The Family category has 2222 KIDS FIRST! endorsed titles
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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
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.
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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.
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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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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


SNOOPY SHOW, THE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SNOOPY SHOW, THE
APPLE TV Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 4-18
Description - The world's most iconic dog is ready for his close-up. Dive into new adventures with the happy-dancing, high-flying, big-dreaming beagle, who's joined by best friend Woodstock and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Time to break out the classic Peanuts dance moves because today we are celebrating the new hit series, The Snoopy Show! The Snoopy Show has everything a classic Peanut's fan will enjoy. The show looks incredibly like the original comic series, as if the animators took an old comic strip and put it on your home television! In addition, the writers made an outstanding effort to make every character stay true to their original passions and personalities. Instead of making the characters go on the same repetitive adventures (like a lot of cartoons do), The Snoopy Show brings brand new adventures sure to make you want more and more.

The Snoopy Show follows everyone's favorite beagle, Snoopy (Terry McGurrin), with each episode including different stories surrounding him. Episode stories range from Snoopy writing his own autobiography to exploring the origin story between Snoopy and Woodstock. Just when you think there can't possibly be another amazing adventure, The Snoopy Show consistently delivers new and original stories that all ages can enjoy.

The primary component of this creative revival that made me smile is the animation and art. The art director, Joseph Holt, surpassed any expectations of the show living up to its classic art style by making it authentic and original. The Snoopy Show is also extremely well voice cast because of how each character's voice sounds like its predecessor. Out of all the Peanuts film content over the years, like The Peanuts Movie, The Snoopy Show really impresses me because of how writers can continue to find new angles to explore the characters and always put them in new entertaining scenarios.

The Snoopy Show is the perfect new show for kids. It has a lot of comedic content in an appropriate way, fun adventures, and lessons and morals for viewers to learn every episode. The show explores themes such as family, friendship, and gratefulness. One of the key morals taught in the show is to always be grateful for the people around you, and to never take people for granted; it also communicates the message that sometimes you just need someone you love to make you smile.

The Snoopy Show soars higher than Charlie Brown's kite with a miraculous, nostalgic art style and new adventures all ages can enjoy. Similar to how Peppermint Patty scores five out of five goals in hockey, I am giving The Snoopy Show 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 4 to 18 plus adults, because who doesn't love Peanuts? The Snoopy Show premieres Feb 5, 2021 on Apple TV+, so make sure to check it out!

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 4-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


LAND
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAND
FOCUS FEATURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The upcoming drama film Land, by director Robin Wright, is intriguing, valiant and relatable. I found it astounding knowing Robin Wright also starred in this film as the principal figure Edee. Considering this was Wright's feature film directorial debut, I can't deny that she surpassed my expectations for this film.

Land shows the raw emotion of a human overcome by grief and follows Edee (Wright) as she manages with unimaginable despondency after the passing of her spouse and child. Edee makes a bold choice to depart from society, seeking out a new life off the grid in Wyoming. Leading up to that moment, she tosses her phone, buys canned merchandise and supplies, and finds an isolated, somewhat-rundown cabin within the Wyoming wild. Throughout the film, you can see how isolated she feels -- once she starts a new life, it's like she's left her old self behind with society.

Edee is certain about her brave decision, and ready to start a new life. However, there is no coordinate for the area's unwavering winter. She is incapable of keeping the fire going to warm her cabin. After a bear continually eats her food, Edee is on the brink of starvation, as well as frail and too cold to stand. Edee is spared by a neighborly hunter/woodsman (Demi�n Bichir) who brings her back to life and instructs her on how to survive living on the land. As Edee starts to construct a new life for herself outside of civilization, she works to manage her past and see toward a bright future.

My favorite part in Land would have to be when Edee was fishing at the nearby lake. As she is struggling to catch a fish, she becomes frustrated. Then, she notices a young man, Miguel (Demi�n Bichir) chasing his young son, Drew (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) She recalls memories of her late spouse and child and follows them from afar as they run through the trees. I enjoyed watching as she relived those precious moments from her past, and it was overall a heartfelt moment in this film.

However, although Land was only 88 minutes, the film felt way longer than that, due to the slow pace. There are many relatable moments within the film, but I felt some scenes dragged and, at some moments, many scenes felt "dry." This film promotes positive social behaviors and shows the true meaning of kindness. What I took away from Land is that it's okay to be not okay. And, sometimes, we need a break from our continuous busy schedule in life and to break free!

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars, with an age recommendation of 12 to 18, plus adults. Land debuts February 12, 2021 in theaters.

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

Land is a poignant story with a harsh American wildness twist. This film is magnificent and has unbearable events to watch. The part I enjoyed most is when Edee (Robin Wright) finally decides to go hunt in the woods instead of starving herself to death. The part I disliked is when she is contemplating taking her life away until she reminisces about her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) tells her something important to remember about her life.

Directed and starring Robin Wright, the storyline is about a desperately sad woman, grieving over the loss of her husband and child, who seeks out a new life away from her family and friends. She is very uncertain about life and goes deep into the mountains of Wyoming to begin a life of solitude and privacy to figure things out. With the help of a nearby hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) solace in nature may create the best healing path for her.

This film is a compelling piece that captures both the internal and external landscape of Wyoming. The acting is phenomenal, which is critical given that the dialogue is meager. The cinematography and music are breathtaking, showing both the kindness and sacrifice of facing the unexpected in the wildness. This is a must see in the movie theater to appreciate the grandeur of the cinematography and all this movie brings.

The film has a implacable message about believing in yourself. It promotes the idea that hope is all you need to conquer anything. It also emphasizes the importance of being helpful and being supportive of people you care about. Helping others with compassion always comes within your heart.

I give Land 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be available on PVOD March 5, 2021 at the theater near you.

By Rosabella P.

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


GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, A
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GLITCH IN THE MATRIX, A
MAGNOLIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Documentary filmmaker Rodney Ascher tackles this question "are we living in a simulation?" with testimony, philosophical evidence and scientific explanation in his for the answer.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Glitch In The Matrix is a radical, uniquely-presented look at simulation theory in the digital age - specifically, how those who prescribe to the notion that we're all living in a simulation came to those beliefs and how this belief affects their outlook. Dense, but accessible, directed by Rodney Ascher, it's the rare documentary that asks a question it knows it can't answer.

In the late 1970s, famed author Phillip K. Dick, known for his sci-fi stories, gave a talk where he laid out his theory that we are living in a simulation. This becomes the entry point into the maw of simulation theory, its depth only outmatched by its complexity. A Glitch In The Matrix utilizes a famed and celebrated movie as its main frame of reference in exploring its theme -- The Matrix, a film that put simulation theory into the mainstream. Ascher's film investigates where stimulation theory stemmed from, how its tenets and principles have been echoed throughout history by everyone from Plato to Elon Musk to current times.

The conceit of A Glitch In The Matrix can't so much be explored as marveled at, and the possibilities of a simulated reality tinkered with, and so that's exactly what it does. This film boldly depicts this proposed reality entirely through CG animation and clips from popular culture that have dealt with similar ideas. I respect that a film about simulations indulges so heavily in them. For example, many people who speak in the film have their identities shielded by virtual avatars that filter their perspectives, enhancing the feel of a simulation. This method of using simulation techniques in a film about simulation gets very "meta," but, in doing so, adheres to and honors the film's topic and not in a show-offy or self-congratulatory way.

I have respect for any movie that seeks to make you question the world you live in. Socially and politically, A Glitch In The Matrix does that quite literally. If you're looking for a documentary that finds the key to its main topic and deconstructs it bit by bit, this isn't that, but if you're willing to go on a bit of a journey through a school of thought via the lens of a capable filmmaker that challenges what you think about your own reality, sit down, give this a chance and enjoy it. A Glitch In The Matrix is left incomplete almost by design, but somehow that works to its charm.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 3 out of 5 stars and an age rating of 14 to 18 for some simulated violence and the description of a violent crime. It just premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it will be available in theaters and at home on February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

We have all questioned our existence one way or another in our lives. Am I real? A Glitch in the Matrix explores this question in the most mysterious and heart-pounding way possible. Documentaries can be dry, yet this film is as thrilling as any action movie.

