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SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS

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SNAKE EYES: G.I. JOE ORIGINS - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13 - 18
Description - An ancient Japanese clan called the Arashikage welcomes tenacious loner Snake Eyes after he saves the life of their heir apparent. Upon arrival in Japan, the Arashikage teach him the ways of the ninja warrior while also providing him something he's been longing for: a home. However, when secrets from Snake Eyes' past are revealed, his honor and allegiance get tested -- even if that means losing the trust of those closest to him.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Snake Eyes: G. I. Origins is the thrilling adventure of a lifetime and the perfect origin story to such a beloved character. With motorcycles, swords and a mystical gem - you will be a part of an incredible mission.

The movie is a spin-off around the character of Snake Eyes (Henry Golding). Holding onto the trauma of his father being murdered, Snake Eyes is on the hunt for his father's killer. He trains with the Arashikage clan to become a top ninja. Meanwhile, he makes a deal with some unlikely allies to find his dad's murderer.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an action-packed movie and is not to be missed. The fight scenes are incredibly filmed, using long one-take shots to capture the film's actors fighting with swords. The cinematography is iconic, with some night scenes shot with bright neon lights and others with a calming, peaceful, bright light. It's so cool to watch modern-day ninjas on motorcycles fighting one another on the streets. This film is perfect for fans all around the world that enjoy amazing battle sequences, especially for G.I. Joe fans. Familiar faces are shown like the Baroness and Kenta. We also see a teaser for Snake Eyes' most popular villain, which leaves the movie open for a very exciting sequel. The film is a wonderful origin story, telling the tale of Snake Eyes, showing just how he became affiliated with the Joes and where he's off to next, while sprinkling in some major plot twists.

The moral of the story is to trust yourself and always do the right thing. Many times Snake Eyes is tempted to kill his father's killer and throughout the film he learns the meaning of honor - to others and yourself - and makes a surprising choice. He also learns how to find inner peace with many of the things he's done and moves on to the next chapter of his life.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It is available only in theaters July 23, 2021.

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

I like Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins because it has a lot of action. I enjoy watching extreme martial art fight scenes. I like the cool Snake Eyes armor and helmet.

Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is an origin story for the classic animated series, G.I. Joe. Snake Eyes (Henry Golden) is one of the agents that worked for G.I. Joe, otherwise known as Government Issued Joe. He is known for having the arch nemesis Storm Shadow (Andrew Koji). Throughout the movie we see why these two iconic characters have a sworn hatred for each other. Snake Eyes travels to Japan to join a clan that teaches him how to be a ninja warrior. This Japanese clan provides him a home and a family - two things Snake Eyes was longing for. After he learns the Japanese clan's past and his loyalty is tested, is when the fun and extreme action begins.

My favorite part is when Snake Eyes does the second challenge, because of the special effects. The graphics and digital effects are very good. The snakes look so real. The CGI effects of Snake Eyes' outfit are amazing. The costumes are very accurate in terms of showing where the characters are from. The character's outfits are very traditional Japanese clothing, but nothing can top the infamous Snake Eyes costume. The film incorporates subtitles whenever characters speak in Japanese. The subtitles are made to seem like words from a comic book, which is a clever callback to the animated series. The music is really upbeat when there is a lot of action and works for those scenes exceptionally well. Some very talented actors appear in this film, such as one of my favorite actresses from Money Heist, Ursula Corbero who plays Baroness and Samara Weaving who plays Scarlett, also Haruka Abe as Akiko, Tahehiro Hira as Kenta and Iko Uwais as Hard Master.

The moral of this movie is to have a pure heart. Snake Eyes struggles with opening his heart to people. However when he becomes an honest man and pours his heart out, it actually saves his life. Being loyal and having honor is what makes you pure of heart. You should know that there is a lot of violence and strong language, however there isn't any gore, blood or seeing the characters getting injured.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins opens in theatres July 23, 2021.

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

When you're looking for an action movie, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins is the one. It's another good, typical Marvel superhero-action film that doesn't fail to impress you with its intensity and execution.

Snake Eyes (Henry Golding) wants nothing more than to take revenge on the man that killed his father. After a desperate search to find him, he eventually gives up and ends up taking his anger out on others in fistfights. One day, Snake Eyes is met with a man named Kenta (Takehiro Hira) who claims he has the location of his father's killer. They make a deal - the killer's location for a jewel that holds the power of the sun.

Out of all aspects, the graphics exceeded my expectations the most. In one scene, multiple cobra-type gigantic snakes are circling. I wonder if I am the only one that finds this ironic. Honestly, I nearly screamed when the first snake came out with a bang. I thought it was coming at me and was glad this film isn't in 3D! The vivid and exceptional graphics are a major plus for this film. As to the acting, while Henry Golding delivers a strong performance when it comes to action, but it lacks emotion for someone avenging his father's death. Snake Eyes is a very complex character - experiencing desperation, disappointment, hope and many other emotions. However, the character development was a bit confusing at a few points. While there is a scene explaining exactly what happened to him on the night of his father's death, there are bits of background information not shown, leading to a bit of uncertainty in a few places. There are a few sudden changes of events which are unexplained and leave the audience wondering why or how they happened. Because this is primarily an action movie, those aspects do not play a huge part in the viewer's experience and most audiences will see this film for its excitement and thrill.

The message I took away from this is the portrayal of bravery and perseverance. Though the film keeps its profanity and violence under the bar to keep it PG-13, there is one fight scene at the beginning that is pretty brutal and may be uncomfortable for younger kids. There is also some mild profanity that parents should be aware of.

I give Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters July 23, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
AILEY

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AILEY
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AILEY - NEON
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An immersive portrait of dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, told through his own words and a new dance inspired by his life.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The film Ailey opens with a moving speech by American actress Cicely Tyson honoring Alvin Ailey for his lifetime contribution to American culture through the performing arts. Ms. Tyson's speech sets the tone for the film as she states that he is a "choreographer of the heart" and has the "very spirit that has made him a pied piper of modern dance." Through dance he "reveals the meaning of things" and has brought a "whole new public to modern dance."

Ailey is a tribute to Alvin Ailey's life and work and shows his humble beginnings in a rural area of Texas during the Great Depression. His relationship with his mother and his childhood history impacted his outlook and expression in dance as he grew up dancing at house parties in his community. However, Alvin was a rebel and had his own ideas about movement and dance. As a choreographer he sought to create movement in the search for truth.

The film interweaves archival footage with interviews from Ailey American Dance Theatre members sharing their experiences at the dance company and Alvin's impact on dancing through his reenactment of life. Beautiful movement, agility and sensuality are shown throughout the various dance pieces, exploring the search for emotion by dancing with passion, joy and anger, as well as sorrow.

Director Jamila Wignot weaves everything together and highlights how Alvin Ailey's life experiences influenced his choreography and programs. The documentary wouldn't be complete without the amazing work of archival producer Rebecca Kent and her team, as the footage really brings his life story together.

The message of this film is that innovation and passion can affect change and raise peoples' consciousness. The movie, as well as Alvin Ailey's dancing, is a celebration of life.

I give Ailey 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters July 23, 2021 and if you appreciate dance and body movement you won't want to miss Ailey.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

The documentary Ailey redefines the meaning of contemporary dance and the unconventional form created by choreographer Alvin Ailey.

Ailey is a documentary about the life of choreographer Alvin Ailey, known for creating contemporary dance arrangements such as Revelations and The River. With his own narration and testimonials from people who knew him, we learn who he was, what he went through and how he interpreted his life into dances that later became world renowned.

Out of many dance genres, modern dance used to be my least favorite. I found it odd and confusing. That is until I watched the film Ailey. Director Jamlia Wignot takes the documentary into a learning experience not only about Alvin Ailey, but also about the true meaning of interpretive dance. I enjoy the scenes of the modern Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, showing that his legacy still lives on through dance. This film has many scenes that feel like filler when the narrator is speaking and that gets repetitive over time. I love how this film does not require you to have a general knowledge or passion for dance. It allows the audience to create their own feelings and opinions about what dance means to them.

The message of Ailey is to pursue your passion and use your talent to impact others in a meaningful way. This documentary portrays this message with great success.

I give Ailey 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Ailey in theatres July 23, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK

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CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AES 9-18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY

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SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-18
Description - When LeBron James and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.'s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you've never seen them before. It's Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron's bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Space Jam: A New Legacy, the cartoon sequel, brings the whole Looney Tunes gang back to the court, only this time with the reigning king of basketball, Lebron James. This comedy combines live action with animation and is filled with life lessons, funny catch phrases, loads of glitzy digital effects and a glimpse of Warner Bros. cinematic library.

When LeBron James and his son, Dom (Cedric Joe) get mysteriously sucked into the Warner Bros. digital world by a rogue AI super villain (Don Cheadle), nonsense and chaos ensue. Dom is kidnapped and LeBron is challenged to a high-stakes basketball game by the evil AI. Lebron must form the most winning team to get his son back and, a loss could leave him and all those he loves, stuck in the server-verse forever. Lebron and his Looney Tunes pal Bugs Bunny meet up for a wild adventure through the server-verse. Will he win, or be trapped there forever? Watch to find out.

The writing is clever. It is comedic and zany at some points; at others, it is very wholesome and realistic. The animation is outstanding! The movie combines traditional animation with three-dimensional computer graphics and live action. LeBron's cartoon character is spot on. The tour through the server-verse is so enjoyable. Seeing iconic characters like Yogi Bear, Pennywise, Iron Giant and King Kong is every movie junkie's dream! Eric Bauza plays a very important role in this movie as he voices Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Elmer Fudd, Marvin the Martian and Porky Pig. Jeff Bergman is also instrumental in this film as he voices Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Yosemite Sam. Both Eric and Jeff voice their characters so well that it's like listening to the original cartoons! Space Jam: New Legacy also features Don Cheadle, who is the rogue AI AL. G. Rhythm. His villainous role features a wide range of emotion and I give him two thumbs up for his outstanding performance. My favorite character is Granny because she is a good-natured, protective, spunky old woman that has some epic moves.

The messages of this movie are that family is everything and there is power in chasing your dreams. Sometimes, we need some loony things in our life to make it better. There is mild language and a lot of action.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It's a great family movie. Fans of the original will love this, too. This movie releases July 16, 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max.

Space Jam: A New Legacy has everything that a big summer blockbuster should have and more! This revamped version of the original 1996 Space Jam starring Michael Jordan, is the perfect blend of old-school characters from favorite cartoons of the past, seamlessly mixed with updated characters, premier digital animation, trendy music, a modern plotline and current big name stars. This feature film packs in so much good stuff that I almost don't even know where to begin with my review!

The starting line-up includes LeBron James, his son Dom James (Cedric Joe) and Bugs Bunny. The two main characters, Lebron and Bugs, must work together to solve a big problem for the all-star athlete. They need to get Lebron's son Dom back from a diabolical computer-generated villain named Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) and the only way to do it is for LeBron and Bugs to work together to win the most important basketball game of their lives.

The basketball moves on the court are like nothing anyone has ever seen before. One team's players are all Looney Tunes characters from classic Warner Bros cartoons and they play against a squad of elite players from the real world that have been leveled-up by the evil Al-G Rhythm. As expected, Space Jam: A New Legacy is action packed and moves at a quick pace which kept my attention. The music throughout the movie adds energy and tone; the CGI blends animation effortlessly with live action characters and real world settings. The special effects all look so believable and pristine that it is easy for the viewer to get lost inside this cool new world.

In the end, the movie really is just a sweet story about a dad and his son bonding and working through their relationship, which happens at a certain age. It is a touching family film with lessons about the importance of family as well as being true to yourself.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Kids will love the sports and modern look as well as the music. Adults will appreciate the references to the original film and nostalgic cartoon characters from their own childhood. It's the perfect family film. Space Jam: A New Legacy has lots of extras, like new WB merchandise and even its own Xbox video game. It releases in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021

By Izzy C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Space Jam: A New Legacy is an entertaining and funny movie starring LeBron James. It is the sequel to the first Space Jam movie which starred Michael Jordan. This is a creative film with a mix of animation and live action.

The storyline is a fictional one about basketball player, LeBron James and his son Dom (Cedric Joe). LeBron wants his son to play basketball, but his son wants to do different things like creating video games. Dom gets taken by a computer program into the Warner Brothers' animated world. LeBron then has to beat the computer program in a basketball game to get his son back. LeBron assembles a basketball team with Bugs Bunny and a group of Loony Tunes characters.

