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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL

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ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being. She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita's true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching Alita-Battle Angel, a sci-fi, action film with a little romance thrown in. The film mixes action, romance, relationship building and humor in a charming way. This film has excellent computer-generated graphics. I was very impressed with the details of her body parts, which shows how much CGI has come along since Toy Story!

The story line is about a 26th-century cyborg warrior girl assembled from scavenged bits and pieces. Alita (Rosa Salazar) is re-assembled by Dr. Dyson Ido (Christopher Waltz) who reminds me of Dr. Frankenstein. Alita has no memory of who she is and we see her venture out into the world with a child-like curiosity and fearlessness. The story is based on a graphic novel by Yukito Kishiro with a screenplay by James Cameron, Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez. It is directed by Robert Rodriguez as well.

The action scenes are exciting to watch. To me, it was good to see the fight scenes occasionally interrupted by flashes of Alita's previous life. This helped me to understand what was going on and yet, it did not seem to faze her at all.

My favorite scene is when Alita goes to the hangout of the warrior hunters to unify the efforts to defeat the enemy and the men think she is crazy and cannot possibly fight. She, of course, proves them wrong when she demonstrates her strength and power. I also enjoyed the development of the romantic relationship between Alita and Hugo (Keean Johnson).

I recommend it film for ages 14 to 18 and some adults may enjoy it. I give it 5 out 5 stars. It opens in theaters February 14, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Alita Battle Angel is an epic, action-packed film. It has incredible CGI and accomplishes lots of world-building. It is based on the Manga series Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro.

When Doctor Ido finds a living machine in the scrap yard, he takes it back and calls it Alita. When she wakes up she realizes all her memories have been lost. She finds herself in a crazy world in Pig City, beneath the last floating city. She tries to restore her memory and makes some friends and even more enemies. While it's an interesting story, I feel like it's not the focus of the film. Instead, the focus appears to be the battle scenes, because there are lots of them. While being beautiful and entertaining, I feel many were unnecessary.

I really liked the fight scenes. The unique fighting style used by Alita makes them interesting to watch. The CGI is incredible. I almost forgot Alita is a CGI character because of all the facial detail. The sport Motor Ball is unique and explained quite well. I found the ending left me wanting more. The character design in this film is wonderful. All the different androids are visually impressive. They are so unique. You can tell what they can do just by looking at them. The sets are also very well designed and stick to the theme. The floating city is very intriguing. I enjoyed how they explained little bits of it. However, this movie feels like a long setup for a sequel.

The moral of this film is to not stand by while people are being hurt - to speak up in the face of injustice. Unfortunately, although this message is spoken a few times, it isn't communicated very well throughout the plot of the movie and seems a bit like an afterthought. The music is great. I enjoyed it without being distracted by it. It varies in each scene but keeps to a coherent theme throughout the film.

My favorite scene is when Alita goes into the hunter-warrior bar and tries to recruit people. This scene is very entertaining to watch and is choreographed brilliantly. It also introduces a bunch of interesting hunter-warriors. They all have entirely different fighting styles which makes this scene interesting to watch. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 11 through 16. It opens February 8, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Rohan F, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

This is an extraordinary animation film by James Cameron about a young girl who has forgotten her past and is trying to find herself. This story empowers us young ladies. She is brave, strong through rough times and proves people wrong. I really felt the emotions and turmoil of this coming of age tale of Alita.

This story is set in the future, after terrible devastating world event. It is about two worlds, one above and one below. It is action packed with villains and heroes. Alita is found by a cyborg Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) in a junkyard. He refurbishes her into a cyborg part-human and part-machine. The young Alita is trying to figure out her past. Meanwhile, she discovers her hidden abilities to transform into an elite fighter, athlete and warrior. She never looses heart, as she becomes a young woman and haves to deal with several conflicts.

The film is directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by James Cameron, a creative genius who is known for many other films such as Titanic and Avatar. The lead character, Alita is played by Rosa Salazar. Rosa truly takes you through the emotions of her character. Alita's human sidekick, Hugo, is played by Keean Johnson. He is her teenage first love. The villains are played by Mahershala Ali and Jennifer Connelley. Ed Norton makes a cameo appearance at the end which makes me believe there will be a part two and we will see more of him.

The CGI and F/X in this film are so vivid and realistic. It is hard to tell animation from reality. The cyborgs' transformer bodies are so creative and the costumes really bring light to the characters. The music, lighting and scenes are enhanced by the 3D movie theater experience.

My favorite part is when Alita gets a new robotic body and is better than ever. It suits her. I also like when she decides to start a fighting league of her own. She signs up to be a bounty hunter, then tries to rally other bounty hunters. They do not take her seriously, but they will soon learn she is a force to be reckoned with. The bounty hunter Zapan (Ed Skrein) and the bounty hunter that loves dogs are pretty cool characters.

The message in the film seems to never give up, even when the odds are against you. Never let anyone tell you who you are or who you should become. I really relate to the story line and it made me to want to be the best that I can.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 due to adult language and violence content. Adults will also enjoy this film. This film opens in theaters February 14, 2019. Look for it.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I really like this film because, even though Alita is a cyborg, that doesn't stop from her from doing everything she can to make her discover who she actually is. Although she is a machine, she is still treated as if she is a human being.

This amazing film is directed by Robert Rodriguez who also shoots, produces and scores many of his films in Mexico, as well as his home state, Texas. Rodriguez directed the 1992 action film El Mariachi, which was a huge commercial success. The story line here follows the one and only Alita, who is found in the scrap yard and taken to a nearby clinic by Dr. Ido who repairs all cyborg visitors. As Alita awakes, she has no memory of what happened, where she is or even who she truly is. As she explores the world little by little, she has minor memory recall about who she really is.

The more Alita experiences her present life, she meets a lot of people who are just like her. Dr. Ido tries his best to keep her safe from any bad things coming into her life.

The main characters in the film are played by a veritable who's who of talent: Alita is played by Rosa Salazar (Parenthood, American Horror Story). In Rosa's portrayal of Alita, we see that she is more than just a machine; she is also a warrior. Hugo is played by Keean Johnson (Heritage Falls), who really portrays Hugo as being a really cool and trustworthy guy. Dr. Dyson Ido is played by Christoph Waltz (Spectre). Waltz really surprised me in this role which suits him well. Plus, even though he is older, he still has great moves. Chiren is played by Jennifer Connelly (Only the Brave, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Winter's Tale). Connelly shows us what an interesting character Chiren is and contributes to the idea of how she doesn't look bad, but actually is. Mahershala Ali plays Vector. This character is quite different in how he communicates with the headmaster of Iron City, which is why people obey him. Ed Skrein plays Zapan as very intimidating, because of how he roams the streets as a big tough guy. You do not want to mess with him.

The sets are pretty cool. I like the set at the local plaza where Alita first learns to play the game motor ball. I also really love the music in this film because, depending on the scene, the music changes within it and drives the story line alone. The costumes are quite amazing and different. They aren't like the usual bad guy costumes. They are enhanced with CGI, which makes them quite tremendous.

My favorite part of the film is when Dr. Ido comes to find Alita in a bar, where she is challenging hunter-warriors to fight with her if they lose. In between all of the chaos, Dr. Ido shouts "Stop it, Stop it right now!" Yet, no one listens to him until he says, "Or no one gets free repairs!" In less than a second, everyone releases each other from the chaos.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. I think that everyone watching this will enjoy all the good reaction parts as well as jump scares. It opens in theaters February 14, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Siaki S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LEGO MOVIE 2, THE: THE SECOND PART

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LEGO MOVIE 2, THE: THE SECOND PART - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-15
Description - The citizens of Bricksburg face a dangerous new threat when LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space start to wreck everything in their path. The battle to defeat the enemy and restore harmony to the LEGO universe takes Emmet, Lucy, Batman and the rest of their friends to faraway, unexplored worlds that test their courage and creativity.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a superb follow-up to the original film that lives up to the years' worth of hype surrounding it. Vibrant voice talent, including new standouts, and quippy writing make for a cartoon genre-defying blast. Any fans of the LEGO franchise must check this out.

The movie follows five years since "everything was awesome," as the citizens of Bricksburg suffered irreparable damage from the forces of LEGO DUPLO invaders. Bricksburg descended into Apocolaypseburg, where the citizens brood. Luckily, Emmet (Chris Pratt) always retains hope, even when General Mayhem (Stephanie Beatriz) captures many of his friends. This takes Emmet on a journey across multiple unexplored worlds, including a central DUPLO musical land, as the fate of the LEGO galaxy relies upon him.

The ensemble cast not only features one role from Chris Pratt as, of course Emmet, but also as Rex Dangervest. He continues to shine as Emmet, with the reluctant hero taken to deeper territories as his hope to regain his friends is tested. Rex Dangervest shines and is my favorite character, as he remains a charming presence and even mirrors many of Pratt's roles in Hollywood. His relevance to the plot also provides for some mind-bending revelations. Elizabeth Banks, as Lucy/Wyldstyle, continues in her heartfelt buddy dynamic with Emmet, as she even wants him to do something more intimidating. This proves for an interesting drive in his quest to find Lucy. New additions from Stephanie Beatriz and Tiffany Haddish are welcome ones, with their unique DUPLO builds taking the spotlight. In particular, Tiffany Haddish as Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi, shines with her malicious intent and deceitful musical numbers. Will Arnett, Allison Brie and Charlie Day return from the previous movie and continue their signature work, with all even having a moment to shine amid this gigantic cast.

Mike Mitchell spectacularly directs the movie with a great mastery of unconventional animation found within, that pans out beautifully. Also, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller return with a script that might even be funnier and more meta than the original. My favorite scene is the musical number between Batman and Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi that is just a true showcase of this series' unique sense of meta-commentary and humor. My problems with the movie do stem from the real world scenes. Even though the dynamics between siblings Finn (Jadon Sand) and Bianca (Brooklynn Prince) is a very touching and even humorous one, it just doesn't lead to much and feels tacked on, with the time gap seeming like something of an afterthought.

The message of this film is that everything will not always be awesome, but in times like those, we must always let people in and help others as much as we can. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on February 8, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

With all its clich�s, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is as original as its predecessor, The LEGO Movie! An intricately, well thought out plot steals the show along with jokes that hit my funny bone. The two types of animation, stop motion and CGI, are used at appropriate times, connecting the LEGO world and our world to merge reality with imagination.

Starting right where The LEGO Movie ended, the story follows Emmet (Chris Pratt) and his best friend, Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) who are now living in a post-apocalyptic world. When Lucy and his other friends, Batman (Will Arnett), Unikitty (Alison Brie), MetalBeard (Nick Offerman) and Benny (Charlie Day) are kidnapped by General Mayhem, Emmet must embark on a dangerous quest to save them and unravel an evil plot.

Chris Pratt voices two characters, Emmet and Rex, who are disparate characters. Emmet is innocent and kind while Rex is more hardened and a typical action hero. It is evident that Chris Pratt voices Rex because of Chris Pratt's experience in the role of the action hero, but the way that he is able to contrast that with the sweetness of Emmet is commendable. Tiffany Haddish has an abundance of personality in her voice that is necessary for her character, Queen Watevra Wa'nabi. The uniqueness of her voice is key in helping understand who she is. Her character has an ability to change shape, preventing us from viewing who she really is, so her voice tells us the most about her personality.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is surprisingly a bit of a musical, with original songs. Ironically, my favorite song is actually in the end credits, although it is hard to pick a favorite. Each songs' lyrics are comedic and manage to have very catchy beats. By the time I finished watching the film, "The Catchy Song" was stuck in my head all day, but I honestly did not mind. It might even be my favorite soundtrack from a movie.

The message of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is to never change who you are. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, because the jokes are suited for all ages and I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Be sure to check out The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part when it opens in theaters on February 8, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The LEGO Movie: The Second Part is fascinating and I loved that everything is still awesome! It's dynamic, colorful and funny. While watching this film I saw how cool all the little LEGO figures look, because the animation is so well done that they look like they're really moving and the amount of detail this film is incredible.

This movie picks up where the first LEGO Movie ends and adds new exciting scenes. This film is about our hero Emmet (Chris Pratt) and his friend Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) battling in outer space. The Duplox LEGO blocks attack the regular LEGO world, specifically the citizens of Bricksburgh. Everyone tells Emmet he should grow up, because he thinks everything is always awesome and LEGOS are facing a terrible menace. We meet a new character named General Mayhem (Stephany Beatriz) whose identity is unknown and whose voice is very intriguing. She takes all of Emmet's friends, including superhero Batman (Will Arnett) faraway for a strange ceremony. In this journey, they travel into galaxies and planets and they are part of several music episodes. While Emmet is sometimes insecure and Lucy is battle ready, they are forced into parallel adventures that lead them into a re-discovery of empathy and friendship.

