The Family category has 2241 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
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FROM CRADLE TO STAGE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FROM CRADLE TO STAGE
PARAMOUNT PLUS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Directed by Dave Grohl and inspired by his mother, Virginia Hanlon Grohl, and her critically-acclaimed book, From Cradle to Stage: Stories from the Mothers Who Rocked and Raised Rock Stars, the Live Nation Productions FROM CRADLE TO STAGE is a dynamic personal exploration of the special relationship between successful musicians and their moms. The six-part series will debut exclusively on Paramount+.

Honest, humorous and emotional, each episode features a famous performer and their mother, alongside Dave and Virginia, as they take an impassioned journey home and explore each artists' upbringing and the tools they received as a young talent to survive the turbulence of success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - From Cradle To Stage is the ultimate music documentary series! From rock, to country, to pop, we learn so much about our favorite musicians and the women that raised them. A plus is that we get to see their adorable baby pictures.

This new series is based on the book by the same name written by Virginia Hanlon Grohl, mother of David Grohl, drummer of Nirvana and guitarist for the Foo Fighters. The two discuss what it was like raising and being raised as a rock star. They also team up with Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Pharell Williams, Miranda Lambert and their mothers to talk about the childhoods of these incredible artists. The show answers a loaded question, "What was it like to raise a musician?"

This show is so creative. Virginia's and David travel around the United States to learn more about their musical friends. It's so interesting seeing rare videos and pictures of the stars, along with first-hand stories about their formative years. From Cradle To Stage shows how the love of music runs in the veins of these artists from an early age. You see how Virginia's love of music spread to David, who grew up surrounded by music. It's very insightful to watch how a mother's love and support encouraged her child to pursue a mutual love for music. Although worrisome, these mothers always encouraged their children to pursue doing what they love. It's heartwarming to gaze upon the mothers' collection of framed platinum records and Rolling Stone magazines.

The moral of the series is to always have your child's back. In the music industry, where some become famous Grammy winners and others are not as lucky, these mothers always supported their children. Whether or not the parents supported the rock 'n' roll lifestyle and fame their child pursued, they always put their child's happiness first. Always asking, "How can we help?" There are some warnings for this series in regards to adult language and mentions of alcohol and drugs.

I give From Cradle To Stage 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for older teens plus adults. It is available on Paramount+ May 6, 2021.

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

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


JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR 11
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR 11
WARNER BRO. HOME ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11 - 18
Description - The Justice Society of America , a group of heroes aiding the allies in World War 2, acquire an ally from the future who sends them on an adventure that changes history.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What could possibly go above and beyond the Scarlet Speedster himself? Justice Society: WWII! This new action-packed, animated feature film packs much more than a super-sonic punch; showing crazy character development and fascinating emotional exploration. The film relives a classic art style that will not only make you feel nostalgic, but continuously make you feel like you are on the edge of your seat, dying to find out what will happen next. The movie extinguishes any sense of repetitive stories; providing new never seen before action.

Justice Society: WWII follows everyone's favorite speedster, the Flash (Matt Bomer), as he accidentally uses his speed to travel to WWII, finding himself in a cluster of situations. When he meets Wonder Woman (Stana Katic) and proves his loyalty, the Flash must fight his way next to the Justice Society to defeat the Nazis and find his way home. Every character exceeds expectations, yet Black Canary (Elysia Rotaru) and Hawkman (Omid Abtahi) are truly the "scene stealers," demonstrating remarkable chemistry that you will never forget.

Justice Society: WWII pushes the boundaries for modern day 2D animation. The action scenes really display the power of animation and how real it can seem. At times you forget you are even watching a movie because the animation is so immersive and hypnotizing. Another exquisite subtle detail about the movie is the writing. Jeremy Adams and Meghan Fitzmartin wrote a story exploring new angles of these classic characters that we have never seen before. Although the writing is extremely on point; the time period falls short. Throughout the film the WWII time period feels a little sugar-coated and doesn't really demonstrate the impact of the violence during that time. Justice Society: WWII soars faster than Jay Garrick does, checking all the boxes with extravagant character development and extraordinary animation you will never get tired of.

The film has themes of friendship, and the idea that you can do anything you want if you work as a team. It is rated PG-13 for violence and some bloody images. The WWII time period brings with it many sensitive topics, animated violence and some mild curse words. The film can be intense at times, really targeting its viewership to older DC fans.

Justice Society: WWII is clearly one of the best DC animated films, therefore I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find Justice Society: WWII on Blu-Ray or your nearest digital retailer, so make sure to check it out!

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

Justice Society: World War II is a good film because it mixes the superhero genre with real life. The film features some classic heroes like Wonder Woman (Stana Katic), Superman (Darren Criss) and Flash (Matt Bomer) and has them in a real life time period. The animation is a little different from what I expected with Flash appearing older than Superman and Wonder Woman's face not as soft, her voice deeper and her mannerisms more robotic.

The story follows a group called the Justice Society of America aiding the allies during World War II. While on the mission they meet a hero from the future, Flash, from and team up with him in order to end the war and help him return home. As they work to assist the allies and rescue innocent citizens, another unexpected war erupts. This all happens as Steve Trevor keeps proposing to Wonder Woman and she keeps saying no because it is not the right time.

This film has a great idea and introduces some retro characters with an updated plot line to a new generation of DC fans. All of the film's voice over actors are terrific. In addition to Stana Katic, Matt Bomer and Darren Criss, we get Omid Abtahi as Hawkman, Elysia Rotaru as Black Canary, Matthew Mercer as Hourman and Chris Diamantopoulos as Steve Trevor. It helps with continuity of these films when some of the same voice actors are used as they are here, especially when other characters are introduced and those characters mirror ones that we already know. In this film, Flash is my favorite character. It was good to see him in a more serious role, even though he still has some classic Flash silliness. Stana's take on a more "take-charge" Wonder Woman is the star of this film. Since this version of Wonder Woman hasn't been around humans as much, she is a bit more aggressive in her tactics.

The message of this film is to not wait to live your life even when other things are going on in the world. Tomorrow is not promised so don't be afraid to do things that make you happy. You can fight for good causes and live your life at the same time.

Justice Society: World War II gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults who love superheroes can watch this as well. Justice Society: World War 11 is available now on digital platforms and Blu-ray/DVD.

Reviewed by Ayden P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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


CEREBRUM
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CEREBRUM
SP DISTRIBUTION Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An artist agrees to help his estranged father work on a memory-transfer technology that would help Alzheimer's patients. However, when his dad dies under mysterious circumstances, he sets out to unravel the truth and further his research.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The new movie Cerebrum is a sci-fi film that gives viewers a sense of what a path to insanity looks like. With an interesting concept, deception and lies, and the pursuit to uncover the truth, Cerebrum will keep your eyes glued to the screen until the end. For thought-provoking, mind-altering entertainment, this is the movie to watch.

Cerebrum is about a man named Tom (Christian James) who returns to his father's home despite their tough, unfavorable relationship. Not long after arriving, Tom finds that his father Kirk (James Russo) is working on creating digital brains so that Alzheimer's patients would never lose their memory. Enticed by a monetary payoff, Tom gives in to his father, agrees to become a guinea pig for this secret, untested procedure, and ends up committing a crime that he can't remember. Working with Chloe (Alexxis Lemire), he has to uncover the truth before it's too late.

This movie has a well-executed tone. The story is chaotic and dangerous, and is complemented by darkness and dusky colors. The setting for most of Cerebrum takes place in a dark and messy lab. This creates tension and gives the movie an eerie feel. Along with the settings, the characters' wardrobe also matches the film's tone. Tom always wears dark colors that match his character's personality and the film's plot. The background music, arranged by Edward Antonio, enhances the sense of conflict. For instance, in one scene where Tom and Andy (Anirudh Pisharody) are fighting outside, the music keeps building and building until the end of their fight. It emphasizes what is going on, which makes the scene more memorable. Although Cerebrum intends to highlight the process of sharing memories between people, the parts of the storyline where people actually exchange minds is somewhat confusing. Even if you are paying close attention, if you miss one thing, you could be thrown off entirely. Despite this, the film kept me interested until the end.

The message of Cerebrum is that the truth will always come out. Even though many people accuse Tom of committing the crime, he still perseveres to uncover what really happened and eventually, others learned the truth as well. There is some profanity, so a parent should be aware of that.

Cerebrum is a captivating film, especially for fans of science fiction. It's definitely unlike anything I've ever seen before. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Cerebrum releases to VOD May 4, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

Reviewed by Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


CRAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CRAPPY MOTHER'S DAY
UNCORK'D ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Three generations of women come together on Mother's Day. Things don't go as planned.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Crappy Mother's Day is sure to get some laughs out of you and it comes out just in time for Mother's Day.

If you think your family is crazy, think again. When three generations of women, Sarah (Kristen Krak), Totie (Jackie Debatin) and Grandma (Vivien Landau) attempt to celebrate Mother's Day, things go from bad to worse - immediately. From a senile grandmother to whacky uncles to a grandpa who is buried in the backyard, keeping the family together for a single day proves a difficult task, especially when Sarah brings her fianc� into the mix. You don't need to be a master chef to figure out that this is a recipe for a really "Crappy Mother's Day."

Director Dan Karlok lets go of the reins and allows slap stick comedy to insert itself at every turn of the movie. Though the comedy is hilarious, some of the scenes are a bit longer than needed and a bit random. The acting is wonderful, making this family look absolutely wacky and wild. None of the relationships seem normal. Kristen Krak, as Sarah, really appears to be the only normal person in the family. Addison Anderson, as James, plays a very fun character that breaks out of his shell as the movie develops. Bill Rutkoski, the crazed fianc� of Totie, is very believable. I certainly wouldn't want him for a stepdad. Vivien Landau plays the perfect mean, old grandma. John Rutkoski and Mike Rutkoski, as Uncle Lenny and Uncle Donny respectively, nail the Planet of the Apes-obsessed uncles. My favorite characters are Grandma and Aunt Sonny (Marie Lenzie) because they are the most entertaining. They are always arguing and fighting in humorous ways, like two old, senile bats that love tormenting each other.

The message that is your family is the only family you have and, as crazy as you think they might be, they love you. Also, when getting married, be prepared for your newly expanded family and find something in common, even if it's just Planet of the Apes boxers. There is profanity, some mature topics and heavy drinking.

I give Crappy Mother's Day 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on VOD May 4, 2021

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


CITY OF GHOSTS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CITY OF GHOSTS
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 2-8
Description - A group of kids discover stories around their city by communicating directly with the ghosts who inhabit it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What could possibly be clever, charming and also refreshing? The new short series City of Ghosts! displays a new authentic animation style that is really pleasing to the eye and will make you want to watch the show more and more. The show delivers a very creative plot that makes you fall in love with both the show and its characters.

City of Ghosts follows a group of children that love ghosts. Together they decide to make a homemade show discovering different ghosts around the city. The children go to various places meeting new people and new friends.

City of Ghosts has a very different animation style than most other shows. The physical characters are animated, but the environment around them is real world settings. This seems odd at first, but over time you start to adore it. The animation really stands out because of this creative new angle of animation it delivers.

The show has many themes of friendship, family and exploration. City of Ghosts also has many morals. It teaches children the importance of creativity and the concept that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I give City of Ghosts 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 2 to 6. This was definitely a highlight of the New York International Film Festival and is available now on Netflix.

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


TINY WORLD
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TINY WORLD
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - A look at the world through the eyes of the tiniest creatures and witness the extraordinary things they do to survive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever wondered what if it would be like if you were tiny? Well, the documentary series, Tiny World, explores the world of tiny creatures, some of which live right beneath our feet.

This series takes an unforeseen look into the world of minuscule animals and looks into the advantages and disadvantages of being such a small size in a massive world. Each episode follows the lives of multiple species in the same habitat and what they must do to survive and thrive.

Writers Tom Hugh Jones and Pamela Ribon have created a perfectly comical and intriguing script that Paul Rudd (Ant Man, What If) so ironically narrates. The macro cinematography, shot at such a small scale with such detail, had my mouth down to the floor. All the intricate details are captivating with their up-close perspective along with the sounds of these miniscule critters. My favorite part about this show is when the audience gets a real glimpse of what it is like to be so small! The message of this show suggests that, while you may be small, what makes you unique makes you necessary in this big world. This series is educational and enlightening.

I give Tiny World 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. It is streaming now on AppleTV+.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!

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


MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES, THE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - A quirky, dysfunctional family's road trip is upended when they find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse and suddenly become humanity's unlikeliest last hope.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Mitchells vs. The Machines is a must-see animated, action packed, comedic film! It's complete with robots, evil smartphones and one crazy unexpected family adventure to save planet Earth. The fight scenes and special effects are literally out of this world.

The storyline follows protagonist Katie Mitchell (Abbi Jacobson), a creative outsider who is looking forward to meeting "her people" at her new film school. Her dad, who just wants to keep his family together, decides to go on a cross-country road trip to take her there instead of Katie flying, so they can bond one last time. On the way, the family ends up in the middle of a robot uprising and now it's up to the Mitchells to work together to save the world.

The main characters in this film are Katie, her dad Rick (Danny McBride), little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda), mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and family dog Monchi (Doug the Pug). This film is all about connecting. Its director, Michael Rianda, uses every part of the creative process to make sure the audience relates to the characters. The storyline and the Mitchell's road trip are based on a real road trip some of the staff took while not using cell phones and just connecting. I love how the film combines both an illustrative, hand-painted approach and realism animation style to help develop the characters. Rianda helped develop Katie's character by making her love for filmmaking a focal point throughout the movie. There are hilarious freeze-frame moments where Katie is writing on a screen, it's almost as if she is the narrator. One of my favorite scenes is when Linda turns into a "super" mom and takes on the robots to try to protect her kids. I also like that Rick and Katie's family song "Live Your Life" by T.I. and featuring Rihanna is used to represent their relationship and wrap up the theme of the movie.

The message of this film is that everyone in a family has their own personality and you should just let people be themselves and focus more on understanding and connecting to them. In this film, Katie is considered a "weirdo" because she isn't like everyone else. The film shows how you should embrace your "weird" qualities, because that's what makes you unique.

I rate The Mitchells vs. The Machines 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases April 30, 2021 on Netflix.

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


EARTH AT NIGHT IN COLOR
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EARTH AT NIGHT IN COLOR
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10-18
Description - The moonlit dramas of animals at night, revealing new insights and never before seen behaviors.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Earth at Night in Color stands apart from many documentary series. The latest camera technologies that are used in this series deliver a documentary with a fresh look at nature.

This show documents the lives of various species across the world in different habitats, during nighttime. However, even in the low light, the cinematography we see is in full color!

The photography and camera team for this series must be commended for their astonishing and brave work filming these dangerous and majestic creatures in the dead of night. All of the habitats are so well colored and clear, to the point that I could not differentiate night to day. Narrated by Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Avengers: Endgame) who adds a youthful and professional voice. My favorite part is at the end of each episode when we get a behind-the-scenes look into how a particular episode was shot in the dark. It leaves the audience no questions about how this was filmed; a question many have after watching documentaries about nature.

The film's message challenges the idea 'there is more than meets the eye." While the dark may seem scary and unpredictable, the sun always shines back in the morning.

I give The Earth at Night in Color 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it on AppleTV+ now. By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!

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


TRUFFLE HUNTERS, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TRUFFLE HUNTERS, THE
SONY CLASSICAL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, a handful of men, seventy or eighty years young, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle-which to date has resisted all of modern science's efforts at cultivation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With all of the chaos in the world, this down-to-earth film, The Truffle Hunters, is perfect to sit down and watch with a bag of popcorn and enjoy. There are dogs, adventure, scandal and more-what's not to like? The Truffle Hunters is a documentary any dog lover will particularly enjoy, as well, since dogs feature prominently in the search for these underground delicacies that mainly grow in woods.

The Truffle Hunters follows four truffle hunters: Carlo Gonella, Sergio Cauda, Aurelio Conterno and Angelo Gagliardi about their work finding truffles along with their dogs. This documentary takes viewers on a journey into the behind-the-scenes process of sniffing out truffles. It is an analytic and emotional exploration of how this indulgent treat is procured. These four truffle hunters are in their older years in life, but still carry an inspirational passion for what they do. Their dogs are no less amazing: Birba, Biri, Charlie, Fiona, Nina and Yari. There are so many elements to this film that make it unique, for example, the cinematography, done by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw. The different camera angles and perspectives allow you to get a bird's eye view from atop a tree of a man and his dog charging on the snowy terrain or you could be seeing from the POV of a dog hunting and sniffing for truffles along with your human. These different perspectives allow audiences to really embody some of the characters.

The Truffle Hunters was really fascinating to me, because I had no idea what truffles taste like, but after watching this documentary I can't help but imagine. Before the truffle ends up in a wealthy person's mouth, we are shown what happens along the way: the unbreakable bond between hunter and dog; the questionable transactions between hunter and seller; the selling itself, and oh-so-much sniffing by wealthy people looking for an expensive treat. My favorite part of The Truffle Hunters is with Carlo, and his loyal dog Titana. Every scene with them in it is sure to pull on your heartstrings.

Perhaps "enjoy the finer and simpler things in life" is what everyone will take away from The Truffle Hunters. Or maybe the message is, "sometimes it is good to stop and smell...the truffles." This documentary does contain some description of mild violence, smoking and drinking.

I give The Truffle Hunters 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST!

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


FAMILY REUNION (SEASON 2)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FAMILY REUNION (SEASON 2)
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 9-18
Description - When the McKellan family moves from Seattle to Georgia to be closer to extended family, the transition is like being a catfish out of water.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The NAACP award-winning series Family Reunion is back for another season, featuring new characters, fresh plots and musical interludes that will hook viewers from the start. Family Reunion Season 2 is definitely binge-worthy!

Season 2, Part 3 of Family Reunion is about ex-NFL tight end, Moses McKellan (Anthony Alabi), and his wife, Cocoa (Tia Mowry-Hardrict), as they and their four children continue living with Moses' parents M'Dear and Grandpa (Loretta Devine and Richard Roundtree.) After finding out about their financial issues, Moses and Cocoa attempt to get everything back in order. With that comes conflict, challenges in faith, and hardships, but they lean on each other to figure everything out.

Fans of Family Reunion will notice right away that Part 3 sets itself apart from the previous season - for example, by highlighting the vocal ability of the cast. In addition to being an actor, Cameron J. Wright, who plays Mazzi, is a singer in a band. Previously, we saw a bit of singing from him; however, this season we see him performing a lot of musical numbers and his singing has improved. Also, the wardrobe team has stepped up their game and really understands each character and chooses outfits that are vibrant, stylish and satisfy the personalities of each of the characters. The topics they discuss in Part 3 are much more mature as well. For example, there is a death of one of the characters, which is something many people can relate to. The writers and actors convey the story in such a way that people will have an emotional response to that episode.

The message of Family Reunion is to keep your faith even when things get tough, and remember you can always count on your family to be there when you need them. The members of the McKellan family have their ups and downs. But when they remain strong, connected to one another and rely on God, everything eventually falls into place. There are sensitive topics such as death and race relations, but, other than that, it's a family-friendly show.

Family Reunion is a great series that has a lot of potential to be a family favorite. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18 plus adults. Family Reunion season 2 premiered on April 5, 2021 on Netflix. So go check it out!

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

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


LIVE FROM MOUNT OLYMPUS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LIVE FROM MOUNT OLYMPUS
PRX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - Combining the talent of contemporary theater with the power of Greek myths, this podcast is an audio adventure for audiences of all ages. When young Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from the clutches of an evil king, he has to strike out on a dangerous quest. Hermes, god of luck and thieves (Hadestown's Andr� De Shields), is the host for this tale of terrifying monsters, powerful gods, and a brave girl who will change our hero's life forever. This is a production of the Onassis Foundation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Live from Mount Olympus is entertaining because it teaches Greek mythological lessons to tweens and makes it more digestible, appropriate and action-packed.

The podcast is perfect for tweens that are interested in Greek mythology and find the exciting stories entertaining. Hermes, the god of luck and thieves, is the host and acts as the messenger between the gods and humans. Throughout each episode, the listener learns about Perseus trying to save his mother from an evil King by using his power and perseverance. Each episode begins with a recap, presents a quest that Perseus goes on, a lesson he learns, and ends with an ad for similar podcasts.