The plot is unusual and very creative. They use a ton of Warner Bros' Loony Tunes characters throughout the film including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and more. I loved seeing all my favorite classic Looney Tunes characters! Other Warner Bros' characters make guest appearances, including King Kong, Harry Potter, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman. The effects used in this film are absolutely amazing as they flip between live action, to animation, then back to live action. It is so fun to watch. There are parts where I literally laughed out loud such as a funny moment with Bugs Bunny. The acting is funny, dramatic and very realistic. The special effects are great. The imaginary locations are creative. For example, there are scenes with the characters inside a computer. At other times the setting is inside other Warner Bros' movies, like Batman or The Matrix.

The message of this film is that parents and their kids should do activities together and share with each other cool things they've done or made, like a project.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on HBO Max July 16, 2021.

By Conrad W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I like Space Jam: A New Legacy because it has a lot of funny scenes. Plus, I love some of the big actors in this film and the roles they play.

This movie is about Lebron James coaching his son Dom (Cedric Joe) to be a good basketball player. His son would rather play video games, so Lebron tries telling him that he needs to start focusing on the basketball game more. Then, a bad AI named AL G. Rhythm (Don Cheadle) traps them into his digital space and makes them play a game of basketball. They are split up and Lebron James is sent to the tune world where he soon finds Bugs Bunny and asks for help.

My favorite part is how this film brings back so many old characters such as Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn and more. The Looney Tunes remember their first basketball game from the first Space Jam movie and get real excited when one of them finds Michael Jordan from the stands but their excitement goes away quickly in a really funny way. The graphics and digital effects are amazing. I loved how they made cartoon characters real and Lebron into a cartoon character. This is the first time I seen Lebron act in a movie. He looks like he was born to act. The music is very catchy and appealing to each scene, getting better as the scene gets better.

The moral of this movie is not to give up because Lebron and Team Tunes never give up! Another reminder is to have fun. Lebron learns that he was taking basketball too seriously and learns to have fun again.

I give Space Jam: A New Legacy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and HBO Max July 16, 2021!

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BLACK WIDOW

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BLACK WIDOW
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BLACK WIDOW - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy, and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After multiple delays, Marvel Studios finally delivers on their promise to bring forth the new action-packed superhero blockbuster, Black Widow! Black Widow has everything a classic Marvel fan would enjoy, yet is easily understood by viewers with no prior knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Behind all the superhero cowls is fantastic character development. Each character experiences a different emotional journey, finding themselves in an extremely different emotional place compared to the beginning of the film.

Black Widow serves as a prequel to Avengers: Infinity War, shining light on plot lines we had no clue occurred. The film picks up right after the events of Captain America: Civil War where Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is on the run from the U.S. government. When Natasha is attacked by the iconic villain Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), she is led to confront her past. When she learns the Red Room is still functioning (kidnapping and training widows), she must team up with unlikely allies to defeat the organization once and for all.

For comic book junkies there is always a worry that superhero movies will sometimes be a bore, because you already know the story so well. Black Widow abolishes this worry with multiple twists and turns that are new to comic book fans, yet are very respectful to classic superhero origins. When people think of the character Black Widow, they extremely undermine the grittiness of her backstory. Director Cate Shortland is marvelous at mixing in Natasha's dark past to boost her character development and show what drives her day today.

Black Widow is one of the darkest Marvel movies to date. Throughout the film, rough and sensitive topics present themselves such as child trafficking, drug use and suicide. The film also includes multiple curse words and many different instances of intense action. Despite the gloomy tone, the film explores themes of family and reminiscence. Morals are taught to younger viewers demonstrating the message that people can change; you just need to give them a chance.

I give Black Widow 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can stream Black Widow on Disney+ with premiere access or watch it in your local theater on July 9, 2021. Make sure to check it out!

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK

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CINDERELLA STORY, A: STARSTRUCK - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Finley Tremaine, a small town farm girl, longs to spread her wings and soar as an aspiring performer. When a Hollywood film crew arrives in her sleepy town, she is determined to land a role in the production and captures the attention of handsome lead actor, Jackson Stone. Unfortunately, a botched audition forces her to change course. Now, disguised as cowboy "Huck," Finley finally gets her big break. But can she keep the charade a secret from everyone, including her evil stepmother and devious step-siblings?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Do you love Cinderella stories? Are you looking for a brand new, humorous and unique family film that has excellent characters and even better actors? You need to watch A Cinderella Story: Starstruck. It's one of my favorites of 2021 so far, and it's suitable for nearly any audience!

Finley Tremaine (Bailee Madison) is not your average Cinderella and neither is this story. Finley aspires to be a Hollywood star, so when a new action film comes to town, bringing famous actor Jackson Stone (Michael Evans Behling) along with it, she becomes focused on the audition stage. The film spirals into drama as Finley faces a constant inner conflict and tries to be more than one person. Will she keep her secret? The fear of discovery is constant, and she soon realizes that honesty could truly be the best policy, especially when it comes to her dream.

A Cinderella Story: Starstruck checks every box. The cinematography is better than most of what I've seen. The lighting and perspective make the images natural, and they use tons of creative angles. The cinematographers seem to have lots of tricks up their sleeves to make this film look amazing. Settings are chosen with precision; though some do seem a bit extraordinary for a normal town and farm land. However, we constantly see colorful views that leave me in awe. The film is a Cinderella story, but it isn't easily predicted like most new versions are. It's probably the most innovative princess story I've ever seen. The resemblances to the original Cinderella are hard to find, but are there nonetheless. Instead of mice, Finley's support friends are the farm animals. There's a unique addition behind every twist and turn of the plot. One of the best touches that I like is including a stepbrother, Kale (Richard Harmon), along with the traditional stepsister, Saffron (Lillian Doucet- Roche). These two siblings argue a lot; another different aspect between this version and the original. The stepmother, Valerian (April Telek), is as unbearable as always, though she's still a great character. Lastly, the acting is truly magnificent. It doesn't feel like acting. The actors seem to have real bonding, which is special. Richard Harmon as Kale, Bailee Madison as Finley and Michael Evans Behling as Jackson give some of the best performances. Kale is a difficult character to play, as there aren't really similar characters in other Cinderella stories. Richard Harmon pulls off the role with astounding ability, setting a great example for any future step brothers.

The message of A Cinderella Story: Starstruck is to follow your dream. Parents should be aware that there is some mild language and action.

I give A Cinderella Story: Starstruck 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. It releases on digitally June 29, 2021 and on DVD July 12, 2021, so don't miss it!

Reviewed by Kyla C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


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SUMMER OF SOUL

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SUMMER OF SOUL - FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is a feature documentary about the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival which celebrated African American music and culture, and promoted Black pride and unity.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - What do you know about the Harlem Culture Festival? This beautiful event that created so much love and togetherness has rarely been seen or discussed in mainstream media, until now. Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) tells the beautiful story of this life-changing festival, and what it meant for the civil rights movement. This documentary offers an eye-opening perspective of the times that motivated the festival and its incredible outcome.

Summer of Soul talks about the importance of the Harlem Culture Festival, and what it meant to the people of color at that time. There are many interviews with people that discuss how this event impacted their lives and gave them a sense of unity during those trying times. We also are fortunate enough to see live, unseen performances from such icons as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, B.B. King and more.

What impressed me the most is that this happened in the same year as Woodstock. I grew up hearing a lot about the Woodstock Festival, but until I saw this movie, I had never heard of the Harlem Culture Festival. This shows just how divided our country was at that time, and how unfortunate it is that more people don't know about this beautiful event. I learned so much from this movie, especially about different aspects of the civil rights movement. It features videos showing the riots that occurred over justice and equality. Sadly, these riots still happen today for similar reasons. I especially appreciate that this documentary doesn't only show the fun parts of the Harlem Culture Festival, but these various socio-political aspects of times. The director, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, shows us the beauty of the event, plus the reason behind it.

The message of this film is: when you have to fight back, fight with love and creativity. People will always bring each other down, but if we can just help one person to know their worth, then we are doing good. That is something we could all hear more often.

I give Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Couldn't Be Televised) 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 10 to 17, plus adults. Releasing in theaters July 2, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WOLFGANG

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WOLFGANG
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WOLFGANG - DISNEY+
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - An intimate portrait of the life and work of the original "celebrity chef," Wolfgang Puck.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Wolfgang, a documentary film directed and produced by David Gelb (Chef's Table: France and Chef's Table BBQ), follows the life and career of Chef Wolfgang Puck. This film highlights Wolfgang's childhood trauma - how it affected him as a young boy who aspired to become a great chef; how he became arguably one of the best chefs in the world; the process of opening numerous dining spots; how fame and success affected him and his family.

The opening minutes follow Wolfgang greeting a farm owner, a close friend of his, as he cuts fresh fruits and rides through the corn field. This scene is important because it allows viewers to see how active Puck really is - daily - even when he is not at work. He enjoys visiting the farm to pick and choose fresh fruits and vegetables. Wolfgang even justifies how involved he is, stating, "At my age, I should probably slow down, and take it easy, but it's quite the opposite."

This film also includes statements from friends, family, former colleagues and current workers of Wolfgang Puck Worldwide, Inc. throughout the film. Nancy Silverton, a pastry chef who worked at Spago (1982-85) (one of Wolfgang's many restaurants) states, "Wolfgang, without a doubt, was the first celebrity chef. He had so many restaurants, and so many different types of restaurants, all the products that he has on the shelves. I can't even keep up with him anymore to tell you the truth." This film shows Wolfgang cooking alongside his young cooks, watching over them and mentoring them. Evan Funke, a cook who worked at Spago (2000-06) states, "The biggest misconception about Wolf is that he is just a celebrity chef and can't cook, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The Mount Rushmore of California cuisine; Wolf's right there, in the middle. He's the founding father of the way we eat in this country."

This film also focuses on the uprising of Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant, Spago. Ruth Reichil, a food writer stating, "When wolf opened Spago, he changed the way Americans eat, even including pizza on the menu. Who knew pizza can be fancy?!" This leads me to my favorite part in the film, which is about the fancy pizza. Wolfgang shares the story of how he created his legendary smoked salmon and caviar pizza, unpredicted. It all started one night when it was extremely busy at Spago and suddenly Joan Collins (English actress), the biggest star on television at the time comes in. They had run out of an important ingredient that was needed to create the dish Joan Collins regularly ordered. They also ran out of baguettes or any other bread. Wolfgang got to work and started spreading out pizza dough, added some finely chopped onions, and baked it for a few minutes. Then, he put some milk cream on it, added some smoked salmon thinly cut, a few dollops of caviar, and served it to Joan. Wow! He truly is an incredible chef to come up with such a delicious pizza, out of nowhere. The most interesting part of this pizza is, it has no cheese, nor tomato sauce. This film also shares stories, from the perspective of Wolfgang, as well as his sister, as he visits his hometown of Sankt Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria. He shared the unfortunate events he experiences with his stepfather; how he endured years of verbal abuse and being shut down daily as a young child; and how he overcame that.

The message I took away from this film is to never give up and stay committed. No matter your circumstances or where you came from, never give up on yourself. Wolfgang grew up extremely poor, but never let that define him or influence his courage to make his dream come true.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. It releases June 25, 2021, by Disney+.

By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

The documentary Wolfgang talks about how food is family and food is love. This film depicts the culinary development of Chef Wolfgang Puck and I was delighted to learn more about his upbringing and journey to become the chef and businessman that he is. Wolfgang is celebrated in my home every day as I use his cookware and my family incorporates cooking tips that my mom learned from watching him on various television shows. He made her feel more comfortable in the kitchen and in trying new concepts with his easy style and engaging personality, which have also influenced my love of cooking.

The film starts showing Wolfgang's early family life and the reasons behind his joy in the kitchen and love of cooking. We follow Wolfgang's culinary training until he becomes the first "celebrity chef" and really defines "California Cuisine," putting the gardens of California on a plate. After all, as Wolfgang says, "The right ingredients make all the difference." His incredible work ethic had leads to great monetary rewards, but at the expense of disrupting his family life. At the end of the documentary, as he looks back on his life, it seems that he has now found the right balance in his personal life as well as in the kitchen.

