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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK N ROLL - CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: FEATURES, AGES 12-18
Description - The film tells the story of the long troubled town of Asbury Park, and how the power of music can unite a divided community. A once storied seaside resort, Asbury Park erupted in flames during a summer of civil unrest, crippling the town for the next 45 years and reducing it to a state of urban blight. A town literally divided by a set of railroad tracks, the riot destroyed the fabled Westside jazz and blues scene, but from the flames of the burning city emerged the iconic Jersey sound. Asbury Park returns Asbury sons Steven Van Zandt, Southside Johnny Lyon and Bruce Springsteen to the legendary Upstage, the psychedelic after hours club where they got their start, featuring never before seen interviews and performances. Shuttered for four and a half decades, the Upstage remains a perfect time capsule of the Club, which united both sides of the tracks in Asbury and acted as a crucible for young talent. Now, as Asbury Park enjoys its long awaited renaissance, it is music, which has brought it back from the dead. The film is supported in association with Jersey Mike's, which allows all profits worldwide to be dedicated to promoting and creating music education programs for wide distribution. This message contains information which may be confidential and privileged. Unless you are the intended recipient (or authorized to receive this message for the intended recipient), you may not use, copy, disseminate or disclose to anyone the message or any information contained in the message. If you have received the message in error, please advise the sender by reply e-mail, and delete the message. Thank you very much.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - This is an energetic documentary detailing the rarely discussed music scene that flowered in Asbury Park, New Jersey in the 1960s. Focusing largely on the area's most famous musical export, Bruce Springsteen (who named his first album "Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ.") the 80 minute film traces the roots of the beachside city's musical explosion, very much a product of racial segregation that led to a mingling of white and black musicians in the clubs on the west side of town. The film combines copious interviews with musicians and archival photographs and video to paint a well-rounded portrait of the late-night club scene that started developing in the 1950s encompassing jazz, blues, soul and rock and roll and that contributed greatly to the Bruce Springsteen sound. The troubled city's downward spiral in the 1970s and rejuvenation in the 2000s is also well-documented. Recommended for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. I give this 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike Fishman, KIDS FIRST! Juror.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - see adult reviews
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:

KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2

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SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-15
Description - Max the terrier must cope with some major life changes when his owner gets married and has a baby. When the family takes a trip to the countryside, nervous Max has numerous run-ins with canine-intolerant cows, hostile foxes and a scary turkey. Luckily for Max, he soon catches a break when he meets Rooster, a gruff farm dog who tries to cure the lovable pooch of his neuroses
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Love, love, love this movie! Can't wait to see it again this Friday. This film is absolutely hysterical. Both the audience and I laughed throughout the screening. Everything about this film is dog-tastic, from the screenwriting to the art, animation, sound, special effects and characters.

Secret Life of Pets 2 continues with the story of Max and Duke, but this time Katie gets married and has a son named Liam. At first, Max doesn't really like having Liam around, because he never leaves him alone. Then they start to bond. Max starts to really care about Liam and vows to protect him. Katie decides to take a family trip to a farm and this introduces a whole new cast of characters and funny situations on the farm. Max meets Rooster, a brave dog who rules the farm and teaches Max how to handle a lot of his issues. Meanwhile, back in New York City, all of Max and Duke's pet friends continue with their crazy antics, including rescuing a white tiger from the circus and Chloe helps transforming Gidget into a cat, to get out of a messy situation. My favorite character is Snowball, the white rabbit. His superhero scenes rescuing the tiger with his new pal Daisy are hysterical.

Max's voice is portrayed by Patton Oswalt and Duke is, once again, performed by Eric Stonestreet. The introduction of Rooster, voiced by Harrison Ford, adds a lot of depth and meaning to Max's outlook and the film. The animation is breathtaking, from the first scenes in Central Park, to the various scenes around the farm. The cast are all very talented portraying their various vocal roles. Brian Lynch's screenplay pulls it all together, with amazing humor for every character.

The message of this film is to be brave and embrace change. Max worries about the changes a baby will bring to his family, but learns to love Liam and become his best friend. Max continues to learn about changes at the farm and how to deal with them, as Rooster advises, "Some stuff happens and then it's over." Accept and move on, because change can be positive.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18, but adults will enjoy it as well as evidenced by all of the audience laughter. This movie opens in theaters June 7, 2019. Look for it!

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I absolutely love this family-friendly animated sequel. It has so many superstar voice actors and the animation is dramatic and ingenious. The creators introduce new zany and lovable characters.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is about a bunch of New York city pets and their daily adventures - from parks to farms and more - while their owners are away at work. The writers are very creative. They are successful intertwining different stories throughout the entire movie. For example, when Max and Duke get a new kid named Liam, they take a trip out to a farm where they meet a new character named Rooster. Snowball meets a darling new friend named Daisy and the two of them save a white tiger named Hu. My favorite part is when Pops is doing puppy school.

The best thing about this film is that you don't have to see the previous movie to enjoy the sequel. I think The Secret Life of Pets 2 blows The Secret Life of Pets out of the water with its incredible music and star-studded cast. The voice actors include Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Harrison Ford and Eric Stonestreet.

The messages in The Secret Life of Pets 2 are: It is okay to be afraid and 2. Teamwork is important. Note that it does have some mild violence, a couple fight scenes and some chase scenes. There are a few risky things that kids might try to imitate such as running into forests unsupervised, fighting wolfs and saving a wild animal. But, really, it's pretty tame. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15, as well as adults. I highly recommend this to all pet lovers. This film opens in theaters June 7, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is a phenomenal, all-around fantastic movie. The film is enjoyable and puts a smile on your face. It's a movie for everyone to enjoy with their friends and families. The movie has different aspects to it. It is also cool to see how the pets interact with each other and seeing how they work together as a team.

The storyline is about different pets going on adventures and exploring New York City. The protagonist Max goes through changes in his life, when his owner gets married and has a child. On the other hand, a cute bunny named Snowball and a puppy Daisy go on a crazy adventure saving a tiger from an evil circus owner. The movie has crazy, funny jaw-dropping moments that you don't want to miss.

Some of the highlights of this is the cast and storyline. Big ups to writer Brian Lynch for a great screenplay. The message of the film is to always look out for each other, not just family and friends, but others we may not know. In this movie, these pets always have each others' backs and really look out for one another. As human beings, we should do a better job of that, especially in our society. It would make the world a better place.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to18, as well as adults. Note that it has some rude humor. It opens in theaters nationwide June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Kendall M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DARK PHOENIX
DARK PHOENIX - TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORPORATION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - This is the story of one of the X-Men's most beloved characters, Jean Grey, as she evolves into the iconic DARK PHOENIX. During a life-threatening rescue mission in space, Jean is hit by a cosmic force that transforms her into one of the most powerful mutants of all. Wrestling with this increasingly unstable power as well as her own personal demons, Jean spirals out of control, tearing the X-Men family apart and threatening to destroy the very fabric of our planet. The film is the most intense and emotional X-Men movie ever made. It is the culmination of 20 years of X-Men movies, as the family of mutants that we've come to know and love must face their most devastating enemy yet -- one of their own.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really like this movie. I love super hero movies, especially Marvel movies. Unfortunately, I was a lot younger when I watched the previous X-Men movies, so I don't remember them that well. When I was watching Dark Phoenix, I was a little lost on the background of the characters.

Dark Phoenix is about the super hero team we all know as X-Men. The main character is the one and only Jean Grey portrayed by Sophie Turner who we also know as Sansa, The Queen of the North from Game of Thrones. The movie shows how Jean Grey meets Professor X (James McAvoy) after a fatal car accident and how she joins the X-Men team. Professor X sends Jean and the X-Men team off on a rescue mission in space. They have to rescue a group of NASA astronauts. During the rescue mission, Jean suffers an accident, causing her to start losing control of her emotions and power. Her uncontrolled emotions are mostly anger and rage, which accounts for the title of the movie, Dark Phoenix, because you see a bit of the dark side of Jean Grey. The villains in the movie are a group of aliens that lost their planet in an explosion, so they come to planet Earth to kidnap Jean and acquire her powers.

Besides Sophie Turner and James McAvoy, this movie has another well-known actress, Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), who we know as Katniss Evergreen in The Hunger Games. In this film, we see a different Mystique, showing her good side and her protectiveness for her team. The sound and visual effects are amazing. My favorite scene is when the X-Men team rescue Jean and have to fight off the aliens. There are some sad parts such as the loss of some characters, which, of course, you need to watch the film in order to know which ones are gone.

I really like the moral of the movie: you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice. Jean Grey needed to know how strong and powerful she is, because she doesn't have a choice. Another message is about how family will always be there for you and will help you through tough times. The X-Men and Professor X are Jean Grey's family.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. plus adults. I don't recall any profanity in the film, but there is a far amount of graphic, bloody death scenes. The film opens nationwide in theaters June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Dark Phoenix is an exciting, action-packed ending to the current series of X-Men films. The humor, special-effects and solid acting make this a great choice for a summer movie. If you're not familiar with the most recent X-Men movies, you might want a refresher, before you see this one. I watched a quick recap on YouTube and it helped me become familiar with the characters. Even though I haven't seen any of the previous films, it wasn't as confusing as I thought it would be, and I still understood enough to enjoy it.

Dark Phoenix is in the same timeline as X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse. It centers on the powerful mutant, Jean Grey. In 1992, the X-Men are sent on a space mission to retrieve a crew from a solar flare. Jean Grey, a.k.a. Phoenix, saves them by going inside and closing up the holes. While doing this, she absorbs a cosmic force and becomes Dark Phoenix. Some aliens find out that their source of power was absorbed and taken to Earth, so they morph into the shape of humans and start doing normal bad guy stuff - they want to take over the world, destroy the world, which is basically all any of the bad guys want to do in these comic book movies!

My favorite thing about this movie is definitely the incredibly awesome fight scenes! The special effects are very impressive and I love how they show all the mutants using their abilities together. There's a scene on a train where my favorite character, Nightcrawler, uses his powers of teleportation to fend off the aliens. I was looking forward to seeing Quicksilver, but he actually isn't in the film much. I'm disappointed because he really could've helped the storyline along.

Parents should know that there's plenty of violence and some blood, and a main character meets a distressing end. There's not a lot of bad language, but there is one big, dramatic F-bomb that kids might be tempted to imitate. The message of this film is that you should be prepared to face the consequences of your actions. Charles Xavier is presented as a flawed hero who makes choices both good and bad, so if you're looking for a movie where the main characters do no wrong, this might not be for you!

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults who like comic book movies should enjoy it too. Dark Phoenix opens in theaters everywhere Friday June 7, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

Dark Phoenix is a conclusion to the X-men franchise. The best aspect of this film is the actors. Sophie Turner, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender put up some great performances, as always. But, this film lacks the sort of intensity and depth that makes you want to care about the characters. Also, the visual effects are lackluster. It has the most exposition by one character, which is so constant that you feel like you're having the entire movie spoon fed to you.

Dark Phoenix follows Jean Grey, an X-men. She is infused with what is thought to be a solar flare. When Hank runs a test on her, the stats are off the charts, even though she was exposed to the solar flare. She fights with her emotions to prevent hurting her friends and people she loves. She figures out a repressed secret about herself and goes to Eric for guidance, only to be rejected.

My favorite scene is the train fight scene, because it provides some great action and develops the story a bit. It shows the teamwork between the X-men. We see the baddies crawling over the train, trying to reach Jean, with all of the mutants holding them back. I have an issue with this scene though. When Nightcrawler lets a guard die, he gets infuriated and releases his anger on the bad guys. This scene bothers me, because Nightcrawler is generally pretty passive and, because he lets one person die, he turns into Azazel, a villain in X-men: First Class.

This movie has some great stars. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Grey / Phoenix is easily recognizable for her role as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones. Co-star James McAvoy who plays Professor Charles Xavier is known for his past performances as the Professor in the previous X-man films. Michael Fassbender plays Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr and is well-known for his role in the Alien films and the Steve Jobs biopic.

The message in this movie is that even though everyone around you is saying you're bad, doesn't mean you are. I recommend this movie to people that liked the previous X-men films or other action films. There is not much risk in this film. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18, as well as adults and give it 2 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters nationwide June 7, 2019. Check it out.

Reviewed by Abraham F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

This is an incredible Marvel science fiction movie. The special effects are on point and there is so much action and a great plot. I really enjoyed the superheroes. Watching their awesome super powers is great fun.

The storyline is about a girl named Jean Gray (Sophie Turner) who has incredible strength and special powers, which are a blessing and a curse. She has no control over these powers she possesses. Doctor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) takes her into his special school for super humans and raises her as his own. Along with her are several other fictional superheroes including Mystique, Cyclops, Storm and Nightcrawler.

