The Family category has 2321 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
Below are records 1 - 50 of them
sorted alphabetically

KIDS FIRST! has linked to external websites through which you may order many of the KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles


ALPINIST, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALPINIST, THE
ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Marc-Andr� Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. The free-spirited 23-year-old makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. With no cameras and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Alpinist is a fascinating documentary that shows rare footage of beautiful landscapes and will either inspire you to chase your dreams or make you afraid of heights. Whichever way you take it, the movie is well worth the watch.

The Alpinist follows the 23-year-old mountain climber, Marc-Andre Leclerc, who is a pioneer of solo climbing and has broken countless records. In the documentary, you see all his astonishing climbs and travels around the world and meet the meaningful people who are in Marc-Andre's life.

There are many remarkable factors about the movie. The first thing to mention is the cinematography which is mind blowing! The angles and the positions of the camera capture the climbing so perfectly that you feel as if you are climbing right along with Marc-Andre. You feel so connected to Marc-Andre that you feel like you've known him forever. Kudos to directors Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen and their crew. The way they captured this incredible footage is remarkable, because as you watch the film, you learn how elusive Marc-Andre Leclerc can be.

The messages of this film are to follow your passions and to have courage, while also understanding the risks of what you are doing. There is some profanity, some wounds are shown, and the use of drugs. If you are afraid of heights, I would definitely not recommend this.

I give The Alpinist 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters September 10, 2021. Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, THE
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I liked the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye because it is a heartwarming story that opened me up to a whole other world that I was unaware of. It taught me about others' way of life and how their beliefs can make them the person that they are.

This movie follows the lives of Tammy Faye (Jessica Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). They both dedicated their lives to Christianity and made a living from it. They found each other young and grew together. However, as their work continued to evolve Jim began to forget why this all started. Whereas Tammy made plenty of mistakes, but always remembers who she is.

Something that I enjoyed about this film is how honest and real it is. It shows the reality of the lives of these two people and doesn't sugar coat anything. Another thing that stands out is the acting. Jessica Chastain makes her character extremely believable. Additionally, this film takes place in a completely different time period, and she really taps into that. Furthermore, the characters' ages are constantly changing as the decades go by. Tammy always looks and acts exactly as she was supposed to be during each time period. Lastly, the sets and costume designs are executed extremely well. Everything matches the time period perfectly, and made me believe I was actually living during that time.

The message of this film is to always stay true to yourself and your beliefs. This film does contain some romantic content.

I give The Eyes of Tammy Faye 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 as well as adults. The Eyes of Tammy Faye releases in theaters September 17, 2021.

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

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


PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY
DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Pioneering scuba diver Valerie Taylor, who has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding our fear of sharks.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Many of us are completely mesmerized by Earth's oceans and find the species inhabiting these bodies of water very fascinating. What lies beneath the ocean's surface is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Species ranging from small macro-molecules to gigantic creatures that lurk within these waters offer us fear of the unknown. Valerie Taylor, a famed underwater filmmaker and shark researcher, has made a life for herself stepping into that unknown. Valerie's life story as a pioneer of close-up encounters with the most frightening of all ocean creatures has been made into a riveting new documentary film, Playing with Sharks. Within this film Taylor gives proof to the world that there is no need to fear some of our oceans most misunderstood creatures - sharks.

Playing with Sharks is a fascinating tribute to Australia's Valerie Taylor, who has spent more than 70 years diving into oceans around the world capturing footage of a variety of shark species, including that of the Great White. As part of National Geographic's 9th Annual Shark Fest, this documentary chronicles the life of a woman who has gone from champion spearfisher to shark protector. Valerie's early days as a marine hunter was halted following a personal revelation that depletion of massive numbers of marine animals will undoubtedly change the habitats she loves most. Realizing that there are only 10% of sharks left in the world, it was an easy decision for Taylor to retire her spear and shoot these apex predators using only her camera. In what seemed to be the highlight of Valerie's career when her shark footage was used in the making of Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller, Jaws, but it actually brought unintended consequences for these marine creatures. The movie Jaws unexpectedly triggered a heightened fear and complete dislike for sharks. In a race to quickly fix the tarnished perception of sharks, Valerie Taylor became a powerful voice for their protection.

Sally Aitkins, Emmy-nominated director and writer of Playing with Sharks, has moved mountains with this documentary! Through remastered footage of Valerie Taylor's life journey, Aitkins shines a bright light on this living legend. The flashbacks to Taylor's earlier professional years is a great touch to the film and allows viewers to experience just how passionate Valerie is about marine life and her determination to protect it. The many marine professionals who share their experiences with Valerie also add a great deal to this film. The footage shared in this documentary serves as the evidence needed to move us from fear to respect for these amazing creatures who call the ocean their home.

Playing with Sharks has many messages, but the most important one is the need for mutual respect for all forms of life with which we share our world. We live in a world driven by greed and disrespect for other living things and, because of this, not everyone understands that we all depend on each other for survival. When removing one link to a chain, the chain falls apart. We must find a way to better understand nature in order to appreciate it. In her lifelong commitment to conservation, Valerie Taylor has done just that - she has exposed the truth about sharks and has created an audience of believers that these creatures have for years been misunderstood.

I give Playing with Sharks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults would especially enjoy this documentary. Playing With Sharks begins streaming on Disney+ July 23, 2021. This is a must see film for all marine lovers.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

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


DO, RE &MI
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DO, RE &MI
AMAZON STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
Description - Join birdie friends Do, Re and Mi in the musical world of Beebopsburgh, an island where instruments grow in the Falsetto Forest and a giant Music Mountain towers above all their adventures. Discover the sounds and melodies, move to the beat and see how music helps solve any problem. Featuring an original song each episode.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do, Re & Mi is a fun and educational show with many fun characters that make it so enlightening. With so much fun it's hard not to get into a show like this.

This show follows three little birdies, Do (Luke Youngblood), Re (Jackie Tohn) and Mi (Kristen Bell). They go on lots of adventures together such as trying out for a singing job or getting a new guitar and getting lost. With lots of fun messages and characters this show will appeal to a variety of kids. Each episode is about 23 minutes long and split into two stories.

This web series has lots of fun things to point out, starting with the theme song introducing all the main characters and introducing some inspirational messages. It will have your preschooler repeating the song around the house all day. There are also lots of other songs, hence the title Do, Re & Mi. Each episode has at least two, if not more songs and two different problems that the three birdies try to solve. There is a cool little animation that happens every episode. The animation is clear and sharp and is really fun since it's based on birds. Lots of bird terms are toyed with, such as humamazing, absohootly and high wing which make for a fun addition, since the whole show is about birds. We also learn some music terms such as tempo (speed of the song) and dynamics (volume of the song).

The message of the show is about being yourself and never stop singing.

I give Do, Re & Mi 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adults who will enjoy watching it with their little kids and can join them in singing along. This launches on Amazon Prime Video September 17, 2021. Be sure to check it out.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY
AMAZON STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist, priest and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation--and consciousness-- around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South--who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity--Pauli understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. Both Pauli's personal path and tireless advocacy foreshadowed some of the most politically consequential issues of our time. Told largely in Pauli's own words, My Name is Pauli Murray is a candid recounting of that unique and extraordinary journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary My Name is Pauli Murray is a missing piece of history that has not been taught in our classrooms. It amplifies the life of an African American female whose struggles pushed her to create everlasting change in our modern society.

My Name is Pauli Murray shares the life of Pauli Murray, an African American queer woman, who shattered the status quo by fighting for women's and civil rights. She was a student, lawyer, minister and a heroine in many aspects. This documentary sheds light on all of her societal triumphs and personal defeats.

As an African American female, I felt a great sense of sadness after watching this documentary. This film shows that the society I currently live in is a direct result of Pauli Murray's impact and yet, I never learned about her in school. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, producers and directors of the documentary RBG bring to live the legacy of a woman unknown to most people. There are little questions the audience has about her life after the film's completion. One aspect I did not like is how the film breaks her life into phases of her career paths. This set-up hampers us from seeing the connection between her personal life and her careers. However, that may be due to my curiosity about knowing more about her and her life. My favorite part of this film is the repetition of the quote, "She was ahead of her time." Pauli Murray refused to move to the back of a segregated bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did. Many people think that certain historical events, radical ideals, and justice comes with a timeframe when, in actuality it does not. That is what this film teaches us.

The message of this film is that you are not ahead of your time; it's just that the world may not be ready for you. Yet, soon enough, they will be. This film does contain violent scenes showing racial injustice.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. My Name is Pauli Murray opens in theatres September 17 and streams on Prime Video October 1, 2021.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

My Name is Pauli Murray is a documentary about Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist, women's rights activists, lawyer and poet and non-binary advocate for LGBTQ rights. It goes into detail about Pauli's life, as well as the many great things Pauli accomplished and the impact they left on the future. This film is very informative and overall a well-structured documentary. It was an enjoyable viewing experience.

It was really interesting to learn about Pauli Murray, because before watching this film, I had no idea who they were. And Pauli was definitely a person who deserves to be remembered--not just for their legacy and cultural impact but also for who they were as a person. My Name is Pauli Murray does take time to discuss Pauli's personal life and hardships, and that is one way in which this film makes Pauli relatable to people of this generation. I was particularly interested in the discussions of gender identity and presentation. It was heartbreaking to hear about Pauli's difficulties being non-binary, because nowadays we do have words to describe what Pauli felt.

I also really enjoyed the editing and presentation of this documentary. Not only was this film extremely educational and thought provoking, but it was also fun to watch. There were many instances where quotes from Pauli would appear on screen to drive the point of a specific section, which was very effective. My Name is Pauli Murray has a unique visual style, and the pacing is excellent.

I definitely think My Name is Pauli Murray is crucial viewing for anyone who is interested in civil rights and gender equality. The film tells a very inspirational story about an unsung hero who was before their time and who deserves to be heard. However, it should be known that this film includes graphic depictions, as well as descriptions, of racist hate crimes. There are many moments that showcase photos and footage of these events, and this could be potentially triggering.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. This film comes out in theaters September 17, 2021 and will be released on Prime Video on October 1, 2021.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

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


NIGHTBOOKS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NIGHTBOOKS
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - A young boy named Alex becomes the prisoner of a witch to avoid certain death, he convinces her to let him tell her a scary story every night. Upon meeting the witch's servant, Yazmin, the two must use their wits to escape her apartment, a magical labyrinth filled with various dangers, before the witch kills them both.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Nightbooks is very entertaining, but has some slow moments. It's perfect for people who love a scary movie, but may regret watching it at night (like me!). It has the just right amount of scary moments to give you a thrill, but also doesn't keep you up at night.

Nightbooks follows the story of a boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) who loves to write scary stories. While trying to find the boiler room in his apartment complex, he is lured into a witch's (Krysten Ritter) house, who steals children. He meets Yasmin, who is also stuck there. Can they make it out before they face certain doom? Watch the movie to find out.

This film is based on the book by the same title, so fans of the book should love the movie. The set has so much attention to detail and the costume design, especially for Natacha the witch, is immaculate because all of her outfits perfectly express her personality. The special effects, specifically for the monsters, are so realistic that it gave me chills. My favorite character is Lenore the "sometimes" invisible cat because she has such a mind of her own.

The message is to never lose hope and always be yourself. Just because people think you are different doesn't mean that you are bad. There is some bad language and some scary parts that young kids find scary.

I give Nightbooks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases September 15, 2021 on Netflix.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE
AMAZON PRIME Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Description - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a 2021 biographical coming-of-age musical comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Butterell (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Tom MacRae based on the stage musical of the same name, in turn adapted from the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. Despite obstacles, 16-year-old Jamie has the courage to fabulously follow his unconventional dream in this inspiring true story turned musical sensation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is one to watch.

Based on true events, the story follows Jamie New (Max Hardwood) , a sixteen-year-old boy with the passion to become a drag queen, and he gets help from a former drag queen. With his best friend, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Petal), he attempts to prove wrong the people who doubt him, including school bully Dean Paxton and his own father. Although his father has chosen to cut him out his life, his loving mother is always there to help.

Jamie New is a huge character. He has an answer for everything and always has some glitter to spare. As he attempts to become a drag queen he is more confident than ever. Hugo/Miss Loco Channel (Richard E. Grant) is a former drag queen who attempts to help Jamie as he sees him as the next generation and the future of drag. Pritti Pasha is definitely the brains of the duo. She is a high achiever and would never break the rules. The rest of the cast are incredible and every single character stands out.

The music in this film is from the original stage musical. My favourite song is the opening song, "And you don't even know it." It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and is an upbeat dance number that will have you dancing and singing along just like the rest of the soundtrack. My favourite part of the film is when Jamie realizes that all he wants is to be a drag queen and becomes Hugo's trainee. As a result he starts saving for his very first drag queen dress - his mum already bought him the shoes.

The message of the film is to be who you want to be. Don't let others pull you down from what you want to do, especially if it makes you happy. You should be aware that this film does contain very strong language.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight on September 17, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12The film follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a gay 16-year-old boy from Sheffield, England, whose secret dream is to become a drag queen. His mom, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), as well as his best friend and fellow outcast Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel) support him, but his absentee father (Ralph Ineson), homophobic bully Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomley) and future-focused career's teacher Ms. Hedge (Sharon Horgan) all seem to be against Jamie. Mentored by former drag queen and current shopkeeper Hugo Battersby (Richard E. Grant), a.k.a. Loco Chanelle, Jamie embarks on a journey to discover his true identity, tearing down boundaries and burying toxic relationships along the way.

Max Harwood brings viewers along on his emotion-packed hero's journey; he certainly steals the show. Besides Harwood, though, Lancashire's portrayal of Margaret captures all of the motherly emotion that a sentimental coming-of-age story needs. The care between the two is palpable. Jonathan Buttrell makes his silver-screen directorial debut with this film, and his technique of capturing emotion is superb. Unfortunately, lighting, camera angles and focal choices leads to some distraction in some compelling moments. The score of the film, as with the musical version, is superb, but the sheer number of songs and usage of varied background tracks causes the film to drag as it nears the end. Nevertheless, the music is undoubtedly the highest point of the film.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie promotes acceptance, following your dreams and never being afraid to take a risk. There is some mild profanity in the film.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning September 17, 2021. Go check it out!

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the empowering spectacle everyone needs! With its amazing songs, incredible dresses and an iconic protagonist, the film will have you wanting to dance along at your nearest cabaret.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie New (Max Harwood) and adapted from the West End musical of the same name. Jamie was always taught to be conventional, to choose a "realistic" career and be basic like everyone else. On his sixteenth birthday, he realizes that's not who he is, and decides to become a drag queen. The film has mind-blowing choreography with top-tier songs that pay homage to the musical.

This movie is a real Broadway show in your living room. The elaborate dance numbers with large groups of people, neon lights, phenomenal singing and fabulous drag dresses leave little to be desired. Jamie finds his way into the world with glamour and by making a statement. He encourages audiences globally to be yourself. Being a drag queen in the small town of Sheffield, England was very different. Jamie grows into the stunning personality of Fifi la True with the support of his amazing mother and friends. The film itself really proves how much effort the filmmakers put into their work. The movie shows the real truth of what it was like to be a drag queen in the past. Richard E. Grant is the best mentor Jamie could ever have. He explains his life in the 1980s reminding Jamie about the epic beginning of drag culture. He is so amazing; his fluid movements and the way he speaks just make you want to be his friend. Richard really worked hard on not making his character a parody of a drag queen, but reflect the beauty of a queen. He shows he has what it takes to be called Loco Chanelle, on and off the stage. The movie also has amazing cameos like the iconic queen Bianca Del Rio and Layton Williams, the star of Everybody's Talking About Jamie on West End.

The moral of this film is to always be yourself. Jamie never gave up on his dream of being a drag queen and most of all, he never gives up on being himself. He put in the effort of becoming an amazing queen, and working on himself. He always shines and never cares what others think.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters September 17, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


COME FROM AWAY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COME FROM AWAY
ENTERTAINMENT ONE Click to purchase directly from the producer Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Come from Away is a 2021 American-Canadian musical film comprising a live stage recording of Irene Sankoff and David Hein's 2017 musical of the same name, which tells the true story of 7,000 passengers who were stranded in a small town in Newfoundland, where they were housed and welcomed, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The film, produced in response to the shutdown of Broadway caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, was directed by Christopher Ashley and filmed in May 2021 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, featuring members of the Broadway cast.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, two planes crashed into the world famous twin towers in New York City, after they were high jacked. American air space was closed and all planes in the air were forced to land; thirty-eight of them were diverted to and stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. This story follows the passengers and crew from one of the planes as they come to terms with life in their new surroundings, while forming new relationships and bonding with the locals. This is the filmed version of the award-winning Broadway musical, filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, which tells the story of those 7,000 stranded passenger.

Throughout this film, twelve cast members each play a number of roles and it is very hard to single people out at times. All the characters are based on key individuals involved in the plane diversion. Some cast members who really stood out to me include: Jenn Colella who plays one of the pilots and a townsperson, Annette. She plays sets the bar very high for anyone who might play these roles in the future. Her amazing solos and riffs will knock your socks off. Sharon Wheatly plays Diane and Jim Walton plays Nick, two people who meet on one of the planes and, throughout their time in Newfoundland, start to feel a connection. Sharon and Jim are both very talented and share and amazing duet, "Stop the World." The remaining cast members each bring something different to this amazing production in their own unique way, from comedy to heart-break. My favourite song is the opening song "Welcome to the Rock." I love that it's an upbeat dance number that introduces you to the cast and the characters they play. I don't think I could choose a favourite part of the musical as all of it is just so interesting, moving and inspirational.

The message of this film is to remember how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away or changed forever. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic event over the past 20 years.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres September 10, 2021 on Apple TV+.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Come From Away is an amazing filmed version of the Broadway musical. With all the singing and dancing, this show is sure to get you up and dancing.

This musical is a lot like the film Hamilton in that it is a live recording of the stage musical and is based on real historical events and people. It is about the aftermath of 9/11 when 38 planes were forced to land on a small Newfoundland island and tells how all the residents of the town of Gander took care of 7,000 people who were on those planes while they were stuck there for five days.

This musical is different from most because there is no main character; every character is equally important. Also, all the actors play two roles, often both a passenger and a helpful Newfoundlander. The costume changes are incredible as they often do them while on stage, but that is so small that you might not notice it. Another cool thing is that in the back of the stage there is a door that some people walk through and then it shuts again, which I found intriguing. Some of my favorite characters are Kevin and Kevin, who are dating and Bonnie, who takes care of animals. One of my favorite scenes is when people are walking on chairs and others keep moving the chairs and the stage rotates so it looks like they are moving. It has so much music. I continued listening to it right after I finished watching the film and listened to it while I was writing this review.

