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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BECOMING COUSTEAU - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ENTERTAINMENT - LA
Series: DOCUMENTARY, 10-18
Description - Adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him, sounding alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet's vulnerability. In BECOMING COUSTEAU, from National Geographic Documentary Films, two-time Academy Award�-nominated filmmaker LIZ GARBUS takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century's most unique and renowned environmental voice -- and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The documentary Becoming Cousteau reveals the life of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his passion for all things under the sea. I loved learning more about this man, who was a dominate figure during my youth who brought fantastic underwater images into our living rooms.

This film shows Cousteau's love for the oceans, as it explores over four decades of his work and how he became a spokesperson for the environment more than 50 years ago.

I loved watching this film and learned more about Jacques Cousteau than I knew previously. It sort of filled in the blanks of the back story of the man who captured our hearts and imaginations years ago. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful, although I wondered why the archival shots at the beginning had not been digitally enhanced. I also found it interesting that even his first dives into the ocean, in 1937, were filmed. Of course, he says several times that he has always been a filmmaker, but still those shots surprised me. He also talks about how he was not a good husband or father and, indeed, six months after his wife died he remarried. Also, he sent his children off to boarding school so he and wife number one could spend their time on the boat pursuing various missions. He was a clever businessman too, which was necessary to keep the funding flowing and we learn how he too on an assignment from British Petroleum to research oil reserves under the ocean in order to finance other projects he and his crew pursued. I remember well his TV series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which aired from 1968n to 1976 and featured Cousteau along with his two sons and grandson. His wife, who did not appear on screen, was sort of the glue that held things together with the crew during these expositions on their boat, the Calypso. The Cousteau Society still exists and continues to carry out explorations worldwide and helps people understand the fragility of life on Earth - the Water Planet. This beautifully produced documentary directed by Liz Barbus (The Farm: Angola, USAP truly is an ode to a remarkable man who changed the course of history by embracing life beneath the sea.

The message of this film is a reminder to take care of our planet and treasure the undersea world.

I give Becoming Cousteau 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by R. Levy, KIDS FIRST!
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Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DUNE (2021)

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DUNE (2021)
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DUNE (2021) - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love Dune! It is a thrilling attention-grabbing adventure that creates a connection you would never expect. It opens your mind up to a whole new world that you never knew existed.

This film follows Paul (Timothee Chalamet), the son of the most noble and respected family on their planet, Arrakis. Forces from all over the galaxy, as well as theirs, are fighting for necessary resources, as well as power, in hope of someday finding the one who can stop time.

The director of Dune, Denis Villeneuve has created one of the best films I have ever seen. The camera work and the angles used are extremely insightful and satisfying. For example, when the actors are climbing up the dunes, it's almost as if we are following right behind them. The camera doesn't show us what is at the top until the characters themselves get there. This makes you feel as if you are actually there with them. It creates a suspense that I've never experienced before. Also, the digital and visual effects are out of this world. You fully feel as if you are there with them every moment. Every single sword fight and burst of fire encompasses the entire room and fully transforms your experience. The cast is terrific! For example, the relationship between Paul and his mother (Rebecca Ferguson) shows some of the most raw and real love between a mother and son that I've ever seen on screen. They fully embody their characters and their relationship with each other. Furthermore, I love the character Chani (Zendaya), who is mysterious and intriguing. Zendaya's work never fails to impress me, and I love her role here. I also really enjoyed the bond between Paul and Duncan. They have such a strong friendship that feels so genuine, and gives such a positive effect on the audience. The wardrobe, hair and makeup are all top notch. Every costume is so personalized for each character. All the outfits that Rebecca Ferguson wears are so intricate and unique. She has many wardrobe changes, while still staying true to her character. This is something that was cool to see in such an action packed movie. The hair and makeup are also executed extremely well. They are simple, but intense and give you the feeling that these characters do not live on earth, but they still feel human at the same time. The eye makeup that most of the characters wear, is natural looking and yet created an alien-esc look.

The message of this film is that if you can conquer your fear, then you can conquer anything. This film does include violent scenes, including blood, stabbings and bombs.

I give Dune 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Dune releases in theaters October 22, 2021.

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I love Dune. This film is almost like an introduction to a great story. When at the end Zendaya's character says, "This is only the beginning," the foreshadowing tells me that there will hopefully be a sequel.

Dune is an exceptional film directed by Denis Villeneuve and adapted from the original sci-fi novel, written by Frank Herbert and published in 1965. Fans of the 1984 version directed by David Lynch - and newcomers to Dune -- will be fascinated to see Villeneuve's incarnation. I absolutely love the cast, cinematography, CGI, makeup and many other aspects of this film.

The film takes place on an unfamiliar desert planet, Arrakis - the world of Arrakis is breathtaking. I love the culture of the planet, such as the languages they speak, the homes the characters live in, and, of course, the makeup and costumes have a huge effect on the aesthetic of this planet. The story centers on a young man named Paul Atreides (Timoth�e Chalamet) who has an important role: His family is responsible for mining a very valuable and powerful spice, which is the most precious element on Arrakis. As the story unfolds, it's easy to be captivated and mesmerized into the illusion that you as the audience are with the characters on Arrakis. At times, though, I felt I was almost missing parts of the story. Since this is an adaptation from a book, a lot of information has to be left out, and I left the theater wanting to know more about Arrakis. I also felt that the beginning is a bit slow and most of the action in this film takes place near the end, although that isn't a huge issue for me.

Now let's talk about the acting and this great ensemble cast with Timoth�e Chalamet in the lead role and his peers: Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Issac and many others. I've been a huge fan of Timoth�e Chalamet for a long time and this is one of his best performances to date. I love his character - you can really see how at the beginning of the movie he is a vulnerable yet strong boy who eventually stands his ground and knows his place. I also love Zendaya's performance; throughout the entire movie I was waiting to see her appearance. I also love Jason Momoa's character, another one of my favorites. Finally, Oscar Issac and Rebecca Ferguson work really well together and deliver very engaging performances.

The costumes are very detailed and intricate which bring out fascinating elements of the planet. And the cinematography (by Greig Fraser) and visual storytelling is so beautifully done and goes in perfect sync with the production design. It's important to acknowledge Hans Zimmer who composed all the music since his score brings the sci-fi storytelling to life.

The message of the film is we all have a purpose, we should find our own voice and destinies and true empathy is as powerful as blood lineage in our world.

I give Dune 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Dune opens in theaters, October 22, 2021 and I highly recommend seeing it in IMAX if you can.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAT DADDIES
CAT DADDIES - 101 STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - David Giovanni is living on the streets of New York, determined to stay together with his beloved cat Lucky. When he's finally granted a spot in a transitional housing facility that accepts cats, the COVID-19 pandemic and a devastating medical diagnosis puts his future together with Lucky in doubt. David's journey is interspersed with portraits of other "cat dads" from all over the country and some who struggle to navigate the unprecedented events of 2020 with their little furry friends. They include a group of firefighters, a stunt man, a truck driver, a Bay Area tech worker, a schoolteacher whose cat becomes a viral sensation, and an actor/Instagram influencer. These men couldn't be more different, but they share an unconditional love of their beloved pets. Cat Daddies is a refreshing and timely exploration of modern masculinity and the unlikely bond between man and cat.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like the documentary Cat Daddies because it documents different cat adoptions or rescues, especially by men, and each one of their stories is a heartwarming story that touches you. I liked seeing each one of these men and their cats bond and their journey.

This documentary is about different men or "cat dads" rescuing or adopting kittens from the streets. The film takes place in different states including California, New York, South Carolina and Arizona. You will enjoy different stories of an actor who adopts four cats and becomes an influencer by posting about his cats on social media, a fireman who adopts a cat that now is part of their crew and more. This film also documents the journey of a homeless man named David who suffers from cancer, and his cat Lucky. David became so selfless that it takes him a lot of thinking to go take care of his cancer in order to not leave Lucky unattended. Cats, like dogs, are good companions and can be supportive animals as well. Cats can feel when you are sad and they express their love in different ways from dogs, but that doesn't mean the love they offer is less. We often see movies or stories of men and their dogs, but have you ever watched a heartwarming movie or film about men and their cats? Well, this is your chance! My favorite story is David's. His love for his cat, Lucky, is bigger than himself. Before David admits himself to the hospital to take care of his tumor, he makes sure Lucky is in good hands. He misses Lucky terribly while he's at the hospital. This film is a reminder that if you are looking to adopt a pet, remember there are plenty of adorable cats and dogs in shelters waiting for a warm, cozy and loving home. Why go to pet stores and buy a pet when you can rescue them? At the end of your journey you will ask yourself, "Who rescued whom?"

The message of this film is about how men express their masculinity as they melt with love and compassion over cats.

I give Cat Daddies 5 out of 5 stars and recommended for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It is playing now at select film festivals, so look for it. By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NO TIME TO DIE

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NO TIME TO DIE - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - No Time to Die certainly kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire two hours and forty three minutes. This movie has a combination of danger, romance, sadness, humor and a lot of action and violence, but most importantly, it shocks the audience by revealing a secret hidden from James Bond.

No Time to Die is about agent 007, James Bond (Daniel Craig) who, after a peaceful five years of retirement, comes back to complete a mission, rescuing a Russian scientist who created a powerful weapon out of DNA. During Bond's mission rescuing this scientist, he finds out his number 007 has been assigned to another agent, a woman. He also finds out his wife's secrets and he meets Safin (Rami Malek), a villain who uses the Russian scientist to create dangerous technology. My favorite part is when the female 007, Nomi (Lashana Lynch) tries to compete with Bond on the rescue mission.

This film has a lot of dangerous action. The majority of the scenes include explosives that will make the audience jump out of their seats. The stunts are amazing. The wardrobe is very classy and elegant. The female roles are very important in this movie. Bond's wife is Madeleine (L�a Seydoux) who, at a young age had to fire a gun in order to protect herself. Paloma (Ana de Armas) is a Cuban agent who helped Bond with his mission. Nomi is very proud of her number 007 and does not want to give it back to Bond. Watching these women in action is amusing as well.

The moral of this film is to trust the ones you love. James Bond didn't trust his wife and he lost five years of his life without her that he can never recover ever again. Be forewarned that this movie has a lot of gory scenes and violence, but it does have a PG-13 rating.

O give No Time To Die 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 and 18, plus adults.

This film opens in theatres October 8, 2021. What are your thoughts about agent 007 being a woman? Drop your comments below and stay tuned for more reviews.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LANGUAGE ARTS

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LANGUAGE ARTS - KAIROS PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - A student project abruptly forces an emotionally stunted high school English teacher to confront his demons--past and present--taking him on a powerful journey of connection and redemption. Based on the novel, starring Ashley Zukerman, Sarah Shahi, Elliott Smith and Lincoln Lambert.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Language Arts is a powerful film about a difficult subject that draws you in as the characters develop and face challenges. It's emotional to see some of the challenges the characters face. It is even more difficult to see how children without challenges treat those with them.< p>The storyline follows a student that wants to do a project on how people with limited or no language skills are able to tell their own stories. Her English teacher, who grew up in a flawed family, has an autistic child. During this powerful movie he relives his life, the good and the bad, on a path that will bring him to a much better place.