A Glitch in the Matrix sets the entire premise of simulation theory around a speech by famous author Philip K. Dick. This documentary ponders the highly uncharted theory of simulated reality. With a series of interviews, animated cut scenes and references to the movie The Matrix.

While the eyewitnesses may seem, at first glance, irrelevant, as they don't have any professional credibility, their personal real-world experiences creates a sense of relatability, which is much needed for such an obscure subject. Also, as the eyewitnesses are animated it allows their stories to be animated effectively too, granting visual access to their thoughts and words. A Glitch in the Matrix has no plotline per se; however throughout the entire film you feel literal chills. The sound effects and music by Jonathan Snipes create a feeling of total mystery and sinister experiences. Direction by Rodney Ascher, along with 3D character modeling by Maksim Solonovich really demonstrate creativity in all aspects of the production. My favorite part is when Joshua Cooke describes his experience with simulation theory and The Matrix. His experience is well animated and narrated, allowing me to get a sense of what he felt as he went through with such a heinous act.

The message of this film suggests that many are "alive, yet not living." Meaning that this life is finite, and whether simulated or not we should all live it to the fullest. This film does display explicit language, religious content, animated and descriptive violence, brief sexual content and smoking.

A Glitch in the Matrix gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to mature 14 to 18-year-olds as well as adults. You can watch A Glitch in the Matrix in theatres and everywhere February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

I found myself having a great time while watching A Glitch In The Matrix. This spine-tingling documentary will have you thinking outside the box. The interesting testimonials teemed with well-matching visuals, is a recipe for success. I was pulled in for the entire duration of the film and found myself a tad down when it was over. A Glitch In The Matrix is a truly amazing documentary.

Filmmaker Rodney Ascher directs an amazing documentary with intriguing testimonials from numerous people that believe we are actually living in a simulation. Paul Gude, Jesse Orion and many others share their unique experiences that support the idea of simulation theory. A Glitch In The Matrix raises the question "Are we living in a simulation?"

From the very beginning of this film, I felt very compelled in a chilling and somewhat exciting way. The visuals fit what is being said perfectly. I did not find myself lost at any part, as the documentary is split into well divided sections which helped me understand what they were talking about a little bit more. Another compelling thing are the testimonials from many people. Each of their stories is unique and supports the main message of the film. I started watching this documentary not knowing anything about simulation theory. I surprisingly found myself refreshed and felt like I learned a little bit from watching this film. I loved every second of it. The film had me leaning forward in my seat wanting to watch more.

A Glitch In The Matrix gives the audience a chance to think beyond the normal and challenge them to dive a little deeper into their views of life. Throughout the documentary, you might find yourself drawn into each individual testimonial and eager to know more. Despite the good parts, you should know that there is a small amount of violence and profanity, but there is nothing that is unfitting.

I give A Glitch In The Matrix 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. A Glitch In The Matrix is available for rent on Prime Video now.

Reviewed by Hazel A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 15

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


OUR TIME MACHINE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
OUR TIME MACHINE
101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15-18
Description - When influential Chinese artist Ma Liang (a.k.a. Maleonn) realizes that his father Ma Ke, an accomplished Peking Opera director, is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, he invites his father to collaborate on his most ambitious project to date - a haunting, magical, autobiographical stage performance featuring life-size mechanical puppets called "Papa's Time Machine". Through the creation of this play, the two men confront their mortality before time runs out and memories are lost forever.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Our Time Machine offers such an emotional journey about the reality of Alzheimer's disease. This is a documentary about a son doing what he can to show his appreciation toward his father, who is has Alzheimer's disease. This film is beautifully created, with a very emotional tone as we get to the see the production of the play and the hardships it faces, while we also see the father's health declining. It shows the ups and downs in the art world and what a son is capable of doing to express his gratitude and appreciation. A Chinese artist creates the biggest project of his career - an autobiographical play that uses mechanical puppets to tell the story. He struggles with time, money and his father's health, as he becoming more and more ill with Alzheimer's disease.

Our Time Machine is the documented story of Maleonn and his father Ma Ke. Throughout the film, we learn about the background of the family, and how invested they are in the art world. The story really shows the emotions that the son is feeling, as he feels frustrated, sad, emotional, but excited at the same time. It is an emotional journey, as there are father/son moments that are very touching, but also the doctor visits for the father are extremely sad as they show his health degrading. The main parts of the film are how the play is taking direction and its process, and the counterpart of how Ma Ke's health is declining to the point he does not remember the most basic aspects of life.

The camera work is diverse as it moves from scene to scene, depending on the context of the work. There are moments where pictures are shown or celebrations, such as birthdays and anniversaries, take place in real time. The camera moves as the characters move, and capture the complete context of the scenes. The locations vary throughout the film. The flow is very continuous, and everything takes place in different scenarios. The two central sets of the documentary are the parents' house and the place where the play takes life. In addition, locations from the past and present, and even outside the country can be observed.

There is little background music, and it changes from scene to scene. It does not drive the action in the film as much as the conversations between all the characters. That is what gives life to the film. But the sound effects are essential to get the complete message. They vary and are mostly focused to enhance dialogues between the puppet father and the puppet son. They help with the flow of the play and how it is presented in stage. All the visual effects take place in scenes where the son or the father are reminiscing about the past, and in scenes where the son is dreaming and creating his play. They are remarkable, as they are thoughts that are later done exactly how they were intended.

This documentary took around three years to complete, focusing on the artist Maleonn and his family. There are many persons involved in the film, as it shows the family of the protagonist as well as his team and employees that give life to the play.

Everything that Maleonn does in this film has an ultimate goal - to show his appreciation and gratitude to his father before is too late. He does everything he can to make this possible, but time and money are to his disadvantage. Everything that we see and feel during the documentary just highlights the main message: We need to appreciate and embrace every moment with others before it is too late. In this case, the artist tries to do this with his father who is forgetting everything and everyone around him. This is a hard reality for many families around the world, and it is necessary to live and appreciate those good moments before the bad ones that may come in the future. Sometimes those good moments are the ones that give us strength and hope for the hard ones that can come.

You should know that it contains some profanity and behavior. There is a scene where the artist is celebrating his birthday with his colleagues. They are drinking heavily and use some mild language, d*mn and *ss. Also, smoking is a recurrent act throughout the movie. Almost all the main characters can be observed smoking at some point of the film.

What I love about this film is the engineering process of creating every single thought Maleonn has. I was mesmerized by the creativity and the work that took place to create all the pieces of the stage and the mechanical puppets. They are so realistic and so well designed. The scenarios in the play are breathtaking. They recreate a plane from scratch and everything is neat and planned. I was in awe in every single scene where all these elements are shown, as they are incredibly created and structured. The protagonist is Chinese artist Maleonn. His father Ma Ke, is a well renowned Peking Opera director.

I give Our Time Machine 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. This film is beautiful in all areas. It has great production values, a real and emotional storyline, it sends across a valuable message, and the use of art and creativity throughout the documentary is of high quality. It is a rather complex film, as it is intended for older audiences such as older teenagers and adults. Also, it shows the hard reality of a person with Alzheimer's and the emotional toll that takes on the family. This film shows the frustration, the sadness, the rawness of the desperation in the father's face, and that makes it more touching and real. I shed some tears when I saw these scenes, as I could see the impotence of both the father and the son in different moments, and that is what really made me think about my family and how to appreciate every moment I get to share with them.

Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer, age 20

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


SOME KIND OF HEAVEN
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SOME KIND OF HEAVEN
MAGNOLIA PICTURES Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12-18
Description - Behind the gates of a palm tree-lined fantasyland, four residents of America's largest retirement community, The Villages, FL, strive to find solace and meaning.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary is very interesting. It has the best cinematography I've ever seen in a documentary and it covers quite a serious subject with respect.