The message of this show is twofold. First, that you can make the best of any situation and second, when you can help others, try to help.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It is available on Apple TV+ now.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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

This title is available for purchase from ENTERTAINMENT ONE


MEERKAT MANOR: RISE OF THE DYNASTY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MEERKAT MANOR: RISE OF THE DYNASTY
BBC WORLDWIDE AMERICAS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 8-18
Description - Continuing the dramatic tale of survival revolving around three families of meerkats who are descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Many of us live in areas where Mother Nature brings a variety of seasons which exposes us to a wide array of ecosystems. Because we're used to this variety, we have become incredibly curious about areas of the globe whose ecosystems are perhaps not as vast; one area in particular is the desert. With its harshly hot and dry climate, we know that anything able to withstand such brutal weather has to be an amazing creature and that's one reason we have completely fallen for the South African meerkat. The documentary series Meerkat Manor has entertained us for over 15 years and has brought the wondrous secrets of the Kalahari Desert right into our homes. The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty follows three families of the most charismatic desert mammals and showcases their family dynamics. In the spotlight of this series is Swift, the granddaughter of the original Meerkat Manor Whisker family matriarch, Flower. We've waited 12 years to catch up on what the Whiskers, Hakuna Mata and Ubuntu families have been up to and there are many surprises within this series as some things have changed. The new series continues to show us just how difficult life in the desert can be, yet with the perfect family dynamics and role assignments, animals can overcome these challenges. Just like in our own lives, people compete for space, food, and other resources, the meerkat families are no different. These episodes highlight that, despite the fact that the meerkats share a common bloodline, individual survival and the survival of their family is their main concern.

There are a lot of great things about this series, but my favorite part is the character led story telling by narrator Bill Nighy. The series humanizes the meerkats and gives each their own entertaining personalities. There are heroes, villains, babysitters, a Romeo and Juliet pair, and so much more. These personalities are hilarious and interesting to watch. The cinematography is also fantastic with its capturing of some of the most harsh weather conditions on Earth. I especially enjoyed the scenes where the camera was placed deep within the meerkat burrows. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is a captivating series about the natural world and I appreciate its educational value.

The message of this series is about teamwork. Of course, family, culture and perseverance are worth mentioning here also; however, if this species didn't have a system of working together, they could not thrive within their harsh ecosystem. Each meerkat has a specific role to support its family. They work cohesively in a variety of ways to assure the success of their family. Whether their role is one filled with drama or with entertainment, one thing is for certain - these desert dwellers are sure to tug at your heartstrings.

I give Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, will also love this series. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is available now on BBC American and AMC+. Episodes 7 and 8 are coming out on September 4 and September 9, 2021.

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

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


This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
LILLY GOES TO THE DOGS
XSTINE COOK
Series: STUDENT SHORT, AGES 7- 18
Description - Lilly, a 10-foot tall orange monster, visits a the Victoria Dog Show, but her friend Fluffle gets sequestered in the mutt pen! Will Lilly take Best in Show?
Runtime: 6 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO

This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
BREATHE
CHERAY O'NEAL
Series: INDIE SHORT, AGE 8-18
Description - One young man's journey to find inner peace days after George Floyd's televised murder. Be witness to this spoken word visual testimony about the power of the human spirit, and the unapologetic resilience of our youth. Kobi, a black sweet- shy seventeen year old skips school to meet his friends for a George Floyd vigil. On his adventure; love, loss, fear and friendship become his greatest allies, or his worst nightmare.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO

STAR FOREST
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAR FOREST
SILVER COMMET STUDIOS
Series: AUDIO CD FOR AGES 5-8
Description - The band is virtual. The music is real. Created by two parents during a pandemic -an Emmy award winning children's producer and writer and a rock-n-roll composer and engineer, this musical collaboration is a love letter to their children who that couldn't agree on music that was enjoyable for the whole family. Discover Star Forest's first album - enchanting, radical songs that tug on your heart and ignite your imagination. A mix of rich bodied melodies, dreamy ballads, toe tappers, and pirate rappers, Star Forest is something the whole family can vibe with. It's road trip music. It's fanciful. It's inspiring. It's kind. It's cinematic. It's something for everyone.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The CD Star Forest is a pandemic-produced fairy tale and it shows what amazing things you can do when you have time on your hands. Nicely produced tracks and vocal performances help the process along. However, the story and overall direction is a bit muddy, without a clear understanding of its intended audience and keeping their attention with tried and true tricks of the children's music trade. Hopefully we won't have to wait for another pandemic for another album. It's a reminder to fully commit to your target audience!

The music in Star Forest is well-produced and covers a variety of styles. However, it feels a little too hip for the room for their intended age range. I don't think the lyrics are engaging enough for the youngsters to follow. The structure of the individual songs is good, but the continuity from song to song is not cohesive and the style is overthought; not flowing. Some of the songs, with a little tweaking, could play for adult audiences in an esoteric sort of way, but they are not all encompassing for a children's audience. They are a little all over the map. I got lost as to where the story was going while wearing my child-audience hat. This would not work with a live audience. It is just a bit too unfocused for its intended age group. There are some really good performances throughout the album - the kids, ensemble, backgrounds are all good.

I don't believe kids walk away from listening to Star Forrest looking to change the world.

I give Star Forest 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. Reviewed by John Wood, KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Outstanding! I love it! Definitely will listen to it again and/or share with my friends. I like Star Forest simply because I like the music. It's not a genre of music that anyone would find too loud or too boring. I can imagine listening to this music around a campfire - eating s'mores and singing and dancing to it. This album has a wide range of styles that can really fit any purpose or any person. That's really what I find most appealing about it.

I like that there are backup voices. These voices create a beautiful echo that makes the music sound richer and more beautiful. These sounds can vary between barely noticeable and quite noticeable; both ways are very pretty and add to the music.

Since the band is virtual, I don't really have comments about the musicians. I will say that there are times when the quality of the singing isn't spectacular, but I still really liked it. The songs are very well constructed instrumentally. The backup singers stand out for me. When a voice or an instrument repeats a string of words, it came across quite beautifully. I really liked it. There are no bad words; the vocabulary is certainly kid-friendly. I didn't find myself singing along afterward, however there is one line from the third song of the album, "Wildewood" that stuck in my head, "When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, we're gonna dance the night away." I really loved the instrumental parts - the instruments sound great in all the songs. I can't comment on the recording quality because I don't know much about that. What I do know is that I love this album and that's what counts!

I give Star Forest 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 12.

By Alma Kliper, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I really enjoyed Star Forest. The singers have great pitch and rhythm, which pairs very well with the music. The lyrics of each song, as well as the album as a whole, are creative and appealing. Sometimes the lyrics form a story; other times they are more just an addition to the wonderful music.

The variety of the different rhythms, tunes and genres are well chosen so that there is something that will be enjoyed by every listener! The musicians are very engaging. They make understanding the story in the songs easy. The singer that stands out the most has an incredible run in a high register. It is the most impressive embellishment any musician adds to this album. Kids will be awestruck and possibly inspired to mirror it themselves! The music is very easy for kids to understand. The vocabulary is basic and most kids will be able to easily listen and follow along with the story. Even if the lyrics are a bit challenging for some, the music is still worth listening to. After listening to the album, I noticed that the songs are repeating themselves in my head, because of their catchy and creative elements.

I give Star Forest 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10.

By Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 47 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 11
Media: AUDIO


WHAT IF?
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WHAT IF?
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 10-15
Description - Exploring pivotal moments from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turning them on their head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Think about every decision or choice you've ever made and now, wonder, "what if I did that differently?" Marvel Studio answers these mind-boggling questions with its new hit animated series, What If... ? Every major plot line that occurred throughout the history of the MCU is twisted and turned to show different outcomes of various realities. Every Marvel film has a similar, typical way of story-telling, yet What If... ? has a new authentic narrator-type style that is extremely refreshing to longtime fans. However, the episodes fall a bit short recreating the nostalgic feeling from each film, resulting in many jokes feeling out of place and simply not landing.

After the events of Loki, we are not dealing with the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore. We are dealing with the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse! The Watcher (Jeffery Wright) is our all-seeing tour guide, showing us various different realities in which time and events play out extremely differently from what we know. Each episode explores stories generated from the simplest of choices. These subtle choices could result in a new superhero being born, a foe becoming a friend or even a murder.

DC Comics has been the leader in superhero animation for a while now, but with What If... ? that title might be in jeopardy. The animation in this new series is extremely unique. The broad color scheme is very eye pleasing and ties into the 3D art extremely well, providing a tranquil flow. Witnessing characters written by different writers from previous films can be very noticeable at times. With new content added to stories we already know and love, certain characters feel out of place because of the writers recreating their personalities.

Marvel content over recent years has been very intense. Unlike its predecessors, What If... ? is more lighthearted and not driven by a serious tone. Throughout the series, action and mild cursing frequently occur. Each episode is radically different from other episodes due to the lack of continuity of the story. As a result, there are new morals and lessons included in every episode. A prominent moral lesson throughout the show is that you can be whatever you want, despite the obstacles. The show explores themes such as perseverance, trust and family.

Marvel Studio's What If... ? is a major hit across the multiverse with its narrator-type journey, yet fails at multiple attempts to recreate the authenticity of previous Marvel films. I give What If... ? 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. A new episode of What If... ? streams every Wednesday starting August 11, 2021 on Disney+. Make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Marvel Studios' "Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings" stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the most mystical and beautiful movie in history! The music, the special effects and the acting all take you to another world. The film leaves you wanting a Morris of your own.

The storyline follows a young man named Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). His father is a one thousand-year-old man and conqueror nicknamed The Mandarin (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), who has only ever used the infamous and all-powerful Ten Rings for evil. When the Mandarin is set to unleash infinite evil on the universe, Shang-Chi has to stop his father.

This movie is a cinematic experience. The fighting and choreography are out of this world. The long slow motion shots make the audience feel as if they are in a video game. Simu steals the show; every fight scene is flawless with his fluid movements and it proves just how hard he worked on his character for this film. Every audience falls in love with Shang-Chi; he's funny, with perfect comedic timing and he knows the balance between peace and violence. He encapsulates what the majority of young adults feel - like not being able to find their place in the world. The movie makes fans feel as if they've known Shang for years. It has wonderful flashbacks, which give the audience glimpses of his past, his pain and how his fears have shaped who he is. The film gives a wonderful all-around scope of this character that feels like a friend we've known all our life. It makes fans excited to see Shang-Chi again. Shang and his sister Xu Xialing are an iconic duo. They're both powerful and, while there's some tension due to their past, they put everything aside and let love shine through. Xialing is a role model, officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful women. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is perfect for AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) representation in cinema. It represents Chinese culture powerfully, shows what it's like to be an Asian-American in modern day USA, not to mention that Simu is Marvel Studios' first Asian-American superhero. Simu and Shang-Chi are writing history while also inspiring children and fans all around the world. The film delivers on all grounds; the cameos are shocking and leave you on the edge of your seat. Trying not to shout during the two post credits scenes prove to be a challenge. By the end of the movie, I wanted to sing the song "Hotel California" at the top of my lungs.

This film reminds you to search for who you are and let your past guide you to who you want to be. Ever since his mother died, Shang has been trained by his father to use violence. When he arrives at his mother's village, he learns how to find peace within himself and the world around him. He learns to trust himself and to use the rings for good.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters September 3, 2021.

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel's first Asian solo-superhero movie does not disappoint. The dynamic relationships between the characters combined with the incredible actors create a powerful, heart-rending movie about the value of family. In addition, the humorous segments contrast with the intense scenes to make this film so well rounded.

The story begins with Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) living a normal life in San Francisco working as a valet driver with his best friend. Then he is attacked on a bus and forced to confront his past. He explains to his best friend that his father, Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), is the feared, immortal man who leads the Ten Rings Organization. The Ten Rings are a weapon so powerful that Wenwu was able to conquer all the land and riches that he wanted. Shang-Chi ran away from home at a young age, because he didn't want to be another one of Wenwu's murderous pawns. Now, Wenwu is looking for him and his sister, to bring them back home.

Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi's dual personality exceptionally well. Towards the end of the film, Shang-Chi exudes a completely different persona than the one we saw at the beginning of the film. Another prominent actor that I enjoyed is Awkwafina who plays Katy; Katy adds so many hilarious moments that make the film more enjoyable. Of course she is also extremely talented at acting and portrays Katy as a loyal and courageous friend. Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery also adds comedy. Awkwafina, Ben Kingsley and Morris (an adorable, faceless, fluff-ball beast) make an incredible comedy trio. CGI is a major component of this film and has the potential to make or break the entire experience. The CGI does not disappoint. In fact, this has to be some of the best CGI that I've seen in the entire MCU franchise; MCU has killer CGI every single time, so this is a bold statement. Not only are there numerous magical beasts that come to life, but the water itself seem to come alive as well. The Ten Rings also seems to have a mind of its own - speeding off one moment and lightly dancing in the next. It is also incredible to discover how these rings can be used for more than just fighting. The costumes are absolutely gorgeous and, just like the creatures, so unique. Within the village, the warriors' armor is made of dragon scales, which defends them from their ancient nemesis. In the city, the people rock the cyber punk style. And, in San Francisco, the attire is authentic to the 21st century. My favorite part is the ending. I was incredibly pleased with how everything ends. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so you're just going to have to see for yourself.

The message of this film is centered around the power of familial love and the power of finally opening up your heart. The value of family is displayed through the challenges that the characters go through. Their relationships are what keep them strong. The power in opening up your heart is experienced through Shang-Chi. The only thing holding Shang-Chi back from reaching his true potential is the hate and guilt he held deep within his heart. Once he lets all of that go, he is freed.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters September 3, 2021. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and will most likely go back to watch it again. Go check it out.

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

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


9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - 9/11 from the President's perspective, with exclusive access to information from the one's that had to take decisions during the World Trade Center's attack.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President's War Room was created.

Going minute by minute, hour by hour, 9/11: Inside The President's War Room offers two narratives, following the president's actions, thoughts, and movements, and the developing situation in New York City.

President George W. Bush was interviewed for this film and his impeccable memory of the day and skilled delivery make the documentary even more unique. His impassioned vow to bring Al-Qaeda to justice, his struggle to keep his anger in check, and his helplessness as he was flown around the country to avoid a rumored attack on Air Force One show exactly how novel this crisis was. The film includes high-quality archival footage and the perspectives of individuals like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, as well as the president and vice president's chief of staff. I've never seen a more thoroughly researched and impeccably pieced-together documentary. The many perspectives from all these individuals contribute to a strong narrative that captures you from minute one. Each interview is compelling and the editing cuts between medium shots of the individuals and archival footage, creating an immersive and truly "in the room" experience. The background music complements the film's somber tone.

9/11: Inside The President's War Room is a portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership. There is some mild profanity in the film as well as some footage of the Twin Towers collapsing with screams in the background.

I give 9/11: Inside The President's War Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 9/11: Inside The President's War Room is available now on Apple TV+ .

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D.
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOOGIE KAMEALOHA, M.D.
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 10-18
Description - Set in modern-day Hawai'i, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. - a coming-of-age dramedy inspired by the hit medical series Doogie Howser, M.D. - follows Lahela "Doogie" Kamealoha (Peyton Elizabeth Lee), a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. With the support of her caring -- and comical -- 'ohana (family) and friends, Lahela is determined to make the most of her teenage years and forge her own path. Guiding Lahela is her career-driven mother Dr. Clara Hannon (Kathleen Rose Perkins) who's also her supervisor at the hospital, her doting father Benny (Jason Scott Lee) who helps keep her connected to what matters most, her free-spirited older brother Kai (Matthew Sato), her gregarious younger brother Brian Patrick (Wes Tian), her best friend Steph (Emma Meisel), her surfer crush Walter (Alex Aiono) and her fellow hospital colleagues, Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng), Charles (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Noelani (Mapuana Makia).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a show that our generation so desperately needs. It exemplifies the life of a modern teenager in a positive and truthful light while being totally binge-able.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a Disney Plus Original Series inspired by the 1989 TV series Doogie Howser. It follows Lahela "Doogie" Kamealoha, a medical prodigy who is only 16 years old. With her life as a doctor and a teenager she struggles to keep up with both lifestyles.

The main character, Lahela (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is a great character that exhumes girl power. From the show before this she is a modern take on old practices. Plus, she is a person of color and a female who is breaking unforeseen barriers at an early age. Apart from Lahela, Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng) is one of my favorites. His jokes and comedic timing are always funny. Oftentimes, Disney comedies are very predictable and rarely contain great jokes; however, the humor in this show has modern references that create a wonderful watching experience. Same with the costumes in this show; the wardrobe throughout for Lahela are age appropriate and wearable. The show is based in Hawaii, so the sets at the hospital, the beach and the Kamealoha home are all beautiful with bright, vibrant colors accompanied with the soothing sounds of the ocean. My favorite part of this show is how it reflects the modernity of teenagers throughout the years. Many shows today portray teenagers in an inappropriate and unrealistic light. But this show makes it comfortable for a 17-year-old girl, like me, to be proud to be a teenager.

The message of this show is that it may seem like the world is on your shoulders, but the family around you has plenty of shoulders to help with the weight. This film promotes positive social behavior.

I give Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This show starts streaming exclusively on Disney+ September 8, 2021, with new episodes every Wednesday.

By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17

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


CULTUREVERSE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CULTUREVERSE
PRX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: PODCAST, AGES 6-18
Description - "Cultureverse" is an immersive audio drama that celebrates our collective cultural past. It is a place where myths and legends come alive in the modern world. In each episode, an ordinary kid encounters an extraordinary creature, myth, or folk character from their culture, embarking on an exciting journey of self-discovery. "Cultureverse" isn't just an audio adventure, it's a show that celebrates who we are, and where we come from.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Cultureverse is a unique educational podcast with hosts we all love - actresses Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran! Kids will appreciate its high production quality and immersive plot lines.

Each episode of this podcast delves deep into a unique cultural tradition or concept, such as the Czech golems or the Dangsan Tree of South Korea. The podcast teaches these concepts using a simple, but effective storyline - a child learns more about their culture through a real-world scenario (for example, bullying during online classes). For example, one of the episodes centers around Cholito de Suerte, a magical, luck-giving creature in Mexican folklore. A young girl is in the process of rebranding her musical persona and really wants some cool sunglasses. One day, she finds the Cholito de Suerte in her locker, and she remembers that her grandmother said the Cholito is generous and kind to all those who take care of it. After she gives the Cholito food, it spits out lots of coins and she's able to buy her sunglasses (and more) with the money. This cycle continues for a while until the secret of her Cholito is betrayed, after which a unique lesson is taught. The show is based on a beautiful idea and is executed very well.

Cultureverse has no set cast except for the hosts Yara Shahidi and Kelley-Marie Tran. There's a new child voice actor in each episode. The script doesn't differ much between the two hosts; it's natural and maintains a good pace throughout the 20 to 25 minute duration. I really enjoyed Tran's narration a bit more, but since the stories in each episode have such sustained, contained momentum powered by the child voice actors and plotline, it doesn't make much of a difference who is hosting.

Cultureverse promotes cultural appreciation as opposed to cultural appropriation. It encourages kids to learn about different cultures, even providing them with some further reading at the end of each episode.

I give Cultureverse 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse. Go check it out!