The podcast is very well produced and is highly entertaining, while simultaneously educating tweens about Greek mythology. The episodes range from approximately 20 to 30 minutes in length. The sound effects, voices and overall soundscape made it seem like I was really there in the midst of the action. At some points, I closed my eyes and could easily picture the interactions between the characters playing out in my head, due to the great attention to detail pertaining to the spatial awareness. I recommend listening with earphones to get the full effect. Another interesting component of this podcast is that the listener can take a quiz to see what Greek god they are.

The message of this podcast is that anyone can be their own hero; in other words, believe in yourself.

I give Live from Mount Olympus 5 out 5 stars and recommend this for ages 8 to 13. You can listen to this now on TRAX at: https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Live from Mount Olympus is a fresh take on effervescent Greek mythology with witty narration and amazing production quality that is sure to hook any and all listeners and spark an interest in these ancient stories.

This TRAX podcast, backed by the Onassis Foundation, centers around Perseus (Divine Garland), our young hero who you may know from the Medusa myth. Perseus makes a rash promise to save his mother from an evil king and embarks upon several crazy adventures along the way. The show is narrated by Perseus' sibling, another son of Zeus, Hermes (Andr� De Shields), god of luck and thieves. The podcast has everything mythology fans will love: terrifying monsters, rich plot lines, powerful gods, the quintessential Greek theatrical elements of family, love and discovering oneself and your capabilities.

Live from Mount Olympus is produced by the Onassis Foundation. Many of the individuals on the podcast's team are Tony award-winners or Peabody-award winners, and their prowess shows. The brilliantly-designed audio blends rich, mellifluous background music with spry, enthralling and engaging narration. Perseus' and Hermes' witty repartee also invites even those who loathe mythology (who could?) to listen to the podcast. Even though it's a podcast, I could visualize all the characters right in front of me, especially the Gorgons and other monsters. Overall, the voice acting and production quality combine to make this podcast an even more fun and enriching experience!

Live from Mount Olympus promotes messages of perseverance, courage and exploration - three key elements to any Greek hero. It's a great podcast for young kids to listen to in their free time for entertainment purposes; they'll surely pick up some positive qualities from the podcast.

I give Live from Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. Adults will enjoy this podcast as well. You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

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

Live From Mount Olympus is an interesting podcast retelling the Greek myth of Perseus with a few flaws, but plenty of mythical elements, characterized voice acting, and nice sound effects. This is a great podcast for kids and young teens who love myths!

This podcast follows Perseus (Divine Garland) as he braves the quest of collecting the gorgon Medusa's head. In addition to this mission, the episodes reveal some interesting relationships as Perseus journeys home. If you always wanted to know what happened from the time Perseus gets Medusa's head to when he returns to his island, this podcast is for you.

Many traditional stories include mythical elements and Live From Mount Olympus uses plenty of these, including sea serpents, gorgons, gods, royalty and so much more. Along with these elements, realistic sound effects are used to pull you in so that you can't stop hitting the next play button! Sound effects are vital because there is nothing on the screen to guide you. Natural sounds like birds, rushing water and wind are often in the background, making it more realistic. Sometimes podcasts only have background noises when it is important to the plot, but that is Live from Mount Olympus makes full use of them throughout each episode. Voice acting is the key aspect when creating podcasts and the actors have to use the tone of their voices to help the audience understand what's going on. Most of these episodes have plenty of characterized acting, but in some action scenes it is hard to understand exactly what is happening. Sometimes the suspense level is low because I was not sure what was going on. For example, in Medusa's cave, it is supposed to be a very breathtaking moment. I found that, because I was unsure where everyone is or what they're doing, it lost some excitement. The characters are noticeably different in this podcast than in the original stories. This could be disappointing if you're hoping for more character connections to those stories. Perseus does not have as much pride as his character originally had, and has other personality differences.

The message of this podcast is do not let your pride get in the way. Showing how bravery is rewarded is another component.

I give Live From Mount Olympus 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Listen to Live From Mount Olympus on Trax at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

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

The Live from Mount Olympus podcast is great. It's really engaging and it follows one of my favorite topics -- Greek mythology. The introduction introduces Perseus and it's amazing how they bring this story to life! -- even in the introduction.

The storyline follows Perseus, son of Zeus and princess Danae. Baby Perseus, due to a prophecy of him killing his grandfather, is locked in a wooden crate along with his mother and pushed out to sea. The crate lands on Seriphus, where Perseus grows up, oblivious to his destiny. When King Polydectes tries to force Danae to marry him, Perseus makes a crazy vow to save his mother from the evil king and it leads him on all sorts of quests. Medusa? Sea monsters? The titan Atlas? Bring it on!

I've read a lot of mythology and know that when a God has a child with a mortal, that child is considered a demigod. Demi means half, which means that person is half-god. The most famous demigods in Greek Mythology are Heracles and Perseus. This is a great introduction to the myth of Perseus. When I read about Perseus, his story is barely mentioned, because there was so much else to talk about. This podcast is a really nice presentation of Perseus' story. It's super engaging. I love how writers Alexie Basil and Nathan Yungerberg wrote it so it is very lifelike and you feel as if you are actually there watching it all. I also like the accent of Andromeda; when I heard that, I sort of perked up. It makes you pay attention. Tony Award-winner Andre De Shields voices Hermes, messenger of the gods and narrator of the show. He just makes you want to keep listening! The only issue I have is that sometimes the tone of the voiceovers doesn't match the words they are saying. The entire podcast is super engaging. I don't think I could imagine a better adaptation of the myth of Perseus.

The podcast teaches multiple lessons - think before you speak; listen to your parents; don't make rash promises are a few.

I really like Live from Mount Olympus and rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It's engaging; it's amazing. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18, plus adults. If a person enjoys Greek mythology, this podcast is a must. Even my five-year-old brother was hooked! You can listen to Live from Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus

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

The podcast Live From Mount Olympus tells an intriguing tale filled with action and adventure, that is sure to leave you itching to hear the next episode.

The podcast is based on Greek mythology, narrated by Andre De Shields as the voice of Hermes, the ancient God of thieves, luck and much more. Divine Garland plays the role of a boy named Perseus, who is the son of Zeus, God of the sky and leader of the Olympians and Jullian Walker plays Danea. Perseus makes a rash promise to an evil king to save his mom and ends up embarking on a dangerous journey.

This podcast is about characters from Greek mythology that go on a new quest which is not from the original Greek myths. The voice actors all make this feel like a story that is taking place. We hear a range of emotions in their voices from fear to annoyance, and more. They make this new story something that makes history believable. The sound effects are excellent and really enhance the story. This is a podcast where sometimes things get really fast and intense, but you can easily figure out what is happening - especially if you are into Greek mythology. It is an amazing podcast which I hope will have a sequel.

The message is to be careful what you promise to do and take things seriously when you are considering doing something. In this story, Perseus makes a rash promise without knowing what he has to do to save his mom. He ends up getting a task that some people think is impossible. If he had thought more about what he said, he might not have been stuck with the situation that he was.

I give Live From Mount Olympus 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18, plus adults. I also recommend you review the original story of Perseus before you listen to this. This is an adventure you will not want to miss. You can listen to Live From Mount Olympus on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/live-from-mount-olympus.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 17 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: AUDIO


RK/RKAY
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RK/RKAY
101 STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURES, AGES 15-18
Description - RK is a filmmaker, making a new film, in which he also plays the lead character of Mahboob. Its a quaint film, like a tribute to the cinema of the sixties. People close to him are not really sure why RK wants to make this film.. Edit begins and RK has a sinking feeling that this film is not going to come together, that this time he has really screwed up. His nightmares warn him of an impending disaster. Sure enough, one afternoon RK gets a call from the edit room- something terrible has happened. Mahboob has run away, run out of the film. Nobody can really understand why would he leave, where would he go. But he is not there anymore in the rushes- missing from the film negative as well. The fact is Mahboob was running away from his killers, and somehow he left the film and arrived in our world. RK finds him, brings him home- but Mahboob has no idea where he is from, or that he is any different from people around him. Slowly, he is told. They must convince him to go back to the film, so that RK can finish his film.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A mind-bending film, RK/RKAY is a multi-layered film, shot and edited with care for small details. You'll be tuned in, trying to figure out where the plot will go next, throughout the duration of the film.

The storyline follows filmmaker RK (Rajat Kapoor) who is in the process of directing and starring in his film. He plays the lead character of Mahboob. The film opens with a nostalgic vignette for 1960s Bollywood films - the clamor on set, a high-maintenance actress as the female lead Gulabo (Mallika Sherawat) and a slight sepia tone. Everything seems to be going just fine when the editing for the film begins, but RK gets a call from the editing room. Mahboob has run out of the film and has somehow entered the real world, fleeing from the film's cartoonish killers when RK finds him and brings him home to sort things out. RK must convince Mahboob to go back into the world of the film, as that is where he belongs.

RK/RKAY is a crowd-funded film, but you cannot tell from the incredible production quality. Director Rajat Kapoor is an experienced short and feature length film director and his expertise, even with a low budget, is evident. I am blown away by the cinematography, script and overall production quality. The film-within-a-film premise requires clear dialogue to avoid confusion, and RK/RKAY delivers. Even though it is a Hindi film, the subtitles are clear and you can easily follow what's happening. I also love the cinematography; the film makes amazing use of light and shadows as well as colors. The film that RK is producing has a bit of a sepia or golden tint to it, as does Mahboob when he enters the real world. Depending on their mood, characters may be placed halfway, completely, or not at all in the shadow. Though the film tends to drag a bit in the second half, the whole production effort is impressive enough that one gets pulled back into the film.

RK/RKAY promotes messages of finding yourself, being dedicated to your projects, and staying true to love.

I give RK/RKAY 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15-18, plus adults. RK/RKAY premieres in the US and Canada on May 14, 2021, in theatres and virtually.

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

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


SECRETS OF THE WHALES
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRETS OF THE WHALES
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTATY, AGES 8-18
Description - Filmed across 24 locations over three years, this saga ventures into the world of whales to reveal life and love from their perspective and explores the cultures of orcas, belugas, narwhals, sperm whales, and humpback whales.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever been told that our oceans are very mysterious and that they hold many secrets that are likely to be hidden forever? Well, that's certainly true - our oceans are indeed mysterious and some of the most amazing secrets hidden deep within our oceans have recently been discovered and are ready to be shared with the world in a new National Geographic four-part documentary series. Secrets of the Whales spotlights four species of whales and uncovers their secrets and stories of survival with "first time" evidence and never-before-seen coverage. This series is epic and one you are going to want to witness!

Secrets of the Whales brings alive the visions of both Academy Award winning filmmaker and conservationist James Cameron and acclaimed National Geographic Explorer and Photographer Brian Skerry as they share their knowledge and research finding of some of the most intelligent giants living on our planet. Filmed across three years and in 24 locations, this documentary series, narrated by award-winning actress Sigourney Weaver, takes viewers on an amazing journey into the lives of orcas, humpbacks, belugas, and sperm whales. From Cameron and Skerry's work we gain such an expansive understanding and appreciation of whale family dynamics, social bonds, communication and tradition. It's the "secrets these mammals share which help them prevail."

This series has me completely captivated throughout all four episodes. Seeing the variety of marine life within their natural habitat is just jaw-dropping. With such stunning photography and action-packed video footage, the cinematography in Secret of the Whales is the best I've ever seen. As each scene is presented to viewers, you get a sense of being right there and consumed within each moment. To pick a favorite episode within this series would be impossible, since each episode is so unique with new secrets of the whales being unveiled to viewers.

The common message within all four episodes of Secrets of the Whales is centered around culture. These whale families must work together in a sophisticated manner if they are going to survive and be successful as a species. Whales are highly evolved creatures that have the complexity of family bonds, language, feeding patterns, emotions and interesting secrets. It is critical that these traditions be taught to offspring and passed down throughout the generations.

I give Secrets of the Whales 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults, especially those interested in marine ecology and conservation will certainly appreciate these films as well. Secrets of the Whales will begin streaming on Earth Day April 22, 2021 on Disney+. What a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Don't miss this series!

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

If someone came up to you and asked whether you liked reading facts or fiction, chances are you'd probably say fiction. And I can relate. Let's face it, the real world can be boring, but Secrets of the Whales definitely is not. Its pictures and views are absolutely outstanding; it has pretty unknown facts; and, best of all, it hooks you in! Kudos to the creators of Secrets of the Whales for making it something I can't stop watching.

This show is a classic documentary series that gives an inside look into the lives of whales. From raising their young, to getting them food, to teaching them to swim and where they live, Secrets of the Whales is an in-depth show that doesn't miss a fact.

The show is amazingly entertaining; it's like a dramatic show, but with a little less drama and featuring whales instead of humans. We learn that whales feel emotions and grieve as well. Drama like this is definitely a factor that got me hooked into the show. One thing I need to call attention to is the images and cinematography. National Geographic Explorer and Photographer, Brian Skerry brings expansive knowledge and research to the film. Cinematographer Brian Armstrong's images are clear and relevant, always providing a highly appreciable visual match to the story. Narrator Sigourney Weaver also has a clear voice and talks slowly as well as loudly, so we can hear her and understand her well.

When I watched this show, I definitely learned a lot about the lives of whales. They are a lot smarter than we think. This was a very educational experience. It is definitely a family-friendly show.

I recommend Secrets of the Whales for ages 6 to 18, plus adults and give it x out of 5 stars. Secrets of The Whales is produced by National Geographic and releases on Disney+ on Earth Day, April 22, 2021. Be sure to check it out.

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

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARLO THE ALLIGATOR BOY
NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - Arlo the Alligator Boy is an American 2D animated adventure musical film by Ryan Crego in his directorial debut. Arlo is a young humanoid alligator that travels to the big city in hopes of reuniting with his estranged father and meets a colorful cast of characters along the way.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Arlo the Alligator Boy is a new movie that grabs your attention with fun characters and catchy songs. Talented actors and singers, combined with great writing make this a movie you don't want to miss!

The storyline is about a half-boy/half-alligator named Arlo (Michael J. Woodard), who was abandoned as a baby. He is raised by a woman named Edmee (Annie Potts) that protects him from the world and gives him everything he needs. But as Arlo gets older, he yearns to find his family, and figure out who he really is. So, Arlo sets out on a journey to find his father in the Big Apple (New York City) and meets Bertie (Mary Lambert) and some new friends that help him along the way.

My favorite element of this film is the music. The casting team, led by Ruth Lambert and Robert McGee put together a wonderful cast. I can't tell if they cast good actors that could sing, or good singers that could act, because they are equally talented in both. My favorite song is "Better Life" performed by Ansel (Vincent Rodriguez III). It's upbeat and there are some high notes that make it memorable, really setting it apart from the other songs. All of the characters are very different, each with its own special qualities. The animation has subtle and unsubtle parts for each character. My favorite character is Marcell whose random outbursts and fragmented statements are hilarious and relatable. If I was in the same situations he was in, I would probably respond in similar ways. The voice actors really surprised me with how terrific their performances are. They made this a movie something I would definitely watch more than once.

The message of Arlo the Alligator Boy is that it's okay to let go of whatever is holding you back, and sometimes letting go is the best thing for you. Arlo has to let go of Edmee if he wants to find his dad; and Bertie has to let go of her unfortunate past if she wants to embrace a new, better version of herself. There is some mild violence, but it contributes to the comedic aspects of the film.

Arlo the Alligator Boy is a great movie! I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. Adults will also enjoy watching this with their kids, as it's a great family film. Arlo the Alligator Boy comes out on April 16, 2021 on Netflix worldwide. Check this new movie out, you're in for a treat.

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



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


YEAR EARTH CHANGED, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
YEAR EARTH CHANGED, THE
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 718
Description - Narrated by David Attenborough, never-before-seen footage shows how our living in lockdown opened the door for nature to bounce back and thrive. Across the seas, skies, and lands, Earth found its rhythm when we came to a stop.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Perfectly timed for Earth Day, The Year Earth Changed is a mesmerizing portrait of the natural world in a year of lockdowns and quarantine. It's a must-watch for nature lovers, and even if you aren't a nature lover, you'll love the cinematography!

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, The Year Earth Changed is a documentary featuring exclusive footage from five continents that shows you a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic - the planet was given a much-needed break! The BBC Natural History Unit compiled film from Jalandhar, India of the Himalayas on the horizon, of clear skies in polluted places like Los Angeles and China, of birdsongs in San Francisco, of whales in Glacier Bay and of hippos walking to the gas station in South Africa, among many others. The crew even got the chance to film a leopard, which adapted from its nocturnal routines to hunting in the daylight, within feet of their camera.

The Year Earth Changed is a beautifully constructed film, and the care taken in creating it and obtaining accurate facts is evident. There's little I can mention that would detract from the glory of elephants and humans living side-by-side, of Japanese deer running across the city to their old grazing patch, and of capybara finding new pastures in the homes of Argentina's suburban families. This is simply an amazing family watch.

The Year Earth Changed puts forth perhaps the most convincing argument that the pandemic has actually had an upside to it, showing real evidence of natural change and organisms thriving in their habitats, unbothered by humans. The message of the 48-minute film is to respect nature and recognize that after this pandemic, we need to do all we can to be kinder to the Earth.

I give The Year Earth Changed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 7 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it now on Apple TV+!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST!

Over the past year, humans across the globe have had to adapt while taking a pause due to the pandemic lockdown. Interestingly so, while our lives were a bit on hold, something very interesting and exciting has happened right under our noses. The absence of humans in a variety of ecosystems around the world has had a profound effect on the natural world. The Year Earth Changed is a compelling new, one-hour documentary that takes us on a journey to over 30 cities across five continents, detailing nature's response to the global pandemic. The film highlights for viewers that this global experiment is our "call to action" in making positive change for Mother Nature.

The Year Earth Changed is a magnificent documentary emphasizing the immediate need for reducing man's footprint on the natural world. The film shows us firsthand how we are able to transform the health of the planet by making adaptations in the way we live our lives. David Attenborough, narrator of the film, explains how striking changes on and below the surface of the earth, as well as within the atmosphere, can take place when humans allow more of a balance between them and nature. One year's worth of amazing research for this documentary displays how simple things such as the reduction of travel, crowds at beaches, and people within cities can improve our fragile ecosystems. The Year Earth Changed is a timely film and critical for us all to see!

This film is so uplifting and has a great deal to rave about. The beautiful photography, drone shots and elusive video footage are incredibly captivating. The flourishing habitats that are captured in this documentary certainly give us something to smile about. Executive producer Alice Keens-Soper and director Tom Beard have given the world something very special - a new appreciation for what humans can do to help preserve our global ecosystems. Every example we are presented with in The Year Earth Changed is inspiring and heartfelt. I can only hope that this story of change can be globally presented for all to witness.

The message in The Year Earth Changed is simple - man and nature must find a balance. If we are to share our planet with the variety of species that occupy it, we must live harmoniously. Modest changes in the way we live are vital for the future of our natural world. The speed at which nature is disappearing is alarming and, if we are unable to coexist, species will be lost forever. The Year Earth Changed is a "wake up call," and it's critical that its message be shared.

I give The Year Earth Changed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults would also love this documentary. The Year Earth Changed begins streaming on April 16, 2021 on Apple TV+. A great way to celebrate Earth Day is to encourage everyone to watch this film!

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

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


DAD STOP EMBARRASSING ME
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DAD STOP EMBARRASSING ME
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 14-18
Description - Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx), successful business owner and bachelor, just became a full-time father to his teenage daughter Sasha (Kyla-Drew). Determined to be the best father he can be, Brian's going to need all the help he can get from his dad (David Alan Grier) and sister (Porscha Coleman) -- and Sasha's going to need all the help she can get learning how to deal with her new, lovingly chaotic. Full of heart and humor, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is inspired by Foxx's real-life relationship with daughter Corinne Foxx, who also serves as executive producer.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is a fun, humorous show for teens, with great sets and talented casting, as well as some endearing imperfections. It's a great show to just kick back and watch, keeping your brain to the side and embracing the madness of the plot.

