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KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA

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DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - From award-winning creator Julian Fellowes comes the motion picture event DOWNTON ABBEY: A NEW ERA. The much-anticipated cinematic return of the global phenomenon reunites the beloved cast as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess' newly inherited villa.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Crawley family returns once more! Downton Abbey: A New Era brings all our favorite characters together again in interesting circumstances. Fans will love what's in store in this new film.

Downton Abbey: A New Era focuses on the secret past of the Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith). She comes into possession of a property in the South of France. Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his family head to France to investigate why the villa was given to his mother. Meanwhile back at Downton, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) hosts a crew of filmmakers and actors who use the estate as a set for their new film.

It's so incredible to return to the Downton Abbey era and the Crawley family. Each one is out of their comfort zone in this new movie, which is absolutely hilarious. Lady Mary becomes a voice actress temporarily and seeing Robert hate the film crew for taking over his property is as funny as possible. The Crawleys have seen the times change and preparing for cinema to take over is amazing. It makes audiences realize how this generation saw life change so rapidly. Tom Branson (Allen Leech) is happily married and some new couples flourish in the film too. It's beautiful to see how much the characters have changed since the first time we met them in 2010. This movie focuses on relationships and characters that we haven't seen that often. It's refreshing to watch the pure relationship Daisy (Sophia McShera) and Andrew (Michael Fox) have and I loved watching fan-favorite Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) chase her love. The wardrobe is as spectacular as ever, even adding some Victorian pieces for the film being made at Downton. The comedy is brilliant and cunning, reminding us why we love Violet as much as we do.

There are many messages to take away here. Lady Mary learns to embrace the new era of filmmaking and life as she gets out of her comfort zone and realizes that it's okay to try new things. Lord Grantham learns that, even though being Earl and having property is a big part of his life, it is not everything. He realizes how important his family is to him.

I give Downton Abbey: A New Era 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 plus adults. It releases in theaters May 20, 2022.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS

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DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The thrilling Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, written by Michael Waldron, keeps you on the edge of your seat--you silently root for Doctor Strange as he embarks on the daunting journey to save America Chavez. Not only exciting, this film is also heartwarming, as the characters show the viewers the true importance of love. The acting is emotional and grounded in reality, even though the Marvel world is fantastical. Marvel fans will be fully engaged as they travel through the endless and unknown multiverse with Stephen Strange.

The storyline follows Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as he tries to save America Chavez's (Xochitl Gomez) powers from being stolen by the indomitable Wanda, the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen.) The unlikely duo must travel deep through the uncharted multiverse in order to defeat Wanda, but along the way, how will Strange and Chavez overcome the seemingly impassable obstacles that they will inevitably face? Wanda just wants her children back, but how much is she willing to sacrifice and destroy in order to return to her content family life?

As usual, Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Stephen Strange's beautiful complexity with ease, making his work seem simple. I forget he is even acting. To me he is truly Doctor Strange. Xotchil Gomez, although new to the Marvel Universe, starts off with a bang. She acts in a relatable and comical way, and it is impossible not to root for her with every step. The CGI is scarily realistic and absolutely essential to the story. The marvelous monsters are gruesome, each universe is unique and colorful, and the fight scenes are powerful--all because of the CGI. The music in this movie, by composer Danny Elfman, makes the action even more dramatic and gives the audience a pump of anticipation and adrenaline. Music even plays a pivotal role in one scene as it becomes a tool and a weapon in battle. My favorite part of the movie is the first time Dr.Strange travels with America to a new universe and experiences wonder and fright and ultimately awe.

The message of this film is that love is the most powerful kind of magic. One may be strong or supernatural, but familial love comes before any other superpower. This message is beautiful, relatable, and uplifting, especially for those of us who miss someone we truly love. The film starts really quickly and immediately draws the viewers into to the plot, but there are many macabre scenes that may be frightening to a younger audience.

I give Doctor Strange, into the Multiverse of Madness 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10-18, plus adults. It released in theaters Friday, May 6, 2022.

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

Right from the start, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is action packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the duration. The movie evolves the depth of these Marvel characters that we already know and love, and it introduces us to new characters that are likely to be fan favorites.

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) encounters fourteen-year-old America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who has the power to travel the multiverse, but she doesn't know how. Strange joins his old and new allies to go on a thrilling and perilous adventure that pushes the limits of the multiverse.

The special effects are not just out of this world, they are out of this universe. Everything from intense fight scenes and portals through the multiverse to scary creatures and witchcraft, the CGI lives up to the high standards of a Marvel movie. My favorite performances in the movie come from Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez and Rachel McAdams. Elizabeth Olsen, as Wanda Maximoff, really sheds new light on her character as she displays a more complex personality. Xochitl Gomez plays America Chavez and brings a very refreshing yet powerful performance. Rachel McAdams (as Christine) shows the audience an independent girl-boss side to her character. Make sure to look out for some surprise cameos and always stay for the credit scenes at the end.

The message of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is to try to make the most of your circumstances as "multiversal" travel isn't usually an option. This movie contains violence and some scenes that will be frightening for the faint of heart.

I give Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. Marvel fans will love this movie. It released in theaters May 6, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Four Doctor Stranges, epic battles, twists and turns and dimension travel are just some of the thrills you can expect in the new Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness! This film pulls you right into the multiverse with action-packed scenes from the opening credits right up until the credits at the end. The visual effects and cinematography will have feeling like you're traveling through your own multiverse.

In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), is having dreams about the universe being in danger and him trying to save a young girl, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). The adventure begins when he encounters her in his real-life universe and learns that she has the power to travel dimensions. They run into Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), also known as the Scarlet Witch, who is on a mission to steal America's powers so she can re-connect with her two sons. It's an all-out battle between happiness vs. sadness, evil vs. good and even dreams vs. nightmares.

The main characters of this film are Stephen "Doctor" Strange, Wanda Maximoff, America Chavez, and Wong (Benedict Wong). I love the different versions of the characters and learning the backstory of each from their own universe. My favorite part of this film is when America and Doctor Strange are falling through tons of dimensions and pass through one that turns them into paint. America even jokes about how hard it is to eat in that universe. The music battle scene between two Doctor Stranges was hilarious and creative. They use their powers to fight each other with music notes while upbeat piano tunes play in harmony. The Marvel character cameos from films such as The Fantastic Four, Captain America, and even a special appearance from the X-men that, once again, will wow Marvel fans.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness shows us that just because someone stumbles, and falls, doesn't mean they're lost forever. Many of the characters multi-verse versions didn't always make the best decisions. People deserve to have second chances to become better. Parents should be aware of foul language, gory scenes, some jump-scares, and violence.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is very entertaining. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for kids ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness now in theaters only.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BRIE'S BAKE OFF CHALLENGE

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BRIE'S BAKE OFF CHALLENGE - HBO MAX
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-14
Description - Brie Hayes is an aspiring baker who wishes to win her school's Spring Bake Off Challenge. Troubles ensue when Brie's confidence reaches an ultimate low and her "arch nemesis", Vanessa, does everything she can to slim Brie's chances of winning. Brie's family and her best friend Millie must help her gain perspective and practice to win. Stakes are high as these pre-teens compete for the grand prize of $5,000 and for four Cosmo Land tickets. This is the ultimate baking movie for children and adults who love watching cooking and baking shows.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - First things first, if you are a fan of baking competition shows, you'll want to stop what you're doing and tune into this brilliant and fun film. Brie's Bake Off Challenge delivers all the adorableness and laughter of a teen dramedy while speaking directly to my food-loving spirit. If you appreciate a cute, teeny-bop movie, you're in for a sweet treat!

Brie Hayes (Devyn Mitchell) is an aspiring baker who wants nothing more than to win her school's annual Spring Bake Off Challenge. The path to victory becomes harder for Brie to see as her view is blocked by self-doubt, issues with her adversary, and tension with her best friend. With a $5,000 grand prize and four Cosmo Land tickets at stake, Brie is more determined than ever to be the champion.

Devyn Mitchell's performance pulls viewers in emotionally. Her acting range is evident in multiple scenes. First, you see her anger when she scolds her little brother Peter (Isiah Givens) for destroying her chocolate cake. Next, you see her discontentment and frustration when she goes toe to toe with her arch-nemesis and bully Vanessa Weiler. Then she shows you her creative and intelligent side when strategizing how to win with her best friend BFFL Millie (Mallory Vertman). This film keeps the competitive energy of baking shows while making us feel like we were walking the halls of middle school. My favorite part of the film was when Brie's Mother, Violet (Jennifer Richards), decides to put Brie and her best friend through intensive baking training.

Brie's Bake Off Challenge reminds tweens that even our worst days are temporary and demonstrates the importance of resilience and determination. There are a series of unfortunate events, and she easily could have used those dilemmas as a reason to quit. But instead, her perseverance has great reward. This sends an encouraging message to tweens facing similar situations.

I give Brie's Bake Off Challenge 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 14, plus adults. Brie's Bake Off Challenge is available now on HBO MAX. Check it out if you love cute teen movies, delectable baked goods, and movies with happy endings.


Juror Recommended Age: 8-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
NO VACANCY

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NO VACANCY - KINGSTONE STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - A jaded reporter is demoted to a rural news station, where she befriends a recovering addict and gets involved with a church's plans to transform an old motel into housing for homeless families.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - No Vacancy is a good, heartwarming tale, which is especially crowd-pleasing as it is based on a true story.

Brandi Michaels (Sean Young) is a news reporter who lives with her mom and an alcoholic brother (Wade Hunt Williams). Being a very close-minded person, her view of the world changes when she meets a homeless drug addict (T.C. Stallings). She believes that people are only out for themselves, but when she discovers a church that is struggling to purchase a motel for homeless families, her thoughts change.

The storyline hooked me into the movie the most. I found it very exciting. Even though this isn't an action movie, No Vacancy is engaging. Sean Young, who plays main character Brandi, is an exceptional actress when it comes to emotion. She has subtle expressions which contribute to my overall favorable opinion of this film. Brandi is portrayed as a simple person whose view of the whole world changes after she sees how unselfish and altruistic people can be, and the character development portrays this evidently. The pace of the film is perfect, not being too fast or too slow.

The message I took away from this film is that selflessness does exist, and when someone is selfless it can mean a great deal more than people may think it will. There are scenes that show smoking, and there are depictions of alcohol and drug addiction. No Vacancy is suitable for more mature children as there is no severe profanity or intimacy.

I give No Vacancy 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for mature kids ages 12 to18, plus adults. No Vacancy releases in theaters on May 9, 2022.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHLOE AND THEO

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CHLOE AND THEO - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - Based on true events, a young woman living on the streets meets a wise Inuit elder who was sent to New York by his elders to provide a message of change to the world. The woman, who had been searching for something to believe in, becomes inspired and, with the help of a kind lawyer, the three of them present his story to the United Nations in hopes of creating a better future for us all.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Chloe and Theo is a film about the effects of climate change and how they need to be stopped. The movie has a good message, but falls a bit flat, mainly due to some stereotyping and insensitive jokes, such as people calling Theo an Eskimo despite him telling them repeatedly that he is Inuit. I was disappointed about the representation of the Inuit people.

Chloe and Theo is based on true events about an Inuit man named Theo who comes to New York to warn people about climate change. While in the city Theo meets a homeless girl named Chloe who helps him on his quest. They are joined by a lawyer, and the three of them talk to the United Nations about the dangers of climate change.

