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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America's Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015's Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they've tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever -- and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown's Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw's sister -- these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a hilarious new spin-off movie for the Fast & Furious franchise. This new film is so action-packed it rarely has a dull moment. If you are looking for an entertaining night full of laughter, this is the movie to watch.

Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) form an unexpected partnership while attempting to save the world from a deadly bio-weapon. The cyber-genetically-enhanced criminal Brixton (Idris Elba) will stop at nothing to ensure the evolution of humanity through this deadly bio-threat. The two heroes must settle their long-standing rivalry in order to save the human race.

The all-star cast came together to make an incredible film. The banter between Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw is super amusing and had viewers erupting with laughter. Jason Statham was born to play the role of Deckard Shaw. He is an extremely convincing actor who gave me everything I wanted and more from his character. The plot of the film is intriguing for the first half of the movie, but I found the second half to be more slow and dull. A small problem I encountered while watching the film was believing the villain. Every time he seems to get knocked down, he stands right back up, without a scratch on his genetically-engineered body. It would be more realistic to see him become progressively more damaged throughout the movie while fighting this action-filled war. On a separate note, the special and visual effects are dazzling and bring life to this action film. The fight scenes are brilliantly crafted as well. I was happy to see this movie and it definitely has the opportunity to create a sequel. They use the last chunk of the film to set the basis for a future film.

The message displayed in this film is about the importance of teamwork. When people bicker amongst each other, it is unproductive, but if they work together they can accomplish the seemingly impossible. This message carries over into our lives for how we get along with people in our own community. Parents should be aware that this movie has a fair amount of violence and foul language.

I give Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 3 out 5 stars and recommend for ages 13 through 18. Make sure to check out this film when it storms into theaters August 2, 2019. Movie fans, you won't want to miss it!

Reviewed by Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 13-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED

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ONE CHILD NATION
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ONE CHILD NATION - AMAZON.COM
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 14-18
Description - China's One Child Policy, the extreme population control measure that made it illegal for couples to have more than one child, may have ended in 2015, but the process of dealing with the trauma of its brutal enforcement is only just beginning. From award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang (Hooligan Sparrow, I Am Another You) and Jialing Zhang, the sweeping One Child Nation explores the ripple effect of this devastating social experiment, uncovering one shocking human rights violation after another - from abandoned newborns, to forced sterilizations and abortions, and government abductions. Wang digs fearlessly into her own personal life, weaving her experience as a new mother and the firsthand accounts of her family members into archival propaganda material and testimony from victims and perpetrators alike, yielding a revelatory and essential record of this chilling, unprecedented moment in human civilization.

One Child Nation is a stunning, nuanced indictment of the mindset that prioritizes national agenda over human life, and serves as a first-of-its-kind oral history of this collective tragedy - bearing witness to the truth as China has already begun to erase the horrors of its "population war" from public record and memory.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - One Child Nation is a politically charged and extraordinary documentary that exposes the evils of the Chinese government and relate it back to issues that we face in modern-day America. This film s powerful and informative. It left a severe impact on me and I left the theater feeling angry and grateful that I have grown up in a privileged part of the world, where I do not have to deal with issues such as the ones faced in this movie. The film is brilliantly produced and it is essential that it, and similar films are being made during this time period.

One Child Nation is a unique film that tackles the controversial one-child policy enforced by the Chinese government from 1979 to 2015. Interviews with people such as government officials (titled "family planning officials"), doctors, nurses, village chiefs, women who have been affected by the policy, and even human traffickers, filmmaker Nanfu Wang develops a heartbreaking and shocking narrative. She exposes how the Chinese government forcibly aborted babies late-term and induced pregnancies, killing infants, while feeding propaganda to their people and glamorizing the one-child policy. The inhumane behavior of these officials, doctors and nurses, as well as the mistreatment and victimization of women, children and families in China are the main subjects of the film.

One Child Nation addresses many controversial and taboo topics, but does so in a way that is very simple to understand, while still making you think and evaluate the wrongdoings of China and its people. The importance of choice and freedom are some of the many crucial themes highlighted throughout the film. One Child Nation is an engaging and thoughtful documentary. I was never bored while watching and, even after the gears in my head were still turning and I was still thinking about it.

I give One Child Nation 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 14 to 18, because of the disturbing images and sensitive topics that were intense and difficult for me, as a teenager, to watch. One Child Nation is a significant documentary film. I had never heard about China's one-child policy before this movie. This film will educate people about the horrors and oppression that the Chinese people faced under this law and allow people to think and formulate their own opinions regarding this topic. One Child Nation is a poignant and relevant film that provoked deep thoughts and emotion, which I will never forget.

Reviewed by Ella L., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LION KING, THE (2019)

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LION KING, THE (2019)
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LION KING, THE (2019) - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - After the murder of his father, a young lion prince flees his kingdom only to learn the true meaning of responsibility and bravery.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - As the film rolled, and the first frames were displayed, I could not help but feel tears spring to my eyes with the opening sounds of the now-classic Zulu chant "Nants Ingonyama Bagithi Baba!" The sun rises on Pride Rock again as the new prince, Simba, (JD McCrary/Donald Glover) is presented to the Pride. Mufasa (James Earl Jones), the only returning original voice from the animated film, and Sarabi (Alfre Woodard), share their son with the Pride, noticing the absence of the King's brother, Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Of the main characters, Scar is never one I believe. His role seems flat, given the prominence of his voice in the story. Simba's BFF and future queen, Nala (Shahadi Wright Joseph/Beyonce Knowles Carter), is played well as a young and grown cub devoted to her friend, Pride and eventually, love. The toughest part about watching a live-action retelling of the classic animated film is the lack of emotion the animals bring to the screen. Whereas the animation allows more feeling drawn into the scene; lions, meerkats and warthogs don't have a lot of physical expressions. This small detail is an issue several times, as I wanted to connect to scenes on a deeper level.

The Lion King 2019 has all the feels - hope, sadness, pride, abundance and comedy. Timon (Billy Eichner) and Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) are laugh-out-loud funny. Their casting is a match made in comedy heaven (live-action, animation...) Zazu (John Oliver) brings the punch line to many scenes as well - at times dry and others fully-animated. Oliver is an excellent choice to play a character who has to bring everyone to a level of knowledge throughout the film.

For some, the updated voices and darkness of the computer-generated animation will be a distraction. My guess is that Disney is betting (and banking) on the memories and emotions that millions have and are attached to from the 1994 animated film. I believe director Jon Favreau (who also directed Disney's 2016 live-action The Jungle Book) seeks a happy medium with this film. For me, I think he is very successful in telling the story.

I give this film 4 of 5 stars for its spectacular CGI and mindful frame-by-frame re-imagined storytelling. I was hoping for a few new tales, but this is not to be. The casting is exemplary, especially the humorous interludes between Billy Eichner and Seth Rogan's performances as Timon and Pumba. I love the NEW MUSIC, especially when Simba and Nala sings "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to each other. I recommend this film for ages 4 to 18, as well as adults as it introduces or re-introduces the music of The Lion King and Elton John to younger generations. See it in theaters when it opens on July 19, 2019.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lion King is a hilarious and entertaining new Disney movie! This work of art lives up to the original animated version of The Lion King in a new and engrossing way. If you are a fan of Disney or just love movies in general, you will be infatuated by this new incredible film.

This movie follows heir to the throne, Simba, as he learns about ruling his Kingdom in the heart of the African savanna. The king of the lions, Mufasa, wants nothing more than peace in the savanna and to protect his son. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same way. Mufasa's diabolical brother, Scar, is hungry for power and blood. This hairy beast will stop for nothing in order to obtain the throne. Simba and his new-found friends must act fast to put an end to his malicious uncle's plans.