I love the costumes for all these characters. Each one has its own personality and they are all well developed. These super humans have not always been considered superheroes by others. Some have been excommunicated. Their missions can be life threatening and one turns absolutely deadly. Jean is absorbed by a cosmic force into the galaxy, which turns her into the most powerful mutant of all time. Sophie Turner who plays Jean Gray is an English actor known for her role as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones. She is excellent in this role, showing a range of intense emotions and a fierce competitive personality. She really brings it to the table. I enjoyed watching her trying to figure out what was happening to her and how she plays both good and evil sides to the character. Director Simon Kinberg wanted this film to have a realistic ending, which it does.

My favorite scene is when Jean gets the fire flare in her eyes and her red hair begins to float as she becomes more powerful than ever. It seems Jean is torn between her biological family and her superhero family. Will her family come back together or turn against her? I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. This film opens in theaters June 7, 201. Be sure to see it!

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WONDER PARK

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WONDER PARK - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 4-12
Description - June, an optimistic, imaginative girl, discovers an incredible amusement park called Wonderland hidden in the woods. The park is full of fantastical rides and talking, funny animals - only the park is in disarray. June soon discovers the park came from her imagination and she's the only one who can fix it, so she bands together with the animals to save this magical place and bring back the wonder in Wonderland
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love the characters, the animation and the imagination. I also like that it does not drag, flows smoothly and the conflict is resolved. I love the message of always remembering that, even when there is darkness, there is light that surrounds us.

The characters are original and the dialogue and animation are something that children will enjoy. The vocabulary is perfect for the target audience. It is fun. The animation stands out as quite amazing. There is conflict, but it is resolved and there is a happy ending.

It flows well from beginning to ending. There is sadness at times, but there is so much more happiness. The characters are all very likable, especially the main characters. June is creative, bright and has a wonderful imagination.

There is a very important lesson throughout the film about using your imagination. The other message is that even if that even though darkness may be there to never forget about the lightness that also surrounds you. I love this message!

Wonder Park delivers more than I had expected. It shows how important imagination is and shows teamwork and hope. It is entertaining with likeable characters and amazing animation. I recommend for ages 7 through 18, as well as adults. I give it 5 stars out of 5.

Reviewed by Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Are you ready for a wonderfully fun and imaginative family adventure family movie? This exhilarating, thrilling, interesting and adventurous film was created by Josh Appelbaum and Andr� Nemec. This refreshing film will have you on the silliest adventure ever. Make sure to buckle up for this wild ride through the imagination of the "Wonders in Wonderland."

This film follows a wildly creative girl named June who, with her mother spend countless hours imagining, designing and building models of an amazing park, all from their imagination. The heart of Wonder Park exists in the relationship between June and her mom, which is extremely beautiful to me. It reminds me of my mom and me.

As the film progresses, you get to see June enter this world in real life and from a different perspective. You also get to see June go on a wildly and festive ride through her imagination. She gets to encounter her own fantasy characters, which she created when she was little.

The lead characters are young June (Sophia Mali), Cooper (Ken Jeong), older June (Brianna Denski), Greta (Mila Kunis), Boomer (Ken Hudson Campbell) and many more. My favorite character is clearly the favorable and cheerful Boomer. I adore Boomer because he is the friendliest and most outgoing character of them all. I also love that he is always positive and gives second chances to all his boon companions. An example is when June explains how she generated the darkness in Wonder Park. When June apologizes to Boomer she feels as if she disappointed him. Though he is always friendly, he felt unhappy when June let him down.

The animation by Peter Chan and Nathan Fowler is simply marvelous. It is colorful, unique and imaginative - from the beautiful sky to the detailed roller coasters, to the crazy popping popcorn machine. This animation should be acknowledged because it is amazing to see the Wonder Park as such a bright and innovative Wonder Land.

The bonus features on the DVD include a heart-warming set of scenes which go along with the original film. You'll understand the meaning behind June, the main characters backstory and the reason of her sadness. I enjoyed the bonus features because they gave me more information to go with the original movie and helped me understand the characters better. In the beginning of the bonus features, there are many scenes showing how June's mother became sick and how Wonderland was created when June was a little girl. My favorite scene is when June and her Mom began to build their own Wonderland.

This film has no bad language or dangerous actions that children might attempt to imitate. It does teach children to always carry an imagination throughout their life because it can be healthful and healthy throughout good and bad times.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. This film is available on DVD June 18, 2019.

Reviewed by Nathalie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This animated fantasy film is awesome! It has a good message for younger viewers, is whimsical, bright and colorful. The music is very inspiring.

The storyline is about a little girl's extraordinary imagination. She and her mom have a special bond, sharing a passion for creating a magical place called Wonderland. Then, an unexpected life-changing event occurs, causing June's world to change forever. She becomes very depressed and decides to put Wonderland away. She quits doing the things she loves most. Will the wonder ever come back to Wonderland?

The lead character June is played by Sofia Mali. Her voice-over work is outstanding. You're really able to connect with her adventurous heart, emotions and struggles as she experiences them. Steve, the porcupine is played by Jhon Oliver. He secretly admires Greta the hog. He had me laughing throughout the film. Whenever he gets nervous, he loses his sharp quills and you had better run!

The jokes in this film are very practical, as June is somewhat of math genius. Some of my favorite scenes are the homemade roller coaster that June and the neighborhood kids attempt to make. One particularly funny scene is when they are on the bus and June wants to escape. This is when she discovers there is really a Wonderland. The park is full of unexpected rides, zero gravity fun and chimpanzee zombies. June remembers how she created Wonder Park by whispering into her stuffed animal Peanut's ear and remembers that anything is possible. Her stuffed animals are her inspiration and caretakers of the park. The music and singing really carries you through the scenes. They are very relaxing and beautiful. The theme song "Wonder" was written by Ali Dee, Doug Davis and Anthony Mirabella and performed by Rachel Platten. The screenplay is written by award-nominee Josh Appelbaum.

I like that this film, which is a fun animation, has a much deeper meaning. It is very emotional and I cried a few times. Junes has a loving father and mother that encourage her to create and dream. However they face difficult times, as many families do. Many children may face times in their life that are not easy to understand. Losing someone close to you and having your life turned upside down breaks your spirit. So you stop being a kid and stop enjoying life and doing the things you love to do. Here, June stops imagining a land where everything is different.

There are some scenes where June and her friend make risky decisions like going off on her own. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 12. Teens may enjoy it also. It is available on DVD June 18, 2019. Look for it.

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

This movie is really appealing, from beginning too end. There is not a moment when I got bored watching, nor wanted to stop. Not only that, but the movie has a really different and amazing plot.

Wonder Park is about a girl named June that, with her mother, creates a park named Wonderland. They would stay up late to create new rides and attractions for the park, but as time passes June's mother gets sick and has to leave to get treatment. That causes June to loose inspiration to continue creating Wonderland, until one day she comes across something that leads her back to Wonderland.

I like the originality of the story line. I have never before seen a movie with such an idea and it makes the movie catch the attention of the viewer. The animation of the film is very detailed and cute. I like that the characters of June and her mother aren't ones commonly used in movies. The way Wonderland is brought to life is also great. It makes one want to go visit the park in real life. The songs are all quite beautiful and enjoyable. The protagonist, June definitely stands out the most in her very energetic way of being, which makes her unique. My favorite scene is when June and her mother sit in her room and create new rides for Wonderland. Greta the pig's voice is played by the amazing actress Mila Kunis and Mila's Mom's voice is played by Jennier Garner, who is also quite brilliant.

Its message is to not let fear consume you, as it will only things worse and makes you become different that you really are. It affects not only you, but everyone surrounding you gets affected as well. I learned to always keep the light shining within me, no matter how bad thing can get, to always keep going and make the worst things and moments become better.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12, as well as adults. It really is a family friendly movie that parents will easily enjoy with their young children. This comes out on DVD June 18, 2019 so look for it.

Reviewed by Hennesi V., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16.
Juror Recommended Age: 4-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
DOG'S JOURNEY, A

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DOG'S JOURNEY, A - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A dog finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he meets.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film A Dog's Journey, directed by Gail Mancuso, is the most heartwarming, tear-jerking, wholesome film yet to hit the theaters. This movie (the sequel to A Dog's Purpose directed by Lasse Hallstr�m) is much better than the original film, because it incorporates characters from the previous film as well as adding a whole new plot. The film is about a dog (Josh Gad) named Bailey (initially) and the many lives he experiences while trying to help and protect toddler Clarity Kathryn Prescott) from unnecessary hardships.

My favorite part is when Bailey does a major chase throughout a neighborhood in New York City in order to reunite with Clarity for the second time. The tension as well as the suspense of Bailey being lost for even just a split second, and then the progression of Bailey's character conveyed through his determination to make it to Clarity ties the movie together. This event effortlessly launches us into the next plot twist which is a key detail that I love even though it is a small event (timewise).

My least favorite thing about the film is the slow-paced beginning. I was so excited to finally get a sequel to the amazing original film, but the beginning is unnecessarily lengthy. A movie that good doesn't need the cushion of a background story, especially since we already have the previous film to refer to.

I give A Dog's Journey 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, although adults are sure to love this movie as well. You can catch this movie in theaters near you starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Raquel Y., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

I absolutely love the emotional journey that Bailey takes in this film! Bailey's sense of humor shines throughout the film as he tries to make sense of the actions of his various owners and his meaning in life. He balances his purpose with his love for bacon and all disgusting smells.

A Dog's Journey continues with the story of Bailey and the humans in his life. His relationship continues with Ethan on the farm until Ethan gives him a new purpose which is to protect Ethan's granddaughter, C. J. Bailey goes through many changes and continues to be puzzled by humans. He protects C. J. at any cost from the time she is a toddler through her adult experiences. Some of my favorite scenes are those where he deliberately misbehaves or manipulates to get rid of her boyfriend Barry. Bailey gathers people into his human packs and eliminates others that don't belong.

Bailey's voice is portrayed by Josh Gad who has a brilliant sense of comedic timing and he adds so much humor and depth to Bailey's character. W. Bruce Cameron who wrote the book, also worked on the screenplay. Dennis Quaid returns to the role of Ethan and the movie just wouldn't be the same without him. Casting is by John Papsidera and the entire cast is talented and works together seamlessly in their humorous and very touching roles under the guidance of Director Gail Mancuso.

The message of this film is to find meaning in your life experiences. In all of Bailey's lives he learns things which fulfill his purpose and allow him to find meaning in his actions with his humans. It is an emotional roller coaster filled with laughter, joy, love, tears and bacon.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18, but of course adults will definitely enjoy it too. This movie opens nationwide in theaters May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

A Dog's Journey is my second favorite reincarnating dog movie. Opening this week, it is a sequel to the 2017 film, A Dog's Purpose. It's much like the first one with plenty of cute doggie screen time and Buster who dotes.

One strength, compared to the original, is that it spends more time on one particular canine / human relationship rather than jumping around to lots of new people. For a movie for dog lovers, this sure shows a lot of dog deaths. As the movie begins, loyal dog Bailey is living with Ethan and Hannah as an old St. Bernard on their farm in Michigan. As Bailey draws his last breaths, Ethan orders the dog's spirit to watch over his granddaughter C.J. throughout her life. That's exactly what the reincarnating dog does, first as a puppy named Molly to help C.J. as a child, next as a terrier named Max who helps teen and adult C.J. (Catherine Prescott).

Josh Gad is back as the perfect dog voice, which stays the same regardless of the breed in which his spirit is currently living. Director Gail Mancuso has made a real tearjerker for dog fans aided by Mark Isham's sentimental musical score. This movie has fewer adult themes than the book it's based on. Aside from the dog deaths, there are a few other things that might upset younger children. For example, one character gets very sick and another is stalked by an ex-boyfriend. There's also an upsetting car crash and some alcohol and drug use at a party.

The message of this film is that you can persevere to overcome the bad things that happen in your life. You need to surround yourself with people who you care about. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 but, adults will like it too if they really love dog movies. You can find A Dog's Journey in theaters everywhere starting May 17, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALADDIN (2019)

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ALADDIN (2019)
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ALADDIN (2019) - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - Young Aladdin embarks on a magical adventure after finding a lamp that releases a wisecracking genie.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Aladdin is one of my favorite stories and I enjoyed Disney's live-action remake of Aladdin with its mesmerizing, exciting, colorful and heartwarming scenes. I particularly enjoyed the way the movie begins with the story telling by the Mariner (Will Smith) to his two young children.

The performances by Aladdin (Mena Massoud) and Jasmine (Naomi Scott) are very good. They display warmth and love for each other in a playful way. Will Smith plays Genie and makes the character his own. I could feel the rapper, actor and creativeness of Will Smith.