We are introduced to people who have dementia, are autistic and those who have other challenges. The characters are full and rich. I don't believe the nun, with dementia, would have just been lead to a new room and quickly left there alone. The actor who plays Dana, who went to school with the teacher, delivers a great performance. However, I don't believe he would ever have been left unattended, given how challenged he is. The teacher and Charlie's child, Cody both give believable performances. Although the actors portray the characters well, I don't believe they would be as easily handled as the movie shows. The end of the film pulls everything together very well, particularly for Cody's divorced parents.

Much of the movie is very "beige." The scene where Charlie and his wife visit a doctor is the perfect example. Not only is the office beige, but Charlie and his wife's clothing match the colors of the wall. Cody's room is very "beige." Even the kitchen, where the nuns bake bread, have little color. The end of the film is the only place, for the most part, where there is color that pops. Given how heavy the material is, a little color may help. The way they tie the Palmer method of writing throughout the film is amazing! The costumes are accurate for the time, but again, adding some color might help. The only scene, besides the ending that has color is when Charlie is bartending and his wife is with him in a colorful outfit. How the characters act makes for great visual effects, from the nun making a collage of Cody's work with crunchy noodles and paper. What the characters do very much impacts how you see each one and makes them very believable.

Mrs. Braxton (Jane Ryan) plays a teacher of that time to perfection. The Charles (Elliot Smith) character is incredibly well developed from his dysfunctional and traumatic childhood, due to trauma suffered over the assault of Dana (Lincoln Lambert) and Charles' (Ashley Zukerman mother (not credited) not telling him that Dana survived. Dana gives a stellar performance and we discover he lived and had a rich life, and wrote his mother many letters, which leads right back to the Palmer method of writing.

There is also a point when Charles' mother-in-law sums her daughter up so succinctly it is a true gem of a line, "My daughter, let's hope out lasts the truth, otherwise known as denial. There are some real gems throughout the movie.

The director's skill shows throughout the film. The background music fits in well and is wonderful. The costumes needed some help, as they were very bland. My favorite scene is where Charlie's wife's parents visit to talk about home renovations. It meant a lot to see Charlie visit Dana's mother and finally learn the truth. The movie is well done and ventures into areas few have dared to go. For those who have not been in contact with people with these kinds of challenges, it important they see the full spectrum of humanity. The characters are rich and developed. It is a powerful movie with a great message. Although depressing in many ways, it is an excellent film with a positive message at the end.

The message is that everyone has a voice, although they may show it in different ways!< p>I give Language Arts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 through 18, plus adults. This is a film that offers many viewers a whole new perspective.

By Evie K., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An emotionally compelling film, with impeccable performances and superb cinematography, Language Arts provides viewers with a glimpse into the lives of parents of children with disabilities as well as the children themselves.

Language Arts follows a man on his life journey. As a student, he befriends Dana, an autistic boy who is part of a program at his school. Dana is bullied by other students every day and, after an especially horrid incident involving a pen and a pantsing, Dana's life is in danger. The film fast-forwards and the young man is now an English teacher with an autistic son named Cody and a strained marriage. Over the duration of the film, life comes full circle for him as he reconnects with his past and comes to terms with the struggles he faces through his student's photography project.

The film's director, Cornelia "Corrie" Dury�e, is part of the disabled community herself, as she suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, fibromyalgia and severe multiple chemical sensitivity. Her youngest son, who makes a cameo in the film, has ASD. Four actors in the film also have ASD, including Mickey Rowe , who is an incredible actor with great depth of emotion and, evidently, personal experience that fuels his conviction to the role. Lincoln Lambert plays Dana, and his portrayal of an autistic student is very compelling. The cinematography accents the turmoil faced by the characters, with many crisp and evocative close-ups, and music accents every poignant moment. Some of the cuts between years and ages of characters make the film tough to understand at the start, but the story unrolls as it develops in a magnificent fashion.

Language Arts promotes accepting each other for who they are; making friends with those that are different from you; and working together, which can help people overcome what may seem like an insuperable hurdle. The film does contain some profanity, portrayals of fights, and various instances of ableism. There are also some graphic scenes where Dana is violently bullied.

I give Language Arts 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. The film will resonate with parents of disabled children. It is available now on VOD.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Kid Reporter, age 15

Language Arts is an emotional film that covers a wide variety of heavy, yet entertaining topics. This film has talented actors, great sets, relatable storylines, strong characters and fabulous cinematography. The creativity of this film is so cool, although it is sometimes a little bit confusing.

The storyline follows Charles Marlow (Ashley Zukerman) as he deals with family issues and connects with differently abled people throughout his life. As some young autistic patients start sparking memories of his childhood, we travel back to those times with him. As we visit his past, we see young Charles Marlow (Elliott Smith) and Dana McGucken (Lincoln Lambert) in elementary school, meeting and marrying Allison Forche-Marlow (Sarah Shahi) and then dealing with his disabled son, Cody Marlow (Kieran Walton). We get even more backstory about young Charles as kid and observe his life with his constantly arguing parents.

Language Arts has many fantastic elements; one of them being the incredibly well-chosen actors. The emotional story leads to deeply developed characters, which requires talented actors to pull off. Each actor portrays their character very well. Some of the best performances are from Elliott Smith as young Charles Marlow and Sarah Shahi as Allison Forche-Marlow. Young Charles Marlow deals with many challenging situations, including distant parents and bullying. Elliott Smith captures his character so well that I believe he is Charles. Sarah Shahi clearly connects with her character, Allison. She shines a light on Allison's real desires and personality, despite her actions telling a different story. Most importantly, the storyline is relatable and written strong enough to give actors the opportunity to shine. Each character has its own subplot so that every character is important. Learning about the secondary characters' backgrounds and deepest desires through the subplots adds to the film. The sets are another standout part. I particularly liked the set in the art studio which features beautiful artwork. The camerawork is also outstanding, using a variety of angles to draw you into the scenes. I love the creativity of the film jumping back and forth in time, allowing us to see the characters when they were younger, which helps us understand their current point of view. Yet that gets confusing at times. Sometimes it's difficult to know if I'm watching something from the past, present or future and that makes the storyline hard to follow. However, once you get accustomed to those time changes, which includes change of wardrobe and period-specific sets, the film is easier to follow.

The message of this film is to treat people with disabilities with the same respect as anyone else. There are other important themes that are shown such as being kind and living life to its fullest. Language Arts does address heavy topics, contains some profanity and is a sad story in many ways.

I give Language Arts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Language Arts now on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
JUSTIN BIEBER: OUR WORLD

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JUSTIN BIEBER: OUR WORLD - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Justin Bieber: Our World takes viewers backstage, onstage, and into the private world of the musical icon as he prepares for his unprecedented concert, "T-Mobile Presents New Year's Eve Live with Justin Bieber." After a three-year hiatus from a full performance, and with concert venues shut down due to the pandemic, Bieber delivers an electrifying show to close out 2020 on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for 240 invited guests--and millions of fans across the globe watching via livestream. The film follows Bieber and his close-knit team in the month leading up to the show, as they rehearse and construct a monumental stage while adhering to strict health and safety protocols. The film also captures personal, self-shot moments between Bieber and his wife Hailey.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Justin Bieber: Our World is one of the most immersive Belieber experiences out there - the film takes you backstage, onstage and into the private world of Justin Bieber in a beautifully produced 96 minute documentary. It's certainly not a film to miss!

Viewers step into the shoes of Bieber and his team as they prepare for a record-breaking New Year's Eve 2020 concert after a three-year hiatus. Due to pandemic protocols, Bieber plans to deliver his performance on top of the Beverly Hilton Hotel for 240 invited guests and millions of fans watching via live stream. But setting the whole event up is certainly no easy task. Rehearsing, building a massive stage and light setup, and dealing with technology make the experience more than slightly stressful for the crew. The film also captures personal self-shot moments between Bieber and his wife Hailey through his own "vlog camera." A good part of the film is composed of Bieber performing his songs.

The production quality of Justin Bieber: Our World is quite high, with candid perspectives captured in an organized fashion and organic cuts between songs and scenes. The genuine companionship and love Bieber's crew has for him (and vice versa) shows on screen. It's certainly heartwarming to see the small, sweet moments, like how Bieber's choreographer is welcomed back on set after his quarantine.

Justin Bieber: Our World promotes teamwork, perseverance, patience and the importance of family.

I give Justin Bieber: Our World 5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Justin Bieber: Our World premieres on Prime Video on October 6, 2021. Check it out!

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

Last year was a year like no other. Humans across the globe had to adapt while taking a pause due to the pandemic and its lockdowns. For many of us, that was a difficult task. Many events came to a screeching halt including family and friend get togethers, holiday gatherings, and any entertainment outside the home. Life was as abnormal as it gets! We look forward to these events within our lives as they are what keep us laughing, smiling and connected to others. We had to get real creative in staying connected with love ones and that's exactly what world superstar, Justin Bieber did in 2020 while ringing in the new year. Together with his dedicated team of music professionals, Bieber found a creative way to stay connected and share his talents with the world on a very special evening considering the strict guidelines of the pandemic.

Justin Bieber: Our World, is a new 90 minute documentary which highlights the recording of Bieber's special evening and the days leading up to the New Year's Eve concert. The film takes us behind-the-scenes and gives fans a look at the many efforts put forth by the Bieber team to produce an amazing show while following strict COVID health and safety procedures. The film documents a 30 day overview of the hard work and obstacles involved in the production of an event during this uncertain time. With little public entertainment going on during the pandemic, Bieber's creative team found the perfect way to deliver this artist's talents to fans globally in celebration of the New Year. Approximately 200 fans were able to view Bieber's return to the stage from their socially distant balconies, while others around the world were able to watch a live stream of the concert from their homes. Above the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, this music artist did not disappoint his fans with his gift of 21 hits shared with the world.

There are many positive thoughts worth sharing about this film. First, I have a great deal of respect for Justin Bieber and his journey. He entered the industry as a child and dug his heels in to get where he is today. He has overcome many obstacles in his life, including performing for a world overcome by COVID, which is evident in this film. The film highlights so many of the moving parts that are put into play to produce entertainment. I appreciated seeing how all the various teams of professionals came together in order to put create such an amazing show. Most notable in this documentary are the choreography and dancers. A big "thumbs up" for Nick DeMoura, the lead choreographer on the Bieber Team, who created masterpiece dance routines for this concert. The dancers stole the show! As I'm more than a casual fan, I had hoped that this documentary would reflect more on the personal life of Bieber, rather than the film being almost entirely about this concert. There's no doubt that Justin Bieber was born with a true gift and he's a very talented individual, so whatever he is able of sharing with his fans - we'll take it!

The message in Justin Bieber: Our World is the importance of teamwork and loyalty. Bieber's team has been together since he became a super star and it is obvious that they have formed connections that are much more than professional. They work together through challenges and hard times, but always find ways to laugh and to build on their friendships. The message is also about commitment and mutual respect. These are two qualities which are desperately needed within this industry. Justin Bieber makes it very well known through his words and actions in the film that he values his team.

I give Justin Bieber: Our World 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults and all Bieber fans will especially enjoy this documentary. Justin Bieber: Our World is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE

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VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Eddie Brock struggles to adjust to his new life as the host of the alien symbiote Venom, which grants him super-human abilities in order to be a lethal vigilante. Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Venom: Let There Be Carnage because it is based on one of my favorite Marvel characters, Venom. I like that Carnage is a product of Venom, so watching these monsters clashing with each other is phenomenal.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is about a journalist named Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) who has a dark black, Spiderman looking devil named Venom that lives inside his body. Most of the movie shows Eddie and Venom not getting along, because Eddie is sick and tired of having Venom inside his body and Venom wants to be free to eat people. Venom is very clumsy and destructive and Eddie is frustrated because his apartment is a mess. An assassin named Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) knows Eddie and asks to speak to him before his death sentence is carried out. Eddie visits Cletus in prison, but Cletus antagonizes Eddie with his past and Venom comes out of Eddie's body to choke Cletus. Cletus bites Eddie's hand and tastes Venom's blood. So guess what happens? You have to watch the film to find out.