Chloe and Theo has an interesting story a great message about spreading climate change awareness. However, the Inuit man, Theo is often the butt of jokes, which is unfortunate. The story flows well, although there are some parts where it drags and it takes a while to get the plot moving. I was disappointed that there wasn't more focus on Theo's story. The vocabulary is suitable for the audience. Visually, the movie looks quite good. The camera work is good and there are some animated aspects, such as when Theo talks about the Inuit tale of the sun kissing the earth that are terrific. The film provides some insight into Inuit culture, but it isn't explored that much, except for the tale of the sun kissing the earth. People may be inspired by this film to want to learn more about Inuit culture and hopefully about climate change.

The message of the film is about the devastating effects of climate change; it emphasizes the need for everyone to play their part in stopping it. There is some violence. For example, in one scene Chloe fights with UN employees and, although it's not graphic, they drag her on top of the table and restrain her. At another point, Chloe tries to jump off of a building, but is stopped by Tyler. At the end of the movie, Theo is stabbed and killed, and blood is shown on his body and on the knife.

I give Chloe and Theo 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Medha N. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Chloe and Theo is a touching and thought-provoking story based on the life of a young homeless woman named Chloe whose world changes when she meets an Inuit with a message to help save the world. Theo, an Inuit, travels from the snow-covered Arctic to New York City in search of the Elders of the South. They both discover that although their worlds are very different, friendship and a common cause can bring people close together.

The film begins in the Arctic, a winter wonderland, where Theo (Theo Ikummaq, who is playing himself) and other Inuit are discussing the effects of the sun and global warming on their environment. They decide it's time for someone to deliver this message to Elders in the South to help save Earth. They choose Theo as the best candidate because he spent time in the South when he was young. He sets out on his mission and ends up in New York City in search of the Elders. Along the way, he meets Chloe (Dakota Johnson), a homeless girl who seems tough on the outside, but has a kind heart. She listens to his message and decides she wants to help him spread it. Together they face many obstacles and dangers, but they also make new friends, including a woman named Monica (Mira Sorvino), who are determined to assist Theo in his journey to deliver his message help save the environment.

My favorite scene is when Theo goes to a meeting with other green environmental companies who have the same goals as Theo. Theo decides to take the stairs and walk up to the top of the building rather than taking the elevator. Thankfully, Chloe and his other friends cover for him in the meeting while he walks up all those flights. The scene shows how far Theo is willing to go for his cause while adding a bit of humor. The costumes fit each character's situation and culture. Theo is seen in clothes he would wear in his village in the Arctic and his clothes change in the film due to the storyline. Chloe is seen with worn, dirty clothes and messy hair, which showcase what it's like to live on the streets. The contrast in settings helps the viewer to understand the characters' lives. The peaceful Arctic village, compared to the noisy city, shows how different Chloe and Theo's lives are. The place Chloe shares with her street friends is also a contrast to the apartment belonging Monica who helps them.

The messages in this film are to care for others and for the Earth's environment. People are all connected no matter how far apart they live. Protecting the Earth is vital for survival for everyone, so everyone should work together to make sure it is taken care of for the future. There is some mild violence that parents should be aware of.

I give Chloe and Theo 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this for ages 12 to 17, plus adults. Chloe and Theo releases just in time for Earth Day, April 22, 2022 on Digital and DVD.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Chloe and Theo is a unique and inspiring film that shows how unlikely friendships can change the world! Caring and helping with the environment is very crucial and this film brilliantly portrays this message.

A homeless female, Chloe and an Inuit named Theo build a relationship after getting a life changing message in order to save the world. Despite being total opposites and having a difficult, yet hilarious adventure, both Chloe and Theo create an unbreakable bond in order to finish the mission successfully.

Chloe (Dakota Johnson) is my favorite character in this film. Dakota Johnson is an all-around, well-rounded actress and her acting brings so much to the complex character of Chloe. There is so much character development with Chloe; we see how she grows and matures as a person. Her character is someone that many people will relate to. The Inuit, Theo (Theo Ikummaq) essentially plays himself and captures his own cultural heritage with what seems like little to no acting. His portrayal Theo makes this film heartfelt and more personal for audiences. Chloe portrays a homeless woman and her clothing shows us exactly what her circumstances are. Theo's clothing, to the best of my knowledge, does justice to the Inuit culture by using traditional attire. The music and score, from start to finish, is incredible! Every funny scene, serious scene or even dialogue rich scene is enhanced with the background music. My favorite scenes of the film are those with educational aspects. While much of the film is based on fictional storylines, there are many cultural and environmental aspects that I learned by watching this film -- an experience you don't have often with movies.

The message of this film is to be open minded to different people and possibilities. If Chloe had rejected the opportunity to help Theo carry out the message to save the environment, then she would not have been able to be a hero or make a difference. Despite their differences, they looked past this and decided to see the bigger picture - a lesson I encourage all to learn from.

I give Chloe and Theo 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Chloe and Theo releases just in time for Earth Day, April 22, 2022 on Digital and DVD. Don't miss it!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE

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FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE SECRETS OF DUMBLEDORE - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - Professor Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) knows the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) is moving to seize control of the wizarding world. Unable to stop him alone, he entrusts Magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to lead an intrepid team of wizards, witches and one brave Muggle baker on a dangerous mission, where they encounter old and new beasts and clash with Grindelwald's growing legion of followers. But with the stakes so high, how long can Dumbledore remain on the sidelines?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - See youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This fascinating film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore finally gives us the long-awaited backstory of what is going on in Dumbledore's brilliant mind throughout the Harry Potter saga. The movie is heart-wrenching, and yet at moments it leaves you bent over with laughter. The actors are truly convincing, bringing their characters to life. Every Harry Potter fan will enjoy hearing the subtle references to the books as they watch the infamous Grindelwald at the height of his power.

The storyline follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) and his comrades as they act on instructions given by Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) to find and defeat the dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen). This unlikely team faces major challenges and setbacks as they try to stop Grindelwald from winning the election for Minister of Magic. Newt uses his quick mind to find him, with help from his fantastic beasts, his friends' brilliant minds and his brother's spell work. Dumbledore has a plan, although he is just as secretive as all Harry Potter fans will surely remember. Will a small group of wizards (and a muggle) be able to defeat the greatest dark wizard of the time?

Jude Law portrays Dumbledore almost perfectly, just as people have always imagined his younger self to be. Dumbledore's secrecy, love and trustworthiness come across effortlessly in Jude Law's face. The protagonist, Newt Scamander, is likable and a spark of joy in these dark times. The computer generated fantastical beasts are extremely realistic and adorable, and the visual effects during fight scenes are powerful. My favorite part of this movie is the bittersweet ending. Watching the characters finally enjoy their lives, far away from evil, brought tears to my eyes.

The message of this film is that strength comes in numbers. One person may be powerful, but when people come together using their unique strengths, they can triumph. This is a beautiful message to all those who feel helpless, reminding them that they can always turn to people they trust. There are not many age restrictions in this movie, but I think it will be more interesting to slightly older audiences. The film starts slow and there are subtle clues that the viewer needs to pay attention to in order to completely understand the storyline. Because of this, this movie would be most appealing to people over the age of eleven.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on Friday, April 15, 2022.

By Nyara Afshar, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the 3rd movie of the Fantastic Beasts movie series. It brings the same mysterious, dangerous-yet-exciting adventure as the movies that came before it. Actor Eddie Redmayne's character, Newt Scamander has a new mission that is more courageous and dangerous than before! Can he do it? Will Newt and his team be able to successfully complete this mission?

Newt Scamander and his team are tasked with trying to stop Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) from taking over the wizarding world. Not only is this movie mysterious with great humor, but it is also dark, eerie and action packed with enough action and suspense to keep you guessing. There are parts where I laughed so hard--I love a movie when I can get a good laugh in. Let's talk about suspense: The whole movie kept me on my toes. I kept wondering what was going to happen next. I was never able to predict what would happen next, which made the movie extremely enjoyable. Viewers of the previous Fantastic Beasts movies will really enjoy this movie. Part 3 aligns perfectly with the other two movies; therefore, it makes it easy to follow what was going on from the start. Honestly, you really do not need to watch the other two to follow the movie.

There is a lot going on in the movie with switching clips from one character to next, yet the camera quality and editing makes it easy to keep up with. The acting also makes this movie wonderful-- it has a marvelous cast, and you can see how well they all worked together. I really enjoyed the plot and storyline of this movie. It is interesting all the way through, and I never lost my attention.

The message of this movie is to not judge people or alienate others because they can't do certain things, look different, and accept your family members for who they are. The movie is kid appropriate. There's no bad language or drugs. The most violence shown is battling with the wands. Some of the creatures can be scary or creepy for younger kids, but it is not too bad.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The film releases in theaters April 15, 2022.

By Ava Coleman, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

After four years of waiting, the third movie in the Fantastic Beasts franchise is finally here! Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has a perfect balance of comedic scenes that will make you chuckle and action-packed scenes that will make your adrenaline pump and tightly grip your seat.

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), former partner of Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) and future headmaster of Hogwarts, calls upon Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the socially awkward but loveable "magizoologist" to lead a team of witches, wizards and muggles to defeat Grindelwald and his vast crowd of supporters before he takes over the Wizarding World and starts a war between muggles and wizards.

I highly recommend watching the first two films in this prequel, Harry Potter spin-off series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald before watching this third installment. However, it is not necessary to watch the Harry Potter movies or read the Harry Potter books. The special effects are remarkable, as all the magical animals are truly "fantastic" and the magic spells coming out of the wands are so convincing. The movie takes place in the 1930s and the costumes, objects and sets are absolutely beautiful and so well put together. The movie also maintains an accuracy to the era. The acting is very strong in this movie, especially with Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald, Eddie Redmayne as Newt, and Jessica Williams as Professor Hicks. My favorite character is, without a doubt, Jacob Kowalski, (Dan Fogler), the amiable muggle, because he is so hilarious at some points and also convincingly serious in others.

The message of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is to do what is right and not what is easy. There is violence and death in this movie, so be aware of that for younger viewers.

I give Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fans of the Wizarding World will definitely enjoy this. This will be released exclusively in theaters on April 15, 2022.

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Now everything makes sense! Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore is the story all Harry Potter Fans have been waiting to witness.

As mentioned in the title, this film takes us on a journey through the incredible and unpredictable backstory of Albus Dumbledore. The wizard we all know and love is revealed to have a darker past that has impacted the lives of all wizards and humans.

Despite the title, Dumbledore is not in every scene--however, this brilliantly adds suspense and mystery throughout the execution of the plot. The main character Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) creates cohesiveness throughout this entire Fantastic Beasts franchise. Witch Eulalie Hicks (Jessica Williams) is a wonderful addition to the team--however, one thing I notice is how forced her personality comes across. The costume design and music score are phenomenal. Both interestingly work together in different settings throughout. My favorite scenes are the ones with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger) who is the best comic relief for such a heavy story.

The message of this film is to never forget who you are and where you come from. Dumbledore had to come to terms with his past in order to solve the predicament that he is in. Some scenes may be mature for younger audiences.

I give Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore comes out Friday, April 15, 2022 in theaters.
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
POLAR BEAR

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POLAR BEAR
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POLAR BEAR - WALT DISNEY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 5-18
Description - The film follows the story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. Narrated by two-time Academy Award� nominee Catherine Keener (Capote, Being John Malkovich), Disneynature's Polar Bear tells the story of a new mother whose memories of her own youth prepare her to navigate motherhood in the increasingly challenging world that polar bears face today. Helmed by Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson, the directing team behind Disneynature's Penguins, and produced by Fothergill, Wilson, Jason Roberts, Keith Scholey and Roy Conli.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Have you ever watched a film that left you filled with so much emotion that it rendered you speechless? Disneynature's new Earth Day film Polar Bear has done just that. As a huge advocate for nature, I appreciate this film so much and truly believe that this just may be the film that inspires us all to create the environmental change that can save our planet.