There are a multitude of dazzling aspects in The Lion King, but the most stunning is the heavy and effective use of CGI. From the beginning to the end of the film, the computer-generated imagery creates animals that are incredibly realistic and authentic. This new lively take on a classic story is incredibly refreshing and engaging. Another factor I immensely enjoyed was the voice acting. Billy Eicher, who plays Timon and Seth Rogen, who plays Pumbaa, are absolutely hilarious. Every other line spoken from their mouths had me dying of laughter. Chiwetel Ejiofor, the actor who plays Scar, is perfect for his role. He left the audience completely despising his character, which is perfect for a villain the caliber of Scar. The only moment in the film that is slightly disappointing is the song Hakuna Matata. I think it is too different from the original version and not as intriguing. On a separate note, the writers wrote a touching and adorable script. I was delighted by the father-son relationship between Simba and Mufasa. The interactions and playful nature seen through their characters is heart-warming.

The Lion King reveals that bravery is an important attribute, but is only effective when executed in a selfless manner. This underlying message is valuable for our everyday lives. Parents should be aware that this film has a fair amount of violence.

I give The Lion King 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend to kids ages 8 through 18. Make sure to check out this film when it pounces into theaters July 17, 2019. Trust me, you won't want to miss it.

By Brad M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The live-action adaption of The Lion King is bound to be a Disney classic. This CGI masterpiece brings a new twist to the story visually, as well as musically. The opening scene sets the tone for the whole movie, bridging the original animation with this new live action take, into one beautiful panoramic view of the film's setting. The entire film looks so realistic that it's almost like a nature documentary.

The well-known storyline hasn't changed much: Mufasa (James Earl Jones) is the head of his pride and the King of "all that the light touches" in the African Serengeti. His son, Simba, (the younger, JD McCrary and mature, Donald Glover) is brave, but mischievous. Simba's Uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is bitter and angry that Simba is the heir to his brother's throne. In order to get Mufasa and Simba out of the way, Scar manipulates the hyenas into joining forces. He then arranges an "accident" to kill Mufasa and take over the kingdom. Scar blames Simba for Mufasa's death, and Simba runs away--but it's Mufasa's love and wisdom that brings Simba back to assume the throne.

The intense and serious aspects, and the comedic scenes, come together to create a beautiful balance. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mufasa, bringing the comforting and strong tone we expect from the leader of the pride. His touching relationship with his son is the centerpiece of this film. Meanwhile, Ejiofor's, Scar, performs "Be Prepared" as a powerful villainous anthem, interpreting the character as very complicated and intense. Florence Kasumba's turn as Shenzi is also a fierce and threatening leader of her pack of hyenas.

The comedic acting is brilliantly funny. The comedy duo of Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumba, are the highlights of the movie. Their playful banter brings a sharp wit to some of the most intense scenes in the film.

While hyenas Keegan Micheal Key and Eric Andre's dysfunctional comedy shone a spotlight on the hyena crew, John Oliver's Zazu was a funny take on Mufasa's right hand bird.

The real star of the show is the incredible CGI animation that brings these animals to life. Their expressions and movements are so realistic and animal-like, but the personification of these seemingly wild animals seems so natural. Cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel of The Right Stuff, and Jon Favreau, director of The Jungle Book, make sure the entire movie was visually stunning.

The songs from the original movie feature heavily, and while they are performed and produced in a more pop-oriented way, the score is more sweeping and orchestral. Classics like " Can You Feel the Love Tonight?," and "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," are performed by pop stars Beyonc� and Donald Glover, and produced by Pharrell Williams. Hans Zimmer provides a dramatic score, that works with the feeling of the new film.

The message in this film is that we may doubt ourselves, but it's important to remember who we are, and that our friends and family can help remind us. There are some violent and intense scenes, so I wouldn't recommend it for very young viewers. But kids from ages 6-18 would enjoy it, as well as adults. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars, because Disney has created a brand new, can't-miss classic.

The Lion King will be released on July 19 in theaters nationwide. By Elle Cohen, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

I love this film! There are stunning visuals, a powerful story of betrayal, coming of age, re-birth and the circle of life. The idea of what it really means to be a king and all the original sentiment is intact. I love all the animals and think it is really impressive how they filmed this movie.

The story of The Lion King is about a little cub named Simba who is going to become king. One day, a wild stampede puts Simba's life in danger and his father, Mudasa, dies after he rescues him. Mudasa's evil brother Scar makes Simba believe it is his fault and forces him to abandon the kingdom. Simba carries guilt and feelings of not being brave when he runs away, leaving everyone, including his best friend Nala behind. He goes to a new land where he meets Timon and Pumba and they become the best of friends. His life is good, but lacks purpose. From there, Simba's friend Nala comes to find help and meets Simba after so many years. Scar's reign is despicable and all the animals are trying to stop Scar's evil plans. Simba needs to become the king he was meant to be.

I love the comedy in this film. I also love how, in one scene, they play a little piece of "Be Our Guest" - that's actually my favorite scene in the film and it is not in the original. I definitively think this is a perfect visual recreation of the original. I love that they chose The Lion King to be the next Disney Classic to turn into live action. Lately, Disney been only doing Princess stories, so I like that they chose animals this time. I absolutely adore the animals and I feel like they fascinate you during the entire film. This is not a reinvention of the story; it is pretty much just taking the original to the real world. The way the live action blends with digital imagery is fantastic. This photo realistic Africa on the big screen is splendorous.

There are so many messages in the film: stay true to yourself, being compassionate is more important that being powerful, and we can't change our past. It is very inspiring to hear again "Hakuna Matata." This words have been an important motto for people since the original Lion King was released in 1994. The song was composed by Elton John and was nominated for an Oscar. There's a new Elton John song - "Never Too Late," and other surprises in this new one. All the beloved classic songs play in this 2019 version, which makes the audience very happy.

I give this film 5 of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13, and adults as well. Never forget: Hakuna Matata. The Lion King 2019 opens July 19, 2019, so look for it.

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

There's no denying that the original Lion King from 1994 is a classic. Gorgeous animation, amazing story and absolutely timeless music. So making a remake was understandably going to be tricky. How can you remake something that's already so timeless? Well to me, the end result is okay at best.

I almost feel like I don't need to explain the plot as it's the same story as the original. There are barely any changes and, even then, the changes are very minor. So if you've seen The Lion King (1994) then you've seen The Lion King (2019). However there's one major change that in my eyes makes the remake suffer significantly and that's the graphics.

I should preface this by saying I do prefer animation to CGI "realistic graphics" because I feel animation just looks better. But my main concern is that realistic graphics ruin the storytelling greatly. The Lion King is a very emotional story. And when you have such an emotional story you need to connect and feel for the characters. The original was able to pull this off perfectly with fantastically detailed facial expressions. Unfortunately, because of the realistic graphics, the characters in The Lion King (2019) show little to no emotion. This kills basically every important scene, as I didn't feel invested in it. I kept thinking to myself -These lions do not look interested in what's happening. The realism also has another consequence: I could not tell the difference between the lions at times. At times I thought is that Nala or Simba's Mom? Because the original is animated, they can differentiate the lions through things like their fur color, eyes and facial structure. The CGI remake does not have this ability.

It also felt like the creators tried cutting down on the more "animated" scenes. The Mufasa ghost scene doesn't have Mufasa's spirit appear; instead they just have his voice come from the clouds and sometimes lightning will strike to form his face. I feel seeing his full appearance is more powerful.

The songs suffer as well. "Be Prepared" is severely cut down which is disappointing, because it's a favorite song from the movie. The "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" segment in the original has all this crazy choreography that integrated the various animals in unique ways that can only be done in animation. In the remake they just run around. I was actually somewhat bored, if it wasn't for John Oliver as Zazu.

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. The Lion King (2019) comes out July 19, 2019.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The adventurous CGI animated dramatic musical The Lion King is a classic! The acting and the music is astonishing, somewhat different from the original but unique in its own way. The adventures that Simba choses to explore are dangerous and leave him more curious. It made me think of the saying, "curiosity killed the cat." The action between Simba and his evil uncle Scar is so incredible, that I could watch that scene repeatedly and still be amazed.