Speaking of the plot, Dad Stop Embarrassing Me is all about teen Sasha Dixon (Kyla-Drew), who moves back to Atlanta after her mother's passing to spend time with her father, Brian Dixon (Jamie Foxx), who is the heir of the cosmetics empire Bay Beauty. She has to adapt to her father's unique personality and lifestyle, and the show follows the father-daughter-duo as they navigate the complex landscape of their relationship. The show is supplemented by Pops (David Alan Grier), Sasha's happy-go-lucky grandfather, and Manny (Valente Rodriguez), the hilarious handyman. Zia Williams (Miracle Reigns), Sasha's enthusiastic yet comedically bumbling friend; Stacy (Heather Hemmens), Brian's significant other; Johnny (Jonathan Kite), a misfit cop, and Chelsea (Porscha Coleman), Sasha's lively aunt, also play important roles in moving the plot forward.

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me has a multi-camera setup, which aids in providing a great cinematographic experience, with various angles and types of shots. However, there are times where I wish the viewers could see more of the great city of Atlanta, given how much it's hyped up in the first two episodes. The script also takes advantage of the multi-camera setup by allowing characters to break the fourth wall every so often, and speak to the audience directly. This was funny the first few times it happened, but one soon realizes it's used as a comedic device in somewhat not funny scenes. Moving to the cast, I love Jamie Foxx's performance as Brian and Kyla-Drew as Sasha, but the supporting characters really shine. Pops, Chelsea and Stacy especially are strong characters. Grier, Hemmens and Coleman truly show their talent. The most important aspect is that the cast's dynamic is truly like that of a family, and this translates beautifully on screen. Though the show has some hiccups, what is a comedy show if not just that - imperfect? That's what makes it funny, right?

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me promotes positive messages of sticking up for each other, responsibility, resourcefulness, making the most of what you have and being committed. Parents should know there is some mild profanity and some references to drugs and sex. It's rated TV-14, so it's best if you're an older teen watching this show.

I give Dad Stop Embarrassing Me 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It premieres April 14, 2021 on Netflix.

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

Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! is a humorous TV series for older teens and adults that will make you think about and laugh at all those embarrassing family moments and family members in your life. It combines comedy with different issues facing people today. Each character has its own unique personality that creates a family that many people will relate to. The humor and drama in each episode kept me entertained.

This series is about a girl named Sasha (Kyla-Drew) who comes to live with her dad (Jamie Foxx) who is very overprotective and uptight about his daughter, while she is extremely outgoing and independent. They are always disagreeing with each other and arguing but they still love each other at the end of the day. Her aunt (Porscha Coleman), grandfather (David Alan Grier) and family friends are also a big part of their lives and the show. Each episode tackles a new problem typical of teens and parents today and we see those problems addressed as they work through them as a family.

My favorite scene is when they are all having a cookout where Pops and his siblings compete to see who can prepare the best meal and they keep sabotaging each other's foods. They keep trying to outdo each other to win the competition. Both the lines and the actions are hilarious. This scene had me laughing out loud and anticipating what was going to happen next. I also like how the actors break the fourth wall sometimes by speaking their thoughts out loud into the camera, so we get to see how they feel in that scene. The way the characters dress fits perfectly with their personalities. The dad is a businessman; Sasha is a typical teen; and Pops is a laid-back grandpa. The theme song at the beginning is very catchy and upbeat. The lyrics represent what many teens think. They like their parents, but don't want to be embarrassed. I also like that the show is a modern multi-generational family that is learning to accept each other's differences as the episodes continue.

This show shows us the importance of family and how they're always going to be there for us. Families may not be perfect, but they want what is best for you, even if it may not seem that way in the moment. It also highlights the importance of forgiveness, especially if there are good intentions. You should be aware that there is mild profanity used frequently and there are also some mature topics such as talking about sex and weed.

I give Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! 5 out of 5 stars. It has humor and gripping storylines with current topics that will keep your undivided attention in each episode. I recommend this for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Dad Stop Embarrassing Me! releases on Netflix April 14, 2021.

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

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


GIGANTOSAURUS: SEASON 1, VOL.2
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GIGANTOSAURUS: SEASON 1, VOL.2
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-8
Description - Life is an adventure for 4 dinosaurs - new volcanoes are popping up all the time, long-necked brachiosauruses and enormous triceratopses roam free, meteor showers light up the night sky and the big bad Gigantosaurus reigns over it all!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 is such an upbeat and fun series and has the most delightful and beautiful color palette. The friendship between the dinosaurs seems very genuine.

The storyline follows a group of dinosaurs that take off on adventures and deal with struggles such as planning parties and combating seasonal allergies. These dinos have fun together and their friendship is exceedingly strong. Some of the other dinosaurs claim that Gigantosaurus is the biggest and baddest of them all, but through their adventures together they realize that Giganto is not so bad after all.

Young children will enjoy this because of the fun, different-looking dinosaurs that are also spunky and likable. Of course, the adventures are fun and definitely relatable. Most importantly, various life lessons are woven into their dialogue, making it easy for kids to grasp. Each episode flows well and certainly makes sense. The structure goes as follows: the dinosaurs encounter a problem (whether it is losing an hour of daytime or dealing with the sniffles), then the group faces obstacles, but ultimately Giganto helps them solve their problem. The material and vocabulary are suitable for the intended age group. For example, instead of using the word allergies, they call it the sniffles, since children can grasp the action of sniffling and sneezing better than the word allergies. The animation is great. The color scheme is always vibrant - light blue, green and yellow, which is also calming. The DVD cover shows a big jungle that is also shown in the episodes. The backgrounds are whimsical and vast and incorporate small details such as volcanoes and big trees. The visuals most definitely relate to the dinosaurs' jungle adventures. The user can select any episode they want, fast forward through them, or drag the buffer button across the screen. It also remembers where you left off.

The show focuses on problem-solving and not jumping to conclusions. For example, while planning a party, everything seems to go wrong, but through communication and problem solving, the dinosaurs are able to create a fun party and Giganto makes them realize, all the elements of the party do not matter, it's being with friends that makes a party. Two takeaways for children are "never judge a book by its cover" and "do not jump to conclusions."

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Vol.2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Younger children will enjoy the beautiful visuals and cool, vibrant looking dinosaurs. Older ones will understand the messages, while also appreciating the visuals.

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 will bring much entertainment to young dino-lovers. The animation is colorful, the storyline is full of adventures and the message is always positive.

This DVD follows the travels of four young dinosaurs named Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tiny (Aine Sunderland) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), who live in the Cretaceous period. Episodes include The Floating Stone, Racing Giganto, A Tiny Favor, Crying Wolfasurus, and How Giganto Got His Roar. This DVD has four hours of fun with 26 episodes.

I found the animation very appealing and really unique. It has vibrant backgrounds and a distinctive style that looks like the characters are hand drawn, but also look 3D. The voice work is very well executed. Mazu, voiced by Nahanni Mitchell, is a clever Ankylosaurus that always has a plan. Rocky, voiced by Dylan Schombing, however, just goes for it. Even his voice sounds adventurous. Aine Sunderland has a peppy and bubbly voice that fits Tiny's character perfectly. Bill, who is a shy Brachiosaurus, is voiced wonderfully by Nicholas Holmes. My favorite character is Tiny, the playful Triceratops, because she has a fun personality and I think I would be most like if I was a dinosaur in the Cretaceous period. My favorite episode is An Artist is Born, which is about Tiny's older brother finding a new passion. The award-winning series is produced by Cyber Group Studios in France and directed by Olivier Lelardoux.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including the benefit of helping others and having patience, learning from trying new things and, of course, the power of teamwork and friendship.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 3 to 8. Dinosaur-lovers will really enjoy is. This DVD is available now, so look for it!

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 is a very unique DVD, based on the TV show. It has four main characters, plus Gigantosaurus, who does not speak.

This show is about four little dinos, Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Tiny (�ine Sunderland), Bill (Nicholas Holmes) and Mazu(Nahanni Mitchell) who go on all sorts of adventures together such as frozen party and finding a flower. Gigantosarus is a dino that does not talk; he only growls and roars and is generally seen as a big, mean, scary and green dino. Once you get to know him he is not such a bad guy, but he often gets blamed for things he didn't do.

This DVD is amazing. This show has truly fascinating characters and storyline. All the voice actors are really terrific. They are all adult actors yet, in the show, they sound like kids. If you listen to them and then see what they look like in person, you would be surprised. This show has lots of cool animation. It is very clear and cool looking. The background scenes are like nothing I have seen before. All are unique to this show and include scenes that show us jungle where the dinosaurs live. The growls and roars made by the dinosaurs are really amazing. They sound like a real dinosaur made them.

The message of this show is that friendship is what matters. In the end, friends will always prevail and you can count on them for anything. If you can't, they are not real friends. You should always be able to trust your friends and rely on them.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. The DVD is available now, so look for it. This could also be a fun family show to watch with younger kids.

by Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 is a beautifully animated, lively and positive DVD that kids will surely enjoy! With crisp voiceovers, sweet messages and lovable characters, you'll find it difficult to tear yourself away from the screen.

The show follows the life and times of four dinosaurs - Rocky (Dylan Schombing), Bill (Nicholas Holmes), Tiny (�ine Sunderland) and Mazu (Nahanni Mitchell), who live in the adventurous Cretaceous period. And of course, the title character - Gigantosaurus. Known by the four as Giganto, this seemingly scary, yet actually kind giganotosaurus aids the four dinosaurs in their efforts. This DVD includes 26 "Dino-mite" episodes that, in total, span four hours. Episodes include "The Shortest Day," "The Best Crest," "Coco Bill" and "Patchy Sees the Light."

This DVD has some amazing, vibrant animation that goes perfectly with the tone of the episodes; that's my favorite part of the whole viewing experience. All elements are intricately drawn, including details like water droplets, nostrils and even skin texture. The voice actors show their talent in their portrayal of the various characters; you feel the emotion in the characters' voices throughout the show. When Tiny is dejected, you too feel sad. When Rocky is off on another adventure, you feel like you're along for the ride with him, and are absorbed by his happy-go-lucky tone. My favorite character is Mazu, because he's pragmatic and a great role model for kids. That's one clever Ankylosaurus! I love all the episodes, but one of my favorites is "The Best Crest," because it encourages perseverance and resourcefulness, and promotes the message that even things that seem disadvantageous have an upside.

This brings me to the values and morals that Gigantosaurus promotes. Each episode has a different focus, but courage, teamwork, friendship, perseverance, kindness and selflessness are just a few of the amazing lessons that kids are taught in this DVD.

Gigantosaurus: Season 1, Volume 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 7. This DVD is great for dino-lovers and is available now.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Runtime: 286 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-8
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


MILK
This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MILK
CELIA JASPERS
Series: FOREIGN SHORT, AGES 8-18
Description - When she sees an old man unable to pay for his milk, a young girl has a change of heart.
Runtime: 5 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO

GODZILLA VS. KONG
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GODZILLA VS. KONG
WARNER BROS. PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Legends collide as Godzilla and Kong, the two most powerful forces of nature, clash on the big screen in a spectacular battle for the ages. As a squadron embarks on a perilous mission into fantastic uncharted terrain, unearthing clues to the Titans' very origins and mankind's survival, a conspiracy threatens to wipe the creatures, both good and bad, from the face of the earth forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Godzilla vs. Kong and rate it as the best action movie of 2021 so far. It keeps you sitting on the edge of your seat. I really like the amazing graphics and the computer generated image effects.

This movie is about two strong titans who won't back down from their throne. It happens that Godzilla's and Kong's ancestors were enemies centuries ago. While Kong is captive in a semi-artificial environment dome, Godzilla comes out of the ocean and walks in the city destroying everything that crosses his path. This is not the heroic Godzilla we watched from his last movie. No one understands why Godzilla is so angry. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), who takes care of Kong and Dr. Nathan Lind (Alexander Skarsgard) helps Kong find a safe place to live, which is the core of the Earth. While Kong is being transported on a huge ship, Godzilla senses Kong in the ocean. That's when the first extraordinary and intense battle of these two titans begins.

This film has amazing CGI. Godzilla's rough skin and red eyes make it look like he is real. Kong looks like an actual gigantic ape. You can sense his soul in his eyes. He surprises the audience by having a special bond with an orphan named Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the only person able to communicate with him. The sound effects are amazing. The cast are all outstanding including a more mature Millie Bobby Brown who plays Madison Russell and a funny Julian Dennison who plays Maddie's friend Josh.

The moral of this movie is that greed and excessive pride lead to an unnecessary rivalry situation. We need to leave the past in the past and start fresh. Unity is the key in this film.

I give Godzilla vs. Kong 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Godzilla vs. Kong opens March 31, 2021 on HBO Max and in theatres.

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

Godzilla Vs. Kong pits two cinematic titans against each other in a fight for the ages but one that relegates its undercooked human characters to the sidelines, as it should, in favor of spectacular clashes, monster to monster, in all their big-budget glory.

Following the events of 2017's Kong: Skull Island and 2019's Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla has become the alpha to the similarly-powered titans roaming the earth. Meanwhile, Kong has left his island home with one of its natives, a little girl named Jia (Newcomer Kaylee Hottle), as he is monitored and researched by a team of specialists trying to keep him from Godzilla's grasp. Well, you read that title, so you know that's not happening, and indeed it doesn't! Godzilla begins attacking after years of stability between humanity and skyscraper-sized creatures. Kong's greatest champion among the researchers, Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), is approached by an old colleague (Alexander Skarsg�rd) and is convinced to take Kong to an underground world called Hollow Earth. Hopefully, in this habitat he can thrive and find more of his kind, free of the threat of Godzilla and others like him. It's not before long on this journey that Godzilla senses his primate competitor and arrives to dispatch Kong.

There've been several Kong/Godzilla solo efforts in recent years in the lead-up to this face-off, and somehow it is all worth it. Although there are flaws--the two main plotlines feel disconnected and previous story developments abandoned--they don't compare to the immense joy it is to watch these titans go at it. That would be enough: a mildly enjoyable large-scale romp, the cinematic equivalent of smashing two well-loved action figures together. However, Adam Wingard's direction elevates the action sequences. Consistently satisfying and, better yet, consistently surprising--watching Kong leap from building to building, dodging Godzilla's atomic breath, or Godzilla getting Kong's ax launched at him doesn't grow stale.

Godzilla Vs. Kong humanizes Kong as someone who's lost his family and now the home he protected. I didn't expect to feel emotionally attached to a 400-foot ape, but there you go. Whether you're team Godzilla or team Kong, I have no doubt, you'll find some enjoyment in the shenanigans they unleash. I was entertained--and if this matchup means anything to you, I think you will be too!

I give Godzilla Vs. Kong 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 12 to 18 for mass--and I mean, mass--destruction, some mild language, and the injuries each of the titular creatures sustain. Godzilla Vs. Kong is out March 31, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max.

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

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


GIRL WHO BELIEVES IN MIRACLES
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GIRL WHO BELIEVES IN MIRACLES
ATLAS ENTERPRISES INC. Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Unlike most people, young Sara Hopkins is willing to take God at His word. So when she hears a preacher say faith can move mountains, she starts praying. What begins with a mysteriously healed bird leads to people suddenly cured of their misery and misfortune all over town. But the overwhelming crush of notoriety and press attention soon takes its toll on Sara. Will her family be able to save their miracle girl before it's too late?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth commens
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is a lukewarm Christian movie with a weak storyline. The few heartwarming scenes aren't quite enough to keep this film afloat. With a strong performance by the ensemble's youngest actress, the movie does not have enough storytelling to deliver a wholly satisfying movie experience.

The Girl Who Believes In Miracles centers around a little girl named Sarah (Austyn Johnson) who has seen God and can grant miracles. She helps cancer patients, and even blind and paralyzed teens. All the while, Sarah's fame increases, with people knocking on her door to grant miracles. Sarah's health declines, too, but she keeps up her faith.

The movie makes it clear from the beginning that Jesus is praised, and that this is not a modern version of the Messiah's story. It is unclear, though, why Sarah holds this power to grant miracles as she has done nothing significant except have faith. The Girl Who Believes In Miracles is confusing in this way and may leave the audience wondering, "Can anyone be a Messiah?" However, the actors deliver empowering performances. In the scenes in which Sarah's health weakens, her suffering is absolutely heartbreaking. Austyn really has the audience pulling for her. Sarah's grandfather, Sam (Peter Coyote), also has a heartfelt monologue in which he talks to God and says he would rather die than Sarah. His love shines through, along with his pain, creating a tear-jerking scene.

The moral of this film is to always let faith guide you. Even as Sarah's health declines, she never loses her faith. She stands by God and understands that everything happens for a reason, unlike her family who try to fight the ticking clock. As a Christian, I did find the film somewhat offensive in its message that anyone with faith can perform miracles.

I give The Girl Who Believes In Miracles 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 2, 2021.

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

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


SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE DOGS: TROPICAL ADVENTURE
EPIC PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 5-12
Description - When a mysterious and dangerous whirlpool appears in the tropics of the Atlantic Ocean, astronauts Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With the help of their good friends, Belka and Strelka must once again act heroically and complete a daring mission to save the planet along with the distant home of their new alien friends.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the final film in the Space Dogs trilogy. It's an eventful and distinctive movie! When I watched it, what I expected to happen didn't happen, but it has a great plot that definitely works well. Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure also represents diversity and has a great message.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is about two astronaut dogs named Belka (Maria Antonieta Monge) and Strelka (Mauriett Chayeb-Mendez) who are sent to Earth on a mission to investigate a suspicious anomaly in the Atlantic Ocean. Belka always takes control and is the leader of the missions. But with that, she is constantly getting blamed by the General when things go wrong and is always at fault. Now, both Belka and Strelka have to step up and work together with their friends to solve this mysterious case and save the planet.

One of the factors that makes Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure special is the diversity in the characters. Even though this film is about animated animals, there are many different types of animals that all play a major role. For example, besides the two main dog characters are a rat and a fly. The settings are well detailed. Everything that surrounds the characters emphasizes and gives context to each situation. So when Belka, and Strelka are trapped in the underwater dump, around them you can see pieces of wood, skeletons and trash. My favorite character is Belka because she reminds me of myself. She loves to be the leader, and always ensures that everything goes according to plan. The voice acting was done very well because it suits the characters. However, sometimes the words don't align with the movement of the characters' mouths. Also, if you aren't paying close enough attention, this movie can be a little hard to follow. Aside from these things, Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is pretty fun.

The message of Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is that teamwork can solve any problem. Belka and Strelka repeatedly attempt to complete assignments their own way, with one trying to take control from the other. But this approach never works. When their friends assist them, they finally realize that the only way they will succeed is if they work together. This movie is totally kid-friendly, and there are no red flags.

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is an interesting movie. I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure releases in theaters on April 2, 2021, and on video on demand on April 6, 2021. If you're having a family movie night, pop some popcorn and check this out!

Reviewed by Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure is the third film of the Space Dogs franchise which includes Space Dogs, and Space Dogs: Return to Earth. This is a fun and up-beat film with amazing animation and catchy songs! The cast are incredible and the story is great. The characters are unique, all in their own way.

When the water from the Atlantic Ocean suddenly starts disappearing, Space Dogs Belka and Strelka are sent to investigate. With help from their friends they try to discover the cause of this. Will they figure out where all the water is going? Watch Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure to find out.

Written by Mike Disa and directed by Inna Evlannikove, the characters and cast of this film are incredible. Belka (Katerina Shpitsa, Breakfast at Dad's, Brothel Spites) is the more sensible of the pair of dogs. Belka is very smart and looks before jumping. She always has great plans to get Strelka and herself out of situations. Strelka (Irina Pegova, The Stroll, Super Bobrovs) is a very lovable character. She is funny and definitely jumps before looking. The rat Yenya (Yevgeny Mironov, The Spacewalker, The Idiot) is a very dramatic and funny character. We watch him go on a rollercoaster of emotions, but still come through to help his friends. My favourite character is Thomas the Cricket (R�mulo Bernal). He is Yenya's assistant and is very lovable and brave. He is my favourite for those reasons. He is also smart and has lots of great ideas. My favourite part of the film is when Yenya is expecting his uncle to be a famous sailor, but he turns out just to be a photographer that takes pictures of famous sailors and famous boats. The animation in the film is amazing and the music is very catchy.

The message of the story is that sometimes to find the truth it just takes a little leap of faith.

I give Space Dogs: Tropical Adventure 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12, plus adults. It comes out in theatres on April 2, 2021, and on VOD April 6, 2021.

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

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


FRANCESCO
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FRANCESCO
DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Through his work on climate change, immigration, religious tolerance and other issues, the Pope has embodied the meaning of inspired leadership.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Francesco is a wonderful and complex film that showcases one of the world's most famous figures. The audience has a clear visual of Pope Francis's thoughts about modern issues. With exclusive interviews and audio recordings, this documentary is not to be missed.