The documentary is an emotional journey guided by Director David Gelb. I love the beautiful cinematography and the use of archival footage. Brian McGinn's script makes you really feel that the movie is in Wolfgang's voice as he discovers that his purpose in life has been to make people happy through food as a conduit to love. The interviews throughout the film are meaningful and highlight the importance that Wolfgang Puck has made on the food industry.

There are so many important messages in this film such as following Wolfgang's work ethic and how it's important to believe in yourself and not be afraid to take chances. Giving up is not an option if you want to pursue your dreams, as nothing comes easy. Wolfgang says a lot of inspiring things in this film; his sentiment I love most is that "the grass is greener where it's watered the most." Where to put in the effort applies to life as well as to your garden.

I give Wolfgang 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The documentary will be available on Disney+ June 25, 2021 so don't miss this inspiring story.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

I really like the new documentary Wolfgang because it's a fascinating, intimate film about world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck. It taught me a lot about the food industry, and how much it could impact someone's life.

This documentary starts off telling Wolfgang Puck's life story. We learn about his culture as well as his family life. As the film goes on, we see his struggles, as well as successes, throughout his life. Wolfgang Puck is an extremely hardworking, determined person, and uses his childhood trauma as a way to never give up, and to keep going. Although he makes many mistakes, we learn that he is just a normal person like everyone else. And, Puck learns from his mistakes, and becomes a better person in the end.

I enjoy that this film shows us the raw aspects of Wolfgang's life. There aren't a lot of production and special effects. Instead, everything is very real, and you can get a strong sense into what his life truly is like. Another thing that works very well is how they incorporate many videos from his past. This gives the audience a deeper look at how he works, and the type of person he is. It also contributes to the authenticity of the film. Lastly the interviews with important people in his life are a great addition to the whole documentary, telling Wolfgang's story from other perspectives.

The message of this documentary film is to never give up on yourself, and your dreams. This film does deal with a sensitive topic - suicide.

I give Wolfgang 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. You can watch Wolfgang starting June 25, 2021 on Disney+.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN

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WHO ARE YOU, CHARLIE BROWN - APPLE TV
Series: TV SERIES, 9-18
Description - Follows interviews with friends, family and more of the iconic comic strip to create a portrait of the late Peanuts creator.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A deeper look into an integral part of American childhood, Who Are You, Charlie Brown? provides viewers with a blast from the past and some intriguing background information about the creation and nuances of the Peanuts comic universe.< p>Packaged in documentary format, the show centers on Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts, and his life. Using animated vignettes from Charlie Brown, the viewer learns how Schulz's childhood and many parts of his own life plus the lives of those near and dear to him influenced several prominent characters and motifs in the award-winning Peanuts series. Some examples include the Little Red-Haired Girl, Franklin Armstrong, Lucy and Pig-Pen. Interviews with Schulz's widow, his close acquaintances, famous viewers and the people who brought Charlie Brown to life on-screen help paint an enthralling picture of the pensive and talented Schulz, as well as the context and subtext behind his legendary series.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? is exactly what a biopic should be. Its length of about 50 minutes is perfect; its storytelling seamless; its animation immaculate. The interviews with people such as Drew Barrymore, a longtime Peanuts lover, and the archival footage and voiceovers of Mr. Schulz himself add great depth and emotion to the film. The sequence with Mr. Schulz, in his last days whilst battling cancer, describes his reaction to the overwhelming love he received for the Charlie Brown cartoons and will certainly make you tear up a bit.

Who Are You, Charlie Brown? has a clear mission - to answer the question posed in its title. This it does with efficiency, thoroughness and liveliness. However, a deeper message is posed in the framing of Schulz as a man who takes inspiration from both high points and low points in his life when creating art. For artists and non-artists, channeling elements of your life, whether happy or sad, positive or negative, to add poignant emotions to your work is an immensely powerful tool.

I give Who Are You, Charlie Brown? 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. Who Are You, Charlie Brown? debuts globally Friday, June 25 on Apple TV+. Check it out!

Reviewed by Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
Juror Recommended Age: 9-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN

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ROADRUNNER: A FILM ABOUT ANTHONY BOURDAIN - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - It's not where you go. It's what you leave behind.... Chef, writer, adventurer, provocateur: Anthony Bourdain lived his life unabashedly. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon. From Academy Award�-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom, Won't You Be My Neighbor?), this unflinching look at Bourdain reverberates with his presence, in his own voice and in the way he indelibly impacted the world around him.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain offers an incisive look into the life and times of an enigma who raced through life with ferocity, grit, and a truly remarkable nonchalant attitude. A tale of a man who continued to barrel through life like a steam locomotive, picking up emotional baggage, shattering relationships, and joking about darkness all along the way. A great story of one of the greatest raconteurs whose story ended too quickly. This is Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

Renowned chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain seduced New Yorkers' stomachs years before he enraptured audiences with shows like A Cook's Tour, No Reservations, and of course, the famous Parts Unknown. And even before his culinary career, Bourdain hit one of the lowest lows of his life, with a destructive heroin and cocaine addiction that he attributes to a visceral, angry response to the love and affection of his parents. Roadrunner largely summarizes Tony Bourdain's adolescence, skipping to the publication of his bestselling memoir Kitchen Confidential which first launched him overnight into the show-biz. The film chronicles Bourdain and his crew's adventures, getting caught up in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in Beirut, eating exotic items in the far reaches of East Asia, and making deep and long-lasting friendships all along the way. Bourdain forsook his home life for these travels. The film also documents the later chapter of Anthony Bourdain's life, wherein he was betrayed by love, struggled to cope with his emotions, his agoraphobia, and his growing sense of insecurity about fatherhood. And in a heart wrenching sequence, the film documents Bourdain's suicide and the responses of his loved ones to this event.

It's an incredible film, a journalistic undertaking by award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville that won my heart. The magical voice of Bourdain guides the film. Scenes from his shows, archival footage, Bourdain's Instagram stories, and interviews with his close circle of friends and family, including his second wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain and his friend Chef Eric Ripert, are tied together to tell an enchanting story that genuinely is not depressing or dark. To paraphrase Busia-Bourdain's quote in the film, Anthony Bourdain was more than the acts he committed near the end of his 61 years of life, and much like him, Roadrunner brings much light into the viewers' hearts. The editing and musical score, especially the careful inclusion of the title song from the 1970 film "Violent City," about a man who takes revenge on his unfaithful lover, help move the story forward and provide a deeper meaning to an already superb film.

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a reminder to all of us that we have someone we can reach out to, we have a reason to live, we have a reason to enjoy every moment of our lives, and we have a reason to be the best version of ourselves. Given Bourdain's colorful personality, one wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is cursing throughout the film, and mentions of suicide and taking drugs also pop up over the course of the 2-hour piece.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11, 2021. It is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021, by Focus Features, after which it will air on CNN and HBO Max on an unspecified date.

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

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain is a personal, honest--albeit loving--look at and into the life of Anthony Bourdain and all the various detours it took. This documentary charts his journey from chef to writer to acclaimed TV host, as told by his closest friends, the people he worked with, and his family.

After an opening credits sequence that runs through the years leading up to Bourdain's career as a chef, Roadrunner begins its sprint in 1999 after he's secured a deal to write a book about his experiences in the restaurant world, Kitchen Confidential, the New York Times bestseller that would put Bourdain on the talk show circuit, and kickstart his ascent towards celebrity. In preparation for writing his second memoir, A Chef's Tour, he was approached by TV producers who pitched an ongoing series in tandem with the upcoming book, thus forming a partnership that would spawn multiple shows, win several Emmys and begin Bourdain's long tenure on television screens and secure his status as a world-famous traveler.

This film is a challenge on many levels. For starters, Bourdain's suicide is still a recent event in the public eye, and, I'm certain, a fresh wound for those who knew him. It's difficult to watch a feature-length story of someone's whole life, knowing that it's going to end so inevitably, suddenly, and sadly; however, Roadrunner succeeds by showing us Bourdain in his totality which balances the sadness of his inevitable end. And yet, audiences may find it unavoidable to wonder who he really was, along with his loved ones striving to answer the question: Who was Anthony Bourdain off-screen?

Roadrunner mirrors Bourdain's own frequent departures from home and journeys to parts unknown, taking us back and forth from his television world and his home life with his daughter. We see a conversation between Bourdain and a friend, where they discuss the paradox of wanting to return home when they're away, but immediately wanting to get back on the road when they get home. This tragic conversation gets right to the heart of the movie's title, Roadrunner, and just how reflective it was of Bourdain's own everyday life.

After a TV episode goes awry, Bourdain talks about his faltering belief in the power of the table at which we eat and share, yet Roadrunner becomes a testament to that power. Nearly every interview in the film is organized across a table, where deeply personal details and anecdotes from those who knew Bourdain are exchanged. Director Neville operates with a wealth of outtakes from his TV shows and all the excess footage of Bourdain's 20 years on screen, but it's these genuine moments with Bourdain's tribe that cut the deepest.

I give Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults, for mild language and strong themes throughout. Roadrunner lands in theaters on July 16, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TOMORROW WAR, THE

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TOMORROW WAR, THE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In the thrilling science-fiction action adventure The Tomorrow War, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight. Among those recruited is high school teacher and family man Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Determined to save the world for his young daughter, Dan teams up with a brilliant military scientist (Yvonne Strahovski) and his estranged father (J.K. Simmons) in a desperate quest to rewrite the fate of the planet.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Tomorrow War is here kicking alien butt, and kicking off the summer movie season with two hours of straight action, complete with a beautifully composed soundtrack. This is a solid sci-fi action film with a fantastic soundtrack. It possesses generic family origins that can be seen in practically any other film and has plenty of gory moments with mild cursing.

The Tomorrow War follows an aspiring scientist/father, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) as his life changes forever. Dan, along with the entire world, learns of a war being fought 30 years in the future. When more people are needed for this future war, a worldwide draft is put in place to send recruits 30 years into the future to fight. Dan is drafted into the war, and must fight to save not only his own life, but the lives of the ones he loves the most.

Chris Pratt continues to prove himself worthy of a wide variety of roles, yet is driven by clich� themes seen in countless other films. The nonstop action is interspersed throughout the film with certain comedic moments to lighten the mood from the major intensity this film brings. Some CGI and effects are mind-blowing initially, but the film reuses them over and over again to the point where it becomes repetitive and the details lose their importance. The soundtrack in The Tomorrow War is exquisite. It embodies the dark and gritty tone of the film perfectly, adding an intense layer pleasing to the ears. The film uses a lot of repetitive techniques that are extremely noticeable. Specifically, slow motion. It's used in tons of unnecessary scenes, really disrupting the proper flow of the film; making it seem bulky in some parts.

The film teaches the moral that relationships can be repaired, and family is forever. The Tomorrow War is rated PG-13 for good reasons. Over the course of the film, many instances of disturbing action are shown along with mild cursing. The action at times can be very gory, which may be a sensitive issue to younger viewers. Sensitive, mature topics present themselves throughout the film, such as family abandonment. At the same time, larger themes like love and kin are shown.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Tomorrow War streaming on Amazon Prime Video beginning July 2, 2021.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Tomorrow War is a sci-fi action film with a substantial storyline, as much of the movie takes place 30 years in the future. Films like this that give more backstory about the main character and their life - including family, friends and work always catch my attention. They make me feel as if I really know the character and what motivated them to overcome the obstacles thrown at them.

The Tomorrow War is about a veteran and now biology teacher, Dan Forester (Chris Pratt). Dan, along with others, gets drafted to fight aliens. We quickly learn the war takes place 30 years in the future. The fate of humanity relies on Dan's ability to confront his past and face his present, while fighting in a future war. With the help of his wife, Lilly Gamble (Betty Gilpin) and his daughter Muri (Yvonne Strahovski) and his dad Slade (J.K. Simmons), Dan has a chance to save millions of lives by stopping the future attack from happening.

The Tomorrow War has some strong character development, letting us learn more about Dan by looking at his relationship with his mother, his father, his wife and his daughter. We see how this fuels other important relationships for him. Dan and his daughter's relationship is similar to that of Dan's with his dad. We can see why he tries so hard to be a good dad, especially in his willingness to be weird and silly with her. Unlike some films where spouses have a supporting role, but don't really help with the plot, Dan's wife is smart and integral in figuring out something huge regarding the aliens. Even though much of the film is serious, Chris Pratt's ability to be sarcastically humorous provides some comic relief. There is also some superior level CGI when bringing the aliens to life. That, together with the strong action sequences makes for a good sci-fi, action movie.

