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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NEVER-ENDING MAN: HAYAO MIYAZAKI

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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.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
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
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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 - coming soon
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - coming soon
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

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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.
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 5 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 - 0
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
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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 - 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) - 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:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

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BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Let us set the stage. I love rock music. I love Queen. Live Aid has a distinct and personal memory for me. That said, this film's telling of the band's evolution from a bar band to a trans-fixing rock band with a legendary performance at Live Aid had me engrossed and, at times, weeping. The storytelling is intoxicating. Enough about me.

This film has been on a journey of its own. It was widely reported when director Bryan Singer was replaced before the film's production concluded. Yet, due to DGA (Directors Guild of America) rules, he is the named Director. My hat is off to Mr. Singer and his team for the casting of this film. The band members are believable. At times, I forgot I was watching actors. The story is about the life of Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek "Mr. Robot" TV). Mr. Malek brilliantly plays Freddie Mercury. The film's story follows Freddie Mercury's humble beginnings to living his dreams as the band develops and their unbelievable performance during the 1985 Live Aid concert. By the time the group hits the stage, we know Freddie Mercury has been diagnosed with AIDS and this became the last performance of his career. As I listened to the 20 minute set afforded each band in the line-up, I was in tears. I encourage you to please do your research to see who else shared the stage with at this unprecedented event. Given the large body of work from Queen, I heard the song selection differently, knowing what was happening to Freddie and his band mates. Trust me, I heard it differently live in 1985.

Another facet of the film involves Freddie's relationship with his family, the rise and demise of his career, his love affair with Mary (Lucy Boynton, Murder on the Orient Express), who received the majority of his estate when he died in 1991. His male lovers do not hold a candle to her, as this story goes.

Queen's original band members are so well portrayed in the film. You see they were truly a band, not just backup for a lead singer. Bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello, The Cure), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy, X-Men: Apocalypse) and guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee, "Jamestown" TV), discuss many nuances of a band from writing credits to performances. Brian May and Roger Taylor serve as music co-producers, which adds authentication to the story.

Bottom line - Queen is KING! The music should have a casting credit. See it. Enjoy the rock and roll fantasy. I dare you not to cry during the last 20 minutes. Long live rock and Queen!

I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. You should know that there is alcohol and drug use, gay themes and discussions about AIDS, all of which are inappropriate for younger children. This film opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Before seeing this movie, I was mostly neutral about Queen. I did like their songs, but I was never really a fan. However this movie completely changed my perspective of the band. Even though I only knew the most famous songs, that doesn't matter. You don't need to be a fan to enjoy this film. It belongs to everyone, like Queen does.

The story follows Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the lead singer of Queen, and his rise to fame, but also his fall from grace. It sounds really simple, but the other aspects of the movie, such as the writing and acting, really set it apart from other similar films.

First, the script is amazing. Kudos to the script writer, Anthony McCarten. There are so many scenes in this movie that are genuinely full of tension particularly scenes showing the band arguing and practically any scene with Paul Prenter (Allen Leech). The writing really helps deliver tension in the darker scenes and make the more uplifting scenes really motivating. The writing makes you feel Freddie's downward spiral. The scenes with Paul especially made me genuinely nervous. Because, you know he doesn't care about Freddie and he just wants to leech off of him. All you want is for Freddie to cut ties with Paul. Thankfully, this movie isn't a complete downer, as there are some genuinely heartwarming moments, especially in the beginning. Then, things get dark pretty quickly. It's nice seeing the band get together and hang out. You genuinely believe in their friendship.

This movie also shows Freddie dealing with real issues - his race, his sexuality and not feeling like a disappointment to his parents. Life is complicated, whether or not you are rich and famous. We also got to give special attention to Freddie's actor. Rami Malek really is Freddie Mercury! It is so spot on that Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury look almost identical. That's what I call amazing casting. While the rest of the cast is really great as well, Rami Malek completely steals the show.

This movie also excels at showing how destiny works in mysterious ways. For example, five minutes before Freddie asks to join to the band, the lead singer quits. I find that really interesting. To be honest, the only issue I have with this movie is the final scene. It's a recreation of the Live Aid performance Queen did, which seems fine at first. However, the scene goes on forever. It is a good scene and I get why they made it so long, but after awhile I kept wondering how much longer the scene was going to last. That's really my only issue with the film. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. Even if you're not a huge Queen fan, I think you'll enjoy this. It opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it. By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

This live-action, biographical or biopic film is electrifying! The music is absolutely incredible! Of course, it's the music from the British rock band Queen. I am familiar with the band's music; because my mom is a 80s rock fan and I grew up listening to this and other bands. I do like and know the songs and enjoyed summer camps at "School of Rock" playing music from those bands.

The actors are great. The actor that plays Freddie Mercury, Rami Malek looks exactly like the real Freddie Mercury. He mimics his stage movements and reflects on the artist who loved music and art in general. The rest of the actors' are flawless as well. At first, I didn't think I would like this film, but when I watched it, I absolutely fell in love with it. It is amazing. At least half the songs that are in this film I didn't even know were by Queen!

The story is narrated through Queen's hit songs. It starts showing how Mercury joined a band that played at bars and became one of the most important rock bands in the world, creating iconic music. The film focuses on Mercury's story and tells it with so much respect. Once he joins guitar player Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), they start composing songs. They got the attention of important music producers and record labels and became Queen. The film shows the creative process - how these songs were made, how the band members agree and disagree, go on tours and got tired of the routine of making albums and touring. At one point, we see Freddie Mercury becoming so popular and later kind of losing himself. But, the band members were a family and the movie shows those who always stood by his side as well as those who betrayed him. Freddie decided to go solo, but he reunites for the spectacular Live Aid Show in 1985 that was impeccably recreated.