The Lion King is a production directed by Jon Favreau, a well-known actor who starred in many movies. The movie is set in the African Serengeti, and stars many well-known actors and musicians such as Beyonc� and Donald Glover. There is also new music introduced -- one piece in particular is produced and written by Beyonc� called Spirit, and it is a very nice song.

The storyline follows Simba, a prince cub who will be king one day. As his father Mufasa is teaching him how to be king, his uncle Scar becomes jealous and sets out to kill Mufasa and Simba so he can be king himself. Simba learns through all of this drama how to be brave and responsible.

The characters Pumbaa and Timon are hilarious in the movie, even funnier than in the original. They still sing their original song "Hakuna Matata", which means no worries for the rest of your days. My favorite part of the movie is watching Simba turn into an adult while singing "Hakuna Matata" and the joke that Timon says (which isn't in the original movie) is extremely funny!

The message of the movie is about learning to be brave, responsible, and taking ownership. In Simba's situation he meets new friends to help him along the way and is able to mend broken relationships with his friends and family. The movie does have some risky situations that kids might imitate, such as going into dangerous places and not following their parents' rules; therefore, parental guidance is suggested.

Overall, I give The Lion King 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. I think adults will enjoy it too. It opens in theaters nationwide July 19, 2019, so be sure to check it out.

Reviewed by Navah W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

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SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth reviews
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Spider-Man: Far From Home is bigger and better than its predecessor, Homecoming and another exciting entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Far From Home is a blast that'll have you on the edge of your seat and is a nice palette cleanser after the despair of Endgame and Infinity War.

With pressure from being a superhero mounting every day, Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man (Tom Holland), needs a break. He's ready to go on a school trip through Europe and confess his feelings for classmate MJ (Zendaya). Peter's easy going summer is mangled when creatures called Elementals attack the first stop on his trip. Peter is appointed by the head of S.H.I.E.L.D, Nick Fury to assist Quentin Beck in taking the monsters down. Beck, a.k.a Mysterio, is ready to sacrifice anything to vanquish the Elementals after they destroyed his home and killed his family. Peter sets out to protect his friends and the world at large from the coming supernatural threat.

Tom Holland plays a great Spider-Man. Far From Home relies on him being likable and relatable and this time around, somewhat vulnerable too. Holland does all of these things really well. This film doesn't work if you're not invested in Peter Parker, but lucky for us, this version is perhaps the best incarnation of the character yet. The awkward, yet sweet interactions between Peter and MJ are a highlight of this film.

Far From Home has a fun atmosphere, even when the stakes are tense and thrilling. The comedy is sharp and witty, but the emotional nuance of Peter's arc is well-executed. Peter has to face the responsibilities of being a "friendly neighborhood Spider-man" and step up to fill the void left by his recently fallen mentor and friend Tony Stark, a.k.a Iron Man. Stark expected the best from Parker and trusted him with numerous gadgets and resources to continue to do good after he was gone. Parker has to live up to those expectations, while also mourning the loss of his friend.

I recommend this for ages 12 to 18 for some violence, peril and language. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a great teen comedy with a touch of science fiction, romance and heroism. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend you see this film when it swings in theaters July 2nd.

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

Spider-Man: Far From Home is one of the most exciting movies in theaters right now. Its thrilling action will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire runtime, and you'll leave the cinema smiling. This is the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it truly did not disappoint.

This film follows your "friendly neighborhood Spider-Man", aka Peter Parker, leaving New York City to go on a school field trip throughout Europe. On his trip, he plans to spend time with his friends, tell his crush how he feels about her, and go sightseeing around the several countries he's visiting. But his plan will soon come to a halt when Nick Fury warns him about a new threat coming to Earth. With the help of a new superhero named Mysterio, Peter Parker will have to decide whether to enjoy his teenage years and have fun on his trip or to save the world, risking his identity in the process.

The performances and the comedy are this film's high points. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio and Tom Holland as Peter Parker absolutely steal the show and are both a pure joy to watch. This is Gyllenhaal's first Marvel flick, and it looks like he was born to be in one. Spider-Man: Far From Home, like most Marvel films, is hilarious; all the side characters had several lines that got the entire theater laughing. Something else I admire about this film is how well it encapsulates teenage life and all of the awkward, exciting, and confusing moments being a teenager brings. The film portrays teens very realistically, and I have to commend the director, Tom Watts, for this. The special effects are marvelous, especially in scenes dealing with Mysterio.

With many highs, this film also has its lows. My main problems with the movie are the heavy exposition scenes and the dialogue. The way it feeds the audience information and tells backstories is poorly written which makes the scenes feel unnatural. The predictability of the story took me out of the film several times, but the movie still contains many moments which utterly shocked the entire audience. Although it has its lows, the highs fully outweigh them.

All in all, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun-infused thrill ride that you will not want to miss. If you enjoy the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you will absolutely adore this one. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11-18, but adults will also appreciate it. Check it out in theaters on July 2, 2019.

Reviewed by Veronica S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

What I like about Spider-Man: Far from Home are the special effects, the quality of the storyline, the fight scenes and the fact that Spider-Man is my favorite superhero! I can't just point out one specific part. The MCU never disappoints.

Spider-Man: Far from Home is about the after-math of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame and how everyone that is destroyed in the snap that they call "The Blip" comes back the same age. It's been five years so, instead of their being 21 and graduated, they are still 16 and have to re-do their sophomore year of high school. So, the school year ends and the class is going on a summer vacation to Europe. Peter doesn't want to be Spider-Man on this trip, but coincidently Nick Fury happens to need Peter's help as Spider-Man. He fights along Quentin Beck (Mysterio) and, while in the comics Mysterio is the bad guy, it seems his role is reversed in this movie. While all this is happening, Peter is trying to tell MJ (the girl he really likes) how he feels.

My favorite part of Spider-Man: Far from Home is when Peter walks with MJ to give her a gift and tell her about how he feels. As he gets ready to tell her, she interrupts and asks him if he is Spider-Man. It's a very funny scene.

The message of Spider-Man: Far from Home is that the world doesn't need another you, it needs someone who can be better. Throughout the movie Peter is constantly reminded of Tony Stark (Iron Man) after his death in Endgame and Peter feels that he needs to be the next Iron Man. Then Happy reminds him that no one could ever be Iron Man and that Peter needs to be a better Spider-Man.

I give Spider-Man: Far from Home 5 out of 5 stars. It is a great cinematic movie with great performances and is a lot better than Spider-Man: Homecoming. I recommend it for ages 13 to18, plus adults because of the language and violence. Make sure to go see Spider-Man: Far from Home in theatres everywhere when it opens Tuesday July 2, 2019.

Reviewed by Madison M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The live action thriller movie Spider-Man: Far from Home is mind blowing and hilarious! I definitely enjoyed this movie. The action-packed fights between the superheroes are explosive, like bombs going off everywhere. The characters travel to adventurous places and weird sci-fi things begin to happen.

The storyline follows Peter Parker preparing for a high school field trip with his classmates to exciting cities in Italy and France. Peter is planning to finally wow MJ, the girl he really likes. However, he becomes frustrated when he is called on mission as Spider-man and tries to avoid the mission by "ghosting" Nick Fury's calls. Ultimately, that does not work and he finds himself trapped and forced into the mission.

The special and visual effects that take place are beyond awesome! They include four of the five elements of science - earth, fire, water and wind. The fighting scenes that take place in the cities that the students visit cause so much destruction of boats, bridges, buildings, cars and planes that it made me think, "Wow! Does this really get destroyed during the making of this movie?" However, I realized later it is simply special and visual effects, because I have learned that drones are used to make you think something is really happening when it is not. In addition to all the action, I also wondered if the superheroes did their own stunts or if there are multiple stunt doubles. Therefore, I did some research and found out that there are several stunt performers.