The message of the film is about fighting for the people you love. Also, there is the reminder to not forget to let them know you do love them and don't be too proud to explain the reasons for your actions. There's always a second chance and that chance is always worth fighting for.

The Tomorrow War gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It releases on July 2, 2021 on Amazon Prime Video.

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

The Tomorrow War is an action-packed film with everything you can possibly want! Set in the future, with fight sequences, aliens and the world at risk, it'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Get ready for the ride of your life.

This tale begins when beings travel to the present from 28 years in the future and chaos erupts. They are fighting a war against aliens and are losing terribly, so they decide to recruit humans from 2022. Family man Dan (Chris Pratt) is drafted and heads to the year 2050 for the fight of his life. Dan works with scientist Vicki (Yvonne Strahovski) and his father Slade (J.K. Simmons) to save the world.

It is impossible to ignore the chemistry between the actors and their characters. Watching Chris bond with Yvonne is like watching a real father and daughter who are together and yet worlds apart. Vicki's heart wrenching monologue serves as the perfect motivator for Dan. We see his priorities shift from saving the world to saving his daughter, being sure to prevent the war from ever happening when he gets back to his present time. However, The Tomorrow War misses out on a huge opportunity - weaponry. It's hard not to notice the lack of creativity in the weapons used. In 28 years, there have been no upgrades in guns, armament or modes of military transportation; the same 2021 style shotguns and AKs are used in 2050?!. How fun it would have been to see Chris Pratt with futuristic swords or armor. Another missed opportunity is the aliens' appearance. They vaguely remind any Stranger Things viewer of the infamous Demogorgon, with its Venus Fly Trap face. I was hoping to see terrifying beasts that can't be found anywhere else.

The moral of this film is to never take anything for granted. As Dan returns home, he realizes just how important family is and the need to enjoy his time with them, instead of being so caught up in getting a job. He notices how his future self has failed his wife and daughter and vows to never make the same mistakes.

I give The Tomorrow War 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It begins streaming on Amazon Prime July 2, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE

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BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS, THE - DREAMWORKS - LA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Now adults, Theodore Templeton and his estranged brother take a magical formula that transforms them into babies for 48 hours. Together, they must now go under cover to prevent an evil genius from turning fellow toddlers intro monstrous brats.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The boss is back baby! The Boss Baby: The Family Business brings back the Templetons from the original movie, The Boss Baby, also created and directed by Tom McGrath. This movie brings the same energy, hilarious animation, fight scenes and secret missions we've come to love with The Boss Baby Franchise.

In this sequel, the Templeton brothers, Tim (James Marsden) and Theodore "Ted" (Alec Baldwin) are back as adults and have drifted away from each other over the years. We meet Tim's family, including his new toddler daughter, Tina (Amy Sedaris), who is now the new Boss Baby and is on a mission from Baby Corp. to bring them together. This launches a new family business.

The main characters are Tim's wife, Carol (Eva Longoria), daughters, Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina, and, of course, his brother, Mr. Boss Baby himself, Ted. While the film has a lot of references to the first film, you can easily follow along in this sequel. Most of all the original main characters are back, and we even get a visit from Tim and Ted's parents. I really enjoyed that Tom McGrath stays true to the original concept, but adds a new storyline. One of my favorite scenes is when another baby group, "The Ninja Babies" are chasing Ted. He initially thinks they are cute until they start attacking him. It is pretty funny watching Ted run around screaming. Alec Baldwin nails Ted's sound effects. Even Amy Sedaris's squealing as Tina is hilarious and she actually uses this squeal in real life to get people's attention.

The message of this film is that it is important to focus on what matters most - love and family. Over the years, Ted always put his job and money ahead of his family, but realizes that he will always be lonely if he doesn't prioritize things. Parents should look out for bad habits some of the babies show and words that sound similar to profanity.

The Boss Baby: The Family Business is the perfect movie for families to bond over this summer. I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. The Boss Baby: The Family Business launches July 2, 2021 in theaters and on Peacock.

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

The new film The Boss Baby: Family business is a very interactive movie and animated sequel. I absolutely loved it. Directed by Tom McGrath and Sean Mullen, it is completely entertaining, exciting, very humorous and fun to watch. As I watched the movie, I could not stop laughing.

The Boss Baby: Family Business is the official continuation of the original film, Boss Baby, about a wannabe executive baby named Theodore Templeton (Alec Baldwin). Now both Ted and his older brother, Tim (James Marsden) are adults and they've grown apart. When Uncle Ted drops in for a visit, he learns that his niece, Tina (Amy Sedaris) has the same business-minded, mini-manager drive and spirit as her uncle. Tina gets Tim and Ted to experiment with a new technology that reverts them back to babies for 48 hours. This is when all the excitement starts; the mission reunites the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, and leads them to re-evaluate what the true meaning of family is as they are reminded what truly matters in life.

My favourite characters are Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt) and Tina (Amy Sedaris). Ariana Greenblatt plays Tabitha as an intelligent and bright young girl at the top of her class, who is scared to sing in front of a crowd, because she doesn't want to make a mistake and wants to make her dad proud. When I watched that part of the movie, I wanted to tear up, because it is such a beautiful moment when she sings and gets over her fears. Amy Sedaris's Tina takes matters into her own hands and acts like the Boss Baby she is, restoring the bond between her dad and uncle. My favourite scene is when the Templeton brothers are stuck in a situation and say, "It's lonely at the top; just because you grow up does not mean you grow apart."

The message of this movie is that there is nothing more important than the love of your family and the bond between them; having a family that loves you brings a person such comfort and peace, and helps them to become more confident.

I give Boss Baby: Family business 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This film releases in theatres Friday, July 2, 2021. Save the date!

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LONELIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52, THE

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LONELIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52, THE - BLEECKER STREET MEDIA
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a feature length documentary that will take audiences on a journey to find the forgotten "52 Hertz Whale." Calling out at 52 Hz, a frequency unrecognized by other whales, this mysterious creature is believed to have lived its life in complete solitude, its calls forever unanswered by its own kind. In our ever-present fascination with these majestic beasts, the tale of "52" has prompted an intense reaction amongst our own species, pointing to a greater awareness of human loneliness than ever before.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The riveting documentary The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52, by Joshua Zeman, brings us closer to our deep connection with animals. From the very first moment of the film, the beauty of the underwater world and the majesty of whales hooks the viewer in. The story is filled with hope and disappointment; it evokes emotion at every twist and turn. Anyone who watches the film immediately sympathizes with the 52 Hertz Whale.

The call of the 52 Hertz Whale was first detected during the Cold War. At first, the noise was thought to come from a Russian submarine, but later it was discovered to be a whale. Scientists had never heard whale sounds with that frequency before and one scientist, Bill Watkins, began to search for it. After the death of Bill Watkins a group of scientists decided to set out on a seven day expedition in search of 52. The film follows the ups and downs of their adventure, with no guarantee of success. Will they find the 52 Hertz Whale? The ending might not be what you expect.

This film features the world's biggest experts in marine biology and whales. Each of these scientists has their own expertise and, when they work together, they create the perfect team to find 52. They communicate so well that, without even knowing it, I was learning about anatomy, whale communication, and important patterns in science. The music brings everything together, creating a dramatic and sentimental effect. The whale sounds are haunting and touched me deeply. My favorite parts of this film are the majestic underwater scenes. By placing suction cup cameras onto the whales and using underwater drones, the filmmakers were able to record whale movements and interactions in all their beauty.

This message of this film is that humans and animals are connected in more ways than we can ever imagine. We don't need a common language to communicate. We are connected by nature and emotion. We learn that severe noise pollution from shipping containers and oil drilling disrupts their ability to understand each other. The story makes me want to buy locally and think of ways to protect the safety of whale habitats. There is occasional use of profanity, but there are no offensive or degrading words. While some of the expeditions are risky, it is unlikely that kids would imitate them.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. It is a must-see film. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Adults will absolutely love this film as well. The film releases in theaters July 9, 2021 and on digital on July 16, 2021.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Passionate researchers and an adventurous search for a mysterious singing whale is just what you'll get in The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52! This documentary takes you on a journey through the Pacific Ocean while delivering a touching and thrilling story about connections between marine life and humans.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a documentary about a whale, nicknamed 52 or "the loneliest whale" that had never been seen, but known to exist by the unique song he sings at 52 Hertz. Originally thought to be the sound of a submarine, scientists later learned the sound came from a whale. This documentary follows a team of scientists on their journey searching for the 52 Hertz whale, and the challenges in finding it.

Created, produced and directed by Joshua Zeman The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is very interesting and educational. My favorite part was seeing how Mr. Zeman and the researchers were able to put tracking devices on the whales. It seemed very challenging and astonishing at the same time. They used advanced equipment to accomplish that, such as the SOSUS, which is used by the military to track the sounds of submarines. The film shows how whales sing to connect with other whales. However, when it comes to 52, his song is different, which might not enable him to communicate with others; hence is believed to be lonely.

One of the biggest lessons in this documentary is that humans should pay attention to how everything is connected. Even if we don't speak the same language, there are always ways to connect and communicate with other living species. The film also touches on how humans can help whales by reducing noise pollution from things such as off-shore drilling, which really interferes with how whales communicate with each other. Parents should be aware that there are scenes showing people harming whales.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find this film in theaters and on demand starting July 9, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
F9: THE FAST SAGA

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F9: THE FAST SAGA - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom's younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - After waiting for four years, the adventurous Fast and Furious series continues in the nail-biting thriller, F9: The Fast Saga. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire film, and held my attention to the end. Full of action, charge and intensity, this is a movie you do not want to miss.

Starting where the series left off, F9: The Fast Saga starts with a scene showing Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) living a quiet life with their son. However, this does not last for long. The villain they last encountered in The Fate of the Fast and Furious, Cipher (Charlize Theron), is still out there, and now seemingly helping Dominic's younger brother Jakub (John Cena) who shares the Toretto name, but not the same morals. Jakub is out to gain what he never had: a life where he isn't in someone's shadow. The crew sets out to stop him and do what they do best - save the world. This movie creates a new standard on what it truly means to have courage and be a hero.

F9: The Fast Saga pulses with action from the very start. We only get about ten minutes before the pace picks up, and Dominic is off to start another mission. Even though the action is entertaining, it definitely is not realistic. There are multiple scenes where characters should have died, or at least been seriously injured and aren't. One example is the scene where Dominic and Letty are flying around the edge of a cliff with just a skinny cable keeping them from falling. I understand that the point of action movies is to push the limits of reality, but as Roman (Tyrese Gibson) points out in the movie - none of the crew ever dies or even gets hurt, even after multiple shots have been fired at them. Other than that, I enjoyed this movie. I love the friendships between the characters, especially between Roman and Tej (Ludacris) who have a hilarious, almost brotherly, friendship. They make fun of each other and deliver most of the one liners throughout the film.

The message of this film is to have trust in your friends and family, because even when things are hard, they will have your back. It's always good to have people to lean on, especially when you're saving the world.

I give F9: The Fast Saga 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 17 plus adults. It releases in theatres June 25, 2021.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I like F9: The Fast Saga because it has a lot of action, explosions and fantastic scenes.

In this installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, Dom (Vin Diesel) and his friends go up against his biggest adversary, his own brother Jacob (John Cena) in order to stop a plot to control the world. We get a look into the two brothers' past together and learn a little bit about their history racing cars.

This movie has tons of action sequences with racing stunts never before seen. The characters do things with their cars that are out of this world, like for example, flying a car to space. How crazy is that? This film is packed with so many good actors such as Vin Diesel, John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Charlize Theron, Ludacris, Helen Mirren, Michael Rooker and special guests, Cardie B, Bad Bunny and Bow Wow. My favorite is Tyrese Gibson who adds so many comical scenes to this movie. The graphics are amazing. The cars are super expensive sports cars and supercharged muscle cars. The film takes place in different places all over the world.

The moral of F9: The Fast Saga is that family is everything. Siblings can become rivals, but blood is thicker than water. Be warned that this film contains harsh language and violence.