This documentary follows four residents of The Villages, a massive retirement home in Florida - Anne and Reggie, a married couple; Barbara, a widow; and Dennis, a man who doesn't actually live at The Villages. Anne struggles with her marriage, due to Reggie's drug addiction and worsening mental health. Barbara's husband died four months before filming and she is nervous about dating again. Dennis lives in his van, and hangs around The Villages in hopes of finding a wealthy woman in his last few years.

Before this film, I had never heard of The Villages. I found the story of its residents fascinating. The Villages is often referred to as "The Disneyworld for Retirees," and when you hear that, you imagine a perfect place to spend the later part of your life. The problem with utopias is that they're basically impossible. And the goal of the film is to showcase that The Villages is not a perfect utopia. It follows the struggles of these four people and how they can't just escape their pain with tennis or acting classes. One thing I like about this film is that it doesn't come off as malicious. It's not trying to expose The Villages for being a place of fake happiness or mock the residents or anything like that. Instead I got the impression that the director wanted to tell a story about real people trying to cope with their problems and I can respect that.

The cinematography is one of the stand-out aspects of this film. Every shot looks staged, as if they were from a typical fiction movie. There's a surprising amount of close-ups for a documentary. It was to the point that I didn't actually believe I was watching a documentary at first. I'm very impressed with the cinematography - shout-out to David Bolen, the cinematographer.

There is a lot to learn from this film. Life is full of pain and struggles; and, as sad as it may sound, that's inescapable. It's impossible to always be happy, even in the utopic Disney World for Retirees.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It comes out January 15, 2021.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Runtime: 45 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 12-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


HUNGER WARD
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HUNGER WARD
101 STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 16-18
Description - HUNGER WARD is the final documentary in a trilogy of films about the global refugee crisis. Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two women health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. The film provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine.

The project builds on Spin Film's previous two films: 50 Feet from Syria and LIFEBOAT. In 2016, 50 Feet from Syria was voted onto the Oscars Shortlist. In 2019, LIFEBOAT was nominated for an Academy Award. The film has also been nominated for a National Emmy for best Current Affairs Documentary. Together the first two films of the Refugee Trilogy have garnered dozens of international awards.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - While many films are created as a means to escape from everyday realities, revolutionary and inspiring filmmakers like Skye Fitzgerald create documentaries that shed light on the horrors of our world. Hunger Ward is an extraordinary short-form documentary that follows the daily tribulations of two astonishingly brave individuals working to combat the hunger crisis in Yemen. This film, painful at times, exemplifies the necessity of nonfiction storytelling in cinema, as it begs for assistance for this struggling nation.

The country of Yemen has experienced many hardships brought about by a multi-sided civil war, and the effects of these struggles are most strongly seen in the children of the nation. Due to the neighboring country's failure to act and Saudi Arabia's constant pressure on the country, Yemen is left helpless. With an embargo on all sea and land imports, the nation has limited access to necessities such as food and medicine. Two inspiring women in separate hunger wards, Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and nurse Mekkia Madhi reveal the bravery found in working to combat the worst humanitarian crisis in our modern world.

Academy and Emmy Award nominee Skye Fitzgerald knew that in order to show audiences the dire need for support in Yemen, he would need to show the beauty that once was there. Through incredible cinematography and camera work, and beautiful aerial shots, audiences see Yemen not as a third world country or charity case, but as a full-fledged country worthy and in need of support. By focusing specifically on certain families and healthcare heroes, Fitzgerald is able to establish a personal connection to each of his subjects, allowing all viewers to feel empathetic for everyone involved.

The message of this film is brought about by the simple question that director Skye Fitzgerald asked when starting the project: how can a child go hungry in 2020? Hunger Ward shows us just how far we have to go as a global society, and how our lawmakers must do better at providing aid to these nations. The short film can be hard to watch for some, as there are graphic videos of bombing sequences, as well as two scenes depicting the loss of a child.

I give Hunger Ward 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 and up. An Academy Award contender, this documentary is available at certain festivals worldwide. For more updates about where to watch and for info on how to help the hospitals featured in the film, please visit https://www.hungerward.org/

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 16-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


ALMOST PARADISE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALMOST PARADISE
AMAZON PRIME Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 11-18
Description - A former US DEA agent is forced into early retirement and runs a gift shop in the Philippines. Although he tries to leave his past behind him and lead a peaceful life, he is constantly being pulled back into a world of dangerous people and deadly situations.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The chilling and suspenseful action-filled show Almost Paradise manages to keep the viewer at the edge of their seat and kept me there until the credits rolled. One thing I love about the show is how convincing the special effects are, especially the gory makeup. It doesn't feel cheesy or unbelievable and actually shocked me the first time I watched it.

This series revolves around a retired FBI agent who solves crimes. These crimes take place on an island where he lives. He solves crime cases while also battling stress attacks and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome). These cases can vary from murder to drug dealing to sex trafficking.

I love all of the characters on this show, but my favorite has to be Alex Walker (Christian Kane.) Alex is a complex character and is written in a smart way that adds to the story. Another excellent actor is Arthur Acu�a who plays Ernesto, one of the cops who assists Alex in solving cases. Arthur makes this character mysterious in a way that draws the viewer in. Almost Paradise does a lot of things well - the sets are eerie and pleasing to the eye, and they tell the story of what's going on, while adding a creepy touch. I also really like the screenwriting. It makes the show feel natural and realistic and makes you believe what the actors are saying. One of my favorite scenes is an exciting chase scene. Right when I was sure this scene would go one way, it unfolds in a totally different one.

The message of this show is the importance of justice, which is uplifting and inspiring. Every cop on this show has a strong sense of justice by risking their lives for others and showing empathy. Some things to look out for in this show are sexual jokes, adult themes, violence, blood/gore, and heavy emotional topics.

Overall, I give Almost Paradise 4 out of 5 stars. I loved this series. I highly recommend Almost Paradise for an age range of 11 to 18, plus adults. You can find Almost Paradise on YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon Prime.

Reviewed by Samantha B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Time to sit back and relax, because today we are talking about the new action-packed show, Almost Paradise! Almost Paradise has everything a crime show lover would enjoy, such as outstanding plot development and fantastic stage combat that makes the fight scenes look extremely real! Unfortunately, the show lacks a strong script and doesn't grab you as much as you might think a show like this would.

Almost Paradise follows a man named Alex Walker (Christian Kane) who is sidelined from being an agent because of health issues. Alex has to stay calm and make sure his heart rate doesn't go too high. He decides to go to an island and take a vacation, and that must be very calming for Alex right? Actually no! As much as Alex wants to have a calming vacation, he can't help but get involved in the local crime scene and start busting crime bosses. Alex has to navigate his way to keep his heart rate down and still manage to keep crime off the streets.

This film has amazing staged combat. I credit the training that Christian Kane (Alex Walker) did to make his character's fight scenes look as if they are real. The show's creator Dean Devlin delivers a show that is different from all the other crime TV shows and puts his own spin on it. Almost Paradise delivers much more than you think it might, but it clearly lacks a strong script. The dialogue is uninspired and basic; it doesn't leave you thinking about the show after it's over, which is a shame.

Along with fantastic stunts and punches, Almost Paradise brings a larger message and multiple themes for the viewers to resonate with. The big message is that, just because you might be restricted by something, find a way to get around it. Don't give up because you might have a minor issue in your way. The show also explores themes like recovery, friendship and perseverance.

Almost Paradise can be very intense at times. The show is rated PG, which I very much disagree with. Some episodes deal with very surreal topics that even I, as a 14-year-old had a hard time watching. Yes the show can be funny and light-hearted at times, but it gets very dark at others. Therefore, I give Almost Paradise 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. If you are under the age of 13 I definitely recommend watching this with a parent or guardian. You can watch Almost Paradise online now, so make sure to check it out!

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

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


APOLLO 11: QUARANTINE
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
APOLLO 11: QUARANTINE
NEON Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11-18
Description - Apollo 11 astronauts spend three weeks in medical quarantine after safely returning to Earth in the summer of 1969.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Apollo 11: Quarantine is a uniquely relatable found-footage style film that is sure to allure space fans, history buffs and everyone else, too! The creators of this film have pieced together parts of old footage from newsfeeds and other sources to tell a grand story of astronauts in quarantine.