The photography, production design and costumes reflect the look and feel of the 80s. They look exactly as they do in Queen's music videos and live shows. The editing mixes the drama of Mercury's life together with the songs really well and the camera work is remarkable. My favorite scenes are all those when music is involved, especially the operatic "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," both written by Mercury.

I watched the film under my mom's guidance. I don't recommend this for kids under 13. The film shows, in a very elegant way, Mercury's dark side and relationships in his life. There are no explicit scenes, but is definitively a movie for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. I definitely give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because it is amazing and actors and filmmakers have worked really hard to interpret and recreate an important moment in music history. I truly love this film and definitely recommend it. You are not going to want to miss this extraordinary film. It opens nationwide in theaters November 2, 2018 so, check it out. By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Bohemian Rhapsody is a biographical film based on the life story of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the incredible British super-band Queen.

Bohemian Rhapsody takes place when a young boy named Farrokh joins a college band which later becomes Queen, the band that revolutionized concerts with audience participation and became one of the biggest stadium bands in history. The movie mainly focuses on Freddie Mercury's relationship with the band, his family and other people around him and how he remained true to his unique personality.

I like how they used lots of clips from that time by inserting televised shots of important moments. I also enjoyed the use of montages to Queen's songs to show different things. The format never gets boring because there is a unique twist to each one. I especially enjoyed how they started the film by setting up for Live Aid, the most ambitious charity concert ever, and ended at Queen's mind-blowing performance of that same concert. I also like how they used the running joke of lateness to show power throughout the band's life.

The cinematography in the movie is wonderful. There are lots of shots showing the entire room which really helps you understand the locations. I particularly like the shots showing how low the ceiling is in the drummer's room. There are some very emotional shots of Freddie communicating with his girlfriend using lights in their opposing apartments.

My favorite scene is when they try to sell their new song, Bohemian Rhapsody, to Ray Foster. I like this scene because it shows how the members of Queen really didn't allow themselves to work the same way that other bands do. It shows that they wouldn't use a formula to write any of their songs. I also enjoyed the scene when the band writes Bohemian Rhapsody, because there are lots of good jokes in it. They use simple digital transition effects that wouldn't usually be in a professional movie to show how the band was different. These transition effects are also true to the 70s and 80s when the movie is set.

The moral of this film is to be yourself, even if you're different. This moral is important to the story. It influences every decision Freddie Mercury makes and is an important part of his legacy. Freddie Mercury was a unique individual, but by staying true to himself, he gained acceptance in the world and became an icon.

They use mostly Queen songs (of course) and they use them well. There are a lot of cuts in the music, but they aren't too noticeable. The songs that aren't by Queen are used mainly as music the characters are listening to in the background.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to for ages 13 through 18, as well as adults. I believe lots of adults will enjoy it, especially those who were teen and young adults during this time. This film opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018 so look for it. By Rohan F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Bohemian Rhapsody is a film that hits plenty of high notes, both figuratively and literally. It is a foot-stomping film showing how Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become a legend, in not only the rock and roll community but the music industry as a whole. The film does go deeper into Freddie Mercury's life, due to its PG-13 rating.

Bohemian Rhapsody follows Queen's journey to become the world's most famous band. It starts off showing Freddie as an airport baggage loader who aspires to be a musician. He has been following Smile, a local rock band. One night when their lead singer quits, he offers to sing for them. They blow him off, making fun of his teeth and saying how he will never be able to sing with those. But he proves them wrong by singing better than any of their past singers. Once on the road, Freddie has the idea of selling their van and recording a song. The record gets the attention of the legendary music producer John Reid, which gets them the break they need and immediately they start touring the USA, where they are a huge hit.

My favorite part of this film is definitely the Live Aid concert where we see Rami Malik's best performance as Freddie Mercury. Queen performs numerous songs including "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." This scene is so convincing. It made me think it was a high definition version of the actual Live Aid concert.

This movie has lots of excellent talent in it. Most notably, Freddie Mercury is played by Remi Malek, who has starred in movies such as Night at the Museum and won an Emmy for his performance in IRobot. Lucy Boynton plays Mary Austin, Freddy's girl friend. She has notably appeared in Murder on the Orient Express and Sing Street.

The message of this film is that you shouldn't hide who you are and people should accept that. There is one F-bomb in the movie and several other swear words, also there is heavy drinking and partying. I recommend this film if you're a Queen fan or just looking for a great film about rock. I recommend this film for ages 15 to 18, as well as adults, and give it 4 out of 5 stars. This film opens in theaters nationwide November 2, 2018. Look for it.

By Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR

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LIYANA
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LIYANA - 0
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - A Swazi girl embarks on a dangerous quest to rescue her young twin brothers. This animated African tale is born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland who collaborate to tell a story of perseverance drawn from their darkest memories and brightest dreams. Their fictional character's journey is interwoven with poetic and observational documentary scenes to create a genre-defying celebration of collective storytelling.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children featured in the film.

Liyana is about five Swaziland orphans who, under the guidance of storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, create their own fictional character that embarks on a journey to save her brothers. The story directly correlates to the struggles they are experiencing and their own dreams. The character they create, named Liyana is fully animated throughout the film.

This film is one that everyone needs to watch. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own lives and take a lot of things for granted. This film highlights the struggles of these orphaned African children. Some of them don't even remember anything about their parents. The film really open your eyes to an unfamiliar place and allows you to connect on a personal level with some of their struggles. This documentary is not intended to pity the children in any way, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. I find these children completely inspiring, because they are prepared to do anything to make their dreams come true. They live their lives everyday with happiness and passion.

The animation is quite unique in many ways. It is very still and the characters rarely move. It's a very interesting way to animate. I have never seen anything quite like this. It's intriguing to see the subtle movements of the characters and the subtle sound effects in the background. The orphans that the film revolves around are storytellers of the film. I love hearing them express the characters. They occasionally make sounds to portray the weather such as thunder and then make sounds representing actions of the animated character Liyana. Overall, the sound and music in this film feels quite lively and upbeat. The music brings a huge cultural aspect to the film because the lyrics are in their native tongue. The music is quite beautiful and expresses African heritage.