The message in this movie is about illusion versus real. In other words, everything is not what is seems to be, and people will believe anything, so trust no one. My favorite part of the movie is when Peter Parker gets to shoot his shot with MJ. You should know that there is some profanity and risky situations that kids may try to imitate, so parent guidance is suggested.

I give Spider-Man: Far from Home 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. I also think adults will be amazed and enjoy it as well. It opens in theaters nationwide July 2, 2019, so be sure to check it out.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
YESTERDAY

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YESTERDAY
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YESTERDAY - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-fetched this sentence appears and, as a music lover, it's preposterous! The Beatles have influenced thousands of musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable, this is the premise behind Director Danny Boyle's (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest film, Yesterday. When a 12-second global power outage occurs, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, EastEnders) is riding his bicycle, collides with a bus, and lands in the hospital with serious injuries. During his recovery, he casually utters statements, which are song lyrics from the Fab Four, and no one gets it. His confusion leads him to Google, where Jack types "The Beatles," only to received definitions of beetles. Try as he may, he can find no reference of The Beatles anywhere and, throughout the film; we learn other brands are also nonexistent in this alternate universe, such as Coke. Jack suddenly realizes he is the only person on Earth who remembers The Beatles.

Things get very interesting as Jack has always been a struggling musician. Think kid's birthday parties, lackluster music festivals and coffee shops. He is lovingly looked after by his lifelong friend Ellie (Lily James) who is also his manager, roadie and his only faithful supporter. If this level of closeness was not enough, we also witness unrequited attraction between the two main characters and, since the script comes from Richard Curtis (Love Actually), we know where this is headed.

Jack decides to learn the songs of The Beatles and make them his own - and he finds success! So much success, Ed Sheeran (playing himself) discovers him. Along with the pop superstar, comes his agent (Kate McKinnon), a money-grubbing, tremendously offensive yet also a funny woman who thinks she found the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. Things don't quite 'Come Together' entirely.

Things get ridiculous as Jack and Ed Sheeran embark on a world tour and meet a few interesting people along the way. The song selection is impeccable with "'Help" providing an accurate reading of the song's rarely spoken meaning, appropriate to the character and plot. The "Long and Winding Road" of the film is truly a musical journey.

I give this film 3 of 5 stars for the some of the casting, the humorous interludes, Kate McKinnon's performance, UNBELIEVABLE MUSIC (kudos to whoever had to manage clearances for this film - WOW!) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18 and introduce or re-introduce the music of The Beatles to younger generations. This writer found herself toe tapping, singing along and loving all the memories this music holds. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 28, 2019.

Reviewed by Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This movie is very entertaining. It has great songs, great singing and a little romance. The acting really pulled me into the story.

Yesterday is about a man named Jack who wants to become a famous singer. While riding his bike, the world's power goes out and Jack gets hit by a bus. After recovering, his friends give him a new guitar and he tries it out by singing a song by The Beatles. His friends have never heard the song before or even know who The Beatles are. So, Jack gets an idea to claim those songs as his own, so he can become famous.

This new world that Jack now lives in, is crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive. Can you imagine? The movie is creative in many ways, including using locations that inspired several Beatles' song titles such as Eleanor Rigby's grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack's manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful. My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on the Internet.

The message of Yesterday is to follow your dreams, put love first and tell the truth. It has a bit of bad language and a lot of drinking, but hey, it takes place in England, so I guess that is to be expected. It has some negative behavior and other risky things that kids might try to do.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will like this as well. This movie is in theaters June 28, 2019.

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

This is a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I really enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.

Yesterday is about a British musician name Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who writes his own songs. Jack is not a successful musician and is about to give up his career as a singer/writer, but his long time friend Ellie (Lily James) encourage him to continue with his dreams to keep writing and singing. One night, while Jack is riding his bike, the entire world suffers a 12 second blackout. Jack gets hit by a bus and sent to the hospital. For some reason, after the global blackout, The Beatles are erased from history; they don't exist. No one knows who The Beatles are except Jack.

The combination of comedy, romance and music is really good. Not only does Himesh Patel sing all The Beatles songs himself, he has an extraordinary voice and plays several instruments t=as well. My favorite part of this movie is seeing Ed Sheeran as himself. Ed visits Jack and invites him to sing with him. Ed's manager Deborah (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live) is extremely funny. She becomes Jack's manager and helps him make a great album singing The Beatles' songs. Jack becomes super famous.

My favorite scene is when Jack sings "Help!" on top of a roof, in front of huge crowd. I also love the cast, because they are all very funny. For example Jack's best friend Rocky is played by Joel Fry, who is hysterical and James Corden plays as himself and he is always very funny to watch.

The moral of this movie is not to lie. In the movie Jack lies by telling the world he wrote all the songs and becomes famous. Also, he is in love with Ellie and doesn't have the courage to tell her. Lying can get you into more trouble than you are already in.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18. This movie comes out in theatres June 28, 2019. Look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
MAIDEN

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MAIDEN - SONY CLASSICAL
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - The story of Tracy Edwards, a 24-year-old cook on charter boats, who became the skipper of the first ever all-female crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This documentary is an incredible example about finding your passion. I found it very engaging and interesting. Before seeing Maiden, I did not know much about long-distance ocean sailing and how challenging it is. This documentary goes beyond my expectations.

Maiden follows Tracy Edwards and her all female crew as they are the first women to enter an 'around-the-world' sailing race. She goes against the odds and makes it happen. Maiden tells the story of her struggle for equal rights by entering a very dangerous race.

This documentary shows us how scary long-distance sailing is, whether you are male or female. It is one of the most challenging sports ever. We learn so much about Tracy Edwards and all that she accomplishes. She now advocates for girls' education. One thing that makes Maiden really fascinating is that Tracy, some of her crew and even her competitors narrate it.

The message of this documentary is about determination, finding your way, making sacrifices, putting fate into your own arms, having a voice event when it may not be heard, teamwork, friendship and so much more. It has some mild profanity and risky things that kids might try to imitate, such as running away and sailing in dangerous areas. There is some bad behavior like an abusive step-dad, getting expelled and being stereotyped.

I give this documentary 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, as well as adults. Maiden opens in theaters July 12, 2019.

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

This fantastic film is one of the best films out in the film world. I cannot applaud this film any more. There are so many amazing things such as the message, the location and the actors.

This tells the story of Tracey Edwards and her crew that lead the first-ever all female crew (in the very male chauvinistic world of sailboat racing) in one of the biggest races ever, the Whitbread Round the World Race, back in 1989. The race takes nine months to complete.

I'd love to point out the location of this film, mainly because it is completely phenomenal. They used actual footage from the race and pieced it together to make the film. It is all original footage from the actual event from 1989 and 1990. I really enjoyed how unique this film is. I definitely think that director, Alex Holmes created a film that is from a different perspective. I love the interviews with the crew telling the story of the Maiden ship and all the clips that make the film something that most directors wouldn't touch.

The message of this film tells you that if you have a dream and the determination to fulfill that dream, then nothing can stop you. There is a very positive and uplifting message in this film that may really call you to action and give you the motivation to do something big. I would also note that it is very woman powered. There are not a lot of male figures in this film and it is about women showing men that they can do anything a man can do. There is a very small amount of profanity in the film.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommended it for ages 10 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. It opens in theaters July 12, 2019. Look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL

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MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Men in Black is bolstered by its talented two leads and visuals, but ultimately it remains an occasionally underwhelming installment in the franchise. Still, there are enough entertaining action sequences and humor to satisfy general moviegoers. Fans of the MIB franchise must check this out, but preferably on a matinee.