I'd give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 13 to 18 plus adults. It opens in theaters June 25, 2021.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
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
POPS IS TOPS
POPS IS TOPS - JAKE BLASINI
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-12
Description - A musical journey through the home of Louis Armstrong.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Pops is Tops gives insight into the life of Louis Armstrong, with many details that I didn't know. It is appealing because of the music imbedded and how it uses music to tell Louis' story.

This documentary covers the journey of the great musician Louis Armstrong, including his childhood and teen years. The film talks about how Louis learned to play the cornet when he was in a boy's home and that formed his love of music. We see how Louis motivated the musicians that made this film along with learning about his beginnings and what motivated him to achieve what he did.

I like how music is used to tell Louis' story. I also like hearing the story of a person with some issues earlier in life, overcoming it and becoming successful. It's a beat-the-odds story. The close-ups of the musicians and singers definitely caught my attention. I loved seeing their facial gestures and body movements and how the music really takes them over. The sets and locations are places Louis Armstrong had been, including the house he lived in. It was a little crowded, but it was his family home, not a place used for a full band to play. The music drives the film because it is used to tell Louis' story. He was a great musician, so it makes sense to use music to discuss his life and how he inspires musicians still to this day. The characters play themselves. They are mostly jazz musicians. They stand out because they are bringing the music and story we are learning about to life. Alita Moses and Alphonso Horne stand out the most. Alphonso plays the trumpet, like Louis, and Alita is a vocalist. They are key influencers. Not only does this film tell us about Louis Armstrong, it also teaches us about African American history by showing us a successful African American musician. The film made me want to know more about other jazz musicians and what inspired them and what artists have emulated him in their music. My favorite part was seeing the whole band playing and singing in Armstrong' old house, which is now a museum.

The message of this film is to show us how a legend like Louis Armstrong still inspires musicians today. Jazz music is infused in many other forms of music and music can change someone's life.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This would make a wonderful documentary to screen at KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals, especially to middle school student who are beginning to play music and really learn what they like and don't like musically. It would be a good time to let them know more about jazz and Louis who brought jazz to the public. Reviewed by Ayden P., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Pops is Tops gives insight into the life of Louis Armstrong, with many details that I didn't know. It is appealing because of the music imbedded and how it uses music to tell Louis' story.

This documentary covers the journey of the great musician Louis Armstrong, including his childhood and teen years. The film talks about how Louis learned to play the cornet when he was in a boy's home and that formed his love of music. We see how Louis motivated the musicians that made this film along with learning about his beginnings and what motivated him to achieve what he did.

I like how music is used to tell Louis' story. I also like hearing the story of a person with some issues earlier in life, overcoming it and becoming successful. It's a beat-the-odds story. The close-ups of the musicians and singers definitely caught my attention. I loved seeing their facial gestures and body movements and how the music really takes them over. The sets and locations are places Louis Armstrong had been, including the house he lived in. It was a little crowded, but it was his family home, not a place used for a full band to play. The music drives the film because it is used to tell Louis' story. He was a great musician, so it makes sense to use music to discuss his life and how he inspires musicians still to this day. The characters play themselves. They are mostly jazz musicians. They stand out because they are bringing the music and story we are learning about to life. Alita Moses and Alphonso Horne stand out the most. Alphonso plays the trumpet, like Louis, and Alita is a vocalist. They are key influencers. Not only does this film tell us about Louis Armstrong, it also teaches us about African American history by showing us a successful African American musician. The film made me want to know more about other jazz musicians and what inspired them and what artists have emulated him in their music. My favorite part was seeing the whole band playing and singing in Armstrong' old house, which is now a museum.

The message of this film is to show us how a legend like Louis Armstrong still inspires musicians today. Jazz music is infused in many other forms of music and music can change someone's life.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This would make a wonderful documentary to screen at KIDS FIRST! Film Festivals, especially to middle school student who are beginning to play music and really learn what they like and don't like musically. It would be a good time to let them know more about jazz and Louis who brought jazz to the public. Reviewed by Ayden P., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 8 Media:



This title is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
MARA PAPPA SUPERHERO (MY FATHER SUPERHERO)
MARA PAPPA SUPERHERO (MY FATHER SUPERHERO) - DARSHAN TRIVEDI
Series: FOREIGN FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Mara Pappa Superhero (My Father Superhero) is about a 9-year-old girl's struggle to establish that her father is a superhero. The film revolves around slum dweller Kanku, whose parents are street vendors. Kanku would stay with her uncle, while her parents would go to work. The uncle works in a villa as a create taker. Kanku is friends with the owner's daughter, 12 years old Kiara. Kiara is a cartoon fan and she loves watching Superhero cartoons on TV channels. On one such day, when Kanku comes to play with Kiara; Kiara tells her how much she loves Superheroes and that her father is a superhero. This thought strikes the mind of Kanku.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - In Mara Pappa Superhero (My Father Superhero) The energetic 9-year-old girl, Kanku, captures our hearts with her joy of life and love for her father. We go with her on her journey of struggle to prove that her father is a superhero. Her personality is captivating, not only in her quest to convince her dad that he is her superhero, but also in her caring and empathy for her friend Jamburo, who was abandoned by his parents and made fun of at times by the other kids in town. The relationship she has with her mother can sometimes be tense, and the relationship with her friend Kiara who introduces her to superheroes, can be competitive. Kids in viewing this film will relate to Kanku's experiences.

Kanku is a young girl from the poor side of Ahmedabad, India, whose parents work and drop her off each day at a villa where her uncle works and where she has a friend, Kiara, who she spends time with. Kanku loves plants and gardens and prefers to spend her time outside tending to nature while Kiara is taken with a superhero TV show. Kiara gets Kanku to watch with her and she becomes interested in the idea that her father is superhero, just as Kiara explains that her father is a superhero to her. From there, we follow Kanku's willfulness to convince her father that he is her superhero.

I like the feistiness of Kanku and her determination to win over her father as superhero. However, as much as she had a closeness and love for her dad, her mom sometimes is shown in a very negative light. The portrayal of Kanku as Daddy's girl, to the exclusion of her mom seems a bit harsh. Also, when her parents laugh at her when they are introduced to the concept of superhero through photographs, it is disappointing that they aren't more understanding of her enthusiasm. Her act of jumping off the terrace of the villa in the hopes that her father rescues her raises concern of kids viewing this act and putting the idea into their mind to try something just as risky.

The location in India juxtaposes the poor side of town where Kanku's family lives vs. the affluent side of town where Kiara's family villa is and sets up the two families' differences. Kanku understands and appreciates Hanuman and Kiara loves the idea of a superhero. The set up each day of Kanku and her parents bicycling to the villa amplifies their differences. One of the scenes that struck me as terribly sad is when we see Kanku in a wheelchair, being pushed by her Mom with her father alongside them when she is in a vegetative state. They remember how animated she used to be and move her from wheelchair to the parent's bike. These setups make us yearn for a return to her old self.

The sets and locations of the town, seeing the parents selling their wares, the differences between the two kids' neighborhoods, and their fathers' performance all gave us a true picture of life in this Indian city. The father's performances as a superhero is unremarkable, however his heartfelt desire to impress his daughter and have her healed is very touching.

There was real chemistry between the father and daughter in their communication and interactions throughout the film. Bhavya Sirohi, as Kanku, really stands out. Her acting and expression are strong and I predict a long career ahead for her. As the main character, she carries the film well. I really enjoyed the exposure to the diversity, cultures and lives of the Indian people. Bhavya Sirohi's performance as Kanku is definitely a highpoint of this film. She is a gifted young talent. Her acting as a bubbly young girl and then as someone in a vegetative state shows her acting strength.

The message of the film is depicted by Kanku's desire to have a superhero father like her friend Kiara, which leads her getting into a very severe accident. Belief in superhero fantasies can cross a line and there is a limit to how far that can go. You should be aware that it does show kids doing risky things that kids might imitate. My concern that about the modeling of Kanku jumping off the terrace. This extreme behavior crosses the line and limits for appropriate behavior. Belief in fantasy can go just so far.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 13, plus adults. I would recommend a discussion following the screening. It's a great introduction to Indian life.

Reviewed by Terry S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love the inspirational message of Mara Pappa Superhero. The storyline has many twists and turns that kept me intrigued and eager to see the ending. This story is a feel-good film that families will love to watch together. Its only shortcoming is the beginning, which goes for a bit too long; everything after that kept my eyes glued to the screen.

The storyline is about a girl investigating whether or not her father is a superhero. She learns about superheroes from a friend and realizes that her father may be one, based on her friend's description. One day the girl gets into an accident, which affects her brain. She isn't able to move and her father spends his time becoming the real-life superhero that his daughter wanted to see in hopes of helping her regain her memories.

I love the originality and wholesomeness of the storyline. It is so inspiring story and teaches viewers many different lessons about family and love. The only part that was an issue for me is the beginning, which drags a bit. The camera work and coloring of the film are all high quality. Lots of effort and thought was put into shooting and editing this film and it shows. The coloring in the film impressed me as it is a major contributor to setting the moods for each scene. The costumes contribute to the theme of poor vs. rich by contrasting what is work in the two groups of people. The locations and sets also contribute to the poor vs. rich theme. The background music helps set the mood such as the lullabies that the parents sing to their daughter, which stands out to me because of how calming it is and its significance to the story. These lullabies are a major part of the plot and are a symbol of love in the family. The director (Darshan Ashwin Trivedi) and writer (Raam Mori) are to be commended; I absolutely love every aspect of the inspirational story that they created. The actors Bhavya Sirohi, Abhinay Banker and Shraddha Dangar have wonderful chemistry together and add to the authenticity of the film, playing the role of a family. The quality of the film is amazing and should play well on the big screen.

There are many messages in this film; the main message is to be grateful. The characters in the film already had so much, but they were greedy for more and then, things they had to begin with began to slip away. The film teaches the viewer to step back and enjoy all of the great things already present in their life.

I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The film is so wholesome that it would bring happiness to everyone in the family. Children would also be able to learn a valuable message. Reviewed by Jolleen M., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
FATHOM

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FATHOM
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FATHOM - APPLE TV
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Directed and photographed by Drew Xanthopoulos ("The Sensitives"), "Fathom" follows Dr. Ellen Garland and Dr. Michelle Fournet, two scientists focused on the study of humpback whale songs and social communication. As they embark on parallel research journeys on opposite sides of the world, they seek to better understand whale culture and communication. The documentary film uniquely reveals a deep commitment and reverence to the scientific process and the universal human need to seek answers about the world around us. From hypothesis to groundbreaking experiences in the field, "Fathom" showcases the passion, curiosity, collaboration, perseverance and work it takes for leading scientists to make scientific discoveries.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Fathom is an outstanding documentary that shows how interesting and awesome oceanography really is. One of the many things that makes this film great is the cinematography; it captures the beautiful ocean setting in a way that makes you feel as if you are there. Another aspect I enjoyed are the scientists. These women are incredible at what they do and at explaining it to non-scientists. I love two female scientists are featured because they are extremely underrepresented in this field of work.

The storyline follows two female scientists on a boat testing their hypotheses about whale communication. One of them, Dr. Ellen Garland, is answering her question about how far whale communication can travel. The second scientist, Dr. Michelle Fournet, is studying the whale's woop - a distinct type of call that is "almost as if the whale is saying, 'hey.'" Fathom not only focuses on the scientists' work life, but also their personal interactions with the team, their families, and just being goofy people.

One of my favorite parts is when Dr. Fournet manages to accomplish her goal of tracking 30 whales in two weeks while also caring for her team. I love that Dr. Garland, as a feminist, talks about how hard it is to show weakness as a woman in a male-dominated line of work. The scenes with Dr. Fournet and her crew on their boat in the middle of the ocean are captured so perfectly, from the lighting to the rich colors of the ocean. It makes me want to be there. When Dr. Fournet describes how dangerous this job is, it shows what these scientists are willing to risk to increase our knowledge about these beautiful whales.

The message of this film is about feminism; it is a recurring theme and is talked about a lot. These female scientists are great role models, especially for young girls who may be interested in science. This film promotes positive behavior, education and perseverance.

I give Fathom 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 plus adults. Fathom premieres on Apple TV+ June 25, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY

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PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY - SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 3-18
Description - Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is a family-friendly comedy-adventure film. I loved watching whimsical animated film. It had me laughing from beginning to end. The crazy adventures of Peter and the animals are highly entertaining.