Now, more about that story! The film follows the crew of the Apollo 11 spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) in their 21-day quarantine in the summer of 1969. Scientists weren't sure if they had made contact (and maybe even brought back) dangerous lunar microorganisms like bacteria, so the astronauts had to be contained and swabbed and scrubbed down regularly. But the Apollo 11 crew weren't as isolated as you'd think: they kept contact with the outside world through a pane of thick glass. This film shows the activities that went on during those 21 days and how much patience and emotional strength the astronauts had to show; it took a lot of resilience for the roving moon-explorers, but they pulled through!

To the fun stuff, now! Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins are the lead "characters" in the film. Todd Douglas Miller brilliantly edited together all of the individual incredible clips. Besides the editing, the music and small intercut scenes of footage shot in the 21st century both help create the ambiance for the film. I also have to say that the audio work is quite interesting; I didn't think that audio from the late '60s was surround sound or stereo. I watch the film with headphones on and was surprised that the audio in parts of the film (like when the crew uses walkie-talkies) goes from one ear to the other. Quite modern for the mid-to-late 20th century!

Apollo 11: Quarantine promotes the message of resilience and sticking through anything that comes your way. The film shows exactly how difficult it was for the crew of Apollo 11 to be quarantined for 21 days, interacting with the outside world through a glass pane or capsule. But they pulled through, and President Gerald Ford congratulated them with a proud speech on Day 21 of their quarantine, the last day.

I give Apollo 11: Quarantine 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Apollo 11: Quarantine will be released exclusively in IMAX� on January 29, 2021, and on Premium On Demand on February 5, 2021.

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Runtime: 30 minutes
KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 10-18
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: VIDEO


GO, DOG, GO!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
GO, DOG, GO!
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 3-7
Description - Based on PD Eastman's best-selling, classic children's book (over 8 million copies sold), Go, Dog. Go! follows six-year-old Tag Barker on her adventures in the city of Pawston, a fun-loving community of dogs on the go. Tag is a skilled mechanic and loves anything that goes. With her ingenuity and creativity, Tag can go as far as any plan will take her with her best friend Scooch Pooch by her side.

Go, Dog, Go!

DreamWorks' 'Go, Dog, Go!' Speeds to Netflix Jan. 26, 2021
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The creative TV series Go, Dog. Go! based on the book by P.D Eastman is completely satisfying. Every element of traditional animated shows is used to create a brand new, originally entertaining series. With intriguing animation and impressive voice-over acting, Go, Dog, Go is a must-see for young viewers!

Each of the nine episodes follows Tag Barker (Michela Luci) in her adventures through Pawston with her friend Scooch Pooch (Callum Shoniker). Together, they solve problems and have fun. There are two individual stories per episode, with the same general characters. The antagonist is primarily Frank, (David Berni), who stands in the way of Tag and Scooch.

Throughout the series, I am impressed time after time with its amazing animation. While it is colorful and fun; it is also fairly realistic. The dogs look so real and cute, I want to hug them! Something that makes this show even more special is the creative way that it uses so many elements from P.D. Eastman's original book and creates a whole new world out of it. All of the main story parts are included and more are added such as a doorbell shop, a racecar track and so much more. All these locations and lots of extra events are important to the story. One of my favorite aspects of the film is when the dogs sing. It's very clever and funny. The creative story is amazing, but the acting is even better. With such cute, specific-to-character performances, I almost wondered if these characters are real! There is only one minor issue that most likely isn't noticeable to little kids - some of the episodes are repetitive. Most of the time, the series doesn't change the plot very much from one story to the next. That doesn't make much of a dent in my overall enjoyment of this series however.

The message that Tag, Scooch and all of their friends convey is that teamwork and kindness are best. They work together to problem solve and help out dogs around town. Sometimes there are additional themes for individual episodes.

I give Go, Dog. Go! 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 7. You can watch Go, Dog, Go on Netflix beginning Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

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

Yes! The classic book by P. D. Eastman is now an animated series. Go, Dog, Go! has such clever dialogue and references to the book, high quality animation and is very fun to watch.

This series is about a dog named Tag Barker (Michela Luci) and her adventures throughout her town, Pawston. There are big dogs, little dogs and even a dog party in a tree. On Tag's adventures, we meet her family and friends as well as new friends like Scooch Pooch and Gerald the Mail Dog as she helps to solve problems along the way.

This new series is based on P. D. Eastman book, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, so this story is not only relevant to the kids of today but to their parents as well. I grew up with this book; my brothers grew up with this book; and my dad grew up with this book. My whole family grew up enjoying this book! And this new series will not disappoint all of the Go, Dog, Go! lovers as there is a reference to almost every storyline in the book. Also, the characters' names are hilarious. Instead of grandpa it's grandpaw and there is a group of singing dogs called the Barkapellas. The animation is so colorful as there are red dogs, blue dogs, green dogs, yellow dogs, purple dogs, and, pretty much, dogs of every color of the rainbow. I also enjoy seeing a town full of dogs riding bikes, trikes, blimps, boats and cars. My favorite voice actress is Michela Luci, who plays Tag, because she brings so much energy to the role.

There are many positive messages throughout the show, like helping others, perseverance and friendship.

I give Go, Dog, Go! 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. Adults will love all of the references to the book. This show comes out on Netflix January 26, 2021.

Reviewed by Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 3-8
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV


FINDING 'OHANA
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FINDING 'OHANA
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - A summer in rural O'ahu takes an exciting turn for two Brooklyn-raised siblings when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an epic adventure with new friends, and leads them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The upcoming Netflix film Finding 'Ohana, by Jude Weng, is absorbing, hilarious and intriguing. I truly enjoyed watching the main character Pili (Kea Peahu) evolve throughout the film as she learns more about her heritage and the land. As a young viewer, I found it fascinating that this film points out one of many Hawaiian legends - the Night Marchers - which are the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors.

This film follows two Brooklyn-raised siblings, as their life takes an unexpected turn as they spend the summer in O'ahu. At the beginning of their O'ahu summer, Pili finds an old, dusty journal with notes from an old pirate and the pirate's crew. After learning more about the pirate's connection to the long-lost gold from her grandfather Kimo (Branscombe Richmond), Pili takes on the challenge of finding the gold with her new friend Casper (Owen Vaccaro), which leads to her older brother Ioane (Alex Iono) and Casper's "older sister" Hana (Lindsay Watson) following the journey.

I was super impressed by all of the acting talent, especially Kea Peahu, who plays the protagonist Pili. Considering that this is her first feature film, that is even more impressive. I spoke with her recently about that and she shared, "I have many similarities to Pili, which helped improve my performance. I was able to connect with my ohana (family) just like Pili does in the film." Along with that, Owen Vaccaro (Daddy's Home; Daddy's Home 2) surpassed all my expectations with his performance.

My favorite parts about Finding 'Ohana are the real-world concepts such as the Hawaiian legends that lead Pili on her journey to find the treasure. Many films are based around myths of various cultures. However, in this film, you see how the Hawaiian legend comes to life in a youth and family-friendly way. I loved seeing the character development of each character and seeing them change by the end of the film when they become family (ohana) because of the experiences they have shared.

This film promotes positive social behaviors and shows how important it is to treat others respectfully. What I took away from this film is to always treat others the way you want to be treated, and that ohana (family) is not always blood; family is those who love and support you, whether you are related or not.

I give Finding 'Ohana 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It debuts on Netflix Jan. 29, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Families do not always bond nicely. In Finding 'Ohana, two siblings from New York embark on an adventure in O'ahu, Hawaii and try to connect with each other and with their Hawaiian heritage while they discover the mysteries of the island. This movie is about traditions, embracing your culture and respect.

The film has the perfect adventure spirit. Pili (Kea Peahu), a 12-year-old girl and her brother Ione (Alex Aiono) are always fighting. With their mom, they go to their native island, O'ahu, to visit their grandfather whose health is delicate. The mom, Leilani (Kelly Hu), doesn't get along with her family all that well. It's as if all these different generations are colliding, but through the unusual experiences and with help from new friends, they discover the greatest treasure - the love of family (ohana).