This film takes you on a whirlwind of emotion. People hear about horrific events on the news, but don't really find a personal connection to the struggles that people around the world face. This film provides a personal account on how children deal with disease and family issues. By show the audience real people dealing with their struggles, this film can help spread the word about people around the world needing help and teach us that their problems are not just something to flip through as you change TB channels.

Definitely put this film on your watch list. It deals with some harsh topics such as disease and abuse, but it does so in a sensitive way. I recommend this film for ages of 12 to 18, as well as adults. The story is fascinating and the realness of the film gives usinsight into the lives of African orphans. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It comes out on October 9 so go check it out!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FIRST MAN

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FIRST MAN
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FIRST MAN - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - A biopic on the life of the legendary American Astronaut Neil Armstrong from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. Exploring the sacrifices and costs on the Nation and Neil himself, during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Easily one of the most famous events in human history is centered around a singular man, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). Behind the Apollo Mission that landed the first human on the moon, Neil is a man with conflicts, a man with a history and a man with a mission.

Along with its main focus on the intense, action-packed mission, First Man explores many avenues that include dramatic and intense moments which spawn from the heart-wrenching grief of losing a child to the intricate and beautiful romance with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy). Much of the movie has emotions that are quite far from being out of this world, specifically in its massive focus on the family.

The film begins up close and personal seeing Armstrong in his daring mission on the rocket-propelled plane, the X-15. Immediately, the story shows just how dangerous space exploration can be and how close those who brave exploring the final frontier get to never returning home. It follows Neil and his story intimately from the X-15 mission to the loss of three astronauts (close friends of Neil's) in Apollo 1, the near-lethal mission of Gemini 8 and, of course, the incredibly daring mission of Apollo 11, that landed the first people on the Moon. Throughout these milestones in space exploration, the story pauses to look at the relations and life of Neil, truly unveiling the blueprints showing who he was as a man.

While incredible in revealing a massive side of this well-known historical event, the film attempts to focus so much on a story that has little to tell. The length clocks in at just under two and a half hours, which feels very stretched after the adrenaline of the exciting opening scene wears off. Neil Armstrong is portrayed as a deep man with little visual emotions mixed with dramatic internal conflicts. While this decision allows for excellent character design, it makes him rather boring at times. It seems the writers wished to divide First Man into three stories - one, the story of Neil as a man; two, the story of Neil as a father and three, the story of Neil as an astronaut. All three have their pros and their cons, but mixed together, the film becomes daunting and stretched.

The cinematography sadly could have been better. Only a handful of camera shots do not shake. In most shots, the camera moves constantly or jitters. In the beginning, with the X-15 mission, this effect adds to the entertainment of the film. The audience quickly becomes sucked into the important and lethal mission with dangers at every corner. After two hours of shaky camera shots, that excitement changes to annoyance. While a mix would be ideal, and in more intensive scenes a camera shake would be appropriate, having the entire runtime featuring shakiness as well as many blurry shots, looks amateur and comes off as poor execution of what should be an interesting and captivating story.

However, the film does go beyond the moon in many ways. Predominantly, in the acting. Neil Armstrong has deep faults and that stands as a challenge to any actor. Ryan Gosling nails the role in what turns out as an Oscar�-worthy performance of the famous astronaut. Others, including Claire Foy, also deliver extraordinary performances bringing each character to life. Despite the fact that no one can hear you scream in space, the sound design really belongs out of the world due to the quality and complexity of the sound effects. Much of First Man contains loud, intricate sound effects that vary and cover a massive spectrum. Perhaps more powerful would have been the use of silence in the most dramatic moments, sending chills to the entire audience.

My favorite scene is one of these moments of eerie silence. In this scene, three members of the Apollo 1 mission do a test in the Apollo capsule. It goes horribly wrong and the interior of the capsule catches on fire, sadly, resulting in losing the lives of all three. Yet, the film takes this a step further, as the three fallen heroes are not new in this scene. The viewer gets time to like them, understand them and befriend them - just as Neil did in real life. This makes their sudden and dramatic loss nothing short of shocking and cold, replicating the real-life impact it had on Armstrong.

Although, First Man has a strong beginning, a strong ending and many high points throughout, it also has many mistakes and things that could be improved that simply negate the extraordinary story of this story. For that reason, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. The story is quite intensive and is best suited for older audiences that will understand the impact of the events so I recommend it for ages 12 to 18. This film opens nationwide in theaters on October 12, 2018 so, look for it. If you are a fan of space exploration, it is sure to make an impact, but even if you aren't you will learn something new.

Reviewed by Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

First Man is a visually stunning and up-close account of the Apollo 11 mission. Excellent acting and innovative directing excel this personal focus, as one of a well-built dramatic journey. Anyone interested in space studies or even cinematic craft must check this out.

The story follows the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) in the 1960s on his journey to becoming the first man to walk on the moon. More so, an exploration of the sacrifices and costs that the journey had upon Armstrong's personal life and the nation itself, during one of the nation's most desperate and dangerous missions.

Ryan Gosling, as Neil Armstrong, is my favorite character with near-perfect representation of Neil's reclusive, yet adventurous self. His struggles to overcome the death of his daughter Karen and fellow crewmates offer the movie's best share of emotions and present a newfound inspirational look into this real-life pioneer. Claire Foy, as Janet Armstrong, excels with her bitter opinions on her husband's involvement in the Apollo program. Her intense wariness effectively presents the instability that the Armstrong family faced during such tough times. Corey Stall, as Buzz Aldrin, respectfully acts out the childlike, but intellectual aspects of his real-life counterpart. Jason Clarke, as Edward Higgins White, impressively presents a good friend in need to Neil, contributing to the success of NASA's missions with his tragic accident being handled all the more respectively.