This nature documentary follows the life journey of a mother polar bear and her two cubs. This brave mother navigates through some of the roughest and most dangerous ecosystems on our planet while teaching her cubs all about survival. Environmental changes over the years, however, have negatively impacted these ice bears resulting in an even greater struggle for existence. If these creatures are to survive in this modern world, they must learn to adapt and to pass new survival skills to their offspring which we are able to witness in Polar Bear.

Although the film is so heartfelt and difficult to watch at times, its footage is exactly what we need for a call to action because it creates awareness. If people are unaware of the causes and consequences of climate change, we can't fix it. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Jeff Wilson have created a masterpiece filled with the most breathtaking scenes with each one serving to educate viewers. The cinematography is so captivating, and I especially love the aerial footage. Actor Catherine Keener adds a special touch to the film with her first-person narration of the female cub who shares how the memories of growing up alongside her courageous mother helped to shape her own motherhood.

The message in Polar Bear is about conservation awareness and a need for global commitment to make change. I'm hoping that this film's message inspires others to think more about nature and what would happen if ecosystems were lost forever. Polar Bear also sends the message of the importance of strong family bonds and how for some species, these bonds are critical for survival.

I give Polar Bear 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults, especially nature lovers, will also love this film. Polar Bear begins streaming exclusively on Disney+ on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Mark your calendars and spread the word, this is a film that you don't want to miss!

By Dominic DiGravio, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 5-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
REIGN OF CHAOS

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REIGN OF CHAOS
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REIGN OF CHAOS - LEFT FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - When the world is gripped by a plague unleashed by the evil lord Chaos, and humans are turned into rabid creatures, mankind can only be saved by three young women, descendants of a Goddess, with the power to stop Chaos' evil.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Reign of Chaos is a gripping, one-of-a-kind tale that will have you intrigued. Its plot makes up for the, at times, weak production.

Reign of Chaos is a tale of anarchy. The evil Chaos has released a terrible plague on the world. Humans are descending into a rabid race of monsters, and mankind's last hope lies in three young women, descendants of a goddess who each have special powers. They must train and then use their powers to take down the great lord Chaos.

The most remarkable part of Reign of Chaos is its storyline. There are also lots of closeup and medium shots with dim lighting to complement the eerie mood. The voice modulation used on Chaos, one part of the special effects in the film, is great; it gives him a Darth Vader-esque voice that's menacing and powerful. The casting of this film is not particularly memorable--perhaps because the roles are not especially memorable--though every actor portrays their character well.

Reign of Chaos promotes resourcefulness, leadership, taking action and teamwork. The film contains violence and some profanity; the protagonists are initially a bit hostile to one another, but in the end work together and are great examples to kids watching the film.

I give Reign of Chaos 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reign of Chaos will be available on Digital April 12, 2022.

By Eshaan M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2

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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - The world's favorite blue hedgehog is back for a next-level adventure in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2. After settling in Green Hills, Sonic is eager to prove he has what it takes to be a true hero. His test comes when Dr. Robotnik returns, this time with a new partner, Knuckles, in search for an emerald that has the power to destroy civilizations. Sonic teams up with his own sidekick, Tails, and together they embark on a globe-trotting journey to find the emerald before it falls into the wrong hands. From the filmmakers behind The Fast and the Furious and Deadpool, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 stars James Marsden, Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic, Tika Sumpter, Natasha Rothwell, Adam Pally, Lee Majdoub and Jim Carrey returning, alongside new additions Shemar Moore, with Idris Elba as the voice of Knuckles and Colleen O'Shaughnessey as the voice of Tails.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The wild, fun and adventurous blue hedgehog we all love, Sonic a.k.a. Blue Justice, is back in his new movie, Sonic the Hedgehog 2! This film has new character appearances, major plot twists, mind-blowing adventures, and tons of laughs throughout it. It's great that this sequel is one of those movies you can enjoy without seeing the original; however, since it refers to different scenes from the first one, you may want to watch the original first.

In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Dr. Ivo Robotnik, or Dr. Eggman as Sonic calls him (Jim Carrey), returns to Earth with a new ally, Knuckles (Idris Elba), in hopes of finding a magical gem that holds the ultimate power of the universe. All that stands in their way is Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and his new partner in crime, Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey). It's a battle of good and bad to see who will reach the emerald first and win in the end.

The main characters are Sonic, Dr. Robotnik, Tails and Knuckles. I love how this film introduces characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise and they just fit in seamlessly. One of the voice actors who surprised me is Idris Elba. His voice is the perfect match to portray Knuckle's strong and confident personality. My favorite part is when Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) and Maddie Wachowski (Tika Sumpter) are at Rachel's wedding and need to open a portal for Sonic; Tom realizes he may have mistaken the wedding ring for one of Sonic's golden rings. It adds some hilarious adventure to the wedding. Kudos to Junkie XL for keeping an "old school" feel throughout the film with songs such as It's Tricky by Run D.M.C. and Here Comes the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze.

This film sheds light on the importance of having family and friends in your life. They will always have your back and keep you on the right path in life. Sonic and the other characters experience different obstacles that teach them the true definition of a family, even if they come as friends.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is out of this world. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 8 to 18, plus adults. The "battle of the gem" takes place in theaters on April 8, 2022. Be sure to stay for the after-credits movie scene.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

I really enjoyed the original Sonic movie and this second one, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, is even better. I really enjoyed watching this new Sonic movie, especially with his fun, amusing and youthful personality. If Sonic was real, I would want to be his friend. Although, this is more of a little kid's movie, it brings excitement and suspense. The battle between Sonic (Ben Schwartz) and the evil Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) makes this film a "must-see"!

In the story, Dr. Robotnik figures out a way to get off the planet that Sonic banished him to. His goal is to seek revenge on Sonic with a new partner. When Dr. Robotnik arrives back to earth, he goes looking for Sonic and realizes that there is something bigger that he wants - something that can give him extreme powers to take over the world. While Dr. Robotnik is trying to figure out how to conquer the world, Sonic is struggling with self-control. He wants to be a real superhero and do good, but sometimes, he causes more problems than doing good. Soon he will be put to the test when it comes time to face Dr. Robotnik.

My favorite part of the movie is the ridiculous plan Dr. Robotnik makes to get off the planet he is stuck on. I also like Sonic's character which is relatable to young teenagers. His funny and quirky personality really embodies how a 13-year-old child really acts. Sonic's characteristic demonstrates how it would look if a child his age had the same power as Sonic and what they would do with it. The animation and quality of the effects are impressive! How they made the real people interact with the animation seems so realistic.

The messages of the movie are discovering what it means to be a true hero, making new friends, and not giving up. There was a little foul language at the beginning of the movie--I felt the movie would have been great without using inappropriate language and some innuendo. Older kids and adults will probably understand what they are insinuating.

I give Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5-18, plus adults. It's a family-oriented movie and everyone can enjoy it. It can be found in theaters near you on April 8, 2022.

By Ava C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Our familiar blue hedgehog friend Sonic is back with new adventures in Sonic the Hedgehog 2! This film has an exciting plot that moves at the perfect pace, sure to make the audience yearn for more.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 focuses on Sonic (Ben Schwartz) as he's becoming more familiar with his new life in Green Hills. While Tom (James Marsden) is away from home at a wedding, Sonic realizes that Doctor Robotnik (Jim Carrey) is back and he's not alone. Doctor Robotnik has a new sidekick named Knuckles (Idris Elba) who gives Sonic and his new sidekick Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey), a run for their money. When Doctor Robotnik and Knuckles try to capture a sacred emerald that belonged to Sonic's family, Sonic and Tails have to try to stop them before evil takes over.

The humor in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is why I would watch it again. This especially goes for the scenes with Rachel (Natasha Rothwell). As her desire for the perfect wedding increasingly gets ruined and her banter with the characters increases, it makes her a really lovable character. Natasha Rothwell's body language and the acting choices she makes are commendable and really drew me in. That being said, I was a little disappointed about how little she was displayed at the end. She is a vital character in the beginning, since she is the whole reason Tom is away from Sonic. However, she then disappears and I wondered when her humorous contribution was coming again. Knuckles is against Sonic the whole time, and then they finally get to know each other, which opens up a lot of room for interpretation and possibly another movie. Now that Sonic has people he can rely on, that can be used to continue to build his story.

The message of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is that sometimes people are just misunderstood. You have to get to know a person before you can truly understand what they're going through and why they make certain decisions. Sonic didn't know why Knuckles was the way he was, but when he hears his story and gets to know him, it is easier for them to see eye to eye.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a very fun movie to watch. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. Everyone will find something they enjoy and can look back on to laugh at. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 releases in theatres April 8, 2022. Make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 by Jeff Fowler is absolutely hilarious! This is a must see for all ages, everything from the quirky comebacks to the feel good feeling family moments.

Sonic wants to prove that he is a real hero, and can take care of his community. When Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) comes back to earth, he is surprised by his side villain, Knuckles (Idris Elba) who wants to steal the emerald that can destroy the whole universe. Sonic needs to protect the emerald, so he recruits his sidekick Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) to try to find the emerald. The two of them go through a lot of adventures and triumphs.

This film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and what stood out to me the most were the special effects. They are so colorful and realistic. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles all look so fluffy and soft. My favorite scene is the dance party and I even learned some new moves. It's amazing how one of my favorite video games has turned into one of my favorite movies. My favorite part of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is when Sonic's fuzz turns gold, much to the surprise of everyone. I love how we see Sonic grow throughout this film. He learns how to be brave for his family.

The message of this film is that family is everything!

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters April 8, 2022.

By Sariah Rodriguez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is an exhilarating film that many young movie-watchers have been anticipating since the first one came out. The sequel shows the growth of Sonic and how he has matured since the last movie. The messages, actors and action-packed scenes will be sure to captivate audiences too.

After the first film, Sonic (Ben Schwartz) has found his place in his town, living comfortably with Tom (James Marsden) and Maddie (Tika Sumpter). But, he makes it his mission to go around helping others to prove he is the hero of the town. While Tom and Maddie are in Hawaii for a wedding, Sonic has the house all to himself and plans to just relax, eat and watch TV. All of that changes when Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) comes back with a new sidekick named Knuckles (Idris Elba). Dr. Robotnik and Knuckles are looking for a very powerful emerald and they think Sonic can show them where to find it. Sonic has to team up with a sidekick of his own, Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey), as they face off with Robotnik and Knuckles in an unforgettable battle to the emerald.

What I really like about this movie, and what I think others will enjoy as well, is the acting and the humor. One of my favorite scenes is when Rachel's (Natasha Rothwell) wedding gets ruined. You can really tell by her facial expressions and her tone that she is genuinely angry that her beautiful wedding is destroyed. I also like the fighting scene between Robotnik and Sonic because it is full of action and shows what can happen if you never give up. Like people say - "if you fall down you get right back up" - and that is what Sonic does. My favorite character in this film is Sonic because he is funny, has perseverance, and is a bit childish, which I can sometimes relate to. I also like Knuckles because he acts so serious, but acts funny at the exact same time without any intention. I think these two characters have the potential to be everyone else's favorite too.