My favorite scene is when Aladdin uses his first wish to be a prince because Princess Jasmine is required to marry a prince. Genie creates several possibilities and finally gets to Prince Ali. The pomp and circumstance and pageantry of his entrance into the kingdom of Agrahbah is spectacular with color and thunderous music and marching bands.

The CGI is excellent. The scenery is breathtaking. There are some scenes that are a bit scary but exciting such as when Aladdin is in the cave to retrieve the magic lamp, an eruption causes him to be thrown around. Aladdin is a film with messages about the value of friendship, courage, integrity and a clear reminder of love and family.

I give Aladdin 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Some adults will like it too. It opens May 24, 2019 in theaters nationwide. Hop on your magic carpet and see it!

Reviewed by Juanita Seon L., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Aladdin is bolstered by its great direction and acting talent, but ultimately it doesn't quite break the Disney fatigue in remakes. Still, its grandiose production overcomes its lack of originality. Fans of Disney movies, especially the cartoon classic Aladdin, must check this out.

The film centers upon the beloved classic story, taking a few liberties. The adventure roams as "street rat" Aladdin (Mena Massoud) frees a genie (Will Smith) from a lamp, granting all his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince so that he can please beautiful Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). But, every hero has his villain as evil sorcerer Jaffar (Marwan Kenzari) is determined to secure the lamp for his own sinister purposes. He threatens to do this at any cost necessary, and only Aladdin can outsmart him.

First off, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin, is fantastic with his charisma and kind heart, while also proving his physical prowess in the adventurous parkour scenes. His chemistry with Jasmine is well realized and moves forward their iconic romance. However, his singing does not fare well, with most of it appearing like a mediocre lip dub. This appears to be more of an error on the production side, than that of Massoud's. Will Smith, as Genie, is my favorite character because it's really just a medley of charm and swagger. I was worried that he would just try to imitate Robin William's signature fast talk. Thankfully, he really does his own thing, and it works. Naomi Scott, as Jasmine, is stellar with her overall strength, and a few liberties are taken to establish her as more independent than her predecessors. Her aspirations to become a ruler among Abragah are well-fleshed, and her singing fares the best, despite some choppy editing. Unfortunately, Marwan Kenzari, as Jaffar, gives his best, but fails to leave an impression. His character is terribly one-note with his nefarious intentions. The script fails to develop his motive, but then again, he was never the classic cartoon's strength. He always was a moustache-twirling villain.

Guy Ritchie elegantly writes and directs with many dazzling musical numbers and soaring perilous adventures. His movies always contain a unique style, but at times, style outweighs substance. Here, it's mostly not the case as the brilliant acting talent carries emotional and humorous scenes relating the story. The pace moves fast from one Saharan setting to the next. The production value and costume design are always wondrous. My favorite scene is the "Friend Like Me" number which doubles down on the craziness of the original. It's a familiar, but faithful take that highlights Will Smith's ability to helm the iconic musical number. New numbers such as "Speechless" are welcome additions that highlight the changes in Jasmine's overall character in this version. They also showcase Naomi Scott's range as a singer, and that musical number also stands among my favorites.

The message of this film is that love conquers all. It is not just in Aladdin and Jasmine's love for each other, but also in the brotherly fulfillment of promise on the Genie's side. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18 due to some action and peril. The movie released in theaters on May 24, 2019, so check it out.

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

Aladdin is an enchanting retelling of the classic Disney animated film.

Aladdin (Mena Massoud) is a streetwise thief living in Agrabah, stealing to survive with his monkey Abu. He has a chance encounter with the Princess of Agrabah, Jasmine (Naomi Scott), disguised as a handmaid and romance blossoms. While sneaking into the palace one day, he is seized by the nefarious Jafar (Narwan Kenzari), an advisor to the Sultan, who sends him to retrieve a powerful lamp in the magical Cave of Wonders. Once he gets the lamp, he is granted three wishes by mystical Genie (Will Smith). Aladdin wishes to look like a prince in order to get closer to the Princess, but has to prove to her and to himself that he is worthy without truly being a prince.

Aladdin keeps the best parts of the original, while adding a few really awesome new things. None of these tweaks to the story feel like filler, but necessary changes that bring this story to life for a new audience. I really like that characters Genie and Jasmine get more to do. Jasmine, in particular, takes on a much more active role in this version.

I love the performances in this film. Will Smith is measuring up against the pretty iconic voice performance of Robin Williams as Genie in the previous film. He makes the role his own and really gives a unique, colorful flair to it. Smith's performance is charismatic, energetic and, above all - fun. Naomi Scott is very powerful as Princess Jasmine. She does a lot of this film's emotionally heavy lifting and has amazing vocals. Mena Massoud is likable and relatable as Aladdin and has a strong, comedic rapport with the Genie.

Jafar is a weak antagonist in this film. I think the character's motivations are well-executed, but Marwan Kenzari's overdone performance lacks the qualities that make the character compelling.

This is one of those films made to be seen on the big screen. From the sprawling landscape of Agrabah, to the magical, magnificent Cave of Wonders, the visuals in the land are excellent. Director Guy Ritchie mixes in some of his familiar trademarks with a lot of really colorful set pieces. Every musical number feels huge and well-made. From costumes to sets to cinematography, on a visual level, Aladdin is astonishing.

I recommend Aladdin for ages 8 to 16, for some implied violence and scenes of peril and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Aladdin is a feel-good summer movie and a magical ride well worth taking. I highly recommend you check it out when it swoops into theaters May 24, 2019.

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

This action filled movie is incredible. The acting is remarkable and the music is excellent. It will truly touch your heart.

The story is about a poor boy named Aladdin (Mena Massoud) who lives in Agrabah and falls in love with the Princess Jasmine (Naomi Scott). At the beginning of the movie Aladdin faces challenges when he is kidnapped by an evil sorcerer named Jafar (Marwan Kenzari). The sorcerer sends him into a dangerous, but treasure filled cave to retrieve a magical golden lamp. After getting trapped in the cave, Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp and, voila - the Genie (Will Smith) appears. Soon after, Aladdin sets out to impress Princess Jasmine and their adventure begins.

Disney has make so many spectacular movies from Snow White to Moana, and now this live action movie Aladdin, which is by far one of the best. Of course this is no surprise, because it has many wonderful actors like Will Smith, Mina Massoud and Naomi Scott. The costumes are dazzling. Not one detail is missed. I absolutely love all the costumes. My favorite scene is when the Genie describes how he lives inside of the itty-bitty golden lamp for 1,000 years. It's very cramped. My favorite characters are Dalia and the Genie. Dalia is innocent, giddy and funny. The Genie is magical, entertaining and charismatic.

The message of Aladdin is to be yourself and don't do anything to change that. It has some negative behavior and some risky things that kids might imitate, but that's unlikely.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars I recommend this for ages 6 to 15. Adults might like watching this with their kids. This movie is in theaters on May 22, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Aladdin is one of the best re-created films that I have seen. It's funny, colorful, has lots of action and amazing special effects, and the hip hop flavor of the songs and choreography helps to keep the audience alert and watching. Although all of this makes me happy, there are times when little ones, like my four-year-old sister, tend to close their eyes and ears. So, I recommend this movie for ages 6 to 18, as well as for adults who are still kids at heart.

In this upgraded adaptation of Disney's 1992 animated film, you still get that magical feel of the original Arabian Nights in Agrabar. There's singing, dancing, princesses, sultans, sorcerers, monkeys, magic carpets, parrots, tigers and even a charismatic "street rat". The infamous Cave of Wonders, while a bit more scary, still offers jewels and gems, and houses the lamp of that big, blue, blubbery genie, that we all know and love, once brought to life by Robin Williams.... That character is now portrayed by Will Smith, who takes on the comedic challenge, sensitivity, and power like a champ! Bringing a touch of that "Fresh Prince" swag and humor to this live-action film really sets it apart from other remakes. Seeing this newly-improved genie as a buff, ladies man definitely flips the script from the original, and gives moviegoers a little bonus. Other characters, such as Marwan Kenzari, who plays Jafar, are not as frightening in this movie, but nonetheless he is a beast as a result of its booming CGI. The sultan, Navid Negahban, not as clumsy and stubby as in the Disney version, also helps to keep the sacred story of Aladdin together.

Writer/Director Guy Ritchie sticks to the original story. This film is straight to the point, has some intense moments, and teaches the importance of just being yourself. The best part is seeing the heart to heart talks that Genie and Al have, and being able to feel for both characters. Actress Naomi Smith brings strength and "woman power" to Princess Jasmine's character, which makes you forget that at some point she kind of becomes a prisoner, and her handmaiden, Dalia, played by Nasim Pedrad, serves as a great comic relief. Although I like this 2019 reboot, Iago should be funnier, and Raja is supposed to be more fierce! At the end of the day, it's our charming thief who steals the show and his way to Princess Jasmine's heart. Mena Massoud, real-life actor playing Aladdin, is awesome! He executes backflips and popping when he dances. His swag makes all of the ladies love him, and his good heart and promise keeps him right with Genie. Overall, this movie is a must-see for anyone who calls themselves true Disney fans.

Aladdin not only continues to bring smiles to faces of many, it also represents doing the right thing. Sometimes we get caught up in our own problems, and forget that if we help others first, everyone can come out "royal". I give Disney's Aladdin 5 out of 5 stars. It's another one for the entire family, unless loud noises, flashes, and some mild violence bothers you. Go see Aladdin at a theater near you Friday, May 24, 2019. Remember to like and subscribe to our channel and newsletter. Reviewed by Brandon James R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9. That's a wrap. Peace out!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
HUSTLE, THE

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HUSTLE, THE
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HUSTLE, THE - MGM STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson star as female scam artists, one low rent and the other high class, who team up to take down the men who have wronged them.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Hustle is an extremely mixed bag of a movie. On one hand, it's very entertaining and had the entire theatre laughing because of the raunchy humor and continuous jokes, but this is also its weak point. The jokes keep on coming and coming, but they are all so similar that after awhile they get boring. The jokes are either fat jokes or raunchy sexual jokes and easily get stale.

The Hustle is adapted from the film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and it features two huge stars in the lead: Anne Hathaway as Josephine and Rebel Wilson as Penny. The story follows Penny, a con artist who catfishes men and takes their money. She is coincidentally on a train with world-class con artist, Josephine. Josephine overhears Penny's tactic to get money from an old man. She is afraid that Penny is going to "take over the market". So to get Penny out of the city she operates in, Josephine trains her and doesn't pay her, just to make her mad and force her to leave. This causes Penny to retort and purpose a turf war.

The Hustle has two huge stars leading the film. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are both predominant stars. Anne Hathaway is an Oscar-winning actress for her works in Les Mis�rables and has gotten praise for her performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises. Rebel Wilson has been in franchises like Pitch Perfect and Night at the Museum.

My favorite part of this film is when Penny is getting trained by Josephine to be world-class con artist like herself. Josephine shows Penny how to react to any situation by teaching her tricks that are used in a heist and not really to scam a man for money.

The message in this movie is that just because you're a con person trying to steal money from men who have done you wrong doesn't make all men evil. This movie has a lot of swearing and crude sexual remarks, and I strongly advise parents to look into the content before taking their kids. This film is no doubt entertaining, but once the jokes get stale the film does as well. The Hustle is appropriate for children 14 to 18. I give it 2 out of 5 stars. The Hustle hits theatres Friday, May 10, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE

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SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. She is not the type of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when her family is twelve hours away from being deported. Falling in love with him will not be her story. Daniel has always been the good son, the good student, living up to his parents' high expectations. Never a poet. Or a dreamer. But when he sees her, he forgets all that. Something about Natasha makes him think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store - for both of them. Every moment has brought them to this single moment. A million futures lie before them. Which one will come true?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I don't even know where to start this is a heartwarming, breathtaking, star-studded movie. The Sun Is also a Star is a magical, romantic drama that kind of takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. One scene is exciting, then one is sad or joyful. You might shed a few tears and have a laugh at the same time. But, it is an enjoyable film and I really loved it.

This movie is about a boy named Daniel Bae and Jamaican-born young lady Natasha Kingsley. They meet and fall for each other in one day, amidst the fervor of New York City. Sparks immediately fly between these two who might never meet again. With just hours left on the clock on what looks to be her last day in the U.S., Natasha is fighting against her family's deportation just as fiercely as she's fighting her growing feelings for Daniel.

The best parts of the film are the story line and the screenplay. All of that is on point and should be applauded. Also, the sets and locations are perfect. New York City, the Big Apple is the perfect setting for the situation of the movie, because there are lots of people who live there and have many amazing stories, not unlike Natasha Kingsley's.