The film follows Men in Black 3 as London has a branch of Men in Black. After investigating and finding the MIB base, Molly (Tessa Thompson) joins them. The head of the branch, High T (Liam Neeson), pairs her up with the dashing hot-shot Agent H (Chris Hemsworth). Molly, now Agent M, and Agent H become involved in a series of alien attacks that send them traveling around the globe, while a mole lurks among the MIB.

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, as Agents M and H, are the main highlights here as their chemistry still impresses ever since their collaborations in Thor: Ragnarok. This really is just a big excuse to watch another Thor and Valkyrie buddy cop, and it's honestly a great one. I quite enjoyed Agent M's deadpan reactions to anything Agent H does. They really do fill the void that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones left behind from the previous three films. Liam Neeson, as High T, has some interesting contributions to the plot and, as always, brings out the veteran actor in himself. Kumail Nanjiani, as Pawny, is another highlight, being the new alien sidekick here. He has some of the funniest lines, and even serves as a good replacement for Frank the Pug. As always, it is nice to see Emma Thompson reprise her role as Agent O.

Director F. Gary Gray brings new life to the franchise taking over for Barry Sonnenfeld who directed the previous three. This marks the first director departure, and Gray's hipster influences reach out to a broader audience. He really bolstered by s a grasp on style and elegance. My favorite scene is when Agent M and H first discover Pawny, because it's just one gag after another with all sticking the landing. Pawny's dry humor adds to the overall vibe, and at this point, I wouldn't mind getting a MIB spinoff about Pawny. While the comedy delivers, the overall story does not. It runs around in circles, and the only redeeming quality to this is the density of the characters and settings. It is rather directionless at times and, after a while, it becomes like every other globe-trotting movie. Also, the mole subplot goes nowhere, and resolves itself quickly. This a huge disappointment, as someone who really admires insider plots.

The message of this film is that teamwork is essential. This is shown in the partnership of Agent M and H as they fight and try to peacefully resolve with the aliens. I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, due to some intense action, suggestive references and language. The movie releases in theaters June 14, 2019, so check it out.

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

Men in Black: International is a hilarious sci-fi adventure that had me both laughing and on the edge of my seat! You can enjoy Men in Black: International without having seen any of the previous movies, because there are all-new characters and adventures. The story goes from Paris to Morocco to London and New York, as the heroes chase aliens around the globe.

The movie starts by introducing two different sets of aliens that both want the same weapon. One set of aliens is very creepy, because it can shape shift into people, and an even creepier kind of alien called the Hive has tentacles and can eat your face off! Both want to take over the world, of course! The Men in Black organization steps in to save the world with their superior firepower.

My favorite thing about this movie is the character of Steve the pawn. He's a little computer animated alien who gets all the best jokes in the film. I love the scene when he pushes the red button to take everyone into hyper-speed. The main characters are played by Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, both from Thor: Ragnarok. The filmmakers sneak a really funny Thor joke into the movie that got a lot of laughs!

Parents should know that there is some profanity and action violence, although not really any blood. There's not a big message to this film. It's mostly just a big fun summer blockbuster, but I guess you could say that you should never give up when you're protecting the world! I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults who like sci-fi comedies should enjoy it too. Men in Black: International opens in theaters everywhere Friday June 14, 2019.

Reviewed by Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

It's rare that you love a sequel more than the original, but that is definitely the case for this movie directed by F. Gary Gray. I grew up watching the previous Men in Black movies on family movie nights at home and this is my first time seeing one on the big screen, which is important, because of all the special effects.

Men in Black: International starts with a young Molly helping save a cute alien visitor in her bedroom. She escapes having her memory neutralized and then spends years searching for the mysterious government organization she saw that night and prepares herself to become an agent. Once she tracks the agency down she becomes probationary Agent M and is sent to London to complete her training and help discover a potential mole in the organization. Working with Agent H, they search for threats from the "fungus among us." My favorite character is Pawny. I love all the scenes with his snarky sense of humor, which adds to the hilarity of the movie, as he serves his queen, Agent M.

The special effects are awesome and as important as any character in this movie and I give credit to the talented team that put everything together. I love the women in power in this movie, starting with the reappearance of Emma Thompson as Agent O and the new Agent M, played by Tessa Thompson. I enjoyed Chris Hemsworth as Agent H with his big action personality. Liam Neeson, as his mentor and Agent High T stands out in the film as well. Barry Sonnenfeld is one of the Executive Producers along with Stephen Spielberg. The only thing missing is a cameo from Agents K and J, who sadly did not put in an appearance in this film. Also I would have enjoyed seeing a few more funky looking aliens.

The message of this film, other than advocating for intergalactic peace for humans and all races, is that "the universe has a way of leading you to the place you're supposed to be the moment you're supposed to be there." To me that really translates into living for the moment - whenever and wherever that may be.

I recommend this film for ages 10 to 18, and adults as well. Parents should know that there are many scenes the include violence, some profanity and some scenes which have other mature content. I rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars. This movie opens in theaters nationwide June 11, 2019.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
POK�MON DETECTIVE PIKACHU

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POK�MON DETECTIVE PIKACHU - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8 - 18
Description - In a world where people collect Pok�mon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love this movie so much. I couldn't stop laughing and crying with tears of joy. Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is about a city named Ryme City where people are living with Pokemon. A young man named Tim Goodman travels to Ryme City to find out the reason for the mysterious disappearance of his father, Harry Goodman. In the process, Tim finds a strange, purple substance or gas that makes all the Pokemon act weird. Tim also finds his father's Pokemon Pikachu. For some reason, Tim can understand Pikachu. Yes, Pikachu can talk in this movie!

The movie is hilarious because of Ryan Reynolds, even though there are some jokes not suitable for children. Also, Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman, is so good. He is pretty funny, and he makes the audience feel emotional when he has sad moments. The visual effects are incredible, which make this movie different and better than other Pokemon movies or Pokemon TV shows.

The moral of this film is not to give up. Tim wants to give up on his mission. Instead, he teams up with Pikachu, and together they make a great team. Pikachu saves Tim from going home. The end has a very twisted mystery that leaves everyone in the audience with their mouths wide open. If you want to find out why, you'll need to watch this awesome film before your friends spoil it for you.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, but adults over 18 can enjoy it, too You can watch Pokemon Detective Pikachu in any theater near you starting Friday, May 10, 2019.

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

Pokemon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokemon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.

This story is about a boy named Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) whose father, Harry Goodman (Ryan Reynolds) dies in a car crash. Tim goes to Ryme City and meets a Pikachu with a detective hat who says that he is Harry's Pokemon, and a brilliant detective. Tim and Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) must find out who killed Tim's father and why.

This movie is great, all the Pokemon in the movie look realistic and lifelike. I found it very fun to search the movie and spot all the different Pokemon that they have in the movie such as Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Lickitung, Charmander and many more.

There is also a video game version of the movie called Detective Pikachu where you play in the Pokemon world and join Detective Pikachu in Ryme City to solve mysteries and crimes that Pokemon cause. It has a similar plot to the movie, so it is fun to get to play what you see in the film.

My favorite scene in this movie is one where Pikachu is very sad and starts singing some short pieces of the Pokemon theme song as he walks away from Tim, acting depressed. I like this scene because the way that Pikachu sings it is hilarious. Another good scene is when Tim, Detective Pikachu, Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) a journalist, and her Psyduck are running away from some Greninjas and Psyduck gets a headache. This is very dangerous because his head could explode. I like this scene because it is full of action and the way Pikachu gives Psyduck a headache is hilarious. My favorite character in this movie is Detective Pikachu because he makes a lot of great jokes about other Pokemon and his obsession with coffee. His humor is sarcastic and dry, but he is also cute and fluffy. This contrast is very amusing.