Damien Chazelle expertly directs the movie with an innovative handheld approach steered by cinematographer Linus Sandgren that captures the paranoia, but wondrous awe of each voyage into space. This approach can become a little disorienting at times and requires an adjustment factor. My favorite scene is the Agena voyage, as it distinguishes itself from the Apollo 11 landing, by focusing on NASA's most miniscule attempts to catch up with the Soviet Union. As a result, the mission comes with its huge share of bumps, which are helped by the cringe-inducing sound design and a self-contained terror within the astronauts involved.

The message of the movie is that success never comes without sacrifice and failure, but most of all, perseverance. Armstrong sets a strong persevering mentality and example towards dealing with any obstacle as he seeks to support his family peacefully and the mission safely. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of infrequent intense scenes and language. The movie releases in theaters on October 12, 2018 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN

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GOOSEBUMPS 2: HAUNTED HALLOWEEN - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - While collecting junk one day, best friends Sonny and Sam meet Slappy, a mischievous talking dummy from an unpublished "Goosebumps" book by R.L. Stine. Hoping to start his own family, Slappy kidnaps Sonny's mother and brings all of his ghoulish friends back to life -- just in time for Halloween. As the sleepy town becomes overrun with monsters, witches and other mysterious creatures, Sonny joins forces with his sister, Sam and a kindly neighbor to save Sonny's mom and foil Slappy's plan.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is spooky, fun and creative! It is very engaging and entertaining throughout the whole film.

The story is about a young boy, Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and his best friend, Sam (Caleel Harris) who finds a book. When they open it, a doll called Slappy comes out! The boys lose the book, but keep Slappy. The friends are very surprised and a bit scared when they discover that the doll can talk. He seems nice at the beginning. He wants to have a family. But later, the boy, his sister Sarah (Madison Iseman) and his best friend realize he is strange and don't want him to be part of their family anymore. Slappy has his own personal agenda and decides to create his own family. He makes Halloween come to life as he invades the whole town with monsters and all the creatures as allies. This is a very scary Halloween for the town of Wardenclyffe, where the story takes place, as all creatures make real chaos. Sonny, Sam and Sarah team up with neighbor Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong) to find the book that Slappy from to figure out how to stop him. They discover that the book can suck up monsters and they are determined to save the city.

The story is based on R.L Stine's books. This is where Jack Black comes in as he reprises his role from the 2015 film, playing the writer who came to help. His performance as the author is excellent. I love him.

The movie is funny and spooky in equal amounts. There is mystery and discovery all combined in the storytelling. There's kind of a homage to horror films, as we see some classic monsters. My favorite scenes are the ones with the Halloween decorations coming to life in the store and the fight with the gummy bears that become real and attack Sonny and Sam.

The effects are very well done. This story focuses on the 3 main characters and the actors did a good job carrying the film. There's a tribute to the books and literature. There's a beautiful metaphor with the blank pages in the book which is powerful. It is so interesting and kind of reminded me that reality is scarier than fantasy and there will be more stories to be written. The message of this film is, "when we face our own fears we learn how not to be scared."

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween opens October 12, 2018 and is the perfect movie for kids this Halloween. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 6 to 13 and grown ups as well.

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

Boo! Trick or treat! Who is ready for a perky piece of family entertainment? Giant spiders made of balloons, pumpkin-headed scarecrows, witches with glowing heads are the factual stars of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Who's ready to pop some popcorn with a fresh drink and enjoy the film?

This very funny, energetic, colorful and well-crafted film is directed by Ari Sandel. The film follows best friends Sonny and Sam, who meets Slappy, a frisky talking dummy from an unpublished "Goosebumps " book by R.L. Stine. Slappy hopes to start a family of his own. Well you will see how that unfolds. Slappy kidnaps Sonny's mother and brings all of his frightening friends back to life, literally bringing Halloween back to life! Just in time for Halloween. As the Slappy town becomes infested with monsters, witches and other shadowy creatures, Sonny joins powers with his sister, Sam and a concerned neighbor to save Sonny's mom and stop Slappy's strategy.

The lead characters are Kathy Quinn (Wendi McLendon-Covey), Sarah Quinn (Madison Iseman), Mr. Chu (Ken Jeong), Sonny Quinn (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Sam Carter (Bryce Cass) and Slappy (Mick Wingert).

My favorite part of the movie is pretty much, the whole movie. This movie is one of those sequels where it gets restated in a new way, greater and sillier than before. I love how Slappy uses his magical powers to bring typical "Goosebumps" monsters to life.

Wow! Can I say the music in this film is surprising? Composer Dominic Lewis creates a perfect match to the Halloween theme. Every action coordinates with perfect music accompaniment. The music provides escalating emotions and had me jumping out of my seat a few times - in a good way, not a super spooky way. The animation has lively, attractive colors and put me in the spirit for Halloween.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 16, as well as adults. I believe the whole family will enjoy this film. The film is designed with so much fun reaction moments. It delivers on what Goosebumps fans have come to expect. Don't miss this live-action film when it opens nationwide October 12, 2018.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
VENOM
VENOM - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake's experiments, Eddie's body merges with the alien Venom -- leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Venom is a somewhat entertaining comic book-based movie watch. The acting and directing provide for serviceable entertainment amid some of the movie's ill-fated attempts. Fans of superhero movies may want to check it out.

The story follows former investigative and maverick journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) after he attempts a comeback following a scandal that left him jobless, despite good intentions. Eddie's life furthermore takes on more complications, after accidentally becoming the host of an alien symbiote, giving him the carnivorous alter ego, Venom. Soon, he must rely on and master his newfound powers to protect the world from the shadowy organization he so sought to destroy, because of their involvement in experimenting with other symbiotes, before it's too late.