I love how the movie uses all kinds of LEGO brands - LEGO Friends, regular and Duplox. There are many twists which make the movie a lot more interesting. At one point, you think the movie is over, but it's really not. There are lots of new, fun characters and the jokes appeal to both kids and grown-ups. I also love that you can never really guess what is going to happen next, because there is always a twist. All the characters have very distinctive personalities. The work of the voice actors is fantastic, as they are in the first one. And, there are a lot of references to classic films.

In this film, human participation seems even bigger than in the first one. I like those scenes, because it makes it more evident that the story is told from the LEGO's perspective. The rhythm is great and it is funny and touching at the same time. It's awesome how the producers have created a world made of little, and not so little bricks, that is so engaging for all audiences.

Another thing I love about this film is how they took songs from the original movie and made them completely different. And, you don't need to see the first movie to understand this one. This film proves that sequels can be awesome!

The message of this film is that we don't always need to grow up. Being mature does not mean that we lose our kindness, sweetness or imagination. I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12 and adults as well. The Lego Movie: The Second Part opens February 8, 2019 and I totally recommend it! Be sure to watch our YouTube Channel for my videotaped review of this one.

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

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part keeps everything pretty awesome. This sequel has a lot of what I loved about the first film, but isn't afraid to go in some pretty bizarre directions and explore new aspects of the characters.

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part follows Emmet Brickowski. Years after attacks by the destructive Duplo, Emmet lives in the town of Apocalypseburg. He and his positive demeanor are still having trouble adjusting to the hardened wasteland of chaos and disarray. Emmet still has his friends by his side, but when they are taken by a masked figure, he searches for answers on how to get them back. Emmet teams up with the macho Rex Dangervest to bring his friends home from the clutches of an evil alien queen and save them from impending doom.

I really like the humor in this film. As with many of the other LEGO films, there are so many jokes coming at one time. Screenwriters Phil Lord and Chris Miller take full advantage of the LEGO toy box at their disposal having Velma from Scooby Doo, Aquaman and Beetlejuice ALL show up in the same scene. This film takes on a lot of new characters and develops the world of this franchise, but above all LEGO Movie 2 is a blast.

I love all the characters. Rex Dangervest is a great character for Emmet to play off of. Emmet is a carefree do-gooder who always looks on the bright side of things and goes on an adventure with Rex, the hardcore adventurer. This is nowhere close to who Emmet is, but he wants to prove to his fellow LEGO people that he is capable of living in a wasteland. He learns that maybe the person he wants to be is more complicated than he thought.

I recommend this film for ages 6 to 18, due to some crude humor. I think adults will really like the countless pop culture references. The fact that this film can make me care so much about a bunch of plastic bricks is impressive. Seeing these characters back on screen is more than worth the price of admission. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters February 8, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ARCTIC

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ARCTIC
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ARCTIC - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A man stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or to embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This intense dramatic film about survival had me on the edge of my seat the whole time!

The film takes place in the cold, icy mountains of Iceland. A man crash lands in the middle of nowhere, thanks to a snow blizzard. He is very resourceful and does well on his own. Finally, a rescue arrives, but things get out of control. Time is ticking and he needs medical help. He has more difficult times ahead battling mother nature and has to decide to either stay at his makeshift campsite or move to clearer ground in hopes of being rescued.

Written by Joe Penna and Ryan Morrison, the protagonist Overgard is played by Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor who has appeared in many American films such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange. He makes you experience the physical and mental emotions of this painstaking survival of the fittest. His rescuer is played by Maria Thelma Smaradottir who does very little in the film because she is on her death bed.

The scenery is mostly snow-covered mountains and the landscape is beautiful. Overgard's costumes look suitable for his role.

I enjoyed this film because it taught me about how unpredictable nature is and how to think through a difficult situation. The scenes with the bear scared me so much, I literary jumped in my seat!

I give this film 4 stars out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18. You should know that there is some adult language in it, including use of the F word. Talking is minimal and it's an excellent film, aside from the profanity. This film opens February 1, 2019 in select theaters so, look for it.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MISS BALA

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MISS BALA
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MISS BALA - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Gloria finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength. Based on the Spanish-language film.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Miss Bala, a film of female power, is very exciting and thrilling. It certainly had me on the edge of my seat. Based on the 2011 Mexican hit film by the same name, it centers on Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), a smart, courageous Mexican-American woman who must work for a cartel boss to find her missing friend, Suzu (Cristina Rodlo).

While we don't see a lot of blood, the violence is in our face. You can expect gun battles, an execution- style murder, a car bombing and more. We see a sexual culture that dehumanizes women, which I feel the film clearly does not support. There is unwanted groping and sex, strong language and cursing in Spanish. Characters drink and use drugs.

My favorite scene is when Gloria returns to Tijuana to help her best friend, Suzu enter a beauty contest. At a nightclub, Gloria survives a shootout, but loses sight of Suzu. While trying to find her, Gloria catches the eye of crime boss Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who shoots up the club and has plans for her. In order to find her friend and survive, Gloria shows her strength and wisdom to survive the malicious actions of the cartel, corrupt police and DEA agents.

Miss Bala has excellent visual production. I could feel that I was there with Gloria and feeling her fear, yet her bravery and commitment to find her friend no matter what it cost.

The story involves some questionable and illegal activities, but Gloria's intelligence, courage and loyalty drive everything. It's a female-empowerment film.

I recommend this film for ages 14 to 18. You should know that it is not a film for everyone. I give it 5 out 5 stars. Miss Bala opens in theatres Friday, February 1, 2019.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Miss Bala is quite a movie! From the friendship that led to a whirlwind of violence and manipulation, to the caring of others, that is the reason behind the storyline. Miss Bala has it all. While watching this film, I definitely had some mixed feelings, but overall I enjoyed the story and found it fun and interesting. If you enjoy being misled through twists and turns, never knowing where the next scene will take you AND you like being scared along the way, you'll love Miss Bala! If you don't like being scared or a fast-paced, violent movie, you may want to stay away.

In this action-packed film, a young woman, Gloria (Gina Rodriguez), returns to her birthplace Tijuana, to visit a close friend. Little does she know that going to enjoy a fun night out would lead her down a path of constant trouble. Gloria gets pulled into a literal turf war between the gang La Estrellas and the Chief of Police (Damian Alcazar) when she witnesses a shooting where her friend also disappears. Luckily, Gloria survives the shooting, but in an effort to locate and rescue her friend, she experiences a number of mishaps with the gang, the DEA, the Police Chief and more. Unbeknownst to Gloria, all of these men are using and manipulating her to get what they need. When all she needs is to find her best friend Suzu (Christina Rodio). Does she rescue her friend? Does she escape the gang's awful manipulations? I guess you'll have to watch it to find out!

There are so many elements of this movie that make it awesome and entertaining! The funny comments, realistic music, beautiful sets and locations, and super cool special effects. Despite this being a live-action film with quite a bit of violence, there are actually some really funny parts and comments, too. Plus, with the help of the music and the costumes, the story flows and makes sense. What I liked and appreciated the most was how perfectly the music changes and is paired to match the feelings of every scene!

The deeper message that this film displays is that we have to be careful with who we put our trust into. In Miss Bala, Gloria puts her trust into the gang and they end up doing things that are not okay and using her. Then, she trusts the DEA and just wait until you see how they treat her. These are not the kind of people we want to trust. Keep in mind that this is a pretty violent movie, even though it's rated PG-13, it has lots of blood, guns and more scary stuff. Also, look out for some partial nudity and profanity. I definitely would never bring anyone under the age of 13 to this movie!

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not giving it 5 stars because I am not a big fan of scary and violent movies, so it was unsettling, for me. I can see, however, that others would really love the action-packed sequences. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 and adults. That said, I wouldn't even bring a sensitive 13 or 15-year-old who scares easily. This film opens February 1, 2019 all over the USA. If you like action, drama and thrillers, check it out. You'll enjoy it!!!

Reviewed by Lexi G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GLASS
GLASS - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Glass is breathtaking! This unique film is such a great combination of comedy, action, and drama and that's what makes it unique and different. I didn't want to look away during any part of the film, because every second you feel like you want to know more. The way each story is laid out is outstanding. Each character is so unique and all have their own strengths and weaknesses. The film is so extraordinary that you think you have powers.

The storyline is about three people who have amazing gifts that are so unbelievable that they start to believe they are more then just a person with amazing gifts. Then, a doctor finds out about them and takes them in because she doesn't believe that they have extraordinary gifts. She believes they just have mental disabilities from accidents that happened to each of them during their lives. She tries repeatedly to make them believe that they are all normal with a disability, until they decide to do something insane to show her that they are not just a normal people and are special. This film will surely bring chills, smiles, laughter and maybe even tears to those who watch it.

The main characters are: James McAvoy (Kevin W. Crumb/The Beast/Patricia/Barry), Bruce Willis (David Dunn), Samuel L. Jackson (Elijah Price/Mr. Glass), Sarah Paulson (Dr. Ellie Staple), Spencer Treat Clark (Joseph Dunn) Anya Taylor Joy (Casey Cooke), Charalayne Woodard (Elijah's Mother). These actors truly make you believe their characters are real and keep you on the edge of your seat with their performances.

My favorite part is when Anya Joy (as Casey) speaks to Kevin Crumb who has split personalities - good and bad. During this conversation, Casey talks to all of Kevin's various personalities and the love she shows somehow fights off the other personalities. It is heartfelt to watch this scene because it shows how important their friendship is.

The message of this film is that we are all special. All we need to do is express ourselves and not hide. Another message is that it doesn't matter if other people believe in you. As long as you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, including adults. I truly believe that many who watch this film will really enjoy it. This film opens in theaters on January 18, 2018. Look for it!

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

This action-packed film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, puts a unique twist on the classic theme of a superhero movie. As another addition to Unbreakable and Split, this movie ties the series together well and I enjoyed it.

The comic book thriller follows security guard David Dunn, who uses his heroic powers to find a troubled man named Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has a superhuman alter-ego and twenty-four distinct personalities. When the men are captured and taken to a mental institution, they encounter another character, named Mr. Glass. The doctor informs them that she has three days to convince them that superheroes are not real, but she is yet to realize that the three characters are meant to be connected by fate.

This movie puts you into a new perspective, and makes you think differently. The stunt coordinator, Mohammed J. Ali, incredibly incorporated action and fighting into certain scenes. However, the plot is sometimes unclear and characters' roles are unbalanced, so some people receive more attention than others. My favorite scene is when the main characters sit in chairs and are asked to recall moments that make them believe they're superheroes. The doctor tries to convince them that there is a logical explanation behind these events, but as viewers, this is when we know that they have powers.

The movie overall has a deep meaning that there are more complications than good and evil and the idea of superheroes clashes with modern day society. Although the movie contains some mild profanity and violent scenes, it is still a great film to watch.

I rate this production 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters Friday, January 18, 2019. Look for it!

Reviewed by Jordan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Glass kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time! This film takes the viewer on a rollercoaster of twists and turns. It's very well done with exceptional acting, which is what I like most about it. James McAvoy, Ana Taylor-Joy, Bruce Willis, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson all make you feel as if you are inside the movie, living all the intense moments they go through as your own. M. Night Shyamalan's direction is outstanding. Everything is so well set up and all the questions are answered at the end of the film, giving it a suspense that keeps the audience engaged.

Glass is a mixture of narratives of two of standout originals, Unbreakable from Touchstone and Split from Universal in a new comic-book thriller. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis comes back as David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price or Mr. Glass. From Split comes James McAvoy, replaying his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities that reside within and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only survivor from the Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb's superhuman figure of The Beast in several events, while the manifestation of Price appears as a mastermind that holds secrets critical to both men. Definitely this concludes the series in an unexpected, yet impressive way.

My favorite part is when Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) switches and acts like his multiple personalities when he is first taken into the mental hospital. For anyone that has seen Split, you get to relive how funny his impressions of the distinct personalities are and remember how much you enjoy them. The whole plot is so tense throughout, that it is good to have moments like these to breathe a little bit before the film goes back to more serious moments of the story.

This is a very entertaining film that perhaps reminds us not to be friends with psychopaths. I recommend it to ages 14 to 18, plus adults and rate it 5 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters January 18, 2018 so, look for it.