The message of this movie is that you should stay loyal to your friends and trust them. There is also a strong storyline about the relationships between father and son.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to18 because younger children may not understand the storyline. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FAREWELL, THE

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FAREWELL, THE - COALITION FOR QUALITY CHILDREN'S MEDIA
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Billi struggles with her family's decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang, played tug-of-war with my emotions as I felt a constant push and pull between crying and smiling! I became a part of Billi's family, empathizing with the family members because they reminded me of my own.

Based on an actual lie, The Farewell tells the story of Billi (Awkwafina), a Chinese immigrant in America, and the relationship with her grandmother, Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhou), who lives in China. When Billi finds out that her grandmother only has a few months left to live, Billi must grapple with the fact that her family doesn't wish to tell Nai Nai. Along with dealing with Nai Nai's imminent death, Billi struggles with her Chinese and American roots.

The power of The Farewell comes from its simplicity. The most powerful scenes are those without music or dialogue, just Billi alone with her emotions. These scenes last several seconds and act as a window into Billi's heart. Awkwafina fully transforms into her character, letting her eyes convey Billi's indescribable pain to the audience. The cinematography by Anna Franquesa and Solano assists in amplifying the effect of the actors' emotions. The camera often frames Billi in the center of the screen, whether she is amongst a sea of people or alone in her room. Each time the camera does so, I felt how the sorrow forms a small bubble around her that is only visible to the audience, especially if she is pretending to smile or laugh. Once again, there is a simplicity in the cinematography that carries power. This simplicity even extends to the music by Alex Weston. The music is comprised of only a few string instruments and a simple melody. However, every time it plays it reflects the emotions of Billi, giving me goosebumps.

My favorite part is how this movie depicts immigrant families and their struggles. Being Indian, but born and brought up in America, I found several similarities between Nai Nai and my own mother and grandmother. At certain moments, I was laughing out loud because Nai Nai says something that I have heard countless times in my own family. In this way, The Farewell brings a story that millions of American families can relate to, that is not often found in Hollywood movies.

The message is that family is precious. I give The Farewell 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Be sure to check out The Farewell which opened in theatres nationwide July 26, 2019.

Reviewed by Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

This film rocked everyone's emotions. Although there are multiple instances where the film is a bit slow, the overall emotional impact is great. There are moments of comedic relief throughout. I think that everyone can relate to this film in some way. I made connections with some of the ideas and scenes even though I am not Chinese.

The Farewell is about Billi and her family's reunion in China. They reunite because their grandma has developed lung cancer and the doctor says she only has weeks to live. The family chooses not to tell Nai-Nai (grandma) that she has lung cancer. Instead, they tell her that they are reunited for a wedding. Billie's family tells her that the reason for not telling Nai-Nai is that it's not the cancer that kills, but the fear. The film is all about appreciating the time you have on earth and with your family. There are many moments of stillness, included watching the wind blow through the trees, for 30 seconds or more. I find this aspect of the film beautiful, as it reminds me of the phrase, "stop and smell the roses." But others might interpret these moments as filler scenes and pointless.

Awkwafina, as Billie, is an exceptional actress. You can feel the emotion she conveys through the screen, even if she doesn't say anything. For her role she needs to show the audience that she is deeply troubled, but also show that she tries to hide her feelings from her grandma. That is very difficult to do and she does it perfectly. Without this, the film would lose a lot of its emotional impact.

The music sets the mood very well for some scenes, but in others silence and black screens are set the mood. Sometimes it's the noise of nature, like the wind blowing through the leaves. Scenes like these are what makes the film divergent.

The message of this film is about being appreciative of all aspects of life. Billie begins to realize that while she spends time with her family in China. Every moment is a gift. I love that the film is quite simple yet it has such a powerful effect.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, as well as adults. There are innuendos, use of alcohol, cigarettes and some bad language. Despite this, the film will move you to tears so check it out! It comes out July 12, 2019 in theaters!

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

I surprisingly loved this film. I was not excited about watching it, but after the screening, I realized that I have a lot of sympathy for this movie and the story resonates with me. It is about family grief and love, identity, having confidence and cultural identity.

This is the story of a girl named Billie (beautifully played by Awkwafina) who lives in NYC. She loves her grandmother Nai Nai who lives in China and she calls her every day. They lie to each other about how their lives are going. Billie does not know that Nai Nai has stage four lung cancer. And, when she finds out Billie is devastated. It is a Chinese tradition to not tell a person when they have terminal cancer, because they want to keep their spirit alive. There is a Chinese saying: "Is not of the cancer but of the fear." Nai Nai's family plans a fake wedding so everyone gets a chance to get together and say goodbye, without telling the truth. Billie struggles with the lies and debates between her life in the west, being from the east.

I found this film very interesting because it is based on a actual lie and is director's Lulu Wang's real life story. The storytelling is delicate and touching; the performances are absolutely honest.

I love the cultural richness of the movie and the colors. If you like art films or slow paced ones, I definitely recommend this movie. In the film, there is a little bird that constantly comes into a room that Billie is in and doesn't fly. I think the director wanted to use the bird as a reference to Billie, as if she is trapped in her own mind and inertia. I like the comedy, but I think the grownups watching this film enjoyed the jokes a lot more than I did. The Farewell is a drama that is intended to lift your heart and not make you laugh. Throughout the film and for almost half of it, Billie's family speaks Mandarin, but it didn't bother me and I understood the film perfectly by reading the subtitles.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 16, as well as adults. The message of this film is that expressing our true feelings impacts our family bond. It opens in theaters July 26 12, 2019 so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WHISPER OF THE HEART

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WHISPER OF THE HEART - GKIDS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Based on the manga with the same title, this animated film follows Shizuku, an inquisitive young girl and a voracious reader, who longs to be a writer when she grows up. One day she notices that all of her library books have previously been taken out by one Seiji Amasawa. Amid chasing after a large cat, befriending an eccentric antiques dealer and writing her first novel, Shizuku aims to find this mysterious boy who may well be her soul mate.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Whisper of the Heart is a soulful, intimate look at the trials and tribulations of adolescence and a worthy addition to Studio Ghibli's film catalog. This is the next film in the Ghibli Fest, a series of Fathom Events returning Studio Ghibli's films to the cinemas. Whisper of the Heart is director Yoshifumi Kondo's directorial debut and unfortunately, his only film.

This film follows Shizuku, an imaginative aspiring teenage writer who enjoys reading books and writing song lyrics. She spends her time hanging out with her best friend Yuko. The school year begins and she has an unfortunate series of encounters with a mysterious fellow student. She learns that this name is Seiji and he wants to build violins. The pair bond in an antique store and soon fall in love. They encourage each other to elevate their craft. Seiji leaves to practice building violins in Italy and Shizuku challenges herself to write a story about a prominent antique statue called The Baron, belonging to Seiji's grandpa, to improve her writing.

Studio Ghibli mastermind Hayao Miyazaki has directed some excellent animated films, but above all, he's a fantastic storyteller. Every time we get a glimpse at Shizuku's story, the film gains a sudden magic and wonder. The romantic dialogue between Seiji and Shizuku is more often than not, genuine and sweet. This story has very few of the fantastical characters and worlds that have been a mainstay for a lot of Miyazaki's other work. Seeing his characters grow firmly in reality shows a different side of his storytelling abilities.

Something I admire about nearly all of Ghibli's work is that, even when characters are involved in pursuits of mythical proportions, they always bring it back to the human elements of the story. The same goes for this film, although with a more realistic plot. There are some particularly great shots of the city below Shizuku's town that demonstrate Ghibli's skill with bringing worlds to life on the big screen.

If you enjoy the work of Studio Ghibli, in Whisper of the Heart there are Easter Eggs pointing to films like Porco Rosso and My Neighbor Totoro. If you enjoy this film, check out The Cat's Return, which stars the protagonist of Shizuku's story, The Baron. I recommend Whisper of The Heart for ages 10 to 18, and adults. I give it 3 out of 5 stars. Fans of Miyazaki will enjoy seeing a new side of his storytelling onscreen.