Tom Hardy, as Eddie Brock, is my favorite character and absolutely lives up to the hype surrounding his performance, even if a few of his deliveries come across as random, due to an inconsistent script. Also, he further sells the voice of Venom, delivering numerous nuances underneath the carnivorous savage. Michelle Williams, as Anne Weying, does the best she can with an uninspired script, that doesn't do her character justice, as Anne comes across as a stereotypical love interest. Despite this, she adds nuances to her characters' emotions and occasional comedic remarks. Once again, Riz Ahmed, as Carlton Drake, suffers from the same issue, but presents just enough threat to make his foe a formidable one. Still, his plotline involving the main lab corporation, remains one of the movie's stalling points as it remains nothing more than a disinteresting evil lair. Jenny Slate, as Dora Skirth, fares better as the script provides more material to go around. Her vibrant expressions and remarks make her one of the movie's most memorable assets.

Ruben Fleischer aptly directs the movie with an effective grasp on understanding the Venom character, which is the movie's saving grace. The mix of horror, adrenaline-fueled action and black comedy provides for a unique experience, unlike any other superhero movie, despite not being as polished as most. My favorite scene is the SWAT action scene, as it is a great showcase of special effects and unique sound design. The choreography further sells the excellent pace towards Venom's attacks. The other main flaw stems from the sub-par script, as it doesn't compliment the all-star cast's talents well. Aside from Eddie, every character is stereotypical and not as interesting to watch, with stilted dialogue further adding unintentional awkwardness to the characters' relationships. At times, the movie's plot progression becomes littered with holes and doesn't match the brisk pace that the many action scenes provide. In fact, any of the movie's plot, not involving the Venom symbiote, is met with a gruelingly slow pace, leaving us waiting for Venom to show up.

The message of this movie to always stand up for what's right and be careful about it, in spite of anyone in your way. Eddie's brutally honest responses to evil and the Venom alter-ego support this with a positive example. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because of intense action and language. The movie releases in theaters October 5, 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 ALL STAR
SMALLFOOT

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SMALLFOOT - WARNER BROS. ANIMATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - A yeti named Migo is convinced that a human known only as "Small Foot" is real and has to prove to his tribe that it does exist with the help of Meechee and the S.E.S - Smallfoot Evidentiary Society.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This entertaining and hilarious film is furrowed with a variety of different themes. I absolutely love when a film keeps an audience intrigued and teaches them different lessons. This film does just that.

The storyline is about a community of yeti, typically known as a snow monster with big feet, and their utopia. Life is perfect the way it is and no one wants to change it. Everyone bases their lives of off a set of laws written on stones. The stone keeper is basically the chief of the village and tells everyone if they ever have a question, to just push it down. One day, Migo ends up outside of their village. He has an encounter with a crashing airplane and sees a small foot, or human, eject out of the plane and descend under the clouds with a parachute. He immediately goes back to the village and tells them about what he saw. The stone keeper tells Migo that it is written in stone that small foot do not exist. Migo goes against the sacred stones and stands with what he saw. And for that, he gets exiled from the village. But he doesn't know that there is a secret organization that believes in him. That's when their quest starts to prove the existence of the small foot, but they uncover so much more than they expected.

There are numerous stars voicing the characters including Channing Tatum who plays Migo, Zendaya playing MeeChee, James Corden playing Percy and LeBron James playing Gwangi. Zendaya is the perfect person for the role of MeeChee, a very determined and rebellious character. Zendaya portrays those characteristics through her voice.

The animation in this film is very colorful and detailed. There are shots of clouds, outer space and overview shots of the yeti village and the human town that are absolutely stunning. In the outer space scene for example, the stars, galaxies, planets and the comet they ride on are all beautifully illustrated, especially the supernova at the end. I also love the inspirational songs that gave me goose-bumps, which are sung throughout the film.

My favorite scene is when MeeChee goes exploring outside the village with Migo. She starts to sing and shows Migo some beautiful sights. Somehow, they end up riding a comet in outer space, which is a little bit random, but the underlying message is that outside in the unknown there are so many beautiful things to discover. The animation for this scene especially brought to life all of the beauties that MeeChee shows Migo.

There are many messages in this film. Two of the main ones are to always remember there are two sides to every story and to think for yourself. The other underlying themes can be interpreted in different ways and you might find more than other people. I recommend this inspirational and unique film for ages 3 to 18, even adults. I give the film 5 out of 5 stars. You have to check this amazing film out! It comes out on September 28, 2018 in theaters!

Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Smallfoot is a heartfelt animated film with several clever laughs and some interesting ideas at play. This film follows Migo, a Yeti, who lives in a village full of them high atop a mountain amidst the snow. Migo is content with his village's way of life and their beliefs that are scrawled in stone, until he makes a startling discovery. He encounters a being that proves the existence of the Smallfoot or, as we would call it, a human. This goes against the beliefs of his people and gets him banished from his home. From there, he consults a few Yetis who believe in the existence of the Smallfoot to help him prove to the rest of his village that he saw one.

I really like the character Migo, played by Channing Tatum, and Percy, played by James Corden, a TV host trying to influence a resurgence in his career and the Smallfoot whose existence Migo is trying to prove. These are members of two species who have to learn to communicate and get along because of the situation they're in. The two characters have very different personalities and motivations that collide and the aftermath of their meeting is part of what makes this film so interesting. Even what you could call Smallfoot's antagonist has relatable character motivations, as he is just trying to protect those close to him.

I do have problems with the flow of this film's story. This film's first act is largely uninspired with too much emphasis on slapstick humor and not enough on story. It feels like a series of comedic antics with some filler between them. The film really finds its Smallfooting in the second and third acts with some fun musical sequences and humorous encounters. Smallfoot also has a striking message about what we consider truth and why we believe what we do.

