney debut as the voice of Ryder. My favorite characters are Brunni, the salamander and Olaf played by Josh Gad. Olaf is very funny and his character becomes bigger in this sequel. My favorite scenes are the ones where the characters are discovering the elements in the forest, because each one represents a new challenge.

The message of the film is about creating your own destiny and not being afraid of growing up.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16, as well as adults. Frozen II opens November 22, 2019. Be sure to check it out!

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

I love Frozen II so much, because the animation is so fantastic and it is so great to see all the characters come back together for a whole new adventure. In the first movie Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) rediscovered being sisters. In this movie, which takes place three years after the original, their closeness as sisters is stronger than ever.

The movie starts off in the past with Anna and Elsa's parents telling Anna and Elsa about the enchanted forest. Their mom sings them a lullaby about a secret place full of magical powers. Then we fast forward to present time and Elsa hears a mysterious voice that calls her into the North Woods and the adventure begins. Along the way they meet the Northuldra, a tribe of people who live in the enchanted forest that are connected with the elements. On this journey Anna and Elsa find out about their parents' past and Elsa finds out who and what she really is.

Frozen II has seven new original songs and all new characters that help Elsa on her journey to discover who she is and the origin of her powers. "Lost in the Woods" sung by Kristoff; it is so funny because it has all these inside jokes from old music videos. There are also two great songs sung by Elsa - "Into the Unknown" and "Show Yourself." Plus, Olaf (Josh Gad) also has a really fun song called "When I am Older'' and Anna sings a song too.

Throughout this movie Olaf become smarter and much funnier. It's a really great experience to see that happen to our favorite little lovable snowman. This movie has a lot of comedy, adventure and touching moments.

The message of this film is to follow your heart and listen to your gut, because if you do, there could be a huge adventure waiting for you. Another important message in the movie is that family is important and will always be there for you; so don't ever turn them away when they offer to help.

I give Frozen II, 5 out of 5 snowflakes and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will love it too! You can catch it in theaters November 22, 2019. Look for it.

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

Frozen II is an exciting animated adventure with lots of laughs! The bright, lively animation really gives character to everyone in this movie. The new songs and exciting story make this film a great choice for the whole family.

Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) set off on a quest with their friends Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and trusted reindeer Sven. They're following a mysterious voice that only Elsa can hear; in hopes of finding the enchanted forest their father told them about when they were kids. Along the way, they encounter spirits of air, water, earth, and fire, and they learn of a mysterious fifth spirit that they must find. Elsa and Anna work together to right a wrong from the past, even though this may mean sacrificing everything.

Frozen II has lots of great new songs that help tell the story, but nothing as catchy as those in the original film. There is no main villain or antagonist, just a lot of angry spirits to deal with. The audience at the screening I attended really loved the sequence where Olaf treats some new characters to a hilarious recap of the first Frozen movie. The costume designers must have had a lot of fun designing the intricate costumes and Elsa and Anna both change clothes lots of times throughout the film. The animators have done some pretty incredible things, from making a horse out of water, to creating a flaming salamander. My favorite part is a funny song Olaf sings about how everything will make sense when he's older.

The message of this film is that when you feel that you've lost all hope, you should do the next right thing. Parents should be aware that some beloved characters are in grave danger and young children might be upset by what befalls them. There are some really dark moments when even the usually optimistic Anna thinks all is lost. However, there are some great messages about bravery in the face of danger and doing the right thing despite the cost to yourself.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 6 to 12 and I believe adults will like it too. You can see Frozen II in theaters everywhere starting November 22, 2019.

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

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


BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, A
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, A
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Two-time Oscar�-winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America's most beloved neighbor.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He seemed like the nicest man on the planet. Casting the nicest actor on the planet as Fred Rogers was brilliant. Mr. Hanks brings the deliberate-speaking teacher to life in a way I can't describe. I'm betting Tom Hanks will be nominated for many awards for this role. He becomes Fred Rogers in the film.

Kindness is so simple. This film is a beautiful and timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. In the film his character is named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) and he is grumpy and not interested in an assigned puff-piece profile of Fred Rogers. Throughout the film, he works through his skepticism, and learns kindness, and decency from America's most beloved neighbor.

The real lesson is learned by Lloyd as he works through issues of fathers, his own (Chris Cooper) and his new role as a father. The film is moving and brings forth many emotions - from grief to sadness to joy, and everything in between. Lloyd's wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) is the bridge between Lloyd's family pain and his future as a better Dad.