Francesco is a documentary composed of rare videos, interviews, tweets and audio tape recordings about Pope Francis and his ideas about contemporary problems. The issues addressed are refugee camps in Lesbos, migrants and he also talks about his ideas on homosexual marriage.

There's so much to learn from this film. It really gives insight on how the Pope thinks and how he has changed ideas for the Catholic religion. Giving his opinion on homosexual marriage is a huge statement; he believes they are entitled to have a family like any other person. This shows how he has come to embrace everyone with open arms. Pope Francis stands out from popes before him, which is why this documentary is so important. He isn't just a figurehead; this film shows how relatable he is as well. He is well aware of his impact on the world, such as how he helped the Muslim refugees in Greece. The film shows that Pope Francis doesn't see religion, race or sexual orientation as barriers, he just sees people. I loved seeing so many never before seen videos and recordings in this film. We see the Pope in Lesbos helping out whoever he can, and see how a woman thanks him for his help.

This film shows that not everyone is as they first appear to be. The media often portrays the Pope in a godly manner. In this film we see that he does not think that of himself. He seems to be like any other guy, just doing the work of God. There are no triggers for this film, but mature topics discussed include immigration, religion and homosexual marriage.

I give Francesco 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages (13 to) 18 plus adults. It releases on DVD March 28, 2021.

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

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


US AGAIN
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
US AGAIN
WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: ANIMATED SHORT, AGES 8-18
Description - An elderly couple regain their youth in the rain.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Us Again is a beautiful and lively animated short film that will surely have you up and dancing! The choreography of the animated characters, the intricate details, and the underlying message all combine to make this a lovely watch.

The seven-minute short film follows an elderly man and his young-at-heart wife living in a vibrant metropolis with echoes of New York City. The man is ever-tired and only wants to sit on his lounge chair reading the newspaper, while his wife yearns to explore the world outside. One rainy, magical evening, their ages truly seem just a number, and the couple re-discover their passion for dancing, salsaing their way across a landscape of memories. It's a beautiful story told through rhythm and movement.

The animation in Us Again is truly stunning; the design taps into emotions, encapsulating the excitement and hubbub of a huge city, with neon lights, beautiful textural details on the water, and even on the tiny black umbrellas people carry walking down the street. Us Again shows us Disney's future; extreme detail in animation. The two main characters of this short also have lots of expressive features, and you can tell that Disney's animation technology has gone to the next level when light details like crow's feet are added in. Even their dance steps convey emotion! Speaking of the dancing, acclaimed choreographers/dancers Keone and Mari Madrid were crucial to the process of creating Us Again because they came up with all of the dance steps, which flow so smoothly and naturally in animated form. There are no jerky movements at all, and it's as if you're watching an animated version of Dancing With The Stars. The background score (though it really does push its way to the foreground) also adds so much to this short. Something I noticed in the seven-minute film: Keep an eye on the puddles, because the characters' reflections show the characters as their older selves throughout the film, even in scenes where the characters traverse through memories from ages ago. This demonstrates the incredible attention to detail in Us Again.

The message of Us Again is to never let go of your passions (and your youth), and, if you do, be sure to make an effort to rekindle the fire in your heart. It's an apt message for a time like the one we're living in now, when we have the time to follow our passions and pursue new hobbies.

I give Us Again 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Us Again will be shown before Disney's latest film, Raya and the Last Dragon, only in theatres, and it will be available on Disney+ in June of 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 7 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


MIGHTY DUCKS, THE: GAME CHANGERS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MIGHTY DUCKS, THE: GAME CHANGERS
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 7-18
Description - After failing to make the cut to join the now powerhouse Mighty Ducks junior hockey team, 12-year-old Evan's mother encourages him to form a new team of underdogs with help from Gordon Bombay, the Ducks' original coach.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is super enjoyable to watch! This beloved movie franchise now has a new series that all Mighty Ducks fans can enjoy. It has comedy, a creative storyline, great messages and of course plenty of Mighty Ducks hockey action.

The next installment of The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers follows a boy named Evan (Brady Noon) who loves hockey and plays for the Mighty Ducks. However, the Mighty Ducks are not what they used to be, as the team has become a bunch of kids who want to win at all costs. Since the team moved to the 12 to 14-year-old bracket, only the best will stay on the team and, unfortunately, Evan is not one of them. After being devastated from being cut, Evan's mom (Lauren Graham) decides that they should make their own team, but the deadline is in a few days. Can they find a rink, a coach, players and equipment to play in the league? It's a lot of fun to watch their journey.

Since this new series is based on the previously released Mighty Ducks movies, you might want to watch some of those movies just to know some of the references and backstories of various characters. The characters include a diverse set of kids, parents and coaches that are very relatable and entertaining. Emilio Estevez reprises his role as a "cranky" Gordon Bombay being coaxed into coaching. Sound a bit familiar? My favorite character is Nick (Maxwell Simkins), because he is sweet, has a love of hockey, is not very good and has the best one-liners.

The message of this show is to remember that, just because you are not the best, does not mean you should not bother to try. And it would not be a Mighty Ducks movie without demonstrating the importance of teamwork. There is a tiny bit of mild profanity.

I give The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Adults, hockey fans and Mighty Ducks movie fans will enjoy it, too. The first episode of this show comes out on Disney+ March 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


A WEEK AWAY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
A WEEK AWAY
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Week Away is a total breath of fresh air! This film is set to be the feel-good teen rom com of the year with hilarious one-liners and catchy tunes. This is definitely a new Netflix knockout.

A Week Away follows juvenile delinquent Will (Kevin Quinn) as he goes to camp Aweegaway as a way to escape juvie. At the camp, he meets Avery (Bailee Madison). Soon, Avery tears down Will's walls and shows him the ropes. The two of them, along with the rest of the campers, breakout in song and dance. The large dance numbers and intimate ballads balance out the storyline perfectly.

The cinematography is absolutely breath-taking. The shots of the early morning at the camp and the gorgeous dancing between Avery and Will at the dock are stunning. The sun shines down on the two as they dance together. The choreography is spectacular. The upbeat dance numbers with large groups make you want to dance with them. The songs are also incredible. After watching this movie, you'll definitely want to add the whole soundtrack to your playlist. Along with this film's spectacular visuals, the performances stand out. The intimate scenes between Avery and Will leave you rooting for these young teens from the lovely garden scene where Avery confesses how she's exhausted of trying to be perfect, to Will's vulnerable moment as he comes to terms with being loved and accepted.

The moral of the film is that your past doesn't define your future. Once the truth about Will's checkered past comes to light, he runs away, believing that Avery would reject him. She, on the contrary, accepts him with open arms. Over the week that the film takes place, Will's character develops dramatically, as he learns to love himself and learns how God and faith guides souls.

I give A Week Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Netflix March 26, 2021.

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

A Week Away is a teen rom-com musical. It has attractive, lakeside outdoor settings, amazing choreography and solid faith-based messages.

This movie follows a teenage boy named Will (Kevin Quinn) who is a bit of a troublemaker. He takes his actions a bit too far by stealing a police car, and when caught has the choice of going to a juvenile detention center or going to a faith-based camp with one of his foster families. He chooses camp Aweegaway, a place where some of the teens are only a week away from a life-changing experience. While at camp, Will meets Avery (Bailee Madison), who may very well be the catalyst for that change.

At several points during the storyline, A Week Away can be a bit cheesy and predictable, but this is a rom-com musical so it can only go in so many directions - and it's still fun! On the musical front, this movie has an impressive soundtrack. Kudos to the songwriter, Adam Watts, for the original songs in this movie. The choreography is splendid as everyone has a dance during the singing, and it is perfectly in sync with everything else. The setting for this movie is beautiful! The cabins have so much attention to detail; the forest is very realistic; and the lake is gorgeous. Now I want to go to Camp Aweegaway! Kevin Quinn, who plays Will, possibly drew inspiration for this role from his character in Bunk'd, also about a camp. Bailee Madison is so believable as sweet and faithful Avery, who becomes Will's love interest. My favorite character is Avery's dad (Dave Koechner) because he is kind, silly and pretty inspiring. He is such a good dad role model.

The two primary messages for this movie are that nobody's perfect and always keep your faith. There are a couple of examples of bad behavior in the movie, like someone stealing a car and running away from home.

I give A Week Away 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 9 to 18. It comes out on Netflix March 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE
DISNEY+ Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV, AGES 11-18
Description - Following the events of 'Avengers: Endgame,' Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities -- and their patience.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready to fly into nonstop action? Are you ready to watch a show that will belly laugh and also immerse you in an emotional ride of a lifetime? Well if so, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the show for you! Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan return in iconic roles, delivering mind-blowing action choreography and creative new ways to show action like Marvel hasn't achieved before. This will definitely bring a smile to long time Marvel fans, and it will also be extremely enjoyable for first time Marvel viewers.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, establishing the current status of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). Sam (aka the Falcon) is still completing missions fighting crime left and right. Bucky (aka the Winter Soldier), on the other hand, is lying very low. He is dealing with mental health issues, trying to make peace with himself and the world. When the terrifying villain Zemo makes his reappearance from the events of Captain America: Civil War, Bucky and Sam must team up and defeat this foe.

In Captain America: Civil War, we get a taste of the Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan duo. Everyone loved it. Now to satisfy our lust for more, we have The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Their chemistry is outstanding. You laugh consistently throughout the show, making you want more and more. The visual effects and writing departments each deserve a lot of credit for the extremely creative route the show takes, demonstrating to the world what beautiful effects Marvel can produce.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is intense at times. A good portion of the show is pure action that some parents might not be comfortable with their younger children seeing. Some episodes contain mild cursing. The show does offer many morals and lessons. It explores themes such as teamwork, love and friendship. It also teaches the lesson that, even though you might have lost someone you love, they would have wanted you to move on and continue to live the life you want.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier soars higher than the Falcon does in the show, delivering plenty of great laughs and action-packed scenes. The show does contain intense action and cursing. Therefore, I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Every Friday a new episode releases on Disney+ starting March 19, 2021, so make sure to check it out!

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

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the action-packed series everyone needs! With explosions, story-telling and two Avengers, we explore the backstories and lives of our favorite superheroes. This show is definitely a Marvel world-class adventure.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame. We catch up with the two heroes and see how much has changed in the last five years. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is still fighting crime as the Falcon, as he hangs up the Captain America shield. Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes tries to move on from the wars, as his past as the Winter Soldier haunts him. Soon, the two Avengers must team up against their latest villain, Baron Zemo (Daniel Br�hl).

Marvel yet again delivers with the cinematic spectacular they're known for. The series starts off doing what Sam knows best - fighting and flying. With explosions and swift movements, Sam saves a prisoner. This series really gives insight to characters that never took center stage. It showcases why their skills and mindsets make them valuable assets and Earth's mightiest heroes. It's so exciting to see them on their own. It's beautiful to see the two heroes be actual humans and people, not just aliases. We also see how comfortable the actors are in their respective roles. Sebastian really dives in deep into how Bucky has changed and faces these emotions head on. Anthony also merges with Sam. It's so hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. They're both hilarious and their performances offer comedic relief. I can't wait to see both Sam and Bucky reunite. These two characters have been teased to be a comedic duo in previous Avengers films.

The moral of the series is that there's always a way to help heal all kinds of wounds. Sam desperately tries to help his sister with finances and tries to gain back the time he lost. Bucky, on the other hand, goes to therapy to help deal with his trauma and pain, trying to erase all traces of the Winter Soldier.

I give The Falcon and the Winter Soldier 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ March 19, 2021.

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

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


HERO DOG: THE JOURNEY HOME
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HERO DOG: THE JOURNEY HOME
LIONSGATE FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Chinook, the Alaskan malamute, must lead a shipwrecked blind man out of the wilderness while the man's children launch a rescue mission of their own.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hero Dog: The Journey Home is a new family-friendly adventure that will warm your heart. Directed by Richard Boddington, this film is sure to tug at your heartstrings as it follows the journey of a shipwrecked blind man who is courageous enough to attempt to find his way home through rugged terrain led by "man's best friend." This breathtaking journey is filled with a great deal of suspense and will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Blind Royce Davis (Steve Byers) and his newly appointed seeing-eye dog Chinook are en route to his sister Susan's (Natasha Henstridge) house deep within the Canadian wilderness. He boards a boat to cross the lake to get there. Royce's sister Susan (Natasha Henstridge) and his two children Erin (Morgan DiPietrantonio) and Max (Zackary Arthur) await his arrival but the boat never arrives. The boat's captain has suffered a heart attack and Royce and Chinook set out to find their way home while Royce's children launch their own mission to find their dad.

It's hard not to enjoy a movie where the lead role is played by "man's best friend." Chinook steals the show with his courage, knowledge and ability to become the eyes for his human. Although Chinook doesn't belong to Royce Davis, this dog knows his role and his instincts are put in place right from the beginning of the film. Chinook surely has the star power in this film. Since I am a huge nature lover, I truly appreciated the cinematography in this film. The landscapes are amazing, especially during the fall months in which the movie is filmed. The nature scenes are spectacular and the wildlife within them are well appreciated. I also enjoyed Max's survival skills and his will to want to put those skills to use in helping to find his dad.

Hero Dog: The Journey Home provides viewers with the strong message about hope and strength. Many people struggle with a variety of disabilities which can be life threatening at times. These challenges can certainly be overcome when you allow hope and strength to lead the way. Of course, Royce Davis has significant help from his furry friend Chinook, but without his will to survive, he may have fallen victim to his disability.

I give Hero Dog: The Journey Home 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18; adults will love it too as this is the perfect family movie. Hero Dog: The Journey Home will be available on Digital, On Demand and DVD March 23, 2021. This is a great film so don't miss it!

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

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


CHAOS WALKING
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHAOS WALKING
LIONSGATE FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In the not-too-distant future, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) discovers Viola (Daisy Ridley), a mysterious girl who crash lands on his planet, where all the women have disappeared and the men are afflicted by "the Noise" - a force that puts all their thoughts on display. In this dangerous landscape, Viola's life is threatened - and as Todd vows to protect her, he will have to discover his own inner power and unlock the planet's dark secrets. From the director of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow and based on the best-selling novel The Knife of Never Letting Go, Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland star with Mads Mikkelsen, Demi�n Bichir, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Jonas, Kurt Sutter, and David Oyelowo in Chaos Walking.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Chaos Walking is an amazing film that demonstrates bravery at every corner, has a very intricate and complex plot, and has subtle but amazing dialogue!

The storyline follows a boy, Todd Hewitt (Tom Holland) who is about to become a man. In his world, he has been brought up to believe that all the women have been killed by the Spackle and all the men are affected by "the Noise" - a force that puts all their thoughts on display. One day, Todd stumbles upon a spaceship that crashed into his village, believing there are no survivors. Little does he know there is one survivor - Viola (Daisy Ridley). Seeing that she does not have the Noise, he tries to protect her, but he isn't the only one that discovers her.

One of the best parts of this film is the graphics. From a tree to a mountain, everything looks so vivid and real. Because this story takes place in a dystopian society, the setting is something imagined to be "foggy." The sets are magnificent and provide a background for every scene exceptionally well. As for talent performances, both Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland are marvelous. Tom's brave face really sold me on his character Todd. With Daisy, her charming smile and presence shows how empathetic, sad, happy and a sometimes flirty she is.

This film demonstrates the true meaning of bravery and what one sometimes goes through in order to be called brave. Although this movie is rated PG-13, it really pushes the rating to its limits. There are frequent uses mild profanity, which are used aggressively and often as name-calling. There is also quite some bad behavior, such as killing animals and there are scenes with violent images, of shooting and stabbing, although nothing is too graphic.

I give Chaos Walking 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Chaos Walking premieres digitally March 5, 2021.

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


COURIER, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COURIER, THE
LIONSGATE FILMS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 14-18
Description - The true story of a British businessman unwittingly recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. Forming an unlikely partnership with a Soviet officer hoping to prevent a nuclear confrontation, the two men work together to provide the crucial intelligence used to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love the movie The Courier directed by Dominic Cooke. It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of an issue by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction. I really enjoyed watching The Courier, and, as my first time watching a true-life spy thriller, I found it very interesting.

The Courier is a true-life spy thriller, the story of an unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into one of the greatest international conflicts in history. At the behest of the United Kingdom's MI-6 and a CIA operative (Rachel Brosnahan), Greville forms a covert, dangerous partnership with Soviet officer Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) in an effort to provide crucial intelligence needed to prevent a nuclear confrontation and defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This is a slow-burning film about the friendship that then blossoms between these two men as they routinely risk their lives for the greater good. There's an earnest, well-intentioned message about wider political change starting on a smaller scale, too. It's a timely concept, but the underdeveloped bond between Greville and Alex failed to grab me with quite the force that the filmmakers intended, given where the plot takes them and us. Greville Wynne is my favorite character because he is a hero, and a humble one at that. Although the thrills and intrigue of his story aren't that remarkable, it's the time he spends in a Russian prison accused of spying for the West that sets him back. Greville Wayne is perfect for the mission: He's fleet but not flashy, charming but not memorable, and dependable but unremarkable in every way. Benedict Cumberbatch proves yet again he's a star, and Merab Ninidze is equally brilliant at his Russian counterpart. That's not always an easy balance to strike, but it makes The Courier incredibly entertaining while not losing sight of the real people who risked their lives in the Cold War. It's definitely worth checking out, and I can see it catching on with audiences. The production design, costumes and cinematography are on point and very well executed.

This film tells the kind of true story that filmmakers crave, the kind that exists on the periphery of a major historical event, switching its focus to a more human angle. Its closest sibling would be Spielberg's Bridge of Spies. The story at its center is a fascinating one that theatre director Dominic Cooke steers credibly.

I give The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this thriller movie for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Courier will be available on Netflix beginning Friday, March 19, 2021. Save the date!< p>By Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Courier is a historical fiction movie that perfectly captures the events of the threat of a nuclear weapon attack that took place back in the 1960s. While this is based on a real event that happened, the people that worked on this movie used their creative license to their advantage resulting in a riveting film.

The Courier is about a British businessman named Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is enlisted to go undercover to get intelligence on a nuclear missile attack that's being plotted against Cuba. Under the leadership of Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) and Dickie Franks (Angus Wright), he forms an alliance with Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze). Together, they try to stop the planned nuclear weapon attacks.

The Courier is a very unique film that really dives deep into the topic it's discussing, the threat of nuclear attacks on Cuba. It is based on an actual historical event, known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis." When I looked up the historical images of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky I was surprised that Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze look so similar to them. Major props to Alena Garetovskaya, Lucy Amos and the rest of the casting team. Although there are points in the film where I couldn't make out what they were saying, the emotional impact of what is going on is definitely clear. For instance, the scenes towards the end where Greville is in jail and has a conversation with his wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley). Benedict and Jessie both convey their disappointment and tiny ray of hope that both of their characters have. The setting of this film, which is dark and grey, makes the story seem very authentic, because the topic is very dark and dangerous with almost an ominous feel. My favorite part of this film is when Oleg and Greville go see the ballet, Swan Lake. Greville is obviously very moved by the performance to the point that he is crying. The Courier is supposed to be a serious and momentous film and for the most part, it is, but that scene made me laugh.

The message of The Courier is to never stop fighting for what you believe in, no matter who tries to tell you otherwise. Oleg knew that he would be arrested and executed if he got caught learning and transporting information about the attack. Greville knew that leaving Oleg to take all the fault and retribution wasn't the right thing to do. Everyone told them that these weren't good ideas and that they would be in too deep. But did that stop them? No. They decided to do what they knew was right, and take the risk. There are some mature and gory scenes along with suggestive language in this film, which explains its PG-13 rating.

I rate The Courier 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The Courier is opens in theaters March 19, 2021. If you love learning about history, and love a good thriller, hurry and get your tickets!

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

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


PUNKY BREWSTER (2021)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PUNKY BREWSTER (2021)
PEACOCK Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 12-18
Description - A follow-up series to the 1980s sitcom about a young foster child named Punky. Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) is now a successful photographer with a gaggle of her own adopted kids, both inspired by her beloved adoptive dad Henry. Her savvy teen daughter Hannah (Lauren Lindsay Donis) is helping her learn online dating after a recent divorce, while her younger sons Daniel and Diego (Oliver de los Santos, Noah Cotrell) can't stop bickering. She's still best friends with Cherie (Cherie Johnson), who runs the orphanage and hopes the Brewsters can help out with Izzy (Quinn Copeland), a troubled kid with a running-away streak, not unlike young Punky.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Punky Brewster is so much fun to watch! This iconic show from the 1980s is now rebooted with ten new episodes and even includes some of the original cast.