The message of this film is that being a hero doesn't mean looking out for yourself; it means doing a lot for others and caring for others. This message is shown multiple times throughout the film and it is shown in many different ways that will draw viewer's attention. This film is completely family-friendly.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters April 8, 2022. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana Nesmith, KIDSFIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is an ideal sequel, including many of the best parts of the first movie while expanding the sandbox in which it plays. The first Sonic was a fairly traditional road movie, but this sequel bounces back and forth between being a superhero movie, a fantastical adventure, a coming-of-age story and a family comedy.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 follows our favorite speedy blue hedgehog Sonic (Ben Schwartz) on another adventure, this time even greater than his last. He's found a home with humans Maddie (Tika Sumpter) and Tom (James Marsden), who--in trying to be a father to Sonic--warns him of the great responsibilities that come with power he possesses. Sonic, in the meantime, is acting as a vigilante, stopping robberies and preventing low-level crimes in the areas surrounding his hometown of Green Hills. When Maddie and Tom head to Hawaii, Sonic gorges himself on junk food, blasting music throughout his house and taking full advantage of his "parents" absence until his shenanigans are brought to a halt by the arrival of a familiar enemy. That's right, Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) has returned from his exile to a mushroom planet, and he's brought an angry, red echidna with him named Knuckles (Idris Elba) who also has beef with Sonic. Fortunately, Sonic has a new ally in a double-tailed creature who wants to help him in his fight against Robotnik and Knuckles, aptly named Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey).

This may be a Sonic movie but you can't cast Jim Carrey and not expect him to make every moment his own. Carrey brings more of the same hyped-up energy to Ivo Robotnik that made him stand out in the previous Sonic installment--the only live-action actor in this movie constantly animated enough to rival that of the actual animated characters he interacts with! I will admit, sadly, there is less Carrey in this movie than in the first, but that's because there's so much more going on. With the addition of Tails and Knuckles, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 goes all in on the richness and, arguably, the insanity of Sonic's lore. And if the post-credits scene that drew excitement and cheers from the audience I saw this with is any indication, this is only the beginning of exploring the expansive worlds and cast of characters that come with Sonic.

You should be aware that Sonic the Hedgehog 2 does have some rude humor and action violence that may be a little intense for younger viewers.

I give Sonic the Hedgehog 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for 8-18, plus adults. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 speeds into theaters April 8, 2022. If you're feeling the "need for speed," I'd say go check this one out.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

The newly-released Sonic the Hedgehog 2, by filmmaker Jeff Fowler, is exhilarating, action-packed, and fresh. This two-hour film brings back all the fan-favorite characters, including Rachel (Natasha Rothwell), my personal favorite! That's not all--this film also reveals more about our favorite blue hedgehog that we didn't know before. Let's dive in.

The storyline follows Sonic (Ben Schwartz) as he uncovers new powers, becoming a teenager, and once again saving the world from the manic Dr. Robotnik. Yup, you heard right: Dr. Robotnik has returned to Earth, but not alone! He is accompanied by a new ally, Knuckles the Echidna. However, Dr. Robotnik isn't the only one with a determined ally by their side--Sonic meets a new friend named Tails. Together, they go through numerous challenges and even moments of failure, ultimately fighting to protect the "Master Emerald", which was left behind to be watched over by Sonic's most valuable friend, Longclaw. The question is: will they be successful?

My favorite character is most definitely Rachel, portrayed by writer, actress, teacher and comedian, Natasha Rothwell, who is hilarious. Rachel, the long-time best friend of Maddie, Sonic's mother, has been a fan favorite since day one and hasn't lost the title. In this film, Rachel falls madly in love with a young man named Randall, and even marries him. Well, before he can even put the ring on her finger, it is revealed he is actually an undercover agent working to track down Sonic the Hedgehog. Although her wedding doesn't work out the way she planned, Rachel and Maddie team up and work together to help Sonic and his friends complete their mission. She also brings many laughs and memorable moments.

My favorite part of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is when Dr. Robotnik finally gets his hands on the "Master Emerald." Actually, let me rephrase... I wasn't totally thrilled knowing Dr. Robotnik can use that emerald to completely wipe out the entire existence. I was excited how Sonic and Knuckles decide to team up and stop Dr. Robotnik, because they both finally realize they have more in common than they ever would have thought. They both come to the conclusion that they both want the emerald for the greater good, unlike Dr. Robotnik. Sonic helps save Knuckles' life, and Knuckles repays him by doing the same.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has many unexpected moments and even makes you want to close your eyes at some points. This film will most definitely make you get up out of your seat. The message of this film is: It's never wrong to learn to set aside differences with people--we may all be unique and share different opinions, and yet showing kindness and doing good can never go wrong.

I give Sonic the Hedgehog 25 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. It is available now in theaters.

By Nathalia J, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
PROTOTYPE

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PROTOTYPE
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PROTOTYPE - LEFT FILMS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - In the near future, life-like androids with artificial intelligence have been created to help people with menial household tasks. The prototype, One, created by Roger Marshall and tested by his family, proves to be popular but flawed. Roger has been working on a new model, Two, whose improved features show promise of its super-human abilities. As tensions rise between Roger and wife Shelley, the androids malfunction and the lives of the whole family are soon in danger of Two's sinister plans.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Prototype, a frightening and profound portrait of a digital world, will spellbind viewers of all ages. Its chilling plot and well-written script combine with rather realistic special effects to make for an immersive viewing experience.

In the near future, androids with artificial intelligence are being created to help people with menial household tasks. The first prototype, One, created by Roger Marshall (Jamie Robertson) and tested by his family, proves to be popular. Roger has been working on a new model, Two, with improved features, but when things take a turn for the worse, human emotion is weighed against scientific progress and robotic efficiency.

The plot is the most compelling part of Prototype, and the film is very well written. The casting too works wonders. Jamie Robertson is phenomenal in his role as Roger Marshall, the mercurial inventor intent on revolutionizing the technology space. He delivers his dialogue with conviction and passion; I truly felt threatened by his character at times. Actor Ben Reid's character (Roger's son) is intended to emulate his father and Reid works hard to model himself after Robertson's character. Danielle Scott, who plays the wife Shelley Marshall, perfectly plays the role of a well-meaning housewife who is willing to do anything to protect her family. A trite character though it may be, Scott's take on Shelley is fresh and unique. The cinematography complements the dark and suspenseful theme, as several scenes play with light.

Prototype is just as much about entertainment as it is a lesson to value the technology around us, and yet to not let it take over our lives. The film contains scenes suggesting domestic abuse and a murder scene.

I give Prototype 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Prototype will be available on Digital April 5, 2022.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
JESSIE AND THE ELF BOY

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JESSIE AND THE ELF BOY - ENTERTAINMENT SQUAD
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-12
Description - Inspired by Scottish legend, this feel-good comedy follows the antics of the solitary forest elf Ghillie Dhu who becomes friends with a girl lost in the woods. When she is unexpectedly whisked away by her mother, a forlorn Ghillie sets out on a quest to find his lost companion. Years later, in the city, Ghillie meets Jessie Macrae, a plucky teenager determined to win favour with her high-flying mother by becoming a renowned hair stylist. When Jessie discovers that Ghillie has a gift for hair styling, they strike up a unique partnership which causes chaos for the manager of the chic hair salon and catapults Jessie to fame. Thanks to Ghillie, Jessie's dreams are within reach, but will this meeting of two worlds be enough to overcome the deep hurts of broken relationships through the generations?
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Jessie and the Elf Boy is a family-friendly film set in Edinburgh, Scotland. With a sweet storyline and its Scottish sense of humor, Jessie and the Elf Boy is one for the family to watch.

The story follows Ghillie Dhu (Huck Whittle), an elf that you can only see when wearing a special necklace. When a girl he meets in the forest moves away, he goes in search to find her, only to realize that that young girl has grown up. He then finds Jessie (Julia Brown), who he believes is that young girl from all those years ago. Jessie has just started a new job at her mother's salon, and it turns out that this elf may just be the thing she needs to become the next big hair stylist.

Jessie deals with her mother freezing her out as well as trying to get her to notice the amazing things she can do--Julia portrays these characteristics really well. Huck Whittle is a newcomer making his debut in this film--his character, Ghillie, is very comedic about how he searches for his childhood friend. He discovers various things that he didn't have in the woods--one of my favorites being fizzy juice. Jessie's mother, Valerie, (Gail Watson), the owner of the hair salon, plays a very big part in the end, but I won't say too much. My favorite part of the salon storyline is when Jessie discovers Ghillie, and he creates some amazing hairdos. I love the forest at the beginning of the movie where Ghillie's home is set--it is beautiful, and highlights the amazing scenery that Scotland has to offer.

The message of the film is that the truth will always come out in the end, and it will have its perks--good and bad.

I give Jessie and the Elf Boy 3 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 8 to 11, plus adults. The film will be released April 1, 2022 to digital platforms.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
MORBIUS

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MORBIUS - COLUMBIA PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 12-18
Description - One of the most compelling and conflicted characters in Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters comes to the big screen as Oscar� winner Jared Leto transforms into the enigmatic antihero Michael Morbius. Dangerously ill with a rare blood disorder and determined to save others suffering his same fate, Dr. Morbius attempts a desperate gamble. While at first it seems to be a radical success, a darkness inside him is unleashed. Will good override evil - or will Morbius succumb to his mysterious new urges?
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The new Marvel film Morbius has a lot of action, which I liked a lot, though I did expect more from this movie.

Morbius is about a biochemist named Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto) who suffers from a sickness that doesn't let him walk and limits his life span. Dr. Morbius uses bats to make a cure for him and for his lifelong friend from the orphanage they grew up in, Loxias Crown (Matt Smith), who also suffers from the same illness. When injecting himself with the serum it only makes matters worse --this serum makes the infamous Morbius come to life as an ugly bat-like creature that feeds on blood.

The graphics are fantastic, especially the way they make Morbius "poof" in and out as he moves to show his super speed. Not only do the graphics and lighting look good, but also the costumes fit each scene perfectly. This movie--one of Marvel's darkest-- can be classified as a horror film due to the violence and blood-thirsty vampires.. My favorite part is when Morbius says, "I am Venom" since this is a reference to the movie Venom which was funny. Another favorite part is a funny scene where Morbius says, "You won't like me when I'm angry" which is a reference to The Hulk.

The moral of Morbius is you don't have to change yourself--you are perfect for who you are. Morbius learned this when he started killing people. He realized he became something that was not him at all and regrets it.

I'd give Morbius 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Morbius comes out in theaters April 1, 2022.

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Morbius is a jaw-clenching film, filled with jump scares, betrayal and a bit of romance. The film is also great to watch if you are a fan of bats.

Morbius digs deep into the life of Dr. Michael Morbius (Jared Leto), a man who has a deeply dangerous condition but is a complete genius in the lab and in the operating room. Morbius and his best friend Loxias Crown (Matt Smith), who he calls Milo, have been struggling with this condition since they were born, and they have not been able to find a cure yet. Morbius at a young age is accepted into a gifted school for kids, and he leaves Milo to find a cure for both of them. As Morbius gets older, he does more experiments, and he ends up unleashing this beast he may not be able to defeat.

As the storyline suggests, one theme of the film is that sometimes you don't feel like yourself. There are external forces that can cause you to do things that you would never do or say things you would never say. We all can be triggered by situations, circumstances, people and events that take us out of character; but hopefully, not to this extreme. The CGI in this film is phenomenal; you see a lot of detail in both the characters and the settings. The settings are very cool, and it is fun to see all the different landscapes. The music matches each scene very well, especially in the intense scenes. Not a lot of films have the amount of suspense and thrills that Morbius has, and it is unlike other Marvel films.

The message of Morbius is don't lose sight of who you are no matter what happens. There is some language that would be inappropriate for younger viewers.

I give Morbius 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Morbius is available now in theaters.


Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
APOLLO 10 �: A SPACE AGE CHILDHOOD

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APOLLO 10 �: A SPACE AGE CHILDHOOD - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 8-18
Description - Apollo 10 �: A Space Age Childhood tells the story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives - the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment, and through the eyes of a kid growing up in Houston, Texas who has intergalactic dreams of his own. Taking inspiration from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Richard Linklater's own life, Apollo 10 �: A Space Age Childhood is a snapshot of American life in the 1960s that is part coming of age, part societal commentary, and part out-of-this-world adventure.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Apollo 10 �: A Space Age Childhood tells a creative twist on a story we all know well, NASA's moon mission, and makes us think that history is not always as it seems. Based on the childhood fantasies of director Richard Linklater, this animated dramedy perfectly weaves together classic childhood coming-of-age memories, late 1960's pop music and NASA's historic race to moon.

This nostalgic movie, set in suburbs of Houston in 1969, follows the childhood of Stan, who is voiced by Milo Coy as a child and Jack Black as an adult. The pressure to get to the moon is ever growing, but NASA builds the lunar module too small, so they turn to Stan to do the job before astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins suit up for their famous Apollo mission. Unfortunately, Stan cannot tell anyone, not even his family.

The animation is one of the coolest things about this movie and really sets it apart from other animated films I've seen. It is a mix of live action with hand drawn and computer animation. I also enjoy how accurate it is to the era, so that as a period piece it does not feel artificial. All the clothes, houses, dialogue, objects and even actions reflect that of the time. I always hear my parents talk about their childhood during this era, but I could never really imagine it until I saw this movie. Jack Black is the perfect choice to play adult Stan as his accent is so subtle and his tone is perfect to play an older Stan. And Milo Coy wonderfully captures the personality of a 10 and � year old.

The message of Apollo 10 �: A Space Age Childhood is that mistakes are okay and that not everything is always as it seems. This movie shows some unhealthy and unsafe practices, which were more common in the 1960's, like smoking, riding in the back of a pickup truck or in cars without seatbelts, and playing with fireworks in the middle of a street. However, the narrator, the adult version of Stan, explains how dangerous these behaviors are. There are also a couple of graphic injury scenes and slight profanity.

I give Apollo 10 �: A Space Age Childhood 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Anyone who loves space and maybe even remembers the actual lunar landing will definitely enjoy it also. This movie premiered at South by Southwest on March 13, 2022 and will be on Netflix on April 1, 2022.


Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
HIGH EXPECTATIONS

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HIGH EXPECTATIONS - FATHOM EVENTS
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 6-18
Description - Kelsey Grammer co-stars in High Expectations, an inspirational story about realizing dreams despite disappointments, while restoring relationships along the way. Jack Davis (Taylor Gray) finds himself adrift after his father, the legendary Coach Davis (Kelsey Grammer), cuts him from his renowned soccer club, the Carolina Mantis. Estranged from his father, at odds with his brother, Mantis All-Star goalie Sam (Adam Aalderks), and desperate for purpose, Jack turns to his ex-girlfriend Sophia (Ally Brooke). Jack is inspired by her tough love and unwavering pursuit to become a recording artist.�He tackles his depression and takes one last shot at his lifelong dream by trying out for a rival soccer club. Can Jack finally prove that he is worthy of his dad's love?� Can he forgive and believe in second chances? High Expectations is the film debut for pop singer Ally Brooke (formerly of the girl group Fifth Harmony). Brooke performs the title track for the movie.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - High Expectations is an inspirational drama about perseverance and chasing your dreams. It is also a lesson in holding tight to family and the importance of nurturing those relationships.

Jack Davis (Taylor Gray) is adrift in life and afraid to pursue his goals. He loves soccer and has dreamed of playing professionally for his father, the legendary Coach Davis (Kelsey Grammar) who also owns the Carolina Mantis soccer team. Jack was cut from the team before he ever played a professional game while his older brother Sam (Adam Aalderks) has become the team's All-Star goalie. Jack has always played in his brother's shadow both on and off the field and their relationship has resulted in many of his insecurities. Jack turns to his ex-girlfriend Sofia (Ally Brooke) for support, and her thoughtful, and, at times, tough love, helps him overcome his lack of confidence and direction.

This really is an ensemble cast put together by Russell Boast and Debi Manwiller, and I enjoyed the interaction between all of the different groups within the movie. The importance of family is felt in the large Davis clan headed by Kelsey Grammar who has some difficult and emotional scenes with Taylor Gray. The relationships between the brothers and other family members also seem very real. In addition to the familial relationships, there is also the support of his social groups such as team members and coaches, as well as his tight circle of friends. Pop singer Ally Brooke, who plays his love interest Sofia, is an inspiring recording artist in the film, and I enjoyed the scenes where her music inspires him--she performs the title track for the movie as well. Another interesting fact is that Brianna Scurry (Coach Scurry) who portrays the first-ever female head coach of a professional men's soccer team is also a legendary U.S. Goalkeeper, World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist.

The message of this film is that family is everything. Even if you have very little wealth, if you have the love and support of your family you are blessed with more than real gold. Another important message in this film is to have grit and show everyone what you're made of. Don't accept other people's expectations regarding your abilities or limits.

I rate High Expectations 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. High Expectations premieres exclusively in over 850 theaters nationwide on April 7, 2022 for a special one-night-only event with Fathom Events. Don't miss your opportunity to view this uplifting film.

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

If you're in search of a family drama or sports movie, High Expectations has it all. The storyline is fantastic, with many relatable characters and experiences, and a few important themes expressed throughout the story. However, the acting isn't all it could be, with various characters slightly underdeveloped.

High Expectations follows Jack Davis (Taylor Gray) three years after being cut from his father's (Kelsey Grammer) Division 1 soccer team. Having always been in the shadow of his star brother, Sam Davis (Adam Aaiderks), Jack longs to prove that he has athletic abilities too. With family issues and romantic conflicts along the way, Jack's journey to play for the Davis family's rival team is one entertaining hour and a half.

This film has numerous strong points. The storyline is the best element--it is relatable and realistic, including many aspects of life. Love is portrayed through Jack and his ex-girlfriend, Sofia (Ally Brooke) on their adventure through breakups, proposals and breakups again. Jack's family issues--though probably more extreme than many viewers' own experiences--replicate modern familial conflicts. His friendship with Eddie (Tyler Chase) makes for heartwarming segments of the film, when Eddie shows how wonderful a friend he is. Their support for each other, while having plenty of fun, provides a good model for healthy friendships. The sad moments when Jack is having an intense anxiety attack or struggling with anger issues make the film relatable. The locations for the soccer games are well chosen--they show Jack's transformation from being just a local industrial league player to a professional soccer player. First, he plays on a poor quality grass field with a few bleachers. Later, he's on a turf field stadium with thousands of seats. The sets provide an easy way to differentiate the two opposites, especially when the plot moves so fast that it's slightly confusing. While not a clear shortcoming, the acting and character development doesn't reach the level of the plot. Taylor Gray as Jack has the top performance, excelling at portraying the struggles of anxiety, anger, and dealing with a mostly unsupportive family along with the romance and friendships. For the most part, the rest of the characters aren't as completely developed by the actors as the writers gave them room to be.

The message of High Expectations is to value the time you have with the people you love. Jack spends years hating his dad, but never gives him a chance to strengthen their father-son bond, until it could be too late. High Expectations reminds us we don't know what other people are going through and cautions us about making assumptions; and it expresses the theme of resisting drugs. Adults should be aware of some profanity, plus alcohol and drug use, as well as some heavy topics.

High Expectations gets 4.5 out of 5 stars from me, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can view High Expectations in participating theaters on April 7, 2022.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

High Expectations is the perfect representation of millennial life! An extremely relatable protagonist and a fan favorite sport will leave you wanting to watch this film again several times.

High Expectations follows Jack Davis (Taylor Gray), a young soccer player who was recently cut from his father's soccer team. Jack can't seem to catch a break, especially after his recent breakup with his girlfriend. Jack learns to navigate life as his family expects more of him and he learns to grow into himself.

This movie is very relatable. Many viewers will see themselves in Jack, a young adult who second guesses himself and never seems to do anything right. Jack has trouble finding his place in the world and proving his worth to everyone, including his own parents. After being kicked off his dad's team, Jack digs deep inside of himself and learns that he only needs his own approval. This speaks to many young adults, and even younger audiences that may feel lost in the word. To see a character that is such a mess learning to take things day by day makes this refreshing and keeps viewers engaged the entire movie. By the end of the film, I wanted to know more about Jack, as if I was his longtime friend. The acting all around is phenomenal. The simplicity of the performances of each actor stands out, making it seem as though we're watching a reality show, not scripted dialogue. The chemistry Jack and his ex-girlfriend Sofia have is extraordinary. Without revealing too much of their history, we see the tension expressed by the two actors and feel how much Jack is still in love with her.

The message Jack learns is to love and respect himself. Jack struggles with gaining the approval of his friends, his family and especially his father. Once he learns to blaze his own trail and stand up for himself, he's viewed in a different light.

I give High Expectations 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18 plus adults. It is available in theaters April 7, 2022.

By Heather Suarez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

High Expectations is a suspenseful film, filled with surprises and romance. The film is also great to watch if you are a soccer fan.

High Expectations digs deep into the life of soccer player Jack Davis (Taylor Grey), a man who is trying to find his path in life with a soccer career but keeps getting discouraged along the way. Jack is struggling throughout this time but his best friend Eddie (Tyler Chase) and his ex-girlfriend Sofia (Ally Brooke) help push him to make good decisions so he can conquer the conflicts he has. As time goes along, Jack starts improving himself so he can continue a real career in soccer.

As far as the storyline goes, it's very relatable. I would find it difficult to live in someone's shadow and that would block me from who I truly am--which is how Jack feels when compared to his successful brother. My favorite part is the ending when Jack sees his true potential and puts all his work and effort into how he plays his games. I love how this film is relatable to many people and shows the struggles within people's families and how it affects them. The story's ending is happy and includes a milestone for Jack to pass, which viewers will see if he does.

The message of High Expectations is that you should never give up on your dreams. Never give up on love. And never give up on your family. There is some language that would be inappropriate for younger viewers.

I give High Expectations 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 16, plus adults. High Expectations is set to premiere in theaters on April 7, 2022.

By SaniyaRain, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 6-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADVENTURES OF PEANUT AND PIG

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ADVENTURES OF PEANUT AND PIG - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - The floating paradise of Goola is in trouble when the island begins to sink! An unlikely team of rival monkeys, a scientist bunny, and a jolly pig put aside their differences, learn about friendship, bravery, and save the day.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - If you are looking for a fun film to sit back and watch with younger children, The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is a great choice. This new film is so chock-full of incredible animation and interesting adventure that viewers of all ages can certainly appreciate its creativity. The Adventures of Peanut and Pig has a high level of energy and its brightly-colored scenes will surely hold a child's interest.

The Adventures of Peanut and Pig follows a diverse team of interesting characters living on the Island of Goola, as they desperately try to save their floating island from sinking. Something is causing this paradise island, held afloat by the Goola Juice Bubble Maker, to gradually sink beneath the waves--it's up to two rival monkeys, a scientist bunny, and a comical pig to figure it out. Although these characters are unwillingly thrown together to save Goola, each brings a different strength with them, which helps with their quest.

Scenes in The Adventures of Peanut and Pig move a bit fast, making it difficult at times to follow; however, the animation is so captivating that it doesn't seem to matter. Those cast for the voiceover roles fit each character perfectly and help to bring the characters to life. Some of the humor may be outside of the film's target age group, but those funny one-liners and gags can easily hook young adults into loving the movie as well. Overall, The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is full of so much energy that it makes loving the film easy.