The movie mixes fantasy and adventure, a little romance, humor and drama in a fun way. This story remind of Goonies and has some elements from the classic 80s films like Indiana Jones, but deals with contemporary subjects of identity and multi-cultural issues. The scenes were filmed on various locations on O'ahu, which gives the film a very authentic tone. The sightseers are beautiful and there is some lovely underwater photography. The story is entertaining and keeps you focused most of the time. Some visual effects and practical sets are not all that impressive, but the performances are very good and make you connect with the characters and what they are going through. Kea Peahu, who plays Pili in her film debut, is amazing in the leading role. I love the songs in the soundtrack and the way the music is incorporated into the storyline. I also love that the film reinforces the importance of a simple life; sometimes we focus on our dreams and goals; we forget about the beauty that is in front of us in our everyday life.

The message of the film is that love of family is unconditional despite our differences.

I give Finding 'Ohana 4 out of 5 starts and recommended for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Finding 'Ohana premieres January 29, 2021 on Netflix.

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

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


FLOOGALS: SEASON ONE
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FLOOGALS: SEASON ONE
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-6
Description - Join the Floogals on a mission of discovery as they explore Earth and the funny hoomans who live there! The show centers on three three-inch tall extraterrestrials called Floogals who have come to Earth to study its inhabitants. Upon landing, a human boy, thinking their spaceship is a toy, hangs their craft onto the ceiling of his bedroom. The Floogals, however, don't seem to mind as they carry on with their studying.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The DVD Floogals: Season One is a collection of episodes from the animated children's TV show that teaches kids about new things in a fun way. The characters are colorful and fun, and they never run out of new things to explore. This show is entertaining and interesting, which is perfect for a younger audience.

The show is about tiny aliens named Fleeker, Flo and Boomer who are from the planet Floog. After coming to Earth, they observe and learn new things every day. As the aliens roam around the "hoomans'' house, they learn about things that people use, such as a balloon, flashlight, and a trumpet. After the aliens are done investigating and learning all about the new objects, they send a report back to their home planet Floog. If the other aliens like their report, the aliens get a sticker. The aliens go to sleep and get ready to learn something new the next day.

The theme song of the show is very catchy. I could see myself listening to it multiple times. My favorite character is Boomer, voiced by Hugo Harold-Harrison, because he is funny, caring and kind of silly and that makes him even more funny. For example, at the end of each episode, after the aliens send their report to Floog, Boomer either makes a joke or does something funny to make the audience laugh. The storylines are easy to follow because they help kids learn about basic things, such as a doll, a cast, and a tent. Also, the aliens don't use big words; they use words that young children will know and understand. Many animated kids' shows don't show a contrast between cartoons and humans, so that part is pretty cool.

The message of Floogals is you can learn something new with everything you do. There is always a way to learn something, even if you don't notice it. This is totally kid-friendly.

Floogals: Season One is a great DVD to watch! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. The DVD releases on January 19, 2021. Go check it out!

Reviewed by Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

The DVD Floogals: Season One is a collection of episodes from the fantastic animated TV show Floogals. It is perfect for young children with its fun, playful storyline. It's very kid-friendly and enjoyable for other family members to watch as well. I like how short each episode is. Parents don't want their young children watching screens all day, and these short episodes combat that problem.

The storyline follows the Floogals, a team of intergalactic alien explorers named Captain Fleeker, Junior Boomer and First Officer Flo, who travel to Earth to learn more about its wonders. In each episode, the Floogals find different objects that the "hoomans" use, learn more about them and report back to their planet.

This voice-acting in this show is very enjoyable. Ramus Hardiker (Captain Fleeker), Jules de Jongh (First Officer Flo) and Hugo Harold-Harrison (Junior Boomer) perfectly portray explorer aliens on a whole new planet. Their voice-acting really brings life to the characters in this show. Also, I love the animation, which is full of bright colors and perfect for young kids. Lastly, I love the theme song. It's really catchy and has a memorable tune.

I think the message of this film about exploring. The show really encourages kids to ask questions and be curious.

I rate Floogals: Season One 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 6. This DVD is available January 19, 2021.

Reviewed by Kayla A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Floogals: Season One is a fun DVD because of the mixed animation and live action. This is something unique that sets Floogals apart from other kids' shows. I like that the show gives each floogal a different personality instead of making them all the same. I also can't help but notice their costumes are all different. This is good because, in some shows it is really hard to distinguish the characters. This allows kids to pick their favorite floogal and associate that floogal with a color or look.

The story is about four-inch curious aliens named Floogals. The Floogals explore earth as their first mission from their home planet. The show focuses on the floogals' visit to earth and the many firsts they experience in our human world. While each episode ends with a new floogal experience, there is one thing that really bothered me, they don't show the humans. It would have been interesting to see how the Floogals actually viewed humans.

The lead characters in Floogals are Captain Fleeker, played by Rasmus Hardiker; Boomer, played by Huge Harold Harrison; and Flo, played by Jules de Jongh. The voice-over actors excel at bringing their characters to life. One of the things that stood out to me is how unique the designs of the characters are. They are colorful and got my attention. I'm so glad they didn't make this show live action, because they could never look as good as they do in animation. Plus, it's pretty hard to make four-inch aliens fit in with actual people. My favorite character is Boomer, because out of all of them, he made me laugh the most. He's the silly one of the group. One fun part of Floogals is when I realized the characters have personalities that I've seen before on other kids' shows. This sticks true to this type of kids' show genre.

The message of this show is: if you explore you can learn something new that you never knew about. Plus it's okay to make mistakes. They help you learn as you explore and help you grow. This is a positive message for kids that are very impressionable to see and hear, especially because kids often repeat behaviors that they see.

I give Floogals: Season One 3 out 5 stars and recommend this DVD for ages 3 to 6. Parents might enjoy watching it with their kids. Floogals: Season One is available on DVD now. Look for it!

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-6
Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99
Media: CDROM
      This title is available for purchase from Amazon.com


JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS, SEASON 2
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS, SEASON 2
NETFLIX Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 8-18
Description - Six teens attending an adventure camp on the opposite side of Isla Nublar must band together to survive when dinosaurs wreak havoc on the island.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2 is an exciting, action-packed, at times funny, animated TV series on Netflix! The series continues building upon the beloved Jurassic World and Jurassic Park franchise. If you are fascinated by dinosaurs (like I am) and you like adventure, you should definitely watch this show. Additionally, if you like the other Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies, I bet you will love this series. I really enjoyed it!

The story is about six teenagers, Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), Kenji (Ryan Potter), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Yaz (Kausar Mohammed) and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) who go together to a camp in Jurassic World, called Camp Cretaceous. They have a fun time at the camp, but then all of a sudden all the dinosaurs living in Jurassic World become loose! The teenagers then need to figure out how to survive on an island with wild and crazy dinosaurs that attack the campers. Even though this may sound a little scary, there is humor throughout the episode. There are moments that had me laughing such as when stuff breaks that isn't supposed to, or when the characters say funny things.

In every episode of this series, there are new dinosaurs that pop into the show. The special effects surrounding these dinosaurs are awesome and seem incredibly realistic. The dinosaurs actually seem like they are alive. There is a T-Rex, Raptor, Mosasaurus, Compy, Stegosaurus and other prehistoric creatures. The dinosaurs are, by far, my favorite part of the show. The teenage characters all have different types of traits including: athletic, funny, scared of everything, famous, rich and loving dinosaurs. I enjoyed watching how they all end up working together as a team during the course of the series.

The primary message of the series is about teamwork and collaboration. The characters all end up working as a team.< p>I give Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can find Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2 on Netflix, available January 22, 2021.

By Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Season 2--it's so interesting, and it grabs your attention so well! I also like that season 2 has more action than season 1, which kept me watching the whole time.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2 is an American animated, science-fiction adventure series based on the multi-billionaire Jurassic Park franchise. This awesome series has eight episodes with a duration of approximately 25 minutes each. The computer animation and graphics are neat, and the colorful backgrounds attract the viewer's attention. The voiceovers suit each character, and the music played on every scene is suitable to what is going on. My favorite part is when Darius has a flashback about how he got the dinosaur tooth necklace.