The new Punky Brewster is about the original Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) who is now grown up, with kids of her own, living in Chicago. While photographing the children at her old adoption center, she meets a girl named Izzy (Quinn Copeland) who reminds Punky so much of herself. Punky's long-time friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson), also from the original show, asks her to watch Izzy until Cherie finds her the perfect family. Once they find the "perfect" family, will Punky let her go?

Knowing that this show is a reboot, I recommend watching the original series to appreciate all of the comedic references and become familiar with Punky's backstory. Although it's not necessary to do that and still enjoy the show. I love that the show maintains all of the original characters, while also adding new characters, primarily Punky's children. Punky's family reflects the reality of today's diverse family structure including divorced parents, biological and adopted children, different races as well as a very diverse set of personalities. The show includes not only the original star of Punky Brewster, Soleil Moon Frye, but also her best friend Cherie Johnson. Soleil Moon Frye provides so much energy and fun by displaying a more carefree nature and frequently screaming "Punky Power" (my favorite).

The importance of family, acceptance and having a place to call home are the key messages in this show. Like the original series, Punky Brewster covers several serious topics such as child abandonment, divorce, bullying and gender nonconformity.

I give Punky Brewster 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. Punky Brewster is out now on Peacock, so look out for it!

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

Punky Brewster is an amazing show with great messages and entertaining concepts. It's a show that makes you laugh, and gives you an old familiar feeling, especially if you are a fan of the original show. This new Punky Brewster has the potential to be a favorite!

Punky Brewster is a reboot of the '80s sitcom Punky Brewster. It focuses on a now grown-up Punky (Soleil Moon Frye), who is a single parent of three kids after her divorce from Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.). At the local children's adoption center, Punky meets a little girl named Izzy (Quinn Copeland) who reminds her of herself when she was younger. When Punky's best friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson) asks Punky to look after Izzy while she searches for the right family to adopt her, Punky grows very fond of Izzy and finds it hard to let her go. Izzy makes a connection with Punky as well and finally feels like she has a family.

I really like how they use some references from the original show, such as Punky wearing two different shoes, and her catchphrases "Holy Macanoil" and "Punky Power." Even though the show is a reboot, you don't need to watch the original show to know what happened with Punky because they bring it up in a couple of episodes. I also like how the set is made to look like the rooms in the original show, such as the tree house from the original series. Punky's oldest daughter, Hannah, has a room that looks just like Punky's old bedroom. My favorite character in the show is Izzy because, even though she is a foster kid and doesn't have much, she is very humble and, in each episode, we see how she teaches the family lots of things. In one episode, the kids feel like there is not enough room in the house for Izzy, but with Punky's help, they decide Hannah will share her room with Izzy and they learn to be grateful for what they have.

Each episode has a great message; the one that stands out the most is that it's okay to be different and to be true to yourself. You should know that in a couple of scenes Punky and Cherie are drinking adult beverages.

Punky Brewster is an incredible show to watch! I give it 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Punky Brewster is out now on Peacock. Go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

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


OOH! YOU'RE IN TROUBLE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
OOH! YOU'RE IN TROUBLE
PRX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: PODCAST, AGES 8-12
Description - Ooh You're in Trouble is a podcast for tweens about the moments of defiance that define us. Each episode features true stories of young people confessing a moment they broke the rules growing up. From the makers of MORTIFIED, the series explores why kids defy rules -- what does it reveal about us and what can we learn from it? From sneaking out of the house past curfew to organizing a protest, these are the stories of Rebels, Rascals, Rule Breakers, and even Revolutionaries. The result? A show that's funny, educational, insightful and messy. Just like growing up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Ooh! You're in Trouble is fun, but simultaneously life lessons. They are interactive and allow the listener to reflect and answer questions at the end. The audio is crisp and the production value is extraordinary.

The podcast Ooh! You're in Trouble showcases stories of kids that have broken the rules. This podcast is not about glamorizing the stories of the mischievous, but explains why kids feel the need to break the rules. The topics that are up for discussion include underage driving without a license, bullying a teacher and creating an illegal slime business. The episodes begin with a disclaimer that all the stories are true, but some names and places have been changed. After the disclaimer, there is a sleuthy song accompanied by children saying, "Ooh! You're in trouble," then the show begins.

What makes the podcast interesting and informative is shown in the episode "Not Licensed to Drive." Kate explains how she drove her mom's car at the age of 14 to go get milkshakes on a hot summer day in the Midwest. Although Kate, her sister and friend did not get caught, through Kate's reflection, she explains that it was not a smart idea. The podcast lists various other possible outcomes that could have occurred that day. The end of the podcast prompts the listener with the questions, "What would you do?

The message of this podcast is to point out that, although it may be tempting to break the rules, there are consequences that you should be aware of. By listening to those that have done it, perhaps you might rethink things.

I give Ooh! You're in Trouble 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to age 8 to 18. You can listen to it now on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

By Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A fun, light podcast perfect for a morning commute, Ooh, You're in Trouble will entertain listeners of all ages with its fun sound effects and strong storytelling style.

Ooh, You're in Trouble is a podcast where adults look back at their moments of teen defiance that shaped them. Each episode centers around one misadventure, a true story of a moment a young adult that broke the rules growing up and what they learned from their experience. It's an interesting answer to the question: why do we act out?

It's a show that's funny, educational, entertaining and insightful - perfectly reflective of growing up. The participants in each episode are between the ages of 10 and 25. They engagingly tell their stories, with an intricate plot buildup and super dramatic climax; they surely capture listeners' attention. Merk Nguyen hosts the podcast (in a minor role) as LV, the "little voice inside your head." Nguyen's peppy hosting helps accent each episode, though she doesn't play as big of a role as a conventional podcast host. Each episode is blended with tons of light, youthful-sounding music and effects (every episode has background music created by a different artist). The crisp editing by Hadley Dion and Aaron Garber makes the 20- to 27-minute episodes fly by! I also love the podcast thumbnails' art style, and the titles are super fun, too.

The message of Ooh, You're in Trouble is one of exploration and learning from your past doings; all of the older participants got into sticky situations as tweens or teens and grew from those mistakes. It's a positive message that's not pushed too hard, but that makes it perfect for leisure listening without sounding too preachy.

I would give Ooh, You're in Trouble 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. You can listen to We Got You on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The stories in the podcast Ooh You're in Trouble are beautifully illustrated and told in a way in which you learn something and it's also exciting to listen to. I really enjoyed it. At first I thought that this podcast wouldn't be fun, as it progresses I found myself drawn in. I was learning a lot, and it is hilarious.

This podcast is told by adults and teens talking about experiences that they have had breaking or bending the rules when they were younger. The audience is asked questions too and gets to ponder what they would do in a particular situation. The people talk about their experiences, while voicing regret and also lessons that they learned from it.

This podcast is cheesy and dramatic at times, but that contributes to its overall humor and makes it more entertaining and engaging. The recurring actors on the show are always able to bring out a new voice for their character. The sound effects, variation of points of views and the difference in stories all contribute to an amazing show. I love how some of the episodes are very relatable for me, and that I find them all enjoyable regardless. They are a reasonable length and have playful, mischievous music which really sets the fun mood of the podcast. My favorite episode is one following a girl that drives a car before she has her license and all the obstacles she and her friends have to overcome to meet their goal. I find it highly impressive how well thought through some of the peoples' plans are in this podcast and how determined they are at times to get to their goal. The show is about troublemaking, but sometimes it's not pointed out that people's actions are wrong. This is beneficial, because it leaves it up to you to decide if you would do the things that they did in a particular situation, hypothetically. But, it also could be problematic in that it might give kids ideas for getting into trouble. So, when listening to it, keep that in mind. Just because it's not voiced clearly that the actions are wrong, that doesn't mean you should do them.

The message of this podcast is that troublemaking isn't always necessarily "bad," but it can sometimes get to the point where it ends badly or unsafely and you will probably regret your actions afterwards, but learn something too.

I give Ooh You're in Trouble 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to18, plus adults. Ooh, You're In Trouble is available on TRAX at https://www.trax.fm/ooh-youre-in-trouble

Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Runtime: 25 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 8-12
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: AUDIO


I'M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I'M FINE (THANKS FOR ASKING)
TO BE DETERMINED Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - When a recently widowed mother becomes houseless, she convinces her 8-year-old daughter that they are only camping for fun while working to get them off of the streets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) is a fantastic film that sheds a new light on the struggles of poverty and the virtues of being a single mother. Director, writer and star of the film, Kelley Kali, creates an excellent, heart-wrenching story that captures the turmoil and strife that people are currently facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The film features Danny (Kelley Kali), a recently widowed mother who is struggling to make ends meet. She convinces her eight-year-old daughter, Wes (Wesley Moss), that they are camping while they live in a tent. After promising her daughter that they will have a home by the end of the day Danny skates around Los Angeles trying to find different ways to make enough money to secure an apartment.

My favorite part of this movie is the acting. Each character is distinguishable and genuine. The large variety of filming locations stands out as well. It showcases the marginalized communities in Los Angeles, a city that is often associated with glamor and success, which can also be tied back to Danny who tries to constantly make things look better than they truly are. Although Danny makes several poor decisions, it is difficult not to sympathize with her struggles. The direction of this film is especially admirable because of the emotion the directors, Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, elicit from viewers as they watch Danny go around town pleading for help and toiling to keep her and her daughter's head above water.

This movie addresses issues that are often neglected in overlooked communities. I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) successfully conveys the gravity of the difficult decisions people encounter when destitute. Although the subject matter is rather dark, the message is still inspiring and thought-provoking. Parents should know there is some mature content such as death, strong language, drug use, violence and blood.

I rate I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. This film is premiering at the SXSW 2021 Film Festival from March 17, 2021.

Reviewed by Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking), directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina, is an incredibly enlightening film about hardship. Everything, from the cinematography to the heartfelt dialogue to the acting, is top tier. This film is well made and sheds light on an important topic .

I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) is about a widowed mother that convinces her daughter they're camping to hide that they're homeless. This movie represents the struggle of many single parents, especially when juggling their financial responsibilities while trying to parent as well.

Right off the bat, I must mention that Kelley Kali's emotionally driven character is so well acted that she honestly steals the show and my heart. By making the mother so likable, the audience can't help but root for her! Also, the cinematography for the ocean scene is just breathtaking; the build-up for it is masterfully scripted so that when we see Kali scream underwater it hits us that much harder. Another thing worth mentioning is that the plot is very realistic - there is no magical element that whisks them away when life gets too tough to deal with.

The message of this film is that, no matter what happens, you have to put one foot in front of the other, because there is light at the end of the tunnel and it's not an option to give up. You should know that there is some profanity and sexual references in the film. So it is best suited for older teens and adults. In telling the story this way, the truthful message we take away sticks with us.

I rate I'm Fine (Thanks for Asking) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. This film premieres at the SXSW Film Festival on March 17, 2021, so catch it there.

By Joshitha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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


STRAY
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STRAY
MAGNOLIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Stray explores what it means to live as a being without status or security, following three strays as they embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society. Zeytin, fiercely independent, embarks on adventures through the city at night; Nazar, nurturing and protective, easily befriends the humans around her; while Kartal, a shy puppy living on the outskirts of a construction site, finds companions in the security guards who care for her. The strays' disparate lives intersect when they each form intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians with whom they share the streets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stray is a brilliant film about three beautiful dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, Turkey. Director Elizabeth Lo gives a unique perspective that allows viewers to venture into dogs' lives and learn a lot about the country of Turkey and the people there, as well. Through the eyes of the dogs we learn about their lives on the streets and the lives of others they interact with. We gain a better understanding of the people as we overhear conversations the citizens are having which tell us a lot about the personal lives of the people there and the living conditions. For both the dogs and some of the people, there is danger and the struggle to survive. There are also touching moments. It is an unforgettable film that helps people understand a different part of the world, the people and animals that live there, and that they all have the same basic needs of food, shelter, and friendship.

This documentary follows three dogs named Zeytin, Nazar and a puppy named Kartal. The camera follows the dogs at their level which is a very ingenious and a creative touch. As the camera rolls, we follow along and see how these dogs interact with other dogs and the humans they encounter. Not only do we get to experience a stray dog's life, but the lives of a young group of boys also living on the streets. The dogs in Istanbul are allowed to roam around the city freely since the citizens fought to save them. We're taken into these dogs' lives and live it with them, seeing all the sights and sounds they see.

One of my favorite scenes in Stray is when Zeytin is in the park and notices another dog approaching. You can tell from the beginning, when we first get to know Zeytin, that she is a sweet dog. She doesn't seem to mind the other dogs she comes in contact with and is friendly towards them. Watching Zeytin and the other dogs in the park was very enjoyable. I just loved watching them run around and being very playful. It is a scene that could have been in any part of the world. I also enjoyed watching the puppy, Kartal. The puppy's expressions are very sweet and, the way people react to Kartal, it adds a nice touch to the film.

The message in this film is to step up for what you believe in. The citizens of Turkey made sure their voices were heard, so that dogs can freely roam, and are not to be held captive or destroyed. Every life is worth something. The dogs provide comfort to many people there. There are some warnings. Some scenes can be graphic that go with life on the streets. Some of the topics and language spoken by some of the people is also for older viewers.

I give Stray 5 out of 5 stars. I was glued to the screen and I am now a much bigger fan of documentaries after watching this film. I plan to watch more in the future. I recommend this film to ages 13 to 20. Magnolia Pictures will release Stray in theaters and On Demand on March 5, 2021.

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

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


RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON
WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. However, when sinister monsters known as the Druun threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, those same monsters have returned, and it's up to a lone warrior to track down the last dragon and stop the Druun for good.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In terms of world-building, Raya and the Last Dragon is probably one of Disney's best. This animated film has a fascinating setting and mythology; however the story falters a little.

This film takes place in Kumandra, a world comprising five divided nations. When an evil force known as The Druun sends Kumandra into a state of despair, Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) sets out on a journey to find the last dragon, and defeat The Druun for good.

First, the animation in this film is strong and very realistic; perhaps a little too realistic to the point where some shots look like photographs. This might be a pet peeve of mine, because I don't like ultra-realistic animation. Sure, it is impressive, technologically speaking, but I find stylized animation to be much more striking and memorable. Aside from that, it's very beautiful. I really like the colors, and how each location is so visually distinct.

Raya and the Last Dragon feels a lot more dramatic and serious in tone than most other Disney films. On the one hand, I really enjoy this as I believe we need more serious kids' movies. However, I'm assuming the producers were concerned about this film being "too dark for kids" because there is a lot of really unfunny comedy in the beginning. This comedy mostly comes from Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon. And while I'm usually a fan of Awkwafina and her comedic timing, she's just not given any good material here. The jokes don't fit with the setting or tone, and they really bog down Sisu's first few scenes. Yet once the comedy slows down, she becomes a more dramatic character which I enjoyed.

I have a few concerns with the themes of Raya and the Last Dragon. The message that, instead of being divided, we need to come together and stand united is fine. However the execution of that message is a bit questionable. No spoilers, but let's just say a certain character really deserved some repercussions for all the problems they caused. I do understand that the moral is that we should learn to trust each other, but I feel like that message is used as an excuse to not properly redeem a character.

I give Raya and The Last Dragon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. It comes out on March 5, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access.

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

A groundbreaking film for representation, storytelling, and world-building, Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon is a must-watch for viewers of all ages. This is Disney's first film with a Southeast Asian female lead - YAY!

Raya and the Last Dragon is an absolutely enrapturing film! The film is set in the realm of Kumandra, where humans and dragons used to live together until a force called the Druun attacked, a miserable, swirly, "mindless" plague "born of human discord" (much like any modern issue). The Druun turns humans into stone and breaks Kumandra into warring factions. The dragon-protectors, who were the leaders of the dragons in ancient Kumandra, all added bits of their powers to a single, Infinity Stone-esque blue gem, which, thanks to the actions of Raya (Kelly Marie Tran), princess of the land of Heart, is scattered in pieces across all the realms. Six years later, we catch up with Raya (whose father has been turned into stone) and her crew of interesting companions on her mission to retrieve all of the gemstones. Her most significant companion is the sassy dragon-protector Sisu (Awkwafina). Sisu grows closer to Raya throughout the film, becoming her BFF, confidant, life coach, comic relief, sounding board, and more. Raya has to face off against her frenemy Namaari (Gemma Chan), who goes way back in Raya's life, and there are deep fractures in their relationship.

Raya and the Last Dragon has a sufficiently intricate world inspired by various Southeast Asian cultures, and its beauty lies in that characterization: simple yet imaginative. The animation is... okay. It's certainly up to Disney standard but nothing extremely new in the wheelhouse for this project. Tuktuk, Raya's interesting armadillo-like vehicle of choice, is probably the most inventive creation of animation in the film. Yes, that's including the dragons. I was hoping for a little less Mushu and more Hookfang; Sisu and her dragon siblings look pretty meek and kind of like characters we've seen before. As far as the voice acting goes, Awkwafina's portrayal of Sisu steals the show; it almost makes up for the animation! Her sarcastic humor, smooth delivery, and superb comic timing all work perfectly for the role. As for Raya, and the power and individuality with which Kelly Marie Tran dealt with the role also are wondrous.

Raya and the Last Dragon teaches teamwork and perseverance. There's some action, violence, and certain thematic elements to watch out for, but, overall, a lovely family watch!

I give Raya and the Last Dragon 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Raya and the Last Dragon is out now on Disney+ and in theatres! Go watch it!

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Trust me; you don't want to miss Raya and the Last Dragon from Walt Disney Animation Studios. This movie is a sweeping adventure of magical proportions and an emotional journey that touches your heart as you join the characters on their quest.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a story of a legendary kingdom known as Kumandra, where people and dragons live peacefully until an evil force overcomes them. The dragons sacrifice themselves to save humanity and the kingdom is divided. Raya's family protects the legacy of the mystical dragon gem and, when evil returns Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) is called upon to search for the last dragon Sisu (Awkwafina). There is treachery and mistrust between the fractured kingdoms and they must learn to trust each other again to unite and conquer evil.

Awkwafina plays the dragon Sisu and her eccentric personality provides a great deal of humor and playfulness, as well as emotion, in the story. A powerful performance is given by Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and, her breadth of character, adds to the intensity of emotion and majesty in the film. The music is dramatic and drives the epic feel of the story with an original score written by James Newton Howard.

The making of this movie came about from over 400 individual homes of talented artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios and was a completely unprecedented production experience based on story ideas by Bradley Raymond. The film is directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting) and is visually as magical as you would expect. Larry Wu (Big Hero 6, Frozen II), as Head of Environments created sumptuously detailed background for the five various kingdoms, which I loved!

The message of this film is that combined trust and faith empowers people. It is only through the teamwork of Raya's unlikely companions that band together to defeat evil and the kingdoms are united once again. Raya learns that she must take the first step in some situations, even before she may be ready. Forgiveness and redemption are also a theme in this story.

I rate Raya and the Last Dragon 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 15, plus adults. Raya and the Last Dragon opens in theaters and on Disney+ for Premiere Access March 5, 2021. Don't miss this heartwarming story and adventure!

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

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


MOXIE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MOXIE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Fed up with the sexist and toxic status quo at her high school, a shy 16-year-old finds inspiration from her mother's rebellious past and anonymously publishes a zine that sparks a school-wide, coming-of-rage revolution.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the coming-of-age movie, Moxie! It has comedy, drama and a terrific message, while handling very serious topics. The cast is perfect, and the music gives the film a lot of energy.

Moxie is based on the novel by the same name by Jennifer Mathieu and follows a 16-year-old girl named Vivian (Hadley Robinson) who prefers to be under the radar. This all changes when Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Pe�a) comes to her high school. After witnessing Lucy "holding her head high" during an encounter with another student, Vivian notices all of the horrible ways that girls are being treated at her school and decides to publish an anonymous zine that sparks a fire in all of the other fed-up girls at her school.