Reviewed by Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
KID WHO WOULD BE KING, THE

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KID WHO WOULD BE KING, THE
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KID WHO WOULD BE KING, THE - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Old school magic meets the modern world in the epic adventure THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING. Alex (Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he's just another nobody, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and, together with the legendary wizard Merlin (Stewart), take on the wicked enchantress Morgana (Ferguson). With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be. CAST: Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Dorris, Angus Imrie, with Rebecca Ferguson and Patrick Stewart
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoyed watching The Kid Who Would Be King. It is a family film full of adventure and a very timely version of a classic tale about the famous Excalibur sword of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. Writer/Director, Joe Cornish gives us a fresh look at the King Arthur tale.

like that the story is retold using the book given to Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) as the source for his adventure. We see Alex along with his fellow students at school and going about their daily activities as they hear and see negative news about a divided United Kingdom. It is similar to the type of activities we are experiencing in the United States today.

We see Alex defending his friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo), a would-be magician, which leads him to become the target of bullies Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Doris). After running from them, Alex discovers a sword in a stone. He and Bedders deem it to be Excalibur. Alex is reminded by Bedders and his book of King Arthur of his mission to unite and fight the evil of Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) sister of King Arthur.

My favorite scene is when young Merlin (Angus Imrie) appears at the school as a lanky new teen student with an ill-fitting uniform. To me, he steals the scene with his hand actions, clicking and snapping to perform his sorcery. The repetition of his sorcery provides some elements of humor and, at one point, I tried to duplicate his hand actions.

The CGI and other visuals and music are acceptable. Be aware that there is fantasy action violence, scary images with bullying. The Kid Who Would Be King has an important and timely message. We see young people standing up to wrongs and taking on what is right. Age is not a deterrent and a group victory can be achieved.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 18, and some adults. I give it 5 out 5 stars. This opens in theaters January 25, 2019 so, look for it.

Reviewed by Juanita L., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very interesting. I like how it starts with illustrations that look like you are reading a book, then transitions to a live action film. While watching this, it made me think about Harry Potter, although it is very different than other magical and majestic films like the Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts and other fantasy movies.

The film is based in the King Arthur story and retold in a modern way. It's about a boy named Alex (Louis Ashborne Serkis) who finds the Excalibur sword and embarks on an adventure trying to battle bullying and injustice. He teams up with his best friend in his journey to become a great leader. Alex and his enemies conform a group of brave knights to fight monsters and defy great dangers.

In the beginning, Alex and his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) are victims of bullying at their school. They believe they are regular boys, until one day Alex comes across a sword in a big rock. He pulls it out and he shows it to Bedders. Later, they realize that everything that happens to them is similar to what happened in a book Alex's dad gave him with a very special dedicatory. It is a very special book because, despite that his father left, he has feelings for him. He and Bedders go on a quest that replicates in many ways the story of the King Arthur legend. Alex not only discovers his power for being a leader and doing good deeds, it is also a self discovery of loss and acceptance.

This spin on the classic King Arthur tale has a different purpose than other films or interpretations of this classic tale: - to show todays' kids the power of classic tales, the importance of books and to find the good within ourselves by retelling the story in a contemporary way and making it relatable to a new generation.

The film reminds us why books are essential in our education and how they show messages about perseverance and loyalty. In the movie, the main characters face lots of obstacles and some are very scary!

The scenes with the medieval villain Morgana are particularly exiting. I also love the scenes with Merlin, especially the younger one. They are funny and obviously magical. I like that Alex and Beddders team up with their enemies in their journey. I enjoy the sets in London from the landscapes near the city to the beautiful Stonehenge. The sets and costumes are well done. The acting is very good and the special effects believable.

The story flows well, although there are so many scenes that make the film longer than necessary. Another thing that bothered me is that it references so many things we have seen in other films. That makes it not very original. Also, some scenes are a little too over dramatic. I do like how this film shows the classic tale based on someone pulling a sword out of a stone and becoming king.

The message of this film is that nobody is just ordinary. We just have to discover the great powers we have within ourselves. I give The this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids 6 to 18. It opens in theaters on January 25, 2019. So look for it.

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

The Kid Who Would Be King is a heartwarming film about a boy named Alexander who finds out that he is the future king of Britain. Now he, his friends and his enemies, must embark on a quest to defeat a wicked enchantress named Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) before the end of a solar eclipse. This film is based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, including the legend of the magical sword, Excalibur. At night, everyone disappears from the world except for Alex and anyone he has knighted. This way they can take whatever they want and try to defeat all of Morgana's minions. When they are all gone, Alex and his knights stay where they are and everything else returns to normal.

There are lots of cool scenes in this film that involve exciting sword battles. In my interview with Patrick Stewart (Merlin), Rhianna Dorris (Kaye) and Louis Ashbourne Serkis (Alex), I learned that the cast used real swords to train with to learn the real feel and heaviness of medieval swords and armor. However, in the actual film they used realistic plastic swords, because otherwise it would be too dangerous.

My favorite character in this film is Merlin (Angus Imrie/Patrick Stewart). He is serious and gets things done most of the time, but he also does a lot of funny and cool things that are really appealing to watch. For example, when he does his magic, all the stuff around him is flying through the air and all the lights are flickering. That is a really interesting effect.

My favorite scene is when Alexander and a few of his knights are rushing through the woods on horses, while trying to defeat a large army of fire monsters on fire breathing horses who are trying to take Excalibur away from them. This scene is very exciting and has a few funny parts in it too.

The message of this film is that anyone can be a king; you just need to have a good heart and follow the knight's code which says that you must "honor those you love, refrain from wanton offence, speak the truth at all times and persevere in any enterprise until the end."

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because it is a good combination of an action movie and a heartwarming storyline that gives it a great message. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This movie opens in theaters on, January 25, 2019. Look for it!

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

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UPSIDE, THE
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UPSIDE, THE - 0
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Philip is a disabled white billionaire, who feels that life is not worth living. To help him in his day to day routine, he hires Del, an African American parolee, trying to reconnect with his estranged wife. What begins as a professional relationship develops into a friendship as Del shows his grouchy charge that life is worth living
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Upside is a wonderful, but very contrived remake of the French classic: The Intouchables. The superb main duo makes for a variety of heartfelt and well-found laughs. Anyone looking for a packed "January movie" will find a perfect outing.

Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie follows a recently released ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart), as he seeks employment to do right by his family's financial needs and regain their trust. He finds the most unusual employment with an offer to care-take the paralyzed billionaire Phillip (Bryan Cranston). Most don't believe in Dell's capabilities, especially chief executive Yvonne (Nicole Kidman), with Dell failing, but slowly learning to care-take. Amidst this process, Dell and Phillip form an unlikely friendship and journey, bettering themselves.

Kevin Hart, as Dell, is my favorite character, as he steps into newfound dramatic territory and delivers exceptionally. As always, his unique sense of humor remains and he is as better than ever with the amicable chemistry he shares with Bryan Cranston. Bryan Cranston, as Phillip, delivers a gravitas to his character when needed, as his condition make him hopeless. In only a way Cranston can deliver, his journey to regain hope and optimism through Dell is very compelling. It also helps that their unique banter is just so funny and intellectually executed. Nicole Kidman, as Yvonne, is another relatable character, as even she learns to smile from Dell, despite her disagreements. Her long history with Phillip is well sold, as well.

Neil Burger serviceably directs the movie, with a great eye for scenery, even if many scenes fall within a repetitive layout at times. My favorite scene is the haircut scene, as it is a fun rendition of the classic French scene and even has more nuances of its own. The main problem with this movie comes from the fact that, in comparison to its French counterpart, there really isn't much of a difference with a few scenes and characters having some subtleties. At times, its pace even takes a hit and even the newer additions don't fare as well as the original. This can be viewed as a bit of a pro, as sticking with the original does prove to its advantage.

The message of this film is that a friendship is a relationship most valued and will always remain irreplaceable. If we all get along, we will strive towards greatness and a happier mental well-being. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of some sexual references and brief drug use. The movie releases in theaters on January 11, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
STAN & OLLIE

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STAN & OLLIE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURES, AGES 10-18
Description - The true story of Hollywood's greatest comedy double act, Laurel and Hardy, is brought to the big screen for the first time. Starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the inimitable movie icons, Stan and Ollie is the heart-warming story of what would become the pair's triumphant farewell tour. With their golden era long behind them, the pair embark on a variety hall tour of Britain and Ireland. Despite the pressures of a hectic schedule, and with the support of their wives Lucille (Shirley Henderson) and Ida (Nina Arianda) - a formidable double act in their own right - the pair's love of performing, as well as for each other, endures as they secure their place in the hearts of their adoring public.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Stan & Ollie is a superb bio-pic about the famous comedy duo. Spot-on casting and great direction make for a very informative and entertaining romp. Anyone looking for an outstanding bio-pic or a wonderful movie will want to watch this.

The movie follows the famous Laurel & Hardy, as they set out to tour Britain in 1953. However, years have passed since their heyday of being Hollywood comedy kings, and they face an uncertain challenge. They find success obtaining their long-lost charm and even reconnect with their most ardent fans. The tour eventually finds success, until Stan (John C. Reilly) and Ollie (Steve Coogan) can't quite shake their disagreements and Ollie's health starts failing. They are aware that this may very well be their swan song, but amid that they can rediscover just how much their brotherly bond means.

The titular duo, Stan (John C. Reilly) and Ollie (Steve Coogan), remain my favorite characters and bring great heart. The two share great chemistry and bring out the best with their impeccable theater performances. Same with their wives, Lucille Hardy (Shirley Henderson) and Ida Laurel (Nina Arianda), who equally sell their disagreements, but with sisterly love. Shirley, in particular, shines with emotionally charged reactions to her husband's health. Danny Huston, as Hal Roach, embodies the famous producer, and gives us a good look behind the scenes in Laurel & Hardy. His frustrations with the group is also well presented and those provide a most realistic look at the bitter friendship the three had.

Jon S. Baird aptly directs the movie, with a great eye for the duo's on-stage performances. The shifting timeline proves slightly confusing at times, but such moments are few and far between. My favorite scene is the final concluding scene, that proves to be an epic ending to the tour and is very touching. It showcases the true power of friendship and the importance of the duo on comedy history. It is a perfect ending to this poetic tale.

The message of this film is that a friendship can always outweigh any challenges and even the test of time. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, because of brief language and smoking. The movie had a limited release in theaters on December 28, 2018 and is rolling out across the country, so check your local listings.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Stan & Ollie is a fine biopic with great performances, beautiful scenarios and a powerful story about the value of friendship.

I didn't know much about these comedians and this film offers a great introduction to Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (affectionately nicknamed Babe), two of the most fascinating entertainers of the Golden Era of Hollywood. I like discovering the roots of filmmaking and physical comedy. The movie shows who they are, their artistic personalities and the dynamics of their friendship.

Directed by Jon S. Baird, the story starts in 1937 when the duo is at the peak of their career. Then it quickly moves to 1953 when their career is not solid anymore and the comedians embark on a trip to Great Britain to reconnect with fans and regain fame. Even though they are famous, there are empty seats at their shows. They have recognition, but not that much money. They return to what they know and love to do - comedy. People thought they retired, but they managed to perform and work hard like they did from the beginning. I like that the film centers in this poignant part of their lives where their friendship is put to a test, while they struggle with aging and loosing popularity. They haven't stopped dreaming and hoped to obtain the financing for a movie project.

I enjoyed their slapstick comedy and noticed how different humor was in the 30s and 50s. I appreciated how committed they were as working actors. Stan and Ollie conformed a unique duo. They shared a strong friendship and were not only business partners, but truly close friends. Their bond was special. They complemented each other in the creative process and on stage with grace and sentiment. They seemed to be in constant collaboration. The film also shows their dynamics outside the stage and with their wives, who were kind of rivals, but they supported each other at the same time. Their love for comedy and performing arts was genuine. They really lived for that. But they didn't always have happy moments. We see them disagree and even break each others' hearts. Despite their different point of views about business, they shared a true love for performing and entertaining.

My favorite scene is the iconic gag where they keep on going in circles to find each other when they are next to each other all the time. I like all the jokes and I really enjoyed them.

The most remarkable aspect of this film are the performances by John C. Reilly (Ollie) and Steve Coogan (Stan). Not only for their impeccable physical resemblance, helped by some awesome make up, but for their interpretations and rapport, which reflect the spirit of the duo. You can feel the actors' admiration for the comedic duo.

The message of the film is that no matter how much you disagree and even fight with your friends, true feelings always endure and true friendship is endless.

I give Stan & Ollie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. Is a great movie for those who are familiar with early Hollywood films and for us who want to discover and connect with the origins of cinema.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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WELCOME TO MARWEN
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WELCOME TO MARWEN - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - On April 8, 2000, aspiring artist Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) became a victim of a violent assault when five men beat him up and left him for dead. Following the attack, Mark was left with little to no memory of his previous life due to brain damage inflicted by his attackers. In a desperate attempt to regain his memories, Hogancamp constructs a miniature World War II village called Marwen in his yard to help in his recovery. Unfortunately, Mark's demons come back to haunt him when he's asked to testify against the five men that attacked him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say -

Welcome to Marwen is disappointing, despite its very inspiring true story and many talents. Some performances, impeccable direction and a beautiful animation style save it somewhat. Fans of Zemeckis may want to check it out, but should vastly lower their expectations.