This film has amazing CGI graphics. The graphics look so real and the buildings falling apart when Venom climbs between them look real as well. The fighting scenes between these two titans are so incredible that it makes you want to see more. I expected there to be more encounters between Venom and Carnage and was disappointed that there weren't more. The movie has a good combination of comedy and action. The music is appealing in every scene. My favorite part is, of course, the battle between Venom and Carnage in the church. Carnage is huge compared to Venom and looks more powerful than him because Carnage has multiple extremities which Venom does not have.

The moral of this film is to never underestimate yourself no matter your size or strength. You do not know if you can win the war if you don't go to battle.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie is available in theatres Friday, October 1, 2021. Remember, like all Marvel movies, you have to wait until after the credits. By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

There are several things in this film that fall short for me. Its lack of development of Kasady and the way it seems quite biased towards Venom. It's important to note that I haven't seen the original Venom, but I had a pretty easy time understanding the characters and the important plot details. As far as I can tell, the first movie didn't have much of an impact on the story of this film.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the sequel to Venom (2018) and it continues the story of Eddie Brock and the alien symbiote Venom (Tom Hardy). In an attempt to restore his journalism career, Eddie interviews the serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson) right before he receives the death penalty. However, Kasady ends up becoming the host of a new symbiote, named Carnage and escapes. Now Eddie and Venom must stop Kasady and Carnage.

My biggest issue with this film is its pacing. The film is 90 minutes long, and it feels like it ends before the climax really starts. If I could make a suggestion, I would have preferred that they spent more time developing Kasady, as well as his childhood love interest, Shriek (Naomie Harris). We see small glimpses of their history with each other, but we never really learn why they're so attached. Considering that Kasady's main motive is to be with Shriek, she definitely should have been more developed; she doesn't really feel like a character her, she feels more like a plot device. Another thing that bothered me about this movie is the way it treats Eddie and Venom. Venom is an interesting character, because he starts as a villain and morphs into an antihero over time, and the movie hints at this duality. However, the movie seems very biased towards Venom. When Eddie calls out Venom for causing problems for the both of them, Eddie later has to apologize to Venom. Meanwhile, Venom is never held accountable for the fact that he does cause a lot of problems. Eddie was completely in the right in that situation. The film wants us to believe Venom is super funny and edgy, but he acts like a spoiled child for most of the film and I felt bad for Eddie the entire time.

The message of this film is that it's important for people to work together and communicate, so they can come to an understanding. I also would like to warn people that it is quite a violent and loud movie with a lot of action scenes.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. It releases in theaters October 1, 2021. By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 18

Time to sink our teeth into the new wild ride of Venom: Let There Be Carnage! This film differs little from the first film, but still delivers entertaining action with its stellar CGI. A complex plot is crucial for a blockbuster action film of this caliber, and unfortunately this sequel spirals out of control and ends up a large mess. Most of the dialogue between Venom and Eddie is extremely hard to understand because of the depth and pace of Venom's voice; so watching with subtitles on is ideal. Venom: Let There Be Carnage begins with the iconic duo of Venom and Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) as they both learn to live with each other and solve their own problems. When Eddie continues to interview serial killer Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), he ends up solving a murder case tied to Celetus's name. This seals Cletus's fate as he is now sentenced to death. Allowing his seemingly "final words" with Eddie, he gains the offspring of Venom, giving Celetus the ability to team up with the psychotic beast Carnage! Venom and Carnage go toe to toe for the battle of a lifetime.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage has a plethora of carnage, just not in the way we want to see. The sequel is borderline pleasurable, however has no remarkable improvements or differences from its predecessor. Carnage, in his original comics, is brutal. He is an insane symbiote who doesn't kill because he needs to; it's because he wants to. Before the release of the film, there was early debate whether a PG-13 rating could handle him, or truly embrace him by having an R rating. Comic book fans will notice how significantly diluted the character is, making him feel out of place and simply inaccurate. Another consistent problem is the humor and dialogue. The first film had a known struggle of embarrassing dialogue and the sequel tries to overcorrect that issue, but results in numerous jokes not landing, with no audience reaction.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is as PG-13 a film could be without being rated R. As you can expect with these characters, there is plenty of graphic and intense violence with multiple instances of cursing. Multiple scenes are extremely vigorous and can not be handled by younger viewers. Beneath the mayhem lies themes of friendship, family, and love. One of the main morals is that, despite all obstacles, teamwork always prevails.

I give Venom: Let There Be Carnage 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. You can find Venom: Let There Be Carnage at your local theater now.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADDAMS FAMILY 2, THE

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ADDAMS FAMILY 2, THE - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6 - 18
Description - The Addams Family Everyone's favorite spooky family is back in the animated comedy sequel, The Addams Family 2. In this all new movie we find Morticia and Gomez distraught that their children are growing up, skipping family dinners, and totally consumed with "scream time." To reclaim their bond they decide to cram Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester and the crew into their haunted camper and hit the road for one last miserable family vacation. Their adventure across America takes them out of their element and into hilarious run-ins with their iconic cousin, It, as well as many new kooky characters. What could possibly go wrong?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - It's time to take a road trip with our favorite creepy family just in time for Halloween! In the follow up to the 2019 film, the Addams family brings the same amazing family values and fun in The Addams Family 2, which takes us on a new spooktacular adventure, complete with explosions, practical jokes, sibling rivalries and fun. This film is just as entertaining as the first one.

The Addams Family 2 focuses on Wednesday Addams (Chloe Grace Moretz), who is feeling misplaced and not very "Addamsy," so she is slowly pulling away from her family. To get his family closer, her father, Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac) takes everyone on a road trip in a haunted RV. At the same time, the family is being followed by a creepy man, Mr. Mustela (Wallace Shawn), who is threatening to break up the family after it is discovered that Wednesday may not be an Addams. Gomez and Morticia Addams (Charlize Theron) have to find different ways to protect the family, which initiates a series of wacky adventures on this road trip.

The movie follows Wednesday as she learns about who she is, however, the main character is the entire Addams family: Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley (Javon "Wanna" Walton), Uncle Fester, (Nick Kroll), Cousin It (Snoop Dogg) and Grandma (Bette Milder). I love how the storyline focuses on family and how the Addams family will fight tooth and nail together to stay a family. The audience will not have a problem connecting with the characters as they all have a strong presence in this sequel and are well-developed. The audience will be spooked by the protective, yet, funny role, played by the family's butler, Lurch (Director, Conrad Vernon). This film is hilarious. My favorite part is when Wednesday uses a voodoo doll to help Pugsley impress a group of girls by dancing and then tosses him into the Niagara Falls in true Addams' fashion. The music keeps the film energetic and. of course, wouldn't be complete without a concert performance by Cousin It.

The message of The Addams Family 2 is to love and accept each other and it reminds us that family goes beyond genetics. Throughout the film, different characters try to force others to change qualities they dislike about them instead of accepting them as they are, and perhaps just working on themselves.

The Addams Family gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. The Addams Family 2 creeps into theatres and On Demand October 1, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DEAR EVAN HANSEN

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DEAR EVAN HANSEN - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 11-18
Description - The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film musical Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky, is phenomenal and breathtaking. I really enjoyed watching this, because it is a true original, outstanding musical that speaks directly to the heart. Dear Evan Hansen is something extraordinary; it is not like any musical I have watched before and it has a really powerful message as it engages with the real world in ways that most musicals don't.

Evan Hansen is an anxious, isolated high-school student who's aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social media age. He soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery when a letter he wrote for his therapy writing exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son took his own life. Evan is tossed in the tumult of a fractured, grieving family. Connor's parents believe Evan was his best friend. But the reality is far different. Evan plays along with the charade, gaining the fame, adulation and love that he's always dreamed of - all at the expense of Connor's memory.

My favourite actor is Evan's mother Heidi (Julianne Moore). Heidi is a single mom, working late-night nursing shifts to afford college for Evan. She desperately wants the best for him, even when he doesn't notice her efforts. The film's best scenes revolve around her; the first occurring when Cynthia and Larry offer to cover Evan's tuition. She's proud. And you can see the gears shifting inside of Heidi's head before she declines. The film offers sympathy to all its characters by offering them the chance to sing their feelings out and make a case as to why they matter.

The message of this film applies to teens trying to overcome social anxieties, reminding them that it's okay to be anxious and depressed, and that being medicated for those things, if necessary, is normal and healthy. However, don't change yourself just to fit into society; stand up for yourself. If something happens and you are caught up in the situation, be confident in yourself, no matter what. A note of caution: this film does address suicide, has some strong language and some suggestive references.

I give Dear Evan Hansen 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theatres now.

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

Dear Evan Hanson is one of the most relatable films released this year. It paints the perfect picture of how many people have felt about emerging from the pandemic and how they have coped with it.

The storyline follows a high school senior named Evan Hanson (Ben Platt) and his transition between a traumatic summer to his last year of high school. He starts the year with an odd series of events that affect the rest of his year and his life.

Ben Platt has always been one of my favorite actors to watch. He plays such a vulnerable, emotional and relatable character that many young adults can relate to. He gives a raw performance showing what social anxiety and depression may look like in a high school setting. This film is adapted from the Tony Award-winning musical by the same name, but the musical numbers don't show up a lot. There is more dialogue, which I enjoyed. I cried more than three times during this film, which shows you how much the film's message affected me. Like Ben Platt we see other emotional performances from Colton Ryan (Connor Murphy) and Cynthia Murphy (Amy Adams). Larry Murphy (Danny Pino) represents society in the way that many are ignorant to the signs and severity of mental health issues of those around us. The opening scene's musical number Waving Through a Window is the best introduction to a main character I have seen. Through lyrics and non-verbal cues the actors send a message that made me think of my own health and question the society that young adults are dealing with today.

The message of this film is that it is okay to know that you are not okay. Anyone, at any point in time, may be going through a tough time; take care of yourself, and maybe even write a letter to yourself like Evan does in this film. You should be aware that the film does mention suicide and other mental health issues that may be an issue for some viewers.

I give Dear Evan Hanson 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theatres now.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MY LITTLE PONY: A NEW GENERATION

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MY LITTLE PONY: A NEW GENERATION - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-14
Description - The unimaginable has happened... Equestria has lost its magic! Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi are no longer friends and now live separated by species. But idealistic Earth Pony Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) is determined to find a way to bring enchantment and unity back to their world. Teaming up with open-hearted Unicorn Izzy (Kimiko Glenn), the pair travel to faraway lands where they encounter the likes of charismatic and brave Pegasi Pipp (Sofia Carson) and Zipp (Liza Koshy) and the ever-responsible fellow Earth Pony Hitch (James Marsden). Their mission is full of misadventures, but these new best friends each possess their own unique and special gifts that may be just what this ponyverse needs to restore magic and prove that even little ponies can make a big difference.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - My Little Pony: A New Generation is a continuation of the My Little Pony series. It will remind you of the original, but it's more modern. It is very entertaining and interesting. If you have watched the My Little Pony series before, you will enjoy this.