This season starts with a boy named Darius (Paul-Mik�l Williams) who wants to go to Camp Cretaceous like he and his dad planned. Sadly, his dad dies and ever since then Darius has been playing a VR game because the game's winner gets Camp Cretaceous tickets. No one has beat the game yet, until Darius does, and he attends Camp Cretaceous in honor of his dad. This is big for Darius because he is a huge dino nerd and knows so many facts and has dino toys all over his room. He arrives at Camp Cretaceous and meets five other kids: Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), a famous travel vlogger; Ben (Sean Giambrone), who is scared of everything and a germophobe; Kenji (Ryan Potter), a rich ungrateful kid who likes attention and brags about going to the park six gazillion times. The other kids include Yasmina (Kausar Mohammed), an athlete who sits alone and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez), who likes to talk a lot and makes friends with everyone. All six of the kids embark on a new adventure in every episode.

There are many morals in season 2, but teamwork stands out the most. In season 1, the kids need to find people that work at the camp so they can get saved and, in that process, they work together very well. In season 2, they need to find a beacon and also watch out for a T-rex and its lair. They work together using walkie-talkies.

I'd give Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 plus adults and to whomever is a dinosaur or Jurassic Park fan. Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Season 2 comes out on January 22, 2021, on Netflix.

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

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


CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: MEET CHARLIE!
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY: MEET CHARLIE!
N CIRCLE ENTERTAINMENT Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: DVD, AGES 2-6
Description - In CHARLIE'S COLORFORMS CITY, Charlie goes on shape-filled adventures he creates using his big imagination.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie is an engaging and hilarious DVD comprised of episodes from the TV series! This show has so many great messages that both young and old need to hear. Also, it awakens imagination and creativity.

Charlie's Colorforms City follows Charlie (Jacob Soley) and his friends Violet (Saara Chaudry) and Red (Tyler Barish) through a series of adventures in the engaging form of a story where the audience are the storytellers. Each adventure or episode has its own conflicts and resolutions, but most importantly fun.

Jacob Soley has an amazing voice which perfectly fits Charlie's character. The opening theme music by Voodoo Highway Music and Post, performed by Niiko Soul is undeniably the best I've heard for a children's television series; it's extremely catchy and dance worthy. The animation in this series is great. However, as most of the characters are 3D shaped, the 2D animated backgrounds look a bit out of place. The different settings such as outer space, underwater and the jungle are very colorful and full of detail. Although this show is targeted at younger audiences it teaches complex subjects such as geometry, entrepreneurship, various emotions, hygiene and weather, just to name a few. Angela Santomero, the creator of this show is to be applauded for her ideas of creating such amazing themes and messages, while still making it fun. The best episode is "Rock Star Charlie," where Charlie and his friends create a rock band and dance and sing.

Do you sometimes feel afraid when trouble arises because you don't know the outcome? "Not if we are the one's telling the story!" Charlie explains that we are the storytellers of our own story, or, in this case, our lives. So, when our story gets sticky and stickier, we can create a fun plot twist and change our story to the way we would like it.

Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie gets 4 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 2 to 7. It is available on DVD January 19, 2021. Look for it!

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I especially love the DVD Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie because of the interactive adventures! This show promotes imagination, games, colors, shapes and much more.

The storyline is about Charlie (Jacob Soley) who takes you on a whimsical adventure while introducing colors, shapes, sizes and all you need to know about creativity. Throughout the story Charlie also introduces other friends such as Violet (Saara Chaudry) and Red (Tyler Barish). With your help, you and Charlie get to create new stories filled with imagination.

I enjoyed the fun personalities of all the characters and the way they are so inclusive. Charlie loves to interact with his friends and the viewers, which keeps the audience engaged. I also got to build new inventions and talk with Charlie. Each new shape-filled story is repetitive enough to promote fun learning. My favorite episode is the first one, "Charlie the Pancake Chef," because it involves problem solving skills. Each new short story promotes behaviors of kindness and sharing. This series is perfect for a good role modeling. The backgrounds in the show are bright and whimsical. There are many areas where one can participate and spot out shapes. I really enjoyed the catchy and bubbly introduction in each new short story. There are four segments with two short stories ranging from ten to fifteen minutes in each episode. An entire episode is around twenty minutes long. This is perfect for the intended audience. I love the way that Charlie's Colorforms City can help kids learn so much about the world around them.

I got lots of messages from the show, although the one that keeps going with the theme is to stay active and creative. I really like how this DVD is trying to encourage kids to use their imagination more. With each colorful adventure they will have loads of fun.

I give Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. I also think that this would be great for families to watch together.

Reviewed by Avery P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Are you ready for a fun filled, colorful, interactive adventure? Then you have to check out Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie In this animated series, your creative imagination will flourish. So, buckle up and get ready for a fantastic animated adventure that's both fun and educational for the whole family.

Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie is all about going on unpredictable, interactive, storytelling adventures in Colorforms City with Charlie and his best friends, Red and Violet. Every adventure is different and unique, so you never know what to expect. Charlie is always shaking things up. With Charlie's imagination leading the way, you'll be inspired to create colorful and magical stories, while developing your critical thinking skills.

The cast is filled with many talented actors. Jacob Soley (Charlie), Tyler Barish (Red) and Saara Chaudry (Violet) all connect with their characters throughout this series and deliver awesome performances. I love the colorful animation and music. Sometimes, I just jumped to my feet and start dancing. My favorite part is when Charlie uses his imagination to build a rocket ship using different shapes, sizes and colors to travel to outer space in order to send his friend home. And, I absolutely love the part, when he can't decide which pet to have; so his solution is to build one mega-super pet by using various shapes along with one trait from each animal he wants.

The intent of this DVD is to inspire kids to learn about different colors, shapes and sizes as well as work on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Charlie also teaches friendship skills such as being kind, considerate, respectful, supportive and being an active listener. I wish I lived in Colorforms City, don't you?

I highly recommend Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie for ages 2 to 6 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This DVD is available January 19, 2021. Look for it, you've got a great story to create!

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

The Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie DVD is a compilation of episodes from the educational TV series that will have kids laughing and learning the whole time! It combines shapes, colors, creativity and music to entertain watchers and teach them how to problem-solve and create stories. This is a show with a lot of concepts that are easy to understand.

Charlie's Colorforms City is about Charlie, a very silly and creative friend. Charlie invented Colorforms City from his imagination. It is a city full of colors and shapes that can make anything you dream of. From making pancakes to finding the end of a rainbow, Charlie and his best friends Violet and Red go on CRAZY story quests and solve the problems that get in their way.

This series has many components that make it as good as it is - for one, the musical part. I love performing and music. Music is always around me. This show includes upbeat songs and background music. For example, the theme song is SO catchy, explains what the show is about, and, by the way, has impressive vocals. Something else I noticed with this series are the storylines. They are easy to follow and are entertaining. They're not too complex but they also get you thinking. That's a nice balance, so props to the creator, Angela Santomero, and the writers of the show. Like a lot of shows for young kids, Charlie's Colorforms City has "call and response." I love how this element is used in this show. It allows kids to be included in the story. When I was watching this I thought: "Wow! These characters sound excited!" It's all thanks to the voice actors. The actor who plays Charlie, Jacob Soley, really stands out to me. He is always enthusiastic and caught my attention immediately. My favorite episodes of this series so far are "Charlie the Pancake Chef" and "Adventure Charlie." They are intriguing and they have the best storylines. Who doesn't love pancakes and a little adventure?!

The messages of Charlie's Colorforms City are: creativity can lead you anywhere, and learning can be fun! Whenever the characters run into a problem, they use creativity and imagination to solve them. There is nothing inappropriate in this show and it is kid-friendly.

Overall, Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie is an incredible DVD for kids! With it being fun and educational, I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 6. It's also a good series for parents to watch with their kids! The DVD releases nationwide January 19, 2021. Check it out, I'm sure you will enjoy it.