In this film, the characters you loved from the first movie are back. A beautiful wedding, a new business, and a perfect life on the farm appeared to be all Peter Rabbit and his family need, but things change when a book Bea wrote about the rabbits gets an opportunity to be published.

Director Will Gluck and screenwriter Patrick Burleigh bring back Peter Rabbit with a new adventure while maintaining what we love about the characters from the first movie. The talented voice-overs of Peter Rabbit (James Corben), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Cottontail (Aimee Horne), and Barnabas (Lennie James) bring life to the characters and laughter. Of course, a comedy-adventure is nothing without a proper soundtrack. The music by Dominic Lewis keeps up with the high-energy animal mischief and helps build emotion. Art directors Nicholas Dare and Sophie Nash create realistic computer-generated animals that could easily play the lead actors in any movie, including humans. Their personalities will have movie viewers falling in love with them and cheering their victory.

Through Peter Rabbit's adventures on the farm and in the city, we learn that the importance of "family" is a continuous theme throughout the film. Unfortunately, Peter makes the mistake of letting the judgment of others question his character. However, the unconditional love from his siblings, cousin Bea, Thomas and the other animals helps him realize he doesn't have to be perfect to be loved. Bea and Thomas finally understand that "family" comes in all shapes and sizes.

I rate Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 18. Adults will also enjoy sharing laughs with their families. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway premieres in theaters June 11, 2021 and on Amazon Prime.

By Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 3-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
LUCA

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LUCA
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LUCA - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water's surface.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Luca is an entertaining animated film filled with fun, lots of scooter rides and unforgettable moments. It has great messages and shows you that you can have a good time if you just "Silencio Bruno." This new Disney-Pixar film has the potential of being one of your favorites.

The storyline is about a boy named Luca (Jacob Tremblay), who is a bit different from the rest. He is what people call a sea monster and so is his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). Luca lives underwater as a sea monster, but he can't resist going up to the shore to explore the world as a human boy with Alberto, even though his parents tell him not to. When Luca's parents find out, they tell him he now has to live in the deepest part of the water with his uncle. Luca and Alberto run away to a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, where they meet a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman), who quickly becomes their friend. However, the town is full of fishermen who are trying to catch sea monsters. Luca and Alberto keep running into situations where they almost turn back into sea monsters, so they must work hard to keep their secret or something bad might happen to them.

I like the relationships that are developed throughout the film, such as Giulia and Luca's friendship. They teach each other new things, which really help them bond. The ending of the movie is a bit sad because the friends are separated, but that just goes to show how great the writers developed the relationships in this movie. The storyline is fun and exciting and shows the adventures of the characters. My favorite character is Alberto because he is daring and funny. He tries things that he never tried before, even when they are a bit risky and that makes him a fun character.

The message of Luca is that sometimes you just need to "Silencio Bruno" which means you need to tell that little voice in your head that prevents you from doing fun things to just be quiet. There is nothing to look out for in this film. It's completely family-friendly.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Luca beginning June 18, 2021 exclusively on Disney+. Be sure to check it out!

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

Pack your bags for a trip to the Italian Riviera! Luca is the feel-good flick to get audiences into the summer spirit. With its comedy, lovable characters, and unique animation, this movie is another Disney pictures hit.

Luca follows two sea creatures, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) as they wander amongst humans in the small town of Portorosso. The secret of their identity hangs in the balance as the entire town fears sea creatures, and some residents even hunt them. The two boys then befriend Giulia (Emma Berman), and the three of them go on an adventure of a lifetime.

This film is the perfect movie for families. The friendship between Luca and Alberto, Giulia's rebel side, and the love of parent and child stand out. Alberto helps Luca to let loose, mentoring him in all things human. Their friendship blooms and the two of them tackle their issues together. The two boys steal the show and are set to become fan favorites. The movie also shows viewers the beauty of what most of us take for granted. Luca falls in love with the stars and moon which he has never seen. He gazes at them curiously. He reads books and uses a telescope to watch the blazing balls of fire. He also dreams of going to school and learning, something he was never able to do underwater. One of the most notable differences in this Pixar film is its animation. Its artistic style is noticeably different from other Pixar classics. The characters are 3D with long arms and legs, with wide hands, feet and heads. The vibrant colors and settings show the beauty of an Italian summer. The bright sun, clothes and houses fall brilliantly into step with one another. The attention to cultural detail is immaculate. The characters switch from Italian to English. The town is picture perfect, with old houses and tight, winding streets laid with cobblestones. It is clear that the filmmakers put a lot of time and effort into this film, recreating visuals that are classic Italy.

The moral of the film is the importance of friendship and family. Luca, Alberto and Giulia all fight together and for one another against all odds. Giulia defends the boys and helps hide their secret, instead of being afraid of them like the rest of the town. Luca and Alberto face the world head on, and make sacrifices, putting the others' needs ahead of their own.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ June 18, 2021.

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

The new movie Luca from Pixar Studios will have viewers asking for a sea monster sequel. I didn't know what to expect from this movie and found myself being pulled into the mayhem and adventure and cheering on the surprisingly likeable sea monsters. The pleasing mix of a peaceful underwater colony of misunderstood sea monsters and a quaint seaside village makes for a charming movie for all ages and interests. This animated full-length feature continues the high standards that audiences have come to expect from Pixar while establishing itself as unique.

Set on the Italian coast, the movie follows the unlikely friendship between two sea monsters, Luca and Alberto, who come from the same place, but are also from very different worlds. Luca is part of a close-knit family that is very protective and warns him of the dangers of the human world which is a mystery to them. Alberto has had to make his own way in the absence of his father and has built a life for himself on the shore of the Italian village. The animation shows the transformation the boys make from sea monsters to humans, which helps them disguise themselves as normal people.

Luca (Jacob Tremblay), Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Guilia (Emma Berman) are the key characters. The music is very enjoyable; it is very operatic and very Italian-inspired. The animation is superb. The movie has a strong story line. Of course, coming from Disney and Pixar, viewers definitely get the quality they are expecting. My favorite part is definitely when the sea monsters reveal their actual identities to the people in the village. That part is pretty surprising. There is a cheerful feeling in a lot of the scenes, which has a positive impact on viewers. This film was is truly outstanding and delightful in every way.

The message of this film is to not be afraid and have fun in life or you might regret it later. Parents will find this film satisfying and cute; it is a great movie for the whole family to watch.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. It is available on Disney+ right now!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FATHERHOOD

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FATHERHOOD
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FATHERHOOD - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Fatherhood is an upcoming American comedy-drama film directed by Paul Weitz from a screenplay by Weitz and Dana Stevens, based on the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matthew Logelin. The film stars Kevin Hart, Alfre Woodard, Frankie R. Faison, Lil Rel Howery, DeWanda Wise, Anthony Carrigan, Melody Hurd, and Paul Reiser, and follows a new father who struggles to raise his daughter after the sudden death of his wife.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Expect the unexpected with Kevin Hart's new drama film, Fatherhood! The comedian takes his acting to another level and shows us a more serious side, still with a little humor, while delivering a heartwarming, tear-jerking family film. Fatherhood is based off the 2011 memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love by Matt Logelin and highlights the challenges and triumphs of being a single parent.

In Fatherhood, Matt Logelin (Kevin Hart) and his wife, Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) welcome a baby girl named Maddy (Melody Hurd) into the world. A day after giving birth, Liz passes away from complications, leaving Matt as a single parent raising his daughter. He has no idea where to start, but, with the help of his family and friends along the way, he has to figure out a way to raise her.

The main characters in this film are Matt, Liz, Maddy, Lizzie "Swan" (DeWanda Wise) and Marian (Alfre Woodard). My overall favorite part in this film is how Matt and Maddy's relationship grows as they go along. Usually, the parents are the ones teaching the lessons in life, but it was nice to see Maddy also be able to teach her father. Maddy is actually my favorite character for this reason. I enjoyed seeing her help Matt become a better father throughout the film. Even though this film is a drama, the director, Paul Weitz, uses creative ways to add humor. For example, there is a scene where baby Maddy looks back and forth between two "crazy" people talking and the camera pans back and forth showing us the scene from her perspective.

The message of this film is that you should not be afraid to ask for help when you need it, especially from your family and friends. Matt refuses help because he thinks he can handle everything by himself, even though he has no idea what he is doing. But eventually realizes maybe he does need some help to get him on the right track. Parents need to be aware of adults drinking and mild profanity and themes about death.

Fatherhood is a very uplifting film that will tap into your emotions. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy it as well. Fatherhood comes out June 18, 2021 on Netflix.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Who doesn't love a good drama film? I know that I definitely do. Fatherhood is such a great one. It has family comedy, portrays a realistic way of life, and the acting is stellar.

The storyline follows a dad, Matthew Logelin (Kevin Hart), who recently lost his wife Liz (Deborah Ayolinde). He must now raise his daughter (Melody Hurd) by himself, even though no one believes he can.

The best parts of this movie are the acting, the comedy and the drama. Kevin Hart really brings every emotion to life - when his wife dies, his crying shows us his grief. The comedy in this movie is subtle and it is frequent enough to make you laugh. I really enjoyed the comedy as it reflects funny family moments that we all go through. And the dramatic parts really show how a single parent, especially a father, might act upon losing his wife. Though the story is a bit slow at times, many may be able to relate to it and find it compelling. Fatherhood is based on a true story of a man who was forced to raise his child on his own following his wife's death.

The message is that there's nothing that a child needs more than family. Be aware that there is quite a lot of profanity used and there are many references to intimacy that makes it inappropriate for younger kids.

I give Fatherhood 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Fatherhood premieres on Netflix on June 18, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PAPER TIGERS, THE

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PAPER TIGERS, THE - WELL GO USA INC.
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - Three Kung Fu prodigies have grown into washed-up, middle-aged men, now one kick away from pulling their hamstrings. But when their master is murdered, they must juggle their dead-end jobs, dad duties, and old grudges to avenge his death.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Paper Tigers is such an engaging film with impeccable stunts, feisty characters and plot twists that grab your attention. You'll feel like you've just witnessed these events happening in real life.

The Paper Tigers is about three childhood friends named Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) who, as adults, reunite after their sifu (teacher) dies. As kids, they shared the love of Kung Fu, but after all these years they have moved on to not such bigger or better things. When they hear speculation from an old enemy that their sifu was actually murdered, they try to find the culprit to avenge him.

The Paper Tigers is a movie centered on the martial art of Kung Fu, which means the stunts need to be executed just right for the action scenes to be believable. I found the stunts top notch; the stunt coordinators made the characters look like they are actually fighting. In fact, the entire crew working on this movie clearly put a lot of effort into making it realistic. In the film, Danny, Hing and Jim run into their old nemesis, Carter, and end up making a bet and getting into a brawl to get information about sifu. The guys are not in the best shape and haven't fought a match in years so naturally, they have a tough time defending themselves. When they get hit, you can see blood coming from their faces, which looks scarily real. Kudos to the make-up team for creating such realism. Something else that makes The Paper Tigers unique is its comedic relief. Although the film has a very serious plot and the majority of the scenes are full of tension, the screenwriters added scenes where you can laugh, despite the violence. One of my favorite moments is when the three young disciple impersonators come to sifu's funeral acting foolish. Being embarrassed, Hing says, "Let's take these K-Pop rejects." This sense of humor definitely makes Hing a more likeable character and lightens the mood.

The message of The Paper Tigers is that when you give someone your word, you need to honor it. Even though Danny, Hing and Jim left their master and got separated from each other, when it came down to it, they kept their promise. They gathered the courage to get justice for sifu and be true disciples. Parents should be aware that this film has some adult language and some martial arts violence.

I give The Paper Tigers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to18 plus adults. Anyone that loves Kung Fu and action will enjoy this film. The Paper Tigers is available in theatres and on digital now, and on Blu-Ray and DVD on June 22, 2021. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JUST ANOTHER DREAM

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JUST ANOTHER DREAM - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - When a fateful injury sparks an ordinary girl to have foretelling dreams, she is forced into a race against time to save her family and prove her sanity....or is it JUST ANOTHER DREAM?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I find Just Another Dream appealing because, on the surface level, this film seems like a fun action drama, but it has a deeper meaning about love transcending time and space. Even platonic love can eventually bring two people back to one another. This film also shows selflessness when Anna sacrifices something significant in her life in order to save another person's life. Young people will enjoy the action sequence where Anna runs around town trying to save her family.