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

With a hint of culture and lots of interesting stories, the podcast Cultureverse is a great way to learn more about stories from the past in a fun way. Even though these stories from the past have been modernized to entertain children, some of the plots get a little random and off-topic. However, that doesn't stop this podcast from being a great way to educate your child about different heritages.

Hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse takes myths and legends from different cultures, adds fictional modern characters and a new storyline, which make them more interesting and understandable. Kids will enjoy the exciting characters and the fascinating creatures.

The voice acting and sound effects in this podcast are so extravagant and over-the-top that it feels like the sounds are coming out of the screen and into your room. It's definitely a very creative concept for a podcast, especially because it makes kids want to learn and keep listening. This would be a good added tool in a classroom for a history lesson because, while it sounds like a normal fantasy book, it still keeps the key parts of the original stories or myths. It could also be used at a heritage day or a multicultural festival as added content.

This podcast's message is to keep culture alive through stories, as they are the foundation of our heritage and we should not let them be forgotten.

I give Cultureverse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse

By Kendall B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

I genuinely enjoyed the podcast, Cultureverse and the way it uses different myths and legends to make new and interesting stories.

Cultureverse is an immersive audio drama celebrating our collective cultural past. It is hosted by two hosts, Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi that share lots of different stories about various people going through a multitude of myths and legends. In each episode, a modern day kid encounters a creature, myth or folk character from their culture and embarks on an exciting journey of self-discovery. There are nine episodes available now including The Dangsan Tree, The Water Drabon, Dagda's Harp and more.

A lot of the stories are Chinese or Vietnamese origin. It's amazing how this podcast fabricates these stories using only words, music and sound effects - without any visuals. They are all so engaging with lots of cool things, starting with the voices. All the voice-over actors really excel at portraying their characters. At the end of each episode we learn the names of the voice-over actors. We also learn more about the original myth or legend that each story is based on. On example is the water dragon story, in which David and his sister try to save the town from the drought. This is based on the Chinese legend of the water dragon where a boy saves his town from a drought and gets turned into the water dragon. This is just one example of the many stories featured on the podcast. My favorite part is how the host tells each story with emotion and passion.

The message of this podcast is about how so many things are still influenced by old myths and legends.

I give Cultureverse 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages for 6 to 18, plus adults. Cultureverse is available now online at https://www.trax.fm/cultureverse

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Are you looking for a new podcast with amazing acting and hosting, creative stories and cultural values? Listen to Cultureverse, a brand new podcast created for tweens and teens to be entertained by fantastical adventures and educated about many cultures. Co-hosted by Kelly Marie Tran and Yara Shahidi, Cultureverse is a must-listen epic-adventure podcast.

Each episode of the podcast features a new character, a new background and a new cultural adventure. The short introduction lets viewers know more about the character and their desires; then Cultureverse dives into the magical adventure. One of my favorite episodes is The Watermelon Prince. Based on a Vietnamese folktale, Mia (Vicky Win) is sucked into a world of magic through none other than a talking watermelon. In the universe of this folktale, Mia meets herself, but as a different person. When she returns from her adventure, she feels as if she's found another part of herself.

Cultureverse is a podcast with many positive aspects. The hosts are warm, welcoming and educational in their pre-story and post-story talks. They are also very talented narrators that make the stories more interesting and enjoyable. All the voice-actors are great; they make each story more fun while creating a vivid picture for the audience. The plot is another strong point. Each episode starts off realistic, so I'm stuck in the mind of a character when the fantastical elements start. It helps that normal kids experience these crazy cultural adventures. If the characters were superheroes or other fantasy creatures, it wouldn't be as relatable. This podcast is a great way to introduce a variety of cultural myths and folktales.

The message of Cultureverse is to learn and explore other cultures' traditions. This theme is clearly conveyed in each and every episode. It's great that passing on these positive messages is a top priority for this podcast.

I give Cultureverse 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. You can find Cultureverse on Trax at ahttps://www.trax.fm/cultureverse.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

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


CINDERELLA (2021)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA (2021)
AMAZON PRIME Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.

Cinderella follows the story of Ella (Camilla Cabello), a poor orphan who lives with her abusive, restrictive stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her mean, obnoxious and spoiled stepsisters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). She loves to design dresses and even has her own workplace in her basement, where a crew of merry mice (James Corden, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster) watch over her. It is her dream is to open up a dress shop in the town marketplace; however, in her kingdom, women cannot run businesses. When Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), the unassuming heir apparent, lays eyes on Ella, he falls head over heels in love with her, as does she for him. However, as Cinderella and Prince Robert find themselves and their paths in life, a series of decisions they must take puts their love story in jeopardy. There are lots of subplots and side stories in the film, but that's the main plotline.

Cinderella maintains a steady and engaging pace with just enough action, comedy, romance and drama throughout the nearly two-hour duration. As it's told through a combination of songs and dialogue, it's only logical that the cast is comprised of a mixture of singers, actors, and comedians. Camila Cabello, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel "slay" in the film, as Porter's character (Ella's fairy godparent) would say. Their delivery is clear and, in the case of Cabello and Menzel, though a lot of the film's soundtrack is comprised of remakes (like Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation); it's refreshing to hear their take on the songs. Pierce Brosnan plays the stately, confident, yet flawed and patriarchal King Rowan and Minnie Driver acts as his strong, regal Queen Beatrice. I love the portrayal of strong women in the film. Beatrice, Ella and even Vivian have one thing in common - they are restricted by their society. Vivian had to give up on her passion; Beatrice must sit silently next to her husband for life; and Ella is at risk of losing her dreams. It's certainly unique to see this struggle in a fairy tale film. Shot at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the film's sets are impeccable, and I truly felt I was in a medieval kingdom with the characters.

Cinderella promotes advocating for yourself, pushing against restrictive gender roles, following your dreams, choosing your own destiny and so many more positive messages! There are only one or two uses of mild profanity in this film.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Cinderella releases on Amazon Prime Video September 3, 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Cinderella is the feel-good flick for fans of all ages! Its wonderful soundtrack will have both parents and children singing and dancing. The jokes are spectacular; the casts' diversity is amazing; and the romance will have everyone tearing up.

Cinderella takes the classic beloved fairytale and gives it a modern twist. Cinderella (Camila Cabello) dreams of opening her own fashion boutique, but that dream is frequently criticized by her stepmother Vivian (Indina Menzel). Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is a royal rebel, refusing to marry, if not for love. He proposes to host a ball, to which all maidens are invited. Cinderella never stops dreaming of opening her own store and, when presented with an opportunity to go to a royal ball to find a job for designing, she accepts the invitation.

This movie is comedy, romance, girl power and music at its finest. We usually are served Cinderella films that take place in present day; however, Cinderella gives audiences a tale presented in medieval times, only modernized. The film manages to fit in multiple jokes and as many comedic one-liners as possible. Never missing a beat, every character gives audiences multiple laughs. The girl power in the movie is so inspiring. Cinderella faces hardships over her dreams, just like her step mother, sisters and Queen Breatrice, who wants to be independent. Then there is Princess Gwen, who has innovative ideas about how to run the country, but can't because she's a woman. The women stand strong, follow their hearts and, if romance rolls around, then that's great too. The romance in the movie is absolutely beautiful; two people want to love each other, but struggle against the status quo; Cinderella, who fiercely wants to open up her own store; Robert, who doesn't quite fit in with the royal court. The best scene in the whole film is the dance scene at the ball. The entire party has amazing choreography and rock songs, including a beautiful duet by the Prince and soon-to-be Princess. The soundtrack is filled with classic songs from Ed Sheeran, Queen, Janet Jackson and more, along with original songs. It's so fun to see these iconic characters singing and dancing to such iconic songs.

The lesson Cinderella learns and teaches audiences globally, is to always believe in yourself. She goes the distance, proving her worth to herself and those around her, that women can do amazing things just like men, such as opening a business.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 16. It is available on Amazon Prime beginning September 3, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Cinderella may be a commonly told story, but this filmed musical is anything but common. This live action film takes a classic fairy tale and rewrites it as an amusing, witty and modern retelling of a fiery young woman setting out to achieve her dreams. Out of the countless variations of the "Cinderella" story, the 2021 release of Cinderella by Kay Cannon is by far the most unique and empowering that I have seen.

In this version, Cinderella (Camila Cabello) still has her eyes set on freedom and a life away from her dreadful stepmother (Idina Menzel). However, in modern fashion, she also dreams of becoming a business woman and owning her own dress shop. Following her ambitions, she stumbles across Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine). While the two quickly fall in love, Cinderella is unwilling to sacrifice her own dreams to live a life just as stuck as she was under the control of her stepmother. Despite living in a land with outdated beliefs against women, with the help of her fairy Godmother, or Fab G (Billy Porter), Cinderella is determined to make a name for herself and create a successful business.

In her acting debut, singer Camila Cabello is impressively charming and nails the wit of her Cinderella, making her a perfect candidate for the rebooted character. Menzel and Porter, both Tony award-winners, wonderfully add a unique and interesting take on their characters. Menzel is magnificent, creating a new backstory for Vivian the stepmother, a once idealistic mother who learned from her mistakes. Porter brings a completely different, yet inspiring angle to the fairy godmother, sporting a striking orange gown and a spirited attitude in this role. The music is just as great as the actors, featuring both original and covered songs. The soundtrack is full of varying styles from rap, to powerful musical ballads, to Queen's "Somebody to Love." My favorite part of this movie is the diversity of the storyline. Not only do audiences get to see Cinderella follow her dreams, but also we see the growth of characters such as the stepmother, Prince Robert, the little sister of the Prince, Gwen (Tallulah Greive) and even the King (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen (Minnie Driver).

This rendition of Cinderella offers a bold message to audiences about feminism and the idea that women do not need to fall in love to find fulfillment as they can be whatever they set their mind to. Parents should be aware that this film contains some adult humor. I rate Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. This film opens in theaters September 3, 2021.

By Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 11-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE (DIGITAL/DVD)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE (DIGITAL/DVD)
DREAMWORKS - LA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURES, AGES 7-18
Description - The Templeton brothers have become adults and drifted away from each other, but a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach is about to bring them together again - and inspire a new family business.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - movie reviews,by kids for kids,comedy,animation,Tom McGrath,Jeff Hermann,Alec Baldwin,James Marsden,Amy Sedaris,Ariana Greenblatt,Eva Longoria,Jimmy Kimmel,Lisa Kurow,Jeff Goldblum,James McGrath,Reyn Doi
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Boss Baby is back in business...family business. With new adventures and new characters, but the same shenanigans, this is a film you won't want to miss. If you enjoyed the first movie you will enjoy this sequel too.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is about grown-up Tim (James Marsden) with his two kids and a grown-up Ted (Alec Baldwin) who is a big-time CEO. They come across a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. They join Tim's secret-agent daughter and go undercover to prevent an evil genius from turning all toddlers into horrible brats.

At the end of the last film, we got a cliffhanger that leads viewers into the plot of this film. We see a baby in a suit, which helps build the audience's excitement about what this sequel has in store. The plot of The Boss Baby: Family Business is fun and exciting because it focuses on a couple of different things at once. Tim and Ted are rebuilding their brotherly bond and working together to stop world domination. Tim is figuring out his relationship with his daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and the whole family is learning to recognize how important it is to come together. It's a story that is heartwarming and funny at the same time. My favorite character in this film is Baby Tina (Amy Sedaris) because she is straightforward, keeps everyone on task and reminds everyone what is important. We know that Tim and Ted don't always get along and can get sidetracked, but Baby Tina is there to make sure they get the job done.

The message of The Boss Baby: Family Business is that family is everything and to remember the good times. It is definitely family-friendly.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is an amazing film to watch. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases on digital August 31 and on Blu-ray September 14, 2021. Go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The highly anticipated sequel to The Boss Baby is finally here. The Boss Baby: Family Business is a hilarious movie that has a very special dynamic to it. With new characters and relatable plots, this film can easily become a fan favorite.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is about brothers Tim and Ted Templeton (James Marsden, Alec Baldwin), who are all grown up. Tim now has a family and is a stay-at-home dad; which is seen as nothing in comparison to his little brother Ted, who is a big-shot CEO. When they both end up drinking a serum that turns them into babies for 48 hours, they join forces with Baby Tina (Amy Sedaris) for one more mission with Baby Corp to stop an evil scientist from world domination.

The animation in The Boss Baby: Family Business is very high quality, which will impress audiences immediately. The babies and kids in the film don't look like real people, but they don't look like cartoons either. It's a perfect combination that fits each of the personalities, which are all different. When I hear Baby Tina and read her character description, she looks exactly like how I envisioned her. The addition of new characters in The Boss Baby: Family Business is an aspect that makes the plot more entertaining. For instance, Tim's daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) plays a huge role in this sequel. Tabitha is a very smart and down-to-earth young girl; however, her relationship with her father is becoming strained. It provides a new female character that kids can look up to; also creating a relatable storyline for fathers and daughters that may be trying to build a better relationship. The new characters are just really refreshing to see because they all bring something different to the film.

The message of The Boss Baby: Family Business is that you can always rely on family in the end. Although Ted and Tim grew apart as they got older, when they need each other most, they are able to work together and lean on each other.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is a movie that surpassed my expectations. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It's perfect for a family movie night. The Boss Baby: Family Business releases on digital August 31, 2021 and on DVD September 14, 2021.

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


LOST LEONARDO, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOST LEONARDO, THE
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - The Lost Leonardo is the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi's fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. As its price soars, so do the questions about its authenticity: is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci? Unravelling the hidden agendas of the richest men and the most powerful art institutions in the world, The Lost Leonardo reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lost Leonardo is an interesting documentary about a lost Leonardo DaVinci painting of Christ. Based on the title I expected to watch a story about a lost and found painting and where it is today. Instead, I discovered a documentary that taught me about the strength of one's beliefs, art restoration practices, economics, politics and possible fraud.

The Lost Leonardo begins with an art sleeper hunter (an art speculator who scours the market for undervalued art), Ben Lewis, finding a painting in New Orleans. Ben reaches out to his art world contacts, which eventually leads him to Dianne Mundi. Dianne Mundi is married to a well known art conservator and Dianne is known for her art restoration. Dianne restores the painting, and she begins to believe it is a lost original Leonardo DaVinci. A group of art experts meet at the National Museum and agree that the painting is authentic. What follows next is a convoluted story about the true nature of the painting and how people's beliefs about the painting allow it to be capitalized on and possibly politicalized more than once.

The film is filled with art experts, journalists and even federal agencies. The film catches your attention because it has multiple layers. For example, just when you think viewing the painting as either authentic or a good copy is problematic, other reasons for thinking one way or the other are shared. Because of the prestige of the individuals calling the painting a true DaVinci, it commands a high selling price. The film gives a lesson in how prices of items can be inflated. Also, how easy it is to hide one's money in art since the laws aren't as restrictive with art purchases as they are with other things. Last, it explores what a piece of lost art can mean to a person or a group of people, and possibly to a country and the cost they will pay to have it.

The message of the film is that people can convince themselves of anything, even if those beliefs come at a high cost. Throughout history various beliefs have kept people together and apart.

I give The Lost Leonardo 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The dialogue and themes are a bit much for younger kids to follow, but a teen might enjoy it with the company of adults that can explain certain terms used in the film. The film is available in select theaters now.

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

The Lost Leonardo recounts one of the most expansive and expensive stories the art world has ever seen. This documentary has a knack of looking at this painting's recent history from a different angle every 20 minutes or so, revealing a whole different facet of the fervor surrounding this single piece of art and how the conversation around it became about so much more than the painting itself.

This odyssey of art and commerce begins in a warehouse, where a painting called the Salvator Mundi from one of the masters of the field, Leonardo Da Vinci, was thought to have been lost to time and languishes before being discovered by two art dealers who look for paintings that are worth more than they seem. Little did they know, they just stumbled upon their greatest find in that respect. They purchased the painting for 10,000 dollars and had it restored, in hopes that the work was that of Da Vinci's. The restorer's work supported that conclusion and, with that, a whole new journey with it begins. It ends up selling for hundreds of millions of dollars after it travels the world and comes into contact with everyone from the general public, to art critics, to experts, to Russian billionaires, to wily art dealers and world leaders.

Director Andreas Koefoed seems to understand the potential of what he has at his fingertips here - betrayal, treachery, power, greed - it's a winning concoction. For all the goodwill it earns in the riveting way it unfolds, The Lost Leonardo lacks a stylistic backbone to hold the whole thing together. It relies heavily on one-on-one interviews with experts, critics, and those that played in Salvator Mundi's discovery, restoration and sale. Those interviews bear no intimacy to them, which works in giving objectivity to the events documented, but their implementation grows tiresome. Koefoed has little else up his sleeve to tell this story and, for one about art and one of the most prolific pieces in a long time the world over, that's more than disappointing. This film about Salvator Mundi lacks imagination and creativity and is quite staid, which distracts from the gold mine Keofoed has here. Mundi's story certainly is anything but boring; so it's unfortunate that it is told that way.

I give The Lost Leonardo 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Nothing in the movie is objectionable, beyond some nudity shown in the artwork. If you've got an interest in the business of art or the work of Da Vinci, this one's for you. But more than that, the directions this story takes are so unpredictable that I think it makes this documentary easy to recommend to anybody. The Lost Leonardo comes out in theaters August 27, 2021.< p> By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

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


SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, THE
DISCOVERY PLUS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Based on Amanda Ripley's New York Times bestseller, The Smartest Kids in the World, chronicles a year abroad with four American teenagers, who study in countries that dramatically outperform the United States in education. We travel with them as they adjust from their local high schools in Wyoming, Orlando, Maine and The Bronx to high schools in Finland, South Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands The film gives voice to students, hearing first-hand their discoveries and insight about how to reform U.S. high school education.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I thoroughly enjoyed The Smartest Kids in the World and highly recommend it for everyone, especially students. Documentaries don't usually interest me that much, but this movie, based on the New York Times bestseller by Amanda Ripley, captivated me with its themes and landscapes.

The Smartest Kids in the World is a full-length documentary directed by Tracy Droz Tragos following four different U.S. students (Simone, Jaxon, Brittany and Sadie) as they travel for a year to different countries as exchange students. It focuses on different methods used in each country that makes students perform higher on tests. We learn what we should be doing differently in the United States and what other countries are doing great in terms of education.

Along with a storyline that captivates you and shows that it's not always that easy to adapt to new places, this film, while showing the hard work of the students, also has many fun and relaxing parts that balance out the kids' time while abroad. There are lots of beautiful landscape shots and calm music. All of this adds to the peaceful feeling you get from the movie, even though school can sometimes be quite the opposite of that. I really enjoyed seeing all of the students' journeys and, although they aren't acting, their on-camera appearances show the insights they gain along with their stories, accomplishments and comparisons of life abroad to life at home. One thing that is lacking is that it falls short in giving specific ideas of how to improve U.S. education. It does show what our schools are doing wrong it only touches on how to improve education in our country.

The message in this film is that the U.S. is often thought of as a perfect country, but in lots of areas, including education, this is not true. The students in this film found that the schools in other countries actually offer a range of more challenging, hands on, more choice-driven, even less stressful education - all of which contribute to higher test scores, higher education levels and higher graduation rates. We would benefit from looking beyond our boundaries to see how we can improve our educational system.