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

From the series we all know and love comes Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie. I was entertained and delighted with this spectacular DVD. Follow along with me, so I can show you how this story provides color and brightness in a time like this when we are surrounded by gray darkness.

Charlie's Colorforms City: Meet Charlie is an eight episode DVD. The episodes consist of Charlie the Pancake Chef, Rock Star Charlie, Racer Charlie, Adventurer Charlie, Starry Charlie, Birthday Charlie, Knight Charlie and Charlie's Pet. Each episode tells a fun and uplifting story about our the character, Charlie, trying new things. From adventuring to the other end of the rainbow, to eating a pancake, Charlie's stories make us smile and laugh along with him. Watch to see how Charlie and his friends use their imaginations to create their own worlds from stories.

When I watched Charlie's Colorform City: Meet Charlie, something I noticed right away was how wonderful this show can be for kids who are still learning about shapes and colors. This show teaches them about those things in a fun way, where they can use their imaginations. The show encourages creativity in a way that is different from other kids' shows. Charlie creates a city out of his imagination and the possibilities are endless. Kids should be learning from a young age that imagination is the key to following your dreams. Charlie's Colorforms City demonstrates that by making wonderful stories and taking you on his adventures. Another thing I like is the design of the show's animation. The bold colors and easy shapes of buildings such make it appeal to the target audience. For example, Charlie's whole neighborhood is filled with light blues, purples and greens. Young children will be drawn into this fabulous world of neon colors and hexagons.

The message of this show is to use your imagination to create wonderful things. Kids love to imagine things and when Charlie creates Colorforms City, he shows the audience how to put your mind to something and make it happen.

I give Charlie's Colorform City: Meet Charlie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 11. This DVD is available January 19, 2021.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 2-6
Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99
Media: CDROM


BLIZZARD OF SOULS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLIZZARD OF SOULS
101 STUDIOS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Based on true events and the novel by Aleksandrs Grins, which was forbidden in the USSR, the film follows a coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old Arthur. After the loss of his mother, he enlists to fight in WWI with dreams of becoming a hero, but after surviving the brutalities of trench warfare and the loss of his family, he wonders if his efforts in battle were futile and if hope is only to be found in rebuilding a family and a home as Latvia itself is born from the atrocities of war.

BLIZZARD OF SOULS was directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and written by Dreibergs and Boriss Frumins. The film was produced by Inga Pranevska and Dzintars Dreibergs for KULTFILMA, and associate produced by Gatis Sniedzin�. Ilona Bi vska serves as International Producer. It was edited by Gatis Belogrudovs and composed by Lolita Ritmanis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A cinematic masterpiece and the Oscar submission from the Baltic nation of Latvia, Blizzard of Souls will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions while providing you with a thorough history lesson! With echoes of 1917, Blizzard of Souls has masterful editing and cinematography, incredible sets and locations, and a talented cast, but falls a bit short on explaining major events in the First World War.

KULTFILMA took inspiration from true events and the novel by Grins to create Blizzard of Souls, which follows a teenage boy named Arturs Vanags in Russian-controlled Latvia (around the 1910s). Arturs' father was a highly decorated commander of a regiment of the Latvian army, and his brother Edgars is focused on carrying on that legacy. He's not exactly a fighter, but when his mother is killed by the Germans, Arturs, his brother, and his father conscript in the national Latvian Riflemen battalions of the Imperial Russian army in hopes of getting revenge and finding glory. He experiences many loves and losses in battle, after which he, among other soldiers, grows weary of the Tsarist cause and feels forgotten. Arturs must decide whether to stay with his regiment or defect and join his comrades in fighting the Latvian War of Independence and start his life all over again. As you can see, there's a lot happening in the film, and it's an intriguing plotline. Though I am a history buff, I'm not at the top of my game when it comes to Latvian war history, so I was really hoping for some time or battle markers; all of the battles seemed to blend together, save for the final conflict Arturs is involved in - the Battle of Cesis.

The cast and crew shine in this Baltic beauty. Oto Brantevics and Raimonds Celms play the brothers Vanags, with Oto as Arturs and Raimonds as Edgars. Raimond is a more experienced actor, but Oto really shines in his performance, with perfectly toned emotions and dialogue. Their on-screen father is played by Martins Vilsons, whose cerebral, tough personality gives way (at the perfect time) to paternal love. And the Vanags' friends in the film, Mikelsons and Konrads, are played by Jekabs Reinis and Gatis Gaga, who excel in their supporting roles with pointed humor and emulating the characters' focused, yet free personalities. Behind the scenes, Dzintars Dreibergs directed the film meticulously, with a keen eye on historical accuracy and believability. The music in the film, which majestically introduces and drives the action in each scene, was composed by Lolita Ritmanis. The soundtrack is definitely one of my favorite parts of the film. Another beautiful element of Blizzard of Souls is the cinematography by Valdis Celmin�; viewers can tell that each shot was thoughtfully planned out. There is a large part of one battle sequence that was shot and edited in one take, which really helps the speed of the film.

The message of Blizzard of Souls is one of growth; Arturs grows from a young boy to a mature hero throughout this film and has to make many tough decisions along the way. It's a positive and relatable message, as we all grow as people throughout our lives. There are some scenes for parents to watch out for though; there's a lot of blood and gore, some nudity and profanity (given the culture of trench warfare).

I give Blizzard of Souls 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Blizzard of Souls is out in theatres and on DVD now!

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

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


MARKSMAN, THE
KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
MARKSMAN, THE
OPEN ROAD PRODUCTIONS Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - A rancher on the Arizona border becomes the unlikely defender of a young Mexican boy desperately fleeing the cartel assassins who've pursued him into the U.S.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Marksman is a slower-paced action film set on the road from Texas to Chicago. The film stars Liam Neeson as Jim, a retiree who's seen better days. There is a strong action storyline but those expecting a shoot-em-up adrenaline rush may want to look elsewhere.

Jim's wife has passed away, his finances gutted by the cost of her medical bills, and his decaying ranch adjoining the border to Mexico is under threat since he can't keep up with his rent. Now all he's got is his loyal canine companion and a few days left with his property. On a drive surveying his land, Jim finds a boy named Miguel and his mother Rosa, crossing the border. Members of a drug cartel are hot on their trail, eager to capture the mother and son. A shootout between Jim and their pursuers occurs and Rosa is mortally wounded. As she passes away, Jim makes a promise to get Miguel to their family in Chicago where he'll be safe.

The Marksman is a conundrum as an action movie - as for action, it's sparse, save for a few shootouts here and there where Neeson's character gets a chance to live up to his Marksman moniker. When you hear Liam Neeson and action movie within the same breath, you picture Neeson defiantly doling out revenge to those who have wronged him and the people he cares about, which to some extent is what The Marksman becomes. But it plods along its course, steeping you in the everyday life of Neesons' Jim, before putting into perspective the predicament Miguel faces from the cartel members who killed his mother.

Jim's encounters with the cartel is only mildly suspenseful. So much of The Marksman doesn't fully develop Miguel and Jim's dynamic, either. These characters spend so much time together, but, by the end, they only manage to get each other where they need to go, and nothing more. There's humanity, but there's no spark to it. I don't fault the performances, as much as I do a script with not enough meaningful moments for the central pair's bond to supplant itself deeply in the fabric of the movie.

I give The Marksman 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 for some mild violence and the killing of a dog. The Marksman comes out in theaters on January 15, 2020.

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

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


WANDAVISION
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WANDAVISION
DISNEY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: SERIES,K AGES 12-18
Description - Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision -two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives-begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Marvel has once again delivered with WandaVision! This show has many unique elements like the different time periods of the episodes, and it ties into the Avengers storyline we all know and love. Keep your eyes peeled, because there are Easter eggs everywhere!

WandaVision follows Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in this sitcom world Wanda has created. Each episode varies in style from classic shows like I Love Lucy to The Brady Bunch. While the two superheroes live their urban life, we see glitches in Maximoff's reality bubble. This show will lead into the third installment of the MCU Spider-Man series and a sequel to Dr.Strange. As Wanda (aka Scarlet Witch) opens up the multiverse, Strange is left to clean up her mess.