The story follows a child named Anna who has a head injury as a young child and afterwards is able to tell the future through her dreams. She dreams something foreboding about her family and the countdown begins to save them.

The visual quality is the biggest strength of this film. Although there are some parts where the CGI could be rendered better, the overall cinematic shots, color and lighting heighten the visual quality in general. The plot is easy to follow, so kids can enjoy and understand the film. This film displays the three act structure. Act one gives us a background of Anna, her family and her friends. Then, Anna has a dream about a lady being murdered. Act two is the turning point when Anna is admitted to a mental rehabilitation center after having a breakdown due to her dreams. The climax is when Anna has a bad dream about her family and escapes to save them. Act three ties up all loose ends regarding how Josh and Anna's timelines are different. It ends with Anna remembering everything she dreamed while she was unconscious after the baseball and promising herself to find Josh. All the characters, except Josh and Anna, do not believe that Anna can actually tell the future. Little by little, Anna proves them wrong and they develop empathy towards Anna. It drew me in because conflict is created right from the start with the tension between Anna, Josh and the others. I was definitely empathic towards Anna and Josh. We are inclined to side with Anna from the beginning, so it is easy to empathize with her. The concepts would be easy for young people to grasp because everything is explained in the end. Any confusion about the friendship between Anna and Josh is also explained. The vocabulary is suitable for its audience. Even in the metal rehabilitation center, the doctors do not use medical terms and explain everything in lay terms. Since this film is an action-filled drama, the scenes with heightened tension have background music that matches the intensity of the action. At times the CGI does not look realistic, such as the fire scenes. This film makes a viewer think outside the box in terms of alternate realities and time. Regarding culture, there is only one person of color in a lead role, the character Takota played by Eugene Brave Rock. I appreciate that Takota explains the culture and history of the Native American dream-catcher to Anna. Most importantly, this film presents the idea that true love, even platonic love, can transcend space and time and eventually two people will always find their way back to one another. Just Another Dream has very good visual quality, an interesting portrayal of space and time, and displays the idea of sacrificing to save another person.

The message of the film is that sometimes one needs to sacrifice something important in their life to save another person's life. There are definitely some things for parents to be aware of that make this unsuitable for younger children including: a bank robbery, a murder in a bank, shooting a gun at someone in the bank (no blood or gore however), bullying, alcohol use, adults kissing a suggestive way, a drowning, death of a child from fire, use of prescription drugs.

I give Just Another Dream 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Just Another Dream because it is an intense, emotional action film. It constantly surprised me with every scene, and was extremely unpredictable.

This film starts off when the main character Anna (Kayden Bryce) is 8 years old, and takes a pretty bad hit to the head. Ever since then, she cannot stop having these incredibly realistic vivid nightmares. In her most recent dream, someone is murdered at a bank robbery. After scaring her family, claiming that a few days later her exact dream happened in real life, they make the decision to send her to a mental hospital. At this facility, they try to help her understand that her dreams are so vivid, that she doesn't understand what is real and what is only a dream. However, no one believes her except for her best friend. They must work together, to use her power for good.

Something that I really like about this film is the suspense. Every time that I thought I figured out what was going to happen, it surprises me. The movie has a lot of creativity and that makes it even better. Another thing that I like is the incorporation of multiple genres. It could have easily just been an emotional dramatic movie, however it includes many action packed scenes. This really adds to the film, and also allows it to reach multiple types of audiences. This is really great to have, because it has a big factor on how successful the movie is. Lastly, this film gives people a wake-up call on how valuable life can be. You never realize how good you have until you see other people's lives. It also reminds us to trust those you love, and remember that anything is possible.

The message of this film is to always value your life, and realize that you never know what someone else could be going through. This film could be sensitive to younger viewers.

I give Just Another Dream 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, depending on their maturity level. It releases on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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

Just Another Dream is a very different movie and I found it a fun movie to watch, because it's about things that we might deem impossible in real life. However, lots of things are different than reality.

The storyline is about Anna Miller (Kayden Bryce) and her dreams. Ever since an accident Anna was in when she was little, she has had very vivid dreams; now those dreams are starting to come true. Only Josh Mason (Copeland Diver) believes her; everyone else thinks she might be crazy. When one of those dreams puts her family's life in danger it is a race against the clock to save her family.

This film definitely has some good points. For one, the location is amazing; it is a beautiful lake and river and we watch Josh and Anna biking it. This lake is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen; I wish I could see it in real life. The second is the quality of the acting. It has spectacular scenes such as one with lots of crying that look very real. Kayden Bryce, who plays Anna, is only 16, but is already very accomplished. For example, her reaction to Anna waking up from a very vivid dream the first time only to find out that it came true, her reaction is so believable. Another key scene is when Anna's mom is worried about her and her vivid dreams. Towards the end there are some very confusing scenes that don't quite make sense until the movie is over. The lightning is impressive and somewhat odd such as a very bright light that comes in from the window behind the actors. You don't know what it is. There are some very loud and dramatic sound effects, mostly at the beginning that really catch your attention. Most of the costumes are regular day clothes but there is one creepy one that is all black and has a black mask. The plot really escalates, especially when it gets personal and Anna's family appears in her dreams. Suddenly, a race against time really takes you to the edge of your seat. Although the race against time kind of drags, it still grabs your attention.

The message of Just Another Dream is to believe in your dreams and you can get anywhere.

I give Just Another Dream 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18 plus adults. This film comes out in select theaters and on DVD June 15, 2021. The burning question is: Did Anna go to Tiko's birthday party?

By Avalon N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Just Another Dream has great actors, but the storyline it is somewhat confusing. The suspense and plotline that this film meant to create falls a bit short.

The story follows a girl named Anna (Kayden Price) who goes through a series of traumatic events in her early childhood. As a result, she has a side effect of realistic dreams that may come true. She goes on a journey to find out if they are just other dreams.

While the actors are enjoyable to watch, their performances are uninspired and lack emotion in some scenes where that was needed. Throughout the film the camerawork is clear and detailed; it is greatly appreciated when the landscape is so beautiful. I like that the rural setting is realistic and relatable, especially the pond. The beginning is very dramatic and introduces the plotline in such a dramatic way that later, as the plotline is re-introduced, it is very anticlimactic. The audience is left wondering what the story is really about.

The message of Just Another Dream is to never discredit another person's experiences or their feelings about them. Loss and PTSD are both touched on, which are important issues to discuss. Audiences should be aware that there is a violent crime and scenes of bullying.

I give Just Another Dream 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It is available on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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

Just Another Dream is a bit confusing and weird at times. The idea isn't bad, but it seems that a lot of time is wasted and, as such, the story falters when it comes to important moments.

The story follows Anna (Kayden Brycee), a girl who has experienced vivid dreams ever since she received an injury to her head. After realizing her dreams tell the future, she must save her family, while also proving her sanity.

In terms of the plot, the story doesn't properly set up the possibility that Anna is mentally unwell. She has a single dream that ends up coming true and her parents immediately send her to a mental hospital. Coupled with the fact it's unclear how much time passed between her dream and her parents' decision, this reaction makes no sense. If she had a bunch of dreams and was struggling to cope with them, I would maybe understand her parents' behavior. As it stands, it feels too forced.

It also takes quite a while for the main storyline - Anna's family being in danger - to actually happen. Most of the movie is spent inside the mental hospital, setting up characters that aren't really very important and reiterating the fact that no one believes Anna. It's somewhat annoying because we, as an audience, know she's right. So, all these scenes feel like a waste, because they don't establish anything new. Although, once the main plot kicks in, I admit that there is some genuine tension. I was actually invested in the safety of Anna's family.

Unfortunately, the acting in this movie is not very impressive. It is acceptable, however I could not connect with Kayden Bruce's portrayal of Anna. She seems perpetually moody and annoyed in every scene, even when she is talking with her best friend and supposedly in a good mood.

The editing also needs to be addressed. There are many instances where the audio quality of a dialogue drops in the middle of a line. Towards the end of the movie, there are a lot of very poor special effects. I can excuse these, depending on the film's budget, but I can't excuse the music choices. There are multiple scenes where the background music does not fit the tone of the scene at all, and it is really jarring.

The message of this film is that you can't change the past, but you can change your future, so it's important to accept where you are right now and move forward. There is a somewhat graphic scene where Anna gets bit by a dog.

I give Just Another Dream 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. It comes out on digital and DVD June 15, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CENSOR

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CENSOR - MAGNET RELEASING
Series: FEATURE, AGES 15 - 18
Description - After viewing a strangely familiar video nasty, Enid, a film censor, sets out to solve the past mystery of her sister's disappearance, embarking on a quest that dissolves the line between fiction and reality.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Censor is a unique movie that raises a lot of questions about censorship, the effect that fiction has on people and violence in the media. I really appreciate it for its subtlety; however I feel like the message is a little unclear.

The story follows Enid, a film censor. Her job consists of viewing graphic horror films and deciding what to cut and what to leave in. However, after a particular film reminds her of a traumatic childhood memory, she becomes convinced that there is some connection between her work and the disappearance of her sister.

First off, I want to take a moment to appreciate the atmosphere of this film. The lighting and sound design combine to create an extremely bleak and dreary mood, as if the entire film takes place on an unpleasant foggy day. It fits the constant sense of unease this movie gives off, especially when combined with the uncomfortable subject matter.

Censor has an interesting insight on fiction's effect on reality. I'm very invested in this topic, as someone who loves video games and has constantly heard discussions about how the medium causes violence. Though the film doesn't outright say it, there's an underlying message about how society sometimes draws conclusions that aren't true. At one point, a murder gets connected to a film that Enid allowed to be released. However we later find out the killer didn't even watch the aforementioned film. This leaves you wondering what the truth of the case is. This murder case is never brought up again and, ultimately, is not that important to the plot.

Censor's themes surrounding the idea of censorship, and the way they connect to Enid's past, are genuinely really engaging. Enid claims she does her job to "protect" people, and this perfectly ties into Enid's trauma. A common thing that happens to trauma survivors is that their brain will block out the memories of the event. As such, Enid can't remember the exact details of her trauma. Her brain is essentially censoring itself to protect her. But what exactly is it protecting her from? What is the truth of her past? This connection is so fascinating.

I must warn audiences, though, if you don't like gore or discussions of gore, this movie is not for you. There's a montage at the beginning showing all kinds of graphic violence, and there is more gore later in the film.

I give Censor 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 16 to 18. Censor releases on June 11, 2021.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 15-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
IN THE HEIGHTS

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IN THE HEIGHTS - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In the Heights centers on a variety of characters living in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, on the northern tip of Manhattan. At the center of the show is Usnavi, a bodega owner who looks after the aging Cuban lady next door, pines for the gorgeous girl working in the neighboring beauty salon and dreams of winning the lottery and escaping to the shores of his native Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Nina, a childhood friend of Usnavi's, has returned to the neighborhood from her first year at college with surprising news for her parents, who have spent their life savings on building a better life for their daughter. Ultimately, Usnavi and the residents of the close-knit neighborhood get a dose of what it means to be home.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Did you love the musical In the Heights and want more? Well, your wish has come true and you can have more because In the Heights is now a movie! It has the same great soundtrack and is even more action packed.

In the Heights is about Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner, and his disappearing neighborhood in New York City, specifically Washington Heights. Small businesses are moving away; people are leaving; and Usnavi is going back to his home in the Dominican Republic to help his family. What will happen when Usnavi leaves?

This movie is based on the book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and musical, with music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda - both titled with the same name. The music is phenomenal and very memorable because it makes you want to get up and dance. While writing this review, I still have all the songs stuck in my head. Lin-Manuel Miranda also plays the Piragua Guy. Along with the music, the choreography is outstanding, particularly the group choreography - a mix of hip-hop and Latinx styles. Everyone is in sync and energetic. The scenes are very detailed, artistic and beautiful, with so much color. The acting is beyond amazing and every character is so believable and loveable. Anthony Ramos, as Usnavi, stands out and seems very genuine. Melissa Barrera, as Vanessa, shows so much perseverance for her dreams. Leslie Grace's Nina is passionate as she deals with her character's conflicts. My favorite character is Abuela Claudia because she is so loving to all, and she reminds us to have paciencia y fe (patience and faith). The characters speak Spanish at times during the film, so it helps if you have some knowledge of the Spanish language, but it's not essential to enjoying the movie.