I give The Smartest Kids in the World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming exclusively on Discovery+ August 19, 2021.

Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I enjoyed watching the film, The Smartest Kids In The World because it shows teenagers traveling to different colleges and high schools to figure out what education platform is better. Its view on education in the USA is a bit discouraging.

Inspired by the book by the same name, this documentary follows a group of teens that go to non-behavioral schools. Produced by award-winning filmmaker Tracy Droz Tragos, it follows four American teenagers that travel to four different countries for one school year in search of a better education for themselves.

We see how the kids have to learn new languages to get into these various schools and to make friends. All of their traveling about to find a better education is inspiring. I found it discouraging that the kids had to go outside the US in search of better schools when it seems that they should have been able to get good education in their own country. They traveled long distances and experienced many hardships in order to find a good school that would challenge their minds academically. We see that Pennsylvania schools don't offer the best educational experiences. One student, Tracy Droz Tragos expressed the difference between rich and poor schools. Some students attended school in Switzerland, others attended schools in South Korea and elsewhere. The main characters are both interesting and disappointing. They are taking their future into their own hands and charging out into the world. During their adventures they are learning from one another, which is inspiring. The film doesn't show us how change can happen in US schools, but it points out how desperately it is needed.

This film captures the integrity and bravery among these teens. Our younger generation needs to learn more about the difference between learning in the USA verses learning abroad. I rate The Smartest Kids In The World 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. It begins streaming exclusively on Discovery+ August 19, 2021.

By Rosabella P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

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


REMINISCENCE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REMINISCENCE
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae's disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy, and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Reminiscence is an overly long film with a lot of loose ends. The movie strives to be a romance and yet the love story is weak. While the film has some strong points, they're simply not strong enough to hold the film afloat.

The storyline follows Nick (Hugh Jackman), a man desperately in love with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). After she vanishes, Nick uses technology known as the Reminiscence, which lets users revisit memories that they've forgotten. Nick uses the memory technology to locate where and why Mae has left. Slowly the truth unravels only to reveal dirty secrets.

The movie definitely has its upsides. One of the film's strongest points is the friendship between Nick and officer Watts. The two go way back, and it's even confirmed by Watts that she's in love with Nick. Watts does everything possible to prevent Nick from burning a memory in his brain from using Reminiscence too often. However, they have a falling out and their argument is never really resolved, ending in an uncompleted arc. The whole world is flooded; it is unclear as to why. It appears as though there has been a war - one in which both Nick and Watts are veterans of. The war is only mentioned; it's never really addressed in depth, which leaves many loose ends. The war is the reason for the international flood and sinking of London, but there's no description or overview of the war. Throughout the film, there are glimpses of memories of Mae and Nick together. These memories end up being repeated over and over, which can't help but feel repetitive. Nick's love for Mae is supposed to feel unending, but it feels limited by these few memories.

The lesson Nick learns is to believe in love. He goes the distance to learn the truth about Mae, refusing to believe that their relationship was one-sided. He goes against his closest friend and hardcore evidence to find the truth, even subjecting himself to the Reminiscence forever.

I give Reminiscence 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18 plus adults. It is available on HBO Max August 20, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


NOTORIOUS NICK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NOTORIOUS NICK
GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Nick Newell, a one-armed MMA fighter gets a rare chance to fight for the lightweight championship. He strives to win for himself and all the other people in the world with physical challenges. The film is based on an inspiring true story of a young man who became known as "Notorious Nick." KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S., comments, "This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Notorious Nick will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering and screaming at the top of your lungs! This film delivers on all aspects; it leaves you teary-eyed and motivated to get out of your comfort zone. This is the perfect family film.

Notorious Nick tells the true story of Nick Newell (Cody Christian), who is a one-handed MMA fighter. Nick starts off as a wrestler and faces multiple challenges, but pulls through, becoming a world renowned MMA fighter, known as Notorious Nick. With the support of his family, best friend and coach, Nick proves that sky's the limit.

This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity. He holds his own against famous mixed martial artists. He also encourages a boy with a similar disability to change his attitude. He believes in himself, even when he is the only one who does. His mother is a great role model, inspiring other parents by always pushing Nick to succeed. The sheer determination between this mother and son duo empowers everyone. Nick learns how to fight inside the ring and out, even when he has to fight for his right to compete in the Light Weight Championships. He has to prove that - every competition where he has fought was legitimate, and he never backs down - determined to prove himself to the board and his opponent. Stay for the end credits for a chance to meet the real-life Notorious Nick and his coach. He talks about his journey and about how he's only just getting started.

The moral of this film is to never give up; fight for what you believe in; and believe in yourself. Nick always fights against bullies, discrimination, opponents and negativity. With his disability, he learns to compete in the ring, to be considered just as great as his competition. He proves himself worthy to everyone and to himself. Be forewarned that there is profanity and depictions of alcohol use.

I give Notorious Nick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters August 6, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 15-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT: SEASON 2
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DIARY OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT: SEASON 2
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - The second season of Diary of a Future President returns to Disney+ with all ten episodes available for binge-worthy streaming. Continuing the origin story of Cuban American and future leader Elena Ca�ero-Reed as she enters the seventh grade and recounted through excerpts from 13-year-old Elena's diary, this coming-of-age series follows Elena through the ups and downs of middle school which sets her on the path to becoming the President of the United States.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 is very different from other Disney Channel shows. It has a very inspiring message which makes it a show that I would want to keep watching to find out what happens next.

The storyline follows young Elena (Tess Romero) finding her way through middle school as she starts 7th grade and begins a journey to becoming the president. Her brother Bobby (Charlie Bushnell) is having some problems with starting high school and managing his crush. Their mother Gabi (Selenis Levya) is dating Sam Faber (Micheal Weaver) and has just decided to have him move in. All in all, there is lots of fun new changes in the second season.

Season 2 has lots of fun things to talk about. First is the theme song at the beginning of every episode. I love the way it starts as her middle school diary and ends as the president's book. It kind of shows her journey. Second, there are lots of relatable new things in this season, such as having a crush that doesn't feel the same way you do and having your friend get a girl or boy friend and not having time for you. Third, there are lots of cool sets such as Elena's bedroom. The way that the bathroom is in between Bobby and Elena's room is so cool. One of the sets is at the school and added this season is a theater which is a fun set. Fourth, this show uses lots of fun camera angles to enhance the viewing experience. Last, this show and its cast have been nominated for five different awards in 2020 and 2021. Most notable is winning a Gracie Allen Award for Best Actress in a supporting Role to Selenis Layva.

The message of this TV show is to always include others, be yourself even when that is hard, and always be honest.

Diary Of A Future President: Season 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This premieres August 18, 2021 on Disney+. So be sure to check it out.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: FANTASTICK ADVENTURES
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: FANTASTICK ADVENTURES
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-6
Description - Once upon a time, there was... Charlie! A friend like no other! Charlie is YOUR silly, creative playmate and best friend. He is SOOOOO excited to take YOU on adventures with him. Charlie created Colorforms City out of his imagination so that he can tell the best stories possible... like a knight trying to save a balloon, adventuring to the other end of the rainbow, or Charlie's epic quest to solve a mystery. Come along with Charlie and his friends as they solve problems using creativity, ingenuity, and the shapes Charlie sees all around him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures Charlie and his friends create stories and imagine doing different things around their city such as being a mechanic and solving mysteries. Charlie invites the audience to use their imagination to create the story along the way. This DVD is educational and promotes problem-solving while simultaneously teaching children about shapes and colors.

I find this show appealing as an adult, because even though the questions Charlie prompts the audience with are simple, it is still fun to participate in an interactive show. I think children will enjoy this show because they will feel immersed creating the story along with Charlie. The city where Charlie lives is funky and vibrant, which will keep the children engaged and interested.

The episodes are easy to follow. Each one begins with Charlie introducing the audience, followed by the main theme song. After that, Charlie invites the audience to join him in creating a story. Usually throughout, Charlie asks the audience to create something with him to help fix a problem that arises in the story. In the end, all the loose ends are tied up perfectly and Charlie proposes that the audience continue the story on their own. The characters, especially Charlie, are very likable. We are inclined to relate to Charlie and feel empathy towards him. The vocabulary is very suitable for the intended age group. The concepts are also easy to follow. For example, when Charlie talks about shapes, it is not expected that children know what each shape is. Charlie prompts the audience by asking what is the best shape to create a particular animal and then explains why or why not each shape would or wouldn't work. It also teaches children what colors are associated with what feeling. For example, when Charlie says "paint me blue" and is sad, the viewer understands that blue is often associated with feeling gloomy. The visual quality is very inviting and cheerful. The DVD allows one to access specific episodes they want to watch. It also is equipped with subtitles, but I only saw them available in English. The most important benefit of the show is giving children the confidence to make their own decisions and use their imagination to help create their own story. Charlie's Colorforms City does allow for children to problem-solve when they need to use their imagination to create the remainder of the story.

I give Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures 5 out of 5 stars because it encourages children to use their imagination, is interactive and visually appealing. It is significant that children continue to use their imagination and Charlie promotes just that. In each episode, Charlie asks the audience to create something with him to help fix a problem that arises in the story. In the end, even though all the loose ends are tied up, Charlie proposes that the audience continue the story on their own. This further encourages the children to think on their own. The vibrancy of the series will easily draw children in, as well as all the funky shapes of the city. The main takeaway for both children and adult viewers is to remind them that they have the power to tell and create their own story. I recommend it for ages 4 to 10, plus adults.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for a colorful, playful and interactive adventure that's both fun and educational for the whole family? Then you've got to watch the amazing Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures. In this educational animated series, you'll be inspired to create colorful and magical stories, while developing your critical thinking skills. So, buckle up and get ready for new and exciting adventures that are better than ever!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is all about exploring Colorforms City with Charlie and his two best friends, Red and Violet. In this series, you go on eight whimsical, interactive, storytelling adventures in Colorforms City while learning about different colors, shapes and sizes. Every story Charlie and his friends create is an adventure, so you never know what's coming next because Charlie is always shaking things up! Whether Charlie's a mechanic or a chef - you're in for a real treat.

This cast is filled with so many talented actors throughout the series. Jacob Soley plays Charlie, your creative, fun companion. He connects with his character in such a way that you all will be best friends instantly. Tyler Barish plays one of Charlie's best friends, Red. He is engaging and really connects with his character. Saara Chaudry plays Violet who delivers a dynamic performance. She is my favorite character because she always looks on the bright side of things. My favorite episode is "Mystery Charlie" because someone is stealing all the color from Colorforms City! Charlie and his friends have to work together using their problem solving and critical thinking skills to solve the mystery and save the day. Oh! And I just love the animation and music. The theme song is so catchy! When you hear it you can't help but jump to your feet and dance.

The intent of this DVD is to motivate kids to learn more about colors, shapes and sizes. With Charlie's imagination leading the way, you'll be inspired to create colorful and magical stories, while developing your problem solving skills. Charlie also teaches friendship skills such as being kind, respectful, supportive and being an active listener.

I highly recommend Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is available now so, jump to it because you've got a great story to create!

By Ella M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is a new DVD where we get to revisit our good friend Charlie who is back and more creative than ever. With new stories and new adventures, young kids will feel like they are a part of the journey too!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is about a young boy named Charlie (Jacob Soley) who loves to go on adventures and create stories. He lives in a very vibrant and fun place called Colorforms City, where everyone is friendly and works together. In this DVD, Charlie does things he's never done before, like becoming a cowboy and having his own restaurant. Kids will learn so much as they join Charlie on his colorful journeys!

Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures is a show that will teach kids valuable lessons. I've seen previous episodes of Charlie's Colorforms City, but this new DVD has a uniqueness of its own. The main thing that sets this DVD from previous ones is the new storylines. We all know that Charlie is very fond of stories and in the episode "Sick Charlie" we see a plethora of stories in a short amount of time. That's because Charlie has a case of "story sneezing." Yup, that means every time Charlie sneezes, he is transported into another story. This is something Charlie has never experienced before, which can be a welcome adventure for fans of the show. It definitely shows off his out-of-this-world imagination. Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventure is geared towards younger audiences. Kids who are just starting school may even be watching this show, which is perfect if they want to have more practice learning about shapes, colors and using their minds to entertain themselves. Because the characters and the objects are two-dimensional, it's simpler for young kids to understand. Audiences will never be overwhelmed when watching this DVD; they'll only want more.

The message of this show is that you don't have to wait to be creative. You can be creative anytime, anyplace. No matter where Charlie is, he's thinking ingeniously and wondering what he can do next. This is very family-friendly and is perfect for parents to watch together with their young children.

I rate Charlie's Colorforms City: Fantastick Adventures 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. The DVD is available now, so make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-6
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


FREE GUY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FREE GUY
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 - When a bank teller discovers he's actually a background player in an open-world video game, he decides to become the hero of his own story -- one that he can rewrite himself. In a world where there's no limits, he's determined to save the day his way before it's too late, and maybe find a little romance with the coder who conceived him. Free Guy is a 2021 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn and a story by Lieberman. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he is actually a non-player character in an open-world video game and decides to become the hero of the story and save his friends from getting deleted by the game's creator (Taika Waititi); Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Joe Keery also star.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The hilarious film, Free Guy, written by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, might fool you into thinking it is a comedy, but in the end, has a touching moral behind all of the laughs. What makes us human? Our physical bodies or the way we learn and love? By the end of the film, we all come to the same conclusion. In the meantime, the story will keep you at the edge of your seat and sometimes bent over with laughter.

Free Guy follows a protagonist named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an optimist and great friend who brings cheer to Free City. When Guy meets Molotov Girl (Jodie Corner) his whole world changes and he begins to question his daily routines and expectations. He realizes that he can be so much more. At the same time, the world is about to get in Guy's way. Outside of Free City, there is a battle ongoing between the company Soonami and game designers MIllie (Jodie Corner) and Keys (Joe Keery) to win back their game. What will Guy do when he realizes there is a threat to Free City? Will he take charge?

This film is full of star power. Ryan Reynolds plays Guy with the perfect mix of hilarity and emotions. He is easy to root for. Jodie Comer who plays both Molotov Girl and Millie and Joe Keerey as Keys make the perfect team to battle against Antoine (Taika Waititi). They are smart and creative and beautifully emotive. The special effects and CGI in this film are incredible. They are absolutely essential to the storytelling and are executed flawlessly by a massive team of artists. Each costume is unique and elevates every character. All of the bad guys/sunglass people have colorful and intricate skins that make them look strong and scary. The visuals and story are tied together with music that ranges from energizing to emotional, at times even creating intense suspense. There is a mix of well-known rap/hip-hop songs and newly composed music. During the big finale, the booming high intensity music makes my heart race.

The message of this film is that our life is defined by our relationships and the small moments that we spend creating them. We choose our path in life and no one can decide what it is except for us. As Guy's best friend Buddy says, "Even if I am not real, this moment is real." By choosing to be connected to those around us, we are living. The film does have a lot of violence including robberies, guns, bombs and explosions, but it's in a video game style. There is some mild profanity. It is not likely that kids would imitate the violent behavior due to the gaming quality of the behavior.

I give Free Guy 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a moving and hilarious film. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This is a great movie with families with older children. This film opens in theaters August 13, 2021.

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

Free Guy is a movie with a very interesting concept and actors that execute it perfectly. The movie is humorous and had me and the people I was with, laughing the entire time. But, once you get to the bottom of it, you'll realize there's a lot more to Free Guy than the humor.

Free Guy is about a video game character named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who discovers that he's just a background player in a game called Free City. When he finds a pair of sunglasses that changes his status in the game, he becomes all anyone can talk about. Even Millie (Jolie Comer), also known as Molotov Girl in Free City, is starting to fall for him. With all the fuss about Guy, Keys (Joe Keery) and Millie realize they can use him to their advantage to expose Antoine (Taika Waititi). However, since their secret is hidden within the game, they are going to need a little help.

Free Guy has a lot of star power, which is one factor that will attract a lot of people. Many celebrities with very big fan bases make cameo appearances in this film. Towards the end of the film, Free Guy takes another opportunity to appeal to different audiences. For example, in the final battle scene, Guy uses different weapons that crossover with franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars. The characters in Free Guy are likeable and some are also relatable. My favorite character is Antoine. He is a lot funnier than most antagonists and he is the character that actually lightens the mood of the film. The way he banters with people and bosses everyone around makes him a character you want more from. The special effects in Free Guy are also a prominent component of the film. Free City is a game that was redesigned by Antoine to be repetitive, with a lot of damage taking place in everyday life. Every day there is another car being blown up, or a bank being robbed. Most of the time, it's both. So, major props to everyone in special effects, because it must have taken a lot of effort and time to make it look so realistic.

The message of Free Guy is that you need to make sure you enjoy the simple things in life. For a regular person, life can be pretty repetitive if you let it. So when you do something out of the ordinary, make sure you recognize and appreciate it. Free Guy executes the double meaning subtly through the characters and their actions, which is very clever. This movie does include heavy use of profanity, which sometimes can be gratuitous, so parents should be aware of that.

Free Guy is a unique film that will appeal to a lot of people, especially gamers. I rate Free Guy 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Free Guy releases in theatres August 13, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Be the main character of your story and head to your local theater to see the new hit action-comedy of the year, Free Guy! Free Guy flies in with a boatload of action and hilarious surprises that will leave you speechless. The film makes the plot understandable to a wide variety of ages, because typically, the world of video games is mainly understood by teenagers. Although the film is live-action, a mix of video game graphic design is integrated to really bring the concept of the story to life.

Free Guy takes place in a video game called Free City. Within Free City, players can do practically whatever they want. Similar to real life, nobody ever thinks about the background characters. This is where the audience is introduced to our main character Guy (Ryan Reynolds). Guy is an NPC (non-player character) with the same routine and mannerisms every single day. One day, he decides to step out of the background to be his own person. When he learns his world is coming to an end, he must fight in desperation of love to save the reality he knows.

Ryan Reynolds is historically known for bringing various silly characters to life with his iconic comedic energy - a snail that wants to be fast, a caveman who wants to be revolutionary, or even a plain superhero that loves chimichangas. Ryan does it once again with his role in Free Guy. His childlike wonder soars in the film not only making you laugh hysterically, but keeping you intrigued the entire ride. In a film that takes place mainly in a video game, of course you need to make it look realistic. The visual effects department delivers a polished CGI that correctly captures the essence of modern day video games. Free Guy is no doubt one of the greatest films to correctly capture the world of digital gaming. Ryan Reynolds is the perfect lead to not only make you cry with laughter, but also immerse the audience in a world that you can't get enough of.

Free Guy has an extremely straightforward message that applies to everyone - be the main character of your story. Step out of the background, don't let anyone control you, because this isn't their story, it's yours. Since we are dealing with a video game where you can do anything you want, you can definitely guess that violence and cursing frequently occur during the movie. The film also includes themes of friendship, love and courage.