Lloyd spoke to my heart and begs the audience to feel emotions and be kind, clean up family messes and listen to others when help is needed. I believe every person who sees this film will be moved. The depth of Fred Rogers reach is felt on a public subway. I have not been able to forget this scene since I screened the film.

I give this film 4 of 5 stars for its beautiful theme, set design and character development. At times, it is slow, yet is parallels Mr. Rogers' pace so I'm not sure if this was intentional or a flaw. This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens in theaters on November 22, 2019. See it!

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror, ageless
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - It's definitely A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when Tom Hanks portrays the iconic Mister Rogers. The message is timely and needed now more than ever. This movie is not what I expected. You learn about Mr. Rogers' through his relationship with a man who didn't want to be his friend or neighbor. It's a message that we all need to hear.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a true life story about the relationship that develops between Fred Rogers and a cynical reporter who is loath to interview him for a piece on American heroes. In the movie, the reporter is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who gives an amazing performance. Through his interactions with Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), Vogel begins to understand that part of him is broken. The healing process begins as their friendship develops and you see Fred Rogers teaching him to understand, accept and voice his emotions and feelings. It is beautiful. Tom Hanks is masterful in this role at bringing out the transformation of his friend.

In addition to Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, the cast has other powerful performances, notably Chris Cooper who plays Lloyd's dad, Jerry Vogel. Christine Lahti, as Lloyd's Editor Ellen, pushes him to work on the hero piece and adds a touching element to the movie as well. The film is directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Music plays an important role in this movie and is by Nate Heller. The scenes of Mr. Rogers playing the piano along with the behind-the-scenes of the television show during filming of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood are particularly moving.

The message of this film is that anyone can change the world with words. It's a powerful message that we often forget. Listen and think before you speak, as your words impact others. Fred Rogers finds a positive way to help others express their feelings, which is not an easy thing to do, although he makes it look easy. Forgiveness and redemption are another theme in this film.

I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 and adults will love it as well. The film opens in theaters November 22, 2019 so don't miss it this Thanksgiving season!

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

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


CHARLIE'S ANGELS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHARLIE'S ANGELS
COLUMBIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world's smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film was immensely entertaining and a joy to watch. While I'm unable to judge this film as a reboot, I can judge this as a girl power film.

The story follows a trio of women known as Charlie's Angels as they attempt to track down a dangerous piece of technology that can kill people with electric pulses.

This film is a reboot of a very well-known franchise. Charlie's Angels was originally a TV show in the 70s. While I knew very little about the franchise, my mom is a huge fan. From what I've gathered, this movie is a pretty loving remake, with some neat callbacks. This is definitely a film that can be enjoyed by people who aren't fans. It is the perfect film for those who want a fun female-empowerment movie.

Speaking of which, this film is very much about the friendship between the three Angels - Jane, Sabina and Elena. Jane is played by Ella Balinska. Sabina is played by Kristen Stewart and Elena is played by Naomi Scott. The three have amazing chemistry, each with their own unique personality and characteristics. I love all three of them a lot. You really do buy that these women have become good friends and they work well together. Of course, the Angels aren't the only amazing characters in this cast. Elizabeth Banks, who also wrote and directed this film, plays Bosley and she's a really fun character. Elizabeth Banks plays a perfect mentor. There's also Jonny Smith, who seems to be a throwaway character at first, but he is weirdly endearing. The actor, Chris Pang, is strangely charismatic and he ended up being one of my favorite characters in the film.

The film consists of a lot of awesome action and espionage scenes. There's some really impressive and honestly quite tense action segments and the espionage is really fun and clever. The gadgets they use are designed really well, in that they are both creative and stylish. Honestly this whole film has a really nice aesthetic, especially the house where the final fight takes place. There are all these bright colorful lights and glass walls with images projected onto them that look amazing.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It releases on November 15, 2019. Look for it. Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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


RAISING DION
RAISING DION
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - A single mother must hide her young son's superpowers to protect him from exploitation while investigating their origins and her husband's death.

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

FORD V FERRARI
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FORD V FERRARI
TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ford V Ferrari is a pure adrenaline rush from start to finish. It's an absolutely thrilling film that fires on all cylinders.

Ferrari dominates the annual 24-hour race at Le Mans for much of the 1960s. Ford decides to throw their hat in the ring, in hopes that a victory at Le Mans will raise their struggling sales. The former racer turned car designer Carrol Shelby (Matt Damon) and his difficult, but passionate racer pal Ken Miles (Christian Bale) are both brought on to help Ford craft a car to get to the finish line.