The plot follows the true story of Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), a former war writer turned photographer after a hate crime left him an amnesiac. Split into two distinct plotlines, one of which is Mark's everyday life, as he photographs his dolls made to resemble himself and important women in his life (Leslie Mann, Merrit Wever, Janelle Monae, Eliza Gonzalez, Gwendoline Christie, Leslie Zemeckis and Diane Kruger) the other is a doll world, as acted by his dolls and led by his doppelganger doll, Captain Hogie. Both follow Mark on his road to recovery, as the doll world mirrors events from real life.

Steve Carrell, as Mark Hogancamp/Captain Hogie, is my favorite character, as he delivers an inspirational and emotionally charged performances that captures all ends of his trauma and strength in recovery. He pays pure respect to the real-life artist, despite a detrimental script. Leslie Mann, as Nicol, is extremely vibrant in all her interactions, but that comes with a price as her scripted lines make her seem somewhat like a cartoon character. Despite this, it is easy to see why she has the impact she does in Mark's recovery. The rest of the women in the film, from the doll store owner Roberta (Merritt Weaver) to the mysterious Deja Thoris (Diane Kruger) all shine. This roster also includes compelling performances from Janelle Monae, Eliza Gonzalez, Gwendoline Christie and Leslie Zemeckis, even if their interactions prove to be cartoonish and stereotypical at times.

Robert Zemeckis aptly directs the movie, as he does always. Although the flair of Back to the Future or even Forest Gump is missing here. It is very well shot, but the meaning of the film matches up to nothing like his previous work. My favorite scene is the initial courtroom encounter, as it truly embodies the anxiety that Mark faces from seeing his attackers. It is very creative, with an eye for visuals putting us into the moment of his fright. The flaws in the movie are not just in the lackluster script, but also in various pacing issues. The doll world plot, despite its many creative action scenes, does not make any sense as to how it helps him recover and there are too many sub-plot that try to make up the lack of movie flair. The movie slows down because of this. Despite that, the real-world plot fares much better, with its compelling share of characters that give his personal plight an explainable and inspiring recovery.

The message of this film is that trusting in friends and acting upon creativity helps alleviate our stress. I give this film 2.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 because of violence, mature themes, and brief sexual references. The movie releases in theaters on December 21, 2018, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ON THE BASIS OF SEX

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX
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ON THE BASIS OF SEX - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - The story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her struggles for equal rights and what she had to overcome in order to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - On the Basis of Sex is such a fun and empowering film. I enjoyed it quite a bit as it was equally entertaining and informative. The characters are well crafted and the aesthetic of the 50s to 70s time period really sets the tone of the movie. It feels real and true, as opposed to the glorified version of the story that some biographical films show. The authenticity and uniqueness of the film really helps it stand out. This is a very important movie for people see.

This film follows the true story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a young and gifted lawyer, who struggles to find work simply because she is a woman. In order to prove that the law discriminates on the basis of sex, Ms. Ginsburg has to work harder than she ever has before.

The film is very well written with an immaculate attention to detail, thanks to the writer being Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nephew Daniel Stiepleman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing. It is full of heart and truth because Justice Ginsburg made sure everything was accurately portrayed. She read all of the drafts of the scripts to make sure that her story told well. It is never boring! I laughed out loud when it was funny and got angry seeing RBG rejected and having doors slammed in her face, due to her gender.

The acting is really great. Both Armie Hammer, who portrays Martin Ginsburg and Cailee Spaeny who portray Jane Ginsburg absolutely blew me away. Armie portrays Martin as a man who really loves and respects his wife in such a heartwarming way. Cailee portrays Jane as a funny and empowered feminist. The relationship between Jane and Ruth is displayed with such honesty and realism. My only complaint about the acting might be that Ruth's accent could have been much stronger.

I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults. This film tells such a special and unique story, one that is incredibly important, with equal amounts of heart, humor, turmoil and honesty. This triumphant story really gets you thinking. It opens nationwide in theaters January hits theatres worldwide on January 11, 2019, so do yourself a favor and go watch it.

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEVER-ENDING MAN: HAYAO MIYAZAKI

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NEVER-ENDING MAN: HAYAO MIYAZAKI - GKIDS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 TO 18
Description - A look at famous Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki following his retirement in 2013.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is a poignant, revealing portrait of the Oscar�-winning Japanese director, Hayao Miyazaki. Directed by Kaku Arakawa and produced by NHK, this documentary shows Miyazaki's fans what the legendary director is planning for the future, since his decision to retire in 2013. The film uses chapters to title each section of the film, which makes it seem more personal, as if each piece is a part of Miyazaki's thought process. The editing and camera angles are spot on and very cleanly done.

As the film opens, Miyazaki believes that he is too old to continue with hand-drawn, animated, feature films, because they are too emotionally and physically taxing on his aging body. He decides to start focusing the rest of his energy on a less physically intense short film, Boro the Caterpillar. In order for this project to be practical for Miyazaki, he and the remains of his trusted team decide to call upon a more technological, younger CGI team. Miyazaki doesn't trust the younger team at the start because he says they don't capture the essence of emotion and passion in their CGI work. However, he ultimately gets a kick out of learning CGI animation from the younger team and begins to feel more open towards them, because he feeds off the energy of their youth.

During the project, Miyazaki becomes mildly depressed because two of his old animation colleagues pass away and he questions why he didn't go first. Miyazaki says that he would rather die being productive, making his next film than being an ordinary, lazy old man. In fact, the documentary shows how he changes his mind about doing another feature length film. Even though he may die during the making of the next film, he states that he wants "to die with something to live for."

This documentary was somewhat sad for me, because Miyazaki is, by far my favorite director. To see him speak of himself as old and feeble was really hard to watch. I've seen all of his films multiple times and it's really distressing to think that it will all be over after his next film. However, he still appears to be robust and the films ends on a positive note. He states that "self-satisfied people are boring and we have to push hard to surpass ourselves." It's difficult to imagine how Miyazaki can surpass what he's already accomplished.

I recommend Never Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki for ages 13 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars, because it digs deep into the emotional and complicated life cycle of a world-shaping animation director. This film is distributed by Gkids and playing in select screenings through Fathom Events. Do check it out.

Reviewed by Clayton P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 19
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
AQUAMAN

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AQUAMAN - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Arthur Curry learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Origin stories are always fun. Learning the back-story of a character is a wild ride, especially when discussing Aquaman. The unlikely and forbidden union of a human man and a queen from the depths of the seas resulted in a boy with surreal aquatic skills and knowledge. As the narrator of the film, Aquaman/ Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) tells the tale of his birth and youth in a lovely way - until his Mother Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) is violently swept away by the troops of King Orm (Patrick Wilson), a power-hungry ruthless ruler. Now confused, Arthur is visited by a teacher named Vulko (Willem Dafoe) who teaches him the ways of his people.

As Arthur grows up, he learns he is the heir to Atlantis, an underwater kingdom. The story is told through a series of flashbacks, which teach the audience more about his origin story and how his disinterest in attaining a throne comes to be. Throughout the film, Arthur denies his birthright and refuses to fight for his rightful place as heir to a throne held by his half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson). His betrothed, Princess Mera (Amber Heard) reconsiders her place in the kingdom as the battle for Atlantis ensues.

Throughout his life, Vulko has trained Arthur to educate him about the sea, and the reigning factions. As he is a cross-species being, he must learn how to get along above and below the sea. Arthur lives a history lesson as he learns about the sea Kings and evolution of the Master of the Sea.

I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults. As widely reported, there is a lot of CGI, and violent CGI. The War Of The Seas is scary at times. Conversely, the stunts and special effects are detailed and outstanding. The visuals are beautiful. The costumes are alive with color. Moms will see themselves in the reality of Motherhood self-sacrifice in Queen Atlanna. Hats off to Jason Momoa (swoon. His over-the-top portrayal of Arthur works. He is equally funny and dedicated to the role. Suspend belief and enjoy a wet ride through lands never seen before. This film opens in theaters nationwide December 21, 2018.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like this film because the message is so powerful. It's about training to be the best you can be. Then, when you are ready, your task is to beat anything that's in your way, with a humble heart because good always wins. Another reason why I like it is because of the action between Arthur and King Orm. These two teach that, no matter what the situation is, violence is never the answer. I also really like the background music because the suspense really moved me and made me want to jump out of my seat with excitement and joy.

This amazing action/adventure film is about the city of Atlantis, which is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry king Orm. With his army by his side, King Orm plans to take over the remaining oceanic people to become the King of all oceans better known as the Oceanic Master, then to rule the surface world. Standing in Orm's way is his half-Human, half-Atlantean brother, Aquaman, known as half-breed. With help from Vulko, who is the royal counselor of the throne, Aquaman must retrieve the powerful trident of Atlan to proclaim the title as the protector of the deep blue sea.

The cast includes Arthur/Aquaman (Jason Momoa, Game Of Thrones), Atlanna (Nicole Kidman, Dead Calm), King Atlan (Graham McTavish, Outlander), Mera (Amber Heard, Never Back Down), King Orm (Patrick Wilson, Insidious), Vulko (Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man), Manta (Yahya Abdul-Manteen II, The Greatest Showman).

My favorite part of this film is when Arthur finds out that he has the power to talk to the creatures in the water, in other words echolocation. Following that, Arthur doesn't know how to control the power that he has, which is why King Atlan puts Arthur in the hands of the royal counselor, Vulko, to learn to control his powers. From the training that Artur does with Vulko, Arthur shall use it in the future.

Aside from that, King Orm plans to take things into his own hands and decides to conquer the seven seas to become King Of The Deep Blue Sea, also known as the Oceanic Master. After that, King Orm plans to take apart the surface world to become his treasure for good.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. Truly the whole family will love this film as it has so many funny and good reaction moments. This film also requires very good anthropomorphic qualities in various scenes. Don't miss this amazing action/adventure film directed by James Wan, which is playing in theaters now, to find out what happens at the end.

Reviewed by Siaki S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MORTAL ENGINES

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MORTAL ENGINES
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MORTAL ENGINES - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop a giant, predator city on wheels devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mortal Engines is a visually incredible movie. Unfortunately, the story is quite hard to follow, and a lot seems to have been cut.

The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future where civilization has been wiped out. What's left of the human race has rebuilt cities as war vehicles designed to destroy and loot other cities. A girl named Hester Shaw tries to revenge her mother and stop London from destroying the shield wall, a wall that protects the peaceful, non-moving cities.

I dislike how fast it moves. There are lots of action scenes and some of them get a bit too fast. On the other hand, these action scenes are well planned out and have lots of moving parts. In almost all of them, the characters are fighting while the city falls apart.

The CGI in this movie is really impressive. The steampunk cities that fill the movie are thought out thoroughly. Shrike, a humanoid robot, is well designed. He looks very realistic, but with lots of sci-fi details. I specifically like how he can hold onto the ground by folding his feet down. This is a unique ability that isn't over or under used. I enjoy Stephen Lang's voice as Shrike. It gives an expected, eerie feeling to his character. The makeup for Hester's scar is great, looking realistic but not too over the top.

The moral of Mortal Engines is that you can accomplish anything if you work as a team. This is shown when Hester refuses to work with her friends until the end, when they must work together to stop London from destroying the shield wall.

The music is often too overpowering. In several scenes, the music actually takes away from what is happening on screen. For example, in the final set it gets so loud that you can't hear what the characters are saying.

My favorite scene is at the beginning, when they show the landscape of this post-apocalyptic future and then, quickly jump into the action with a fun chase scene. This scene is very intense and shows what most of the movie is all about.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 15. It opens in theaters Friday, December 14, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Mortal Engines is one of the most creative films I've seen in years. The concept is fresh and imaginative and the storytelling is solid. There are two flaws though. This film tries to create a universe that is deep and rich, but also has many plots going at the same time which makes the film seem jumbled. It seems that they tried to fit too much into one movie.

Mortal Engines' premise is that world's crust is split into hundreds of pieces thanks to a war that lasted 60 minutes. Humans, after the decimation of the earth, made cities and nations built on wheels, because the entire earth became a hunting ground where larger more powerful cities prayed on the less powerful. The film begins with London chasing down one rogue city that tries to escape, but is captured. The city has onboard Hesther Shaw (Hera Hilmar) who has been tracking down London to kill its commander Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), who killed her mother. She attempts to murder him, but gets caught and runs away with another Londoner.