The message of this movie is to always have faith and believe, even when you in doubt. The film really portrays that well and it's a real good message. A lot of people don't believe or have faith and they often struggle in life. Always believe and you can accomplish nearly anything. That's what we as human beings should focus on and maybe we'll have a better world.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. It is funny, emotional, interesting and very well developed. Big ups to Leslie Morgenstein and Elysa Dutton for producing this wonderful film and making it so amazing. I recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Note that it does have some mild profanity and some rude humor. It opens at theaters nationwide May 17, 2019. Be sure to check it out.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOLKIEN

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TOLKIEN - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Tolkien explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the "fellowship" apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Tolkien is an incredibly heartwarming film telling the story of John Ronald Tolkien's life and how he drew inspiration for his books. This film is extremely entertaining for a biopic. It tells his life story in a way that shows how events throughout his life fueled his imagination to create his incredible fantasy stories. It brilliantly represents how people make connections with other people and events that inspire creativity.

Tolkien begins with J.R.R. Tolkien in a small camp in a WWI trench, where he is having visions of mythical creatures battling. It then cuts to him as a child and shows how he always loved these mythical creatures that he wrote about. Suddenly, due to a lack of money, his family is forced to move to the city where he has no friends. He and his brother are admitted to a prestigious school on scholarships where he makes some lifelong friends.

The use of imagery in this film is incredible. Lots of normal things are transformed by John's imagination into incredible creatures from myths and legends. Many of the things that John experiences over the course of his life are mirrored by the events in his books. The film excels at showing that Tolkien was really passionate about his writing and the use of language. The war scenes in the movie are quite graphic and hard to watch, but show the inspiration for Tolkien's epic battle scenes in his writings.

One thing I disliked is the way the movie starts. It begins with a scene of two CGI horses being ridden into battle. The CGI used isn't that great and is a terrible choice for the opening scene, because it instantly turns down the audience and makes it just a little bit harder to get their support. However, the story is strong enough to compensate for that and you become quickly lost in the world of Tolkien's imagination.

The moral of this film is that you should try to accomplish your goals and overcome obstacles. This is told throughout Tolkien's journey. He constantly tries to accomplish different goals and is incredibly dedicated to finishing them. There is also an integral message about dealing with loss. This is shown in how he deals with the many devastating losses in his life.

The music in this film is great. It is exciting and conveys a strong tone that matches the film incredibly. It is very interesting and has a lot of variety. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 through 18, because it covers some heavy topics that are unsuitable for younger viewers. Any fan of the writings of JRR Tolkien will love this. It is one of my favorite films and I am certain I will watch it again. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

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

At this point, it's hard not to know about J. R. R. Tolkien. Given that The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings are behemoths in pop culture, you've no doubt heard of the author. Even though I'm not a Tolkien fan, I'll admit this movie is quite interesting.

This movie is a biopic about the early life of J. R. R. Tolkien showing his high school years, him building his strong friendships, falling in love with Edith Bratt - all culminating in the creation of The Hobbit.

A mind like Tolkien is very intriguing. I was interested in how creativity and imagination are the central focus of the movie. As I writer, I get very excited when I hear how "creativity can change the world," because that is something I believe in very deeply. So, I enjoyed that very much.

A big focus of this movie is about how friendships we build in school can push us and help us ascend to become better artist. Early in the movie, Tolkien befriends three boys - Robert Gilson, Christopher Wiseman and Geoffrey Bache Smith. They form The TCBS Club which created such a strong brotherhood that it probably would have lasted a lifetime, if not for the war. Most of the scenes in this movie focus on their relationship and the performances really bring their friendship to life. Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the performances in this film. The two leads, Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien and Lily Collins as Edith Bratt, work really well together. Not only do they have a lot of charm, but they also have a lot of chemistry. There's one scene where they're in a restaurant and talking about Tolkien's stories and languages. The dialogue feels very natural. Something about the whole scene is very immersive and charmingly romantic, without being cheesy, which is very rare in modern cinema.

I like how references to Tolkien's future works are sprinkled throughout the film. From he and Edith going to see an opera about a magic ring, to a very well shot scene from Tolkien's time in World War 1 where he sees fantasy creatures throughout the battlefield, it reminded me of how I picture scenes for my own stories.

I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It comes out May 10, 2019. Look for it, especially if you are a fan of his literature.

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



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
WAYANG KIDS, THE - RAYMOND TAN
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - A feel-good comedy about a boy named Open who has autism. Open is good at drawing and dreams about taking part in a performance. A girl called Baoer discovers Open's dream and, together with the classmates, they help Open fulfill his dream. This is a film about accepting others for who they are, depicting human differences and that, in the end, we can unite.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I really love this film. It portrays a group of kids performing a Chinese opera with the main character being autistic. I am autistic myself and because of that, I've always wished to see more autistic characters represented in films. I was very happy to see an autistic character as the protagonist. Not only that, but I thought the protagonist was very realistic. I enjoyed the way autism is portrayed in this movie. The cinematography of this film is well done, however there is nothing really extraordinary. The attires look mostly modern except for the costumes, which stand out the most. The movie takes place in Singapore and is beautifully produced. The music sounds very Asian, which enhances the scenes about the Chinese opera that the kids are performing. There is one scene that uses a green screen. It looks alright and it's only for this one scene. The main characters are Open and Bao Er. Open stands out to me as he is the character with autism and I enjoyed his portrayal of autism very much. What I like about this most is the message that everyone is different yet special in their own way. My favorite scenes are the scenes that focus specifically on Open's autism. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. This would definitely play well in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals. It is perfect for kids and families to enjoy together. Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:

KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

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INTRUDER, THE
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INTRUDER, THE - CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - The crypto-zoological agency Monarch faces off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Intruder is very suspenseful. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I watched it, wondering what was going to happen next. I enjoyed the good balance between mystery, horror and romance. There isn't too much of one genre, so the mix of styles is all spread out evenly.

The Intruder tells the story of a young married couple who buys a beautiful house with several acres of land in the middle of a some very lonely woods. They find out that the man they buy the property from refuses to let go of it and, in fact, has an obsession with it. The film shows how emotionally attached the landlord is to what once was his, and also shows the actions the couple takes to protect their new home.

The film was written by David Loughery and directed by Deon Taylor, who sets the film in a very lonely and rural town in modern day. This location is essential to the plot; since it takes place in an old house located in the middle of the woods, the setting helps create a feeling of curiosity and creepiness. The music in this film intensifies the emotions in certain scenes. It adds a lot of eeriness to the more action-based scenes and brings out the horror in them.

The Intruder has a very intense ending that leaves the audience feeling empowered. This film values the importance of family and what it means to stick together through the hardest times. It emphasizes how there's nothing as valuable as family for those who are lucky enough to have one, like the married couple in the movie.

I really enjoyed The Intruder! I give this film 4 out of 5 stars for how creatively this suspenseful film was made. I recommend it for ages 10 through 18, but adults might also enjoy it as well. The Intruder will be released in theaters on May 3, 2019.

Reviewed by Leire G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 15

The Intruder is a hair-raising, creepy thriller movie!

The film was shot in Canada in British Columbia and Vancouver. The scenes are tranquil, and everything looks crisp and clean on the big screen.

The Intruder has a great plot. A newly-married happy couple embark on a move out of the city to start a family. The husband receives a promotion at work, so they can finally afford their dream home. The conflict is that the owner of the house loves the home too, and just can't seem to let go. Which makes you wonder: why did he sell it?

The house is the perfect setting for this mystery film. The antagonist homeowner is Charlie Peck played by Dennis Quaid. He is perfect for this role because he is very intimidating and eerie. His home has a long history, and it's his legacy, so he is not letting go easily. Meagan Good plays Annie. She is a country girl at heart and wants to raise children in a loving home. She is really great at portraying the naive young wife who sees the good in people. Mike Ealy plays Scott, the husband. He really brings energy to this role. He is reluctant to move to the country. At first Scott is very tolerant of Charlie's intrusions. Then his suspicion grows as to the true motives of Charlie. You totally understand the doubts and fears of these characters. Is Scott able to protect his wife from Charlie's secret motives and gain back her trust?

The director Dean Taylor does great work in this film. The acting scenes and timing are great! The momentum and build up are perfect. I love how it gradually builds up to be more thrilling to scary. I screamed and jumped out of my seat a couple of times! The writer is David Loughery. Everything really flows very well in this script. I really enjoyed the music and sound track, too.

The moral to this story is when buying a new home do your homework before making such a huge purchase. The couple is too eager and trusting. They ignore all the signs and red flags that lead to the conflict.

I give this film 5 out 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. There are a few vulgar words and heavy romantic scenes. If you love a good mystery thriller with a few screams be sure to check this out. Release date is May 3, 2019

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PENGUINS (2019)

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PENGUINS (2019) - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Description - Disneynature's all-new feature film "Penguins" is a coming-of-age story about an Ad�lie penguin named Steve who joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner and start a family. None of it comes easily for him, especially considering he's targeted by everything from killer whales to leopard seals, who unapologetically threaten his happily ever after. From the filmmaking team behind "Bears" and "Chimpanzee," Disneynature's "Penguins" opens in theaters nationwide in time for Earth Day 2019.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This adorable film is the fourteenth Disneynature documentary and follows the parenting adventures of an Ad�lie penguin named Steve. He lives in the icy Antarctic where he finds a life partner and starts a family. Directed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, Penguins is a great mix of documentary and storytelling. It is educational and funny, and a great family movie about these pretty creatures who are also gracious and noble animals.

The visuals are stunning. The camera follows Steve before his baby penguins are born and shows how male penguins are key in taking care of their babies. Steve takes turns with mama penguin to hatch eggs, and this is an example of great parenting. Once babies are born, he feeds them and teaches them how to survive.

The cinematography by Rolf Steinmann creates a fascinating journey captured by a very creative and professional crew of nature lovers. There are underwater scenes as well.

I love the scenes where we discover the process of baby penguins turning into adults; not just for the changes in how they are fed, but also for everything the babies have to face going into adulthood.

Other important characters are killer whales and leopard seals. They are beautiful creatures but represent big danger for the small, clumsy penguins.

I love the humor in this film. The narration by Ed Helms makes this film entertaining and funny while providing a lot of information. Is not overwhelming or extremely scientific; instead, it is an engaging comedy, fueled with relevant and interesting information about animals, survival and nature.

The message of the film is that parenthood is a shared responsibility. I recommend Penguins for ages 4 to 16. Penguins opened nationwide on April 17, 2019 -- seeing it is a great way to celebrate Earth Day. Disneynature was announced on April 21, 2008, a day before Earth Day and its films make a wonderful contribution of films teaching us about the planet we live on.

Reviewed by Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AVENGERS: ENDGAME

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AVENGERS: ENDGAME - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers -- Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner -- must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos -- the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth,Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Kate Gillam, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is in full force, as is the promotion for what is expected to be a record-breaking film release. I'm not going to lie, Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film release from Marvel, is a cinematic roller coaster ride for everyone. I laughed. I cried. I loved every pop culture reference. Let us remember, I am not the target audience and I can't wait to see it again.

As in past MCU films, the Avengers are a tight group of superheroes who are like a family and showcase the heart of family throughout time in this film. At the end of Avengers: Infinity Wars, the snap heard throughout the universe ended lives and destroyed families like nothing before. How Thanos (Josh Brolin), the villain, could win vs. our super heroes stymied many. The end credit scenes in Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), gave us a bit of a hint about who would live to save the day, but what would bring our heroes together? Again, it's Thanos. The use of time and space is a creative set-up for this film and, without delivering spoilers, it truly has to be seen to be believed.

There is a great historical thread and deep family themes throughout the film. In many ways, it is funnier than the Guardians of the Galaxy films, too. There is a single frame in the film screaming girl power, and we learn more about the back story of many characters including Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth). The film is an epic conclusion to a well-told story over the last ten years.

Note. This film is a full three hours long. Avoid the over-sized soft drinks or you will miss the action scenes within the film. You simply must see every frame within the last hour. If you don't have the "Run Pee" app, now is a good time to download it!

I give this film 5 of 5 stars for the casting, costumes, special effects, family themes, humor, awesome comedic pop culture references, make-up (men and women) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 8 to 18. I caution younger viewing due to fight scenes which may be disturbing to younger children. Be sure to look for Stan Lee - it has been confirmed this is his last film appearance. May he rest in eternal peace, protected by the Marvel Universe.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Can you say "epic"? This movie takes you on an epic, wild ride filled with action, laughter, love, heartache and tears. As a superhero lover, there is nothing more thrilling than watching this movie - all three hours of it. Bringing all of the Marvel characters together in one movie is simply brilliant.

Avengers: Endgame is based on an awesome journey, post Thanos destruction, of half the Universe. The Avengers are not used to losing, as they did when we last watched them together, so, they come up with a plan to finally defeat Thanos and save the Universe.