The storyline follows Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) who is an Earth pony and she meets a unicorn named Izzy (Kimiko Glenn). Unicorns, Earth ponies and Pegasi aren't friends anymore and it is unlikely to see them together. Sunny and Izzy realize that all the ponies don't have any magic and they need to find out why. They travel all through Equestria to find out how to get magic back for everyone.

The songs in this film are very catchy and creative. My favorite song is "Glowin' Up'' performed by Sofia Carson, because it is upbeat, sets the mood and is a good song all around. The storyline is fun and shows us how the times are much more different than it was with the original ponies. My favorite character is Sunny, because she doesn't believe what others want her to believe and she never gives up. She grew up with people always telling her that the other ponies were bad, but she knows how to see the good in them, so she thinks differently. Also, when times get tough Sunny never gives up.

The message of My Little Pony: A New Generation is friendship is magic. If you have been a My Little Pony fan since earlier shows, this message will pop right into your head. This is a great film to watch with the family. is an awesome film to watch.

I rate My Little Pony: A New Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 11. You can watch this film on Netflix starting September 24, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

My Little Pony: A New Generation is a new upbeat, vibrant and adventure-filled movie. If you've seen previous My Little Pony shows or movies, you will be pleasantly surprised with this new one. With all different types of ponies coming together, and saving the day with the power of friendship, you will be entertained the whole time.

My Little Pony: A New Generation is about a young Earth pony named Sunny (Vanessa Hudgens) who is set on bringing back the friendship, magic and unity between the Earth ponies, the unicorns, and the Pegasi. Teaming up with a unicorn named Izzy (Kimiko Glenn), which is frowned upon by Sunny's best friend and sheriff Hitch (James Marsden), Sunny goes on a quest to get the divided crystals that would bring Equestria back to the way it used to be. Along the way she makes new friends, and faces new challenges.

My favorite thing about this movie is the music. Beautiful harmony is one of my favorite things, and every song in this movie has that element. My favorite song is "Fit Right In" performed by Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Marsden, Liza Koshy and Sofia Carson. The different parts that everyone sings and the visuals that accompany it make it a stand-out scene that audiences will remember. The whole vibe of this song matches the tone of the movie extremely well. My Little Pony: A New Generation is a movie targeted towards younger audiences, so naturally they aren't going to explicitly refer to the more mature morals. However, within the plot of the film, it's evident that one of the messages is that it doesn't matter who you are, where you're from or what you look like, you shouldn't be judged by someone before they get to know you. Everyone should be included, and treated with kindness. The Earth ponies, Unicorns and Pegasi were taught to be afraid of each other. But, once they meet and hear the other sides of their stories, they become friends and realize that it doesn't matter what anyone else says, they make their own decisions about the others. My favorite characters in this show are Sunny and Hitch. They're definitely an example of a dynamic duo. Even though they are different, with Hitch being professional and overprotective and Sunny being adventurous and a risk-taker, they make a great team.

The message of My Little Pony: A New Generation is something that all of the ponies can agree on no matter where they're from - friendship is magic. No matter what they are told about each other, they will always come together for friendship.

I rate My Little Pony: A New Generation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. No matter how different the ponies look, you will feel the nostalgia from the relationships between them. My Little Pony: A New Generation comes out on Netflix September 24, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 6-11 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALPINIST, THE

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ALPINIST, THE - ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Marc-Andr� Leclerc climbs alone, far from the limelight. The free-spirited 23-year-old makes some of the boldest solo ascents in history. With no cameras and no margin for error, Leclerc's approach is the essence of solo adventure.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Alpinist is a fascinating documentary that shows rare footage of beautiful landscapes and will either inspire you to chase your dreams or make you afraid of heights. Whichever way you take it, the movie is well worth the watch.

The Alpinist follows the 23-year-old mountain climber, Marc-Andre Leclerc, who is a pioneer of solo climbing and has broken countless records. In the documentary, you see all his astonishing climbs and travels around the world and meet the meaningful people who are in Marc-Andre's life.

There are many remarkable factors about the movie. The first thing to mention is the cinematography which is mind blowing! The angles and the positions of the camera capture the climbing so perfectly that you feel as if you are climbing right along with Marc-Andre. You feel so connected to Marc-Andre that you feel like you've known him forever. Kudos to directors Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen and their crew. The way they captured this incredible footage is remarkable, because as you watch the film, you learn how elusive Marc-Andre Leclerc can be.

The messages of this film are to follow your passions and to have courage, while also understanding the risks of what you are doing. There is some profanity, some wounds are shown, and the use of drugs. If you are afraid of heights, I would definitely not recommend this.

I give The Alpinist 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters September 10, 2021. Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, THE

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EYES OF TAMMY FAYE, THE - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - An intimate look at the extraordinary rise, fall and redemption of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. In the 1970s and 80s, Tammy Faye and her husband, Jim Bakker, rose from humble beginnings to create the world's largest religious broadcasting network and theme park, and were revered for their message of love, acceptance and prosperity. Tammy Faye was legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, it wasn't long before financial improprieties, scheming rivals, and scandal toppled their carefully constructed empire.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I liked the film The Eyes of Tammy Faye because it is a heartwarming story that opened me up to a whole other world that I was unaware of. It taught me about others' way of life and how their beliefs can make them the person that they are.

This movie follows the lives of Tammy Faye (Jessica Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). They both dedicated their lives to Christianity and made a living from it. They found each other young and grew together. However, as their work continued to evolve Jim began to forget why this all started. Whereas Tammy made plenty of mistakes, but always remembers who she is.

Something that I enjoyed about this film is how honest and real it is. It shows the reality of the lives of these two people and doesn't sugar coat anything. Another thing that stands out is the acting. Jessica Chastain makes her character extremely believable. Additionally, this film takes place in a completely different time period, and she really taps into that. Furthermore, the characters' ages are constantly changing as the decades go by. Tammy always looks and acts exactly as she was supposed to be during each time period. Lastly, the sets and costume designs are executed extremely well. Everything matches the time period perfectly, and made me believe I was actually living during that time.

The message of this film is to always stay true to yourself and your beliefs. This film does contain some romantic content.

I give The Eyes of Tammy Faye 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 as well as adults. The Eyes of Tammy Faye releases in theaters September 17, 2021.

By Mikella G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY
PLAYING WITH SHARKS: THE VALERIE TAYLOR STORY - DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Pioneering scuba diver Valerie Taylor, who has dedicated her life to exposing the myth surrounding our fear of sharks.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Many of us are completely mesmerized by Earth's oceans and find the species inhabiting these bodies of water very fascinating. What lies beneath the ocean's surface is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Species ranging from small macro-molecules to gigantic creatures that lurk within these waters offer us fear of the unknown. Valerie Taylor, a famed underwater filmmaker and shark researcher, has made a life for herself stepping into that unknown. Valerie's life story as a pioneer of close-up encounters with the most frightening of all ocean creatures has been made into a riveting new documentary film, Playing with Sharks. Within this film Taylor gives proof to the world that there is no need to fear some of our oceans most misunderstood creatures - sharks.

Playing with Sharks is a fascinating tribute to Australia's Valerie Taylor, who has spent more than 70 years diving into oceans around the world capturing footage of a variety of shark species, including that of the Great White. As part of National Geographic's 9th Annual Shark Fest, this documentary chronicles the life of a woman who has gone from champion spearfisher to shark protector. Valerie's early days as a marine hunter was halted following a personal revelation that depletion of massive numbers of marine animals will undoubtedly change the habitats she loves most. Realizing that there are only 10% of sharks left in the world, it was an easy decision for Taylor to retire her spear and shoot these apex predators using only her camera. In what seemed to be the highlight of Valerie's career when her shark footage was used in the making of Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller, Jaws, but it actually brought unintended consequences for these marine creatures. The movie Jaws unexpectedly triggered a heightened fear and complete dislike for sharks. In a race to quickly fix the tarnished perception of sharks, Valerie Taylor became a powerful voice for their protection.

Sally Aitkins, Emmy-nominated director and writer of Playing with Sharks, has moved mountains with this documentary! Through remastered footage of Valerie Taylor's life journey, Aitkins shines a bright light on this living legend. The flashbacks to Taylor's earlier professional years is a great touch to the film and allows viewers to experience just how passionate Valerie is about marine life and her determination to protect it. The many marine professionals who share their experiences with Valerie also add a great deal to this film. The footage shared in this documentary serves as the evidence needed to move us from fear to respect for these amazing creatures who call the ocean their home.

Playing with Sharks has many messages, but the most important one is the need for mutual respect for all forms of life with which we share our world. We live in a world driven by greed and disrespect for other living things and, because of this, not everyone understands that we all depend on each other for survival. When removing one link to a chain, the chain falls apart. We must find a way to better understand nature in order to appreciate it. In her lifelong commitment to conservation, Valerie Taylor has done just that - she has exposed the truth about sharks and has created an audience of believers that these creatures have for years been misunderstood.

I give Playing with Sharks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults would especially enjoy this documentary. Playing With Sharks begins streaming on Disney+ July 23, 2021. This is a must see film for all marine lovers.

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY

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MY NAME IS PAULI MURRAY - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - Fifteen years before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat, a full decade before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned separate-but-equal legislation, Pauli Murray was already knee-deep fighting for social justice. A pioneering attorney, activist, priest and dedicated memoirist, Murray shaped landmark litigation--and consciousness-- around race and gender equity. As an African American youth raised in the segregated South--who was also wrestling with broader notions of gender identity--Pauli understood, intrinsically, what it was to exist beyond previously accepted categories and cultural norms. Both Pauli's personal path and tireless advocacy foreshadowed some of the most politically consequential issues of our time. Told largely in Pauli's own words, My Name is Pauli Murray is a candid recounting of that unique and extraordinary journey.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The documentary My Name is Pauli Murray is a missing piece of history that has not been taught in our classrooms. It amplifies the life of an African American female whose struggles pushed her to create everlasting change in our modern society.

My Name is Pauli Murray shares the life of Pauli Murray, an African American queer woman, who shattered the status quo by fighting for women's and civil rights. She was a student, lawyer, minister and a heroine in many aspects. This documentary sheds light on all of her societal triumphs and personal defeats.

As an African American female, I felt a great sense of sadness after watching this documentary. This film shows that the society I currently live in is a direct result of Pauli Murray's impact and yet, I never learned about her in school. Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen, producers and directors of the documentary RBG bring to live the legacy of a woman unknown to most people. There are little questions the audience has about her life after the film's completion. One aspect I did not like is how the film breaks her life into phases of her career paths. This set-up hampers us from seeing the connection between her personal life and her careers. However, that may be due to my curiosity about knowing more about her and her life. My favorite part of this film is the repetition of the quote, "She was ahead of her time." Pauli Murray refused to move to the back of a segregated bus 15 years before Rosa Parks did. Many people think that certain historical events, radical ideals, and justice comes with a timeframe when, in actuality it does not. That is what this film teaches us.

The message of this film is that you are not ahead of your time; it's just that the world may not be ready for you. Yet, soon enough, they will be. This film does contain violent scenes showing racial injustice.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. My Name is Pauli Murray opens in theatres September 17 and streams on Prime Video October 1, 2021.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

My Name is Pauli Murray is a documentary about Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist, women's rights activists, lawyer and poet and non-binary advocate for LGBTQ rights. It goes into detail about Pauli's life, as well as the many great things Pauli accomplished and the impact they left on the future. This film is very informative and overall a well-structured documentary. It was an enjoyable viewing experience.

