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Recommended age 8-18
82 minutes
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CRESCENT GANG cover image Click to play video trailer
What an incredibly heartwarming and uplifting film Crescent Gang is! It captures the essence of hope and family with its touching story and relatable characters. The talented young actors bring authenticity to their roles, conveying the emotions and resilience of children in the foster care system. It is family-friendly and uplifting.

Crescent Gang follows seven foster kids who face heartbreak when they discover their beloved group home is being sold and they will be separated. Determined to stay together, they embark on a high-stakes scavenger hunt in Las Vegas, where they encounter a family court attorney in search of her inner peace. The film beautifully captures their quirky and adventurous quest, highlighting the importance of friendship, resilience and the possibility of finding a loving family.

I like Crescent Gang for its compelling storytelling, strong performances, and positive message of resilience and family. The film is captivating and enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the talented young actors, including Valeria Camero as the determined new kid. The cast also includes Kira Marie, the spirited family court attorney, and Mariah Taveres, the resilient foster child, both of whom deliver compelling performances that bring depth and authenticity to their characters. The production elements are noteworthy, with the vibrant and bustling backdrop of Las Vegas adding dynamic energy to the story. The imaginative and well-designed costumes add to the visual appeal, complementing the characters' personalities and enhancing their individuality. The direction by Gino Payne and Onyx Keesha, who have drawn from their personal experiences in the foster care system, shines through in the film's heartfelt portrayal of the foster care journey. The plot development and pace keep the audience engaged -- perfectly balancing the kids' quirky adventures with their emotional journeys. Without giving away too much, one of my favorite parts of the film is when the kids realize their hard work and tenacity finally pays off.

The film's message is one of resilience and the power of a chosen family. It reminds us that support, love, and hope can be found in unexpected places and that no matter the challenges we face, we can find strength within ourselves and in the bonds we form with others.

I give Crescent Gang 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 and adults. It releases on VOD on major platforms June 13, 2023.

By Hanadie K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 12

I had no idea what to expect going into the film Crescent Gang, but my heart is filled with joy! I love films that have skilled child actors that can match the energy of the adults. I loved this film from start to finish and am so honored to be reviewing this work of art. Not only did this movie make a 29-year-old question how she interacts with individuals on a day-to-day basis, but it filled my heart with so much pain to understand the foster care system.

The first section of the film tells the stories of different children from various backgrounds who are dealing with the foster care system. The middle part of the film curtails the dilemma of their foster home, Crescent Avenue, being sold and closed, leaving the children who are currently in the home to be moved to other group homes and being split up. The children find a time capsule hidden in the attic of their home and inside it is a map detailing a former foster child's favorite places in the city. This leads to the children escaping the home and embarking on a quest.

Crescent Gang is a prime example of having a heartwarming message and amazing actors. The story flows seamlessly. I was invested the entire time in how the story of Reena Jeffcoat (Kira Marie) and the foster children would come together. There are quite a few characters to keep up with. At the middle mark of the film, I understood where the story was going with the premise of the scavenger hunt and learning who the mysterious Karina H was. I put myself in the mindset of a child and could see the big twist as a surprise in a child's mind. I was blown away by the production values and the cinematography, especially the scenes where Daisy (Natalya O. Hudson) is on social media documenting different events taking place and we see it all on camera. Audiences can tell that this was shot on location in Las Vegas, Nevada which is showcased in various shots throughout the film. One great shot shows the children on a scavenger hunt at sunset and ask an adult to drive them to Red Rock Canyon. Shots like that make the experience more real to viewers, even if they have never been to the destination. A lot of other Vegas landmarks are shown such as the M & M store, the Hard Rock Cafe.

There is a scene that stands out to me when the characters are reflecting and a song is playing in the background with lyrics that say, "A broken heart it grows." It is sung beautifully by Jordyn Diew and adds to the moment of heaviness. There are some scenes where I wanted to focus on the actors' conversations, but the background music took me out of the moment. For example, when Reena is talking with her father, Mr. Jeffcoat (Joseph Adu), there is a good three minutes when there is no sound, but the emotional score starts up and I lost focus. I would have enjoyed a few more quiet moments throughout the film. The child actors excel in their roles. I was truly impressed with Liberty (Mariah Tavares). A memorial performance is by Haven (Valeria Camero) who is perceived to be the intellectual of the Gang. Another standout is Daisy (Natalya O. Hudson). The other foster children are Carleigh (Olivia Kaiser), Lailah (Mia Denae Brathwaite), Dayja (Eva Kauvon Thomas), and Kyle (Remy Payne). The adult standouts for me are Ms. Terry, the caretaker of the Crescent Gang children, (Shaquita Smith) and Reena Jeffcoat (Kira Marie.) Every character in this film is relatable and that aspect alone makes this film a pleasant viewing experience.

When a film just flows cinematically, it can be difficult to choose what impacts the viewer most. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching these children come together as a group. It can be a tedious task showcasing on screen the group dynamic of characters, let alone children. So seeing all these children becoming of team is very refreshing to witness. I was very impressed by the production value, the actors and actresses, and the story overall. I am honored that I was able to watch this film before its US release date. There are three celebrities in this film. Shaquita Smith (Ms. Terry) is known for the role of Jordan Davis in the drama series, Wicked City and she was also an actress on NCIS: New Orleans. Jarry Lee (Mrs. Hyatt) has acted in Dating Around, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and an episode of the show Billions. Mariah Tavares (Liberty) made her debut in the three-time Emmy-Winning television series, Abbott Elementary.

The film's message is that, as adults, we have to make sure we find the purpose behind the jobs we take. The film also made me reflect on the way I speak to children. They are so impressionable so, as adults we have to make sure that even if a situation is not the best for them we give them hope so they can keep pressing forward.

I give Crescent Gang 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This film releases on VOD and as a digital release June 13, 2023. By Bria H., KIDS FIRST!

Seven foster kids are heartbroken when they learn that their group home has been sold and they are to be separated. When they cross paths with a successful attorney who also grew up in the foster system, they find that there is always help, hope, and family can be who you choose.
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