Kudos to executive producer Kevin Feige for creating a show based on Scarlet Witch and Vision which is so unique but still stays true to its comic book roots. In the comics, Wanda goes mad, and ends up opening the multiverse. In WandaVision, we see this perfect bubble she has created and how it starts to deteriorate. Also true to the books, Vision and Maximoff share twins who also blossom into superheroes themselves, Thomas and William, aka Speed and Wiccan. In the comics, they form a fraction of the new Avengers team. Wanda has her own comic book series which include all of these adventures. Scarlet Witch has always been a role model for me since seeing Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Now that she has her own series, many girls around the world will grow up with her and look up to her just as I did.

The theme of the series is about reminiscing highlights of classic television. In the episodes, the range of classic show styles range from The Brady Bunch to Full House. In this series, we have modern day comedy with the over-the-top acting and era-appropriate wardrobe. At times, it's easy to forget we're watching a Marvel show, and think we're watching an episode of one of our favorite childhood shows. But then there are the strings that pull the viewer back to reality and notice the bigger picture. WandaVision is wonderful for anyone who's an MCU fan or someone who enjoys the nostalgia of sitcom memories.

I give WandaVision 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It premieres on Disney+ January 15, 2020.

Reviewed by Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

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


BLIZZARD OF SOULS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLIZZARD OF SOULS
KULTFILMA
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Based on true events and the novel by Aleksandrs Grins, which was forbidden in the USSR, the film follows a coming-of-age story of a sixteen-year-old Arthur. After the loss of his mother, he enlists to fight in WWI with dreams of becoming a hero, but after surviving the brutalities of trench warfare and the loss of his family, he wonders if his efforts in battle were futile and if hope is only to be found in rebuilding a family and a home as Latvia itself is born from the atrocities of war.

BLIZZARD OF SOULS was directed by Dzintars Dreibergs and written by Dreibergs and Boriss Frumins. The film was produced by Inga Pranevska and Dzintars Dreibergs for KULTFILMA, and associate produced by Gatis Sniedzin�. Ilona Bi vska serves as International Producer. It was edited by Gatis Belogrudovs and composed by Lolita Ritmanis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A cinematic masterpiece and the Oscar submission from the Baltic nation of Latvia, Blizzard of Souls will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions while providing you with a thorough history lesson! With echoes of 1917, Blizzard of Souls has masterful editing and cinematography, incredible sets and locations, and a talented cast, but falls a bit short on explaining major events in the First World War.

KULTFILMA took inspiration from true events and the novel by Grins to create Blizzard of Souls, which follows a teenage boy named Arturs Vanags in Russian-controlled Latvia (around the 1910s). Arturs' father was a highly decorated commander of a regiment of the Latvian army, and his brother Edgars is focused on carrying on that legacy. He's not exactly a fighter, but when his mother is killed by the Germans, Arturs, his brother, and his father conscript in the national Latvian Riflemen battalions of the Imperial Russian army in hopes of getting revenge and finding glory. He experiences many loves and losses in battle, after which he, among other soldiers, grows weary of the Tsarist cause and feels forgotten. Arturs must decide whether to stay with his regiment or defect and join his comrades in fighting the Latvian War of Independence and start his life all over again. As you can see, there's a lot happening in the film, and it's an intriguing plotline. Though I am a history buff, I'm not at the top of my game when it comes to Latvian war history, so I was really hoping for some time or battle markers; all of the battles seemed to blend together, save for the final conflict Arturs is involved in - the Battle of Cesis.

The cast and crew shine in this Baltic beauty. Oto Brantevics and Raimonds Celms play the brothers Vanags, with Oto as Arturs and Raimonds as Edgars. Raimond is a more experienced actor, but Oto really shines in his performance, with perfectly toned emotions and dialogue. Their on-screen father is played by Martins Vilsons, whose cerebral, tough personality gives way (at the perfect time) to paternal love. And the Vanags' friends in the film, Mikelsons and Konrads, are played by Jekabs Reinis and Gatis Gaga, who excel in their supporting roles with pointed humor and emulating the characters' focused, yet free personalities. Behind the scenes, Dzintars Dreibergs directed the film meticulously, with a keen eye on historical accuracy and believability. The music in the film, which majestically introduces and drives the action in each scene, was composed by Lolita Ritmanis. The soundtrack is definitely one of my favorite parts of the film. Another beautiful element of Blizzard of Souls is the cinematography by Valdis Celmin�; viewers can tell that each shot was thoughtfully planned out. There is a large part of one battle sequence that was shot and edited in one take, which really helps the speed of the film.

The message of Blizzard of Souls is one of growth; Arturs grows from a young boy to a mature hero throughout this film and has to make many tough decisions along the way. It's a positive and relatable message, as we all grow as people throughout our lives. There are some scenes for parents to watch out for though; there's a lot of blood and gore, some nudity and profanity (given the culture of trench warfare).

I give Blizzard of Souls 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Adults will enjoy this film as well. Blizzard of Souls is out in theatres and on DVD now!

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

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


SECRETS OF SULPHUR SPRINGS
KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRETS OF SULPHUR SPRINGS
DISNEY CHANNEL Click Title to View High Bandwidth Online Video Trailer This title has online video!
Series: TV SERIES, AGES 7-16
Description - Set in the fictional titular town, Secrets of Sulphur Springs follows 12-year-old Griffin Campbell (Preston Oliver), whose world has been upended by his father's decision to move the family from Chicago to take over an abandoned hotel property, The Tremont. The Campbells, which includes Griffin's mother and his younger twin siblings, move into The Tremont in hopes of restoring it to the vacation destination it once was. But on his first day at his new school, Griffin hears rumors that the hotel is haunted by the ghost of Savannah (Elle Graham), a girl who disappeared decades ago. Soon, he and his new friend, Harper (Kyliegh Curran), discover a portal that allows them to travel back in time and uncover clues about the town's biggest mystery.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Disney's new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, dives deep into the mysteries of the unknown. The writers of the show weave a chilling tale of mystery and suspense that is brought to life by the cast. It is a show about new friendships and old secrets that will leave you on the edge of your seat, as it did me.

In Secrets of Sulphur Springs, a music-loving middle school boy named Griffin (Preston Oliver) moves into an abandoned hotel called The Tremont that his family plans to restore. The hotel is said to be haunted by a girl named Savannah (Elle Graham) who mysteriously disappeared 30 years ago. Griffin is missing his old town and old friends, but he finds a new friend named Harper (Kyliegh Curran). Together they are determined to uncover the truth about the hidden secrets of the hotel and find out what happened to Savannah.

One of my favorite scenes was when Griffin finds out that the old hotel is supposedly haunted--it is very fascinating to see his reaction when others tell him about Savannah haunting it. Equally interesting is to see how the others react to Griffin when they find out he is living at the old hotel. Griffin has younger twin siblings (Landon Gordon and Madeleine McGraw) and Harper has a brother (Bryant Tardy). The relationships that Griffin and Harper have with their siblings make the characters easy to relate to. The hotel set is decorated to portray that old, abandoned, rustic style which gives it a spooky appearance. The scenes where the set is dark also add to the eerie mood. The overall creepy setting makes the scenes more believable. The clothing choices are also well thought out, and perfect for the scenes.

The messages in this TV series are about building friendships and trust. Moving to a new town and having to make new friends at school is not always easy. Being a good friend means being kind, helpful and truthful. It also means working together. Trust is especially important because it's hard to earn back after it's lost. Parents may need to know that there are some suspenseful scenes that may be scary for younger viewers.

I give the new TV series, Secrets of Sulphur Springs, 5 out of 5 stars. Every scene kept me captivated and wanting more. I recommend this show for ages 7 to 16. Secrets of Sulphur Springs premieres on the Disney Channel January 15, 2021.

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

KIDS FIRST! Juror Recommended Age: 7-16
Suggested Retail Price: $
Media: TV



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