I give Free Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. You can find Free Guy at your local theater on August 13, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


RESPECT
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RESPECT
MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 13-18
Description - Following the rise of Aretha Franklin's career from a young child singing in her father's church's choir to her international superstardom, "Respect" is the remarkable true story of the music icon's journey to find her voice and become the Queen of Soul.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin's songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.

Respect tells the story about how Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) got her start by singing in her father's, C.L. Franklin's (Forest Whitaker) choir and weekend parties, to becoming one of the most iconic voices in music history. Along the way, we learn about the trials and tribulations Ms. Franklin had to overcome to become "Aretha" - the woman, artist and icon. Hudson delivers Ms. Franklin's story in a way that allows you to connect on so many levels to Franklin's life experiences.

Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson really stays true to her own acting and singing talents in this film and proves just why Ms. Franklin handpicked Hudson to tell her story! I love how Ms. Hudson does not try to overact to portray Aretha Franklin or mimic her voice, which surprisingly really works out well. My favorite part is when young Aretha and her mother, Barbara Franklin (Audra McDonald), are talking and playing the piano together and actually singing their conversation. It is very touching. Of course, the music in the film is spot on, since most of it is Aretha Franklin's. The costumes are incredible and very fashionable. Hudson's gowns were truly fit for a Queen. The film uses different cinematographic color techniques to represent different time periods, which make you feel as if you are watching actual footage of Aretha Franklin in her time verses Jennifer Hudson playing her in present day.

The message of this film is you have to own your voice. Don't let others determine how you follow your dreams, what they should look like or what they should be. Ms. Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn't until she started listening to herself and demanding respect, that she started making hit records. It was only then that she was able to become The Queen of Soul. Parents should be aware that there are scenes with drinking, violence and suggestive behavior.

Respect is a must-see film filled with inspiration and women empowerment. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find Respect in theaters August 13, 2021.

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


VIVO
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
VIVO
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - Vivo follows a one-of-kind kinkajou (aka a rainforest "honey bear") who spends his days playing music to the crowds in a lively square with his beloved owner Andr�s. Though they may not speak the same language, Vivo and Andr�s are the perfect duo through their common love of music. But when tragedy strikes shortly after Andr�s receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval, inviting her old partner to her farewell concert with the hope of reconnecting, it's up to Vivo to deliver a message that Andr�s never could: A love letter to Marta, written long ago, in the form of a song. Yet in order to get to Marta, who lives a world apart, Vivo will need the help of Gabi - an energetic tween who bounces to the beat of her own offbeat drum to fulfill his owner's wishes.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Vivo is an awesome film to watch. It showcases the love between animals and humans, as well as their love for music. There are great messages; the concept of the movie is entertaining; and every song is fun to listen to. You will be tapping your feet to the beat as you follow this film's adventures.

Vivo is about a kinkajou named Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda) who lives with his friend Andr�s (Juan de Marcos Gonz�lez) in Cuba. Andr�s and Vivo can't directly talk to each other, because one is human and the other is an animal; but, when they sing together they connect. Vivo soon learns that when Andr�s was younger, he had a love interest named Marta (Gloria Estefan). Unfortunately, when Andr�s was going to tell her how he felt, she got an opportunity to follow her dream as a singer and he didn't want to interfere with her decision. He wrote her a song and didn't get to give it to her, so now Vivo is determined to give it to Marta before it's too late.

The songs in Vivo are fun and made me want to listen to them over and over again. My favorite song is "My Own Drum" performed by Gabi (Ynairaly Simo) because it is upbeat and describes how Gabi feels. I like how the writers, Quiara Alegria Hudes and Kirk DeMicco portray Vivo's character development. In the beginning of the film Vivo doesn't want to go to Miami for Marta, but when he realizes how much it means to Andr�s and remembers all the things Andr�s has done for him, he has a change of heart. My favorite character is Vivo because he is loving and daring. Vivo looks out for Andr�s and takes care of him and does anything he can to help him. He travels all the way from Cuba to Miami and overcomes many challenging obstacles along the way.

The message of Vivo is that, even when times are tough, you have to have hope and do what is best. This film is completely family-friendly.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Vivo on Netflix beginning August 6, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

As its name suggests, Vivo is a vivid animated film full of life, color, music and emotion. Directed by Kirk DeMicco and Brandon Jeffords, Vivo is the first-ever musical for Sony with a Latino theme, and the story is certainly very relevant and aims to be significant for the Latino community. Vivo features all-new songs written and performed by Lin-Manuel Miranda which are powerful, emotive and contribute nicely to the storytelling.

Vivo is about the way we connect with others through music. In a very old-fashioned Cuba, a kinkajou named Vivo is voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A kinkajou is a mammal that looks like a monkey but is a rainforest "honey bear." Vivo and his owner Andr�s enjoy making music and performing together. When Andr�s receives an invitation from his friend, famous singer Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), to attend her farewell show in Miami, Vivo is in charge to deliver the message to reconnect their friendship.

Vivo connects with our inner and pure childhood emotions and the characters in this story are lovable and relatable. For example, with the help of a young girl, Gabi, our protagonist Vivo is able to make the journey to Miami. Gabi, an aspiring musician, is a girl with talent and ambition, but rebellious and spontaneous. Gabi is a very special character representing the effervescent tween years where not everything fits in the molds of society. The animation in Vivo is gorgeous: the characters are colorful and vibrant. The attention to detail in the architecture and landscapes of Cuba is breathtaking. The presence of nature is also key to the story. As Vivo and Gaby navigate their way to Miami, they travel through the Everglades and encounter the wildlife at its fullest.

Vivo demonstrates a nice balance between traditions and everyday life and new adventures and discovering life out of our boundaries. Another great success is how the film resonates with a multigenerational audience, connecting youngsters and older members of the family effectively making it a perfect experience that unites the whole family. Vivo shows us the power of music in making connections between us and how music helps us to achieve goals.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for all 8 to 18, plus adults. Vivo opens in theaters and Netflix on August 6, 2021.

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

Vivo it is a heartwarming movie that has happy moments, funny moments and tragedy. I like the storyline, the graphics and the catchy songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Vivo is a computer animated film about a kinkajou monkey played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who knows how to play instruments and performs at one of the Habana's plazas (Cuba) with his master, Andres Hernandez, an old musician. Andres (Juan De Marcos) had a female singing partner once, Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), who he was in love with, but she moved to Miami, Florida, to become a star. Marta is performing one last time, because she is retiring. So she invites Andres to perform with her for the last time as a duo. Marta doesn't know Andres is in love with her and that Andres wrote her a song when she left Cuba. Tragedy happens and it is upon Vivo to deliver the news and the song to Marta

This movie has beautiful computer animated scenes. The backgrounds simulate the city of Habana in Cuba, Key West and the Florida Everglades. The scenes are very colorful and bright. The songs are very catchy and appealing. Besides being the main character's voice, Lin-Manuel Miranda also wrote 11 songs for this film. He offered Cuban legend Gloria Estefan a part in this movie and she had the opportunity to create her character, which is a mix of Celia Cruz, another Cuban legend, and Mrs. Estefan's mother, who she describes as a diva. This film has a stellar cast including Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Rosa, Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) as the snake Lutador and Leslie David Baker (The Office).

The story reminds us to always express your love to the person you love, because it might become too late to do it. Always open your heart to the person you love; let them know your feelings before it is too late. My favorite part is when Vivo delivers the letter to Marta. It provided closure for his beloved partner, Andres.

I give Vivo 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This film is also a great asset for the Cuban community, especially now during Cuba's troubling times. Vivo is in theaters now and begins streaming on Netflix on August 6, 2021.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


QUEEN OF THE BEACH
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
QUEEN OF THE BEACH
UNDER THE MILKY WAY Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - While on vacation in Goa, India, Canadian filmmaker Chris McDonell turns his camera on Shilpa Poojar, a 9-year-old beach hawker hustling tourists to buy clothes and jewelry from her seaside shop. Funny, charming and skilled beyond her years, she is a migrant worker from the unique Banjara people and the primary breadwinner for her family. Forging a connection in this chance encounter, Chris returns 3 times over the next 7 years to capture Shilpa's story of sacrifice and survival and help her achieve her childhood dream of going to school - a relentless effort that will test them both along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A gritty, honest portrayal of a child laborer's life and her journey to achieve her dreams, Queen of the Beach is a touching documentary film highlighting a global issue in an emotionally-sensitive, thorough, and unique way.

Christopher McDonell is a Canadian filmmaker on a month-long project in India, following some missionaries from his church on their trip. He makes a quick stop at Anjuna Beach in Goa, where he meets nine-year-old Shilpa, a child laborer who is the sole breadwinner in her family. Tenacious and witty, Shilpa instantly forms a bond with McDonell and he returns three times over the next seven years as Shilpa's "brother," visiting her village and learning more about her tribe, the Banjaras', way of life. He makes it his mission to help Shilpa realize her childhood dream of attending school in her small village in Karnataka; over the course of the film, both Shilpa and Chris must overcome several obstacles to reach this goal.

This is one of the most engaging documentaries that I've come across; Shilpa and her friends are vibrant, sweet individuals with layered personalities. Her smile lights up the screen and there's never a dull moment; McDonell's sprightly narration ensures that the pace of the film never drops even when they face some dead-end challenges. Since McDonell poses deep, personal, and tough questions to Shilpa, her friends, and her family, viewers come away from the film feeling like they really know her and her world. Even though the film was shot over the course of seven years, footage taken in 2009 does not feel drastically different from footage taken in 2015; the production quality of this documentary is spectacular throughout the 100 minute duration.

Queen of the Beach is all about making your dreams come true and never giving up even when life throws you a curveball. One thing to watch out for in the film: some mentions of pedophilic activity that occur on the beach at night, and McDonell catches some of this on film. Thematically, this film is for teenage audiences and older as it deals with child labor.

I give Queen of the Beach 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Queen of the Beach premieres August 15 (Indian Independence Day) both on digital and on demand from Under the Milky Way Productions.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


JUNGLE CRUISE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUNGLE CRUISE
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE, a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank's questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila--his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities--possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate--and mankind's--hangs in the balance.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Take a trip to the Amazon Rainforest in Disney's new, beautifully produced film Jungle Cruise. Starring such talented actors as Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall, the film is inspired by the famous theme park ride and liberally incorporates details from it as well, like the boat captain's terrible puns and a reference to the "back side of water." It's a great family film!

Set in 1916, Jungle Cruise opens in London, during a meeting of scientists. McGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) is presenting to the crowd as his sister, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), goes about her mission to collect a precious artifact from the archives. She ropes her brother, a rare gay character in the Disney universe, into the adventure she's been chasing since her childhood, determined to journey into the Amazon to an area called L�grimas de Cristal and find a magical healing tree called the Tears of the Moon. Lily hates the rough-around-the-edges, scam artist Frank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) as soon as she sees him, but she grudgingly agrees to employ him as their skipper down the Amazon, with the conniving German aristocrat Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) nipping at their heels. Many adventures follow and the characters, as different as they may seem, grow close as a chosen family. There's also a pretty unusual supernatural backstory.

As with any Disney film, the production quality of Jungle Cruise is incredibly high; each and every small detail in regards to the graphics and overall look of the film has been addressed thoroughly. This film's previously-mentioned punchy one-liners delivered by Dwayne Johnson allude to this film's origins in the theme park ride. The Rock undoubtedly, unquestionably puts on the best performance of the film, and his chemistry with Emily Blunt's character is what truly carries the film through some slow moments when the script seems to lose purpose. Viewers begin to forget the overall goal of the mission as plots and relationships mix. However, this problem only shows up in the last third of the film. Another major star in the film is Jack Whitehall. His character is especially significant given that it's one of the few instances where you can see an LGBTQ+ character on screen, and his struggles coming out in a rigid, heteronormative society are beautifully represented in a heart-to-heart with Frank. In summary, the cast and production quality take this film to a new level, while the script tends to bog it down.

Jungle Cruise promotes teamwork, grit, the victory of good over evil, and, my favorite message, that no matter how different we are, there's always something we can unite over. We're always stronger together.

I give Jungle Cruise 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Jungle Cruise premieres on July 30, 2021, in US theaters and for a fee on Disney+.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I love how the Jungle Cruise makes the magic of the riverboat attraction from Disneyworld come alive. The humor and adventurous nature of the movie held my attention throughout the film. Movies with bold and funny female leads have always been my favorite.

In the Jungle Cruise, Lilly Houghton (Emily Blunt) searches for an Amazon legend called the Moon's Tears. Her goal is to find the legend in order to advance modern medicine. Lilly's fearlessness takes her to the Amazon River, where she meets and hires the comical skipper, Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), to take her on her quest. They soon realize that they are not alone in their pursuit of the Tears. Together they face the dangers of the Amazon River and encounter the supernatural.

The academic world did not support Lilly's pursuit of the Moon's Tears and she could not find funding or support. Her perseverance leads her on an adventure that she never envisioned. Although her strong willpower may be challenging to handle, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) and Frank accept her for whom she is. We also learn that Lilly's brother rejected the calling of many females because he had other interests, and Lilly was the only person who embraced him for being himself. I applaud director Jaume Collet-Serra for creating a high-energy, action-adventure film with a fun twist. The talented cast with Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Whitehall are all superb. The music by James Newton Howard helps brings accentuate the action of the film. The Amazon River scenes and supernatural characters are very realistic looking, thanks to the camera work by Flavio Martinez Labiano and art direction by David Lazan.

The messages of this film are about determination and acceptance.

I give Jungle Cruise 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Jungle Cruise premieres in theaters and on Disney+ July 30, 2021.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


JOEY AND ELLA
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JOEY AND ELLA
GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - A mysterious diamond causes a baby kangaroo named Joey to grow quickly and gain the power of speech. When two bumbling thieves try to retrieve the magical gem, a teen and her new boyfriend try to get Joey to safety before it's too late.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Joey and Ella! It is an adventurous comedy that is perfect for the whole family. This movie has it all - boy meets girl, girl likes boy, a mysterious jewel heist, an adorable kangaroo and a reminder of the importance of protecting our planet. So, buckle up and get ready for an action packed, fun filled family adventure that will inspire you.

This modern-day movie opens with two criminals stealing and then losing the Mazinski Diamond, which is a rare alien diamond. This unique gem is unknowingly swiped by a baby kangaroo from a traveling circus. Ella, a young girl who just moved to her grandfather's countryside house, discovers a cute kangaroo, Joey, hiding out in her grandfather's barn. Quickly, Ella discovers that the Mazinski diamond is not only rare, but magical. The diamond's magic allows Joey to grow rapidly and gives him the amazing power to speak! Word gets out that Joey has the Mazinski Diamond and soon everyone is on the chase for this special kangaroo. Ella and her new friend from school, Luke, have to work together to save Joey.

This cast is filled with many talented actors - Jennifer Michele (Ella), Angela Tran (Joey) and Jude Manley (Luke). Each one really connects with their character and delivers strong performances throughout the movie. My favorite part is when Joey and Ella meet for the first time in the barn, because it is such a heartwarming and sweet moment. You can really feel the bond between the two of them. And, I absolutely love the animation for Joey. It is so realistic. You think that he is a real kangaroo throughout the movie.

The intent of this film is to spread awareness about the effects of climate change and encourage us to work together in our communities to protect our planet. Climate change has negatively impacted Australia where there are many wildfires and droughts that put the kangaroo population at risk. This movie inspires us all to help keep our environment and animals safe by playing an active role.

I recommend Joey and Ella for ages 7 to 18. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It releases on DVD and Digital July 27, 2021. So, hop to it! This is a movie you don't want to miss. ELLA OUT!

By Ella M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Runtime: 89 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: Video and DVD


SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS
PARAMOUNT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - An ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage welcomes tenacious loner Snake Eyes after he saves the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach him the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing him something he's been longing for: a home. However, when secrets from Snake Eyes' past are revealed, his honor and allegiance get tested -- even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Snake Eyes: G. I. Origins is the thrilling adventure of a lifetime and the perfect origin story to such a beloved character. With motorcycles, swords and a mystical gem - you will be a part of an incredible mission.

The movie is a spin-off around the character of Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). Holding onto the trauma of his father being murdered, Snake Eyes is on the hunt for his father's killer. He trains with the Arashikage clan to become a top ninja. Meanwhile, he makes a deal with some unlikely allies to find his dad's murderer.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an action-packed movie and is not to be missed. The fight scenes are incredibly filmed, using long one-take shots to capture the film's actors fighting with swords. The cinematography is iconic, with some night scenes shot with bright neon lights and others with a calming, peaceful, bright light. It's so cool to watch modern-day ninjas on motorcycles fighting one another on the streets. This film is perfect for fans all around the world that enjoy amazing battle sequences, especially for G.I. Joe fans. Familiar faces are shown like the Baroness and Kenta. We also see a teaser for Snake Eyes' most popular villain, which leaves the movie open for a very exciting sequel. The film is a wonderful origin story, telling the tale of Snake Eyes, showing just how he became affiliated with the Joes and where he's off to next, while sprinkling in some major plot twists.

The moral of the story is to trust yourself and always do the right thing. Many times Snake Eyes is tempted to kill his father's killer and throughout the film he learns the meaning of honor - to others and yourself - and makes a surprising choice. He also learns how to find inner peace with many of the things he's done and moves on to the next chapter of his life.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters July 23, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I like Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins because it has a lot of action. I enjoy watching extreme martial art fight scenes. I like the cool Snake Eyes armor and helmet.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an origin story for the classic animated series, G.I. Joe. Snake Eyes (Henry Golden) is one of the agents that worked for G.I. Joe, otherwise known as Government Issued Joe. He is known for having the arch nemesis Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji). Throughout the movie we see why these two iconic characters have a sworn hatred for each other. Snake Eyes travels to Japan to join a clan that teaches him how to be a ninja warrior. This Japanese clan provides him a home and a family - two things Snake Eyes was longing for. After he learns the Japanese clan's past and his loyalty is tested, is when the fun and extreme action begins.

My favorite part is when Snake Eyes does the second challenge, because of the special effects. The graphics and digital effects are very good. The snakes look so real. The CGI effects of Snake Eyes' outfit are amazing. The costumes are very accurate in terms of showing where the characters are from. The character's outfits are very traditional Japanese clothing, but nothing can top the infamous Snake Eyes costume. The film incorporates subtitles whenever characters speak in Japanese. The subtitles are made to seem like words from a comic book, which is a clever callback to the animated series. The music is really upbeat when there is a lot of action and works for those scenes exceptionally well. Some very talented actors appear in this film, such as one of my favorite actresses from Money Heist, Ursula Corbero who plays Baroness and Samara Weaving who plays Scarlett, also Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.

The moral of this movie is to have a pure heart. Snake Eyes struggles with opening his heart to people. However when he becomes an honest man and pours his heart out, it actually saves his life. Being loyal and having honor is what makes you pure of heart. You should know that there is a lot of violence and strong language, however there isn't any gore, blood or seeing the characters getting injured.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins opens in theatres July 23, 2021.

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

When you're looking for an action movie, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is the one. It's another good, typical Marvel superhero-action film that doesn't fail to impress you with its intensity and execution.

Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) wants nothing more than to take revenge on the man that killed his father. After a desperate search to find him, he eventually gives up and ends up taking his anger out on others in fistfights. One day, Snake Eyes is met with a man named Kenta (Takehiro Hira) who claims he has the location of his father's killer. They make a deal - the killer's location for a jewel that holds the power of the sun.

Out of all aspects, the graphics exceeded my expectations the most. In one scene, multiple cobra-type gigantic snakes are circling. I wonder if I am the only one that finds this ironic. Honestly, I nearly screamed when the first snake came out with a bang. I thought it was coming at me and was glad this film isn't in 3D! The vivid and exceptional graphics are a major plus for this film. As to the acting, while Henry Golding delivers a strong performance when it comes to action, but it lacks emotion for someone avenging his father's death. Snake Eyes is a very complex character - experiencing desperation, disappointment, hope and many other emotions. However, the character development was a bit confusing at a few points. While there is a scene explaining exactly what happened to him on the night of his father's death, there are bits of background information not shown, leading to a bit of uncertainty in a few places. There are a few sudden changes of events which are unexplained and leave the audience wondering why or how they happened. Because this is primarily an action movie, those aspects do not play a huge part in the viewer's experience and most audiences will see this film for its excitement and thrill.

The message I took away from this is the portrayal of bravery and perseverance. Though the film keeps its profanity and violence under the bar to keep it PG-13, there is one fight scene at the beginning that is pretty brutal and may be uncomfortable for younger kids. There is also some mild profanity that parents should be aware of.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters July 23, 2021.

By Apurva S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


AILEY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AILEY
NEON Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An immersive portrait of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, told through his own words and a new dance inspired by his life.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Ailey opens with a moving speech by American actress Cicely Tyson honoring Alvin Ailey for his lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts. Ms. Tyson's speech sets the tone for the film as she states that he is a "choreographer of the heart" and has the "very spirit that has made him a pied piper of modern dance." Through dance he "reveals the meaning of things" and has brought a "whole new public to modern dance."

Ailey is a tribute to Alvin Ailey's life and work and shows his humble beginnings in a rural area of Texas during the Great Depression. His relationship with his mother and his childhood history impacted his outlook and expression in dance as he grew up dancing at house parties in his community. However, Alvin was a rebel and had his own ideas about movement and dance. As a choreographer he sought to create movement in the search for truth.

The film interweaves archival footage with interviews from Ailey American Dance Theatre members sharing their experiences at the dance company and Alvin's impact on dancing through his reenactment of life. Beautiful movement, agility and sensuality are shown throughout the various dance pieces, exploring the search for emotion by dancing with passion, joy and anger, as well as sorrow.

Director Jamila Wignot weaves everything together and highlights how Alvin Ailey's life experiences influenced his choreography and programs. The documentary wouldn't be complete without the amazing work of archival producer Rebecca Kent and her team, as the footage really brings his life story together.

The message of this film is that innovation and passion can affect change and raise peoples' consciousness. The movie, as well as Alvin Ailey's dancing, is a celebration of life.

I give Ailey 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters July 23, 2021 and if you appreciate dance and body movement you won't want to miss Ailey.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The documentary Ailey redefines the meaning of contemporary dance and the unconventional form created by choreographer Alvin Ailey.

Ailey is a documentary about the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey, known for creating contemporary dance arrangements such as Revelations and The River. With his own narration and testimonials from people who knew him, we learn who he was, what he went through and how he interpreted his life into dances that later became world renowned.

Out of many dance genres, modern dance used to be my least favorite. I found it odd and confusing. That is until I watched the film Ailey. Director Jamlia Wignot takes the documentary into a learning experience not only about Alvin Ailey, but also about the true meaning of interpretive dance. I enjoy the scenes of the modern Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, showing that his legacy still lives on through dance. This film has many scenes that feel like filler when the narrator is speaking and that gets repetitive over time. I love how this film does not require you to have a general knowledge or passion for dance. It allows the audience to create their own feelings and opinions about what dance means to them.

The message of Ailey is to pursue your passion and use your talent to impact others in a meaningful way. This documentary portrays this message with great success.

I give Ailey 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Ailey in theatres July 23, 2021.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

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


CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AES 9-18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

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

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


SCHMIGADOON!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SCHMIGADOON!
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - A couple, Melissa and Josh, go on a backpacking trip in an attempt to patch up their failing relationship, only to find themselves still arguing. They then discover a magical town called Schmigadoon, which is perpetually trapped in a Golden Age-style musical, and slowly realize that they cannot leave until they find true love. The title and concept is a parody of the 1947 Broadway musical Brigadoon.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Schmigadoon! is a fun-filled musical comedy perfect for theatre kids and musical lovers! The cast of this new series has some famous faces like: Keegan-Michael Key, Dove Cameron, Kristen Chenoworth and many more!

On a bonding trip, lovers Josh and Melissa accidentally find themselves in the 1940's musical town of Schmigadoon. Josh and Melissa see everyone bursting into song and dance and soon discover that they can't go home until they find true love. Do they have it? Will they find it? Watch Schmigadoon! to find out!

The cast of Schmigadoon! stands out and so do the sets Josh Skinner (Keegan-Michael Key) is not excited about this musical town and tries everything he can to get away from all the singing and dancing. Josh experiences many emotional highs and lows: engagement, break-ups and drama. Melissa (Cecily Strong) is the one who decides on the bonding trip which leads them to Schmigadoon! She does enjoy the musical town and, eventually, joins in on the fun.

The scary Mrs. Mildred Layton (Kristen Chenoworth), wife of Reverend Layton, is the leader of the "Mothers of the Future" organization and isn't very fond of Josh and Melissa's arrival. As well as Josh, Mildred is also trying everything she can to get them to leave, as she thinks they are ruining "her" town. Betsy (Dove Cameron) is a young waitress who takes a quick interest in Dr. Skinner and tries to be his true love. Enchanting and wise school teacher Emma Tate (Arianna DeBose) doesn't care much for love and focuses on teaching the children, but all that changes when she meets Josh.

The set replicates a genuine theatre stage set, creating a definitive boundary between the real world and Schmigadoon!'s stage set--I love that. The music is all taken from mid-1900s musicals, but the words have been changed. You'll spend all day singing the tunes in your head, trying to figure out what the original songs are. I love the contrast in costumes from Josh and Melissa's modern day clothes to the town's 1940's outfits.

While there is more than one message to the story, the main one is that when hope looks lost don't give up (and maybe add a bit of song and dance).

I give Schmigadoon! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults, but strongly recommend this for theatre kids. This series does contain strong language and some slightly inappropriate scenes. You can find Schmigadoon! starting July 16, 2021 on Apple TV. I'm looking forward to a season 2 already!<

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


SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-18
Description - When LeBron James and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.'s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you've never seen them before. It's Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron's bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Jam: A New Legacy, the cartoon sequel, brings the whole Looney Tunes gang back to the court, only this time with the reigning king of basketball, Lebron James. This comedy combines live action with animation and is filled with life lessons, funny catch phrases, loads of glitzy digital effects and a glimpse of Warner Bros. cinematic library.

When LeBron James and his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) get mysteriously sucked into the Warner Bros. digital world by a rogue AI super villain (Don Cheadle), nonsense and chaos ensue. Dom is kidnapped and LeBron is challenged to a high-stakes basketball game by the evil AI. Lebron must form the most winning team to get his son back and, a loss could leave him and all those he loves, stuck in the server-verse forever. Lebron and his Looney Tunes pal Bugs Bunny meet up for a wild adventure through the server-verse. Will he win, or be trapped there forever? Watch to find out.

The writing is clever. It is comedic and zany at some points; at others, it is very wholesome and realistic. The animation is outstanding! The movie combines traditional animation with three-dimensional computer graphics and live action. LeBron's cartoon character is spot on. The tour through the server-verse is so enjoyable. Seeing iconic characters like Yogi Bear, Pennywise, Iron Giant and King Kong is every movie junkie's dream! Eric Bauza plays a very important role in this movie as he voices Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian and Porky Pig. Jeff Bergman is also instrumental in this film as he voices Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Yosemite Sam. Both Eric and Jeff voice their characters so well that it's like listening to the original cartoons! Space Jam: New Legacy also features Don Cheadle, who is the rogue AI AL. G. Rhythm. His villainous role features a wide range of emotion and I give him two thumbs up for his outstanding performance. My favorite character is Granny because she is a good-natured, protective, spunky old woman that has some epic moves.

The messages of this movie are that family is everything and there is power in chasing your dreams. Sometimes, we need some loony things in our life to make it better. There is mild language and a lot of action.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It's a great family movie. Fans of the original will love this, too. This movie releases July 16, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.

Space Jam: A New Legacy has everything that a big summer blockbuster should have and more! This revamped version of the original 1996 Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, is the perfect blend of old-school characters from favorite cartoons of the past, seamlessly mixed with updated characters, premier digital animation, trendy music, a modern plotline and current big name stars. This feature film packs in so much good stuff that I almost don't even know where to begin with my review!

The starting line-up includes LeBron James, his son Dom James (Cedric Joe) and Bugs Bunny. The two main characters, Lebron and Bugs, must work together to solve a big problem for the all-star athlete. They need to get Lebron's son Dom back from a diabolical computer-generated villain named Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) and the only way to do it is for LeBron and Bugs to work together to win the most important basketball game of their lives.

The basketball moves on the court are like nothing anyone has ever seen before. One team's players are all Looney Tunes characters from classic Warner Bros cartoons and they play against a squad of elite players from the real world that have been leveled-up by the evil Al-G Rhythm. As expected, Space Jam: A New Legacy is action packed and moves at a quick pace which kept my attention. The music throughout the movie adds energy and tone; the CGI blends animation effortlessly with live action characters and real world settings. The special effects all look so believable and pristine that it is easy for the viewer to get lost inside this cool new world.

In the end, the movie really is just a sweet story about a dad and his son bonding and working through their relationship, which happens at a certain age. It is a touching family film with lessons about the importance of family as well as being true to yourself.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Kids will love the sports and modern look as well as the music. Adults will appreciate the references to the original film and nostalgic cartoon characters from their own childhood. It's the perfect family film. Space Jam: A New Legacy has lots of extras, like new WB merchandise and even its own Xbox video game. It releases in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021

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

Space Jam: A New Legacy is an entertaining and funny movie starring LeBron James. It is the sequel to the first Space Jam movie which starred Michael Jordan. This is a creative film with a mix of animation and live action.

The storyline is a fictional one about basketball player, LeBron James and his son Dom (Cedric Joe). LeBron wants his son to play basketball, but his son wants to do different things like creating video games. Dom gets taken by a computer program into the Warner Brothers' animated world. LeBron then has to beat the computer program in a basketball game to get his son back. LeBron assembles a basketball team with Bugs Bunny and a group of Loony Tunes characters.

The plot is unusual and very creative. They use a ton of Warner Bros' Loony Tunes characters throughout the film including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and more. I loved seeing all my favorite classic Looney Tunes characters! Other Warner Bros' characters make guest appearances, including King Kong, Harry Potter, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The effects used in this film are absolutely amazing as they flip between live action, to animation, then back to live action. It is so fun to watch. There are parts where I literally laughed out loud such as a funny moment with Bugs Bunny. The acting is funny, dramatic and very realistic. The special effects are great. The imaginary locations are creative. For example, there are scenes with the characters inside a computer. At other times the setting is inside other Warner Bros' movies, like Batman or The Matrix.

The message of this film is that parents and their kids should do activities together and share with each other cool things they've done or made, like a project.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021.

By Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like Space Jam: A New Legacy because it has a lot of funny scenes. Plus, I love some of the big actors in this film and the roles they play.

This movie is about Lebron James coaching his son Dom (Cedric Joe) to be a good basketball player. His son would rather play video games, so Lebron tries telling him that he needs to start focusing on the basketball game more. Then, a bad AI named AL G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) traps them into his digital space and makes them play a game of basketball. They are split up and Lebron James is sent to the tune world where he soon finds Bugs Bunny and asks for help.

My favorite part is how this film brings back so many old characters such as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and more. The Looney Tunes remember their first basketball game from the first Space Jam movie and get real excited when one of them finds Michael Jordan from the stands but their excitement goes away quickly in a really funny way. The graphics and digital effects are amazing. I loved how they made cartoon characters real and Lebron into a cartoon character. This is the first time I seen Lebron act in a movie. He looks like he was born to act. The music is very catchy and appealing to each scene, getting better as the scene gets better.

The moral of this movie is not to give up because Lebron and Team Tunes never give up! Another reminder is to have fun. Lebron learns that he was taking basketball too seriously and learns to have fun again.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and HBO Max July 16, 2021!

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 6-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: FeatureFilm


CENTAURWORLD
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CENTAURWORLD
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 7-18
Description - Centaurworld follows a war horse who is transported from her embattled world to a strange land inhabited by silly, singing centaurs of all species, shapes, and sizes. Desperate to return home, she befriends a group of these magical creatures and embarks on a journey that will test her more than any battle she's ever faced before.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - CentaurWorld is a humorous, animated show geared to older kids and young teens. The plot is definitely its strongest point because each episode has unique storylines episodes despite being an ongoing story. Along with that, the acting, impressive characters and music combine to make an unusual, yet intriguing show.

This ten-episode series follows Horse (Kimiko Glenn), her name representing her appearance. She touches a magical artifact that transports her to a new world, called CentaurWorld, where magic and singing are encouraged. Along the way, they meet many challenges, including facing comedy competitions, a trial that could result in being stuck in jail forever and plants that grant tricky wishes. Can Horse find all parts of the key along the rainbow road to make her way home to Rider (Jessie Mueller)?

CentaurWorld has an incredible storyline. The concept is new and unique. Each episode has an individual story that's carefully written to not be the same as others. The voiceover acting is also magnificent. Josh Radnor, as Durpleton, and Parvesh Cheen, as Zulius, deliver amazing performances. The characters are well developed so the acting and writing make an excellent combination. My favorite part is probably the music, although the other fabulous aspects are great. The songs drew my attention every time; the melodies and lyrics create an emotional environment, shifting with the moods, which always left me in awe. Then there are the impressive singers with their enjoyable resonance and beautiful solos. Their harmonies are perfectly executed and make the songs more enjoyable. The music truly takes the show to the next level.

The message of CentaurWorld is about bravery. Horse and her centaur friends need to find all of the pieces to the key and this journey isn't easy. Oftentimes, Horse encourages her friends to 'be bold,' like when the rainbow road leads them to a hole, going down one side and up the other. Horse shows bravery by jumping down, realizing this is the only way to not give up on their journey. Parents should note that there is some violence and some mildly inappropriate dialogue.

I give CentaurWorld 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. CentaurWorld begins streaming on Netflix July 30, 2021.

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Centaurworld is a creative kids' show with colorful, memorable and funny characters. The show is different from other shows for children, because most of its characters are animals with human attributes. The simple dialogue and colorful characters serve to keep kids' attention.

Centaurworld is about a hardened war horse, named Horse (Kimiko Glenn) that gets separated from her rider (Jessica Mueller). Horse ends up in Centaurland, a land filled with silly, singing unique creatures with both animal and human features. Horse is quickly heralded as their new friend and inspires Wammawink (Meagan Hilty), Zulius (Parvesh Cheena), Durpleton (Josh Radnor), Glendale (Megan Nicole Dong) and Ched (Chris Diamantopoulos) to follow her and explore the area as they try to help Horse get home.

Centaurworld has some fun comedic moments with simple jokes that kids can follow and are age appropriate. In terms of the animation, the series makes good use of its characters and they are quite different from other animated shows. For example, viewers can't help but focus on the big human-looking eyes and human faces of the colorful characters. Another positive is that the show has the unexpected twist of making a horse the main character. This further serves to engage younger audiences. What kid wouldn't be intrigued by a horse that talks and has other talking human/animal hybrid friends? One thing kids may not notice, but adults will, is that, besides being able to speak, Horse doesn't have any other human features. Still, the inhabitants of Centaurland are accepting of her. This is a good lesson on acceptance.

The message of this film is that the world is not always full of war and conflict. It's also filled with friends and memories. Also, it's ok to have some silliness and fun in your life. Plus, don't limit yourself to what you think you know or what you become used to.

I give Centaurworld 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults can enjoy this with their kids. Centaurworld

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-13
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
Series: EBOOK, AGES 8-12
Description - Once you open the door to Anna Belle's bakery, you know that you have entered some place very special. The smell of freshly baked bread; the taste of double chocolate chip cookies; the vision of colorfully decorated birthday cakes and the sound of? Wait! Pastry doesn't have a sound. After you meet Anna Belle, you also know you have met someone quite marvelous. She is creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town. Join Anna Belle and her feline assistant, Jocko, as they reveal the true identity of the culprit who has been robbing neighbors and end her light finger lifting of precious jewels in Fudge Fatale. https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/fudge-fatale-d-g-stern/1139825376
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The most appealing aspect of Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is the mystery. The story is comprised of two story lines and sometimes the two intersect, which heightens the overall mystery. The only thing that was unappealing for me is the repetitiveness. Often, chapters repeat the same information. I understand that this is may be intentional so children can grasp the plot easily, but I question whether it is necessary. I believe children will enjoy this e-book because it is easy to envision the characters, and each one is very well developed. For example, Doris, Anna Belle's assistant at the bakery, is zany and eccentric. Her personality compliments Anna Belle's seriousness. Of course the mystery and the funny outcome will also keep children engaged throughout.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is a delightful mystery story intertwined with a fun-filled bake-a-thon. Anna Belle doubles as Pine Meadows' best baker and an investigator trying to solve the community's issue with stolen pearls. The most appealing aspect is the mystery.

The story flows well. The exposition at the beginning is clear and it will definitely be easy for children to comprehend. The middle is also clear when Anna Belle and her friends finally figure out how to prep for the bake-a-thon, and find out that more pearls are being stolen in the community. The end is the resolution of Clyde winning the bake-a-thon, having all their hard word pay off, and discovering that a monkey has stolen the pearls. Although there are some challenging words such as intrepid, crestfallen, modicum and incorrigible, these words are paired with context clues and are balanced with over-explaining other aspects of the plot. There are definitely positive modeling behaviors shown, such as respect. Throughout the story, everyone has a chance to speak and be listened to. It is important for children to recognize at a young age that their opinions are relevant. There are some negative connotations about gender stereotypes. For example, one of the men assumes that no men will participate in the baking competition. At another point, he says something along the lines of "send the pretty bakers to me." Although these are both small, and Anna Belle corrects him both times, I ask whether they are necessary? A strong point is how it teaches children to question everything and, since this story is all about investigation and inquiry, that's critical. Sometimes, one needs to think outside of the realm of possibilities to reach the possibility. This book encourages children to take action on their own aspirations. If they want to be involved in their community, or run events, or be successful in general Anna Belle is a great example to follow. One of the key benefits of the story is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters that are getting coverage for the bake-a-thon. She says, "I am going to be who I always am." This is significant for children to learn because it teaches them to never change themselves for others.