It was really interesting to learn about Pauli Murray, because before watching this film, I had no idea who they were. And Pauli was definitely a person who deserves to be remembered--not just for their legacy and cultural impact but also for who they were as a person. My Name is Pauli Murray does take time to discuss Pauli's personal life and hardships, and that is one way in which this film makes Pauli relatable to people of this generation. I was particularly interested in the discussions of gender identity and presentation. It was heartbreaking to hear about Pauli's difficulties being non-binary, because nowadays we do have words to describe what Pauli felt.

I also really enjoyed the editing and presentation of this documentary. Not only was this film extremely educational and thought provoking, but it was also fun to watch. There were many instances where quotes from Pauli would appear on screen to drive the point of a specific section, which was very effective. My Name is Pauli Murray has a unique visual style, and the pacing is excellent.

I definitely think My Name is Pauli Murray is crucial viewing for anyone who is interested in civil rights and gender equality. The film tells a very inspirational story about an unsung hero who was before their time and who deserves to be heard. However, it should be known that this film includes graphic depictions, as well as descriptions, of racist hate crimes. There are many moments that showcase photos and footage of these events, and this could be potentially triggering.

I give My Name is Pauli Murray 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. This film comes out in theaters September 17, 2021 and will be released on Prime Video on October 1, 2021.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE

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EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE - AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Description - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is a 2021 biographical coming-of-age musical comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Butterell (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Tom MacRae based on the stage musical of the same name, in turn adapted from the BBC Three documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. Despite obstacles, 16-year-old Jamie has the courage to fabulously follow his unconventional dream in this inspiring true story turned musical sensation.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the new musical film of the year! With music to get you on your feet and comedy that will make your stomach hurt, Everybody's Talking About Jamie is one to watch.

Based on true events, the story follows Jamie New (Max Hardwood) , a sixteen-year-old boy with the passion to become a drag queen, and he gets help from a former drag queen. With his best friend, Pritti Pasha (Lauren Petal), he attempts to prove wrong the people who doubt him, including school bully Dean Paxton and his own father. Although his father has chosen to cut him out his life, his loving mother is always there to help.

Jamie New is a huge character. He has an answer for everything and always has some glitter to spare. As he attempts to become a drag queen he is more confident than ever. Hugo/Miss Loco Channel (Richard E. Grant) is a former drag queen who attempts to help Jamie as he sees him as the next generation and the future of drag. Pritti Pasha is definitely the brains of the duo. She is a high achiever and would never break the rules. The rest of the cast are incredible and every single character stands out.

The music in this film is from the original stage musical. My favourite song is the opening song, "And you don't even know it." It serves as an introduction to some of the characters and is an upbeat dance number that will have you dancing and singing along just like the rest of the soundtrack. My favourite part of the film is when Jamie realizes that all he wants is to be a drag queen and becomes Hugo's trainee. As a result he starts saving for his very first drag queen dress - his mum already bought him the shoes.

The message of the film is to be who you want to be. Don't let others pull you down from what you want to do, especially if it makes you happy. You should be aware that this film does contain very strong language.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie steps out of the darkness and into the spotlight on September 17, 2021 on Amazon Prime.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12The film follows Jamie New (Max Harwood), a gay 16-year-old boy from Sheffield, England, whose secret dream is to become a drag queen. His mom, Margaret (Sarah Lancashire), as well as his best friend and fellow outcast Pritti Pasha (Lauren Patel) support him, but his absentee father (Ralph Ineson), homophobic bully Dean Paxton (Samuel Bottomley) and future-focused career's teacher Ms. Hedge (Sharon Horgan) all seem to be against Jamie. Mentored by former drag queen and current shopkeeper Hugo Battersby (Richard E. Grant), a.k.a. Loco Chanelle, Jamie embarks on a journey to discover his true identity, tearing down boundaries and burying toxic relationships along the way.

Max Harwood brings viewers along on his emotion-packed hero's journey; he certainly steals the show. Besides Harwood, though, Lancashire's portrayal of Margaret captures all of the motherly emotion that a sentimental coming-of-age story needs. The care between the two is palpable. Jonathan Buttrell makes his silver-screen directorial debut with this film, and his technique of capturing emotion is superb. Unfortunately, lighting, camera angles and focal choices leads to some distraction in some compelling moments. The score of the film, as with the musical version, is superb, but the sheer number of songs and usage of varied background tracks causes the film to drag as it nears the end. Nevertheless, the music is undoubtedly the highest point of the film.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie promotes acceptance, following your dreams and never being afraid to take a risk. There is some mild profanity in the film.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Everybody's Talking About Jamie is available on Amazon Prime Video beginning September 17, 2021. Go check it out!

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

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is the empowering spectacle everyone needs! With its amazing songs, incredible dresses and an iconic protagonist, the film will have you wanting to dance along at your nearest cabaret.

Everybody's Talking About Jamie is based on the true story of Jamie New (Max Harwood) and adapted from the West End musical of the same name. Jamie was always taught to be conventional, to choose a "realistic" career and be basic like everyone else. On his sixteenth birthday, he realizes that's not who he is, and decides to become a drag queen. The film has mind-blowing choreography with top-tier songs that pay homage to the musical.

This movie is a real Broadway show in your living room. The elaborate dance numbers with large groups of people, neon lights, phenomenal singing and fabulous drag dresses leave little to be desired. Jamie finds his way into the world with glamour and by making a statement. He encourages audiences globally to be yourself. Being a drag queen in the small town of Sheffield, England was very different. Jamie grows into the stunning personality of Fifi la True with the support of his amazing mother and friends. The film itself really proves how much effort the filmmakers put into their work. The movie shows the real truth of what it was like to be a drag queen in the past. Richard E. Grant is the best mentor Jamie could ever have. He explains his life in the 1980s reminding Jamie about the epic beginning of drag culture. He is so amazing; his fluid movements and the way he speaks just make you want to be his friend. Richard really worked hard on not making his character a parody of a drag queen, but reflect the beauty of a queen. He shows he has what it takes to be called Loco Chanelle, on and off the stage. The movie also has amazing cameos like the iconic queen Bianca Del Rio and Layton Williams, the star of Everybody's Talking About Jamie on West End.

The moral of this film is to always be yourself. Jamie never gave up on his dream of being a drag queen and most of all, he never gives up on being himself. He put in the effort of becoming an amazing queen, and working on himself. He always shines and never cares what others think.

I give Everybody's Talking About Jamie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters September 17, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COME FROM AWAY

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COME FROM AWAY - ENTERTAINMENT ONE Click to purchase directly from the producer
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Come from Away is a 2021 American-Canadian musical film comprising a live stage recording of Irene Sankoff and David Hein's 2017 musical of the same name, which tells the true story of 7,000 passengers who were stranded in a small town in Newfoundland, where they were housed and welcomed, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The film, produced in response to the shutdown of Broadway caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, was directed by Christopher Ashley and filmed in May 2021 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, featuring members of the Broadway cast.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come From Away is a modern musical telling the life-changing story of the stranded passengers diverted to Newfoundland following the 9/11 disaster. With an incredible cast, catchy tunes and a moving tale Come From Away is definitely a film to watch.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, two planes crashed into the world famous twin towers in New York City, after they were high jacked. American air space was closed and all planes in the air were forced to land; thirty-eight of them were diverted to and stranded in Newfoundland, Canada. This story follows the passengers and crew from one of the planes as they come to terms with life in their new surroundings, while forming new relationships and bonding with the locals. This is the filmed version of the award-winning Broadway musical, filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City, which tells the story of those 7,000 stranded passenger.

Throughout this film, twelve cast members each play a number of roles and it is very hard to single people out at times. All the characters are based on key individuals involved in the plane diversion. Some cast members who really stood out to me include: Jenn Colella who plays one of the pilots and a townsperson, Annette. She plays sets the bar very high for anyone who might play these roles in the future. Her amazing solos and riffs will knock your socks off. Sharon Wheatly plays Diane and Jim Walton plays Nick, two people who meet on one of the planes and, throughout their time in Newfoundland, start to feel a connection. Sharon and Jim are both very talented and share and amazing duet, "Stop the World." The remaining cast members each bring something different to this amazing production in their own unique way, from comedy to heart-break. My favourite song is the opening song "Welcome to the Rock." I love that it's an upbeat dance number that introduces you to the cast and the characters they play. I don't think I could choose a favourite part of the musical as all of it is just so interesting, moving and inspirational.

The message of this film is to remember how precious life is and how quickly it can be taken away or changed forever. My thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this tragic event over the past 20 years.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It premieres September 10, 2021 on Apple TV+.

By Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Come From Away is an amazing filmed version of the Broadway musical. With all the singing and dancing, this show is sure to get you up and dancing.

This musical is a lot like the film Hamilton in that it is a live recording of the stage musical and is based on real historical events and people. It is about the aftermath of 9/11 when 38 planes were forced to land on a small Newfoundland island and tells how all the residents of the town of Gander took care of 7,000 people who were on those planes while they were stuck there for five days.

This musical is different from most because there is no main character; every character is equally important. Also, all the actors play two roles, often both a passenger and a helpful Newfoundlander. The costume changes are incredible as they often do them while on stage, but that is so small that you might not notice it. Another cool thing is that in the back of the stage there is a door that some people walk through and then it shuts again, which I found intriguing. Some of my favorite characters are Kevin and Kevin, who are dating and Bonnie, who takes care of animals. One of my favorite scenes is when people are walking on chairs and others keep moving the chairs and the stage rotates so it looks like they are moving. It has so much music. I continued listening to it right after I finished watching the film and listened to it while I was writing this review.

The message of this show is twofold. First, that you can make the best of any situation and second, when you can help others, try to help.

I give Come From Away 5 out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It is available on Apple TV+ now.

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS

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SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Marvel Studios' "Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings" stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the most mystical and beautiful movie in history! The music, the special effects and the acting all take you to another world. The film leaves you wanting a Morris of your own.

The storyline follows a young man named Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). His father is a one thousand-year-old man and conqueror nicknamed The Mandarin (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), who has only ever used the infamous and all-powerful Ten Rings for evil. When the Mandarin is set to unleash infinite evil on the universe, Shang-Chi has to stop his father.

This movie is a cinematic experience. The fighting and choreography are out of this world. The long slow motion shots make the audience feel as if they are in a video game. Simu steals the show; every fight scene is flawless with his fluid movements and it proves just how hard he worked on his character for this film. Every audience falls in love with Shang-Chi; he's funny, with perfect comedic timing and he knows the balance between peace and violence. He encapsulates what the majority of young adults feel - like not being able to find their place in the world. The movie makes fans feel as if they've known Shang for years. It has wonderful flashbacks, which give the audience glimpses of his past, his pain and how his fears have shaped who he is. The film gives a wonderful all-around scope of this character that feels like a friend we've known all our life. It makes fans excited to see Shang-Chi again. Shang and his sister Xu Xialing are an iconic duo. They're both powerful and, while there's some tension due to their past, they put everything aside and let love shine through. Xialing is a role model, officially joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful women. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is perfect for AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) representation in cinema. It represents Chinese culture powerfully, shows what it's like to be an Asian-American in modern day USA, not to mention that Simu is Marvel Studios' first Asian-American superhero. Simu and Shang-Chi are writing history while also inspiring children and fans all around the world. The film delivers on all grounds; the cameos are shocking and leave you on the edge of your seat. Trying not to shout during the two post credits scenes prove to be a challenge. By the end of the movie, I wanted to sing the song "Hotel California" at the top of my lungs.