If you haven't seen many Marvel movies, I recommend watching all of them - each worthy of a 4- or 5-star rating. In Avengers: Endgame, we see many of the same characters as in other Avenger films. Tony Stark (aka Ironman), played by Robert Downey Jr., and Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), played by Chris Evans, are probably on the screen the most. The special effects are out of this world. The sound effects make the theatre seats rattle, and the new costumes are super sleek. My favorite character is Rocket because he is a funny, outspoken, genetically-engineered, spaceship-flying raccoon. My favorite scene is when Thor appears in a way we have never seen him before, and it made me laugh out loud.

The message of Avengers: Endgame is about the characters' hunger for the old days, teamwork and determination. Without the team and their determination, they are nothing. Together they are able to be good and do good. Be aware that this movie has some mild profanity, intense violence (stabbings, decapitation, sliced throat, impalement, explosions), alcohol drinking and other risky behavior that kids might replicate.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5 stars and recommend this for ages 10 to 18, and for adults, for sure. Avengers: Endgame is in theaters on April 26, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Avengers: Endgame is the epic conclusion of 11 years of films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is nothing less but spectacular! It is a constellation of the biggest Hollywood stars in one event that is entertaining, heartfelt and fun at the same time.

The basic premise is: the remaining super heroes from the previous film Avengers: Infinity War fight together against evil Thanos to restore peace based on their faith on humankind.

The story develops in three acts. Act 1 is very dramatic and gives the actors the opportunity to develop their characters in scenes that are not action related. We see the most human side of these heroes here. This Avengers film has the best acting of all. Among my favorites performers are Robert Downey Jr. who plays Iron Man and steals the show. Chris Evans, as Captain America, carries the spirit of the team and is always very enthusiastic. Brie Larson brings a lot of gravitas. I can't mention other favorites, because it would be a spoiler. In this act the Avengers reflect about what might happen if they could turn back time and do things differently. We see how these characters react to loss and hope.

In Act 2 we see the action plan. The movie deals with the concept of time travel and references a lot of films also developed around concepts of present, past and future. During this act, the movie gets a little slow, despite the fun and dramatic action scenes. There are flashbacks and you need to follow carefully to figure out what happens. Even though this film's run time is three hours, it's necessary to fit everything in needed to develop the story.

The finale is a total extravaganza and makes this film a unique and total experience. The special affects are fantastic, especially in the Act 3 when we see most of the action scenes and intense battles. The music is very orchestral, but of course it includes contemporary pop and rock songs.

There are so many surprises that make the whole experience very enjoyable. There are also so many details and, although you don't need to see the previous films to enjoy this one, there is a lot that is directly connected with the previous films, specifically Avengers: Infinity War.

The message of this film is: the world is in our hands and we have to do something to preserve it. We can have a second chance as long as we want to accomplish something. This is part of the beauty of Avengers: Endgame - a lot messages will resonate and touch you like no other super heroes movie does. I am very sad this is the last film, so there will not be another one like this one.

I recommend Avengers: Endgame to ages 10 to 18. This is not as violent as Infinity War, but obviously parental guidance is important younger viewers. Avengers: Endgame opens nationwide on April 26, 2019. Look for it!

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

Avengers: Endgame is the ultimate payoff for ten years of Marvel movies. Full of surprises, Endgame thrills with exhilarating action and tons of inside jokes for longtime MCU fans.

Picking up from the end of Infinity War, Thanos has decimated half of all life in the universe with just a snap, and the world is left reeling from the catastrophic actions of the mad Titan. The Avengers mourn their fallen comrades and plot to recover the Infinity Gauntlet and its stones in order to reverse Thanos's damage.

I really like the story. Endgame is just as much about the fight against Thanos as it is about the Avengers dealing with their own losses. This film sees our heroes at the lowest they've ever been. Watching each character deal with pain and grief says so much about who they are and how far they've come. My one gripe with the story is a plot element is introduced that makes the movie more complicated than it should be and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. But for the rest, Endgame has so many wonderful twists I wasn't expecting, and the more predictable plot points are executed in an entertaining way.

Endgame doesn't drag for a second. The film is fast-paced and its three-hour running time flies by. Endgame ties up all loose ends and didn't leave me wanting anymore than what I got. I really like the score by Alan Silvestri. Silvestri uses the rousing Avengers theme sparingly but masterfully. He also mixes in musical cues from scores in other Marvel films that really adds to the experience.

The main flaw in this film is the tonal inconsistency. Endgame, for the most part, jumps between quips and drama really well, but, sometimes those tonal shifts feel less effortless than they're supposed to be.

For all the build up to this movie, Endgame is a fantastic film and a brilliant conclusion to the Marvel saga. If you're just getting into the MCU, I don't recommend seeing this film, but if you're already a Marvel fan, you're going to have a blast. I give Avengers: Endgame an age rating of 11 to 18 for some sci-fi violence and quite a few scenes of peril. And I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend you see Avengers: Endgame when it opens in theaters April 26, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TEEN SPIRIT

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TEEN SPIRIT
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TEEN SPIRIT - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Can I say catchy! Teen Spirit, directed and written by Max Minghella, is ever-lasting, vivid, enthralling, remarkable and a momentous film. It is loaded with important messages that can be applicable during life. Let me warn you, it's an entertaining ride. Get ready to sit back and enjoy some beautiful music.

The story follows a shy, stylish, and deep feeling youth named Violet (Elle Fanning). Wow! What a dream she has of pursuing her passion to sing and break free from her small town. With the help of an unexpected mentor, she enters a local British TV talent show that will test her patience and ambition. This film allows you to experience one of the most beautiful and emotional touching stories ever.

The lead characters are Elle Fanning (Violet), Millie Brady (Anastasia), Elizabeth Berrington (Lorene), Jordan Stephens and Rita Zmitrowicz (Hayley).

My favorite part is undeniably when Violet executes a breathtaking performance during the finals. I enjoyed this moment because it really inspired me to take big leaps of faith just like Violet did. I also enjoyed this moment because it shows how far Violet has come to achieve her dream.

My favorite character is the inspiring and hard-working Violet, not only because she is the lead character, but because she inspires us to believe in yourself and don't let anyone tell you that you can't accomplish a dream, big or little. An important aspect of the movie is the creative and story-telling music. I enjoyed numerous performances throughout the film because the songs aren't just up-beat catchy tunes, they also tell a powerful and moving story which explains Violet's past.

This film promotes many positive, heart-warming, uplifting and inspiring messages such as being true to yourself. For example, Violet has a dream that she wants to achieve, but she doesn't change for anybody to accomplish that dream. She works hard to accomplish it though. Another important message is about how peer pressure influences you, but you most follow your heart and be strong.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, adults can enjoy as well. You can catch this film at your local movie theater on April 5, 2019. So look for it.

Reviewed by Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

This is a different musical: Teen Spirit is not about the typical dream of becoming a star, but the situations and temptations you face throughout the journey. It is fueled with great acting and a powerful soundtrack. It's definitively a nontraditional coming of age story.

Violet (Elle Fanning) loves singing, but, more than becoming a star, she wants something different in her life. She wants to escape from her small town and auditions for a popular singing competition in the U.K. called Teen Spirit. A stranger she meets in a small bar, Vlad, becomes her mentor; although her mother doesn't like the idea at first, later she approves. With her mom's blessing, Violet embarks on a journey in which she will face obstacles and make important decisions.

This is a good film for teenagers; the classic Cinderella story is retold in a modern world with current events and situations. Although I am slightly disappointed with the ending, the story flows slowly but nicely, and the music is enjoyable. The ending should tietie the movie all together, but this one seems to be missing something. There are a couple of parts that I don't feel are complete or well-developed and the storyline was kind of plain.

Elle Fanning is great in her role. Teens can connect to her character, Violet; Elle actually sings most of the songs, making this connection even stronger. It is very remarkable her ability to perform a "triple threat" meaning she can act, dance and sing. She also speaks a foreign language fluently (her character is of Polish descendent, and Violet exchanges some lines in this language with her mother).

The relationship between Violet and mentor, Vlad, ( Zlatco Buric) is key in the film. It is unconventional but somehow predictable.

This film is produced by a La La Land producer, and has elements in common but with a European flavor.

I love the wardrobe and the makeup is good as well. I love all the songs and the montage in the main audition scene.

The message of this film is that if you have a dream don't lose yourself. Stick to your dream and don't let anything stop you from accomplishing it. I give Teen Spirit 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Teen Spirit opens nationwide on April 19, 2019

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

I enjoyed this dramatic, vibrant, pop culture movie! Teen Spirit is written and directed by Max Minghella, a filmmaker from Hampstead, London, England. The music, costumes and storyline are very intriguing. I really like the way the director shot the scenes.

The film is about a teenage girl, Violet, who has a complicated life. She has a single mom, and they are on the verge of losing everything. They both work multiple jobs just to survive. Violet has many interests and is more of an introvert, although her passion is singing and dancing. She enters a local talent contest with the help of a friend she meets in a nightclub. This friend has an interesting past. By entering the contest, Violet brings hope to her small town. The movie has some unexpected twists and turns.

Violet is played by Mary Elle Fanning. Her performance is amazing. She is a natural beauty, and I love her style in this film. This is a difficult and complex character to play. Violet is an introvert and a sort of sad young lady. You really feel for her and Maria, her mom, in their everyday struggles with life and school. On a brighter note, the music and lyrics are so well done. I am really impressed with her ability to sing. Her voice is mesmerizing -- it gave me goose bumps!

Agnieszka Grochawska plays Violet's mother Maria. They are both of Polish decent. Agnieszka is very intense in this role and also made me laugh in a few parts. The bar friend and manager, Viad, is played by Zlatko Buric. He plays a very important supporting role. I like the backstory with this character as it is unexpected. His character and relationship with Violet really pulls the plot together.

The scenes are great to watch. I enjoyed the color scheme, lights, music and costumes which support the entire vibe of the movie. This film reminds me of other iconic movies such as Flash Dance and Footloose. TheTeen Spirit helps you understand how the music /entertainment industry is full of "smoke and mirrors." The message is to keep people around you that you trust and that have your best interests at heart.

I give this film 4 out 5 stars. It is for an audience range of 12 to18. Adults will definitely enjoy this movie, too. I do not recall any bad language so I give it thumbs up for that. There are a few scenes with drinking, smoking and slightly risky behavior. It opens in select theaters everywhere April 19, 2019.

Reviewed by Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LITTLE

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LITTLE
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LITTLE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURES, AGES 8-18
Description - A ruthless tech mogul, Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) receives the chance to relive the life of her younger self (Marsai Martin) at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much for her to bear after a girl she offended wishes she was little. Jordan receives help from her overworked assistant, April (Issa Rae), to find a way to revert to normal.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Little is a mostly enjoyable romp with its familiar, but unique spin on clich�s. Well-matched talents and a heartfelt script carry this fun, but flawed ride. Families may want to check out this crowd-pleaser.

The comedy centers on woman (Regina Hall) who, when her successes get the best of her, is forced to take the form of her younger self (Marsai Martin). This gives her not just a chance to relive more careless days, but an important lesson pertaining humbleness.

Marsai Martin, as little Jordan, is my favorite character with her introductory film role racking up well to most experienced stars. She translates her great work from Black-ish even more here. She truly plays well off Regina Hall's adult footing. She, as well, nails it with her energetic banter, but rudeness to others, being a center focus. But, all this is not complete without Issa Rae, as April, who sells the chemistry with both actors equally well. This trinity truly sells most of the comedic and heartfelt wonders.

Tina Gordon Chism aptly writes and directs with fresh takes at common plots. It also helps that every joke is well-timed and most end up landing. She really nails more heartfelt moments as the movie's tones remain natural. My favorite scene is the restaurant karaoke, because it is truly a staple of creative and relevant humor. Marsai Martin and Issa Rae really give it their all with their zappy singing being on point. However, many other jokes just don't land. It really falters when the middle school subplot becomes center focus and the talent show finale with its Fortnite dance-off doesn't help anything. It feels uninspired and, with the solid buildup, the whole setting really could have strived for more. All the characters here feel cartoonish and clich�d to a fault. Thankfully, the "friend zone" kids (J.D. McCrary, Tucker Meek, Thalia Tran) are a saving grace with their twee personalities and relatable struggles.

The message of this film is to just be yourself. Sure, it is one simple aphorism to live by, but the movie offers a fresh take by diving into the minds of kids. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some suggestive content and brief language. The movie releases in theaters April 12, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like this movie quite a bit. The storyline is very fun and the actors are perfect for each role.