This story has multiple little lessons woven into the overall message including how to successfully bake a cake, why people shouldn't eat raw eggs, and that both men and women can participate in baking competitions. The overall message is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters when speaking about the bake-a-thon. Seeing Anna Belle, her friends and family all working together to create a fun, successful community event can inspire children to do something similar.

I give rate Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, perhaps older. It gives children the confidence to always question everything and promotes the idea of staying true to oneself.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A light yet engaging read, Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle will delight young readers with its lifelike dialogue, vivid details and easy-to-follow storyline.

The book by D.G. Stern follows Anna Belle's story. A talented baker, her sweet treats are to die for. Creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town, Anna Belle is not to be trifled with. In this installment of The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle, she teams up with her charismatic Uncle Clyde, a police officer, to find the culprit who has been robbing neighbors of their possessions. It's a thrilling story which many will enjoy.

Each of the characters in the book has its own distinct personality. Anna Belle is kind and gentle. Doris is good-natured and a bit eccentric. Uncle Clyde is intelligent and helps keep everyone's spirits up. Sometimes the lines are blurred between the roles of each character. For example, Whiskers (Anna Belle's assistant) seems to have a smaller role than Doris, the store clerk, but is mentioned more at the start of the story. Next, the mystery angle of the story is well-thought-out, but it feels somewhat weakened by the interspersed descriptions of Anna Belle's work at her bakery. Still, he plot is gripping and the 90 page length is perfect for young readers. Finally, there are some extremely long sentences that are a bit confusing. However, they are far and few between.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle promotes teamwork, such as when Anna Belle enlists the help of her friends to prepare for the bake-a-thon in three days, having a good work ethic and being curious (the main theme of the book), while discouraging stealing. It's a positive book that will leave you feeling as warm and fuzzy inside as Anna Belle's chocolate chip cookies.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Baker by day; Secret Undercover Detective by night! Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle is a chapter book that makes a perfect read for young people looking for a simple and exciting adventure.

The storyline follows a small-town baker, Anna Belle, who has a secret identity as the town's undercover detective. Her initial attempt to solve a mystery of disappearing items turns into a thrilling adventure filled with action and sweet treats.

Mystery books are my favorite genre of books to read along with young adult books. If this is the case for you as well, you will definitely enjoy this! The author D.G. Stern is very specific to the point that some of the information is a bit over-the-top. Still sometimes there is very little background context, which is a result of it being part of a series. The names of the characters such as Anna Belle and her feline assistant Whiskers are common names that help give the reader a sort of familiarity. The best part is that the plot twists are absolutely phenomenal. Just following Anna Belle throughout this mystery is exhilarating to read. You won't want to place this book down. While there are very few illustrations, they really help guide your imagination in picturing the events as they unfold. I especially love what a strong female voice the author gives Anna Belle.

This book promotes positive social behavior and encourages young people to think critically and to believe they can accomplish a goal, no matter how big it may seem.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $ 10.99
Media: Book ISBN # 173245518X


BLACK WIDOW
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK WIDOW
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy, and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After multiple delays, Marvel Studios finally delivers on their promise to bring forth the new action-packed superhero blockbuster, Black Widow! Black Widow has everything a classic Marvel fan would enjoy, yet is easily understood by viewers with no prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Behind all the superhero cowls is fantastic character development. Each character experiences a different emotional journey, finding themselves in an extremely different emotional place compared to the beginning of the film.

Black Widow serves as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War, shining light on plot lines we had no clue occurred. The film picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run from the U.S. government. When Natasha is attacked by the iconic villain Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), she is led to confront her past. When she learns the Red Room is still functioning (kidnapping and training widows), she must team up with unlikely allies to defeat the organization once and for all.

For comic book junkies there is always a worry that superhero movies will sometimes be a bore, because you already know the story so well. Black Widow abolishes this worry with multiple twists and turns that are new to comic book fans, yet are very respectful to classic superhero origins. When people think of the character Black Widow, they extremely undermine the grittiness of her backstory. Director Cate Shortland is marvelous at mixing in Natasha's dark past to boost her character development and show what drives her day today.

Black Widow is one of the darkest Marvel movies to date. Throughout the film, rough and sensitive topics present themselves such as child trafficking, drug use and suicide. The film also includes multiple curse words and many different instances of intense action. Despite the gloomy tone, the film explores themes of family and reminiscence. Morals are taught to younger viewers demonstrating the message that people can change; you just need to give them a chance.

I give Black Widow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can stream Black Widow on Disney+ with premiere access or watch it in your local theater on July 9, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

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

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


SUMMER OF SOUL
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SUMMER OF SOUL
FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What do you know about the Harlem Culture Festival? This beautiful event that created so much love and togetherness has rarely been seen or discussed in mainstream media, until now. Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) tells the beautiful story of this life-changing festival, and what it meant for the civil rights movement. This documentary offers an eye-opening perspective of the times that motivated the festival and its incredible outcome.

Summer of Soul talks about the importance of the Harlem Culture Festival, and what it meant to the people of color at that time. There are many interviews with people that discuss how this event impacted their lives and gave them a sense of unity during those trying times. We also are fortunate enough to see live, unseen performances from such icons as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, B.B. King and more.

What impressed me the most is that this happened in the same year as Woodstock. I grew up hearing a lot about the Woodstock Festival, but until I saw this movie, I had never heard of the Harlem Culture Festival. This shows just how divided our country was at that time, and how unfortunate it is that more people don't know about this beautiful event. I learned so much from this movie, especially about different aspects of the civil rights movement. It features videos showing the riots that occurred over justice and equality. Sadly, these riots still happen today for similar reasons. I especially appreciate that this documentary doesn't only show the fun parts of the Harlem Culture Festival, but these various socio-political aspects of times. The director, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, shows us the beauty of the event, plus the reason behind it.

The message of this film is: when you have to fight back, fight with love and creativity. People will always bring each other down, but if we can just help one person to know their worth, then we are doing good. That is something we could all hear more often.

I give Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Couldn't Be Televised) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 17, plus adults. Releasing in theaters July 2, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


WOLFGANG
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WOLFGANG
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An intimate portrait of the life and work of the original "celebrity chef," Wolfgang Puck.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wolfgang, a documentary film directed and produced by David Gelb (Chef's Table: France and Chef's Table BBQ), follows the life and career of Chef Wolfgang Puck. This film highlights Wolfgang's childhood trauma - how it affected him as a young boy who aspired to become a great chef; how he became arguably one of the best chefs in the world; the process of opening numerous dining spots; how fame and success affected him and his family.

The opening minutes follow Wolfgang greeting a farm owner, a close friend of his, as he cuts fresh fruits and rides through the corn field. This scene is important because it allows viewers to see how active Puck really is - daily - even when he is not at work. He enjoys visiting the farm to pick and choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Wolfgang even justifies how involved he is, stating, "At my age, I should probably slow down, and take it easy, but it's quite the opposite."

This film also includes statements from friends, family, former colleagues and current workers of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. throughout the film. Nancy Silverton, a pastry chef who worked at Spago (1982-85) (one of Wolfgang's many restaurants) states, "Wolfgang, without a doubt, was the first celebrity chef. He had so many restaurants, and so many different types of restaurants, all the products that he has on the shelves. I can't even keep up with him anymore to tell you the truth." This film shows Wolfgang cooking alongside his young cooks, watching over them and mentoring them. Evan Funke, a cook who worked at Spago (2000-06) states, "The biggest misconception about Wolf is that he is just a celebrity chef and can't cook, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Mount Rushmore of California cuisine; Wolf's right there, in the middle. He's the founding father of the way we eat in this country."

This film also focuses on the uprising of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, Spago. Ruth Reichil, a food writer stating, "When wolf opened Spago, he changed the way Americans eat, even including pizza on the menu. Who knew pizza can be fancy?!" This leads me to my favorite part in the film, which is about the fancy pizza. Wolfgang shares the story of how he created his legendary smoked salmon and caviar pizza, unpredicted. It all started one night when it was extremely busy at Spago and suddenly Joan Collins (English actress), the biggest star on television at the time comes in. They had run out of an important ingredient that was needed to create the dish Joan Collins regularly ordered. They also ran out of baguettes or any other bread. Wolfgang got to work and started spreading out pizza dough, added some finely chopped onions, and baked it for a few minutes. Then, he put some milk cream on it, added some smoked salmon thinly cut, a few dollops of caviar, and served it to Joan. Wow! He truly is an incredible chef to come up with such a delicious pizza, out of nowhere. The most interesting part of this pizza is, it has no cheese, nor tomato sauce. This film also shares stories, from the perspective of Wolfgang, as well as his sister, as he visits his hometown of Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He shared the unfortunate events he experiences with his stepfather; how he endured years of verbal abuse and being shut down daily as a young child; and how he overcame that.

The message I took away from this film is to never give up and stay committed. No matter your circumstances or where you came from, never give up on yourself. Wolfgang grew up extremely poor, but never let that define him or influence his courage to make his dream come true.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases June 25, 2021, by Disney+.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The documentary Wolfgang talks about how food is family and food is love. This film depicts the culinary development of Chef Wolfgang Puck and I was delighted to learn more about his upbringing and journey to become the chef and businessman that he is. Wolfgang is celebrated in my home every day as I use his cookware and my family incorporates cooking tips that my mom learned from watching him on various television shows. He made her feel more comfortable in the kitchen and in trying new concepts with his easy style and engaging personality, which have also influenced my love of cooking.

The film starts showing Wolfgang's early family life and the reasons behind his joy in the kitchen and love of cooking. We follow Wolfgang's culinary training until he becomes the first "celebrity chef" and really defines "California Cuisine," putting the gardens of California on a plate. After all, as Wolfgang says, "The right ingredients make all the difference." His incredible work ethic had leads to great monetary rewards, but at the expense of disrupting his family life. At the end of the documentary, as he looks back on his life, it seems that he has now found the right balance in his personal life as well as in the kitchen.

The documentary is an emotional journey guided by Director David Gelb. I love the beautiful cinematography and the use of archival footage. Brian McGinn's script makes you really feel that the movie is in Wolfgang's voice as he discovers that his purpose in life has been to make people happy through food as a conduit to love. The interviews throughout the film are meaningful and highlight the importance that Wolfgang Puck has made on the food industry.

There are so many important messages in this film such as following Wolfgang's work ethic and how it's important to believe in yourself and not be afraid to take chances. Giving up is not an option if you want to pursue your dreams, as nothing comes easy. Wolfgang says a lot of inspiring things in this film; his sentiment I love most is that "the grass is greener where it's watered the most." Where to put in the effort applies to life as well as to your garden.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The documentary will be available on Disney+ June 25, 2021 so don't miss this inspiring story.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I really like the new documentary Wolfgang because it's a fascinating, intimate film about world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. It taught me a lot about the food industry, and how much it could impact someone's life.

This documentary starts off telling Wolfgang Puck's life story. We learn about his culture as well as his family life. As the film goes on, we see his struggles, as well as successes, throughout his life. Wolfgang Puck is an extremely hardworking, determined person, and uses his childhood trauma as a way to never give up, and to keep going. Although he makes many mistakes, we learn that he is just a normal person like everyone else. And, Puck learns from his mistakes, and becomes a better person in the end.

I enjoy that this film shows us the raw aspects of Wolfgang's life. There aren't a lot of production and special effects. Instead, everything is very real, and you can get a strong sense into what his life truly is like. Another thing that works very well is how they incorporate many videos from his past. This gives the audience a deeper look at how he works, and the type of person he is. It also contributes to the authenticity of the film. Lastly the interviews with important people in his life are a great addition to the whole documentary, telling Wolfgang's story from other perspectives.

The message of this documentary film is to never give up on yourself, and your dreams. This film does deal with a sensitive topic - suicide.

I give Wolfgang 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can watch Wolfgang starting June 25, 2021 on Disney+.

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

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


WE THE PEOPLE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WE THE PEOPLE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Learn the basics of rights and citizenship with upbeat songs by popular artists like Janelle Mon�e, H.E.R., Adam Lambert, Brandi Carlile and more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the catchy tunes, the perfectly rhyming lyrics, the animation and the lessons of the new ten episode series, We the People. I love how it includes animations such as women and men united, jumping above the clouds, almost like collecting all the facts as they jump in the air.

Created by Chris Nee, the award-winning creator of Doc McStuffins and Vampirina, and executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, We the People takes civics lessons to a whole new level for kids like me.

This series is a call to action to rethink civics as a living, breathing thing as it reframes the understanding of what government and citizenship mean in the modern world. The opening minutes of each episode give you a preview of what's to come, sharing minor facts about the topic the episode addresses before it plunges into the specifics. Each topic is covered thoroughly, which helps young viewers grasp the importance of each topic and not simply focus on the catchy tune that accompanies it. For example, instead of just talking about the federal vs. state power, a song explains how choices by the feds or the state affect our daily lives and how we have a choice in who holds positions of power. The songs included are all upbeat original songs performed by popular contemporary artists such as H.E.R., Janelle Mon�e, Brandi Carlile, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adam Lambert, Cordae, Bebe Rexha, KYLE, Andra Day and poet Amanda Gorman.

A huge part of this series is the animation which, as a visual person, attracts and holds my attention. When the facts are played out in powerful pictures with great colors and cool designs, I'm immediately hooked! Ten of the world's leading animation directors contributed to this show - men and women, LGBTQ+ and various ethnicities, including Oscar winner Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Jorge R. Gutierrez (Netflix's Maya and the Three), Trisha Gum (The Lego Batman Movie), Jorge R. Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Victoria Vincent (A Dog That Smokes Weed), Benjy Brooke (Teen Titans Go! To The Movies), Mabel Ye (Kid Cosmic), Tim Rauch (Mushroom Park), Daron Nefcy (Star vs. the Forces of Evil), Everett Downing (My Dad the Bounty Hunter) and Kendra Ryan (We the People). I love that this film practices its message of inclusivity behind the scenes as well as on-screen. My favorite episode is most definitely episode three, "Taxes."

The message of this film is that we are the future and we have a voice! Let's continue to educate ourselves and our peers and speak up for the right, against the wrong. Let's make a difference and help one another. We are the people.

I give We the People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases July 4, 2021, on Netflix. Look for it!

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

We The People is a very innovative way to learn about history and social studies. Most importantly, it helps us understand things that are part of our everyday lives that we either take for granted or don't fully understand or appreciate. These things help us to live better in our community and society. I also love that the show also explores a new way to incorporate music videos and listen to music with a purpose.

I didn't know what to expect from this ten part series; I love that the episodes are very short, because they are just the length of a song. Each composition has a different style in terms of animation and color palette; all according to the story. We the People consists of ten eye-candy episodes with captivating lyrics, contemporary rhythms, lots of creativity and fundamental storytelling.

We The People is produced by accomplished children's television writer Chris Nee who began her career at Sesame Street International and has been honored with a Peabody, Humanitas, NAACP and Emmy awards. In this project she teamed up with Barack and Michelle Obama with whom she previously worked pm other educational and fun projects. This is the content we need and our generation should appreciate it. The production company Higher Ground which produced the series was created with the purpose of creating not only entertaining programming, but informative and inspirational as well. I can affirm that this content positively impacted me and I am happy to spread the word and recommend it. The series proves the great power of music in establishing strong and effective connections with audience. The inclusion of the artists that participate is brilliant and includes some of the top music artist such as H.E.R, Cordae, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Janelle Monae. The powerful poet, Amanda Gorman, is also an important voice in this series. Each episode has a different director and the topics range from "Active Citizenship," to "Taxes," "Immigration" and more.

I give We The People 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Although the themes are more appropriate for late elementary and middle school kids, really everyone in the family will love the music, the message and the beautiful images.

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

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


WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 9-18
Description - Follows interviews with friends, family and more of the iconic comic strip to create a portrait of the late Peanuts creator.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A deeper look into an integral part of American childhood, Who Are You, Charlie Brown? provides viewers with a blast from the past and some intriguing background information about the creation and nuances of the Peanuts comic universe.< p>Packaged in documentary format, the show centers on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, and his life. Using animated vignettes from Charlie Brown, the viewer learns how Schulz's childhood and many parts of his own life plus the lives of those near and dear to him influenced several prominent characters and motifs in the award-winning Peanuts series. Some examples include the Little Red-Haired Girl, Franklin Armstrong, Lucy and Pig-Pen. Interviews with Schulz's widow, his close acquaintances, famous viewers and the people who brought Charlie Brown to life on-screen help paint an enthralling picture of the pensive and talented Schulz, as well as the context and subtext behind his legendary series.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? is exactly what a biopic should be. Its length of about 50 minutes is perfect; its storytelling seamless; its animation immaculate. The interviews with people such as Drew Barrymore, a longtime Peanuts lover, and the archival footage and voiceovers of Mr. Schulz himself add great depth and emotion to the film. The sequence with Mr. Schulz, in his last days whilst battling cancer, describes his reaction to the overwhelming love he received for the Charlie Brown cartoons and will certainly make you tear up a bit.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? has a clear mission - to answer the question posed in its title. This it does with efficiency, thoroughness and liveliness. However, a deeper message is posed in the framing of Schulz as a man who takes inspiration from both high points and low points in his life when creating art. For artists and non-artists, channeling elements of your life, whether happy or sad, positive or negative, to add poignant emotions to your work is an immensely powerful tool.

I give Who Are You, Charlie Brown? 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Who Are You, Charlie Brown? debuts globally Friday, June 25 on Apple TV+. Check it out!

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

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


BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN, PART ONE
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: ANIMATED SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - It's a dark time in Gotham City. Held hostage by the powerful Falcone crime family, the city is rife with crime and corruption. Adding to the chaos is the mysterious Holiday killer, who has been targeting the underworld and leaving a trail of terror... and body bags. Batman, Lieutenant Gordon and D.A. Harvey Dent race against the calendar as it advances toward the next ill-fated holiday. Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One begins a twisted chain of events that will forever change the Dark Knight.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One offers a decent take on Batman's early years before Batman evolved into the great detective he is now. Like the other Batman films, Gotham does not appear to be the best place to live. This film stands apart from other animated Batman films because it shows Batman as a novice detective.

The story begins with a brutal murder on Halloween, which prompts Batman (Jensen Ackles) to team up with the two uncorrupt lawmen Police Captain James Gordon (Billy Burke) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel). They team up to take down Roman, the head of the notorious and powerful Falcone Crime Family. As the team works together, something unexpected occurs. There is a string of deaths that occurs on holidays; then the three realize that they are dealing with a holiday killer. After some investigation, with Batman following the clues, he thinks he knows who the holiday killer is, but he discovers the high cost of being wrong.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One incorporates settings that are typical in a Batman film. Since the film takes a look at Batman in his earlier years, it helps viewers to understand why he feels compelled to over analyze things. The film's lack of transition between holidays, which is integral to the plot, is a little confusing; the story moves swiftly from one holiday to the next and only when something occurs related to the holiday do we know when it is taking place. The animation is reminiscent of Batman the Animated series - nothing too exciting, but workable. The images have lots of straight lines, which gives a different look to the characters, but not so much that it distracts from the plot. Batman is still my favorite character and I like seeing his evolution in the film; as the seasons come and go, he grows.