This film reminds you to search for who you are and let your past guide you to who you want to be. Ever since his mother died, Shang has been trained by his father to use violence. When he arrives at his mother's village, he learns how to find peace within himself and the world around him. He learns to trust himself and to use the rings for good.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters September 3, 2021.

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel's first Asian solo-superhero movie does not disappoint. The dynamic relationships between the characters combined with the incredible actors create a powerful, heart-rending movie about the value of family. In addition, the humorous segments contrast with the intense scenes to make this film so well rounded.

The story begins with Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) living a normal life in San Francisco working as a valet driver with his best friend. Then he is attacked on a bus and forced to confront his past. He explains to his best friend that his father, Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung), is the feared, immortal man who leads the Ten Rings Organization. The Ten Rings are a weapon so powerful that Wenwu was able to conquer all the land and riches that he wanted. Shang-Chi ran away from home at a young age, because he didn't want to be another one of Wenwu's murderous pawns. Now, Wenwu is looking for him and his sister, to bring them back home.

Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi's dual personality exceptionally well. Towards the end of the film, Shang-Chi exudes a completely different persona than the one we saw at the beginning of the film. Another prominent actor that I enjoyed is Awkwafina who plays Katy; Katy adds so many hilarious moments that make the film more enjoyable. Of course she is also extremely talented at acting and portrays Katy as a loyal and courageous friend. Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery also adds comedy. Awkwafina, Ben Kingsley and Morris (an adorable, faceless, fluff-ball beast) make an incredible comedy trio. CGI is a major component of this film and has the potential to make or break the entire experience. The CGI does not disappoint. In fact, this has to be some of the best CGI that I've seen in the entire MCU franchise; MCU has killer CGI every single time, so this is a bold statement. Not only are there numerous magical beasts that come to life, but the water itself seem to come alive as well. The Ten Rings also seems to have a mind of its own - speeding off one moment and lightly dancing in the next. It is also incredible to discover how these rings can be used for more than just fighting. The costumes are absolutely gorgeous and, just like the creatures, so unique. Within the village, the warriors' armor is made of dragon scales, which defends them from their ancient nemesis. In the city, the people rock the cyber punk style. And, in San Francisco, the attire is authentic to the 21st century. My favorite part is the ending. I was incredibly pleased with how everything ends. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so you're just going to have to see for yourself.

The message of this film is centered around the power of familial love and the power of finally opening up your heart. The value of family is displayed through the challenges that the characters go through. Their relationships are what keep them strong. The power in opening up your heart is experienced through Shang-Chi. The only thing holding Shang-Chi back from reaching his true potential is the hate and guilt he held deep within his heart. Once he lets all of that go, he is freed.

I give Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters September 3, 2021. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and will most likely go back to watch it again. Go check it out.

By Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM

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9/11: INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S WAR ROOM - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - 9/11 from the President's perspective, with exclusive access to information from the one's that had to take decisions during the World Trade Center's attack.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President's War Room was created.

Going minute by minute, hour by hour, 9/11: Inside The President's War Room offers two narratives, following the president's actions, thoughts, and movements, and the developing situation in New York City.

President George W. Bush was interviewed for this film and his impeccable memory of the day and skilled delivery make the documentary even more unique. His impassioned vow to bring Al-Qaeda to justice, his struggle to keep his anger in check, and his helplessness as he was flown around the country to avoid a rumored attack on Air Force One show exactly how novel this crisis was. The film includes high-quality archival footage and the perspectives of individuals like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, as well as the president and vice president's chief of staff. I've never seen a more thoroughly researched and impeccably pieced-together documentary. The many perspectives from all these individuals contribute to a strong narrative that captures you from minute one. Each interview is compelling and the editing cuts between medium shots of the individuals and archival footage, creating an immersive and truly "in the room" experience. The background music complements the film's somber tone.

9/11: Inside The President's War Room is a portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership. There is some mild profanity in the film as well as some footage of the Twin Towers collapsing with screams in the background.

I give 9/11: Inside The President's War Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 9/11: Inside The President's War Room is available now on Apple TV+ .

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA (2021)

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CINDERELLA (2021) - AMAZON PRIME
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A modern, musical take on the evergreen fairy tale, Cinderella's impeccable sets and wardrobe, as well as its talented cast make this production a one-of-a-kind watch.

Cinderella follows the story of Ella (Camilla Cabello), a poor orphan who lives with her abusive, restrictive stepmother Vivian (Idina Menzel) and her mean, obnoxious and spoiled stepsisters (Maddie Baillio, Charlotte Spencer). She loves to design dresses and even has her own workplace in her basement, where a crew of merry mice (James Corden, Romesh Ranganathan, James Acaster) watch over her. It is her dream is to open up a dress shop in the town marketplace; however, in her kingdom, women cannot run businesses. When Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine), the unassuming heir apparent, lays eyes on Ella, he falls head over heels in love with her, as does she for him. However, as Cinderella and Prince Robert find themselves and their paths in life, a series of decisions they must take puts their love story in jeopardy. There are lots of subplots and side stories in the film, but that's the main plotline.

Cinderella maintains a steady and engaging pace with just enough action, comedy, romance and drama throughout the nearly two-hour duration. As it's told through a combination of songs and dialogue, it's only logical that the cast is comprised of a mixture of singers, actors, and comedians. Camila Cabello, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel "slay" in the film, as Porter's character (Ella's fairy godparent) would say. Their delivery is clear and, in the case of Cabello and Menzel, though a lot of the film's soundtrack is comprised of remakes (like Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation); it's refreshing to hear their take on the songs. Pierce Brosnan plays the stately, confident, yet flawed and patriarchal King Rowan and Minnie Driver acts as his strong, regal Queen Beatrice. I love the portrayal of strong women in the film. Beatrice, Ella and even Vivian have one thing in common - they are restricted by their society. Vivian had to give up on her passion; Beatrice must sit silently next to her husband for life; and Ella is at risk of losing her dreams. It's certainly unique to see this struggle in a fairy tale film. Shot at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the film's sets are impeccable, and I truly felt I was in a medieval kingdom with the characters.

Cinderella promotes advocating for yourself, pushing against restrictive gender roles, following your dreams, choosing your own destiny and so many more positive messages! There are only one or two uses of mild profanity in this film.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Cinderella releases on Amazon Prime Video September 3, 2021.

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

Cinderella is the feel-good flick for fans of all ages! Its wonderful soundtrack will have both parents and children singing and dancing. The jokes are spectacular; the casts' diversity is amazing; and the romance will have everyone tearing up.

Cinderella takes the classic beloved fairytale and gives it a modern twist. Cinderella (Camila Cabello) dreams of opening her own fashion boutique, but that dream is frequently criticized by her stepmother Vivian (Indina Menzel). Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine) is a royal rebel, refusing to marry, if not for love. He proposes to host a ball, to which all maidens are invited. Cinderella never stops dreaming of opening her own store and, when presented with an opportunity to go to a royal ball to find a job for designing, she accepts the invitation.

This movie is comedy, romance, girl power and music at its finest. We usually are served Cinderella films that take place in present day; however, Cinderella gives audiences a tale presented in medieval times, only modernized. The film manages to fit in multiple jokes and as many comedic one-liners as possible. Never missing a beat, every character gives audiences multiple laughs. The girl power in the movie is so inspiring. Cinderella faces hardships over her dreams, just like her step mother, sisters and Queen Breatrice, who wants to be independent. Then there is Princess Gwen, who has innovative ideas about how to run the country, but can't because she's a woman. The women stand strong, follow their hearts and, if romance rolls around, then that's great too. The romance in the movie is absolutely beautiful; two people want to love each other, but struggle against the status quo; Cinderella, who fiercely wants to open up her own store; Robert, who doesn't quite fit in with the royal court. The best scene in the whole film is the dance scene at the ball. The entire party has amazing choreography and rock songs, including a beautiful duet by the Prince and soon-to-be Princess. The soundtrack is filled with classic songs from Ed Sheeran, Queen, Janet Jackson and more, along with original songs. It's so fun to see these iconic characters singing and dancing to such iconic songs.

The lesson Cinderella learns and teaches audiences globally, is to always believe in yourself. She goes the distance, proving her worth to herself and those around her, that women can do amazing things just like men, such as opening a business.

I give Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 16. It is available on Amazon Prime beginning September 3, 2021.

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

Cinderella may be a commonly told story, but this filmed musical is anything but common. This live action film takes a classic fairy tale and rewrites it as an amusing, witty and modern retelling of a fiery young woman setting out to achieve her dreams. Out of the countless variations of the "Cinderella" story, the 2021 release of Cinderella by Kay Cannon is by far the most unique and empowering that I have seen.

In this version, Cinderella (Camila Cabello) still has her eyes set on freedom and a life away from her dreadful stepmother (Idina Menzel). However, in modern fashion, she also dreams of becoming a business woman and owning her own dress shop. Following her ambitions, she stumbles across Prince Robert (Nicholas Galitzine). While the two quickly fall in love, Cinderella is unwilling to sacrifice her own dreams to live a life just as stuck as she was under the control of her stepmother. Despite living in a land with outdated beliefs against women, with the help of her fairy Godmother, or Fab G (Billy Porter), Cinderella is determined to make a name for herself and create a successful business.

In her acting debut, singer Camila Cabello is impressively charming and nails the wit of her Cinderella, making her a perfect candidate for the rebooted character. Menzel and Porter, both Tony award-winners, wonderfully add a unique and interesting take on their characters. Menzel is magnificent, creating a new backstory for Vivian the stepmother, a once idealistic mother who learned from her mistakes. Porter brings a completely different, yet inspiring angle to the fairy godmother, sporting a striking orange gown and a spirited attitude in this role. The music is just as great as the actors, featuring both original and covered songs. The soundtrack is full of varying styles from rap, to powerful musical ballads, to Queen's "Somebody to Love." My favorite part of this movie is the diversity of the storyline. Not only do audiences get to see Cinderella follow her dreams, but also we see the growth of characters such as the stepmother, Prince Robert, the little sister of the Prince, Gwen (Tallulah Greive) and even the King (Pierce Brosnan) and Queen (Minnie Driver).

This rendition of Cinderella offers a bold message to audiences about feminism and the idea that women do not need to fall in love to find fulfillment as they can be whatever they set their mind to. Parents should be aware that this film contains some adult humor. I rate Cinderella 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. This film opens in theaters September 3, 2021.

By Abigail L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 11-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOST LEONARDO, THE

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LOST LEONARDO, THE - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - The Lost Leonardo is the inside story behind the Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at $450 million. From the moment the painting is bought for $1175 at a shady New Orleans auction house, and the restorer discovers masterful Renaissance brushstrokes under the heavy varnish of its cheap restoration, the Salvator Mundi's fate is determined by an insatiable quest for fame, money and power. As its price soars, so do the questions about its authenticity: is this painting really by Leonardo da Vinci? Unravelling the hidden agendas of the richest men and the most powerful art institutions in the world, The Lost Leonardo reveals how vested interests in the Salvator Mundi are of such tremendous power that truth becomes secondary.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lost Leonardo is an interesting documentary about a lost Leonardo DaVinci painting of Christ. Based on the title I expected to watch a story about a lost and found painting and where it is today. Instead, I discovered a documentary that taught me about the strength of one's beliefs, art restoration practices, economics, politics and possible fraud.