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

This 1995 romantic, anime-animated film takes you through the wild high school life of Shizuku. As this film develops, you get see the perspective of Shizuku being a best friend, daughter, sister, high schooler and girlfriend. This dramatic film was written by Hayao Miyazaki, Aoi Hiragi, Cindy Davis Hewitt and Donald H. Hewitt and released through Studio Ghibli.

The storyline follows Shizuku and Seiji Amasawa, her fellow classmate, and many more. Their adventure begins with Shizuku's plan to read 20 books before the end of her week. This plan leads to having to explore for a particular person who seems to pop up in every aspect of Shizuku's life. This search causes Shizuku to get distracted from studying for her high school exams. As this film develops, the exploration begins to seem more meaningful.

The lead characters are Shizuku Tsukkisima (Yokko Honno), Seiji Anasawa ( Isley Takahashe) and The Baron ( Shigeru Tsuyuguchi). My favorite character is Shizuku Tsukkisima, not only because she's the protagonist, but because she cares about others. She always puts others before herself, and thinks about their sensitivity. Another thing I love about Shizuku is, when she wants something, she will do whatever it takes to achieve or accomplish whatever it is.

My favorite scene is when Shizuku's teachers inform her she has a male visitor and he emphasizes the word "male" in front of her class. She steps outside and talks to him on the roof and her classmates follow discreetly, then Shizuku notices and yells "Hello?"

This film shares an important message, which is to be brave and keep on trying even through hard times.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 15, as well as adults. This film plays July 1 and 2 at theaters nationwide through Fathom Events. Check it out.

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

This year GKIDS and Fathom Events are back with Studio Ghibli Fest 2019 and the next film in theaters is Whisper of the Heart. Directed in 1995 by Yoshifumi Kondo and written by Hayao Miyazaki, it is a touching yet bittersweet animated film that deals with the realities of growing up.

It tells the story of a curious teenage girl named Shizuku, who is both an avid reader and an aspiring writer. During her many visits to the library, Shizuku discovers that the books she has been reading have all been previously checked out by a mysterious boy named Seiji Amasawa, voiced by Issey Takahasi. Soon enough, she figures out that Seiji is a boy at her school, who she believes is irritating and rude. One day, when Shizuku sees a cat riding on a train, she decides to follow it, leading her to a whimsical antique shop owned by Shiro Nishi, with a magical cat statue called "The Baron" inside. Later on at the shop, Shizuku gets to know Seiji, learning that he dreams of becoming a master violin maker. Both he and the Baron motivate Shizuku to listen to the whisper of her heart and follow the dreams of her own.

This film has a very engaging plot and heartwarming characters that audiences will fall in love with. Also, this film is perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli films. like myself. This film has outstanding animation that perfectly captures the signature style of the Studio Ghibli films. The artwork really comes alive in the scenes at the antique shop. The film score, composed by Yuji Nomi, include references to the John Denver song "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which is a big part of the movie.

Personally, I enjoy the part where Shizuku first dislikes Seiji, because it's a funny hint to the audience that shows that she actually really likes Seiji. Whisper of the Heart is very different compared to the other works of Studio Ghibli, because its characters encounter real-life situations that most teens and adults can relate to, such as first love and pursuing your passion in life.

It teaches audiences that, even when you don't believe it, dreams do indeed come true. Regardless of how old you are, everyone can take something away as you watch the characters experience everyday issues.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, as well as adults. You can see it in theaters on July 1 and 2, 2019 through Fathom Events.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TOY STORY 4

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TOY STORY 4
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TOY STORY 4 - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-18
Description - When a new toy called "Forky" joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I absolutely love this film! It is funny, colorful, joyful and impeccably made. The animation is a lot better too! This sequel to Toy Story is not like the other ones, which I like; so it does not repeat the first three. Toy Story 4 goes one step forward and closes the circle... uhmm, maybe? There will be always room for more toy adventures.

In this new film there are some awesome new and unique characters. And there is a transformation of an old character, but you need to see the movie to find out which one I mean!

The story is basically about a little girl, Bonnie, who gets all of Andy's toys because he goes to university. Bonnie loves all her new (at least new for her) toys, but she doesn't play with Woody often. He feels sad but doesn't want to show it. Then one day comes, and it's Bonnie's first day of kindergarten. In class she feels lonely but Woody, breaking all laws (toys don't go to school because they can get lost) comes in her backpack. Woody gets some material and Bonnie makes, literally, a new best friend: Forky. But there's one problem: Forky thinks he's made out of trash and consequently he has issues. When Bonnie's family goes on a road trip, Forky feels he doesn't belong--he gets lost, and from there the toys have to face multiple obstacles to rescue Forky.

The story is mainly focused on Forky and Woody and some new characters that you meet. What is interesting is that you don't really see the other group of old toys that much. Like every Toy Story film, the toys work together to help fix a conflict. But this film focuses on a completely different character, Bonnie, and not on Andy. Woody will go to infinity and beyond to rescue Forky. His sense of loyalty is contagious, and Forky is so funny with his issues. Completely different characters, brand new conflict and new frontiers make this film unique.

I also love the colors which are beautiful. Something I find very interesting is that the animation is so well done that you sometimes forget that you're watching an animated movie. I loved the new characters like Duke Caboom, and I think Keanu Reeves is the only person who could bring life to Caboom with a distinctive voice. I also like the character of Gabby Gabby; she was very interesting, intriguing and the more you find out about her the more you want to know.

The message of this film is be loyal, be the best you can be and listen to your inner voice, so that you can decide your own destiny.

I would recommend watching other Toy Story movies before this one if you haven't already. I love this film so I would give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-10 and adults as well. Toy Story 4 is in theatres June 21, 2019

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

This movie is the best Toy Story film yet! It has our favorite old characters, very funny new characters, a fun and emotional story line and a fantastic new director.

Toy Story 4 begins with Bonnie making a new friend in her kindergarten orientation and bringing it home. His name is Forky and, when he comes alive, all he knows is how to be trash. Forky spends most of his time trying to escape and eventually does so from a moving RV when his family is on vacation. Our hero Woody is forced to go after Forky to make sure Bonnie is happy and to convince Forky that he is Bonnie's toy. During their travels they encounter several new toys and a few old ones as well.

It is so amazing that the Toy Story saga has been going on for 24 years and that so many of the main characters are voiced by the same actors from the previous movies including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and Annie Potts. The voices behind some of the new characters include Keanu Reeves, Christina Hendricks and Tony Hale. We all thought that Toy Story 3 had the perfect ending, but this movie is even better. The director, Josh Cooley, is brilliant as he is able to pull out the best performance from all of the actors, to the point that you think that the toys are real people, not just animated characters. My favorite part is when Buzz finds his inner voice.

The message of Toy Story 4 is about transitioning from one situation to another through bravery, perseverance and friendship. You should know that there are a few risky things that kids might try to imitate such as jumping out of a RV, messing with a car and going under a carousel.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 15. Adults will love this movie as well. This movie opens nationwide in theaters on June 20, 2019.

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

I absolutely LOVE this film! Not only does Toy Story 4 contain hilarious humor, but also emotional scenes, which make the film well balanced with seriousness and laughter throughout and make an interesting storyline. I love the way the characters use their feelings and gut to help lead themselves throughout the story.

In the film, Bonnie makes a new toy out of recycled materials in kindergarten and instantly falls in love with it. But her new toy, Forky, feels like he is not meant to be a toy. Instead, his heart's desire is to belong to the trash. This results in Forky trying to escape to the trash at every chance he is given. Fortunately, Bonnie's other toy, Woody, stops Forky from running away, but then the toys find themselves lost on the search for their beloved Bonnie. Will they fine Bonnie or stay lost in the woods for good? You will have to see the film to find out!