The main message of The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is about the benefits of working together despite your differences. Working together can even strengthen relationships resulting in close friendships. The film also demonstrates perseverance and courage. The misfit team doesn't give up on their mission to save Goola, but, rather, they work together with their differences to help solve the problem.

I give The Adventures of Peanut and Pig 3 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to ages 5 to 13. The Adventures of Peanut and Pig releases April 5, 2022 and can be viewed on streaming and cable platforms.

If you're looking for a fun and animated film for young kids, The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is a perfect fit. Bright and colorful animation combines with a unique story to deliver a film packed with excitement. A variety of creatures truly emphasizes the theme of diversity.

In The Adventures of Peanut and Pig, Goola, an island of paradise, is in danger of sinking, as it did before, and panic is spreading. Unlike last time, Peanut (Louis Ferreira) has no genius inventions that can keep the island afloat. Peanut and Pig (Peter New) team up to adventure across the island and try to save the day. In order to save Goola, Peanut and Pig must navigate the ups and downs of their unlikely friendship. This sets in motion a fantastic storyline for this kid-friendly movie.

While slow at times, The Adventures of Peanut and Pig has an excellent plot. It incorporates a couple of important themes by displaying how to have a healthy friendship and how to properly disagree. Throughout the intriguing primary storyline, sprinkles of side plots and surprises make the film extra interesting--although the story can sometimes be a bit too complicated. Both action and dialogue scenes can range from slow to very fast-paced, and when they're on the speedy side, it can be difficult to follow the action. This is especially noticeable when the world of Goola is being explained, and it's hard to grasp the important elements. Subtle comedy enters exactly when the audience needs it to, with short breaks in the intensity allowing for laughs in the midst of action. This humor is specifically aimed at kids, as it grabs their concentration when it might be slipping. The tone of the comedy is also very much geared towards a younger age group.

The message of The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is to value friendship even when faced with a crisis. Peanut and Pig don't have a perfect relationship, but they still manage to work together during a scary time.

I give The Adventures of Peanut and Pig 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8. The Adventures of Peanut and Pig releases on streaming and cable platforms April 5, 2022 and on DVD April 19, 2022.

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

The Adventures of Peanut and Pig is a colorful and lively animated family movie. The humor is perfect for younger audiences and will keep them engaged while also teaching them great lessons about teamwork and friendship.

Goala is a beautiful paradise island with all kinds of animals living in harmony, until it starts sinking. So a scientist bunny, a mechanic pig and two rival monkeys must work together to save Goala before it is destroyed.

Although predictable at times, this storyline will entertain young audiences and keep them engaged the entire length of the movie. The backgrounds, specifically the island itself, is very bright and fun with twisting tubes carrying bubble fluid and rivers and oceans filled with purple water. The voice actors give their characters unique personalities. The original songs are very catchy and creative while also having sweet messages. The comedy is definitely meant for younger audiences.

The messages of The Adventures of Peanut and Pig are that you must work together to accomplish things and that you can find friendship in unexpected places and times.

I give The Adventures of Peanut and Pig 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 10. This movie is available on digital April 5, 2022 and on DVD April 19, 2022.

By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BETTER NATE THAN EVER

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BETTER NATE THAN EVER - DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AES 7-18
Description - Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster is an unpopular Midwestern kid who entertains vivid fantasies of becoming a big Broadway musical star. In the meantime, however, Nate can't even get a decent role in his middle school's drama productions, getting cast as a tree in the chorus instead of the lead role he craves. However, when he and his best friend Litty mastermind a daring trip to New York City, without their parents' knowledge, to audition for Lilo and Stitch: The Musical, Nate may be on the verge of fulfilling his lifelong dream. But first, he has to overcome a series of comical obstacles that threaten his Broadway adventure with disaster at every farcical turn.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Based on the book with the same name, Better Nate Than Ever is a lighthearted and playful musical comedy, filled with showy sets, catchy songs and dreams of being on Broadway. Director and writer Tim Federle is also the author of the semi-autobiographical book, which helps it stay true to the spirit of the story.

Nate Foster (Rueby Wood) is a quirky 13-year-old thespian who loves the theater, but his small town in Pennsylvania doesn't satisfy his dreams of the stage. When his parents go on a weekend trip out of town, he and his friend, Libby (Aria Brooks), run away to New York City to audition for Lilo and Stitch: The Musical on Broadway. Will Nate get the part, or will he be a bust and never see his dreams again?

This movie is very personal to Tim Federle, the director and writer of both the book and movie, as it is an introspective love letter to himself and his childhood. He wants to show the world a glimpse into what it's like to be in the theater. And as a bit of a theater kid myself, I love how it feels so accurate in how it shows the processes the characters go through, like auditions. Rueby Wood, the star of the movie, really shines because of his bubbly personality and beautiful voice. I also love the performances of supporting actors Aria Brooks (Libby) and Lisa Kudrow (Aunt Heidi). Aria seems to care so much about Nate while also finding her true passions. Libby and Nate have such a strong and genuine bond in this movie. Aunt Heidi, the outcast of the family, flawlessly portrays Nate's supportive aunt and secret idol. The sets have a perfect and distinctive contrast between that of the boring too-small-of-a-town in Pennsylvania, the big skyscrapers and bustling activity of New York City and the colorful destinations of Nate's dreams in his songs. The New York and Pennsylvania venues are very realistic and tangible, while the sets of the songs are bright and colorful and straight out of a play.

The messages of Better Nate Than Ever are to follow your dreams, as long as you are being rational, and never give up because it produces great fruit. The importance of friendship is also a key theme. This movie does depict some risky behaviors such as teens running away from home and teens having a house party while parents are away. The film also has some bullying and adult references.

I give Better Nate Than Ever 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases exclusively on Disney+ on April 1, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Better Nate Than Ever is a remarkable film that, at some points, is quite the musical. It captured me from the first few minutes. If you're into Broadway and performing arts, Better Nate Than Ever is for you. If you're not, this movie has a lot of comedy, and I'm sure you won't regret watching it.

The film takes us on a journey from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to the bustling streets of New York City. After being disappointed in the school's musical's cast list, Nate (Rueby Wood) turns toward his best friend Libby (Aria Brooks) who announces the auditions of Lilo and Stitch: The Musical, on Broadway. Without hesitation, Libby decides to sneak away with Nate to New York City in order to audition. Nate is revived with hope, and agrees. With the help of the people around him, what new adventures will Nate experience?

The lead characters are Nate, Libby, Anthony (Joshua Bassett) and Aunt Heidi (Lisa Kudrow). Nate and Libby make an irresistible team--I can't think of a better best friend duo. Furthermore, Tim Federle's work as both the director and writer (he adapted his own novel) is phenomenal, as is the work of the other producers and crew--they made a masterpiece. The casting is well done and the actors absolutely live up to their characters. My favorite part is when Nate calms his nerves in his audition. It was truly inspiring, and I got teary-eyed. This movie's music is extraordinary. After watching it, the songs were stuck in my head the entire day. The highly talented Rueby Wood and Aria Brooks have angelic voices.

One message of Better Nate Than Ever is to pursue your dreams and never give up, especially when people try to shoot you down. Another lesson is to learn to, as Aunt Heidi proclaimed, "find your light." There is some bullying in the beginning, though there isn't any bad language.. Kids could possibly imitate running away from their households, like Libby and Nate do.

I give Better Nate Than Ever 5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Better Nate Than Ever begins streaming exclusively April 1, 2022 on Disney+.

By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LOST CITY, THE

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LOST CITY, THE - PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Series: FEATURE FILM, AGES 10-18
Description - Brilliant, but reclusive author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character, "Dash." While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city's treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasure before it's lost.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Lost City is an attention-grabbing comedic film, filled with action and adventure while still having an important message.

The movie follows Loretta (Sandra Bullock) who's best known for writing her popular book series about adventures in ancient times. However, with an overbearing book cover model Allan (Channing Tatum), and pressure from her tour manager, Loretta has been struggling to write her final book. Luckily, she is swept off her feet and thrown into the reality of her own novels. Loretta must learn to put her pride aside and work with the people that care for her to escape the island that they're stuck on.

The sound and visuals in The Lost City really stand out to me--I am amazed at how clear the audio is. All of the fighting scenes feel so real, without being overbearing. Plus the picture quality is top-notch. Everything feels very realistic, and it's almost as if we are really there. I am very impressed with the acting, too. Each actor grabbed my attention the entire time. For example, Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum's chemistry is so strong, and they make their characters very believable. Lastly, the storyline is so interesting. There's a fun twist to it, and the story is overall unexpected. There are so many different elements, plus it is also a comedic experience. I personally love a good laugh, because it lightens the mood, and this movie definitely does that.

The message of The Lost City is that being greedy and evil will never get you anywhere. In the end love will always win. This film does have some violent scenes including fighting and the use of guns.

I give The Lost City 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch The Lost City in theaters starting March 19, 2022.

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

Everyone hold on to your seats! The Lost City has you in for a surprise. Combining great actors, action, and comedy, The Lost City surely offers many things you will enjoy.

The Lost City is about a widowed author named Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) who is being forced to promote her book along with her cover model Alan (Channing Tatum). After Alan ruins the event, Loretta gets unexpectedly kidnapped by eccentric billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) and taken to a remote island. Luckily, Alan follows and tries to rescue her. Then, not so luckily, it turns out he's not like Dash, the strong, tough, and charming character he models on Loretta's book. Loretta and Alan have to find a way to work together and get out of danger before it's too late.

I enjoy how dynamic The Lost City is in terms of the scenes and the character development--there is always a new twist in the storyline, and never a time when only one thing is happening.. The character development is especially impressive with Loretta and Alan. At first, Loretta is mad at the world and doesn't want anything to do with her book after her husband dies. Alan is a man hiding behind the character he portrays, not wanting to be himself. However, Loretta and Alan help each other realize that they don't have to hide anymore. I will say the villain's motive was a little lost on me. Abigail Fairfax originally kidnapped Loretta to have her decrypt a hidden message. However, it isn't really made clear what Abigail wanted that for, or what he is going to do with it. The set plays a major role in this movie being so interesting to watch--the image of the forest and the high-intensity fight scenes are visually appealing and help the story move forward.

The message of The Lost City is that sometimes people deserve second chances. After Alan embarrasses and offends Loretta at the promotional event, she walks away not wanting to hear from him. However, in the end, she is grateful that he comes to rescue her. This film includes a few inappropriate scenes and minimal vulgar language.

I give The Lost City 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It will prove very appealing to people who like comedic action movies. You can find The Lost City in theatres now, so make sure you check it out!

By Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LAST GLACIERS, THE

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LAST GLACIERS, THE - IMAX FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 9-18
Description - Embark on a global adventure in IMAX, following filmmaker Craig Leeson and UN Mountain Hero Malcolm Wood as they use extreme sports to explore the causes and effects of climate change. IMAX immerses you in an extraordinary journey to the top of Earth's glaciers as Leeson and Wood hear from leading scientists and impacted communities about the imminent dangers if we fail to protect what's left of these rapidly disappearing natural water reservoirs. Filmed over four years in twelve countries, The Last Glaciers captures the fragility of the natural world, the impact humans have on our life support systems and the friendship, personal challenges and tragedies experienced by the explorers during their journey. The Last Glaciers brings forward a call to action from the next generation determined to reverse the climate crisis for their own future.
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Last Glaciers is an informative, heartwarming film that sucks you into the storyline, and really makes you think about your life and the world around you.