My favorite part is the opening sequence where the smaller city is driving away from London. This is a great way to show off the type of world this is. Also, it shows the pure beauty of the CGI and special effects they use.

This film has some serious star power. Most notably Hugo Weaving who has been in countless movies including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Matrix. He is a Nigerian born Australian-English film and stage actor. Also Leila George who plays Katherine Valentine and is a stage actor who is also known for her work in The Long Home and The Kid, both to be released in 2019.

The message of this film is that you don't have to do whatever it takes to get your way. I recommend this film to anyone who likes Lord Of The Rings and Mad Max. There plenty of stunts that you don't want to try and lots of drinking so, I recommend this for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. This film hits theatres December 14, 2018.

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL

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ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL
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ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - "Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006," Ryan Reynolds told Deadline. "I've said no since 2006. Now, this one time, I said 'Yes' on two conditions. First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining..."Fred Savage will join Reynolds in new scenes for ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL in an homage to Savage's starring role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Fred remarked, "while my participation in this film was anything but voluntary, I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab"
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Deadpool had much attention recently for its fame of being highly mature, but at the same time incredibly entertaining. Once Upon a Deadpool attempts to break that by releasing a PG-13 cut of Deadpool 2 and, while it will make the audience laugh as much as the previous version, it fails to expand the Deadpool audience to younger viewers.

Similar to the original film, the story holds is action-packed with some romance and drama, but always draped with the famous parody feel that creates an entertaining and comedic atmosphere.

Once Upon a Deadpool follows the previous film with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) losing the love of his life, leading to him trying to find ways to stop his grief, eventually ending up with Deadpool trying to save a young mutant boy from becoming a cruel murderer and on the way making a new family. In the PG-13 edition, the entire story is told by Deadpool to Fred Savage as a bedtime story, similar to the style of Princess Bride. While this doesn't truly affect the main plot a lot, the twist leads to much laughter and many comedic moments.

Once Upon a Deadpool delivers the same chaotic, dark and highly mature atmosphere that the previous film did and, despite being marketed as a PG-13 film, it still has the same amount of lewdness and foul language, even if the material merely gets hinted at instead of blatantly shown. While this does technically makes it a less severe rating, the re-cut is far from a family film that everyone can enjoy. Also, at times, the re-cut rearranges scenes and shots very uniquely to avoid showing anything mature. Mostly this works to tell the story, but at times it feels forced, as if the editor had to construct a film from sticks instead of clips, with awkward cuts and sequences.

Aside from this, the film achieves high praise overall. The new cast and old cast hold a great quality in their performances, despite being in many ways a parody film. Of course, being a superhero action, good VFX holds a huge role in the end product. While the CGI throughout has less quality than what you'd see in an Avengers' film, it still mostly looks realistic and could convince anybody that what they see on screen is real.

Some of the funniest scenes come from the method that the film tells its story by having Deadpool read it to Fred Savage as a bedtime story. Most of the scenes breaks the fourth wall and are filled with self-mocking and sarcasm, which makes each time that the two are shown on camera together enjoyable. Savage and Reynolds' on-screen chemistry works perfectly and the conversations and scenes flow smoothly, adding to the enjoyment as the comedy feels natural and real.

Despite being rated PG-13, Once Upon a Deadpool fails to actually expand to the target audience. I recommend this for ages 15 to 18, as well as adults. Parents should be warned that, while the film meets the national standard for a PG-13 rating, many adult-oriented elements are still referenced heavily, making it very mature in many ways. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for excellent acting and comedy, but lacking in an interesting and unpredictable story and having a strange flow at times due to the numerous edits necessary to achieve the lower rating. This film opens in theaters December 12, 2018 so, check it out.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

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SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Miles Morales comes across the long-dead Peter Parker. This Peter Parker is not from his world though; he's from somewhere else in the multiverse. With Parker's guidance, Miles will become Spider-Man: and through that he will become part of the ever-expanding 'Spider-Verse'.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What would you do if you could be a superhero? What if you have no choice? From the very beginning, Spider-Man: Into the Spicer-Verse is very energetic and captures your attention. This animated film has impressive visuals. The music creates a fantastic rhythm. And you just want to watch more.

The story follows a high school student named Miles Morales, who just changed school. He goes into an abandoned subway station with his uncle Erin and gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Ever since that day, Miles starts sticking to everything he touches. Then, he meets Spider-Man (Peter Parker), teams up with some friends from the same dimension and they attempt to save the world from the villain Kingoin.

The story is very original and makes the impossible possible. It takes all the abilities of Spider-Man to far and beyond with its action scenes. The film also shows a very real family atmosphere and the humor is smart. I love the non-traditional characters and how they embrace diversity. And yes! Spider-Man is Latino and surely does speak Spanish! There are also some fun new characters.

With this film, Marvel has created a film that celebrates comics, film and visual arts. Of course, it celebrates Spider-Man and makes this super hero relevant and contemporary. It is absolutely eye-poppingly beautiful and really pushes the boundaries of the genre with its colors, textures and camera movements. There are several different forms of animation in one film. You feel as if you are actually reading a comic book or the comic book is coming to life.

Naturally, the film does a very touching tribute to genius Stan Lee. I feel the filmmakers took some risks bringing new ideas to this iconic character which as been adored for over 50 years. The result is a must-see family movie that is even more appealing to new generations. I also love how this film is animated. It's so different. I've never seen a film like this one. I think it's very unique. Be sure to stay after the credits to see something very special, including another set of credits at the very end.

This film sets a new era in animated movies. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and include it in my Oscar predictions as a very possible winner. This is the film parents will love their kids to watch and kids will enjoy in many different ways.

With great power comes great responsibility and we all can be heroes. This is the idea behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - inclusion for all in the vast universe and the idea that we can all be heroes by making the right choices and doing our best helping each other in our everyday life. This film opens nationwide December 14, 2018 at a theater near you. Be sure to check it out.

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

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a masterpiece of the superhero and animated genre. Groundbreaking animation and voice talent propel this above any other Spidey movies. Any fan of Marvel or even animation must check out this one-of-a-kind experience.

The story follows Brooklyn teen Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) or the "new Spider-Man," after he is bitten by a radioactive spider. When Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, dies, Morales realizes he is the only one left to save the city from the grips of Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). Kingpin threatens to risk all space-time continuums, which even brings new Spider-men from other dimensions and timelines. One such is another Peter Parker (Jake Johnston) who serves as Miles' mentor. These Spider-men remain the only ones powerful enough to defeat Fisk and his maniacal experiments.

Shameik Moore, as Miles Morales, is easily the movie's best character and empowers in what is the first depiction of his character in a movie. His coming-of-age brings upmost relatability and his perseverance only makes his origin story as compelling, if not more so as Peter's. Jake Johnston, as Peter Parker, portrays the classic original well, but with neat nuances. His character is one that has suffered many setbacks and devolved to laziness, with his arc being a fun, unexpected diversion. Bryan Tyree Henry, as Jefferson Davis, charges his father-son relationship with much heart as he struggles to bond. His brother Aaron, played by Mahershala Ali, provides another compelling performance, as he remains a key inspiration for why Miles is who he is. The Spider-verse, is complimented by the mysterious Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), anime-inspired Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn), Nicolas Cage who shines as the Spider-Man Noir and last, but not least, the wise-cracking anthropomorphic Spider-Ham (John Mullaney). Liev Schreiber brings a deep booming voice in the Kingpin that only adds to his menacing large physique.

Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman are experts in their class with many beautiful and visceral shots commanding the plot. The animation is something to be commended with its own identity taking homage from many comic books. My favorite scene comes from the central scene where Miles becomes one with his powers, as every shot has meaning and flair. It is truly inspiring and mind-blowing from a plot-driven and animated perspective. I could nitpick on the lack of a compelling villain at points or even some very infrequent awkward song placements, but in the end, everything comes into fruition and those are a long gone afterthought.

The message of the movie is about taking leaps of faith as Morales's whole story revolves around just that in his quest to live up to the worthy Spider-Man mantle. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 because of some intense scenes and themes. The movie releases in theaters on December 14, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse surprised me in its ability to create an original piece despite the several renditions of Spider-Man that exist! Spider-Man has been adopted by several films and TV shows in the past decades, yet Into the Spider-Verse is the most creative take on Spider-Man. The animation sets a milestone in the history of animation, for it is the first of its kind. Such aspects bring fresh artistry in animation that is rare in the film industry.

The story follows Miles Morales, a young boy who faces pressure at high school and at home to be the best. However, when a portal to the multi-verse is opened, Miles is tasked with the responsibility of saving his hometown of Brooklyn. Along the way, several Spider-Men and Women meet who align with Miles and they become a close and loving family.

The animation is contemporary and avant-garde, featuring pop art and street art. It is a tribute to the art of comic books, bringing them to life. It has several aspects of a comic book including onomatopoeia like "Pow!" and "Boom!" that are surrounded by colorful borders in several of the action scenes. Another example of the comic book charm occurs when an exciting fight move is taken by one of the Spider characters. At this time the screen splits into three, displaying the happenings in that instant, and adding to the thrill of the moment and overall fight. These small nuances accumulate, making me feel as if I had walked into a comic book.

My favorite part is the way that there are small tributes to the original Spider-Man comic books with different takes on villains such as Dr. Octopus and the Green Goblin. They even made small references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that added to the ingenuity and display the directors' attention to detail. The only thing that the film can improve on is the plot, because some of the characters are underdeveloped. Otherwise, the climax and storylines are unpredictable and engaging.

The message of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is that all it takes to be what you want and do what you want is to take a leap of faith. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. Be sure to check out Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in theatres nationwide December 14, 2018.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MARY POPPINS RETURNS

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MARY POPPINS RETURNS
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MARY POPPINS RETURNS - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael's three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This charming musical is not a remake of the original Mary Poppins, like some expected. Rather it is a sequel to the wonderful original, with the children grown and parents themselves. Lin-Manuel Miranda plays the lamp-lighter with his usual panache and flair. I swear, I could watch him on screen forever. He is ever so charming and sprightful. Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins is equally engaging, bringing her own magical fantastic way of problem-solving to the family as it faces economic ruin. Rob Marshall has a way of creating such delightful family friendly films and this one will become a must see for those who love musicals. The singing and dancing are superb. The choreography makes use of lampposts, ladders, bicycles and everything else in the set as the ensemble cast adeptly dances their way across the screen. Really, all the cast is superb and I would be remiss without shouting our Dick Van Dyke's cameo appearance at the end. Seeing this 90 year old icon dance on top of a desk just proves that you're never too old to be young! I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 through 18, as well as adults. My older sister watched this with me and I had to drag her out of the theater afterwards. She loved it! So did my much younger grandson. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Mary Poppins Returns is a charming musical filled to the brim with imagination and whimsy. It is quite entertaining and Emily Blunt is very good as the magical, manners-focused nanny.

The storyline follows the title character as she returns to the Banks' family home, decades later. Siblings Michael and Jane Banks are grown up. Michael, with kids of his own and mourning the loss of his wife, is about to lose the home that they have lived in since they were children. Poppins descends from the London sky, ready to help the Banks' family with their plight and teach Michael's kids to use their imaginations and improve their manners. The bank has given Michael a few days to pay off his house, setting off a countdown for Poppins, the Banks and a lamplighter named Jack to save the home.

The story is interesting. Michael Banks has hit rock bottom. His wife has tragically passed away and he's about to lose the home he has lived in since childhood. The only thing that brings him joy is the comfort and company of his family. It's a sad place to start, but it's a great scenario for Mary Poppins to come to work her magic. The idea of losing your home is pretty realistic and the contrast with such a fantastical protagonist and situation, provides an aspect that I quite enjoyed.

Emily Blunt is very good as Mary Poppins. She puts her own twist on the character, yet you can still trace it back to the earlier onscreen depiction of Poppins. Blunt gives the character a sharper, comedic edge. Her Poppins is much more witty and sarcastic, but still gives a sense of compassion and care for those around her. Blunt really dives into the role and cements her portrayal in a charismatic way. She steals the show in nearly every scene.

I recommend Mary Poppins Returns for ages 5 to 18, due to some dark themes. Adults and fans of the original Mary Poppins will enjoy this film. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The film has lots of charm and it's great to see Poppins sail back onto the screen once again.

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

The movie, Mary Poppins Returns is a beautiful classic movie. I totally enjoyed it and can't wait to watch it again. However, it is different from what I thought it would be. I thought I was going to see a remake of the original Mary Poppins, you know, the one made famous by the incredible Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. However, Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel.