My favorite part of Toy Story 4 is definitely when Woody and Forky find their friendship through many changes of plans and difficulties. Their journey shows how things can change over time. I also really enjoyed the animation and how clear the voice actors voices are during the movie. The plot, characters, and voice acting are all groundbreaking.

The message of this film is to always follow your heart and do what your heart desires. It is always important to do what you feel is better for you. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12. Toy Story 4 releases in theaters, June 21, 2019. Be sure to look for it.

Reviewed by Jada P., KID FIRST Film Critic, age 12.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


ASBURY PARK: RIOT, REDEMPTION, ROCK N ROLL
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
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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

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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 ENDORSED

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GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face 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. When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity's very existence hanging in the balance.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a one of kind slamfest, despite some bland plot points and characters. The excellent cinematography and special effects really immerse the audience into the ring. All fans of summer monster movies or just summer blockbusters, in general, must check this out in the biggest screen possible.

The film follows secret agency Monarch as its members face off against a battalion of god-sized monsters, or kaiju, including Mothra, Rodan and the ultimate mastermind - the three-headed Ghidorah. These threats leave humanity's very existence teetering towards impending apocalypse. But sometimes, one must fight fire with fire. Their only hope relies in the mighty kaiju Godzilla, who intends to kill these monsters for dominance.

The ensemble cast of Monarch includes many A-list actors from Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Ken Watanabe, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford and Sally Hawkins. All of them give their best, but the mediocre screenplay really gives the human scenes a much more lethargic feel. The family drama between Kyle Chandler's Mark Russell and Vera Farmiga's Emma Russell feel out of place, and it really just adds nothing to the overall plot. Thankfully, Milly Bobby Brown adds a complex perspective with expressive acting and a signature defiant attitude. Bradley Whitford is the most memorable character here, with his wit and well-timed comic relief. Charles Dance, as Jonah Alan, is a great addition as the veteran actor gives his all in this menacing new threat. It's really all in the kaiju here, with their unique designs and characteristics. I quite enjoyed Ghidorah's banter between each of his three heads.

Michael Dougherty spectacularly directs with each roaring fight and exploration of lore. He pays homage to the best of the old Gojira movies. However, I do miss the more small-scale feel that Godzilla (2014) had. Gareth Evans really added something new to the monster movie genre with that. But, there are tons more fights here, which should alleviate fans' complaints about the lack of fights and monster screen-time in the previous movie. The soundtrack helmed by Bear McCreary roars, paying much respect to the original themes that started it all. My favorite scene is a climatic moment, but I can't spoil. It explains most of the surrounding lore and contains one truly chilling scene with Ken Watanabe's excellent acting. McCreary's track elevates this to one of the best scenes this year overall.

The message of this film about the commitment to family, whether from the Russells or between fellow Monarch crewmates. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, due to intense monster fights and language. The movie releases in theaters on May 31, 2019, so check it out.

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

Although I wasn't really exited about this film, I have to admit that I like it! Godzilla: King of the Monsters is pure Kaiju extravaganza. This movie is entertaining and made for the big screen and for fans of the beast.

Kaiju is a Japanese film genre with humongous monsters, usually battling with other monsters or military forces and it is beloved in Japanese culture. The third cinematic installment of Godzilla produced by a Hollywood studio is the sequel to the 2014 film Godzilla.

The film follows the heroic efforts of crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face a battle of gigantic monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, which collides with Mothra, Rodan and their final enemy, the King of Three Heads - Ghidorah. When these ancient super species, thought of as myths, rise again, they all compete for supremacy. The balance of the very existence of humanity is shaking. We also see humans fighting for power and, according to Dr. Emma Russel (Vera Farmiga), humans are the infection. Millie Bobby Brown plays Madison, Dr. Russell's daughter and her character makes very brave decisions. I liked seeing the mother-daughter relationship and how their connection impacts the world. Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe reprise their roles as Dr. Graham and Dr. Serizawa.

Godzilla is a metaphor for ecological disasters and we see how humans try to interpret, control, manipulate and even take advantage. The acting is good, but this is a movie more about the creatures and special effects than the actors. There are too many confrontations between the monsters and that, in my opinion, causes the impact of seeing the creatures appear on the screen to be lost, as well as the interest in the story. Godzilla King of the Monsters relies on the strength and power of Kaijus, while humans basically support the scenes.

The special visual and sound effects are very good. The locations and set designs are perfect for the story. My favorite scenes are when Dr. Emma Russell and her daughter Madison witness the birth of Mothra and when she turns into a butterfly.

The message of the film is that we should understand and respect nature and humans should work together to resolve environmental issues. I recommend Godzilla King of the Monsters for ages 12 to 18 and I give this film 3.5 out of 5 stars. It is playing in theaters now, so look for it.

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

Godzilla: King of the Monsters is over two hours of nonstop monster action! I loved watching the extraordinary action scenes with giant monsters battling each other. The best part of this movie is definitely the special effects, which are amazing!

The action starts with a flashback to the previous Godzilla movie from 2014, but you don't need to have seen that film to enjoy this one. The plot revolves around a new communication technology that allows scientists to control ancient monsters like Mothra, Rodan and of course, Godzilla. Unfortunately, some bad guys steal the technology and try to release the monsters from captivity to destroy the planet, including the terrifying Monster Zero. The good guys have to decide if they want to take the risk of helping Godzilla defeat Monster Zero, potentially making him stronger than ever before.

My favorite part of this movie is a hilarious joke about a fortune cookie, delivered by my favorite character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa. He's played by Ken Watanabe, who continues his role from the previous movie. Millie Bobby Brown, who you may recognize from Stranger Things, gives an excellent performance as the daughter of two of the scientists who built the technology that communicates with the monsters. There are lots of exotic locations, including Antarctica and overall the special effects are the most important part of this movie, particularly the monsters and especially Godzilla, who frequently shoots something like a giant blue laser beam from his mouth.

Parents should know that there's a lot of bad language and lots of people are killed in various battles, so younger kids are advised to stay away. Also, be warned that there's a very scary preview for the movie IT Chapter Two that plays before the film! So if you don't want your kids to see Pennywise The Evil Clown, make sure to come just as the movie is starting. Godzilla: King of the Monsters doesn't really have a strong message, it's mainly just action, action, action! Don't forget to stick around for the post-credits scene that sets things up for the next film in the franchise: Godzilla vs. Kong.

I give this movie 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Some adults will like it too, although my dad didn't think it was very good. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is in theaters everywhere Friday May 31, 2019.

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

I love this movie so much because of the cool creatures that lurk in the world. This is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

This awesome movie is about a family that is trying to save the world from creatures called The Titans. Godzilla is the main titan in this movie. The movie focuses on the wife, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) and her ex-husband Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler). Both of them are trying to save the world, but this villain veteran (Charles Dance) tricks Dr. Russell to unleash all of the Titans. She unleashes one of the oldest and strongest, three-headed monster named "King Ghidorah." King Ghidorah and the rest of the Titans that are awaken destroy numerous countries and it is Gozilla's duty to stop them.

Something cool is that famous actress, Millie Bobby Brown, from Stranger Things, plays Madison Russell, Emma's and Mark's daughter. She has a very important role and tries to fix what her mom did wrong. The special effects and sound effects are so good that it feels like you are actually there, live! And you can see everything. Seeing Godzilla fighting with King Ghidorah kept everyone in the movie theater on the edge of their seat. At the end of the fight, one of the Titans has a special connection with Godzilla and something very interesting happen.

The moral of this movie is that Godzilla is the one and only Boss. In this movie we learn that family comes first and the monsters second when seeing how Dr. Russell does not pay attention to Madison, because she was so fascinated with the Titans.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, because there are some curse words and some scenes with strong content ,not suitable for little children. You can see this in theaters on May 31, 2019.

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


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SUN IS ALSO A STAR, THE

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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
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.
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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 - 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:



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