The movie is about a woman named Jordan Sanders who is the owner of a gaming company. She is also the office bully, the office Negative Nancy type. She is constantly offending her employees and ignoring team dynamics. One day at work, she meets Stevie, a young girl who loves magic. When Stevie sees that Jordan is nasty and unkind, she casts a spell on her to be little. When Jordan wakes up, she is little - as in 13-years-old little. So, she goes back to school, is bullied all over again and needs to figure out how to change herself back. Her attitude changes as well along the way.

Regina Hall plays the lady Jordan and is a great mean boss lady. Marsai Martin plays little Jordan and is an amazing thirteen-year-old diva. Something that stands out to me is Marsai's hair! It is so, so, so beautiful. My favorite character is Jordan's assistant, April (Issa Rae). She is a donut-loving assistant that helps Jordan with everything. My favorite part is when Jordan first wakes up and realizes that she is the little Jordan. Little Jordan is hilarious.

The message of the film is to be yourself! Don't let bullies change you. And, don't be mean to a girl with a wand. You should know that there is some profanity, some suggestive sexual content, some negative behavior and risky things that kids might try to do, like piercing your ears without using a piercer machine. EEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!!!!!

I give Little 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Adults should enjoy it as well. It's not very appropriate for anyone younger. It is in theaters on April 12, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MISSING LINK

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MISSING LINK - ANNAPURNA DISTRIBUTION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-15
Description - Mr. Link recruits explorer Sir Lionel Frost to help find his long-lost relatives in the fabled valley of Shangri-La. Along with adventurer Adelina Fortnight, this trio of explorers travel the world to help their new friend.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Missing Link is a positively charming adventure with a lovable protagonist and fantastic animation.

The story line follows Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman), a daring adventurer with a flair for the dramatic, who stumbles upon a massive discovery. He receives a letter confirming the existence of the Sasquatch and treks off to meets the sender, a Sasquatch named Mr. Link (Zach Galifianakis). Mr. Link convinces Frost to help him track down his cousins, the yetis, living up in the Himalayas. Together with Frost's old flame Adalina, they travel the globe in search of Link's distant family.

My favorite character in this film is Mr. Link. He is a big creature with an even bigger heart. Link yearns for family after years of loneliness in the wilderness. Link takes everything very literally which provides the film with some witty gags. Zach Galifianakis's voice work on this film adds an extra layer to this character with his warm, upbeat energy and comedic voice performance.

I really like the character of Sir Lionel Frost also. He is a flawed explorer who has lost his passion for adventure and has gained a desire for success in all the wrong places. It's interesting to see an adventurer who, although good at what he does, isn't as dashing and is more unlikable at the onset of this film than the norm. Frost isn't readymade for the role of hero and earns it as we watch him become a more selfless, kind person during his arc in the film.

I love the animation in this film. With Missing Link, animation studio Laika continues to prove that its animation is getting better and better with each film. Every locale in this film, from India to the Himalayas is colorful and vibrant. These environments and characters are well-crafted and thought out. You sense the work and passion behind what you see on screen and the animation is breathtaking and even unbelievable at times.

Missing Link doesn't overuse the fish-out-of-water trope with the character of Mr. Link. The one flaw with this film is the use of an assassin character named Stenk. This character doesn't add much to the film, other than an action scene every once in a while and comes across as underdeveloped.

I give Missing Link an age rating of 5 to 15 for some scenes of peril and crude humor. I give Missing Link 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend you see this film when it ventures to theaters on April 12, 2019.

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

Missing Link, written and directed by Chris Butler is a heartfelt and funny film. It is a story about adventure and friendship.

It tells the story of monster hunter Sir Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) who is in search of a mysterious creature - the Missing Link. He wants to join an exclusive club and needs this discovery to become a part of it. Soon he goes searching and spots the Missing Link in the woods. Link, who goes by Susan, is played by the hilarious Zack Galifainakis. The two set out on a journey to find Link's home, a land of yetis, so he can finally be part of a family. They are joined by Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana). She is a spunky and fearless woman who helps them on the way. On their way, they encounter villains who are determined to stop Sir Lionel from proving Link's existence.

The movie has outstanding animation and a unique storyline. Because it's a LAIKA studio film, the characters are made out of clay and there are a lot of incredible details that add to the movie. Fans of LAIKA films will enjoy the artistic style of the film. My favorite character is Link (aka Susan) who is funny and lovable. The movie takes the audience on a journey as Link tries to find out who he is and where he belongs. I also enjoyed the character Adelina because she is the motherly figure of the group. Together, Sir Lionel, Link and Adelina are a perfect team. My favorite part of the movie is when the three characters set out on an adventure to find Link's family. It is the first time they work together and they are hopeful.

The film is a story about belonging and friendship. Sir Lionel and Link form a strong bond. They remind me of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. The movie is full of humor and surprises.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 18, as well as adults. It's fun for the whole family. You can find it in theaters on April 12, 2019.

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

I enjoyed this animated, action and adventure, stop-motion film! LAIKA's Missing Link has exciting motion, stunts, fight scenes, an amazing musical score and a wide range of characters. It is simply fascinating to me. I love to make stop-motion films, and so I know firsthand how difficult it can be to bring the sets to life. I applaud the writer/director Chris Butler. He weaves everything together perfectly.

In the beginning of Missing Link, we are introduced to a character named Mr. Lionel Frost who's a dapper and self-centered explorer. He longs to be part of an elite explorer's club. One day he comes across an opportunity to prove himself worthy to the club. In order to gain their approval, he sets off on a wildly adventurous voyage to find the Sasquatch, a famed beast. Soon they form an unsuspecting bond. Mr. Link (aka Sasquatch) wants to find his long-lost cousins, and so Mr. Frost agrees to help him in exchange for proof that he (Sasquatch) is real. They set off to travel across the world to the Himalayas in search of the Yeti, a similar beast.

Hugh Jackman is the perfect voice actor for Mr. Lionel Frost. Zach Galifianakis is the tender voice behind Mr. Link , also called Susan. My favorite character is Susan, the sweet, silly and oh so lovable Sasquatch. She is so clumsy and hilarious and takes everything quite literally. My favorite part is when Mr. Link names himself Susan because the name is very fitting for his character.

The message of the film is that friendship can be found in the most unusual places and that sometimes you can fit in or belong in places where you don't think you will. Susan and Mr. Frost are joined halfway through the film by a lady friend Adelina. She helps Mr. Frost understand the importance of thinking of others, caring, kindness and friendship.

The movie has a lot of gun violence, fight scenes and a rowdy character that is constantly trying to kill the trio. That could frighten younger kids. There are a lot of risky things in the movie that should not be imitated like fighting and trying to shoot or kill someone. It has no bad language.

I give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. This movie is in theaters on April 12, 2019.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

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PLOEY
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PLOEY - VIVA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - A plover chick has not learned to fly when his family migrates in autumn. He must survive the arctic winter, vicious enemies and himself in order to be reunited with his beloved one next spring.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Ploey, Ploey, Ploey... where do I begin? This is a cute family / love story that dragged until the last 10 minutes of the film. It was very hard for me to stay engaged.

The story is about a little plover chick named Ploey, who has not learned how to fly before his family migrates to the south. He learns about bravery and adventure through the scary winter. Ploey must face his fear of flying, in order to be reunited with his family and his true love Ploveria. Throughout his experience he meets a malicious hawk named Shadow, a creepy cat and a sympathetic big bird named Giron.

My favorite character in this film is Giron. The voice of Giron is played by John Stamos who is well known for his role Jesse on Full House. Giron is amusing, lovable and smart. He comes to Ploey's rescue. My favorite part is when Giron uses Ploey as bait, then accidentally falls asleep in the middle of the trap. I could not stop laughing. Ploey is another favorite character of mine, because he reminds me so much of the adorable Chicken Little. There are several parts in this movie that are not necessary, which causes the film to drag. The music is very mundane and I felt like I was going through the long winter with Ploey. The movie starts to pick up towards the last ten minutes of the film.

The message is to never quit. Everyone learns at their own pace. As long as you keep going and not give-up, you will make it. I give this movie a 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 4 to 11. I do not think adults will enjoy this so much. Ploey opens in theaters in the US on April 26, 2019.

Reviewed by Milika L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 1
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BEST OF ENEMIES

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BEST OF ENEMIES
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BEST OF ENEMIES - STX ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Civil rights activist Ann Atwater faces off against C.P. Ellis, Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, in 1971 Durham, North Carolina over the issue of school integration.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Best of Enemies has some truly captivating messages and storytelling, but its presentation of the segregation debate can get lost with the lack of background insight. Still, the excellent performances here carry over some of the weaker writing. Anyone interested in docu-dramas might want to check this out.

The film centers on the most unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader. The two reluctantly battle over the desegregation of schools in Durham, NC during the one of the nation's racially-charged turning points. C.P. slowly feels drawn towards Atwater's commitment to her people and becomes a frenemy. Can love trump hate?

First, Taraji P. Henson, is fantastic as Ann Atwater with her acerbic nature, but heartfelt fight for the poor and oppressed. She respectfully handles the rebellious, yet kind-hearted nature of the real-life figure. But, the drama's center comes from Sam Rockwell, as C.P. Ellis, who is my favorite character despite playing an initially despicable figure. His redemption is naturally done, and the messages never feel forced here. The two really work well off each other, and their chemistry is hilarious to watch. Babou Ceesay, as Bill Riddick, gives another great performance with his contributions to the segregation debate being another interesting learning experience.

Robin Bussell spectacularly writes and directs with the events presented in a clear, chronological order. But the pacing can be lost amongst this, as the film really stalls when juggling multiple real-life figures. It's the individual moments that stick, because she knows how to write human and relatable characters. The racial tension feels real here, as did the moments of unity. My favorite scene is the final verdict as the scene is filmed so well, leaving the audience unnerved at each person's decision. Still, it's C. P.'s monologue that sells the scene, which I just can't spoil. Seeing is believing. However, in addition to many moments of rocky pacing, the movie's focus on other characters, especially Atwater, is quite minimal and scattershot at times. C. P.'s development is forefront and that's understandable given he is the most complex character. I would have loved to see more personal looks at other characters.

The message of this film is that love is the greatest asset in any debate. We can all learn to reconcile our difference and just love each other. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to mature themes and racist language. The movie releases in theaters April 5, 2019, so check it out.

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

I really enjoyed The Best of Enemies. The movie shows a lot of anger and humor between two enemies who oddly share very common goals in life - family, faith and education. The movie is based on a true story and shows the audience what life might have been like in the 1970s in North Carolina.

Ann Atwater is a poor, black single mother living in Durham, N.C. in 1971. C.P. Ellis is the president of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). When the black children's school is damaged by fire, Ann wants the black children to attend the same school as the white children and learns that the black children are not getting as good of an education. Ann and C.P. then spend their time convincing others to be on their own side.

The acting is terrific. Taraji P. Henson plays Ann Atwater and shows a variety of outstanding emotions from her voice, to her walk. C.P. Ellis is played by Sam Rockwell and his acting is incredible also. I wanted to hate him, but still liked him because he is such a good father, especially to his special-needs son. Ann Atwater is my favorite character because she adds a lot of humorous comments right after saying something really serious. My favorite part of the movie is the ending - but no spoilers here!

The key message of The Best of Enemies is that change is worth fighting for. If you see something that you think is wrong change it, even if it's going to be really hard. The movie has mild profanity, some violence and deals with a very serious topic - the inequality of segregation.

I give the movie a 4 out of 5 stars. It is appropriately rated PG-13 and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. This movie opens in theaters April 5, 2019.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SHAZAM!

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SHAZAM! - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's case, by shouting out one word - SHAZAM! - this streetwise fourteen-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Shazam! keeps up the strong footing of solo DC movies within the Extended Universe. It soars far above other superhero movies buoyed by a unique direction and story. This is a must watch for all.

The story follows street-smart foster kid Billy Batson (Asher Angel) who turns into an adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) by yelling "Shazam!" Courtesy of an ancient wizard, Billy revels this adult version of himself alongside foster pal Freddy (Jack Dylan Gratzer). Can he fly? Can he buy beer? Does he have X-Ray vision? Better yet, can he talk to fish? These scenarios are tested to their limits, but seriousness strikes as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) seeks to defeat Shazam and steal his powers. Billy realizes there's more to this than jokes, but also a test to prove what makes a hero.

First, Zachary Levi owns it as Shazam with his natural comedic talent and physical prowess. He looks the part with his Godlike figure, while nailing the childishness with believability. The same goes for Asher Angel, who plays Billy Batson with the similar youthfulness, but nails his quieter heroic actions. The transformation is so seamless that you can truly believe the two are playing off each other. But, the cast's standout comes in Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy who proved his talents in IT, but here he is even better. His conversations with Billy/Shazam are so improvisational and random and they just work. Every line of his lands. The rest of the foster family, played by Faithe Herman (Darla), Ian Chen (Eugene), Jovan Armand (Pedro) and Grace Fulton (Mary) are all incredible with each member having their own unique characteristics. I especially love Darla's innocent goodness and happiness to have Billy around. Mark Strong, as Thaddeus Sivana, is a formidable foe with an apt back story. Still, I would have loved to see Strong saved for a bigger endgame.