The story takes place 25 years into the future of the Banks' family and the brother and sister are all grown up now. Mr. Banks has recently lost his wife and is devastated. The family is losing their home because they are behind on payments. Fortunately, for the Banks' family, Mary Poppins (played by the multi-talented Emily Blunt) returns to help the family.

What I really love about this film is that it has a great story, acting, singing, dancing and music. I particularly loved the live action mixed with vibrant colorful animation. There are also golden nuggets of lessons to be learned in life, which I'll share shortly.

One of my favorite parts in the movie is when Mary Poppins makes her grand entrance gliding down from high in the sky with her umbrella. Another awesome scene is when Jack (played the brilliantly talented Lin-Manuel Miranda) uses a ladder to climb the multi-high clock tower. Another really cool scene is when all the characters go down a tub drain and enter a whole new world where they swim and sing.

I love the singing voices of Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. It is great to see a cameo appearance by the amazing Dick Van Dyke (as Mr. Dawes Jr.) who runs the bank. He literally lit up the film when he appears and dances on a desk. Angela Lansbury's cameo as the Balloon Lady was also just perfect. She has one of those voices when you hear one word you know it's her.

The messages of Mary Poppins Returns are important for all of us to remember - never lose hope, try to look at the brighter side of things and don't forget what it is to be or have the heart of a child. I recommend this for ages 5 to 18 and also for adults. This film comes to theatres December 19, 2018 and I think you will love it, too. I joyfully give Mary Poppins Returns 5 out of 5 stars!

Reviewed by Abigail Zoe L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CECIL
CECIL - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Cecil Stevens' name reveals his lisp so he changes it to "Michael Jordan." His whole school learns a lesson about acceptance after he and his friends start a business with the corrupt principal that sells celebrity names to kids.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This has made my top five favorite kids' movies. This film is completely engaging and entertaining. There are common factors that challenge these school aged kids and force them to accept themselves in order to be accepted by their peers. There are, of course, such relatable issues that we all have experienced at least some point in our lives. Abby is a master at expressing her passions through the school newspaper. She may not offer the best advice to Cecil, the protagonist struggling with speech issues due to his lisp, but she does genuinely care for him and other classmates. There is also lots of comedy in the movie which is great for kids and adults to enjoy. There are excellent development skills offered such as strategic planning, friendship, self esteem and social acceptance. All the characters are diverse. The quality of the film is excellent and it flows nicely, even when live action is merged with awesome animation. It offers excellent visual appeal, great pace and very good sound quality. The genre is comedy which is appropriate. I like how it shows a cool way for a kid to dream through animation. There is also a super cool teacher that discusses educational topics in a friendly setting. I recommend this for ages 8 to 12 and rate it 5 out of 5 stars as it resolves all issues, kept me engaged as a viewer and, best of all, kept me laughing. Do watch this film. It has a bonus clip that leaves a positive impact with you.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is interesting and sometimes, quite unpredictable. The storyline follows the typical middle school route of becoming popular and having all the girls like you, but in a totally different way. The way they incorporate the moral of acceptance is interesting as well.

Cecil and his mother move in with his grandma because Cecil's mom needs to get away from his father. Cecil moves to a different school too. His grandma has a friend named Abby who goes to his new school and they become very close. One day Cecil tries to tell a group of boys that his name is Cecil, but he has a lisp and they make fun of him. Abby instructs him to never say his name again, so Cecil decides to change his name. Abby and Cecil think it is a great idea and start to sell names. Then, something weird happens to the principal, causing him to desperately want to take all the money he can and he forces Abby and Cecil to give him most of their profits.

The actors in this film are very good. They portray emotions well and smoothly deliver their lines. Having actors that are very professional makes the film enjoyable and realistic. The cast fit perfectly with the personalities of their characters. I love the originality of the characters and the moral of the film. Acceptance isn't something often taught in films.

There are clips in the film showing long segments of an educational cartoon that the teacher plays for the class. The animation in these segments is unique. It has an artistic style that I have never seen before with drawings of the film's characters. They are pretty realistic.

My favorite scene is when Cecil changes his name and makes the basketball team. I like this scene because it is the first scene where Cecil feels confident about himself. It made me happy to see him light up with delight. The actor playing him (this is not on imdb) portrays him with a show of confidence.

The moral of this story is about acceptance. From the beginning, Cecil is made fun of because of his name and the fact that he can't say it properly. Cecil is embarrassed and decides to change his name. It gives him some temporary happiness, but it backfires and brings him back to square one. Once he accepts himself, his name and agrees to go to speech therapy lessons, he becomes confident about himself. It also is easier for him to stop hiding behind a fake identity.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 11 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Kids in middle school can relate to the film and might learn something from the moral. It is available now so watch for it.

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 7.99 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GETTING GRACE
GETTING GRACE - DANIEL ROEBUCK
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Grace, (newcomer Madelyn Dundon) is a teenage girl dying of cancer, who crashes a funeral home to find out what will happen to her after she dies. Instead, Grace ends up teaching the awkward funeral director, Bill (Daniel Roebuck), how to celebrate life in this critically acclaimed movie for the entire family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is a very emotional ride. I laughed a lot and I teared up. It is so well done, from the writing to the acting. Even though Getting Grace deals with something very sad, it tries to have a positive outlook, which makes it stand out.

The story follows a teenage girl named Grace, who has cancer. She crashes a funeral home to ask the funeral director what happens when someone dies. Most of the film follows her living her life as the clock counts down to her death and shows the way she affects the people around her, especially the funeral director, Bill.

The acting in this movie is fantastic. Some stand out actors are Madelyn Dundon as Grace, Daniel Roebuck as Bill, Marsha Dietlein as Venus and Alexa Mcfillin as Audrey. However, everyone else in the cast also come through, even very small characters. Kudos to the casting directors, Rod Gilkeson and Elaine Nunez. Speaking of the emotional scenes, these are genuinely amazing. Towards the end of the movie, there are some really great performances from Madelyn Dundon, Daniel Roebuck and Marsha Dietlein. But, I don't want to go into much detail because I don't want to spoil it.

Along with the acting, the movie is also carried by the direction. There are lots of really cool scenes in both the beginning and end of the movie. In the beginning, there's a scene where Grace rips off her wig to reveal she's gotten to the point where she's lost her hair. That's one of the many stand out scenes in the film. The foreshadowing! There's some really great foreshadowing in one particular scene, which I won't spoil, but it ends up being really important and really heartbreaking in the end.

I enjoyed the characters in this movie a lot. Grace is very funny and entertaining, but is a very tragic character as well. The way she slowly starts to understand the seriousness of her condition as the story progresses really hurts. There's also a lot of nice character development, particularly with Bill. He first comes off as cold-hearted and a bit emotionless, but he soon develops into a pretty sad, yet complex character. My one issue with the film is that certain scene transitions from a serious scene to a more normal scene kind of kill the tone the previous scene was going for. So there are some editing issues.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. This film is already out so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 14.99 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GREEN BOOK

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GREEN BOOK
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GREEN BOOK - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Dr. Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist who's about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Sometimes being alone means not being accepted. A fact that some have attempted to convey in the art of cinema, but only a few reach the precision and emotional strength of Green Book which shows not only the complex and dark social issues of the 1960s but also demonstrates the power and emotion of feeling truly alone.

This movie contains a massively wide range of emotions. At times, the story is driven by love, romance and family. At other times, the characters live in racism, homophobia and segregation as it directly addresses and shows the darkness of the 60s in the United States. Yet still, the viewer will be surprised by the amount of humor and wonderfully vibrant moments that are portrayed. They will make you laugh in all the right places, without interrupting truly emotional moments.

Taking place in the 1960s, Green Book follows the highly famous and incredibly successful pianist, Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), who takes great risks as an African American man touring through the highly racial deep south. Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) accompanies Shirley going from his driver to savior to eventually, his close friend. As the tour progresses, the audience goes through many parts of the south where not only racism was prevalent against African Americans and Italians, but also acknowledge the severe homophobia that existed so terribly in the 1960s.

Perhaps one of the most lovable aspects of this movie can be attributed to the story itself. Every person in the film has a major character arc in which they become completely reshaped and remolded by the end. The entire cast performs with Oscar-worthy emotional portrayals of their characters. Mahershala once again delivers absolutely heart-wrenching scenes as the audience becomes acquainted with the lonesome and depressed life Don Shirley lives in, despite being unarguably talented and highly intelligent. The complexities in the set design, costume design, and overall tone of the entire world never run out of depth as the entire film feels as if it truly belongs in the 1960s, despite being shot nearly half a century later. Director Peter Farrelly may be seasoned in humoristic comedies, but makes sure his background stays separate for this film. With his lead, the audience experiences bitter reality and, with the help of cinematographer Sean Porter, view a vivid and colorful picture of United States in the 1960s, from up north in New York all the way to down south in Alabama.

Cinema about musicians would be blasphemy without an impressive soundtrack to follow suit. From music considered modern and pop for that era, to classical pieces hundreds of years old, Green Book promises a highly wide and diverse soundtrack that highlights itself as one of the greatest this year. Furthermore, the music tells the story as it begins with 1960s music, but slowly goes more and more towards classical and orchestral as the story unfolds and the viewer learns more about the conflicts of pianist Don Shirley. Furthermore, despite being over two hours long, the film keeps you captivated for the entire runtime and leaves you satisfied with a natural and beautiful ending.

Instead of a favorite scene, I would like to talk about several sequences present in the film. Since they're on tour, of course, Shirley and his fellow musicians in his trio are shown playing music. Yet, this varies in emotion, strength and passion as real-life events impact Don Shirley's craft just as the events impact his actual character. The power of his work never dwindles and always leaves you in awe. During the performance scenes, every aspect of the film shines with absolutely masterful cinematographic compositions that seem to isolate the musicians and truly captures the raw emotions such powerful music creates.

Despite the beauty and power that hold true throughout this film, it does have things to concern parents. As previously stated, the film embraces the bitter and blunt reality of the 1960s, from homophobia to racism. This makes it most appropriate for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults. I absolutely give the film 5 out of 5 stars for its powerful portrayal of an inspirational journey that promotes courage, activism and always doing what's right in the world. It opens in theaters November 21, 2018 so, check it out.

Reviewed by Gerry Orz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET

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RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope's video game, "Sugar Rush." In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet -- the netizens -- to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ralph Breaks the Internet is a colorful, fun-filled adventure that builds on characters and friendships. Going into this movie I thought it was going to be a predictable and boring washed-up sequel. That is not the case. The film builds upon the friendship that Ralph and Venellope have with each other. The climax of the movie is a heartwarming test of their friendship which brings light that friends don't always need to agree on everything.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is about Mr. Litwack installing the Internet to his arcade and his "Sugar Rush" game breaking, which leads to their adventure through the internet. Mr. Litwack orders the parts on eBay, but it costs $200 which is more than the game makes a year. Ralph and Venellope overhear him talking and decide to go on a quest to find the part and save Venellope's game. They travel to the router and get transported to the magical world of the Internet. They awe at the vibrant colors and variety of the internet and go directly go to the search bar where they ask to go to eBay. When they realize they have to bid for the wheel, they bid the highest number they can think of, not realizing they have to pay. This causes them to go on an epic adventure to get $27,001 in under 24 hours or else the item would be re-bid. They find a pop-up ad that shows them how to make money playing video games. They decide to get a car owned by Shank. They race Shank until they get beat by her. She gives them a tip and tells Venellope she races well.

My favorite scene is when they go to the Disney section of the Internet and we see a whole lot of cameos from favorite characters such as Eeyore and Stan Lee. I especially love when Venellope is being chased by Stormtroopers and goes into the princess lounge where she teaches them about modern comforts. I found that hilarious.

This film has huge star power. Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly, the man behind Step Brothers and The Sisters Brothers. Also, Sarah Silverman plays Venelope who started in SNL and has appeared in The battle of the Sexes.

The message of this movie is that, even if you are best friends with someone that doesn't mean you can't disagree. This movie has nothing be inappropriate for kids. I recommend it for ages 7 to 18 and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is in theaters now so look for it.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Ralph Breaks the Internet is an astonishing new film that's full humor and excitement. It is about Ralph aka Wreck it Ralph who goes on a trip with his best friend Vanellope into the internet to buy a steering wheel for Vanellope's game so it doesn't get shut down. The internet is a whole new thing for Ralph and his friends and they walk into some trouble while trying to get the wheel. A few of the inconveniences they run into are not knowing where to go and also not having money. Before Ralph and Vanellope find out they need money, they place a bid of $27,000 on the steering wheel. When they get to checkout and they don't have money, the cashier says they have 24 hours before their bid expires. That's when they embark on their journey through the internet.