This documentary follows the main climbers as they take us through their journey of scaling glacier mountains. Throughout the film we learn about how the climate crisis has seriously affected the glaciers, along with the rest of the world.

I really enjoy how informative The Last Glaciers is--it explains how climate change is affecting the world, and raises awareness to the subject. In addition, the structure and tone of the documentary is very easy to understand. For instance, there are lots of visuals, and even though climate change is a complex subject the language is clear and easy enough for the average person to comprehend. Another thing that stands out to me is the quality of the visuals. All of the scenery is beautiful, and even in the extreme weather conditions they had during shooting, they still managed to get good shots. Lastly, the emphasis on the importance of the message is really well done. Throughout the entire film they are constantly reinforcing how important it is that we make a change.

The message of The Last Glaciers is that if we all don't start actively making a difference to stop climate change, then soon enough we'll all be affected.

I give The Last Glaciers 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. The breathtaking documentary The Last Glaciers opens in select IMAX theatres March 22, 2022.
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
POR MI  HIJA

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POR MI HIJA - SOUTHBAY FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Daniela Vidaurre,Christopher Bustos,Fernando Rodriguez,immigrants,Jalostotitlan,Mexico,Frexno
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KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Por Mi Hija is a gripping, evocative film; it does its part to encourage dialogue about immigration and the journeys of illegal immigrants to the U.S. while greatly entertaining audiences. The film's cinematography further enhances the engaging storyline.

Por Mi Hija follows Leo (Christopher Bustos) and Emma (Daniela Vidaurre), a newlywed couple from the small town of Jalostotitl�n, Mexico. Leo's friend helps him get a job in Fresno, California, and the two head north as illegal immigrants to start a new life. Soon they must confront the reality that their new life in America isn't all that it's cut out to be.

The acting, cinematography, and storyline of the film all come together to make Por Mi Hija a unique experience. The film jumps back and forth in time, using color and light to indicate these shifts. Director Fernando Rodriguez ensured this isn't disorienting to audiences; rather, he keeps viewers interested throughout the hour-long feature film. Rodriguez also wrote the script, which contains a melodious mix of Spanish (about 90%) and English (about 10%). Bustos, Vidaurre, and young Luciana Elisa Qui�onez, who plays the character of the same name, deliver their lines with beautiful conviction. Their eyes speak just as they do, and their body language syncs up perfectly with the mood of the scene. The cinematography is remarkable as well; especially towards the beginning and during tense scenes--the use of light and framing of scenes adds layers to the film.

Por Mi Hija promotes staying together despite difficulties, taking risks, never running from challenges, and, at its heart, the film's all about empathy: empathy for immigrants, yes, but also for all those around you. Por Mi Hija contains racism, blood, slight profanity, and alcohol.

I give Por Mi Hija 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Por Mi Hija is available now on digital and DVD.


Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2022)

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CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2022) - TWENTIETH CENTURY STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - The raucous exploits of a blended family of 12, the Bakers, as they navigate a hectic home life while simultaneously managing their family business. Paul and Zoey Baker are a married couple at the head of a large blended family in this reboot of the 1950 original film. Together, they parent ten kids - some of which each brought into the marriage, some they have together. They also bring their ex-spouses into the mix, including flighty part-time babysitter Kate and wealthy former pro-baller Dom. Paul is White; Zoey is Black; their kids are White, Black, or mixed race -- a blend that offers its own challenges in today's culture. When the Bakers are offered a substantial sum of money to launch a line of sauces and franchise their breakfast place, they take the money and upgrade their lives, but their new lifestyle makes some things more complicated than expected.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Hilarious, chaotic family fun is headed your way as the Bakers return in this highly-anticipated reboot of Cheaper by the Dozen. The film is a modern twist on the original, with a more diverse cast, relatable characters, current world issues, new family adventures and craziness. No matter your age, gender, or race you are sure to find someone you can connect to.

Cheaper by the Dozen is a reboot of the 2001 film of the same name, featuring the Bakers who are a family of 12. It follows parents, Zoe Baker (Gabrielle Union) and Paul Baker (Zach Braff), as they try to balance home life, taking care of their blended multiracial, talented family all while running the family business. Zach is faced with trying to expand the family business and still make time for his family, while Zoe deals with racism in their new neighborhood and constant criticism for having 12 children. It's an all-around struggle of understanding, accepting change, and family.

One of the biggest differences with this reboot is the diverse cast. It really shows how people from all backgrounds can co-exist. The premise of the show is similar to the original, but with a twist: Mr. Baker has an opportunity to expand on the family restaurant, and Zoe stays home to manage the family and the chaos while he travels. All of which leads to plenty of hilarious scenes. I love the updates in the film, especially some of the references such as the Black Lives Matter sign in the window of the first Baker house. Even the dogs' names, 'Bark Obama' and 'Joe Bitten' are creative. My favorite scene from this film is when Seth Baker (Luke Prael) helps his cousin Haresh Baker (Aryan Simhadri) by teaching him skills to avoid getting bullied at school. It's great to see how the family comes together to support each other.

The message of Cheaper by the Dozen is that change can be difficult, and everyone will react to it differently even to the point where it causes issues among family members. But we must accept that we are all different and need to work together to be successful and truly happy in life. The Bakers are the perfect example of how people so different from each other are still able to live and work together. The only things for parents to look out for are short scenes where the parents are intimate, mentions of serious topic like racism and some mentions of 'teenager' issues.

I give Cheaper by the Dozen 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 10 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Cheaper by the Dozen on Disney+ starting March 18, 2022.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
PASANG:  THE SHADOW OF EVEREST

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PASANG: THE SHADOW OF EVEREST - FOLLOW YOUR DREAM FOUNDATION
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - The story of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, the first Nepali woman to summit Mt. Everest. Her courageous, historic, and tragic journey would inspire a nation and generations to come.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - One of the things I love about the new documentary Pasang: The Shadow of Everest is that it shows how much women have struggled to follow their dreams. The film explores the journey of Pasang Lhamu Sherpa, a Nepalese woman from a mountaineering family, whose dream is to climb the highest mountain in the world. We learn how mentally and physically challenging this Mount Everest trek is, especially when people doubt your ability because you're a woman.

Pasang started climbing when she was 16 or 17. Climbing as woman is shocking to many people. She was determined and ambitious, but doing this will mean needing to raise the money herself for an expedition, finding sponsors to support her, and getting a group together to go on this dangerous adventure. She believes in herself but Mount Everest takes the risk to a whole other height.

PASANG really made me think about why someone would risk their life to stand on an 8,849-meter mountain. And the answer is: passion. When you really believe in a goal, you climb until you reach where you want to be. Climbing Mount Everest is a very breathtaking and risky experience--there are few chances for mistakes. The amount of time and work you have put into preparation and the trek itself is extraordinary. It takes approximately 6-10 weeks to get to the top, then add bathroom, food and water breaks. Knowing that over 100 people have died either on the way up or down, is terrifying, but knowing 10,184 people have survived is promising.

This film's message is go after your dream, no matter what anybody thinks, because ultimately you can do anything. Women have the right to not be doubted when following their dreams. Pasang: The Shadow of Everest is very uplifting and can inspire many people. People can tell you what to do, but you don't always have to listen.

I give Pasang: The Shadow of Everest 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. This film premieres at the Santa Barbara Film Festival on March 3, 2022.

By Makena P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
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
HARPER
HARPER - KATE BOHAN
Series: INDIE FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Harper, an 11-year-old girl's life is shattered when her father dies suddenly. Sent to live on a dilapidated farm with an Aunt she's never met, Harper must adjust to her new reality. However, just as she settles in, Isabella, her wealthy mother, appears to claim the child she abandoned at birth.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Harper is a rally inspiring movie about how to cope with the loss of a parent and adapt to everything in your life changing all at once. I like the film's realism in terms of coping with the loss of a parent.

The storyline follows a young girl who is struggling to deal with her father's death, adapting to moving in with her alcoholic aunt, and eventually overcoming it all.

The camerawork is quite good. The sets and location suit the storyline. The featured music helps the audience connect with the character, such as when Harper performs a song at the talent show. It gives us insight into what is going through her mind and what she to achieve. Harper (Kayla Bohan)'s development throughout the film, from a young girl who is grieving over her father's death and fearful of trying new things to someone used to doing farm work and trying new things, even seeing the good inside her aunt after she goes to rehab. Etta Brown (Gina Vitori), Harper's aunt, is an alcoholic at the outset of the film and we later learn about her abusive father, which led her to drinking. Her drinking damaged her relationship with her niece, but after she goes to rehab (with Harper's help) she eventually comes clean. The actors are well cast for their roles and the director makes sure that they have depth and believability. My favorite part of the film is when Harper decides to get used to the farm work she has to do and even goes out of her way to help her aunt, which shows tremendous personal growth.

The moral of the film is that change is difficult, but it's well worth it. You should be aware that it does contain scenes of drinking alcohol, some partial nudity, and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate.

I give Harper 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Tom W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Harper is a rally inspiring movie about how to cope with the loss of a parent and adapt to everything in your life changing all at once. I like the film's realism in terms of coping with the loss of a parent.

The storyline follows a young girl who is struggling to deal with her father's death, adapting to moving in with her alcoholic aunt, and eventually overcoming it all.

The camerawork is quite good. The sets and location suit the storyline. The featured music helps the audience connect with the character, such as when Harper performs a song at the talent show. It gives us insight into what is going through her mind and what she to achieve. Harper (Kayla Bohan)'s development throughout the film, from a young girl who is grieving over her father's death and fearful of trying new things to someone used to doing farm work and trying new things, even seeing the good inside her aunt after she goes to rehab. Etta Brown (Gina Vitori), Harper's aunt, is an alcoholic at the outset of the film and we later learn about her abusive father, which led her to drinking. Her drinking damaged her relationship with her niece, but after she goes to rehab (with Harper's help) she eventually comes clean. The actors are well cast for their roles and the director makes sure that they have depth and believability. My favorite part of the film is when Harper decides to get used to the farm work she has to do and even goes out of her way to help her aunt, which shows tremendous personal growth.

The moral of the film is that change is difficult, but it's well worth it. You should be aware that it does contain scenes of drinking alcohol, some partial nudity, and shows kids doing risky things that kids might imitate.

I give Harper 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Tom W. and Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ADAM PROJECT, THE

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ADAM PROJECT, THE - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10 - 18
Description - After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, time-traveling fighter pilot Adam Reed teams up with his 12-year-old self for a mission to save the future.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Adam Project is a sci-fi movie that takes you on a wild, CGI-filled flight that is out of this world--with futuristic technology that makes you excited but also afraid of what could come, and crazy fight scenes that defy gravity. This film also whooshes you into some very realistic topics, too, like grieving for a loved one, being bullied by classmates and accepting who you are.

The year is 2050 and time travel exists; however, it is proving to be too dangerous for humanity's own good. After time-traveler pilot Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds) misses the destination of his mission, to land in 2018, and instead crash-lands in 2022, he is found by his 13-year-old self (Walker Scobell). Together, they embark on a mission to "un-do" time travel so they can fix the past to save the future of the world. But first, the Adams must learn how to get along with each other.

The special effects are one of the most notable things about this movie. The wormholes have a mind-boggling appearance, and the ships are straight out of an alien planet. The sci-fi elements look so realistic - as realistic as those can be - that it gives the impression that the cinematographers used time travel themselves to capture these scenes. The overall storyline of the movie is creative, but it does not really have any unique plot twists nor is it fully developed. And as a result, this film comes off a little bland and seems to be missing something. The Adam Project includes some great actors besides Ryan Reynolds, including Jennifer Garner (Adam's mom). In Reynold's performance, you can really feel all his tension and childhood trauma built up, ready to burst. He also manages to make you laugh really hard. Jennifer Garner is the perfect fit for Adam's loving mother who's trying to keep it together as a single mom.