David F. Sanberg's direction is superb, especially for his first action movie after a variety of successful horror movies. He even flexes his horror muscles with some truly terrifying designs for Sivana's powers. My favorite scenes are Freddy's training montages as those are a true testament to the film's sense of humor. Scenes like these are so unique in comparison to most superhero films. I also love many of the heartfelt moments within Billy's quest to find family. I wish the film had a bigger budget to make up for its action scenes, which could be far-between and underwhelming. But, in a way that adds to the movie's freshness, giving small scale looks at big fights.

The message of this film is that family is found from loving and genuine experiences, not in a word. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to intense action sequences, brief suggestive content and language. The movie opens in theaters April 5, 2019, so check it out.

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

Shazam! is absolutely amazing. It's entertaining, funny, action packed and engaging. This is maybe the best DC Extended Universe movie so far.

Fourteen-year-old Billy Batson discovers, with the help of an ancient wizard, that he can turn into a Superhero, just by saying the word Shazam! But Billy is not just dressed in a superhero outfit. He looks older and bigger.

Converted into Shazam, Billy, who lives with adopted parents, goes home and tells his friend Freddy that he is Shazam. Freddy loves and knows everything about superheroes. Together they test Shazam's capabilities and, surprise! He is indeed a real superhero. Billy uses his powers for good, but also for fun.

I think Shazam! makes the cinematic world a better place. This is not just a hilarious comedy. It is about finding a family, making true friends and combating bullying.

The acting in this film is amazing. Zachary Levi is the perfect Shazam. He has the charisma and humor to make this hero adorable and he is a big kid. Asher Angel and Jack Dylan Grazer also make this movie very engaging. They are not just funny but also kind hearted. These actors totally carry the film. I think all the actors make it more relatable for younger audiences and new generations. I definitely think this movie is unique, because superhero films are usually more serious and only have a couple jokes, but this one kept my laughing. There's action and emotional moments as well. The amount of comedy is perfect and what makes it so special. The director David F. Sandberg surprised audiences. He's most know for his horror films, but this one turns out to be incredible and enthusiastic.

The message of the film is that we can all be heroes. It only takes a pure heart to have the power and strength to do good deeds, help people and beat the bad guys. The story works perfectly for the whole family, so I recommend it for ages 8 to18. I am a huge fan of this film as it made me laugh and I felt entertained the entire time. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars. Shazam! opens in theaters April 5, 2019, so make sure to catch it in theaters!

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

Shazam! is a refreshing, rollicking good time with some hilarious comedy and great performances. Shazam! has tons of superhero fun, but also has a warm emotional center.

The story line follows Billy Batson, a 14-year-old foster kid, who moves in with a new family. Billy gains powers from a wizard who chooses him to be his champion against the forces of evil. He can transform into a powerful superhero just by saying the word "shazam." He and his foster brother Freddy test Billy's abilities to figure out the extent of his powers. Billy navigates the ups and downs of being a sudden superhero, while also clashing with Dr. Sivana, who is determined to take Batson's powers to rule the world.

I really like the performances in this film. Jack Dylan Grazer is good as Freddy. Grazer takes a comedic best friend and makes him much more than a one-note sidekick. Zachary Levi is great as the super-powered version of Billy Batson. Levi channels the personality of a teenager very believably. His performance is natural and I don't feel like I'm watching an adult try to play a teen. Mark Strong hams it up as Dr. Sivana, but he's still quite frightening and a real threat to the characters.

I love the tone of this film. It's never self-serious and, rather than making the hero dark and brooding, Shazam! captures its heroes and their powers with a childlike wonder. This film understands that superheroes are people who we can look up to because, even though they are flawed, they always aspire to do the right thing. I love the stakes of this film. It does not rely on apocalyptic proportions to make you care about its characters.

Shazam! starts as an origin story, but ends up doing more than that. Billy has always pushed the idea of family away and is more scared of accepting family than his powers. He has to embrace the idea of family to grow as a person and a hero. He realizes he can't beat Sivana alone and what you gain from having people support and appreciate you. I think this arc is heartwarming and a great direction for this film.

I recommend Shazam! For ages 12 to 18 due to some violence and language. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Although this film sometimes veers into predictable and clich�d territory, I came out of Shazam! with a smile on my face and excited to see what comes next from these characters. I highly recommend you check out this film when it comes out in theaters April 5, 2019

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DUMBO (2019)

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DUMBO (2019) - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists a former star and his two children to care for Dumbo, a baby elephant born with oversized ears. When the family discovers that the animal can fly, it soon becomes the main attraction -- bringing in huge audiences and revitalizing the run-down circus. The elephant's magical ability also draws the attention of V.A. Vandevere, an entrepreneur who wants to showcase Dumbo in his latest, larger-than-life entertainment venture.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Director Tim Burton's mind truly is a circus - a beautiful, colorful, vivid and artistic mind. While he adds his dark macabre to this classic Disney tale, it is done in such a way to engage the viewer and bring another dimension to the film. Dumbo is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen, and I've seen thousands of films. What's impossible is possible when you believe. I believe in Dumbo.

When I heard Disney was creating a live-action version of their classic animated film Dumbo, I was skeptical as Dumbo is one of my childhood favorites. The live-action film I screened brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. It is so BEAUTIFUL - the colors come alive in every frame, from the costumes to the imagery. Dumbo is so loveable, believable and beautiful. His eyes captivate you from the first time you see the baby to his final frame. For the only character in the film who doesn't speak, you hear his journey of love and pain purely.

Dumbo plays homage to a Mother's love and a quest of survival for motherless children - human and animal. It is so beautifully cast from our hero Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), to his amazing, innocent children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), to the nefarious V. A. Vandevere (evilly played by Michael Keaton) and the con-man we come to love, Max Medici (Danny DeVito). In my eyes, the children and Dumbo are the stars of the show. V.A. Vandevere teaches the audience a lesson in greed and Max Medici showcases his desire to make a buck with true transparency! This traveling circus offers many journeys for the cast and audience.

As a true Disney fan, I see the essence of many iconic Disney places and films. The balloons remind me of UP. The pink elephants remind me of Fantasia. Dreamland, a fictionist theme park made me think of Disneyland (I mean, DL...) - and all the theme parks at Walt Disney World and the merch! Plenty of merch to sell at Dumbo's circus tent. The sublime imagery is seen throughout the film.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, as well as adults. Warning: there are some scary parts (Nightmare Island in Vandevere's Dreamland theme park and hallucinogenic pink elephants) and a SNAKE! Not my favorite creature. The casting is great. The costumes are authentic and the music will move you. Danny Elfman is the master of music in film! Could this be another Oscar nomination? Pay attention to a new twist on the classic song "Baby Mine." You won't believe who sings this classic song!

Bring your tissues! This film opens in theaters nationwide March 29, 2019.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This film is absolutely amazing - a bit dark, but beautiful and the visual effects are very good. I was so excited to see this film because Dumbo is such a classic and I really wanted to see it not in animation form. It is a story about outsiders and the beauty in the strange. This is the perfect tale for the imagination of the great director Tim Burton.

The story is about a circus elephant who is a baby. His name is Jumbo but later he is renamed Dumbo. He was born with big ears and people around him think he is weird and worthless. In this environment with lots of extraordinary people, this peculiar elephant shouldn't be so strange, but people make fun of him and are actually cruel. His protective mother who works in the circus gets really mad and is sent far away for misbehaving. Dumbo is sad because he is separated from his mom. The kids in the circus, Milly and Joe, don't have a mother either. They are the sons of Holt (Collin Farrell) who returns from war to work at the circus. The kids feel empathy for the baby elephant and try to comfort him. They come up with a way to get Dumbo involved in the circus after they discover he can fly. They think if they make enough money they can buy her mom back and the elephants can be reunited. The flying baby elephant becomes the circus' main attraction and the owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) receives a tempting offer. The family circus becomes part of a huge amusement park, but they are losing all that kept them united.

The story develops a little bit slowly at the beginning. I definitively love the scenes with Dumbo flying and the scenarios and costumes are gorgeous, but overall it is not as emotional as I expected. The cast is amazing, but the kids don't deliver as much sentiment as the story requires and they play a key role. Eva Green is charming and believable. Her character Collette Marchant, the girl that "flies" is many the most intriguing one. Danny Elfman's music creates an ideal atmosphere.

This film has a very positive and powerful message - even if we are different, it doesn't mean we should be treated differently, because that's what makes us beautiful and makes us stand out from the ordinary. We have to accept people the way they are. I give this film 4.5 out of five stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12 and adults as well. Dumbo opens in theaters March 29, 2019.

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

Despite Tim Burton's flair, Dumbo shows promise, but ultimately fails to take flight. Still, the movie does boast apt direction and talented cast. Any Disney fan may want to check this out, but proceed with low expectations.

The story expands upon the beloved classic story as Dumbo, a newborn elephant with oversized ears, becomes a star. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) to caretake the young one. Dumbo quickly becomes the laughing stock. But, once Holt's kids discover he can fly using his ears, Dumbo soon becomes the superstar of the circus and gains the attention of beguiling tycoon V.A. Vandevere with his Dreamworld amusement park. Vandevere's schemes are not what they seem as he wants to monopolize Dumbo and threaten the circus's goodwill.

First off, Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, as Milly and Joe Farrier, are absolutely fantastic in their first-ever roles. Nico shines with her scientific interests and discovering Dumbo's flying capability. Whereas Finley nails his jockey attitude. Colin Farrell, as Holt Farrier, shines as their father who always means well for his kids and the safety of all. Sure, his Southern accent is quite jarring at first, but he grows into it. Danny DeVito, as Max Medici, is my favorite character as he has many scenes in the first half and is truly funny in every scene. It's a shame that a lot of his screen time is axed by a meandering second half. Michael Keaton, as V.A. Vandevere, unfortunately falters with a comically over-the-top performance. While Keaton's work is normally strong, here it just doesn't mesh with the movie's scenarios. Sure, at times, he sells the role of a tycoon well, but really his character always appears out of place.

Tim Burton aptly directs the movie, but the writing doesn't do this visually spectacular experience any wonders. Every scene is well produced, but the movie's pacing is all over the place. The special effects are also quite underwhelming at times. Some moments are impressive, but at times it comes across as artificial and unreal. The movie's second half also meanders into some bizarre territory, primarily due to its unimpressive villain. In spite of this, Dumbo's first flight scene is awe-inspiring, and is definitely my favorite scene.

The message of this film is that being different isn't always bad. It can come to be a true talent. I give this film 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18 due to some intense scenes and mild language. The movie releases in theaters on March 29, 2019 so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR

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BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, THE
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BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, THE - FARMLORE FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - Documentarian John Chester and his wife Molly work to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This interesting and captivating documentary gives you the opportunity to view the experiences and hard work of John Chester and his wife Molly who developed a sustainable farm on 200 acres outside of Los Angeles. Get ready to take in different emotions as you join their personal journey throughout the film.

The documentary follows two visionaries and a dog on their journey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. The story all begins with a promise to a dog named Todd; not just any dog, but a very special dog. When the barking of their darling Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny L.A. apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and into the foothills of Ventura County, simply striving to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete co-existence with nature.

The land they've chosen is tremendously devoid of nutrients and suffering from a cruel drought. The film records eight years of discouraging and encouraging work as they are challenged to create the ideal farm by planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and by bringing in animals of every type. Molly and Josh work day and night to build the farm, along with the help of their mentor. As the documentary continues, you'll see the helpful and kind hearts the animals have for each other.

The lead characters in The Biggest Little Farm are John Chester and Molly Chester. The writers are John Chester and Mark Monroe.

There are many important messages here, such as: believing that you can grasp your dreams if you work hard to accomplish them. For example, Molly Chester never gives up. She moves an hour north of one of the most polluted cities on earth and pursues her family dream of growing every ingredient she could possibly want to cook. I truly enjoy this true and challenging story of this "power couple."

The Biggest Little Farm is an educational film , which promotes a deeper understanding of the fundamental joy of farming, family and love. This film delivers an expressive, booming narrative with plenty of cute animals to spare.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, as well as adults. You can catch this film at your local theaters on May 10, 2019.