Beneath the technical polish and gloss of Ford V Ferrari, the friendship between Shelby and Miles is the heart of the film. Christian Bale and Matt Damon are a large part of what makes this film work so well. This is their first movie together and yet, they interact with the ease of old friends. Their performances complement each other. You get really invested in this on-screen duo with an absurd amount of charm exuding from the screen.

We all love a good underdog and this film is a classic underdog story. Ford V Ferrari isn't just about the race at Le Mans, but more about the human struggles encountered to get there. Pride and jealousy constrict Miles and Shelby at times, but the rigid corporate system of Ford Motor Company poses a greater challenge. Ford V Ferrari is an expansive, mesmerizing real-life story that feels perfect for the cinematic medium.

Ford V Ferrari puts you in the driver's seat with the racers, but not in the way I was expecting. The stellar sound design and mixing are some of the best and extremely transportive. They give the racing sequences not just an immersive quality, but a transcendent one. James Mangold's direction is excellent. He gives you sequences that put you on the edge of your seat and capture your gaze. More so, Mangold has a strong grasp on pacing. The film knows when to slow down and emphasize character and emotion and when to boost its engine and hightail it to the next scene. In a film this long, it's remarkable that it feels as breezy as it does. Even if you know this story start to finish, the skill, technically and narrative in which it's told make this ride one easily worth taking.

I recommend Ford V Ferrari for ages 7 to 14 for language. Even if you're not a race car fanatic, there's a good chance you'll love this film. I happily give it 5 out of 5 stars. This is easily one of my favorites of the year. Ford V Ferrari zooms into theaters November 15, 2019.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 24

Ford v Ferrari is an emotionally charged fast-track to the world of automobile racing. You'll be on the edge of your seat as you learn about race car driver and American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and the amazingly fearless British race car driver and engineer Ken Miles, who build a revolutionary race car for the Ford Motor Company. Together they strategize and compete to best the race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the world's oldest endurance race - the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The entire cast of this film is superb and their performances are hopefully award-winning. The cast is lead by Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale as Ken Miles. Both actors are inspiring to watch; their interaction and relationship is gripping as they hurtle through space and time. Each actor contributes to this magnificent story and fuels the emotional journey. There are so many breakout performances in this film that they each deserve a Lap of Honour.

Ford v Ferrari is directed by James Mangold and casting is by Ronna Kress. The production team enhanced this story with exquisite film editing, carefully chosen locations, excellent wardrobe, stunts and effects. You really feel as if you are there in the 1960s, experiencing this time and mindset.

There are so many messages in this film, including the value of teamwork, perseverance, loyalty, honor and questioning and knowing who you are. On the race track lives depend on the pit crew and your support team in life is equally important to your ultimate direction.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The film opens in theaters November 15, 2019, so don't miss it!

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

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


LADY AND THE TRAMP (2019)
LADY AND THE TRAMP (2019)
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Lady and the Tramp tells the story of an upper-middle-class American cocker spaniel named Lady (voiced by Tessa Thompson) who meets a street-smart, downtown stray Schnauzer called the Tramp (voiced by Justin Theroux), and the two embark on many romantic adventures including that iconic spaghetti smooch scene. Directed by Charlie Bean and written by Andrew Bujalski and Kari Granlund, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film is a live-action adaptation of Walt Disney's 1955 animated film of the same name, which was based on the Cosmopolitan magazine story of "Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog" by Ward Greene. It is dedicated to Chris Reccardi, co-creator of the Modifyers, and a storyboard artist who died in May 2019.

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

JOJO RABBIT
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JOJO RABBIT
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Wow! I was stunned by this film. I heard people talking about it after seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival earlier this year and couldn't wait to see it. Taika's masterful control of a highly charged subject, the Holocaust, turning it into a dark comedy is pulled off in the most remarkable way. The cast is superb, starting with Roman Griffin Davis, whose innocence draws you in from the opening scene and somehow he holds onto it, even as he discovers truths that threaten his ideals and beliefs that he has held fast. His invisible friend Adolf Hitler, played by Taika Waititi, comes in like a big surprise. You want to laugh at his antics, and not laugh because he is Hitler. In the end, you laugh, because the entire film makes you do that. Scarlett Johansson, as Jojo's mom is warm and slightly off kilter. You se her passion for her young son and for "doing the right thing." You're not surprised at what happens to her, as horrific as it is. Thomasin McKenzie, as Elsa, the young Jewish girl living in the attic plays her role beautifully and her relationship with Jojo develops realistically as his eyes are opened to the idea that Jews are not what he's been told at Hitler's youth camp. The ending is satisfyingly appropriate. We can only imagine what happens next. 5 out of 5 stars and recommended for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! reviewer.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really love Jojo Rabbit. It is a work of art and definitely deserves so many nominations for the award season. It is a beautiful story told in a very original way, but some people may not fully understand everything, especially if you don't know much about World War II.