I recommend Smallfoot for ages 4 to 12 due to some mild bathroom humor and some images that could scare younger children. There is a scene with a bear that could be frightening, although it is played up for laughs. I think adults will also enjoy this film. I give the film 3 out of 5 stars. Go check this out because it's a smart animated film that has lots of moving parts that all manage to come together to make something fun and adorable. Smallfoot comes out in theaters on September 28, 2018.

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

Smallfoot is a fun, adorable, animated musical film. Is basically about monsters afraid of humans and humans afraid of monsters, similar to the plot of Monsters Inc. and Hotel Transylvania. But Smallfoot is different and very enjoyable. The movie is directed by Karen Kirkpatrick, who previously directed Chicken Run and Jason Raising who worked as an animator and visual effects artist in Shrek, Spider Man 2 and Kung Fu Panda.

This movie is about yetis, furry creatures that live up on the mountains by the laws of the stones. The yetis think the stones protect them and they think the smallfoot, "human," do not exist. One day, the main character Migo (Channing Tatum) sees the smallfoot landing from the sky. His name is Percy (James Corden) and, soon after that he teams up with the stone keeper's daughter Meechee (Zendaya), they team up with more Yetis also on the look for these strange creatures that are basically men, which they believe are monsters.

Percy is a TV personality who works with Brenda (Yara Shahidi). He is not very successful at the moment and creating a story about a supposed monster seems like a great idea to gain followers and go viral. Brenda reminds him of the power of integrity. Both the yetis and smallfeet will discover a lot about each other and Migo will need to find the way to prove that smallfeet actually exist and there is more to what the laws of the stones ask yetis to believe.

The story is simple and well developed. Most importantly, it opens our hearts to discover new things, learn to communicate better and make the right decisions. The movie addresses a lot of current aspects of social media and what we go through emotionally nowadays.

This is the first Warner Animation musical film and I love all the songs. My favorite song is "A Wonderful Life." I've been singing it all week because it's so catchy. I also really like the characters, the look of the yeti village and the way the voice actors give life to their characters. This amazing voice over cast includes Channing Tatum, Zendaya, Danny de Vito, Lebron James, Gina Rodriguez and Yara Shahidi.

My favorite scene is when Migo finds out Meechee's plan and all that happened when they worked together. I like seeing the characters trying to discover new things, being organized and standing out for their beliefs. The message of this film is that we all have different beliefs and need to accept others' beliefs and work together.

I give this film 4 � out of 5 stars and recommended for ages 3 to 15, although I am sure the whole family will enjoy it. Smallfoot opens in theaters September 28, 2018 so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
NIGHT SCHOOL

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NIGHT SCHOOL - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A group of troublemakers are forced to attend night school in hope that they'll pass the GED exam to finish high school.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Mom always said, stay in school. Well, this cast of troublemakers did not. Night School is their effort to obtain their GED and matriculate back into productive society. I am not going to lie, the sophomoric approach to telling this tale did not light me up. I struggled to stay engaged with the themes of the film, as well as all the female stereotypes, racial stereotypes, schmaltzy, slap-stick and crude behavior.

Kevin Hart wrote and stars in Night School. He plays Teddy Walker, a successful sales man who blows up his one success and returns to night school to better his career choices. At times disjointed, I often felt the multiple story lines and activities of the cast do not coalesce into a coherent film or story. Fans of Kevin Hart's comedy shows will likely love the film, as there are a few good belly laughs.

Tiffany Haddish plays Carrie, the night school teacher and the leader of the pack. She plays a tough teacher, who also adds tough love to the mix as she corrals a ragtag group of students. The character contributes to a theme of second chances, which is the best part of this film. If you loved Tiffany Haddish's role in Girls Trip, do not look for the same comedic success here. She plays a more serious role in Night School and I venture she is much stronger in a pure comedic role.

I give this film of 3 out of 5 stars for lack of consistent story and character development. This is the most disjointed film I have watched in a long time.

This film will appeal to ages 13 to 18 as well as some adults. I caution younger viewing due to sexual references, crude language, drug use and reference, adult themes and violent scenes, which are inappropriate for younger children.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Night School is a mostly enjoyable watch with no shortage of humor and heart. The acting and writing perfectly encapsulate the fast-paced comedic delivery. This is sure to be an enjoyable watch for anyone looking for a serviceably hilarious time.

The story follows street-smart, but academically dull-witted Teddy (Kevin Hart) as he fails to pass his GED college admissions test. Even still, he finds success as a grill salesman with a financially successful, yet unaware fianc� Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke). However, when disaster arises with the accidental destruction of his workplace, Teddy must search elsewhere to support Lisa and hide his school failure from her as the GED is the only way out. With a determined teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) and a group of misfits by his side, Teddy must test his mental and physical boundaries to power past his setbacks to pass the GED if there is any chance of him supporting himself and Lisa.

Kevin Hart, as Teddy, brings his signature style, as his exaggerated reactions and loud mouth continue to entertain. His character's inspiring attempts to change through hard work and perseverance provide for newfound nuances in his performance. Tiffany Haddish, as Carrie, shines alongside Teddy providing great amounts of sharp banter which truly bring out some of the movie's funniest scenes. Megalyn Echikunwoke, as Lisa, is great in her support of Teddy despite all his misfortunes. Taren Killam, as Stewart, presents a relatable, yet ruthless threat for Teddy as he threatens to damage his relationship with Lisa for the bullying he suffered. Mary Lynn Rajskub, Rob Riggle, Romany Malco, Anne Winters and Al Madrigal round out the all-star cast, as the rest of the night school students, with each providing a uniquely hilarious persona. Romany Malcom shines as my favorite character, with his overdrawn reasoning providing for the movie's best jokes.

Malcolm D. Lee directs the movie with an effective grasp on character and comedic situations as there is never a dull moment. My favorite scene is the heist scene as its parody on heist movies is smartly done and the end gag leaves you breathlessly laughing. However, many of the movie's jokes don't land due to an overreliance on crass bodily humor, which come across as overly done for laughs. At times, much of it comes across as derivative of other school-based comedies, leaving much of the gags feeling unmemorable. Despite this, a good amount of smart deliveries and fun character work help balance it above many comedies that have failed to garner laughs.