The Lost Leonardo begins with an art sleeper hunter (an art speculator who scours the market for undervalued art), Ben Lewis, finding a painting in New Orleans. Ben reaches out to his art world contacts, which eventually leads him to Dianne Mundi. Dianne Mundi is married to a well known art conservator and Dianne is known for her art restoration. Dianne restores the painting, and she begins to believe it is a lost original Leonardo DaVinci. A group of art experts meet at the National Museum and agree that the painting is authentic. What follows next is a convoluted story about the true nature of the painting and how people's beliefs about the painting allow it to be capitalized on and possibly politicalized more than once.

The film is filled with art experts, journalists and even federal agencies. The film catches your attention because it has multiple layers. For example, just when you think viewing the painting as either authentic or a good copy is problematic, other reasons for thinking one way or the other are shared. Because of the prestige of the individuals calling the painting a true DaVinci, it commands a high selling price. The film gives a lesson in how prices of items can be inflated. Also, how easy it is to hide one's money in art since the laws aren't as restrictive with art purchases as they are with other things. Last, it explores what a piece of lost art can mean to a person or a group of people, and possibly to a country and the cost they will pay to have it.

The message of the film is that people can convince themselves of anything, even if those beliefs come at a high cost. Throughout history various beliefs have kept people together and apart.

I give The Lost Leonardo 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The dialogue and themes are a bit much for younger kids to follow, but a teen might enjoy it with the company of adults that can explain certain terms used in the film. The film is available in select theaters now.

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

The Lost Leonardo recounts one of the most expansive and expensive stories the art world has ever seen. This documentary has a knack of looking at this painting's recent history from a different angle every 20 minutes or so, revealing a whole different facet of the fervor surrounding this single piece of art and how the conversation around it became about so much more than the painting itself.

This odyssey of art and commerce begins in a warehouse, where a painting called the Salvator Mundi from one of the masters of the field, Leonardo Da Vinci, was thought to have been lost to time and languishes before being discovered by two art dealers who look for paintings that are worth more than they seem. Little did they know, they just stumbled upon their greatest find in that respect. They purchased the painting for 10,000 dollars and had it restored, in hopes that the work was that of Da Vinci's. The restorer's work supported that conclusion and, with that, a whole new journey with it begins. It ends up selling for hundreds of millions of dollars after it travels the world and comes into contact with everyone from the general public, to art critics, to experts, to Russian billionaires, to wily art dealers and world leaders.

Director Andreas Koefoed seems to understand the potential of what he has at his fingertips here - betrayal, treachery, power, greed - it's a winning concoction. For all the goodwill it earns in the riveting way it unfolds, The Lost Leonardo lacks a stylistic backbone to hold the whole thing together. It relies heavily on one-on-one interviews with experts, critics, and those that played in Salvator Mundi's discovery, restoration and sale. Those interviews bear no intimacy to them, which works in giving objectivity to the events documented, but their implementation grows tiresome. Koefoed has little else up his sleeve to tell this story and, for one about art and one of the most prolific pieces in a long time the world over, that's more than disappointing. This film about Salvator Mundi lacks imagination and creativity and is quite staid, which distracts from the gold mine Keofoed has here. Mundi's story certainly is anything but boring; so it's unfortunate that it is told that way.

I give The Lost Leonardo 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Nothing in the movie is objectionable, beyond some nudity shown in the artwork. If you've got an interest in the business of art or the work of Da Vinci, this one's for you. But more than that, the directions this story takes are so unpredictable that I think it makes this documentary easy to recommend to anybody. The Lost Leonardo comes out in theaters August 27, 2021.< p> By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REMINISCENCE

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REMINISCENCE
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REMINISCENCE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae's disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy, and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Reminiscence is an overly long film with a lot of loose ends. The movie strives to be a romance and yet the love story is weak. While the film has some strong points, they're simply not strong enough to hold the film afloat.

The storyline follows Nick (Hugh Jackman), a man desperately in love with Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). After she vanishes, Nick uses technology known as the Reminiscence, which lets users revisit memories that they've forgotten. Nick uses the memory technology to locate where and why Mae has left. Slowly the truth unravels only to reveal dirty secrets.

The movie definitely has its upsides. One of the film's strongest points is the friendship between Nick and officer Watts. The two go way back, and it's even confirmed by Watts that she's in love with Nick. Watts does everything possible to prevent Nick from burning a memory in his brain from using Reminiscence too often. However, they have a falling out and their argument is never really resolved, ending in an uncompleted arc. The whole world is flooded; it is unclear as to why. It appears as though there has been a war - one in which both Nick and Watts are veterans of. The war is only mentioned; it's never really addressed in depth, which leaves many loose ends. The war is the reason for the international flood and sinking of London, but there's no description or overview of the war. Throughout the film, there are glimpses of memories of Mae and Nick together. These memories end up being repeated over and over, which can't help but feel repetitive. Nick's love for Mae is supposed to feel unending, but it feels limited by these few memories.

The lesson Nick learns is to believe in love. He goes the distance to learn the truth about Mae, refusing to believe that their relationship was one-sided. He goes against his closest friend and hardcore evidence to find the truth, even subjecting himself to the Reminiscence forever.

I give Reminiscence 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18 plus adults. It is available on HBO Max August 20, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
NOTORIOUS NICK

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NOTORIOUS NICK
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NOTORIOUS NICK - GRINDSTONE HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Nick Newell, a one-armed MMA fighter gets a rare chance to fight for the lightweight championship. He strives to win for himself and all the other people in the world with physical challenges. The film is based on an inspiring true story of a young man who became known as "Notorious Nick." KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S., comments, "This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Notorious Nick will have you on the edge of your seat, cheering and screaming at the top of your lungs! This film delivers on all aspects; it leaves you teary-eyed and motivated to get out of your comfort zone. This is the perfect family film.

Notorious Nick tells the true story of Nick Newell (Cody Christian), who is a one-handed MMA fighter. Nick starts off as a wrestler and faces multiple challenges, but pulls through, becoming a world renowned MMA fighter, known as Notorious Nick. With the support of his family, best friend and coach, Nick proves that sky's the limit.

This film is absolutely amazing. Hopefully the way it approaches disability in an empowering perspective will encourage more studios to do the same. Instead of Nick always being knocked down and seeing the negativity of his disability, he learns his strengths, never giving up, working to find a way to perform at his full capacity. He holds his own against famous mixed martial artists. He also encourages a boy with a similar disability to change his attitude. He believes in himself, even when he is the only one who does. His mother is a great role model, inspiring other parents by always pushing Nick to succeed. The sheer determination between this mother and son duo empowers everyone. Nick learns how to fight inside the ring and out, even when he has to fight for his right to compete in the Light Weight Championships. He has to prove that - every competition where he has fought was legitimate, and he never backs down - determined to prove himself to the board and his opponent. Stay for the end credits for a chance to meet the real-life Notorious Nick and his coach. He talks about his journey and about how he's only just getting started.

The moral of this film is to never give up; fight for what you believe in; and believe in yourself. Nick always fights against bullies, discrimination, opponents and negativity. With his disability, he learns to compete in the ring, to be considered just as great as his competition. He proves himself worthy to everyone and to himself. Be forewarned that there is profanity and depictions of alcohol use.

I give Notorious Nick 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters August 6, 2021.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 15-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FREE GUY

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FREE GUY
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FREE GUY - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - When a bank teller discovers he's actually a background player in an open-world video game, he decides to become the hero of his own story -- one that he can rewrite himself. In a world where there's no limits, he's determined to save the day his way before it's too late, and maybe find a little romance with the coder who conceived him. Free Guy is a 2021 American science fiction action comedy film directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn and a story by Lieberman. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he is actually a non-player character in an open-world video game and decides to become the hero of the story and save his friends from getting deleted by the game's creator (Taika Waititi); Jodie Comer, Lil Rel Howery, Utkarsh Ambudkar and Joe Keery also star.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The hilarious film, Free Guy, written by Matt Lieberman and Zak Penn, might fool you into thinking it is a comedy, but in the end, has a touching moral behind all of the laughs. What makes us human? Our physical bodies or the way we learn and love? By the end of the film, we all come to the same conclusion. In the meantime, the story will keep you at the edge of your seat and sometimes bent over with laughter.

Free Guy follows a protagonist named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), an optimist and great friend who brings cheer to Free City. When Guy meets Molotov Girl (Jodie Corner) his whole world changes and he begins to question his daily routines and expectations. He realizes that he can be so much more. At the same time, the world is about to get in Guy's way. Outside of Free City, there is a battle ongoing between the company Soonami and game designers MIllie (Jodie Corner) and Keys (Joe Keery) to win back their game. What will Guy do when he realizes there is a threat to Free City? Will he take charge?

This film is full of star power. Ryan Reynolds plays Guy with the perfect mix of hilarity and emotions. He is easy to root for. Jodie Comer who plays both Molotov Girl and Millie and Joe Keerey as Keys make the perfect team to battle against Antoine (Taika Waititi). They are smart and creative and beautifully emotive. The special effects and CGI in this film are incredible. They are absolutely essential to the storytelling and are executed flawlessly by a massive team of artists. Each costume is unique and elevates every character. All of the bad guys/sunglass people have colorful and intricate skins that make them look strong and scary. The visuals and story are tied together with music that ranges from energizing to emotional, at times even creating intense suspense. There is a mix of well-known rap/hip-hop songs and newly composed music. During the big finale, the booming high intensity music makes my heart race.

The message of this film is that our life is defined by our relationships and the small moments that we spend creating them. We choose our path in life and no one can decide what it is except for us. As Guy's best friend Buddy says, "Even if I am not real, this moment is real." By choosing to be connected to those around us, we are living. The film does have a lot of violence including robberies, guns, bombs and explosions, but it's in a video game style. There is some mild profanity. It is not likely that kids would imitate the violent behavior due to the gaming quality of the behavior.

I give Free Guy 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a moving and hilarious film. I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. This is a great movie with families with older children. This film opens in theaters August 13, 2021.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Free Guy is a movie with a very interesting concept and actors that execute it perfectly. The movie is humorous and had me and the people I was with, laughing the entire time. But, once you get to the bottom of it, you'll realize there's a lot more to Free Guy than the humor.

Free Guy is about a video game character named Guy (Ryan Reynolds), who discovers that he's just a background player in a game called Free City. When he finds a pair of sunglasses that changes his status in the game, he becomes all anyone can talk about. Even Millie (Jolie Comer), also known as Molotov Girl in Free City, is starting to fall for him. With all the fuss about Guy, Keys (Joe Keery) and Millie realize they can use him to their advantage to expose Antoine (Taika Waititi). However, since their secret is hidden within the game, they are going to need a little help.

Free Guy has a lot of star power, which is one factor that will attract a lot of people. Many celebrities with very big fan bases make cameo appearances in this film. Towards the end of the film, Free Guy takes another opportunity to appeal to different audiences. For example, in the final battle scene, Guy uses different weapons that crossover with franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars. The characters in Free Guy are likeable and some are also relatable. My favorite character is Antoine. He is a lot funnier than most antagonists and he is the character that actually lightens the mood of the film. The way he banters with people and bosses everyone around makes him a character you want more from. The special effects in Free Guy are also a prominent component of the film. Free City is a game that was redesigned by Antoine to be repetitive, with a lot of damage taking place in everyday life. Every day there is another car being blown up, or a bank being robbed. Most of the time, it's both. So, major props to everyone in special effects, because it must have taken a lot of effort and time to make it look so realistic.