Amy Poehler directs the movie and plays Vivian's mom. She also happens to be my favorite character, because she is very clever, inspiring and is not a "traditional mom." The rest of the cast plays their characters so well. We see Vivian's journey from follower to leader. Lucy is such a bold and confident woman, standing up for what is right. Seth (Nico Hiragra) comes across as a really cool love interest of Vivian's and male ally to the female revolution. Patrick Schwarzenegger's portrayal of Mitchell Wilson is terrific, as I just hated him in the movie. The supporting characters are very diverse as we see people of all shapes, sizes and races, including a girl in a wheelchair, which I rarely see in movies, plus an all-girl band.

The key messages in this film are: to be the change you want to see, and friendship can support that change. You should know that the film has some mild profanity, shows underage drinking and handles some mature subjects.

I give Moxie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out on Netflix March 3, 2021.

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

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


ORPHANAGE, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ORPHANAGE, THE
1844 ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - A 15-year-old ticket scalper in Kabul dreams of Bollywood until the Soviets force him into a state facility.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Orphanage is a stellar film conveying the need for true heartfelt cinematic experiences. Beautiful cinematography creates a transcendent movie experience, with a script based on the unpublished diaries of Anwar Hashim, who plays a supporting role in the film. Acclaimed director Shahrbanoo Sadat uses personal experiences to convey an uplifting message.

Wolf and Sheep, the prequel to The Orphanage, premiered in 2016. Like its predecessor, The Orphanage is based on real life experiences in Afghanistan. The movie chronicles the main character, Qodrat (Qodratollah Qadiri), who spends his days trying to survive by illegally selling overpriced movie tickets and key rings. He is then brought to a Russian-operated orphanage along with other teenage boys, where he is given the opportunity to get an education alongside his peers. The Orphanage details his experiences in the orphanage and how the quarrels between roommates of the dorms are dealt with by the director Anwar (Anwar Hashimi). All throughout a war torn country in 1989, Qodrat remains hopeful, through fantasy sequences shared with the audience.

The cinematography is what truly stands out in this film. Directory of photography, Virginie Surdej captures the beauty of the country while adding to the heartbreaking story. My favorite part of this movie is the performances by the young people, including Qodratollah Qadiri, who gives rare insight into real life in Afghanistan, as they are all natives of the country.

The message of this film is about the importance of hope, despite all circumstances. The protagonist, Qodrat, remains hopeful and looks for positive routes of escapism throughout his struggles of growing up without a family, and his struggles at the orphanage. You should be aware that the film contains strong language and minor adult content. There are also two graphic descriptions of war and violence. There is also some references to sex and pornographic images (very far away from the screen, but still visible) that are unsuitable for younger kids.

I give The Orphanage 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. This film is available March 2, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

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

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


WALKING WITH HERB
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WALKING WITH HERB
PURE FLIX ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Sixty-five-year-old Joe Amable-Amo thinks nothing much in his background distinguishes him from other guys his age. He is struggling with his faith after tragedy hits. As the former amateur golfer's life continues to unfold, Joe is besieged with his marriage, working as a bank executive, and gearing up for retirement. But as he is about to discover, life has a way of throwing a curveball that changes everything. Joe is working at his desk when he receives a message from God on his computer screen that tells him he has been chosen to deliver an inspirational message to the world that the seemingly impossible is possible. God tells Joe he is going to play in World Entire golf championship, and if his faith is strong enough, he will win. As Joe embarks on a spiritual journey along with God's personal messenger and motorcyclist, Herb, Joe learns to make a difference, he must learn to face his fears, have confidence in his abilities, and commit to God before he can succeed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Walking With Herb shows how sports movies can convey powerful messages. One of my favorite parts of this film is when Herb (George Lopez) tries to restore Joe's (Edward James Olmos) faith through golf. I also really enjoyed the acting, and how all of the actors convey the message of faith in a realistic and natural way without being preachy.

The storyline follows Joe, a 65-year-old amateur golf champion, and bank executive, who experiences deep personal loss causing a crisis in his faith in God. His wife (Kathleen Quinlan) is also frustrated that he hasn't been attentive to fixing things around the house and especially in their garden. His daughter's business is also failing. I appreciate that this storyline is rich and complex.

Walking With Herb really excels in its portrayal of characters who are quite complicated. One of my favorites is Edward James Olmos's (Stand and Deliver, Battlestar Galactica) portrayal of Joe. Joe's character experiences significant personal growth over the course of the film. The dialog in this film feels natural and realistic, especially during the emotional scenes. It doesn't feel overly melodramatic at all. Through Joe's friendship with Herb, he is able to overcome his grief and make peace with his religion. My favorite scene is when he wakes his wife to show her a beautiful surprise outside. The cinematography in Walking With Herb is beautiful in how it uses different angles and lighting as well as close-ups depending on the actor on screen.

The message of Walking With Herb is about maintaining your faith in God despite challenges and hardships you may experience in your life. You should know that it does have heavy religious themes.

I give Walking with Herb 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters April 30, May 1 and May 3 through Fathom Events.

By Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Full of faith, belief and second chances comes the new indie film Walking With Herb. This movie will make you laugh, cry, and will take your breath away with each heartfelt second. If you've ever wondered about what's going on in the world above the clouds, Walking With Herb is the movie for you.

Walking With Herb is about Joe Amable-Amo (Edward James Olmos), who is a bank executive and former golfer. He struggles with his faith after a terrible event takes place. Faced with doubts about himself and his belief in God, Joe is stunned when God tells him that he's been chosen to play in a world championship golf tournament. As he is guided by Herb, God's special personal messenger, Joe learns that all you need to do is have faith.

While I was watching Walking With Herb, I noticed a lot of creativity in the storyline. I don't know how anyone connected God to winning a golf tournament, but somehow the director, Ross Kagan Marks, found a way to make the whole story seem logical. Even though the story works, I didn't enjoy that the film seems a bit rushed. I understand that you only have so much time when making a movie, but I would've enjoyed seeing a bit more development of the emotional arc of the characters other than Joe. It also almost felt like the story was on a straight line once Joe received the message from God. There are no plot twists or turns until the end. Lastly, I love the relationship between Joe and his wife, Sheila (Kathleen Quinlan.) The relationship between the two actors feels very genuine and real. Their conversations flow, and they have the sass of an older married couple.

The message of Walking With Herb is to continue to always have faith, no matter what. This message is shown throughout the movie as Joe turns back to God, even after all that happens to him and his family. His faith is also what leads Joe to do so well in the Golf tournament. If he did not believe in God and himself, he wouldn't have been able to go from not golfing for years to one of the world's best golfers.

I give Walking With Herb 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This film will be released in theaters April 12, 2021.

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

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


COUNTRY COMFORT, SEASON 1
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COUNTRY COMFORT, SEASON 1
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 10-18
Description - When her career and personal life get derailed, an aspiring young country singer named Bailey takes a job as a nanny for a rugged cowboy named Beau and his five children. With a never-give up attitude and loads of Southern charm, this newbie-nanny is able to navigate the family dynamics and be the mother figure they've been missing. To her surprise, Bailey also gets the band she's been missing in this musically talented family who help get her back on the road to stardom.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Country Comfort, Season 1, because this family comedy show has drama, romance and family situations filled with comedy. I like that this show brings realistic family events to the table. If Season 1 is this great, I cannot imagine how Season 2 will be.

This show is about a widower cowboy named Beau (Eddie Cibrian) who has five kids, a girlfriend and a nanny. This show reminded me of an old show named The Nanny. In every episode the nanny, named Bailey (Katharine McPhee), worries about not getting fired. The kids are somewhat mischievous and very talented. Each one sings and plays a different instrument. The young boy, Dylan is a manager or wants to become a celebrity manager and plays the piano and the drums. The 15-year-old boy, Brody is a singer, a dancer and plays guitar. The oldest boy, Tuck plays guitar and sings too. The older girl, Cassidy misses her mom the most. She is a strong and stubborn little girl. The youngest girl, Chloe, who is five is really funny and mature for her age. The dad's girlfriend, Summer is jealous of how Bailey takes better care of the kids than she does and of how much the children love Bailey.

My favorite episode is when famous singer, LeAnn Rimes, comes to their house and surprises Cassidy. Cassidy has a recording of her mom singing a LeAnn Rimes song on her phone and when she plays the song, LeAnn sings along. This show is very funny. The cast is very talented, especially the kids, who are multi-talented. There is lots of music. Almost every episode has either Bailey or one of the other children playing the guitar and singing. Each episode is approximately 25 minutes long. The show takes place inside their southern home and outside at their barn.

There are many morals in this show. Telling the truth is the most important one. In one episode the dad lies and so do the kids, but in the end everyone learns not to lie.

I give Country Comfort 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Remember to mark your calendars as this premieres March 19, 2021 on Netflix.

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

Watching Country Comfort, Season 1 was an absolute treat. This wonderful new series will leave you in tears from laughing and crying, while giving you a warm feeling of family, love and music. Be prepared to fall in love with every character in this new heartwarming show.

Country Comfort is a new Netflix series premiering this spring. It is filled with entertaining episodes such as Crazy, Teardrops on My Guitar, Sign, Sign, Everywhere a sign, My Girl, Blue and Summer Lovin'. Each episode follows the story of how a failing country singer, Bailey, is taken in by a large family, only to learn to love each and every one of them. The music, laughter and spirit of the show will make you root for love, togetherness and success for our clumsy protagonist. This is a show I highly recommend.

While watching Country Comfort, Season 1 a few things really caught my eye (and ear!). To start, the actress who plays Bailey, Katharine McPhee, has both an amazing voice and a fantastic stage presence. When she sings, she is unlike many country singers. She really got me into her songs, especially when she sings for her audition for the CMA concert. I also absolutely love her comedic timing. Shows may be written as comedies, but it is up to the actors to make their lines funny and make audience laugh. That she does. I found myself laughing out loud many times when she gets into one sticky situation after the other. This show is a comedy, but it has something different than many other family sitcoms on TV today - a country setting. It is very refreshing to see a change of location.

The message of this show is: when you don't at first succeed, try, try, again. Bailey has many situations thrown at her, such as dealing with a breakup, losing something very important to one of the children, and finding feelings for new love. She always overcomes these obstacles with a little more spunk each time. She sets an example that, even when life shoves things in your way, you will make it through.

I give Country Comfort, Season 1, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 8 to 15. This series premieres on Netflix March 19, 2021.

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

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


SPONGEBOB: SPONGE ON THE RUN
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SPONGEBOB: SPONGE ON THE RUN
PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Set before the events of the television series, SpongeBob goes on a trip to Kamp Koral and meets some new friends. However, when his pet snail Gary gets kidnapped by Poseidon and taken to the Lost City of Atlantic City, he and his new best friend Patrick must go on a rescue mission to save him from the dastardly plan of Poseidon before it is too late. The movie will also reveal the first time our beloved characters (as kids) met at Camp...a magical moment that brings meaning to the power of true friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The outstanding film SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run, written and created by Tim Hill, portrays the true meaning of friendship. The story touched my heart. Although this film is animated, each of the characters and their feelings feel so real to me. The compassion in this film matches perfectly with the humor. At some points, the suspense is so high that I was on the edge of my seat!

The protagonist, SpongeBob (Tom Kenny), has always loved and cared for his pet snail, Gary (Tom Kenny). When the King of the Seas (Matt Berry) is in need of a snail, SpongeBob's arch enemy, Plankton (Mr. Lawrence), takes Gary away in order to get rid of SpongeBob. Plankton wants the secret recipe for the famous crabby patties, but SpongeBob keeps ruining his master plans for stealing it. SpongeBob and his trusty friend Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) take a journey to the Lost City of Atlantic City in order to rescue Gary from the King's palace. Unfortunately, SpongeBob and Patrick get into a life threatening situation with no one there to help them. How will his friends save the day? Maybe even plankton will come to the rescue!

Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke's voice overs are, hands down hilarious. There wasn't a scene in the whole film where I didn't laugh! Both have such unique, varied and energetic voices which bring to life their individual characters. Tom Kenny adjusts his voice to make Gary sound absolutely adorable. His voice makes me think of my own pet, that I love so much. The animations are beautiful and filled with deep and vibrant color. The characters' facial expressions perfectly match the liveliness of the actors' voices.

The message of this film is that true friends will always have your back, no matter what. Friends will always be there during your times in need and everyone needs true friends. This sweet message encourages everyone to be kind and loyal. There is no violence that is gory although there is an axe that is never used. There is no harmful language or stereotypes. Most of the characters are a good influence.

I give SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. This is a great family movie. It releases on Paramount + March 4, 2021. Look for it!

Reviewed by Nyara, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

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

This title is available for purchase from PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT


FATHER, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATHER, THE
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - A man refuses all assistance from his daughter as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A beautifully-made and moving film, The Father depicts dementia in its raw, brutal essence and will surely make an imprint on your soul.

The French-British film centers around aging Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an Englishman who "has his ways," as his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) says. As Anthony develops dementia and his condition worsens, Anne finds it difficult to balance her life with caring for her father. The film traces how the two of them go about their lives together and how the disease progresses. The Father is told in a jumbled manner because our perspective of the film is as Anthony would see it: All out of order. Anne's husband Paul (Rufus Sewell) and another man who Anthony thinks is her husband, a woman, and several caretakers all appear and disappear throughout the film. Even the settings shift, and you're never really sure where you are. Director Florian Zeller and his crew design both Anne and Anthony's apartments to look relatively similar which enhances that perspective of disorientation.

Anthony Hopkins has always played cerebral roles, so this more emotional one is unique in his repertoire. He sheds tears, flies into fits of rage, and immerses himself in the character of a strong-willed man slowly losing his grip on what's happening. The last scene is especially poignant and hard-hitting; no spoilers, though! Olivia Colman's portrayal of Anne is one that many who have dealt with a relative suffering from a progressive mental illness will identify with. It's incredibly realistic, and, at times, you forget that she's an actress playing a character. Anne herself is layered, especially in how she copes with Anthony's dementia, first keeping her emotions bundled up, escalating to emotional breakdowns, and eventually to some scary fantasies. Colman deals with these feelings beautifully, immersing herself much like Hopkins does. Director Florian Zeller isn't actually a director by profession; he's a playwright, and this film was adapted from his play Le P�re. He's a master storyteller, and you couldn't tell this is his first gig as a director. His attention to detail (especially with sets, something I'm sure he took from his career in playwriting), combined with his personal experiences (his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia when Zeller was 12) make this film an earnest yet unsettling project.

The Father cries out to its viewers to enjoy life while they have their senses and to show compassion toward those who have begun to lose (or have already lost) a clear view of the world. It's a sobering portrait of mental illness and yet an empowering film for those coping with their individual struggles. There is some profanity, slight violence (Paul slaps Anthony), and Anthony and Anne's father-daughter relationship gets a bit abusive at times.

I give The Father 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults; younger kids could watch the film if they feel comfortable with themes like mental illness. The Father releases on-demand on March 12, 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The Father is an excellent depiction of the reality for many elderly people. This film offers insight into the minds of those that suffer from dementia and how they think. We see how this illness affects not only the patient, but their loved ones.

The Father follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins), an elder suffering from dementia. The motion picture shows how his mind plays tricks on him. He forgets names easily and he sees his daughter differently, as in with a different face. He also imagines people are there that do not exist. All the while, his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman) struggles to find her father the perfect caretaker.

This film really is an eye-opener to the reality of dementia. Not only is Anthony forgetful, but his attitude changes rapidly in the blink of an eye. In one scene, he is all happy and jazzy as he converses with a young woman, and then he is angry and demands that he doesn't need a caretaker. He believes that he can outlive his own daughter and even talks about what he would say at her funeral. In another scene, he even forgets his name and calls out for his mother. This film is perfect for the loved ones of dementia patients. The movie offers the perspective, ideas, and confusion the victims go through. It also serves as a guide by showing how Anne deals with her father's outbursts and how her love stands strong to always help him. Not once does she give up on her father, insisting he deserves the best care.

The moral of this film is that love conquers all, even the impossible. With the decline of Anthony's mental health, he always has family by his side. Anne always does what is best for her father, including finding the best caretaker in London. Once Anthony is in a home, his nurse has the patience and love to answer his questions, comfort him and put his needs first. There are warnings that go along with its PG-13 rating. Mild profanity is sprinkled throughout the film, along with realistic depictions of mental illness.

I give The Father 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 17 to 18, plus adults. It premieres on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu February 26, 2021.

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

The Father is practically a psychological horror movie, depicting the decaying psyche of an old man, battered by dementia. Yes, The Father tends to be pretty grim, but its excellent lead performance from Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins and the film's structural fluidity set it apart from similarly bleak dramas about the deteriorating mental functions of a senior citizen.

The story follows Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) who, at first glance, is an ordinary elderly man in the waning years of his life, pacing around his apartment, awaiting his daughter's arrival (Olivia Colman) to discuss her new living arrangements. This all serves as a prelude to the mental and emotional fireworks to follow. From there, everything becomes a lot less concrete. Faces of loved ones morph; the layout of Anthony's apartment shifts; Anne gains a husband; and Anthony is introduced to an in-home care person who bears a striking resemblance to his youngest daughter who may or may not be dead. As dementia wreaks havoc on his brain and mind, Anthony's only attachment to reality becomes a watch he keeps misplacing, an almost perfect metaphor for Anthony's spiraling-out-of-control sense of reality.

The Father commits itself to depicting dementia through often surreal ripples in the consciousness of its protagonist. The first sign that things are amiss in Anthony's flat is a quite alarming moment and so, so well-executed. What happens is a slight, but perceptible alteration to what we've been told by Anthony's daughter about why she's come to see her father, that becomes a dire sign for what's to come. A miniscule shift in our perception of events, as filtered through Anthony, balloons into far more concerning and substantial lapses in memory that we witness through Anthony's point of view.

Anthony Hopkins' performance is a consistently surprising lead performance, representative of a film that is just as unpredictable. He doesn't play it too big, even in the very erratic and sporadic launches between an almost effortless effervescence and the prickly, defensive edge that comes to the surface whenever his self-sufficiency comes into question. Hopkins not only has to channel a frequently changing demeanor, but also a changing frame of mind. He goes from distant--resigned in his cloud of seemingly eternal confusion--to "in-your-face," saying truly cruel things to his daughter to finding himself reduced to tears, calling out for his mother. Hopkins' performance stays in line even in its frequent transformations in his mind and mood. Everything feels of a piece with that character and what we know about him. And he is just as compelling when he putters down a hallway as when he explodes at his daughter, the person who cares for him most.

I give The Father 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 for some language. You can see The Father in theaters March 12, 2021, and it will be available on Video On Demand platforms starting March 26th.

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

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


ARCHIBALDS NEXT BIG THING
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARCHIBALDS NEXT BIG THING
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 3-7
Description - Archibald's Next Big Thing is an American animated comedy streaming television series created by Tony Hale for Netflix. The plot revolves around Archibald Strutter, a positive chicken who often goes astray from home, but eventually always finds his way back home. Season 3 debuts on the Peacock Channel.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Archibald's Next Big Thing is a unique animation series filled with adventure and kid-friendly humor.

In this season of Archibald's Next Big Thing, Archibald goes on all kinds of wacky adventures with his siblings, Loy, Finly and Sage. Being a chicken and living in an egg shaped house with neighbors of all different species, Archibald finds himself making multiple mistakes and learning valuable lessons through his experiences. From damaging a doctor's office to body switching and even shrinking himself, you never know what situation Archibald will be in. Now matter what, with the help of his friends and family he is able to solve his problems in unusual ways and also with a happy ending.

Tony Hale's, Archibald's Next Big Thing is the next chapter for Archibald Strutter. Producers Eric Fogel and Tony Hale continue to make Archibald a likable character with a great sense of humor. The talented voice-overs of the lead characters Archibald (Tony Hale), Loy (Chelsea Kane), Finly (Jordan Fisher) and Sage (Adam Fally) make the characters believable and bring life to the series. The music, produced by Matthew Janszen, seamlessly transitions the scenes and creates a silly and fun atmosphere. The art director, Sierra Lewis and visual effects directors, Karla Monterrosa and Jessica Oh, are to be commended for designing an animated series adapted from the book and staying true to the original book. The animated drawings and visual effects easily tell the stories of Archibald's never-ending curiosity while being visually engaging.

This cute series makes it okay to be curious and encourages children to learn from their mistakes. Archibald is far from perfect, but the theme of acceptance and compassion guides him through the process of solving his problems. Being a silly chicken turns out to be a lot of fun.