This movie has great messages about never giving up and learning to live with your past. There is some profanity, intense fighting scenes, blood, and some adult jokes.

I give The Adam Project 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases exclusively on Netflix on March 11, 2022.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TURNING RED

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TURNING RED - WALT DISNEY ANIMATED STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 7-18
Description - Disney and Pixar's Turning Red introduces Mei Lee (voice of Rosalie Chiang), a confident, dorky 13-year-old torn between staying her mother's dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. Her protective, if not slightly overbearing mother, Ming (voice of Sandra Oh), is never far from her daughter--an unfortunate reality for the teenager. And as if changes to her interests, relationships and body weren't enough, whenever she gets too excited (which is practically ALWAYS), she "poofs" into a giant red panda! Directed by Academy Award� winner Domee Shi (Pixar short "Bao") and produced by Lindsey Collins.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Turning Red is a vivid and dazzling animated story of friendship, parenting, adolescence, and boy bands. Director Domee Shi makes her feature film directorial debut and gives us her unique take on puberty and parenting. Kids and adults alike will find this movie enjoyable given the relevancy of the topics and relatability of the characters.

Set in Toronto in 2002, this beautifully-animated movie follows Meilin "Mei" Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a confident 13-year-old girl who is torn between staying her overprotective mother's obedient daughter and being an independent person with her own interest. And if that is not enough, whenever she feels a powerful emotion, she turns into a giant, fluffy red panda.

The world-building is phenomenal, specifically that of the boy band that Mei and her friends are obsessed with. 4-Town, the boy band, perfectly captures the essence of a boy band with corny love songs, crazy fanatics and, of course, cute boys. Along with that, Turning Red captures the complexity of mother-daughter relationships across generations with both comedy and drama. The animation is visually stunning as it mixes Eastern and Western animation techniques together to make a fresh, new style while still staying true to Pixar's recognizable animation form and style. My favorite performances are that of Sandra Oh (Ming) and Rosalie Chiang (Mei) because there is such a strong chemistry between the characters in how the actors portray a real-life, genuine relationship.

The message of the movie is to honor your parents, but make sure to be your own person while doing so. The movie animates the idea of suppressing your emotions and personality for others. It also highlights the power of friendship and the key role it plays in your life.

I give Turning Red 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 18, plus adults. Turning Red releases exclusively on Disney+ on March 11, 2022.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 7-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
THE BATMAN

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THE BATMAN - WARNER BROS. PICTURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12 - 18
Description - Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like The Batman because the overall script is interesting and very suspenseful. This movie is definitely worth the 2 hours and 55 minutes to watch--I was not expecting it to be this good!

The Batman takes place in Gotham City, home of all the Batman stories. A crazy killer named Riddler (Paul Dano) kills liars like political figures and reveals how corrupt they are. Riddler likes to leave trails of clues behind which forces Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson), a single millionaire, to become a detective to find out who the Riddler is. As you know Batman is Bruce Wayne's secret identity. Along the way, Batman visits old friends like Penguin (Colin Farrell) and meets new ones like Selina or Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz).

The graphics are amazing looking, although the CGI is not as good compared to other films. I was a little disappointed with the Batmobile because it just looks like a sports car with a powerful engine. Very different from the other Batmobiles in the past movies. Robert Pattinson's transformation into Batman is impressive. We see a muscular Robert Pattinson with impressive fighting skills. Colin Farrell is unrecognizable as Penguin. It was fun to watch Zoe Kravitz portraying Catwoman. She resembles Halle Berry when she portrayed Catwoman for the movie of the same name. Her fighting skills are impressive and catch the audience's attention. The gruesome way the Riddler kills his victims makes this a very dark Batman movie--very different from the other Batman films. My favorite part is when Batman uses the hook to walk down a building, kind of like he did in the older films or the 1960's show instead of going down.

The moral of this movie is that not everyone can be good. Bruce finds out the dark side of the Wayne family after Riddler exposes his family--and not only his family but other people such as cops, too.

I give The Batman 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 13 to 18, plus adults. Watch the movie in theatres on March 4, 2022.

Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Out of the deep dark depths of Gotham City comes the newest addition to one of the best-known franchises. The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson is thrilling, chilling, and jam-packed with action. We all know and love Batman, but this stellar cast will show you a deeper, darker side of him and other characters who have been loved, and hated, for generations.

The Batman is an exciting addition to the DC Universe, but does not follow the original Dark Knight trilogy. This new film follows beloved hero, Batman, as he tracks down a series of murders of Gotham's most powerful people. He is given clues written in cryptic codes that he has to decipher, all while the deviously smart (and insane) Riddler (Paul Dano) is killing off important people one by one. From a history of lies, in a corrupt city, and in a battle over the true meaning of justice comes the new DC film that will get in your mind and stay there.

From the moment the lights of the theater dimmed and the movie started, I was hooked. I have never been a fan of movies that waste time getting to the meat of the story, and The Batman wastes no time. This film is full of suspense, and the music is one of the major components that contributes to that. In intense situations, atmosphere is everything, and the music by Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino creates the perfect amount of eeriness and tension. Robert Pattinson's acting is also incredible. This Batman speaks very little, but his body language and facial expressions speak volumes. I was extremely impressed by how real and broken Pattison makes his character seem, and I have never seen this protagonist reach depths like this in other Batman stories. The one thing in this movie I would have liked to see more of is the story behind Batman's technology. He seems to have a million gadgets, but the audience doesn't know exactly what they are or where they came from.

The message of this film is that vengeance won't change the past, but helping others can change the future. A big part of this film is about justice and what that means. In the end, we see that justice isn't about killing or hurting others. Justice is about taking what is wrong and fixing it by doing the right thing. Justice does not equal bloody revenge.

I give The Batman 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to ages 13 to 17, plus adults. You can see The Batman in theatres on March 4, 2022.

By Allison B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

The Batman is everything you're expecting from another adventure with the caped crusader at the center and unlike any Batman movie we've seen yet. It retools the whole world of Gotham City and looks at its spread of criminals, villains, and masked vigilantes through a whole new lens, as well as at the character of Bruce Wayne and his crime-fighting counterpart.

The Batman sees a younger and slightly more naive Bruce Wayne in only his second year as Batman (Robert Pattinson). Bruce is being stretched thin--he can't be everywhere at once and certain aspects of life in Gotham have only gotten worse in the time since Batman arrived on the scene. A string of murders of Gotham's most powerful and high profile figures--whose murders bear a striking resemblance to the manner in which Bruce lost his own parents decades before, a flashpoint that haunts him still decades later. These brutal, connected killings send the city into disarray perpetrated by a masked serial killer named The Riddler (Paul Dano) who runs rampant, leaving clues at his crime scenes. Wayne befriends a burglar named Selina Kyle (Zoe Kravitz), who's looking for her missing friend, and, with a morally upstanding cop, they try to track down the elusive Riddler and keep his catastrophic plan from running its course.

Director Matt Reeves and the sensibilities he brings to the table feel well suited to this film. What I didn't expect is this movie's hyper-effective use of shadows--it makes sense for the character, but, oh man, the night isn't just The Batman's central setting: it's Batman's domain. It's the shadows that have given him his hold over the whole city. Criminals see the Bat signal and look into a pitch-black alley not knowing who's gonna walk out and whether or not they'll be dealt the whupping of the century. And with Pattinson's Batman, there is terror in those moments of uncertainty and he's the one we're rooting for. And Pattinson has made this character his own. This Bruce Wayne is divorced from notions of charisma or the qualities of the billionaire playboy that he usually has to pretend to be--he's moody, antisocial, and passive like he's more out of place without the cowl on than with it. He spends a lot of this movie fully in the suit, and it's a credit to Pattinson that he can "mask act", even when not even a quarter of his face is visible. Pattinson's eyes give us a window into Bruce's internal journey.

The Batman shows its admiration for the world and characters of Batman's universe in the skill with which it brings them to life--original, but familiar. Matt Reeves has made a tense, sorrowful, borderline disturbing modern noir about Batman needing to alter his work-life balance. Plus we have an enthralling mystery driven by an ever-expanding web of corruption. This is Batman at its finest, and I hope this is not the last we see of this Batman.

The message of the film is to not let rage consume you. Batman has never been a pacifist, regardless of the iteration of the character, but this Batman has moments of real brutality with the criminals he fights. He has to learn that, as Batman, he has to restrain himself from doing things that would make him no different from his villainous adversaries and to instead be the Batman Gotham needs.

I give The Batman 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 17 for tense sequences, language and shocking, but not graphic, violence. The Batman flies into theaters on March 4, 2022.

I give The Batman 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 17 for tense sequences, language and shocking, but not graphic, violence. The Batman flies into theaters on March 4, 2022.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
LUCY AND DESI

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LUCY AND DESI - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - From director Amy Poehler, Lucy and Desi explores the unlikely partnership and enduring legacy of one of the most prolific power couples in entertainment history. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz risked everything to be together. Their love for each other led to the most influential show in the history of television, I Love Lucy. Desi -- an immigrant from Cuba who lost everything in exile, became a band leader, and eventually a brilliant producer and technical pioneer. Lucille came from nothing and, with an unrivaled work ethic, built a career as a model, chorus girl and eventually as an actor in the studio system. She found her calling in comedy, first in radio. When Lucille was finally granted the opportunity to have her own television show, she insisted that her real-life spouse, Desi, be cast as her husband. Defying the odds, they re-invented the medium, on the screen and behind the cameras. The foundation of I Love Lucy was the constant rupture and repair of unconditional love. What Lucy and Desi couldn't make work with each other, they gave to the rest of the world. Lucy and Desi is an insightful and intimate peek behind the curtain of these two remarkable trailblazers -- featuring interviews with Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr, Carol Burnett and Bette Midler.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - SEE YOUTH COMMENTS
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Lucy and Desi is a mediocre take on a story fans have heard millions of times! Throughout the film, you'll be craving a sense of something new and fresh, but unfortunately this film simply doesn't deliver anything worthwhile.

Lucy and Desi is a documentary that tells the story of two of the biggest comedians in television, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The film provides behind-the-scenes clips of the hit show I Love Lucy, video recordings of Lucy and Desi throughout the years, and sit-down talks with some of their closest friends like Carol Burnett and Bette Midler.

This film falls flat for several reasons. The story of Lucy and Desi has been told too many times for this documentary to provide anything new or exciting. The timing of its release is unfortunate as another film on the two stars, from the same studio, Being the Ricardos, came out only a few months ago. Lucy and Desi fails to differentiate any information from what the biographical drama gave audiences. Lucy and Desi feels like a watered down version of its predecessors and is unable to engage its viewers. However, it does have some incredible cameos like those by Carol Burnett, Bette Midler and Norman Lear. They give some anecdotes that not many fans have heard and will definitely leave you wanting to hear more of their relationship with Lucy and Desi, which this film does not deliver. The greatest part about the documentary is the romance between Lucille and Desi--their pictures and video clips show a love that is timeless.

The film's main focus is the love of Desi and Lucy, how they were able to create a fantastic and iconic series, and still be in love off camera. There are no warnings for this documentary.

I give Lucy and Desi 3 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for ages 15 to 18, plus adults. It is being released in theaters and on Amazon Prime Video March 4, 2022.

By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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