The main message is that sue�itos (little dreams) aren't always easy; you have to work for them. In the Heights addresses some serious topics like attending college and dealing with racial bias as a minority. This movie has some profanity and suggestive references.

I give In the Heights 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters or on HBO Max June 11, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
12 MIGHTY ORPHANS

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12 MIGHTY ORPHANS - SONY CLASSICAL
Series: FEATURES, AGES 10-18
Description - During the Great Depression, Rusty Russell gives up a privileged position to coach football at an orphanage in Fort Worth, Texas. Whipping his young players into shape, they soon become an inspiration to their city, state and an entire nation.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With a moving script, deep characters, and incredible production quality, 12 Mighty Orphans is a film you should not miss! A throwback to the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the aftermath of the First World War, the film will strike a chord with all generations, and it's an especially great watch for sports fans and Texans.

The film tells the true story of one of the greatest football coaches in American history - Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson). Russell gives up his position coaching and teaching in Temple, Texas, to move to the Masonic Home, a decrepit orphanage in Fort Worth, where he teaches math and science, and more importantly, coaches the young orphan boys in football. Russell struggles to whip his team of emotionally damaged novice players into shape.12 Mighty Orphans shows the journey of the relationship between player and coach and how Russell turns the orphanage into a source of inspiration for the entire nation.

The production quality of this Sony Classics movie is superb; from the start, the Texas drawl of the intermittent narration, the slightly browned footage, and even the car that Rusty Russell drives, a 1930s Ford, all contribute to making the viewer feel that they truly are in post-World War I Texas. The dialogue is both clear and realistic, and it helps add to the depth of each character. The three characters who are the most expounded upon are Rusty Russell, Snoggs (Jacob Lofland), a thin, good-hearted orphan, Doc Hall (Martin Sheen), the medic of the orphanage and Hardy Brown (Jake Austin Walker), the troubled yet talented football star. Each of these characters has a detailed backstory and the actors that play them emote beautifully throughout the film, always staying true to their character in a way that never feels forced. I especially love Jake Austin Walker's performance as Hardy Brown and Martin Sheen as Doc Hall; the intense emotion of Hardy's role and the layered personality of Doc really bring the story to life. And of course, the fatherly Rusty Russell is the star of the show!

12 Mighty Orphans promotes messages of unity, community, perseverance and faith. For the young orphan boys, getting over the tragedies of their past is the only thing holding them back from greatness; Russell shows them (and viewers) that moving on, though difficult, is the key to putting your best foot forward and succeeding in the future.

I give 12 Mighty Orphans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18; adults will enjoy this film as well. 12 Mighty Orphans will be available in limited-release form on June 11, 2021 and in theatres on June 18, 2021.

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

12 Mighty Orphans is a great film and very family friendly. I like that it focuses on events that brought about a sense of pride to a community when the world was not in a good place.

The film is based on a true story about a group of orphans, Hardy Brown (Jake Austin Walker), Snoggs (Jacob Lofland) and Fairbanks (Levi Dylan) and Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson) who leaves his position at a prestigious school to come to the orphanage to coach these boys. These boys have never played football before. With the support of Coach Russell, his wife Juanita (Vinessa Shaw), Doc Hall (Martin Sheen) and a former orphan, Mason Hawk (Robert Duvall), the boys learn to believe in themselves and become a true team. They beat the odds and discover their individual and collective strengths on the way to becoming a really good football team. The Mighty Mites, a name given to them by Mason Hawk, end up getting the support of their community because they symbolize hope and resilience of the human spirit.

The film really excels at the character arcs; we watch most of the main characters experience growth as a result of their interactions with Coach Russell and with each other. The film features some well-known actors, like Academy Award-winners Robert Duvall and Martin Sheen, who both excel in their ability to bring characters to life. Another plus is that the film focuses on something positive that the community rallies behind and it temporarily takes their minds off of the Great Depression. My favorite character is Coach Russell. As an orphan himself, he beat the odds and became a successful coach and family man, but he doesn't forget where he came from and goes back to help other orphans. Coach Russell shows the kids that it is possible for them all to do much more than they or the world expects.

The message of this film is that, no matter how dark times get, you should never give up on yourself or the world. Even those that the world has forgotten about can have a beacon of hope.

12 Mighty Orphans gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 12 Mighty Orphans releases in theaters June 11, 2021.

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

I like 12 Mighty Orphans because it is based on a real life event. It has an incredible cast and each one portrays their character so well. This story is a big eye opener.

The story follows a group of 150 children at an orphanage in Texas in 1940. A football coach and teacher named Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson), who is an orphan himself, recruits 12 teenage orphans to play football. These young boys go from playing without shoes, not knowing how to play football and not even having a real football to play with to winning the Texas state championship. Mr. Russell and the orphanage's doctor, Doc Hall (Martin Sheen), train the team. They teach them discipline, respect, love for the sport and, the most important thing, self-love and self-respect.

12 Mighty Orphans is directed by Ty Roberts who manages to transmit onto the big screen the story of these orphans - sadness, frustration, suffering, passion and joy. The cast includes some A-list actors such as Robert Duval, Wayne Knight and Treat Williams. The locations and landscape are colorful and beautiful. The wardrobe features outfits from the 40s, including football gear made of leather pads and leather helmets. My favorite part is when the team comes together and starts to realize that being an orphan is not as bad as they think it is.

The moral of this film is that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from; as long as you do things with love and passion, you will succeed in life. Teamwork plays a big role in this film, because the orphans come together as a family to succeed at football. Be forewarned that the film contains some profanity, some explicit dialogue, and bloody real life events.

I give 12 Mighty Orphans 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Minors can watch this magnificent and possibly award-winning movie, with the supervision of an adult. 12 Mighty Orphans has advanced screenings at Texas theaters starting June 11 and opens nationwide June 18, 2021.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SPIRIT UNTAMED

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SPIRIT UNTAMED - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE FILM AGES 5-15
Description - After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious spirit. When a heartless wrangler plans to capture Spirit and his herd, Lucky and her new friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse that forever changed her life.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Adventure awaits in Spirit Untamed, the next chapter in the beloved animated Spirit franchise which is sure to capture a new audience of followers. Spirit Untamed is the story of connection between a girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) and a wild mustang stallion she names Spirit. Lucky is a spirited girl and has difficulty fitting into the traditional life that her family plans for her. Her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) takes her away from social pressure for the summer to the frontier town of Miradero to live with her estranged father Jim Prescott (Jake Gyllenhaal). On the train to Miradero she encounters Spirit and his wild herd. The story evolves as both Lucky and Spirit adapt to new circumstances and learn to embrace change as well as rely on the friendship and support of others.

Lucky is fortunate to find two steadfast friends in Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin) who emulate the connection between a girl and her horse that Lucky desires with Spirit. Both girls teach her about equestrian and human connections. I love the fun-loving and spunky character, Abigail, who brings so much humor to the movie which is offset by the sarcasm of Pru. Together these three girls are unstoppable in their efforts to rescue Spirit and his herd from a group of wranglers that threaten their freedom.

Spirit Untamed is from DreamWorks Animation so you know the characters and scenery are going to be depicted flawlessly. I love how this film keeps the feel from the original movie but adds another layer of lush detail under the guidance of Director Elaine Bogan who has a personal connection with horses. My favorite scene is what I call "the tango" between Lucky and Spirit when she is trying to coax him to accept her. The pull of their relationship shows and is enhanced perfectly by the light and playful music composed by Amie Doherty. I really like how the movie incorporates the actors singing with their roles--I love to hear Isabela Merced's beautiful voice and even Jake Gyllenhall trying to sing badly.

The one segment that bothers me is when Lucky first mounts Spirit. The riding is unbelievable for a girl who is just learning and is more akin to a trained circus or stunt rider. Horses are powerful animals, and I hope young viewers will understand that they need guidance around horses and to respect them. I did love the personality that was given to all the horses in Spirit Untamed--each horse had its own lovable character and expressions. Everyone will, of course, love the cuteness overload of the brave baby foal.

What really stands out to me among this film's many underlying messages is the theme of letting go and how hard that can be. I don't want to elaborate further, as it would be a spoiler, but there is one great "letting go" scene with Lucky doing the right thing. Friendship and loyalty are also important themes in Spirit Untamed, as Lucky searches for a place where she belongs.

I rate Spirit Untamed 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This movie will be in theaters June 4, 2021, so don't miss this heartwarming story and adventure!

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Spirit Untamed is a fun-filled animated movie that will have you on the edge of your seat with its rollercoaster of emotions. It is full of suspense, humorous moments and scenes showcasing beautiful relationships. Spirit Untamed is one of the most captivating animated films I've seen, with humorous scenes and a great message. Watching this movie on the big screen brings a special kind of magic that draws you in and makes you feel every emotion the characters are feeling. Whether it is a sense of elation, anger, determination or love; I felt it all.

The storyline follows a mischievous girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) who goes to live with her grandfather after her mother passes away. After pulling too many stunts, her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) decides to take her to spend the summer with her father Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal). Lucky wasn't expecting to have any fun or make a connection with anyone there and then she meets a beautiful wild mustang that she names Spirit. When she discovers that a horse wrangler named Hendricks (Walton Goggins) is trying to steal Spirit and his family, she teams up with her new friends Abigail (Mckenna Grace) and Pru (Marsai Martin) to save them.

Although Spirit Untamed is an animated film, it is filled with suspense. Lucky loves to take risks, and that means she is willing to do anything and everything she feels is right. For instance, while Lucky, Abigail and Pru ride their horses through Heck Mountain and over the Ridge of Regret, they are incredibly close to falling off the edge. The way these scenes are designed, and how the events unfold, had me genuinely nervous for the girls. The relationships in the film are well developed. Lucky and Jim's relationship starts out shaky, but gradually grows throughout the movie. By the end of the movie, the father/daughter relationship is made whole. The friendship between Lucky, Pru and Abigail grows throughout the movie as well, which makes the film much more enjoyable. Something else that stands out is the music. The background music adds greatly adds to the suspense and propels the action. The songs highlight the stunning vocals of the talented performers Becky G. who sings "You Belong." Its tempo builds as the excitement in the film builds. This sets the perfect tone for the movie, giving it a sense of hope. The cast is very diverse and featuring people from different backgrounds, which I appreciate as well. Spirit Untamed has it all!

The message of Spirit Untamed is: if you see something that's wrong, speak up and do everything you can to put an end to it. Lucky is aware that it is wrong for Hendricks and his gang to take Spirit and his herd away. No matter what anyone tells her, she doesn't rest until she finds a way to make everything right.

I rate Spirit Untamed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults Spirit Untamed is available in theatres June 4, 2021. You better hurry; you don't want to miss this!

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

Spirit Untamed is a thrilling and exciting animated film that keeps you entertained throughout the whole movie. It showcases the friendship between humans and horses, has great messages and holds your interest until the end.

The story follows a girl named Lucky Prescott (Isabella Merced) who returned to live with her dad (Jake Gyllenhaal) for the summer. On the way, she meets a wild horse named Spirit that is adventurous and daring, just like her. Since Spirit is wild, he doesn't trust Lucky at first. It takes him some time, but eventually he and Lucky become friends. Lucky comes across horse wranglers that are trying to capture Spirit and his herd. She is determined to do whatever it takes to save Spirit and his family.

Something that really impresses me about this film is the lip-syncing of the animated characters. Their mouths match exactly what they are saying. The background music sets the mood such as when scenes are intense, the music intensifies, which helps the audience connect with the mood of the scene. My favorite character is Lucky because she is adventurous, curious and fun. The moment she arrives at her father's home, she sets off to explore and which leads her to an adventure right away. Her dad, Jim's character develops the most during the movie. In the beginning, he is afraid something bad is going to happen to Lucky if she gets close to the horses, so he forbids her from being near them. Over time he realizes he can't keep her from everything and learns to let her follow her heart.

The message of Spirit Untamed is "when you trust someone they will learn to trust you." The only warning I have for this film is that in some scenes, ropes are wrapped around the horse's necks.

Spirit Untamed is an amazing film. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Spirit Untamed opens in theaters June 4, 2021. Go check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-15 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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