I rate Archibald's Next Big Thing 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. Archibald's Next Big Thing premieres on Peacock February 18, 2021 and can be seen on Netflix as well.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 3-10
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


WE ARE SILVER DAZZLERS (2021)
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WE ARE SILVER DAZZLERS (2021)
ROBERT SICO Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Documentary about the dance team from Harlan High School in San Antonio, Texas......The Silver Dazzlers! Go on a journey with these amazing young ladies, and watch as they experience an incredible season that included dancing at the AT&T Center, the Alamodome, and of course, dancing for their school. Plus, see how an emotional football season changes the dance team forever, and why being a Silver Dazzler can be life changing. "You think it's just learning how to dance...but it's so much more than that. "Adriana N�jera - Dance Team Director
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - We Are Silver Dazzlers is a documentary about a dance team at Harlan High School in San Antonio, Texas. It showcases the journey associated with being a Silver Dazzler. This documentary also shows the bond that the dance team has and how they overcome the hardships of competitive dance with one another.

This film is appealing because, no matter what age someone is, they have been a part, or will be a part of some team. Whether the team is a group of people at work collaborating towards a common goal, or a sports team, one can relate. A child would enjoy this because they can look up to the girls on the dance team. They can possibly be inspired by their hard work and dedication to their sport. I also think dance is very entertaining to watch, so child may enjoy it for the entertainment aspect.

This documentary flows well. It begins with the stories about how the girls got onto the team, highs and lows they have experienced together, favorite performances and moments together, and then what life might look like after the dance team. I also enjoy the intercutting between video footage of the performances or practices and the interviews. It's a perfect balance between the two. I felt empathy for the girls being interviewed because I remember the feeling of being part of a dance team and then graduating and having to move on. Everyone knows the feeling of having to move onto the next stage of their lives and it can be very hard.

The material and vocabulary are suitable for the intended age group. It is also not word heavy regarding dance terms; even if one does not have a dance background, they can still understand what the girls are discussing. There is a section in which the death of a fellow student is discussed. It does not go into detail regarding the death, but this topic still may be hard for some viewers.

The camera quality is quite good. The dance team's costumes are very ornate. The music is mostly royalty free music, but I did notice some pop songs here and there, which made me wonder if the filmmaker has the license to use them.

This film shows the viewer that being part of something good, such as a hardworking dance team, has positive outcomes for not only the thing they are part of, but for themselves also. Viewers can appreciate the importance of working hard under pressure. To paraphrase a quote from the film: do not take the small things in life for granted, because when you look back on your memories, you will realize how big those moments actually are. Do not be sad it's over; be happy it happened.

I give We are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - We Are Sliver Dazzlers, by Robert Sico, is a tremendously encouraging documentary that is very exceptional.

This documentary is about a dance team that consists of a group of young girls from a high school in San Antonio, Texas, that share the same passion under the amazing leadership of Adriana Najer, who teaches them the meaning of dedication which makes them become great stewards.

This film explores the true meaning of friendship and family. It follows a realistic journey of today's times and a first time experience for a lot of things; listening to the individual testimonies of the girls is so heartwarming. The audience gets an upfront, behind the scenes look at what it takes to be part of a phenomenal dance team. This film is a tear-jerker and you might catch yourself grabbing a tissue to wipe your tears. The way Robert Sico captures the positive, happy and sad moments is really superb; capturing real life stories and keeping it relevant to today's youth is very brightly done. This film is so modern, from the background music to the uniforms. The way the director captures the girls' stories is dazzling.

The message of this film is you don't have to be biologically related to be a family. And we see how behind a great leader is a great "family."

We Are Silver Dazzlers is a sentimental and beautiful documentary. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars.

By Deena H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I love watching the bond among the members of this high school dance team in the documentary We Are Silver Dazzlers! The combination of candid interviews from the team members with footage of the team's dazzling dance numbers creates an emotional journey as they reflect on past dance seasons at Harlan High School. This documentary highlights the thoughtful intentions and dedication the Silver Dazzlers put into their dances and I am in awe of the loving support they have for other members of their high school community.

The documentary catalogs a full season with the Silver Dazzlers dance team as they choreograph, practice and perform routines at school sporting events, pep rallies, and destinations like the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Alternating between dancers in their sophomore, junior and senior year and Coach Adriana N�jera, the team talks through the significance of their bejeweled costumes, behind the scenes of important performances, and their individual journeys to become join the treasured team. Additionally, as members of the Silver Dazzlers in the team's first year, the graduating seniors discuss the legacy they have built through the dance team and the values they hope to pass on to the next generation of Silver Dazzlers.

Although the documentary is a bit long at 90 minutes, it is neatly organized into sections like "Pep Rallies" and "A Football Season to Remember." I love the choice to utilize vlog footage from the dancers in the documentary. In contrast to the dances, the vlog perspective pulls the audience closer to the dancers and provides a unique look at what the Silver Dazzlers do behind the scenes of their performances. The dancers' signature white hat and cowboy boots are stunning when they perform on the football field, but I also love the creativity of their other costumes, like the ripped t-shirts in their Halloween performance and bright red sequined coats in a dance from their first season. The film features many emotional moments from the dancers, with a lyrical dance from football season standing out among the rest as it was dedicated to the loss of a fellow student. The dancers are extremely eloquent when talking about their fellow students and impactful in relaying the drive and disappointment the football team felt when losing a big game that year. I also like the music choices in this film. For example, when a dancer becomes emotional during an interview "Human" by Christina Perri slowly crescendos, mimicking and highlighting the girl's raw emotions.

We Are Silver Dazzlers portrays the perseverance of a closely knit team, and champions the importance of supportive relationships within a team. This documentary also promotes a strong work ethic and dedication.

I give We Are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and adults will enjoy it as well.

Reviewed by Bella F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

We Are Silver Dazzlers is very entertaining and inspiring. The down to earth story and really connects to the audience on an emotional and humble level.

This documentary follows a group of dancers and their journey throughout their high school years. Adriana Najera, the dance teacher at Harlan High School, teaches a group of 23 girls dances they perform at events such as pep rallies, football games, competitions and more. Throughout the years, these girls form a sisterhood and become amazing leaders and friends.

All of the girls that are interviewed are so kind-hearted, humble and passionate. Throughout the film, they all show their passion for dance and performing. Through hard work, dedication and teamwork, they celebrate their accomplishments together. The way the dancers talk about each other shows that they truly have a great bond. They act as if they are just one big family and connect to the audience through their stories and emotions. We watch the team experience hills and valleys and, in the end, it is all worth it because they all get to do what they love to do. Throughout film their outstanding costumes shine, from the original ones used at football games and pep rallies, to the sparkly and shiny ones used at conventions and competitions, they consistently wear dazzling uniforms.

The message of this film is that a successful team takes friendship, hard work and determination.

I give We Are Silver Dazzlers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18.

By Taia P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

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


OWN THE ROOM
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
OWN THE ROOM
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ENTERTAINMENT - LA Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 11=18
Description - Own the Room chronicles five students from disparate corners of the planet as they take their budding business ventures to Macau, China, to compete in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. Santosh is from a small farming town in Nepal; Alondra works the register at her family's bakery in Puerto Rico; Henry is a programming wiz from Nairobi; Jason is a marketing machine from Greece; and Daniela, an immigrant fleeing the crisis in Venezuela, is taking on the chemical industry from her lab at NYU. In the uplifting film, each of the business hopefuls has overcome immense obstacles in pursuing their dreams, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest. As they represent their countries as the top student entrepreneurs, the high-stakes global finals are their opportunity to win worldwide attention and the coveted $100,000 grand prize to make their life-changing business ideas a reality and transform the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Own the Room is a new feature documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films directed by Cristina Costantini and Darren Foster. This directing duo delivers an uplifting movie that has us digging into our "emotional toolbox" as we follow the heartfelt journeys of young entrepreneurs bringing change for future generations. The optimism of these individuals is so incredible and can certainly be appreciated by anyone working hard to pursue their dreams.

Own the Room follows the paths of five young innovators from across the globe who showcase their business plans to "change the world one big idea at a time." These individuals overcome cultural obstacles and push the limits in order to reach the top. Santosh, Alondra, Henry, Jason and Daniela have each qualified to represent their country at the annual Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Macau, China. Each has the dream of taking their business to the next level to become the world's most influential change-maker. Aside from setting their eyes on the prize of $100,000, each hopes to raise awareness that "no matter where you come from, it does not define where you are going." They are each proud of their culture, their family support, and the chance to represent their country.

I enjoyed the emotional conversations in which the students share their cultural backgrounds and find their words to be genuine and spirited. Their determination, confidence, and fearlessness kept me wanting to see more. Costantini and Foster are clever to include the lifestyle, family background and the obstacles that each of these students face. That allows viewers to appreciate the students' journeys even more and perhaps to gain a better understanding of each of the young entrepreneurs' business ideas. The cinematography is fantastic, taking us into five areas of the world and showing viewers a variety of ways of life. The society in which you live does indeed partly shape you as an individual, and yet this documentary proves that it doesn't have to hold you back.

Own the Room delivers many messages and mainly demonstrates how determination is at the root of all success. If you are determined, you will be driven to work hard to achieve no matter how many obstacles confront you. Challenges serve to strengthen us. It is this determination that we see in each of the student entrepreneurs and which becomes so inspiring to viewers. Given the current state of the world right now, an inspiring film such as Own the Room is exactly what we need.

I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults would certainly love and appreciate this film just as much as kids. Own the Room will begin streaming on March 12,, 2021, on Disney+. Mark this date on your calendars because this is a film you're going to want to see.

Reviewed by Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Own the Room is an inspirational, beautifully-made documentary that will have you on the edge of your seat, completely enthralled for the entire duration.

In Own the Room, we learn about the stories of Henry, a programmer from Kenya; Alondra, from Puerto Rico - a baker with a passion for serving the deaf; Santosh, from Nepal - a small-town-guy with big dreams from Nepal; Jason, from Greece - a humorous marketing whiz; and Daniela, a Venezuelan immigrant honing her talents as an incredibly intelligent chemical engineer in her lab at NYU. These five intrepid and enterprising young entrepreneurs have faced great challenges, from hurricanes to poverty to civil unrest, to pitch their ideas at the EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA), one of the world's leading entrepreneurship competitions, and win the $100,000 grand prize that can help make their dreams come true.

All of the entrepreneurs in this film show their true selves, and (this is rare for documentaries covering competitions) support one another vocally, even in their interviews. Speaking of interviews, for the most part we get to see the talented young adults' personalities shine and ideas flourish while they are in action. The cinematography is beautiful, especially the shots of the bustling city of Nairobi and Santosh's village in Nepal. I also love the way that the cinematography team covered the GSEA event in Macau, with energetic shots of the entrepreneurs preparing and pulsing music backing Henry's nail-biting immigration fiasco. The bits of pitches only take up about five to ten minutes of the film, and they are amazing, of course. But it's the buildup that keeps you watching!

Own the Room promotes messages of grit, courage, and innovation. It's a beautiful film to watch, especially in the time we live in now when people are having to innovate to survive and thrive.

I give Own the Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Own the Room releases March 12, 2021 on Disney+.

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

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


CREW, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CREW, THE
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 13-18
Description - Life in the garage goes off track for a NASCAR crew chief and his racing team when a new boss shakes things up.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Crew is an enjoyable watch that teaches you in equal measures about racing and being there for your friends. Even for those who aren't NASCAR fans, this ten-episode show will grip your attention and sweep you up into a riptide of emotions.

Honestly, there's not much technical detail given about racing; the deepest the show gets into the subject matter is describing the inner workings of a muscle car engine. But viewers will not be disappointed. The Crew follows a group of coworkers - Kevin, Chuck, Amir, Jake and Beth - at Bobby Spencer Racing (a small NASCAR team out of North Carolina) through their daily lives - their highs, their lows and their in-betweens. Catherine Spencer, Bobby's daughter, takes over the company within the first episode. The high-and-mighty Stanford graduate right out of Silicon Valley is tasked with completely revamping the company. Careers are put in jeopardy, game hunting goes wrong (no animals were hurt in the making of this show) and we see exactly how much NASCAR teams love steak in all forms.

This rip-roaring show is led by the comedy powerhouse Kevin James, a true legend, who plays Kevin. He's the 'personality' of the office, a former racing driver who retired to the garage after an injury. Gary Anthony Williams plays the fix-it man, Chuck. Dan Ahdoot is the socially-awkward and anxious Amir. Freddie Stroma plays the slightly slow, but incredibly adorable Jake. Sarah Stiles is the curly-haired, sweet, Southern Beth. The femme-fatale of the show, Catherine Spencer, is played by Jillian Mueller. Of all the characters, I love Kevin (obviously) as well as Beth and Catherine. Both of the women have such layered characters, especially Catherine. We are only given hints at her childhood - save for the frequent mention of her Stanford degree, which is turned into a drinking game by Kevin and Frank. The cast is incredibly talented, especially in terms of their comedic timing. Their chemistry is visible on screen. You can tell that they would be the best of friends on set. The sets of The Crew are also so realistic!

The Crew is truly a show about community, friendship and sticking together. All of the members of the NASCAR team featured in the show are, as the High School Musical jingle goes, "all in this together." They bear their new boss Catherine together, and help each other through their problems. There's slight profanity at certain points in the show, and there are hunting scenes, but they're not graphic.

I give The Crew 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Crew will be available on Netflix on February 15, 2021.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Click to purchase directly from the producer Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15-18
Description - Lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time - ever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Barb And Star Go To Vista Del Mar is comedic genius! Hilarious lines are sprinkled throughout this film while friendships, romances and spies take center stage. Barb and Star really show how age is just a number.

The storyline follows middle-aged best friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) who visit Vista Del Mar. On their vacation, they encounter the charming undercover spy Edgar (Jamie Dornan). Edgar, unbeknownst to the women, works for a villain (Kristen Wiig) whose plan is to murder all of Vista Del Mar.

This film shows how Kristen and Annie's comedy is at its peak. The motion picture parodies spy thrillers by exaggerated water spirits, deadly flies and turtle-filled lies. Even though the film pokes fun at action movies, there are serious topics discussed. Both friends are middle aged and believe their prime time has passed; they believe they are unable to have the adventures they've always dreamed of. Throughout the film, they overcome these doubts by falling in love, riding banana boats and fighting an evil super-villain. We also see the villain's backstory. She was born with a rare skin condition which made her vulnerable to bullying at a young age and it was difficult for her to make friends.

The moral of the movie is that no matter how old you are, adventure is out there for you; you just have to go looking for it. Both Barb and Star were hesitant to leave their mid-western hometown, believing that their adventure time had expired. They take a chance and go to Florida. Barb sheds all her fears and rides dirt bikes and walks on burning stones. Star falls in love, even when she thought she would never have another opportunity.

I give Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available on Prime Video and on demand February 12, 2021.

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

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

This title is available for purchase from LIONSGATE FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT


MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN, THE: ALL ABOUT EARTH
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAGIC SCHOOL BUS RIDES AGAIN, THE: ALL ABOUT EARTH
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 5-13
Description - Bus, do your stuff! Field trips with Ms. Frizzle are wilder than ever, into space, over to the Galapagos Islands even a plunge into the depths of the Sun itself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Every moment in The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is exciting! The brilliant colors, constant excitement and movement create a fun and fast paced adventure. I love how the action starts right from the beginning. The energy in the characters' voices adds to the enthralling energy of the whole series.

The storyline follows the Magic School Bus taking the class on out of this world field trip adventures. The bus and the class all turn into things to demonstrate firsthand knowledge of science and how things work!

I like that the storyline is repetitive throughout, yet very unique in the individual stories. Kids will love that they won't know what the next adventure will be, but they know it will be an exciting experience on each field trip. The camera shots that give quick close-ups when something exciting is going on make it suspenseful and exciting. The costumes for the kids are brightly colored and still normal for kids of this age. The costumes for Ms. Frizzle, the teacher, are always eccentric and smartly indicative of the current adventure. One constant set that is used in each episode is the magic school bus that takes them on all the adventures. The sets for each episode are unique to that field trip and are always brilliantly colored.

The music is suspenseful, typically fast-paced and captivating. The special effects are limitless since it is animated. The bus turns into anything imaginable. Ms. Fiona Frizzle is played by Kate McKinnon and Lily Tomlin plays professor Frizzle. Both of them give stunning performances.

The message of this show is that "learning can be fun and exciting." My favorite character is Ms. Frizzle. Her colorful character and crazy antics keep the adventure constant.

I give The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. Younger ones may not entirely understand but the colors and upbeat, fast-paced music will keep them entertained.

Reviewed by Melissa M., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Looking for an entertaining, educational and nostalgic TV series on DVD? Well, then the Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! is perfect for you. Although it is targeted toward a younger audience, I still found myself attentive and interested in the story lines. Each episode has a fun adventure, mixed with an enthusiastic learning experience. It reminds me of how much I liked reading the original The Magic School Bus books when I was younger.

In the four episodes on this DVD, "Pigs in the Wind," "Hides and Seeks," "The Tales Glaciers Tell," and "Tim and the Talking Trees," the characters learn about the Earth's patterns and ways of communicating and how it's important to take care of the Earth. They also learn about wind patterns, how animals camouflage, how oxygen and carbon is preserved in glaciers for thousands of years and how ecosystems communicate with each other. And they also see many sights from different time periods and places that make amazing field trips.

My favorite episode is "Hides and Seeks," especially when half of the kids get to travel to different geographic locations and study animals camouflaging to report back to the other half of the kids. We see animals in the environmental atmosphere blending in, and in contrast we see the kids in their game of hide and seek. This show is for younger audiences, but some of the concepts are explained too quickly for me to grasp and won't make sense to everyone. A few characters are pretty different from the book, which makes them unique in this TV show. The voicing of the characters is realistic and fitting for their personalities. Although there is some repetition in ideas and story lines, it isn't enough to make the show any less fun to watch. I would definitely watch this show in my free time just for fun.

One of the messages in this series is love the earth and to protect it. This inspires people to preserve the wildlife and habitats. We are also shown that you can always find fun in learning and it's easier to learn when you get an inside look and explore things on your own, instead of read about them in a textbook. Sometimes the kids in the show find themselves in a scary situation, but they are never in grave danger. Apart from some concepts being a little hard to understand this series is pretty kid friendly great for school-aged kids.

I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13. Adults and teenagers may enjoy it too. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth! Is available on DVD now so look for it.

Reviewed by Rosemary K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is a great choice for young kids and schools. Apart from a few minor flaws, these four episodes are well worth your time. Colorful animation, creative incorporation of important messages and nice humor are a few of the things that make is DVD unique Based on the original The Magic School Bus, this collection follows an elementary school class on their field trips and creative experiments that are all about Earth. When a scientific topic needs investigation, Miss Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) and the class jump aboard the magic school bus and get creative to figure out solutions to their problems.

There are many impressive elements in this show - from trees, to animals, to kids, the colorful animation is eye-catching. The animals are also very cute, as are some of the plot points. Humor for all ages, but primarily aimed toward younger kids, is woven throughout and laughs are spread out nicely. Another touch of creativity is the way that these episodes are supremely entertaining, but also very educational. It's seemingly just your normal animated show, and then all of a sudden, you're learning things without even realizing it! With all of this being said, there are a couple aspects that don't quite hold up. This collection has the same characters as the original The Magic School Bus, but most of their personalities don't match too well. Sometimes I find myself wondering if they really are the same characters. This could be disappointing for fans of the original The Magic School Bus series. Also, some things are just not realistic. Besides the school bus's magic, which is clearly fantasized, a lot of events occur that don't make much sense. For example, the students build a tower with hundreds of bricks in a short amount of time.

The message of this show is that teamwork is necessary to accomplish tasks. Whether it be setting the stage for a play or playing hide and seek, working together is vital. This DVD is terrific for learning science concepts.

I give The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 9, plus adults. This DVD is available now so look for it.

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

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is the perfect thing to give you a much-needed laugh and a much-needed lesson. While traveling all over the world, the characters in this show learn essential facts that help them with the problems they face. This series is worth the watch!

The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is compilation of episodes from The Magic School Bus: Rides Again, a spinoff of the 90s series, The Magic School Bus. The episodes in this DVD have everything to do with the Earth. Ms. Frizzle (Kate McKinnon) takes her students on epic adventures all around the world, in different time periods, and through various situations. And, of course, this is with the help of their magic school bus. The characters in this show use their smarts and creativity to have a blast, while learning new things about our planet.