This storyline is about a boy named Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) who lives in Nazi Germany and is in one of Hitler's youth training camps. He constantly talks to his imaginary friend, who is a child-like version of Adolf Hitler. One day, he finds out that his mom (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl, Elsa (Thomasin Mackenzie) in their home. As the film goes on, Jojo discovers the truth about the Nazi world and the Jews as well. By discovering Elsa and the development of their friendship, Jojo starts questioning his ideals and loyalties.

This film is a dark comedy and a satire of one of the most horrific events in history, the Holocaust. This was a very dark time in the world and somehow Taika Waititi (the director) turns this tragic time into a remarkable comedy. The narration in this film is really good and the story unfolds very easily. I didn't really know much about World War II, and the film doesn't really address why Hitler was bad, but this is not a documentary. It doesn't refer to many facts of the Holocaust; it really addresses Jojo's struggles and is a story about tolerance and how love overcomes bigotry.

The acting is very good. I especially love the performance of Taika Waititi who plays the imaginary Hitler. Sam Rockwell plays a very intriguing role as Captain Klenzendorf and Scarlet Johansson is a very loving mother you immediately connect to immediately. Roman Griffin David is the perfect Jojo in this, his acting debut.

One thing that really caught my attention was the music because there are Beatles' songs in German. I like the paradox because the Beatles are, to me, a great expression of love. I really love the idea of using Beatles' songs and found it very creative. The director was inspired by the idolatry Beatles' fans have for this British band. The bright colors contrast with the sadness of the era, representing the illusion of wellness that a lot of Germans felt while they were being brainwashed by the Nazis. The cinematography creates a very warm atmosphere and the wardrobe also shows the elegance of the era.

I like these types of film where they make you research about things that you may not have known about before. After seeing this film I was a little confused, but after doing some research I really saw the beauty of the film. One of my favorite scenes is when Jojo and his mom are on a bike ride together.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. Jojo Rabbit opens November 8, 2019. Be sure to check it out.

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

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


LAST CHRISTMAS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAST CHRISTMAS
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate's barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart ... and you gotta have faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Last Christmas is a Christmas tale with an out-of-place musical hook that works better than it should. For a film that hinges much of its story on a single Christmas song, I found myself unexpectedly moved by it. It has a touching story about doing good for others, which we're all capable of, and not letting hardship keep you from reaching your full potential.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) finds her life at a standstill, mostly homeless and frequently drunk with a loss of ambition or drive. She is about to get fired from her job as an elf at a Christmas-themed store when she meets the jovial, yet mysterious Tom (Henry Golding), who helps usher her into a new era of her life. Kate begins to help those she has done wrong and view the world in a more positive light as the Christmas holiday draws near.

Emilia Clarke gives a surprisingly layered performance as Kate. Her character is written fairly blandly, but Clark gives it depth when the screenplay doesn't. Henry Golding plays Tom with exuberance and energy. His thoughtful approach to life makes him a nice foil to Kate's blatant cynicism. Emma Thompson puts on a Slavic accent in a scene-stealing comedic performance as Kate's painfully honest and worrisome mother. There are some moments in this film that are painfully reminiscent of other films in the rom-com lexicon, but there's a consistent charm here throughout, more earnest than contrived. This charm is amplified by the likability of its two leads, Clarke and Golding.

The film's sound tracked is from the music catalog of singer George Michael. They serve as smooth transition between scenes, but at times feel tacked-on and gimmicky and don't fit in with the rest of the film. Last Christmas has a third act that turns the movie on its head and, while the shift isn't shockingly surprising, it's well-executed and re-contextualizes much of what has come before.

I give Last Christmas 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 due to sexual references and language. There's nothing too scandalous, but it's still worth noting. If you're a fan of this genre, you'll probably love this film and its holiday charm is hard to resist. In the end, we go to the movies to be entertained and in that respect; Last Christmas certainly gets the job done. This film comes out in theaters everywhere November 8, 2019. Look for it.

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

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



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