The message of the movie to never give up, in spite of any obstacles as with proper rigor, we will succeed and learn the most. Teddy's disabilities and determined attempts to combat that compliment this message with a touching underdog story. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 because of sexual references and language. The movie releases in theaters on September 28, 2018, so check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY HERO ACADEMIA: TWO HEROES

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MY HERO ACADEMIA: TWO HEROES - FUNIMATION PRODUCTIONS, INC.
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11-18
Description - All Might and Deku accept an invitation to visit a floating man-made city called I Island where they meet a girl and battle against a villain who takes the island hostage.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - My Hero Academia: Two Heroes follows the story of Izuku Midoriya who lives in a world where 80% of the population has a special power or, as they call it a "quirk." Although Midoriya is "quirk-less," aka born without powers, he still wants to pursue his dream of becoming a super hero. After an encounter with a villain, Midoriya is given a quirk by the number hero in the world All Might and now must attend UA, a high school that teaches up and coming heroes how to use and better, not only their quirk, but themselves. This film takes place in between the 2nd and 3rd seasons of the show, however there is a recap at the beginning of the film to bring newbies up to speed. The storyline sort of reminds me of a PG Diehard where all the characters have to work together in order to save the day, while being outnumbered by the bad guys.

I love this film and love the series in general. This film is great for current fans as it touches on a scene that happened in the TV show, which technically makes the film canon to the rest of the series. The characters and the story are quite appealing and kids will enjoy the subject matter, the animation and the characters. The movie starts off really fast, but it is easy to grasp and the continuity between scenes makes a lot of sense. The style feels like the show, but with a much bigger budget has bigger scenes. All the characters are likeable. However, if you are new to the series, the character Bakugou might be a little off putting. If you are a fan of the series, you will like all the new characters as well as the familiar ones. The animation is spectacular. I love that the show transcended television and made it to the big screen. Depending on where you watch it, theaters have either the English dub or Japanese subtitled version. I saw the English dubbed version and loved it.

The biggest flaw in the film is that we don't see the whole class of UA that we are used to seeing. Out of all the characters in My Hero Academia's roster, a good portion of them are missing. However, that flaw aside, I love this film. I love this story. The animation is amazing and, I'm not going to lie, I teared up a little during the final battle.

The message of this film is that, although whenever something changes drastically it can be scary, during the transition you have to look towards the future like All Might and Midoriya do. All Might, being the number one hero, must retire due to a previous injury, but he sees in Midoriya a new symbol of peace and justice that will take his place down the line. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18. There is some mild profanity such as "bastard," but nothing too severe.

Reviewed by Angel U., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie so much! It was an amazing experience that made me happy to be a fan of this amazing show. It includes all the things I love about My Hero Academia - incredible action, hilarious comedy and wonderful characters.

The story takes place between the second and third season of My Hero Academia, as Deku and All Might travel to the moving city, "I" Island, and must fight a villain who has taken the entire island hostage with the help of Deku's classmates.

An important aspect of this movie is the fact that it takes places in between seasons of My Hero Academia. So the question is, "Can you watch this without having seen the show?" I'd say it probably is ok if you aren't already following the show. The beginning of the movie is mostly exposition, so it explains everything you need to know to understand the world and the protagonist. However, the movie doesn't explain smaller elements of the show, such as how Deku got scars on his hand and why Deku is surprised by a character that uses a certain power. Those are things you would need to have seen the show to understand. However, it doesn't affect the story too much. Aside from Deku and All Might, no one's powers are specifically explained, yet they're shown in way that gives you a general idea of the power, which is kind of a downfall.

So first, animation. The show My Hero Academia already has fantastic animation, but this movie in particular looks amazing and that might be because of its budget. The fight scenes in the show were already amazing, yet the scale of the fights in this movie make them awesome. What impressed me was that I got scared during these fights, yet I knew the movie wouldn't connect to the main story. That's when you know an action scene is cool.

Probably my favorite aspect of My Hero Academia are the characters. Every character is well defined and unique, in powers, appearance and personality. Unfortunately, my favorite character isn't in the movie a whole lot, while my least favorite character is a main character in this movie. It didn't bother me too much though, because the other characters are so funny and likable.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars, mainly because I am a huge fan. If you are just starting to enjoy anime, then this is a great series to start with. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. You should go see it even if you're not yet a fan. It is in theaters now but hurry because it has a limited run.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LOVE, GILDA

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LOVE, GILDA - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - In her own words, comedienne Gilda Radner looks back and reflects on her life and career. Weaving together recently discovered audiotapes, interviews with her friends, rare home movies and diaries read by modern day comediennes (including Amy Poehler), LOVE Gilda offers a unique window into the honest and whimsical world of a beloved performer whose greatest role was sharing her story.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Love, Gilda is an incredibly heartwarming and engaging story that entertained me thoroughly as well as educated me. When I sat down to watch it, I did not expect to like it nearly as much as I did. I was thoroughly impressed with how they portrayed Gilda, how they managed to hold your attention and how they tell a story that made me laugh, cry and relate. While watching, I felt as though, even though I had never met her, Gilda was a friend of mine.

Love, Gilda documents the life of comedian and actress Gilda Radner from her childhood, to her time on Saturday Night Live, to her health struggles towards the later part of her life. It chronicles the exciting and disheartening parts of her life, shows interviews with the current Saturday Night Live cast and includes snippets from her personal diary to illustrate how she felt about the events that occurred.