All the same characters from the original movie Wreck it Ralph are in this film and there are even some new ones introduced. Nathan Warner, the cinematography director excels at giving the movie a realistic cartoonish look. It really fits in with the whole video game plot and scenery. The theme is that friendships come in all shapes and sizes and that friends are forever.

If you plan on bringing kids under 11 or 12, I strongly recommend that you watch the trailer with them and ask if they would want to see the full movie because there are a lot of puns about Twitter and a lot of jokes that I don't think younger kids will get. I'm not saying that you shouldn't bring younger kids, because they will still understand the majority of what's happening and enjoy the film, but the director geared this film for older audiences such as 12 and above. I recommend this for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. It seemed that the adults were laughing more than the kids during the movie. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because it is a hilarious movie that kept me interested for all two hours.

Make sure you stay for both scenes after the credits. You can find this movie in USA theaters November 21, 2018 and worldwide in the days and weeks after. Put it on your calendar!

Reviewed by Na'im S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, THE

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NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, THE - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Do you remember The Nutcracker ballet? What about Cinderella? As I screened this film, both childhood memories came to mind. Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms has brought the magic of Disney back to the big screen. From the beginning of the film, your senses will be ALIVE! Every set looks edible with color and life. Truly, this live-action Disney film is a breath of fresh air.

While you may know the story of The Nutcracker, your senses will be awakened by the colors, costumes, and scenery in this film. As with most Disney films, there is a theme of loss, yet it is also so alive!

Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is an amazing young protagonist. I found myself drawn to her curious nature and determination to live up to her mother's curious nature. As a young girl, she plays a curious and adventurous spirit, who is also very mechanically inclined. She amazed me by her desire to succeed, and her courage. She walks into dark spaces knowing she is enough, and encounters creatures who challenge her along a path of discovery. She encounters toy soldiers and magical mice - some of whom are not kind! Clara's quick mind and wonderful, kind skills help her get through a lot of sticky situations!

Without giving too much away, the gist of the story is about a gift, presented by her Father, but left to her by her mother at Christmas. Her second gift is from her godfather Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman) at his annual holiday party, which leads her to a coveted key - which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. From one world to the next, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets, Clara and a soldier she meets named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara's key.

The Sugar Plum Fairy Sugar (Keira Knightley), we learn, is not to be trusted and at times, gets annoying with her over the top antics. But in the end, this film has all the feels (and reminds me of so many things) of a Victorian English Christmas, the beloved Russian ballet, lively forest creatures from Disney and the bond of family. Misty Copeland makes a magnificent addition to the film, showcasing her balletic perfection.

Hats off to the costumers and make-up artists! I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults. You should know this film deals with the death of a parent. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it! You'll be glad you did.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is a wondrous, visual experience that is somewhat light on substance. Apt acting and sensational ballet dancing excel and make this something more memorable than the premise might suggest. Any Disney fans will want to check this out. The story follows young Clara (Mackenzie Foy) as she recovers from her mother's death. However, a spark of hope lightens Clara after seeing her late mother's parting gift of a box with a hidden key. This key belongs to a parallel world, unlike anything, to which Clara must travel to obtain the key. With the help of budding soldier Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), Clara learns of all obstacles that await, especially in the form of the menacing Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), leader of the Fourth Realm. Most importantly is a looming war that could preside over the three Realms that are at peace - Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets and are threatened by the Fourth Realm. In the three Realms resides Sugar Plum (Kiera Knightley) who is on same page as Clara and braves her up for the Fourth Realm as the fate of the Realms and her mother's dying wish relies on it.

Mackenzie Foy, as Clara, well presents her character's central struggle to find her inner place amidst all the tragedy, while also being hopeful and cheerful. The end result of this character development is a joy to watch and most definitely the movie's best subplot, amongst all the other slumberous ones. Kiera Knightley, as Sugar Plum Fairy, regales with well-written comedic relief, but the timing of her intervention seems quite random and very over-the-top at times. Regardless, children, most of all, will find enjoyment with all the youthful energy. Jayden Fowora-Knight, as Philip, is my favorite character, despite this being only the second film he has appeared in. His charm and braveness add a relentless vigor to the character that never gets old. Helen Mirren, as Mother Ginger, likewise shines, despite her character suffering from a lack of screen time and character development. With what she is given, she shines with the menacing undertones that could mean good under the entire demeanor. Also, Misty Copeland's cameo is full of entertainment with her ballet proficiency bringing a certain something to the stage without feeling like a forced addition. Instead, it feels more like a celebration of the Nutcracker's roots and remains my favorite scene.

Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston expertly direct the visual flair with clear attention to every nook and cranny of the special effects and sound design. Despite this, the movie has flaws coming from the lack of a compelling story line, aside from Clara's inner struggles. Everything feels introduced way too quickly and without clear meaning. This leaves the movie feeling rather inconsequential and just an excuse to put the Nutcracker on the live screen. Still, the movie delivers an amazing awe to each scene's production.

The message of the movie is to never lose yourself in sorrow and always connect with your family and friends during times of grief. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. The movie releases in theaters on November 2, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

This live action film is absolutely stunning! The sets are rich and make you enter a fascinating world of four different, colorful realms. It is so beautiful, I did not want to leave the movie theater. I want to see it again. The film is inspired by the original story from German author E.T.A Hoffman, written in 1816 and the ballet by Tchaikovsky (1892).

The story is simple, but powerful in concept. This is the journey of Clara (Mackenzie Foy) who is dealing with the loss of her mother, trying to reconnect with the world and with her family, especially her father. On Christmas Eve, she receives a special gilt from her mother - a mysterious box. But, she is missing the key. With the help of Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman), her godfather, she enters a world of mysteries with characters that will help her find the key. When she first enters, a cute mouse has the key, but is impossible to catch. She meets a Nutcracker soldier, Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight) who tells her about the realm of Flowers, the realm of Sweets and the realm of Snowflakes, but warns her about the dangerous fourth realm and Mother Ginger. But, Clara is determined to find the key and will do what it takes to find it.

This film has the power of captivating you. There are moments I was really afraid and others I was delighted and amused, depending on the characters in the scene. It has the power to be frightening, like in the fourth realm, with all kinds of circus characters. All the performances are amazing. Mackenzie Foy conveys innocence and courage at the same time and is just perfect for this role. She has an ethereal look and is a brave actress who did as many of her own stunts as can could. I love that she is a princess and a hero at the same time. Morgan Freeman adds gravitas to his role and a sense of wisdom. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez is so flamboyant and adds a nice touch to the cast. Keira Knightly is the perfect fairy. She has a special tone in her voice. Helen Mirren is also absolutely believable as Mother Ginger. There's a mystery about her character and, despite her bad reputation, you want to know more about her. Actually, the only thing that bothered me in this film is that we don't know her back story and why she is a villain when we first meet her.

I love the ballet and the fact that the filmmakers decided to incorporate dance into the story. Misty Copeland's dancing is flawless. She is the first African American woman promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater. Although the story is simple, all the visual and camera work put you in a fascinating world you are exited to be part of. The costumes are beautiful and the art direction and production design deserve an Oscar nomination.

The message of this movie is about embracing your own courage and discovering yourself. I think this is very important for kids to learn and understand the answer to so many questions. So many times we underestimate the power we have to make the world a better place. I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 4 to 16. Unlock the mystery!

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD

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FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In an effort to thwart Grindelwald's plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love all of the stories and plots from J.K. Rowling. She never fails to amaze me with all the different plot twists that she comes up with. Besides having a wonderful follow up story that leaves the audience wanting more, the CGI is very detailed, yet still realistic. The sound immerses viewers even more into the story.

The story starts off with a very intense scene that starts the conflict and trouble. No spoilers though. After the introduction, it picks up three months after Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them left off. We are introduced to Newt's brother who works for the ministry and his fianc� who had a childhood crush on Newt. We also discover that Jacob gets his memory back!

Eddie Redmayne comes back to play Newt. He embraces Newts' quirky and kind side perfectly. Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol (Jacob and Queenie) come back even closer as a couple. They fight just like a real couple too. Ezra Miller (Credence) is back, but as an older, mature and independent adult. His ability to portray his rage while staying calm is impressive and also intimidating.

The CGI is quite realistic, but at the same time out of this world. All the different creatures are so unique. I love how immersive the entire experience is. The animation combined with the acting, sets and music allows everyone to enter a different world.

My favorite scene is when Credence transforms into his black, floaty form because he is angered. In this form, he tries to attack one of the wizards who killed the person he was trying to get information from. He uses all his might and strength to attack. He even damages the entire building they are in with his force. Even though Credence is very powerful, he is still unable to pierce the wizard's shield. This scene is very intriguing to me because everything is so detailed. From Credence's liquid, black form to the crushing of the building, everything is very realistic.

There are many different underlying messages in this film. One of them is about family. Newt and Theseus (Newt's brother) haven't always been on the best of terms. For a while they worked against each other because of their conflicting views. But inevitably, they ended up on the same side, because they both have good intentions. And even though they might have done some unforgivable things to each other, they still forgive each other.

I love that this film allows you to enter a new world. It is fantastic! I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18. Even adults will enjoy this intriguing film. This film is out now in theaters so go see it!

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

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a serviceable entry in the Harry Potter universe despite its many shortcomings. Fantastic performances and visuals complete some truly great and pivotal plot developments. Any Harry Potter fan might want to check this out, but go with lowered expectations.

The story follows the breakout of influential dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) as he seeks to enlist his army of pure bloods. He starts by manipulating the transformation of Credence (Ezra Miller). All sides are divided by this as many find that killing both will fix the issue and many believe that Grindelwald upholds what is right. All except for the moral Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) who believes in stopping both but not killing. As a result, a younger Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists him to work behind the lines as dangerous times approach testing the loyalties and love of all involved.

Eddie Redmayne, as Newt Scamander, is always entertaining with his quirky remarks and unswayable morals. Also, he attempts to reunite with Tina (Katherine Waterston) to humanize his central struggle to find company. Johnny Depp, as Grindelwald, empowers with his powerful voice and fear-inducing actions. His presence holds well even among the likes of Voldemort. Jude Law, as Albus Dumbledore, is my favorite character with a spot-on recreation of a younger Dumbledore even if he's not in it for long. His wise remarks and enthralling character developments only left me wanting more. Zoe Kravitz, as Leta, is one of the most interesting characters with her fair share of story which leaves us craving for more regarding the mysteries of the lore. Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler and Ezra Miller return better than ever with twists and turns further developing their characters, even if a little too much time is spent on their side of the story.

David Yates expertly directs with an eye of awe for each of the magical settings visited. It is always a delight to see the early happenings of events and monuments such as Hogwarts. However, my favorite scene comes from the opening escape which rips and roars with wondrous sound design and sets the precedent for a truly epic villain in Grindelwald. Despite this, the movie comparably falls flat resulting in some boring sections of exposition with forced moments of fan service. The movie feels considerably crowded and in need of a more compelling story in some sections. Despite this, the exceptional first few minutes and last third redeem the story from being a total slump.

The message of the movie is to never lose your morals despite what could benefit you. Newt is a great example of this because he chooses what's right in spite of Grindelwald's powerful way with words. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 because of some intense action and themes. The movie releases in theaters on November 16, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
INSTANT FAMILY

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INSTANT FAMILY - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When Pete and Ellie decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child, but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15-year-old girl, they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hope of becoming a family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Now, I must admit that I'm a bit biased. My mom has worked with foster kids for 20 years and I've helped out a charity that helps foster kids. So foster children are really important to me and this movie really reflects the truth about this system in an emotional and funny way.

The story follows Pete and Ellie, a couple who feel as though there is something missing in their life. They decide to adopt three siblings from the foster care system. However, they find that raising children is a lot harder than they thought.

This movie deals with a very heavy subject - the foster care system. Foster kids go through a lot of terrible stuff, which greatly affects them psychologically. One thing I really like about this movie is that it doesn't sugar coat the hard reality. It dives straight into the lives of foster kids, without simplifying what they've gone through. I really like this as it breaks the impressions that a lot of people have about raising a foster kid - that it's not as hard as raising your own kid. That is not the case and the movie perfectly shows this. It may seem like the kids are unlikable because of this, however they grow on you. It took quite a while for Pete and Ellie to grow on me however. They're very impatient and annoying for a lot of the movie. And, although they get better over time, it kind of takes a while.

This movie is a comedy. So how is the comedic aspect? Pretty good. However at the beginning, there are lots of jokes about foster kids that feel very forced. While they technically have a purpose. They just weren't funny to me. For example, there is a joke where Pete says one kid looks like she has fetal alcohol syndrome or was chained to a radiator her whole life. While there is a funny pay off, the implications kind of made me uncomfortable and it was part of the reason why I didn't like Pete and Ellie.