The message of Free Guy is that you need to make sure you enjoy the simple things in life. For a regular person, life can be pretty repetitive if you let it. So when you do something out of the ordinary, make sure you recognize and appreciate it. Free Guy executes the double meaning subtly through the characters and their actions, which is very clever. This movie does include heavy use of profanity, which sometimes can be gratuitous, so parents should be aware of that.

Free Guy is a unique film that will appeal to a lot of people, especially gamers. I rate Free Guy 4 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Free Guy releases in theatres August 13, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

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

Be the main character of your story and head to your local theater to see the new hit action-comedy of the year, Free Guy! Free Guy flies in with a boatload of action and hilarious surprises that will leave you speechless. The film makes the plot understandable to a wide variety of ages, because typically, the world of video games is mainly understood by teenagers. Although the film is live-action, a mix of video game graphic design is integrated to really bring the concept of the story to life.

Free Guy takes place in a video game called Free City. Within Free City, players can do practically whatever they want. Similar to real life, nobody ever thinks about the background characters. This is where the audience is introduced to our main character Guy (Ryan Reynolds). Guy is an NPC (non-player character) with the same routine and mannerisms every single day. One day, he decides to step out of the background to be his own person. When he learns his world is coming to an end, he must fight in desperation of love to save the reality he knows.

Ryan Reynolds is historically known for bringing various silly characters to life with his iconic comedic energy - a snail that wants to be fast, a caveman who wants to be revolutionary, or even a plain superhero that loves chimichangas. Ryan does it once again with his role in Free Guy. His childlike wonder soars in the film not only making you laugh hysterically, but keeping you intrigued the entire ride. In a film that takes place mainly in a video game, of course you need to make it look realistic. The visual effects department delivers a polished CGI that correctly captures the essence of modern day video games. Free Guy is no doubt one of the greatest films to correctly capture the world of digital gaming. Ryan Reynolds is the perfect lead to not only make you cry with laughter, but also immerse the audience in a world that you can't get enough of.

Free Guy has an extremely straightforward message that applies to everyone - be the main character of your story. Step out of the background, don't let anyone control you, because this isn't their story, it's yours. Since we are dealing with a video game where you can do anything you want, you can definitely guess that violence and cursing frequently occur during the movie. The film also includes themes of friendship, love and courage.

I give Free Guy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. You can find Free Guy at your local theater on August 13, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE

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PAW PATROL: THE MOVIE - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - When the PAW Patrol's biggest rival, Mayor Humdinger, becomes Mayor of nearby Adventure City and starts wreaking havoc, Ryder and everyone's favorite heroic pups kick into high gear to face the challenge head-on. While one of the pups must face his past in Adventure City, the team finds help from a new ally, the savvy dachshund Liberty. Together, armed with exciting new gadgets and gear, the PAW Patrol fights to save the citizens of Adventure City and stop Mayor Humdinger from destroying the bustling metropolis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Suited up and ready for an all-new adventure, your favorite group of heroic pups, led by a boy named Ryder, are back in Paw Patrol: The Movie! This film has all the same things you've come to love about the PAW Patrol TV series with a new action-packed adventure and new-found friends. This family fun film is sure to capture the hearts of new and original PAW Patrol fans.

The film follows the PAW Patrol as they head to Adventure City to save its citizens from Mayor Humdinger's (Ron Pardo) dangerous plans and what he calls adding "adventure" back to the city. During their trip to Adventure City, the team goes on a series of high-risk adventures that becomes one of their biggest challenges yet and really tests the pups as they learn what it means to be true heroes. We even get to learn about Chase's (Ian Armitage) backstory and how he met Ryder (Will Brisbin), which really ties in well with the new storyline.

The main characters Mayor Humdinger, Chase, Ryder and new-comer Liberty (Marsai Martin) are joined by the rest of the PAW Patrol team. My favorite character is Liberty because she's an adventurous, brave and smart pup that is always willing to help. Plus, I love how she stands up for herself and even "roasts" a mean pup that was disrespecting her. Each of the team members has special skills, gadgets and vehicles that help them on their missions. My favorite vehicle is Zuma's, because it can be used as a boat, submarine or even a raft. The team receives upgrades to some of their gadgets including a new pup treat dispenser that I would definitely love to fill with snacks.

The message of this film is that being a hero doesn't always mean being the strongest or the bravest. It's okay to rely on others sometimes to help you get the job done. Chase learns this when he goes through different moments where he does not feel like a hero or worries that people will think he is a scared little puppy and not a hero, because he is nervous about returning to Adventure City. He eventually has to trust himself and his friends along the way.

This is a "PAWsome" film. I give Paw Patrol: The Movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. Paw Patrol: The Movie unleashes in theaters and on Paramount+ August 20, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
RESPECT
RESPECT - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 13-18
Description - Following the rise of Aretha Franklin's career from a young child singing in her father's church's choir to her international superstardom, "Respect" is the remarkable true story of the music icon's journey to find her voice and become the Queen of Soul.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Queen has arrived! Respect will have viewers singing and dancing to Ms. Aretha Franklin's songs as well as appreciate seeing her pathway to become The Queen of Soul. With amazing performances and storytelling, this biopic is epic and is sure to give viewers something to sing about and inspiration to follow their own dreams.

Respect tells the story about how Aretha Franklin (Jennifer Hudson) got her start by singing in her father's, C.L. Franklin's (Forest Whitaker) choir and weekend parties, to becoming one of the most iconic voices in music history. Along the way, we learn about the trials and tribulations Ms. Franklin had to overcome to become "Aretha" - the woman, artist and icon. Hudson delivers Ms. Franklin's story in a way that allows you to connect on so many levels to Franklin's life experiences.

Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson really stays true to her own acting and singing talents in this film and proves just why Ms. Franklin handpicked Hudson to tell her story! I love how Ms. Hudson does not try to overact to portray Aretha Franklin or mimic her voice, which surprisingly really works out well. My favorite part is when young Aretha and her mother, Barbara Franklin (Audra McDonald), are talking and playing the piano together and actually singing their conversation. It is very touching. Of course, the music in the film is spot on, since most of it is Aretha Franklin's. The costumes are incredible and very fashionable. Hudson's gowns were truly fit for a Queen. The film uses different cinematographic color techniques to represent different time periods, which make you feel as if you are watching actual footage of Aretha Franklin in her time verses Jennifer Hudson playing her in present day.

The message of this film is you have to own your voice. Don't let others determine how you follow your dreams, what they should look like or what they should be. Ms. Franklin spent a lot of time doing what everyone else wanted her to do and it wasn't until she started listening to herself and demanding respect, that she started making hit records. It was only then that she was able to become The Queen of Soul. Parents should be aware that there are scenes with drinking, violence and suggestive behavior.

Respect is a must-see film filled with inspiration and women empowerment. I rate this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can find Respect in theaters August 13, 2021.
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
PRINCESS CURSED IN TIME
PRINCESS CURSED IN TIME - KRISTYNA KAMENICKA
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Every day princess Elen wakes up to her birthday celebrations knowing that she must kill the evil witch who cursed her or find a true love. In case she didn't make it, the kingdom will be destroyed by dark storm, as it already had happened multiple times. Luckily, the princess is protected by a magical mark which she was given by court alchemist. However, will she be able to persuade her friends, break the strong warding spells and defeat the powerful witch? The mark weakens and is unluckily revealed and destroyed by the witch. Princess has got one last chance to save herself and the kingdom. Her friends are willing to sacrifice everything but why should they be successful right now? Well, maybe destroying the witch is not the only way and the princess will have to sacrifice much more.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The more I thought about Princess: Cursed In Time the more I liked it. It took me a bit and I was somewhat wary of a title that includes the word "princess," but the script and storyline evolves in an unpredictable, hilarious fashion, so I grew to like it.

In the beginning of the film, we dive into the stereotype of a beautiful princess being saved by a handsome prince. Of course, there is a wicked witch who casts a spell upon the King's daughter, such that on her 20th birthday (the day we are introduced to her story) darkness will overcome the kingdom. However, before the darkness turns black, the princess wakes up. Then, the exact same things happen in real life again, and again, and again. (reminiscent of Ground Hog Day) This is where the fun begins. The Princess begins to try different actions to see if the curse lifts. Initially, Princess Ellen is arrogant and mean, but through the many iterations of her repeating life, she begins to transform. The lessons learned are straight out of philosopher Robert Bly's playbook (i.e. Be who you are inside; be honest; ask authentic questions; listen for your truth to get into the flow of your journey and move away from cynicism and resistance.)

The production values of this film are very high quality. The fluid cinematography, the 15th century costumes, well-cast actors, period and epic music all get a hardy nod of approval. We have to thank the production crew for this. The film was produced in the Czech Republic and the original language was Czech; this version is dubbed in English so the mouths don't always match the words precisely. However, it is well executed and the dubbed voices are well chosen and executed.

I give Princess: Cursed in Time 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. By Nancy Kenney KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Princess Cursed in Time is an appealing and motivating movie. I particularly like the sets, costumes and story. The sets fit with the period. The costumes, in particular, Princess Elena's, fit well for a princess. The story displays the idea of not giving up as the curse, which caused Elena to get stuck on her 20th birthday repeatedly and she kept on trying to defeat the witch, even when faced with massive setbacks.

The story follows Princess Elena, who was cursed by a witch which made her to wake up to her birthday every day. She manages to learn that if she wants to stop that, she will have to either kill the witch or find a true love. If she cannot stop, the kingdom will be doomed by a dark storm. She was protected by a magical marking, which was given her by the alchemist. She has to persuade her friends to go on a journey that will test their strength, mentality and teamwork. The journey to stop the storm will be hinted by an unlikely clue by one of her guards.

The story reveals a curse that causes the protagonist to live the same day over and over again and she manages to slowly get clues as to why that is happening. She then goes into action and tries to combat the witch, which takes a lot of tries. I like the scenes where the witch shows her potential with the power that she has, which is displayed by special effects. The camera work is very good. The shot in the final confrontation with the witch, with the camera using a tracking shot after the witch overpowers the alchemist impressed me the most. I really like the period costumes. The most standout is King Robert VIII's costume, which consists of a fur coat, a crown and other jewelry. It is fitting for a king and enhances his status. The film was shot in the Czech Republic and the sets are typical medieval settings. My favorite setting is the castle. The other stand out setting is the witch's castle, which is mysterious, dark and fits the idea of the witch. The most stand out music is that used whenever there is some form of danger imposed on the characters. There are lots of special and visual effects, such as the scenes getting the scroll, and the entire battle scene. They are believable. Princess Ellena (Natalia Germani) displays considerable amount of character growth each day, which is evident when the guards are reading a book that gives her clues of how to defeat the witch. Earlier, she does not pay attention to them but she then takes the book away from them and realizes that there is a way to break the curse. It is also evident when she faces the witch from the first to the final time. My favorite part is when the group defeats the witch after failing countless times, which is helped by the alchemist. It displays the idea that a larger group can make a seemingly impossible task become more manageable.

The message of the film is do not give up! Hard work is the only way to succeed. You should be aware that it shows kids doing risky things they might imitate. The entire fighting scenes where they are throwing knives, shooting bows and sword fighting are risky behaviors if imitated.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It teaches valuable lessons to both the young and the old. Reviewed by Tom W., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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