Something about this film that really stands out to me is how smoothly the storyline and plot flows. Documentaries, especially biographies, tend to give the audience too many irrelevant and unnecessary details that make it so difficult to sit through them and pay attention. But this film has an exceptional way of making me feel like a friend is talking and relating to me, instead of telling me something. It feels authentic and real. It feels as though Gilda herself is talking to me, which I partially accredit to her diary entries. I felt her pain. I felt her happiness. I laughed at her jokes. One part that really stands out is the scene in the hospital when she is being treated. Without giving too much away, that part really inspired me and left me with a happy feeling, even though it is a very sad scene.

This is an exceptional movie. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. Some of the subject matter in the film are a little mature and difficult to deal with. However, I really think that, even though there are many scenes that can be considered depressing, Gilda Radner had such an incredible outlook on life and she didn't feel sorry for or pity herself ever. Therefore, I never felt depressed. Love, Gilda tugged on my heartstrings, but also made me laugh. I am impressed with every aspect of it and I was entertained the whole way through. It is in theaters now, so look for it. Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, THE

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HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Lewis Barnavelt, after losing his parents, is sent to Michigan to live with his uncle Jonathan. He discovers his uncle is a warlock, and enters a world of magic and sorcery. But this power is not limited to good people: Lewis learns of Isaac Izard, an evil wizard who wanted to cause the Apocalypse so that he could see what happened afterwards. To do this, he constructed a magical clock with black magic, as long as it exists it will keep ticking, counting down to doomsday. He died before he could finish the clock, but he hid the clock in his house, where Uncle Jonathan now lives. Now Lewis and Jonathan must find the clock before it's too late, and before Isaac's wife, Selena, gets to it.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Gather around and get ready to travel to a land of magic adventure and mystery, where things come to life before your eyes and people and places are different, because they are filled with magic and beauty. In this land we shall meet new people and see fabulous things that have never been seen before, such as talking couches, Griffins and much more. So come with me and you will see all the magical things that lie inside the world of The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro) is a wonderful warlock. As a mater a fact, he is my favorite warlock throughout the entirety of this film, because he grows during his adventures and becomes a better warlock, friend and family member. As he becomes a better person, we see him learn magic with the help of a few friends and family members. These scenes are just adorable.

Jonathan Barnavelt (Jack Black) and Florence Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett) are the two best magic teachers in all the land. After all, they have an entire enchanted house which they use to teach magic and they also know how to be great family members when you stay with them. These two characters have totally different personalities and that is what makes them the perfect couple. Jonathan Barnavelt is very funny and acts just like the person who portrays him, Jack Black. While Florence Zimmerman is very serious and kind, she is a lady and acts like it too. She is the perfect replica of Cate Blanchett who portrays her perfectly.

Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan) and Selena Izard (Ren�e Elise Goldsberry) are the villains we love to hate. I have to say that their plan for world domination is actually very scary. They make this film perfect for Halloween by adding scary little trick and treats up their sleeves that gets us into the mood for this special holiday that comes once a year.

The best scene in this film is when Lewis Barnavelt taps a water fountain and makes plants come to life as he taps it. I found my eyes lighting up, just like the stars as I watched the plants pass me by in the blink of an eye. Also, I like that it has so many different plants and that the cast interacts with them by juggling them and bouncing them on top of their heads.

I love the graphics because they not only look lifelike, but they act as if they are real, not just computerized graphics. This is one of the many reasons why I love the Griffin, the Couch and the Glass Mural. Each and every one of them has a personality and they act like people, not just old abandoned furniture that you might see in an old house such as the one that Jonathan Barnavelt and Florence Zimmerman live in.

Since this film has some scary aspects such as ventriloquist dolls, live pumpkins with faces, demons, the devil, witches, warlocks and many more, I recommend that your kids know that they are all fake and not real. As long as they know this, then they are okay and will enjoy the movie with no problems. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18 and give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewed by Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

This is an amazing live-action film. It is funny, exciting and a little spooky. I don't usually like scary movies, but this one has just the perfect amount of scary. This film is based on a novel of the same name from 1973 from writer John Bellairs. I haven't seen too many movies with Jack Black in it, but I can tell you Jack Black has usually played funnier roles. This time he plays a more serious character. Cate Blanchett is the perfect addition for this cast. I think the editing is very well done. The sound effects and the film effects are also really good and create an enchanting atmosphere. This story is a classic tale about self discovery in a beautiful magical set up, just like a good old magic trick.

The movie is directed by Eli Roth who is better known as a producer, but has directed a few films with some dark content. This is actually the director's first film not rated R.

The storyline follows a 10-year-old boy, Lewis (Owen Baccaro) who lost his parents and goes to live with his uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) in a very old house with a peculiar thinking heart. His uncle is quite mysterious. He is a warlock and his neighbor, Florence is a good witch (Cate Blanchett). A warlock is basically a boy witch and Jonathan is not a very good one, but he is sweet and has the best intentions. Florence's spells do not always come out right, but she is very caring.

Lewis wants a normal life, but he soon discovers some strange forces dormant within the house. His new home is magical, because a long time ago, a man named Isaac (Kyle McLachlan) lived there with his wife Selena (Ren�e Elise Goldsberry) and they constructed and hid a powerful clock to bring the world into apocalypse. One day, he was doing a spell that accidentally killed himself and his unfinished purpose was hidden in the house with a clock in its walls. Lewis tries to adapt to his new strange home and school. He tries to make new friends and impress the popular boy in the school. By doing so, he releases Isaac and Selena from the tomb on Halloween night, causing chaos in the old pacific town. Lewis goes through an incredible journey in order to have the life he wants.

The story is very engaging at the beginning, but loses a bit of interest as it progresses. The actors are very good. The cinematography and production design are beautiful and immerse the audience in a fantastic world. The music and sound effects are my favorite technical aspects. To me, they become a character themselves.

I definitely give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommended from ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. The message is that things happen and you can't really change them, but magic and great things are always within our hearts. This film opens in theaters September 21, 2018.

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



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