When you watch this DVD it's evident that this is a fantastic show. First of all, the facts they learn are very useful, especially because they are related to concepts being learned in school. For instance, if you are learning about plants, then the episode "Tim and the Talking Trees" is perfect for you. It teaches about how the roots in trees and other plants are connected and therefore communicate in order to survive. Even if you're NOT in school when you watch this, it's still great to have the knowledge. Something else that makes this series so intriguing, are the settings. They are all very colorful and have a nice balance. This includes the way the characters are dressed. The colors of the wardrobe complement the backgrounds, context and the personality of each character. There are some flaws, like the comedy. Of course this is a kids' show, however, some of the jokes are a little unsubtle. Also, there are times when the acting seems very scripted, and the pace of the dialogue and interactions seem a little off. I had a high expectation for this show, since I used to watch the original when I was younger. While this show didn't exactly meet my expectation, it could prove to work really well for young kids now.

The message of The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is that exploring and being curious is a good thing, and that curiosity can lead to extraordinary discoveries. The characters aren't afraid of showing how fond they are of exploring and learning new things. This can be uplifting for kids who may get made fun of for being intelligent or inquisitive.

As you can probably already tell, The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth is an engaging DVD that you can watch whenever you want to learn something, have a laugh, or just want to watch an entertaining show! I rate it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 10. This is an amazing DVD for parents to watch with their kids, and it provokes discussion afterwards. The Magic School Bus Rides Again: All About Earth DVD is available now. So look for it.

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Runtime: 90 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 5-13
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


MINARI
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MINARI
A24 Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A Korean American family moves to an Arkansas farm in search of its own American dream. Amidst the challenges of this new life in the strange and rugged Ozarks, they discover the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Minari, a semi-autobiographical and earnest portrayal of an immigrant family, written and directed by Isaac Lee Chung, tugs at viewers' heartstrings and is surely a 2021 must-watch. The incredible starring cast, intricate storyline, poignant background score and perfectly punctuated cinematography all combine to make this Korean and English feature a beautiful masterpiece.

The name of the film, Minari, is another name for Korean watercress, which is key to the plotline. When the story begins the Yi family had immigrated to the U.S. from Korea years ago; Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Ye-Ri Han), parents to David (Alan Kim) and Anne (Noel Cho), are chicken sexers by profession. The family moves from California to the Ozarks for new opportunities. Specifically, Arkansas, where they are greeted by their new yet run-down mobile home and by Paul, an eccentric evangelist. As they settle into their new home, problems in the family begin to set in. In the name of bringing back a bit of the family spirit, Monica invites her mother, Soonja (Yuh-Jung Youn), to come and stay with them. The foul-mouthed, cards-playing, yet adorable halmeoni (grandma in Korean) arrives and totally shakes things up, bonding with the grandkids over growing minari, playing cards, and watching wrestling. When tragedy strikes, though, the family is put through a resilience test like never before.

Lee Isaac Chung took inspiration from his own childhood growing up on his parents' plot of land to create this film; it's personal, and it shows. This film is a "the summer when everything changed" type of story . Steven Yeun is, as always, masterful in encapsulating the minimal emotions and laconic speech of his character. Veteran Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn is my other favorite in this film; her character's feisty-yet-lovable grandma persona truly fits. She's an unwavering icon of the South Korean film industry and her experience shows. Also, the cinematography team for Minari, as well as the editing team, have worked meticulously to create a seamless viewing experience that accentuates emotions, waits for just long enough to switch scenes, and adds the perfect level of drama to every scene. Minari as a whole makes it feel like you're peeking into the Yi family's life--it's breathtaking.

The Sundance Award-winning film Minari is a priceless portrait of resilience within family, of sticking together even through the hardest times, and of enjoying the smallest things in life. Minari has some mild language and there are certain religious elements that parents should watch out for.

I give Minari 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Minari releases in theaters on February 12, 2021, and On-Demand February 26, 2021.

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

Minari is a film that bears its soul, overflowing with heart and humanity, a snapshot of a family in metamorphosis, adjusting to their new surroundings, and all the challenges that come with that transition within their family unit.

Directed by Lee Issac Chung and partially inspired by his own upbringing, we see much of Minari through the eyes of David (Alan Kim), the youngest member of a Korean family that moves from California to Arkansas in hopes of starting a farm. As the movie starts, we're with David and his sister, Anne (Noel Cho) in the back of their family's car as they arrive at their new mobile home. David's parents, Jacob (Steven Yuen) and Monica (Ye-ri Han) are experienced chicken sexers, but it's his father's commitment to his vision of a new way of life for their family that pulls them halfway across the country, which sparks some disagreement between David's parents. Just as the relationship between David's parents reaches a boiling point, David's grandmother, Soonja (Yuh-jung Youn) comes to town, throwing a wrench in the family's already precarious situation.

Punctuated by mundane, yet memorable and ultimately powerful moments of warmth, Minari is kind of a knockout, and it achieves this through the power of its subtlety and simplicity. Minari functions as advertised: A family, a vision, a farm. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve without compromising the story it tells. There's a scene involving the swapping of Mountain Dew for bodily fluids, and also one in which a family member is struck by a sudden medical conflict and both are just as effective. It's very moving in the end, but tonally, it goes in multiple fairly disparate directions and arrives at a powerful coda, ending in neither triumph or defeat, but with a family having a newfound level of appreciation for what they bring to each other's lives.

In a time where seeing family, for many people, has been on pause--rendered unsafe by the current global circumstances--a movie about a family drawing together and marked by a fondness for those moments shared with loved ones feels meaningful beyond its intention to document Chung's childhood. It's an authentically American story that's told from the perspectives of those whose stories don't always get told. Ultimately, Minari derives its scope not from scale, but from emotion.

Audiences have been talking about Minari for over a year; it really is a gem, and I hope you'll seek it out. I give Minari 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages X to Y. Minari is currently playing in select theaters, as well as virtual cinemas, and it will be released in select theaters Feb 12 and on video on demand February 26, 2021.

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

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


DOLPHIN ISLAND (2021)
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOLPHIN ISLAND (2021)
ENTERTAINMENT SQUAD Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - After losing her parents, fourteen-year-old Annabel Coleridge lives with her fisherman grandfather on a Caribbean island paradise surrounded by an extended family of loving but quirky oddballs and her best friend, a dolphin named Mitzy. Everything changes when her rich maternal grandparents arrive with a shifty lawyer to bring her back to New York. It's up to her grandfather, her friends, Desaray, her new social worker, her charming son, Mateo, and Mitzy to find a way for Anna to stay on the island home she loves so much.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Dolphin Island is a very emotional and different movie. It has some scenes where you can just feel the emotions of the characters coming through the screen.

The story follows a girl named Annabel (Tyler Jade Nixon) who lives with her paternal grandfather Jonah (Peter Woodward). Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Then, her maternal grandfather (David Raizor) and grandmother (Annette Lovrien Duncan) come to take her back to New York with the help of a shifty lawyer (Bob Bledsoe). Now it is up to Annabel and her island friends and family and Mitzy to find a way to keep her on the island.

Wow, there is a lot to talk about in this film. First of all, there is quite a lot of drama with lots of very emotional scenes and excellent performances from the actors. Second, there is a dolphin in the film named Mitzy. Mitzy does lots of tricks and is a real dolphin. Her training is amazing; she impressed me so much with how she performs in this film. Also, the cast has lots of diversity. I like that, especially since the events of the last year that made us aware of the lack of diversity in movies. Lastly, the sets are remarkable. There are many locations around the island where this takes place, all of which take place on a Caribbean island.

The message of Dolphin Island is that love conquerors all; love is a bond that can't be broken and loved ones will always seek to find each other.

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to18. Dolphin Island will be available March 2, 2021.

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

Dolphin Island is an interesting movie because of the dynamic between the two characters, Jonah (Peter Woodward) and Annabelle (Tyer Jade Nixon). I enjoy the relationship between the characters and the humanity added to the dolphin is a unique touch. It is interesting to watch Jonah and Annabelle interact with the dolphin. I really love seeing the dolphin perform human tasks and seemingly communicating with Annabelle. This shows how the director, Mike Disa, humanizes the dolphin. Dolphin Island makes me believe the characters enjoy spending time with each other and they truly love one another. The only problem I have with the movie is the title. Calling it Dolphin Island makes me think there's a bunch of dolphins in the movie and they are the focus of the movie. However, the movie is good enough for me to quickly get over that disappointment.

The story is about a 14-year-old girl, Annabelle, whose parents die and who lives in the Bahamas with Jonah, her grandfather. Her best friend is a dolphin named Mitzy. Life is good until Annabelle's maternal grandparents (David Raizor and Annette Lovrien Duncan) show up with a lawyer and demand that Annabelle come to New York to live with them.

At times Dolphin Island can be sad and emotional, especially when it comes to Annabelle and her great loss. The actors portray the emotion you would expect from a family that loses a loved one. Annabelle's character says and does some things that I see myself doing in the same situation, such as treating Mitzy like a person. When Mitzy sprays Jonah, Annabelle says it is because Mitzy is a good judge of humor. Also, Peter Woodward (as Jonah) really seems to have a good relationship with Annabelle. For example, when Jonah says he wants to show Annabelle what it is like to be happy, I really believe his character wants this. Dolphin Island shows us the relationship between some of the people on the island with Annabelle, Mitzy and Jonah. Seeing those relationships makes us see why Annabelle is so happy on the island and how this helps her cope with her parents' death. The story offers a brilliant take on what makes a family a true family - sometimes family is by blood, sometimes by friendships, and sometimes with animals. Dolphin Island presents some unpredictable plot twists you don't expect along with strong character development.

The message of this movie is that family will always be there for you and that love conquers all, even when things are at their worst. Along with that strong message, just like the title suggests, Dolphin Island teaches viewers a little about dolphins and how lovable and smart they really are.

I give Dolphin Island 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Grownups will enjoy it as well. It is releasing March 2, 2021 on most digital platforms. Look for it.

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

Dolphin Island is a very funny and a heartwarming movie. This family friendly film has a cute and well trained dolphin that makes it very amusing to watch.

Dolphin Island follows a young girl, Annabel (Tyler Jade), whose parents are deceased and who lives with her grandfather (Peter Woodward) on a boat. Annabel's best friend is a dolphin named Mitzie who is trained to pick up trash from the sea. One day a social worker comes to inspect Annabel's living situation and later her other grandparents (Annette Duncan and David Raisor) arrive, wanting to take custody of her. Things fall apart and we discover that love wins in the end.

This movie has beautiful scenarios of the ocean and landscapes. The camera work is excellent. The dolphin gives this movie an interesting touch, because it is so well trained and the audience is amazed at what the dolphin is capable of. The storyline is very interesting and relatable. It is the type of life event that some children whose parents have passed, may have to go through. My favorite part is when the grandfather thinks he has lost Annabel, but really she's out swimming with Mitzie. The issue of who Annabel should live with, is central to this film. Annabel, even though she's very young, knows who cares for her most. We see how Annabel's maternal grandparents are trying to trick her into coming with then, saying it's for her own good. But Annabel loves her paternal grandfather and you can see how much she means to him. The dolphin is my favorite actor in the film. After the movie ends there are bloopers showing them training the dolphin and doing tricks with her. I like that this movie is filmed on such a beautiful island.

The moral of this film is to trust a child's judgment when it comes to who they should be living with. Children feel most comfortable with the person that loves them and keeps them safe.

I give Dolphin Island 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 plus adults. Dolphin Island will be available on March 2, 2021 on many VOD platforms.

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

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


LLAMA LLAMA: FUN WITH FRIENDS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LLAMA LLAMA: FUN WITH FRIENDS
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 3-7
Description - Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their friendly hometown and make childhood memories.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is perfect for someone that loves adventures with friends. I love this series because, for every problem Llama Llama comes across there is a solution that is found with the help of his friends. No matter how difficult the problem is, all of Llama Llama's friends were happy to help however they could.

This DVD is comprised of a series of episodes from the TV series, where Llama Llama overcomes obstacles throughout his daily life. He is able to accomplish this with the help of his friends and his family. Every obstacle teaches Llama Llama and his friends an important life lesson.

In every episode my favorite part is when all of the animals come together and find a way to bring happiness and fun to whatever situation they are currently in. I love how they make the best out of what they have and learn to enjoy it. The voice actors in this series are terrific. Specifically Jennifer Garner who plays Mama Llama; her performance stands out above the rest. The care she feels for Llama Llama comes through loud and clear. Another actor that stands out is Islie Hirvonen who plays Nellie Gnu. I love how her character is always happy. Her voice sounds so upbeat and the character charms you from the get go.

The important message you get from this show is that you should enjoy what you do. If you don't enjoy what you are doing then you should find something that is fun and enjoyable. I can relate to this message and think that most children can also.

The animation in this film is terrific. The backgrounds look very realistic. The way the scooters move and the water looks are also realistic. I love the life lessons in each episode and seeing all the teamwork it takes to solve their problems.

I give Llama Llama: Fun With Friends 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7.

Reviewed by Lorelei T., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Llama Llama: Fun With Friends makes the childhood stories we all know and love come to life in a spectacular and fun way. This DVD is a compilation of episodes from the animated series based on the children's book Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.

Each episode in this show is full of adventure, whether it's looking for a missing tooth, losing a race, or just flying kites. Every episode, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and so does the audience.

Jennifer Garner (13 Going on 30) has a very distinctive and warm voice while portraying Mama Llama. While Llama Llama is voiced by Shayle Simons, whose voice is very young and natural sounding. The animation, especially of the characters, is very colorful and feels like the pages of a storybook awakening. Each episode consists of different plot lines and introduces new characters and scenes. You never know what to expect or what will happen next in each episode, making this show one of a kind. Voice director and series casting by Doug Parker makes this entire show worth the watch!

Even though every episode has a different message, the overall theme is like the words that Llama Llama's many friends say: "Never say never! Don't give up." You don't know how far you can go. This show promotes positive social behaviors, such as caring, helping one another and being there for your friends.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 2 to 8. You can find Llama Llama: Fun With Friends on DVD now. Look for it!

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

Llama Llama: Fun with Friends!, like so many of the other Llama Llama DVDs, teaches helpful life-lessons, like patience and discussing how you feel with others. The animation is simple and 2D, with a variety of adorable animals.

This collection follows Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), a playful Llama and some of his adventures with his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat. It has 165 hours of fun, with 15 episodes, each lasting around 11 minutes. Episodes include some about the seasons like Last Day of Summer, Spring Fever and Snow Show. Others cover a variety of experiences such as Happy Birthday Llama Llama, Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! and Llama Llama Shopping Drama.

This show is based on the beloved Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney. I admire how the creators of this show do so much with just a little help from the books. Kudos to the writers and to George Gabriel, who wrote the show's theme song; it's very catchy. This cast includes Jennifer Garner who voices Mama Llama and her soothing voice fits the role perfectly. My favorite episode is Happy Birthday Llama Llama because it shows how much friends care for one another. My favorite characters are Grandma (Kathleen Barr) and Grandpa Llama (David Orth/David Poole) because wherever they are, they bring fun along with them.

There are many positive messages throughout this DVD, including patience, making the most out of everything and problem solving and friendship.

I give Llama Llama: Fun with Friends! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. This DVD is available now, so look for it.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The DVD Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is a collection of episodes from the animated children's show, Llama Llama, on Netflix. In this DVD Llama Llama and his friends go on adventures and learn valuable lessons.

The stories in these episodes follow Llama Llama (Shayle Simons), and his friends having fun and learning along the way. Even though Llama Llama is obviously a llama, this show talks about issues that real kids deal with. Mama Llama (Jennifer Garner) is also a part of the activities with Llama Llama and his friends, encouraging him to have fun, be kind, and trust that everything will be okay.

In all the episodes, Llama Llama and his friends learn something new and viewers can learn along with them. My favorite episode is "Llama Llama Shopping Drama," because it shows Llama Lama being impatient as his mother shops, which I am sure many kids can relate to. In this episode, Llama Llama learns that, in life, you need to be patient. Another thing I like about this show is that it includes the events that happen in the Llama Llama books, but as a TV episode. I used to read these books all the time, and I was both surprised and happy when I recognized the familiar storylines. The lessons that Llama Llama and his friends learn are something a viewer may need a refresher on, or they may even be something they want to teach someone else. Either way, this show has great reminders of what's important about life.

The message of Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is that there is always something to learn. Whether it's an educational or character development lesson, it can be helpful in knowing how you live your life.

Llama Llama: Fun With Friends is an awesome DVD! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. The DVD is available now so go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Runtime: 185 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 37-7
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: DVD
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS, THE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS, THE
AMAZON PRIME Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Two teens who live the same day repeatedly, enabling them to create the titular map. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is an American science fiction romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ian Samuels, from a screenplay by Lev Grossman, based upon his short story of the same name. It stars Kathryn Newton, Kyle Allen, Jermaine Harris, Anna Mikami, Josh Hamilton, Cleo Fraser, and Jorja Fox.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Map of Tiny Perfect Things is a fun film with amazing stunts, a heart-warming teenage love story, a time loop and even a really cool 4-D cube drawing! The idea in this story of having infinite do-overs to create the perfect day is fascinating. Putting it all together, this film is a great combination of action, light romance, adventure, and comedy.

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things features Mark (Kyle Allen) who gets stuck in a time loop and is living the same day over and over again. Every night at midnight, he falls asleep and wakes up with the previous day starting over again. In the mist of the time loop, one day he meets a mysterious girl named Margaret (Kathryn Newton) who is stuck in the same time loop. They end up on an adventure all around the city finding the "tiny things" that make up that one perfect day, while trying to decide if and how to break the time loop.

I enjoyed watching Mark and Margaret's friendship develop and all the wild things they do without suffering consequences since they are in the time loop, like drive a tractor down the street. My favorite part is when they completely trash a model home, knowing the time loop would put it back the way it was. Another part I love is when Mark shows his dad the tattoo he got. It's funny because he shows it to his dad right before he goes back into the time loop so his dad won't remember. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things has some really great stunts in it, too. One stunt I thought was cool was when Mark throws his water bottle at a closing door and makes it through!

The message of this film is that sometimes the most perfect things in life may be the smallest things. One great lesson Mark's character shows is how to care about others. I loved seeing him remember all the ways he can help people in his town each day and spread kindness. A couple of things adults should look out for in this film include places with Margaret drinking and mild cursing.

I rate The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 years old. Adults will like it, too. Don't forget to check out The Map of Tiny Perfect Things on Amazon Prime Video, February 12, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I really like The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, because it has an interesting story line that makes you think differently about life. It teaches viewers a very important life lesson, as well as making you feel something while you're watching. It's simple but complex, and overall just a really cute and enjoyable movie. Plus, it's a good length, not too long or short.

The storyline follows two characters, Mark (Kyle Allen) and Margaret (Kathryn Newton), who are basically trapped in time. The same day repeats over and over again, and they can't ever die due to the fact that time has stopped. When Mark and Margaret finally meet each other, they go around the town looking for the "Tiny Perfect things," hoping this will un-trap them from this time dimension. Throughout their time together, they discover new things about each other, and how special the little things in life really are.

I really enjoyed the film's storylines of the two main characters. They have their own opinions on life. Also, the casting for this is terrific. Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton are both believable as their characters and own their roles. Kathryn's execution of Margaret is impeccable. She really makes the character stand out, and doesn't hold back. We see all the different sides of the character. Margaret makes us look at things from a different perspective. Kyle also has great execution of Mark. You can really feel all of his frustration and anger. It's almost as if we are there with him. They definitely locked me in while I was watching, and my thoughts never wandered. I also enjoyed the special effects, which are perfect for the film. Throughout the movie there are little things that they incorporate that really add to the dimension of the film. For instance, there are multiple scenes where they show us examples of tiny perfect things. This not only contributes to the lesson of the film, but also makes you realize the value of life, and how most of us are just going through the motions. It reminds us how special life really is.

The message of this film is to never take life for granted, and be grateful for the little things in life. You never know when you can encounter a drastic change, so always live life to the fullest while you can. Be aware that this film does have some profanity. However it's pretty mild.

I give The Map of Tiny Perfect Things 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 21, as well as adults. You can watch The Map of Tiny Perfect Things Worldwide starting on February 12, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Reviewed by Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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



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