Reviewed by Nathalia Marie J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
STORM BOY

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STORM BOY - CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - A beautiful and contemporary retelling of Colin Thiele's classic Australian tale. 'Storm Boy' has grown up to be Michael Kingley, a successful retired businessman and grandfather. When Kingley starts to see images from his past that he can't explain, he is forced to remember his long-forgotten childhood, growing up on an isolated coastline with his father. He recounts to his grand-daughter the story of how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr. Percival. Their remarkable adventures and very special bond has a profound effect on all their lives. Based on the beloved book, Storm Boy is a timeless story of an unusual and unconditional friendship.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This emotional, happy and humorous film is so interesting. This film was very fun to watch and I was interested in almost every scene.

Storm Boy is about a grandfather (Geoffrey Rush) who is a retired businessman and tells a story about when he was a kid in his old home town. As a young boy, he (Finn Little) made friends with a Native kid who was kind of a loner. The two of them found three baby pelicans and raised them. Michael (aka Storm-Boy), over the years, falls in love with the birds - Mr. Percival, Mr. Proud and Mr. Ponder. And, when he has to release the pelicans he is not happy. Even though he doesn't want to, he knows he has to. Over time Mr. Percival comes back to Michael and never leaves his side again. After a tragic event, everything changes and Michael gets in a fight with his dad because he finds out he might have to go to boarding school.

I like how clear the actors speak, because I could understand everyone and everything they talked about. The movie is long, but I wish it was longer. That's how good it is!

I couldn't believe that they were able to get these birds to do all the things they did. Finn Little who plays the boy really delivers a great performance and the way he interacts with the pelicans is cool to watch. Watching him is a highlight of the film.

This film has some language, but it is still kid appropriate. What other people can learn from watching this is to love and enjoy something while you have it, or just be thankful and be full of gratitude. The film is one that both children and grownups can enjoy. Warning: you might get teary eyed, so have a box of tissues!

I recommend this for ages 7 to 18 and give it 5 out of 5 stars, because it is great. This opens in theaters April 5, 2019. So look for it!

Reviewed by Ava L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE

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NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE
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NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-15
Description - A bit of an outsider struggling to fit into her new surroundings, Nancy and her pals set out to solve a mystery, make new friends, and establish their place in the community.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very entertaining which is why we go to the movies. Even though I have no nostalgic attachment to the Nancy Drew books, I really enjoyed this film.

The story is about Nancy Drew who has just moved to a small town called River Heights. She meets an elder woman named Flora who claims her house is haunted. Nancy decides to investigate with the help of her friends, George and Bess, and Flora's "mean girl" niece, Helen. My biggest issue with this movie is the mystery. I understand that this movie is aimed at younger kids, yet I feel the mystery is too easy to solve. However, that is my only major problem with this film. Plus, I didn't mind this that much, since even though the mystery is obvious, I mostly let it slide as I enjoyed the characters so much.

One thing I really like about this film is the typical mean girl character, Helen. At first it seems like Helen is just a stereotypical popular girl. Instead, she's only mean for a little bit of the movie. Halfway in she actually goes through a character arc. I really like this as I honestly feel mean girl characters are so overdone at this point. So it is nice to see this character done differently. However, my favorite character is hands down Flora. She is a very funny and so memorable. Everyone needs to have an Aunt Flora in their life. Flora had some of the best lines in the movie.

I really like the cast of this film. Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew is fantastic. She is very engaging and I hope to see more of her in the future. Linda Lavin as Flora is amazing. She brings so much charisma and humor to every scene she is in. Zoe Renee as George and Mackenzie Graham as Bess are also pretty good supporting characters. I wish they were in the movie more.

Now, it's no secret that Nancy Drew is timeless. The books were first written in 1930 and they have been inspiring women ever since. I believe Nancy Drew is timeless and we all need a little girl power!

I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18. This film comes out on March 15, 2019 so look for it.
Juror Recommended Age: 8-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR

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SUPERPOWER DOGS
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SUPERPOWER DOGS - CHRISTOPHER SANSONE
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 5-18
Description - Join an immersive IMAX adventure to experience the life-saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world's most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow 'Halo', a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America. Meet 'Henry', an avalanche rescue expert in the Canadian Rockies, 'Reef', a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, 'Ricochet', a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, 'Tipper and Tony', who are leading the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we'll never look at our best friends the same way again.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I loved watching the film Superpower Dogs. The camera work is absolutely amazing with so many interesting shots and lighting angles in this 3D IMAX production. The director really worked with so many special effects to get lots of close ups and precise detailing. You really see things from the dog's point of view, as well as its trainer's. It is a very entertaining movie that appeals to all ages. This movie really shows that all dogs have super powers with their amazing senses, even if they are not trained to dig 15 feet into the snow or lift forty times their own weight.

The movie features a disaster response dog named Halo and her journey to become a service dog for disaster response. She is joined by five other dogs named Henry (avalanche rescue), Reef (water rescue), Ricochet (emotional support dog who enjoys surfing) and Tony and Tipper (endangered species protection in Kenya). Their trainers play extremely important roles in the film and also in their training. It shows what all the dogs do, but the main focus is on Halo.

This is a documentary so there are no actors involved. It is directed by Daniel Ferguson and produced by Dominic Cunningham-Reid, George Duffield and Taran Davies. The cinematographer is Reed Smoot. Big propos to all the crew! There are all kinds of special effects where they show us a peak of the dog's anatomy. It is very realistic, but purposefully made as a special effect, which is so great. Also, they show a physical representation of scents from a dog's perspective, since they have very exquisite smelling skills. It is difficult to bring smells to life but this IMAX movie does it!

The only bummer for me was I wish they gave a little more attention and time to the other dogs in the movie. I think the director only had 45 minutes, so I imagine it would be hard to include lots of details about all the dogs and their trainers.

The message of the film is that all dogs have superpowers, even if they are not rescue dogs. This movie can will appeal to all animal lovers (even cat lovers), even though the main focus is on dogs.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, as well as adults. This film is playing now at select IMAX theaters. Go check it out!

Reviewed by Lukas L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAPTAIN MARVEL

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CAPTAIN MARVEL
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CAPTAIN MARVEL - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, "This film makes good use of its 90s setting. There are a lot of jokes involving technology and pop culture from this period that work well. Also, the soundtrack has a nice selection of songs from the 90s that complement the film very well." Arjun N. adds, Captain Marvel is a solid, if slightly flawed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A talented cast and savvy direction make for a crowd pleaser. Any superhero fan must watch this as the hype for Avengers: Endgame arises."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Captain Marvel is a solid, if slightly flawed entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A talented cast and savvy direction make for a crowd pleaser. Any superhero fan must watch this as the hype for Avengers: Endgame arises.

The story follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she becomes one of the universe's most powerful heroes. Set in the 90s, this adventure follows her struggle to regain her past as one mysterious incident created her powers. Amidst this, a galactic war arises between the Kree, her brethren, and the Skrulls, shapeshifting fugitives, as Carol remains the only one powerful enough to end the war. This war takes to Earth, with S.H.I.E.L.D. in its adolescence investigating. With this, Carol must team up with no other than a nascent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as the two investigate all sides to this war.

Brie Larson, as Carol Danvers, surprised me and is my favorite character as she is nothing like what the controversial trailers portrayed - hardened and emotionless. In fact, she is very sassy and witty, like Tony Stark, and even humanizes the character with her relatable struggles. Sure she is stoic and hardened to some extent, but she does everything she needs to, as audiences need to be sold of her importance in not just Avengers: Endgame, but the whole MCU, and that's exactly what we get. Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, is absolutely incredible, even if certain character decisions from a writing standpoint are very questionable, with one reveal just baffling. The dynamics between Danvers and Fury is one of the movie's best, with a buddy cop feel to it. It is investing to watch the younger, more inexperienced Fury, with certain nods to his future being a neat addition. The same goes to Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson. It is a welcome surprise to see the simpler days of these two. Ben Mendelsohn, as Talos, also gives his all with his Skrull leader a formidable foe and he is more charismatic for it. As twists and turns reveal, he and his race became a sympathetic asset, with their kind being one of the most intriguing amongst the MCU roster. Last but not least, Jude Law, as Yon-Rogg, is interesting in his mentorship of Carol, and the twists regarding his character add for an emotional edge.

Anna Boden and Ryan Fledge aptly direct the film, with a stylish approach somewhat like Thor: Ragnarok. Every scene is well produced, but the style and vision are sometimes lost amongst the craft. The special effects are mostly on standard, but the de-aging effects for Samuel L. Jackson and Clark Gregg rise far above the standard. They don't look fake, and all expressions are truly natural. We are truly in the future of seamless CGI. My favorite scene is when Danvers truly becomes Captain Marvel, unleashing her full power amongst an enemy crew.

The message of this film is to never give up. Danvers takes several hits, to the point of giving up, but she always rises up to the challenge. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 due to some intense violence and language. The movie released in theaters on March 8,, 2019, so check it out.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Captain Marvel is a fun, if sometimes flawed superhero adventure that further develops the cosmic landscape of the Marvel movies with good performances from Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson.

Captain Marvel takes place in 1995 and follows Vers, a Kree warrior with flaming fists on her way to becoming Captain Marvel who finds herself on Earth after a mission gone wrong. She teams up with a detective named Nick Fury to pick apart the secrets of her past. Meanwhile, Vers has to stop the shapeshifting Skrulls from infiltrating the planet and putting an end to the war with the Kree.

I like the performances in this film. Brie Larson is good as Captain Marvel and brings an understated verve to the role. Larson is good at delivering quips, but also has a few pretty powerful moments in her performance that help develop Captain Marvel as a character. Samuel L. Jackson is also good as Nick Fury. This is a different Fury from what we're used to with Jackson offering some nuanced clues about the changes Fury will face in the future. In Larson and Jackson's third onscreen collaboration, the duo brings great chemistry and the scenes with them playing off of each other are easily some of this film's best moments.

This film makes good use of its 90s setting. There are a lot of jokes involving technology and pop culture from this period that work well. Also, the soundtrack has a nice selection of songs from the 90s that complement the film very well. The setting doesn't feels like an attempt to cash in on nostalgia, but the 90s theme gives the film a more pronounced tone and humor. I also really enjoyed the element of mystery that comes with the Skrulls' ability to shapeshift into anyone and its clever use throughout the film.

I do find quite a few flaws with this film. Jude Law's performance as Yon-Ragg, the Kree leader, is disappointing. He feels so self-serious; it's as if he's in a different movie. There is a lot of exposition throughout the first half that, after a while, is a chore to listen to. Action scenes range from well-choreographed to hard to tell what is going on.

I recommend this film for ages 9 to 18, for some sci-fi violence and language and give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Captain Marvel falls a bit short of being completely marvelous, but it's enjoyable and well worth the price of admission. I recommend you go see this film when it comes out on March 8, 2019.

Reviewed by Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BRINK, THE

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BRINK, THE
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BRINK, THE - MAGNOLIA PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - A fly-on-the-wall chronicle of embattled former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon's global mission to spread extreme nationalism.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Brink is an interesting yet disturbing documentary that leaves the viewer feeling passionate but angered about the state of our country. It gives young people ideas about how not to behave, especially if you are a public figure. The Brink gives an inside look at all the intimate details of the brain of a political figure and shows just how crazy life can be for them. Although I do think that they could've done a better job on some certain aspects, I left the theatre feeling ultimately very disgusted, which I believe was the intent of the filmmakers.

The Brink is a documentary film that follows Steve Bannon, the founder of Breitbart News and Donald Trump's ex-chief strategist. It chronicles his life after the 2016 election and his attempts to form a group called "The Movement," which is a nationalist movement that involves a lot of world leaders and billionaires who have primarily conservative views (not to mention are extremely racist and anti-sematic). Bannon is portrayed throughout the film as being determined and dedicated, but those qualities are misguided as he is not advocating for the good of the people.

The Brink does a decent job of showcasing what a creep and how dimwitted Steve Bannon is. It catches him reusing the same joke over and over again ("a rose between two thorns") and hosting gatherings for The Movement filled with old white people. Most of these gatherings were fairly small, the majority of them consisting of around forty to fifty people or less. Bannon's attempts to make The Movement happen, although arguably seeming successful, appear rather pathetic if you look deeper into it. The film captured Bannon's life and business affairs but I feel as though it pandered to him a little bit. The filmmakers could've done a better job of exposing him and making him seem more disgusting. Even though the film portrayed him in a negative light, I don't feel like it was enough. That said, there were some funny bits within the film that I did enjoy. It was also captivating, watching someone be so outwardly awful and idiotic on camera.

I would give The Brink 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 14 to 18. Kids younger than that may not understand it or find it boring. There is also some language, used by Bannon, that may not be suitable for younger audiences. The Brink might not have done the best job of portraying Steve Bannon's story and proving their point, but I was captivated by it and ultimately learned a lot about not only Bannon, but what it means to be a decent American. This film opens in theaters March 29, 2019 so look for it.

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



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