I admit that when the film starts to get really emotional, it really hits hard. The acting is really great in the serious scenes, especially from Lizzy (Isabela Moner). Of course, I need to give a shout out to Octavia Spencer who plays Karen, one of the case workers. I really like Octavia Spencer and she makes every scene she's in absolutely outstanding!

I would give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I would also recommend this movie for people who are considering becoming foster parents. If you want to mentor foster youth go to your local group home and help out. This movie is out on November 16, 2018 so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GRINCH, THE

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GRINCH, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl's generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming, and visually stunning, it's a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. Academy Award� nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Whoville when he runs out of food. Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter, and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch ...
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Grinch is a cute and funny movie that reminds us of the real spirit of Christmas. This film is based on the famous Dr. Seuss book about the Grinch who hates Christmas so much. He tries to spoil it for everyone in the very Christmassy town he lives in, Whoville. Meanwhile, a small Who child tries to catch Santa, so she can talk to him about something very important that she wants for Christmas. The Grinch is an orphan and never had a family Christmas. He used to sit at his window watching all the Whos playing and celebrating outside. This made him hate Christmas. Years later, he decides to try to stop it. The Whos are a species that are always incredibly jolly around Christmas, so it will be hard to take it away from them.

I like how the music is the same music from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), but modernized with a hip-hop beat, complements to Danny Elfman. The way the Whos move around the town quickly is quite unique. Instead of roads, the Whos get around get on snowmobiles and sleds. The main characters in this movie are, The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), the only person that hates Christmas and Cindy Lou, (Cameron Seely), the little-girl that is trying to catch Santa and talk to him.

The Grinch lives in a cave north of Whoville that is full of rooms with inventive passageways and elevators to move between them. It is clear that the Grinch is very inventive. For example, in the music room there is a thin pathway that leads to a massive organ for the Grinch to play and a tiny drum set, for Max, his faithful dog. The Grinch is always telling Max to stop playing because he is ruining the vibe, but eventually gives in. He does this most times Max wants something, showing he is not as mean a character as he pretends.

Max is my favorite character in this movie. He goes about his day using Rube Goldberg machines to help the Grinch get ready for his day. My favorite scene is when Cindy Lou is sliding down the hill to get to the postman and crashes into the Grinch. That scene is hilarious and cool at the same time, featuring lots of fast action and comedy. Another good scene is when the Grinch is choosing his clothes. Inside his closet, he has clothes that have tags on them that read, "sad, very sad, miserable, very miserable, Christmas or happy." The happy pants are super clean while the very miserable pants look old and worn. This shows that the Grinch has been extremely sad lately.

The message of this film is that being together with friends and family is the only gift you ever need. Cindy Lou shows this through how forgiving she is, even though he steals their Christmas. I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is a great family Christmas movie with a good message. This movie opens in theaters on November 9, 2018. Be sure to check it out.

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

What a touching moment! This full-length animated film intensely has you gazing at the screen, without a doubt. This enjoyable, wonderstruck, emotional, touching and kid-friendly movie is directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier. Get ready to enjoy this perky piece of family entertainment, just in time for the holidays. It is filled with memorable and touching moments that catch you off guard.

The story follows a mean-spirited, cynical and grumpy Grinch who sets his eye on a mission, with his energetic dog Max, to destroy Christmas for one deplorable reason. The Grinch really hates Christmas, especially the loud, bright celebrations in Whoville. In order to get some peace and quiet, the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Clause and you'll have to wait to see how he steals Christmas from The Who's. He doesn't expect what happens when he meets a young girl names Cindy Lou. The Grinch realizes he is only afraid of one thing that has affected him his whole life.

The lead characters in this film are Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch), Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely), The Mayor of Whoville (Angela Lansbury), Izzy (Scarlett Estevez) and narrator (Pharrell Williams).

My favorite part of the film is when the grumpy and cruel Grinch changes his attitude and action choices. He has a change of heart and experiences his old ways to become happy and respectful as he feels valued (which is what everyone should feel). A quick theory of what happens is the small young girl changes the Grinch heart with a sentence, and that sentence changes everything.

This holiday film will definitely bring lots of laughs and humor. The film certainly provides positive messages about optimism, compassion and generosity. The animation deserves a big round of applause. It is jaw dropping, extraordinary, realistic to the story theme, beautiful and vibrant. The amazing animation is brought to life by Cinzia Angelina (storyboard artist), Sylvia Deboissy (Character Designer/ Development Artist), Patrick Muylken (color designer) and many more.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 16, as well as adults. Truly, the whole family will enjoy the film. It is designed with so much reaction moments. Don't miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide November 9, 2018.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PUPPY STAR CHRISTMAS

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PUPPY STAR CHRISTMAS
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PUPPY STAR CHRISTMAS - AIR BUD ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - A song-filled new Air Bud 'Pup Star' movie that introduces four new pups to the family, who stow away on Santa's sleigh and find themselves trapped at the North Pole, trying to save the world's Christmas spirit.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The most amazing thing about the Pup Stars films is how the filmmakers animate the live animals so you actually believe they are talking. After the first 10 minutes, you just accept for what it is and buy into the idea that this parallel universe has talking dogs in it.

This film is the fourth in the Pup Star franchise and it is as cute and charming as the other, with a Christmas theme as its focus. Who can resist a combination of cute dogs with their even cuter puppies, celebrating a favorite holiday. Of course, there has to be a antagonist thrown in, in the form of a pack of evil dogs that want to take over Christmas and commercialize it, making more money than anyone ever imagined.

Most of the original characters have returned, Mackenzie Moss as Lou, David DeLuise as Steven. Most importantly, the voice actors that play the dogs - Kaitlyn Maher as Tiny, Mackenzie Sol as P.U.P., Dillon Fontana as Brody, Oakley Bull as Cindy and Chloe Coleman as Charlie all deserve high fives for their outstanding voice talent.

The moral of the story is one that we can all resonate, that Christmas is really about family, not commercialization. Look for this film on Netflix November 20. It'll make a fun one to watch with your family Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the holiday season. Get grandma and auntie and Uncle Joe to sit down and laugh together watching the antics of these cute pups. I give it 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I am not usually a fan of musicals, but this movie is better than some that I've seen. I really like how the dogs are animated in this movie. It really looks as if they are actually talking and dancing. That makes the movie as entertaining as it is.

Puppy Star Christmas is a Christmas themed sequel to Pup Star 2 that follows the Pup Star company making a Christmas special right after Tiny has puppies. The movie follows the pup's parents getting ready for Christmas. It also focuses on the pups as they carry out some crazy ideas and plans that sometimes get them into trouble. For example, the pups decide to go to the North Pole to meet Santa, but while trying to do that, some evil dogs are trying to take over Christmas! Tiny and the Pup Star staff are working on the Christmas special while searching for the missing pups.

The four new members to the Pup Star family are Brody (Dillon Fontana), an adventurous little pup that thinks of something fun to do and his sisters usually follow. Rosie (Vivienne Rutherford) is the pup who always thinks of herself as the star of everything. Cindy (Oakley Bull) is the pup who knows when something will go wrong, but none of her siblings ever listen to her. Last is Charlie (Chloe Coleman), the sarcastic one, who has some of the best lines.

My favorite scene in this movie is when the elves sing "The Worst Christmas Ever," while the villains think they are singing the same thing as they are - "The Best Christmas Ever." Another good scene is when the reindeers bring Roland to the Pup Star stage. The reindeers are doing loop the loops, while going as fast as they can, just to be mean to Roland. My favorite character is Brody, because he is adventurous and he loves to eat, just like me. He also comes up with a bunch of crazy ideas that get him in trouble, but I don't think he will ever learn. For example, in the beginning of the film Brody tries to eat both the turkey and the pumpkin pie. That really gets him into trouble.

The message of this movie is that Christmas isn't just about the gifts, it is about being with family. The pups show that throughout the entire film. I rate this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, because it is an amusing movie that shows the meaning of Christmas in a great way. I think adults will enjoy watching this film with their children. This movie will be available exclusively on Netflix on November 20, 2018 so look for it!

Reviewed by Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

"It is Christmas in the heart, that puts Christmas in the air!" once said W.T Ellis. Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way. Yup, it's Christmas time - presents, cookies, family and vacation time. This astonishing, touching, intriguing, heart-warming, well-intentioned and adorable movie is directed by Robert Vince and written by Pier Rae and Robert Vince.

This film follows Tiny and P.U.P whose four new pups take a trip into the dark night sky with a special guest named Santa Claus. Trouble comes with they find themselves with the evil dog Bark and trapped at the North Pole. The pups get saved, but you'll have to see the movie to know how. This song-filled new Air Bud "Pup Star" movie will have you enjoying the Christmas spirit.

The lead characters in this film are Tiny (voiced by Kaitlyn Maher), P.U.P (voiced by Mackenzie Sol), Lou (Mackenzie Moss), Santa Claus (Richard Riehle), Rosie (voiced by Vivienne Rutherford) and complimented by many more.

My absolute favorite part of this film, without giving anything away, is when the Christmas spirit is saved. I love how the four pups set on a quest to find Santa Claus and recover the true meaning of Christmas with the help of their family. I think this part of the film will charm many because of the huge heart the little pups have!

This film delivers a very special message. It's not about the gifts; it is about being with family. The pups show that meaning in this film. This touching movie will have you singing Christmas songs on your way to school, work and perhaps your Christmas recital.

I give this film a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, as well as adults. This film will release exclusively on NETFLIX on November 20, 2018. Make sure to check it out!

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (2018)

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JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (2018)
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JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN (2018) - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN is the third installment of the Johnny English comedy series, with Rowan Atkinson returning as the much loved accidental secret agent. The new adventure begins when a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, leaving Johnny English as the Secret Service's last hope. Called out of retirement, English dives head first into action with the mission to find the mastermind hacker. As a man with few skills and analog methods, Johnny English must overcome the challenges of modern technology to make this mission a success.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This entertaining film, written by William Davies and directed by David Kerr, is very funny. The main character, Johnny English is supposed to be a spy, but fails a lot. For example, he accidentally sets things on fire or blows things up. And, when he does things wrong, he pretends that he was trying to do it.

The film is about a cyber attack, which exposes the identities of all of Great Britain's undercover spies. Johnny English is a retired spy, currently working as a teacher, and he comes out of retirement to find the mastermind hacker who did it. When he was a spy, he used old gadgets, but now they use more digital things like tablets and smart phones. Since Johnny doesn't know how to use them, he just throws them at his targets instead.

The actor playing Johnny English, Rowan Atkinson, is very good. Every time he fights someone, it looks quite realistic. He is hilarious when he dances in the middle of the dance floor and doesn't stop the whole night. Also, the gadgets he uses, like his magnetic boots and his exoskeleton suit make the film even more exciting. My favorite part of this film is that Johnny English is a teacher and he teaches the kids how to be spies instead of teaching them normal school subjects.

The soundtrack is excellent and so are the sets. They make it feel as if it's a real spy movie. All of the crazy things that you expect to happen in a spy movie happen here, plus even more. The special effects and stunts make each scene that much more fun to watch.

As fun as this film is, you should know that people are violent with each other and there is one inappropriate scene when Johnny's pants fall down and you see his rear end. The violent parts are not bloody or gory. They are just normal fight scenes like you would see in any funny spy movie. There is some humor that younger kids may not understand or might find disturbing, but I think older kids and adults will definitely be amused. As thrilling as all of the stunts are, they are dangerously unrealistic and not the kind of thing you would want a young child thinking they should try.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to18, as well as adults. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. It is available in theaters on October 26, 2018, so look for it.

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

Johnny English Strikes Again is an incredibly humorous film that definitely holds up to the success of the two previous Johnny English films. There isn't a low moment in this movie and I plan to see it again. This is a "cannot miss" film that everyone is sure to love.

The storyline follows the Prime Minister of London (Emma Thompson) who calls Special Agent English (Rowan Atkinson) back into action after cyber-attack leaks the identities of all the undercover agents working for the MI7. English must stop the hacker in order to save the people of London.

My favorite part about this film is when English is practicing his mission using a virtual reality simulation. The simulation is said to be highly "immersive." While English is running through the simulation, he makes his way out of headquarters and into the streets of London, causing havoc for the people of London. I also found it interesting how well Johnny's old fashion ways comes into play numerous times throughout the film.

The director, David Kerr, makes a huge play on irony by making the bad guy a super high-tech professional, with special agent English not tech savvy at all. Luckily for Johnny, his lack of knowledge about technology helps him for the better.

There isn't anything about this film that I didn't like. From its special effects, to props to acting, everything fits together nicely, creating a great film that audiences will enjoy.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters October 26, 2018, so look for it.

Reviewed by Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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