The message of this film is that sometimes you have to rely on others to help you overcome big problems. Another reminder is to not be afraid to question the evidence before assuming someone is guilty.

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One gets 3 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This is available now on DVD and on demand.

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

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


GHOSTWRITER 2021
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GHOSTWRITER 2021
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, 8-16
Description - Ghostwriter follows four kids who are brought together by a mysterious ghost in a neighborhood bookstore, and must team up to release fictional characters from works of literature. Ghostwriter, garnered an historic Daytime Emmy Award win for Outstanding Children's or Family Viewing Programming for season one, and recently debuted new episodes from season two on Apple TV+ which follows the young heroes working to save their bookstore and discover the true identity of their ghostly companion. By the end of this season, Episode 13, the students have bravely completed their missions, closing the book on this adventure! The award-winning show is currently in production for season three with a new group of curious, intelligent children on another unbelievable literary journey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever wanted to have tea with the Mad Hatter, battle the Frankenstein monster or solve a mystery with Sherlock Holmes? Welcome to the lives of Ruben Reyna (Isaac Arellanes), Chevon Redmond (Amadi Chapata), Donna Palmer-Moreno (Hannah Levinson) and Curtis Palmer-Moreno (Justin Sanchez). With some of the best storylines, creative incorporation of literary elements and beyond impressive acting, Ghostwriter is an absolute must-see for all kids and teens!

Ghostwriter follows four kids on a fantastical mission to solve a mystery and figure out what unfinished business the ghost wants them to complete. Along with mysteriously dropping random clues left and right, the 'ghostwriter' releases characters from different books. Although these fictional people can only be seen by the four kids, they do cause disruption while helping solve the mystery. After the characters have served their purpose, the middle-schoolers work to return them to their appropriate book and take the next step in figuring out the ghost puzzle. In the last few episodes, the kids actually dive into the world of a book rather than having the characters from the book come to them, which adds excitement to the already fabulous TV series.

Ghostwriter is one of the most creative shows that I've ever seen. The prospect of fictional characters coming to life and interacting with young teens and kids is a wonderful one and I can't imagine it being done any much better than it is in Ghostwriter. The show is very written well. The inclusion the literary characters is woven naturally into a normal teenage drama, creating a fun environment that doesn't seem forced in any way. Realistic dialogue is peppered with the fantastical elements. To go with this incredible dialogue, the actors portraying the kids all deliver relatable and funny performances that grabbed my attention. The delivery of their lines, together with their physical motions and facial expressions are seamless. The actors that portray the book characters are also above and beyond. Each one uses accents, slang and behavior that are a little out of the ordinary. Cameron Brodeur, as the Camarillo Kid, displays a range of emotions for his complex character. His accent and cowboy-style actions add to this interesting and entertaining character. Another actor whose performance shines is Jeff Joseph, who plays Frank. Frank shows up in multiple episodes as an older man from a poem. His old country accent is superb and really enhances his character. Frank makes a return appearance in the most recently released episodes. These characters from different time periods and worlds need costumes that show us where they are from and who they are. The costume designers deserve a big tip of the hat for their superb work. Sets and props are well-executed. Although many of the episodes are based around real people coming to life, there are a couple of scenes where imaginary animals are the focal point. The animators make the transitions between animation and live action seamless, without it being obvious that a fantastical creature is alive.

The message of Ghostwriter is to value your friends and know that unlikely friendships will occur, but that doesn't mean they won't be good ones. There are a couple of minor intense scenes, such as battling monsters and a crime mystery, and several suspenseful episodes. For example, the "Frankenstein" and "Jungle Book" episodes and the last few in the second season are more intense.

I give Ghostwriter 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 16. Ghostwriter is currently streaming on Apple TV+.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-16
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - It's not where you go. It's what you leave behind.... Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award�-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won't You Be My Neighbor?), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain offers an incisive look into the life and times of an enigma who raced through life with ferocity, grit, and a truly remarkable nonchalant attitude. A tale of a man who continued to barrel through life like a steam locomotive, picking up emotional baggage, shattering relationships, and joking about darkness all along the way. A great story of one of the greatest raconteurs whose story ended too quickly. This is Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

Renowned chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain seduced New Yorkers' stomachs years before he enraptured audiences with shows like A Cook's Tour, No Reservations, and of course, the famous Parts Unknown. And even before his culinary career, Bourdain hit one of the lowest lows of his life, with a destructive heroin and cocaine addiction that he attributes to a visceral, angry response to the love and affection of his parents. Roadrunner largely summarizes Tony Bourdain's adolescence, skipping to the publication of his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential which first launched him overnight into the show-biz. The film chronicles Bourdain and his crew's adventures, getting caught up in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Beirut, eating exotic items in the far reaches of East Asia, and making deep and long-lasting friendships all along the way. Bourdain forsook his home life for these travels. The film also documents the later chapter of Anthony Bourdain's life, wherein he was betrayed by love, struggled to cope with his emotions, his agoraphobia, and his growing sense of insecurity about fatherhood. And in a heart wrenching sequence, the film documents Bourdain's suicide and the responses of his loved ones to this event.

It's an incredible film, a journalistic undertaking by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville that won my heart. The magical voice of Bourdain guides the film. Scenes from his shows, archival footage, Bourdain's Instagram stories, and interviews with his close circle of friends and family, including his second wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and his friend Chef Eric Ripert, are tied together to tell an enchanting story that genuinely is not depressing or dark. To paraphrase Busia-Bourdain's quote in the film, Anthony Bourdain was more than the acts he committed near the end of his 61 years of life, and much like him, Roadrunner brings much light into the viewers' hearts. The editing and musical score, especially the careful inclusion of the title song from the 1970 film "Violent City," about a man who takes revenge on his unfaithful lover, help move the story forward and provide a deeper meaning to an already superb film.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a reminder to all of us that we have someone we can reach out to, we have a reason to live, we have a reason to enjoy every moment of our lives, and we have a reason to be the best version of ourselves. Given Bourdain's colorful personality, one wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is cursing throughout the film, and mentions of suicide and taking drugs also pop up over the course of the 2-hour piece.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2021. It is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021, by Focus Features, after which it will air on CNN and HBO Max on an unspecified date.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a personal, honest--albeit loving--look at and into the life of Anthony Bourdain and all the various detours it took. This documentary charts his journey from chef to writer to acclaimed TV host, as told by his closest friends, the people he worked with, and his family.

After an opening credits sequence that runs through the years leading up to Bourdain's career as a chef, Roadrunner begins its sprint in 1999 after he's secured a deal to write a book about his experiences in the restaurant world, Kitchen Confidential, the New York Times bestseller that would put Bourdain on the talk show circuit, and kickstart his ascent towards celebrity. In preparation for writing his second memoir, A Chef's Tour, he was approached by TV producers who pitched an ongoing series in tandem with the upcoming book, thus forming a partnership that would spawn multiple shows, win several Emmys and begin Bourdain's long tenure on television screens and secure his status as a world-famous traveler.

This film is a challenge on many levels. For starters, Bourdain's suicide is still a recent event in the public eye, and, I'm certain, a fresh wound for those who knew him. It's difficult to watch a feature-length story of someone's whole life, knowing that it's going to end so inevitably, suddenly, and sadly; however, Roadrunner succeeds by showing us Bourdain in his totality which balances the sadness of his inevitable end. And yet, audiences may find it unavoidable to wonder who he really was, along with his loved ones striving to answer the question: Who was Anthony Bourdain off-screen?

Roadrunner mirrors Bourdain's own frequent departures from home and journeys to parts unknown, taking us back and forth from his television world and his home life with his daughter. We see a conversation between Bourdain and a friend, where they discuss the paradox of wanting to return home when they're away, but immediately wanting to get back on the road when they get home. This tragic conversation gets right to the heart of the movie's title, Roadrunner, and just how reflective it was of Bourdain's own everyday life.

After a TV episode goes awry, Bourdain talks about his faltering belief in the power of the table at which we eat and share, yet Roadrunner becomes a testament to that power. Nearly every interview in the film is organized across a table, where deeply personal details and anecdotes from those who knew Bourdain are exchanged. Director Neville operates with a wealth of outtakes from his TV shows and all the excess footage of Bourdain's 20 years on screen, but it's these genuine moments with Bourdain's tribe that cut the deepest.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults, for mild language and strong themes throughout. Roadrunner lands in theaters on July 16, 2021.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


TOMORROW WAR, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW WAR, 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 - In the thrilling science-fiction action adventure The Tomorrow War, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant military scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Tomorrow War is here kicking alien butt, and kicking off the summer movie season with two hours of straight action, complete with a beautifully composed soundtrack. This is a solid sci-fi action film with a fantastic soundtrack. It possesses generic family origins that can be seen in practically any other film and has plenty of gory moments with mild cursing.

The Tomorrow War follows an aspiring scientist/father, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) as his life changes forever. Dan, along with the entire world, learns of a war being fought 30 years in the future. When more people are needed for this future war, a worldwide draft is put in place to send recruits 30 years into the future to fight. Dan is drafted into the war, and must fight to save not only his own life, but the lives of the ones he loves the most.

Chris Pratt continues to prove himself worthy of a wide variety of roles, yet is driven by clich� themes seen in countless other films. The nonstop action is interspersed throughout the film with certain comedic moments to lighten the mood from the major intensity this film brings. Some CGI and effects are mind-blowing initially, but the film reuses them over and over again to the point where it becomes repetitive and the details lose their importance. The soundtrack in The Tomorrow War is exquisite. It embodies the dark and gritty tone of the film perfectly, adding an intense layer pleasing to the ears. The film uses a lot of repetitive techniques that are extremely noticeable. Specifically, slow motion. It's used in tons of unnecessary scenes, really disrupting the proper flow of the film; making it seem bulky in some parts.

The film teaches the moral that relationships can be repaired, and family is forever. The Tomorrow War is rated PG-13 for good reasons. Over the course of the film, many instances of disturbing action are shown along with mild cursing. The action at times can be very gory, which may be a sensitive issue to younger viewers. Sensitive, mature topics present themselves throughout the film, such as family abandonment. At the same time, larger themes like love and kin are shown.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Tomorrow War streaming on Amazon Prime Video beginning July 2, 2021.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Tomorrow War is a sci-fi action film with a substantial storyline, as much of the movie takes place 30 years in the future. Films like this that give more backstory about the main character and their life - including family, friends and work always catch my attention. They make me feel as if I really know the character and what motivated them to overcome the obstacles thrown at them.

The Tomorrow War is about a veteran and now biology teacher, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Dan, along with others, gets drafted to fight aliens. We quickly learn the war takes place 30 years in the future. The fate of humanity relies on Dan's ability to confront his past and face his present, while fighting in a future war. With the help of his wife, Lilly Gamble (Betty Gilpin) and his daughter Muri (Yvonne Strahovski) and his dad Slade (J.K. Simmons), Dan has a chance to save millions of lives by stopping the future attack from happening.

The Tomorrow War has some strong character development, letting us learn more about Dan by looking at his relationship with his mother, his father, his wife and his daughter. We see how this fuels other important relationships for him. Dan and his daughter's relationship is similar to that of Dan's with his dad. We can see why he tries so hard to be a good dad, especially in his willingness to be weird and silly with her. Unlike some films where spouses have a supporting role, but don't really help with the plot, Dan's wife is smart and integral in figuring out something huge regarding the aliens. Even though much of the film is serious, Chris Pratt's ability to be sarcastically humorous provides some comic relief. There is also some superior level CGI when bringing the aliens to life. That, together with the strong action sequences makes for a good sci-fi, action movie.

The message of the film is about fighting for the people you love. Also, there is the reminder to not forget to let them know you do love them and don't be too proud to explain the reasons for your actions. There's always a second chance and that chance is always worth fighting for.

The Tomorrow War gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It releases on July 2, 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.

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

The Tomorrow War is an action-packed film with everything you can possibly want! Set in the future, with fight sequences, aliens and the world at risk, it'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Get ready for the ride of your life.

This tale begins when beings travel to the present from 28 years in the future and chaos erupts. They are fighting a war against aliens and are losing terribly, so they decide to recruit humans from 2022. Family man Dan (Chris Pratt) is drafted and heads to the year 2050 for the fight of his life. Dan works with scientist Vicki (Yvonne Strahovski) and his father Slade (J.K. Simmons) to save the world.

It is impossible to ignore the chemistry between the actors and their characters. Watching Chris bond with Yvonne is like watching a real father and daughter who are together and yet worlds apart. Vicki's heart wrenching monologue serves as the perfect motivator for Dan. We see his priorities shift from saving the world to saving his daughter, being sure to prevent the war from ever happening when he gets back to his present time. However, The Tomorrow War misses out on a huge opportunity - weaponry. It's hard not to notice the lack of creativity in the weapons used. In 28 years, there have been no upgrades in guns, armament or modes of military transportation; the same 2021 style shotguns and AKs are used in 2050?!. How fun it would have been to see Chris Pratt with futuristic swords or armor. Another missed opportunity is the aliens' appearance. They vaguely remind any Stranger Things viewer of the infamous Demogorgon, with its Venus Fly Trap face. I was hoping to see terrifying beasts that can't be found anywhere else.

The moral of this film is to never take anything for granted. As Dan returns home, he realizes just how important family is and the need to enjoy his time with them, instead of being so caught up in getting a job. He notices how his future self has failed his wife and daughter and vows to never make the same mistakes.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Amazon Prime July 2, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE
DREAMWORKS - LA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Now adults, Theodore Templeton and his estranged brother take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Together, they must now go under cover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers intro monstrous brats.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The boss is back baby! The Boss Baby: The Family Business brings back the Templetons from the original movie, The Boss Baby, also created and directed by Tom McGrath. This movie brings the same energy, hilarious animation, fight scenes and secret missions we've come to love with The Boss Baby Franchise.

In this sequel, the Templeton brothers, Tim (James Marsden) and Theodore "Ted" (Alec Baldwin) are back as adults and have drifted away from each other over the years. We meet Tim's family, including his new toddler daughter, Tina (Amy Sedaris), who is now the new Boss Baby and is on a mission from Baby Corp. to bring them together. This launches a new family business.

The main characters are Tim's wife, Carol (Eva Longoria), daughters, Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina, and, of course, his brother, Mr. Boss Baby himself, Ted. While the film has a lot of references to the first film, you can easily follow along in this sequel. Most of all the original main characters are back, and we even get a visit from Tim and Ted's parents. I really enjoyed that Tom McGrath stays true to the original concept, but adds a new storyline. One of my favorite scenes is when another baby group, "The Ninja Babies" are chasing Ted. He initially thinks they are cute until they start attacking him. It is pretty funny watching Ted run around screaming. Alec Baldwin nails Ted's sound effects. Even Amy Sedaris's squealing as Tina is hilarious and she actually uses this squeal in real life to get people's attention.

The message of this film is that it is important to focus on what matters most - love and family. Over the years, Ted always put his job and money ahead of his family, but realizes that he will always be lonely if he doesn't prioritize things. Parents should look out for bad habits some of the babies show and words that sound similar to profanity.

The Boss Baby: The Family Business is the perfect movie for families to bond over this summer. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. The Boss Baby: The Family Business launches July 2, 2021 in theaters and on Peacock.

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

The new film The Boss Baby: Family business is a very interactive movie and animated sequel. I absolutely loved it. Directed by Tom McGrath and Sean Mullen, it is completely entertaining, exciting, very humorous and fun to watch. As I watched the movie, I could not stop laughing.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is the official continuation of the original film, Boss Baby, about a wannabe executive baby named Theodore Templeton (Alec Baldwin). Now both Ted and his older brother, Tim (James Marsden) are adults and they've grown apart. When Uncle Ted drops in for a visit, he learns that his niece, Tina (Amy Sedaris) has the same business-minded, mini-manager drive and spirit as her uncle. Tina gets Tim and Ted to experiment with a new technology that reverts them back to babies for 48 hours. This is when all the excitement starts; the mission reunites the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, and leads them to re-evaluate what the true meaning of family is as they are reminded what truly matters in life.

My favourite characters are Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina (Amy Sedaris). Ariana Greenblatt plays Tabitha as an intelligent and bright young girl at the top of her class, who is scared to sing in front of a crowd, because she doesn't want to make a mistake and wants to make her dad proud. When I watched that part of the movie, I wanted to tear up, because it is such a beautiful moment when she sings and gets over her fears. Amy Sedaris's Tina takes matters into her own hands and acts like the Boss Baby she is, restoring the bond between her dad and uncle. My favourite scene is when the Templeton brothers are stuck in a situation and say, "It's lonely at the top; just because you grow up does not mean you grow apart."

The message of this movie is that there is nothing more important than the love of your family and the bond between them; having a family that loves you brings a person such comfort and peace, and helps them to become more confident.

I give Boss Baby: Family business 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theatres Friday, July 2, 2021. Save the date!

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

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


MIGHTY ONES, THE: SEASON 2
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MIGHTY ONES, THE: SEASON 2
HULU, LLC Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-12
Description - The adventures of a gang of tiny creatures -- a pebble, a strawberry, a twig and a leaf -- who are best friends and live in a terribly unkempt backyard belonging to a trio of equally unkempt humans. This band of diminutive heroes calls themselves the Mighty Ones, and while they may be the smallest things in the yard, they're determined to live big lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our favorite mighty tiny creatures - Very Berry, Leaf, Twig and Rocksy - are back for a new round of adventures in The Mighty Ones Season 2. This animated series is fun and colorful, with a nice mix of hidden educational messages. Each episode presents an obstacle for the Mighty Ones crew, which they usually create themselves, but they always find a way to get out of it. This series is very bubbly and enjoyable!

The Mighty Ones is about a group of four friends: Very Berry (Alex Cazares), Twig (Josh Brener), Leaf (Jimmy Tatro) and Rocksy (Jessica McKenna). They live in a messy backyard of humans that they call giants or gods. The messiness makes for great new adventures on every path. While they are the smallest things in the yard, there is no obstacle they can't overcome because they always work together and have each other's backs.

The main characters are Very Berry, a fun and adventurous strawberry; Leaf, a laid-back and cool leaf; Twig, a smart and nervous stick; and Rocksy, a considerate pebble, who is also the group leader. I love how each character has huge goals and its own personality. My favorite scene is from the "Home Touchers" episode when Rocksy is trapped in the humans' house. Kensington (Janina Gavankar), one of the "giants," is listening to a podcast about murderous ghosts. The show describes the signs of a ghost being in the house and, each time Twig and Berry make that exact noise to capture Rocky's attention, it scares Kensington.

The message of The Mighty Ones is to trust your friends because they have your best interest at heart and you can do more together than alone. There is also a hidden message throughout the series about how humans affect the lives of other living things. The "Mighty Ones" are affected by all the things the humans keep in their backyard, which correlates to how humans affect climate change and the lives of other species.

I give The Mighty Ones 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 12. You can find Season 2 streaming on Peacock and Hulu beginning July 1, 2021.

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

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



NEW SEARCH

All content ©Copyright 1991-2021 by Coalition for Quality Children's Media

Database search interactivity by NET MAN
Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest