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KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
I HATE NEW YEAR'S
I HATE NEW YEAR'S - TELLO FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 16-18
Description - With a huge hit on her hands, rising music star Layne hits some serious writer's block. She decides to head home to Nashville for New Year's Eve, looking to find her ex and get back her songwriting mojo. As she spends New Year's jumping between bars and parties with her best friend Cassie, looking for the one that got away, she realizes that the love of her life, and the reason she sings, has been right in front of her all along.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I Hate New Year's uses current events very well, including the world of the music industry, the use of social media to promote and to present ideas, and especially the representation of the LGTBQ+ community. Teens and younger adults can relate to the film in that it deals with decision making and how to deal with emotions when insecurity hits. The songs in the film are beautifully done, and they add to the tone of the movie.

The storyline follows a rising pop star who finds herself unable to create songs, having writer's block. She travels to her hometown in hope of finding inspiration to continue creating music. With the help of her friend and the intervention of fate, she has to face her past to create the best future for her career, and for herself.

The film presents a story that is directed to older teenagers due to the themes of love, friendships, taking risks and insecurities. These topics are more topical for older teens and young adults. The writing is quite good and there is a solid continuity between each scene. It has good continuity and keeps the main themes easy to understand. There are some scenes that break the fourth wall which was unexpected and maybe unnecessary, but they do add to the comical tone of the film. In some scenes, acting doesn't quite have the punch I would hope for, but for the most part, emotions are well portrayed and they can be both observed and felt by the audience. The vocabulary is very modern and it addresses issues such as social media, school experiences and dreams. The music is excellent; the original songs are very well done with lots of emotion. The images are high quality so every detail is appreciated. The main characters are portrayed by popular actors that can be recognized from known TV shows and other films. However, the camera work is a bit uneven. There are multiple scenes where the shot starts to shake and gets out of focus. Sometimes when people are speaking, the camera shakes and it feels awkward.

This is a LGTBQ+ film. It shows a romantic and comical story between two characters that are young women. It also shows representation of a minority group, which can be crucial for young members of the community that may be looking to see someone like themself in a movie. It also deals with many themes that are frequent for teenagers and young adults, which makes it very appropriate for those age groups.

The messages of the film is about how friendships can make a difference in someone's life, especially when insecurities or hard situations arise. It also deals with the issue of taking risks and facing decisions that may not result in what is wanted, but are necessary to move on in life. Throughout the movie multiple characters drink alcoholic drinks. They are not underage, but there is drinking.

I give I Hate New Year's 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 16 to 18, plus adults. This LGTBQ+ film explores the life of a young rising pop star and how coming back home can mean more than just creating a new song. Multiple themes are in play - how facing decisions can make a difference in your future, how cultivating friendships is important, and what being a friend means. It especially shows how fame and popularity are not as important as family, friends and one's wellbeing. The original songs of the film are very emotional and the lyrics are poems that add to the chemistry between the characters. There are some minor issues such as shaky camera work and some slow performances, but the emotional meaning of the movie and the storyline make those issues not that severe. Representation of different members of the LGTBQ+ are represented throughout the movie. The movie is centered on the life of a young woman, and how she is able to move on and to grow as a person once she accepts the circumstances of her life.

Reviewed by David O., KIDS FIRST! Youth Juror
Juror Recommended Age: 16-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CROODS, THE: A NEW AGE
CROODS, THE: A NEW AGE - UNIVERSAL STUDIOS - THEATRICAL DIVISION
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - The prehistoric family the Croods are challenged by a rival family the Bettermans, who claim to be better and more evolved.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth review
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Croods: New Age is sensational because of the clever and colorful graphics, funny and realistic conflicts.

The storyline is about the Bettermens not liking the Croods. They must learn how to get along with one another and they have many adventurous life lessons along the way.

I like the story line because it's relatable to real life. The family conflicts and differences make the movie unpredictable. The characters are well developed. The production is state of the art. It is highly colorful and engaging from start to finish. The film is a great follow-up to the first one. My favorite part is when the main characters, Phil Betterment and Grug, are in the Jacuzzi.

The message in the film is that we do not have to look the same and we all have far more in common than we realize. It's okay to look different.

I give The Croods: New Age 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It releases November 26, 2020

Reviewed by Bailey Rae F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 5-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
TEAM MARCO
TEAM MARCO - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 6-14
Description - Marco, 12, is obsessed with his iPad and hardly leaves the house. But when his grandmother dies and his grandfather moves in, Marco's life is turned upside-down and he's forced...to go play outside. "Nonno" (Grandpa) introduces him to bocce ball and to the neighborhood crew of old Italian men who play daily at the local court. With sport, laughter and love, Marco finds connection to other people and rounds up a team of neighborhood kids to take on Marco's grandfather and his pals.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Team Marco is a wonderful, heartwarming and sweet movie. This family-friendly fun comedy will have you laughing, bring you joy and inspire you to seize each day.

This movie is about a boy named Marco (Owen Vaccaro) who is insanely addicted to video games. When his grandmother dies and his house nearly burns down, his grandpa, Nonno (Anthony Patellis), moves in. Nonno is extremely bothered with his grandson's obsession with video games. Nonno will not stand for this and takes measures into his own hands. He decides to take away all of Marco's electronics and forces him to play outside. Nonno teaches Marco his favorite sport - bocce ball. Can Marco and his team of friends beat Nonno and his gang of neighborhood Italian bocce ballers in a bocce ball tournament?

This movie was written, directed and produced by Julio Vincent Gambuto, and it is his first feature film. This story is inspired by a real-life experience. About four years ago, when Julio was visiting his nieces and nephews, he noticed that his nephew, Marco, didn't even greet him when he arrived at their house because his head was buried in his electronics. This sparked the idea for his movie. The film takes place in Julio's beloved hometown, Staten Island, NY. It was filmed on location, which was very important to Julio. He loves his hometown community and was passionate about it being filmed on Staten Island. My favorite characters are Nonno and Marco. I really like the performances of Anthony Patellis because of his dry sense of humor and his love of family, which shines through. He is very entertaining while playing the cranky grandpa battling technology. Owen Vaccaro convincingly plays the "pre-teen techie" Marco. I can relate to his love of electronics and his struggles trying to balance Nonno's desire for conversation, friendship and connecting through Nonno's favorite sport, bocce ball. My favorite part of the movie is when Nonno is trying to figure out the Google Assistant.

The main message of the movie is to be present when around your family. This film shows technology is not always bad, and in fact connects us. It also reminds everyone that, while technology will be around forever, your family will not be. Cherish the time you have with your family.

I give Team Marco 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. Team Marco will be released on most streaming platforms November 20, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 6-14 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
HALF BROTHERS

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HALF BROTHERS - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 13-18
Description - Renato, a Mexican aviation exec, is shocked to learn he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher. They are forced on a road trip together, tracing the path their father took from Mexico to the US.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Half Brothers is a fun-loving movie with loveable characters which takes you on a wild adventure that will have you laughing. Along the way the characters learn about each other and their father. They also learn a lot about themselves. These two brothers with opposite personalities must unite to uncover the hidden truth of the past.

The story begins with young Renato (Ian Inigo) enjoying time with his dad, Flavio (Juan Pablo Espinosa). Things change when Renato's dad leaves Mexico to go to the U.S. to look for work and does not return. Years later when Renato (Luis Gerardo Mendez) is a grown up, he gets a phone call saying his dad is extremely sick and he needs to come right away. He is torn between wanting to go and staying home to prepare for his wedding. He decides to go and gets the surprise of meeting his half-brother, Asher (Connor Del Rio) who he did not know existed. Their dad sends them on a wild journey to get the answers Renato has wanted to know his whole life - why his dad never came back for him. Along the way, he gets to know his half brother as they go on a hilarious and bonding scavenger hunt across America to get the answers.

My favorite scene is when Asher steals the goat from the barn. It kept me laughing and intrigued. All the actors make this odd situation funny and memorable. I also enjoyed the music selections playing during their road trips. They are catchy, uplifting and always enhance the mood of these scenes. Asher is an easy character to like. He always has a positive attitude and his clothing choices throughout the movie really fit his character.

The messages in this film are about how forgiving can be life changing, that it is okay to be yourself, and accepting others' differences can lead to the best friendships. While forgiveness is not always an easy thing to do, it is better to forgive than to hold onto something that makes you unhappy. Being yourself is important. Just because you are different it does not make you less important. Accepting differences in others can lead to happiness. You should know that there is some explicit language, the use of guns and violence and there is talk about some adult situations.

I give Half Brothers 5 out of 5 stars. It has some amazing messages that are delivered in a very humorous way. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. This film comes out in theaters December 4, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2

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CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2 - NETFLIX
Series: FEATURE, AGE 5-18
Description - It's been two years since siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis) saved Christmas, and a lot has changed. Kate, now a cynical teenager, is reluctantly spending Christmas in Cancun with her mom's new boyfriend (Tyrese Gibson) and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Unwilling to accept this new version of her family, Kate decides to run away. But when a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus (Kurt Russell). Written and directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Harry Potter) and co-starring Goldie Hawn, THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES: PART TWO is an action-packed adventure for the whole family that's full of heart, humor, and holiday spirit.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like The Christmas Chronicles 2 because it is a heartwarming film, full of magic and adventures which makes it so fun to watch. Santa Claus is not the typical Santa we are used to seeing in other movies. This Santa is a type of daredevil Santa.

If you watched The Christmas Chronicles in 2018, you must know that Kate (Darby Camp) and her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) are friends with Santa Claus, played by the one and only Kurt Russell. Kate's mom and her boyfriend Bob (Tyrese Gibson) take Kate, Teddy and Jack (Jahzir Bruno), Bob's son, to celebrate Christmas in Cancun, Mexico. Kate doesn't want to be there as she misses her dad who passed away two years ago. An evil kid named Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) wants to destroy Santa and uses Kate to get to the North Pole to do his dirty deed. Jack follows her so they both end up at the North Pole and that's when ALL the adventure begins!

My favorite part is when Jack picks two of Mrs. Claus' special homemade cookies - confidence and bomb. When he needs confidence he forgets which one of the cookies is confidence and almost eats the cookie bomb. The graphics and digital effects are amazing. The reindeers and the cougar look real. The music is very appealing in every scene. The costumes are very seasonal. Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) gives this movie a special touch, which makes this film different from the first movie. Mrs. Claus creates Santa's Village and takes good care of it. The movie mentions how it should be called Mrs. Claus Village, which gives this character the importance she deserves because, in reality, she is the person behind Santa, supporting him, taking care of him and his business.

The moral of this movie is to move on, be happy and let others be happy. Throughout the film we learn that Kate doesn't like her mom's new boyfriend and doesn't want Bob substituting for her dad. Santa shows her that family is everything and that they matter the most, so why not cherish that her mom is happy because she found love again in Bob? Kate needs to accept that her mom loves Bob and that doesn't mean she stops loving her dad. She needs to understand her mom deserves to be happy. Life continues; people need to move on.

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. The Christmas Chronicles 2 comes out on Netflix on November 25, 2020, so get your hot chocolate and cookies or popcorn ready to enjoy this magical film!

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COLLECTIVE

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COLLECTIVE - PARTICIPANT
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 12 - 18
Description - In 2015, a fire at Bucharest's Colectiv club leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. Then a doctor blows the whistle to a team of investigative journalists. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health care fraud. When a new health minister is appointed, he offers unprecedented access to his efforts to reform the corrupt system but also to the obstacles he faces. Following journalists, whistle-blowers, burn victims, and government officials, Collective is an uncompromising look at the impact of investigative journalism at its best.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An electrifying and groundbreaking documentary, Collective is a chilling reminder of the underhanded dealings of modern politics. Shot in a rigorously observational manner, Collective covers an event that took Eastern Europe by storm and led to massive big pharmacy and government reform.

On October 30, 2015, a deadly fire in Colectiv, a popular nightclub in Bucharest, Romania killed 64 and injured 146. Of the 64 killed, 38 died in the hospitals. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered they were in close contact with some of the most resistant hospital bacteria on the continent, which festered in their unclean wounds. In the first part of the film, Catalin Tolontan's journalistic crusade is detailed, as he embarks upon a journey to uncover the negligence, corruption and political machinations that plagues the Romanian health system as a whole. Vlad Voiculescu is introduced as the new minister of health, and he looks to take Romania in a new direction for health and safety but faces massive backlash. Watch Collective to find out how this crisis is solved.< p>A widely-known Romanian journalist at the Gazeta Sporturilor, Catalin Tolontan, together with Vlad Vioculescu, ex-minister of health and patients rights activist, are featured in Collective. Tolontan colleagues Mirela Neag and Razvan Lutac are captured in the newsroom, printing papers and delivering fiery questions at press conferences. I especially enjoyed their portion of the film, possibly due to my interest in journalism, but also because of Tolontan's unique approach to tackling this case - calculated vehemence. Even Voiculescu's segment is intriguing, albeit a little more morose and harder to follow. Honestly, you can't help but feel bad for Voiculescu, the one upstanding politician who cares for people more than for the money in his pocket, especially in the tense election scenes. Tedy Ursuleanu, a burn victim, is also featured in this film. Her story is not illustrated in great detail, but featuring her is, to me, a massively positive step for Nanau to take. It adds a whole new level of 'wow, this is real' to Collective.

The cinematography in this film is absolutely stunning; the camera team uses dimly lit, low contrast scenes to drive home the intensity of the incident and harshly lit closeups in telling the story of the people that Collective follows. The lack of ambient noise filtration in press conferences helps the viewer really jump into the story. Besides the plot, this has got to be my favorite part of the entire documentary.

Collective promotes freedom of speech, government transparency, and valuing lives over profit, which are all positive morals. There are political elements in this film as well as rather graphic scenes depicting burn victims, that you should be aware of. Also, there is some bad language and the whole plot is unsuitable for younger audiences. Nanau successfully calls viewers to action to speak out against corruption.

I give Collective 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, plus adults. Collective is in theaters and on-demand November 20, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
COWBOY: A DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT

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COWBOY: A DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT - 1922 FILMS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 8-18
Description - An authentic, intimate depiction of the contemporary cowboy, COWBOYS: A DOCUMENTARY PORTRAIT straps audiences in the saddle alongside working men and women on some of today's largest and most remote cattle ranches in the American West. Told genuinely and reverently through first-hand accounts from cowboys in the deepest, most isolated parts of America, the timeless documentary illustrates not only the rewards of a cowboy's lifestyle but also the unvarnished hardships of a celebrated but misunderstood way of life.

Utilizing their extensive collective backgrounds, co-directors John Langmore (published ranch photographer and former working cowboy) and Bud Force (rodeo cowboy turned award-winning director/DP) provide an aesthetically mesmerizing, sure-handed look at how Western traditions have found a way to coexist with society's modern achievements.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I like Cowboys: A Documentary Portrait because it held my interest and I learned a lot about cowboys that I didn't know before. I like learning about their lifestyle, their customs, traditions and habitat.

This movie documents how cowboys and their families live in some of the most isolated ranches in America and it teaches the audience about the cowboy lifestyle and duties. Being a cowboy is like any other profession, with the difference that it is not an easy job. A cowboy's job is mostly physical. They raise cows and bulls to make a living. They make lots of sacrifices like not being with their family, because they spend a lot of hours working. Even though cowboys work all year, they only get paid once or twice a year.

My favorite part is when a cowboy's young wife shares what it is like to be married to a cowboy. They live isolated and far away from town. It takes her nine hours to drive to town to go grocery shopping. She makes sure her two little children don't get injured, because even the hospital is far away. This movie was filmed at eight different ranches. The aerial shots showing the landscapes are amazing. This film documents the importance and value of being a cowboy, showing the audience how being a cowboy is a profession. It is not just the hat, the boots or riding a horse. It is more than that and it is not easy to be one. The background music is well selected. You should be aware that there are some gory scenes that are not suitable for smaller children.

The theme of this film is to see the cowboys for what they do, not for who they are. People only see their outfits and their horses; they think that's all they are. People don't see they are hard-working professionals that make sacrifices living in isolation, working long hours in the fields. Cowboys are a very important part of this country. Not everybody is born to be a cowboy.

I give Cowboys: A Documentary Portrait 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 plus adults. This film will be released November 17, 2020. Mark your calendar so you don't miss it!

Reviewed by Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COME AWAY
COME AWAY - RELATIVITY MEDIA
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Eight-year-old Alice (Keira Chansa), her mischievous brother Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and their brilliant older sibling David (Reece Yates) let their imaginations run wild one blissful summer in the English countryside. Encouraged by their parents Jack and Rose (David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie), the kids' make-believe tea parties, sword fights and pirate ship adventures come to an abrupt end when tragedy strikes. Peter, eager to prove himself a hero to his grief-stricken and financially-struggling parents, journeys with Alice to London, where they try to sell a treasured heirloom to the sinister pawnshop owner known as C.J. (David Gyasi). Returning home, Alice seeks temporary refuge in a wondrous rabbit hole while Peter permanently escapes reality by entering a magical realm as leader of the "Lost Boys."
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come Away is such a spectacular film. It has the elements of favorite childhood classics, but has a maturity to it as well. There are so many spectacular surprises, I definitely need a sequel.

This storyline follows the Littleton family, which serves as the origin story of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. After a tragedy occurs in the family, Rose and Jack (Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo) fall apart and their young son Peter (Jordan A. Nash) and Alice (Keira Chansa) are left to pick up the pieces. There are cameos of classic villains such as the Queen of Hearts and Captain Hook. The film is narrated by Alice's older self (Gugu Mbatha-Raw).

This film keeps you on your toes at all times. There are so many references to other films about Peter and Alice that we watched as kids. Throughout the movie, we see images of Tinkerbell and of Alice's classic blue dress; we learn how Peter meets the lost boys. There are so many nostalgic moments served to you on a silver platter. From the signature phrases and costumes, to solving questions that we've had for years, it's a gem. The mystery of Peter Pan's shadow is solved! The family tree in Come Away is so brilliant and elaborate, tying up all the loose ends from the stories we've grown up with. Discovering that Peter and Alice are siblings is just the beginning. We see how they go their separate ways, with Peter on his way to Neverland and Alice heading down the rabbit hole. By the end of the film, we are left wanting a sequel, just wanting to know what actually happens to Peter and Alice after their happily ever-after.

The message of this film is imagination can always set you free. From the beginning to the end of the film, Peter uses his imagination to help him when the going gets tough. From watching the drawings on his desk come to life, to pretending to fight pirates, he always uses his imagination to escape reality. You should know that there are some behaviors that are not quite appropriate for younger audiences. Rose drowns her sorrows in alcohol and Alice finds the bottle and drinks from the same glass. However it appears that it's a shrinking potion. It depends on how the audience interprets the scene, as a minor drinking, or as an imagination gone wild.

I give Come Away 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. It is available nationwide and at home on VOD November 13, 2020

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FISHBOWL

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FISHBOWL
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FISHBOWL - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 14-18
Description - In a small town filled with secrets, three sisters are forced to cling to each other as they cope with loss and a father who's growing increasingly obsessed with the rapture he thinks is coming.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I found Fishbowl super interesting. There's a lot to discuss about the themes and presentation.

The story follows three sisters, Belle, Rachel and Jessa, as they struggle to cope with recent trauma in a small town. Meanwhile, their father grows more paranoid over the end of the world.

It's important to mention that this film is heavily about religion. What sparks the father's paranoia is a televangelist claiming he can save people from Judgment Day. As a result, the father becomes obsessive and borderline abusive. I really like how this film comments on religious figures taking advantage of those who are struggling. It's a topic I don't see discussed that often, and I think it's well handled here. Because on the one hand, you feel bad for their father, Rick, as he's dealing with trauma just like his daughters. However as the film goes on, he begins to spiral out of control, and becomes more and more unlikeable. Despite that, you understand his downward spiral isn't entirely his fault. It's an intriguing character arc, and a great way of showing how religion changes people. Humans are fragile and flawed and need direction, but which way should they go?

I also really like the acting in this film. The daughters give incredibly emotional and compelling performances, but I want to give special mention to Caroline Coleman, aka Jessa. She has no lines of dialogue, but her acting is really emotional and I really felt her pain. This is her first film and I sense a great future ahead.

However, while I think this aspect of the film is handled well, there are many scenes that don't really seem to have a purpose other than to make you uncomfortable. I don't inherently have a problem with a movie trying to make me feel uncomfortable, if there is a reason for it. But, I couldn't really figure out what the reasons were for those scenes. So take this as a warning that some scenes might be upsetting.

The presentation of this film is pretty great. I like the dull, somber tone of the movie, and the lack of music. This movie also utilizes a lot of flashbacks as a way to get a better understanding of the sisters' mother. I like how the events that led to this story aren't entirely clear, and they let you figure out what's happening through context clues and parallels. I think it makes the character arcs, along with the ending, much more impactful.

I rate Fishbowl 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18, as this film can be quite dark. It is available now on Amazon and other VOD platforms, so look for it.

Reviewed by Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17
Juror Recommended Age: 14-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WAY I SEE IT, THE

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WAY I SEE IT, THE
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WAY I SEE IT, THE - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - Former Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza's journey as a person with top secret clearance and total access to the President.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I love this documentary. Dawn Porter knocks it out of the park once again with her insightful showcase of the talented Pete Souza's photojournalism work. The behind the scenes shots of Obama, from the time he was a new senator in DC to his 8 year term as President of the USA, you see the humanness of this man. You see him as a husband, father and friend. You see how much he cared for his country, how deeply he felt the responsibilities of the Presidency. Some of the photos were familiar to me, many were not. The shot of the young black kid touching Obama's hair is one that sticks in my mind forever. The idea that he would bend over so this young boy could feel his hair and know that it was the same as his own - who does that? What world leader does that? Only Obama. When he goes to the Baptist church to the funeral of those that were murdered and begins to sing Amazing Grace, I almost lost it. I have seen clips of this before, but somehow Porter's documentary shows it to us in a new wry. Yes, I love him, and cherish the precious years that he was our President. Here's hoping that we will again experience such civility in our government and soon. Reviewed by Julie S., KIDS FIRST!
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The sensational director, Dawn Porter, did it again with another entertaining and powerful documentary, The Way I See It! Porter is a genius at creating films based on inspiring images of her subjects and letting the pictures tell the story. The timing of this film is perfect because of upcoming Presidential elections and how it shows historic moments in the lives of past respectable Presidents through photos from the eyes of official White House photographer Pete Souza.

The Way I See It is a documentary based on Souza's New York Times #1 bestsellers, Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents. It gives an inside look of two powerful Presidents in U.S. history, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, through photographs taken by Pete Souza. It tells the story through clips from interviews and unique photos and shows the responsibilities of being the person holding the most powerful position on Earth.

Pete Souza was able to get an "up close and personal" look at monumental and intimate moments of former President Barack Obama and President Ronald Reagan during their terms. The setting of the film is at the White House. The scenes are very realistic because they are based on factual events. The documentary includes heartwarming clips and moments such as when these Presidents gave their speeches while running for office, their lives outside of being Presidents and just having fun. The music in this film really helps drive the story.

I love that The Way I See It did not feel like just a documentary meant to show how America is in the state it is in now. The message of the film is that we have to look at our past to understand how we get to a certain place in life. While the film doesn't really talk about President Trump, it shows that our country was in a better place before he became President. I rate The Way I See It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. Adults that like documentaries and history will also love this film. You can find this film in theaters September 18, 2020 and premiering on MSNBC October 9, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY

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TRUE ADVENTURES OF WOLFBOY - VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT
Series: FEATURE 12-18
Description - Paul lives an isolated life with his father in upstate New York. He finds making friends impossible due to a rare condition he has known as congenital hypertrichosis - an affliction that causes an abnormal amount of hair growth all over his face and body. On his 13th birthday, Paul receives a mysterious gift that compels him to run away and seek out the mother he has never known.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Is it a full moon outside? Because today I am howling that you need to check out The True Adventures of Wolfboy! This film is one big emotional journey that is extremely important for every young adult to see. Some movies might have a few lessons here and there, but this film is one big lesson. It might seem like a normal movie, but actually there is much more in the big picture. The film addresses many lessons or morals plus it has outstanding acting and amazing costume and makeup designs.

The True Adventures of Wolfboy follows a 13-ear-old boy named Paul (Jaeden Martell) who suffers from hypertrichosis. This disease makes it so you have abnormal hair growth around your body. For Paul, growing up, he ends up being called a version of a werewolf or dog. Of course, no one ever wants this to happen to themself, so it makes it extremely hard for Paul. One day, he receives a gift from his estranged mother, telling him to come find her because she has an explanation for everything. This leads Paul to go on a journey, not just a physical journey, but an emotional journey of self-acceptance.

As you can imagine, it must take a lot of makeup to make someone look like a wolf boy so naturally, the makeup department's work to make Jaeden Martell look like a wolf boy is extraordinary. Another great aspect of this film is the acting. John Turturro's portrayal of Mr. Silk is especially astounding, because he makes his character stand out and appear so authentic that you will remember his character long after the credits roll.

The True Adventures of Wolfboy includes some profanity, including one F-word, some under-age drinking, bullying and mild-violence. However, the movie is one very big lesson teaching viewers to be comfortable in your own skin. No matter what you think, you are amazing - plain and simple. Any differences you have just make you special and you should embrace them. This movie is a must-see for anyone who is struggling with themselves, because it helps you come to grips with who you are and reminds you how amazing you truly are.

I am howling that my rating for The True Adventures of Wolfboy is 5 out of 5 stars because of the emotional journey the film takes you on and because of the life-changing morals and theme. I recommend The True Adventures of Wolfboy for ages 12-18, plus adults, because of the language and sensitive topics. You can find The True Adventures of Wolfboy on digital on October 30, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST QUALIFIED ENDORSEMENT
HONEST THIEF
HONEST THIEF - OPEN ROAD PRODUCTIONS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - They call him the In-and-Out-Bandit because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. But after he falls in love with the bubbly Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Honest Thief is the "average Joe" of current film releases. It's a movie with very few characteristics that make it stand out from other action/drama. In the film, Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) tries to give up $9 million in stolen money to live an honest life with the woman he loves. But as he attempts to turn himself in, two corrupt Feds, Ramon (Anthony Ramos) and John (Jai Courtney) take advantage of the stolen money. Now he must clear his name for a murder he never committed all in the name of love.

I feel like I have watched Honest Thief many times before. Many action/drama films have the same feel to the plot, action and dialogue - and the writing here feels a bit lazy. It is as if Honest Thief cut and pasted elements from clich� lines from classic action films and put them into scenes that were supposed to be suspenseful and dramatic. I have heard the lines "I am coming for you" in too many films to count, and the effect of using these lines too much is disappointing.

I like that Honest Thief is fast-paced and scenes don't drag out. There are "good old" car chases, people being knocked out and being swung around like ragdolls. The use of comedy is sparse and feels thrown in the movie for the sake of comedic relief. Honest Thief is serious in tone so the comedy feels awkward and out of place, especially since there is so little of it.

I can usually enjoy any kind of film for what it is, but something rubbed me the wrong way about the character of Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom's wife. Her role, even her designation as a grad student, feels instrumental only for the progression of Tom's character. Tom believes he can turn himself in, delete his past, and that Annie will stay with him even after finding he's a professional bank robber. I am disappointed in the stereotypical and outdated use of women as the motivation for everything a man does --as well as not happy with the lack of female representation here. If we use the Bechdel test for female representation and ask, "Does the film have two named female characters that talk to each other about something other than men?" Unfortunately Honest Thief fails this test.

This film has action, violence and some strong language. I am able to empathize with Ramon as he struggles about whether to go along with John and steal the money for the future or do what is morally right. Even in Tom's case, as we learn about his motivation for robbing banks, we realize that not everyone is what they seem at surface level and good people can do bad things.

I give Honest Thief 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids ages 12 to 18. Honest Thief released in theatres on October 16, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
COME PLAY

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COME PLAY
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COME PLAY - FOCUS FEATURES
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - A long-limbed monster named Larry targets Oliver, a non-verbal autistic young boy along with his family and friends as well as other victims by manifesting through their smart phones, computers, television screens and other mobile devices.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Come Play will surely give you the chills! This Halloween-release horror film incredibly realistic CGI, sonorous and somber soundtrack and superb performances make this an enjoyable watch. I'll get into more about the production quality very soon, but first: the plot!

Come Play follows Oliver (Azhy Robertson), an elementary school student with autism. He's a little lonely because he's different from everyone else, and so when he finds an ebook which promises friendship, he's eager to read it from cover to cover. But in the book lies Oliver's worst nightmare: Larry, a monster who wants Oliver so badly that he's willing to break through Oliver's devices into his world just to take him away.

The production quality of this film is incredibly high. Jacob Chase, director and writer of Come Play, has written a spine-tingling script and puts forth his impeccable skills of direction in this film. David J Bomba, the production designer, meticulously designed each scene; his handiwork is magnificent. And Roque Banos, to whom the musical credits go, provides just the right low-pitched, deep soundtrack that completes the overall package of this horror indie film.

As far as the acting in this film is concerned, all of the performances are absolutely amazing! Azhy Robertson's portrayal of Oliver is perfectly toned and well-acted; it is quite realistic and is unlike most representations. I also love Gillian Jacobs' performance as Oliver's mother, Sarah. She's supremely talented at emoting and her delivery is impeccable. Playing a mother is difficult; striking up the right emotions is a challenge, and it's a great achievement to convincingly portray one. Absolutely awesome!

This film promotes friendship and staying beside one another through tough times, just like Byron (Winslow Fegley) and Oliver do. There are some things that parents need to look out for. Because of Oliver's autism, he can be a bit standoffish and aloof and hits some of his friends at times. Oliver's mom and dad fight frequently, and insecurity about parenting is brought up. In general, the subject matter of this film (horror, autism and bullying) is intended for slightly more mature audiences.

I give Come Play 4.5 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Adults may enjoy this film as well. Come Play releases in theatres on October 30, 2020.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

Grab some pillows and blankets to hide behind because today we are talking about the new terrifying film, Come Play! Come Play has brilliant jump scares flying at you left and right, and tons of scary scenes that will make you jump in odd ways. The suspense of the movie continually puts you on the edge of your seat dying to find out what happens next. Come Play provides an authentic plot. Quite frankly, I have never seen anything like Come Play, which makes it even more entertaining to watch.

Come Play follows a young boy named Oliver (Azhy Robertson) who is on the autistic spectrum and, unfortunately, cannot verbalize for himself. Instead, Oliver uses his phone or tablet to communicate. However, one night his phone starts talking to him. In the middle of the night, Oliver's phone randomly gets stuck on a book called "Misunderstood Monsters," and Oliver learns of a monster named Larry, who just wants a friend. Soon Oliver learns Larry's true potential and he and his family must escape the curse of this devilish monster.

The most compelling characteristic that makes Come Play so entertaining is the writing. The writing is superb. It is written in a strange and clandestine way, so it doesn't scare you in the predictable ways you might anticipate. Come Play is extremely impressive with its horror approach. The writers create angst and scare you with just two innocent people walking down the sidewalk, and not with a huge creepy monster. This movie's electrical effects are extremely important because of the electrical connection Larry has. The lighting effects in this film are exceptional. They definitely make the movie even creepier.

Come Play is a horror movie. I recommend it especially if this is your first experience viewing this film genre, because it is scary, but in a fun and entertaining way. Besides the typical jump scares, the movie also provides a different type of horror - bullying. Bullying is shown quite a lot in the first half of the movie and may not set the best example for children watching. Important lessons are communicated in this film, particularly the importance of friendship and family.

Similar to when the jump scares made me scream, I am screaming now that my rating for Come Play is 5 out of 5 stars. It has amazing writing and electrical effects. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults, because of the frightening scenes and language. You can find Come Play in theaters October 30, 2020.

By Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCARACY

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCARACY - AMAZON STUDIOS
Series: DOCUMENTARY, AGES 10 - 18
Description - The documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - With All In: The Fight For Democracy, documentarians Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortes weave a compelling account of the history of voting rights in the U.S, a long, winding path through many of the most pivotal moments and movements of the past--through triumph and tragedy--bound to infuriate audiences just as much as it'll invigorate them.

The story of voting rights in this country is not brief, nor simple. The movie opens with a primer on Georgia's 2018 gubernatorial election between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. From there, the film documents the vast journey from the dawn of our nation when the only people who could vote were white, male landowners to where we are today, with voting rights for all citizens over 18.

It's remarkable just how much Garbus and Cortes are able to encompass within the film from Reconstruction and Jim Crow segregationist practices, and the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century, up to the present day. The pacing is impressive and gives the viewer a lot to take in and take away from the film, but the film is never overwhelming in its scope or ambition. Garbus and Cortes even include footage as recent as the Wisconsin primary depicting voters donning facemasks at the polls. It's slightly surreal to see a story being told that is so heavily informed by the headlines of today. The film's most engaging perspective comes not from that of a voter, but a politician in that of Stacey Abrams. Her point of view anchors the film as living proof of the consequences of voter suppression. The importance of voting demonstrated throughout gives urgency to All In, and I commend the editing, considering how much the situation surrounding voter suppression and the fight for voting rights was still developing in the months leading up to the film's release.

All In: The Fight For Democracy affirms the power of one's vote and shows how much traction has been gained in establishing wider voting rights. The film also demonstrates the degree to which the ever-present threat of voter suppression has grown and the ways in which it plagues the elections of today, illustrated by the gubernatorial race between Abrams and Kemp. Michael Waldman utters a sentence early on in the film that encapsulates nicely the film's thesis: "History is never a straight line, it's always a fight." History repeats itself just as often as it progresses and that notion is crystallized within this film at various points where the film jumps back in time to show how the past has informed the present. All In closes with a crystal-clear message to go vote. An acute reminder that All In can't close the door on its story precisely because the fight referred to in the film's title is still ongoing. Much work has been done in the realm of voting rights, but much more still remains to be done-- the film doesn't lose sight of that.

I give All In: The Fight For Democracy 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18 for some brief violent images from newsreels and archives. This is timely, illuminating documentary filmmaking covering a pressing issue and definitely a must-see, not just for the information it contains, but the skill with which it's presented. All In: The Fight For Democracy is available to Amazon Prime subscribers starting September 18, 2020.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
WITCHES, THE

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WITCHES, THE
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WITCHES, THE - HBO MAX
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - Based on Roald Dahl's 1983 classic book 'The Witches', the story tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven year old boy who has a run in with some real life witches!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Witches is probably my favorite film of the year. Is not just beautiful; it is captivating, intriguing, perfectly scary, pure cinematic joy!

The Witches is a fantastic tale that grabs you from the very beginning. It is the story of a seven-year-old orphan boy that discover that witches are real! They hate kids and turn them into mice. I don't want to tell too much about the story, which is already well known. It is based on Roald Dahl's 1983 classic book by the same name. Since I haven't read the book, I want you to feel as surprised as I was in case you haven't read it or haven't watched the 1990 movie, also based on the book. If you have read it, you may love the way the characters come to life in this cinematic adaptation.

It is always inspiring to see Octavia Spencer. She plays any character so well and here, as the boy's grandmother and the voice of reason, she is fantastic. Anne Hathaway is from another world. I couldn't believe she could play this wicked character with such a grandiose attitude. She is now my favorite villain - scary, with lots of charm.

Another flawless performance is Stanley Tucci's Mr. Stringer. You can barely recognize him and he has just the perfect nuances and mannerisms to be a flamboyantly exquisite character. Last, but not least, Chris Rock is the perfect narrator with a totally engaging delivery and Jahzir Bruno, the boy, shines in his theatrical debut.

All the production aspects of this movie are very well done - the sets, costumes, cinematography, sound effects, editing, special effects, music. All together they create a great movie under the direction of Robert Zemeckis, who also wrote the script and, of course we can't expect less from the director of hits and gems of cinema like Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Cast Away and so many other films. I also loved the imprint from Guillermo Del Toro who shares writing credits. There's a quality of fantastical monsters that are delightful, which I am sure has to do with his attachment to this film.

The Witches is a spooky story for our generation, with real twisted characters, gorgeous scenarios and a great story that reminds us of the importance of team work, the courage to face adversities and offers a tribute to the important role of grandmothers in a child's life.

I give The Witches 5 out of 5 starts and absolutely recommend it to kids 10 to 18, plus adults. Some scenes may be a little disturbing for younger kids, so think about that before taking them to see it. The Witches opens October 22, 2020 on HBO Max.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
2 HEARTS
2 HEARTS - 12 PING�INOS S.L
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-18
Description - For two couples the future unfolds in different decades and different places, but a hidden connection will bring them together in a way no one could have predicted. Based on an inspirational true story, 2 Hearts is a romantic journey that celebrates life, love and generosity of spirit, and challenges audiences to believe miracles are possible.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - This romantic drama is filled with inspiring messages that melted my heart and moved me in unexpected ways. Make sure you grab a box of tissues before you watch this tearjerker. I cried my eyes out!

The film is based on the inspirational true story of Christopher Gregory (Jacob Elordi) and Jorge Bacardi (Adan Canto). It takes place in two different decades, two different cultures, two different ages and two different romances. They essentially have almost nothing in common, yet their lives intertwine in a very surprising way when they end up having a profound connection.

This movie caught me off guard. While it is a heartwarming movie with a few corny jokes and several funny scenes, it is filled with very relatable sad realities. The actors are very believable. I found myself wrapped up in their story as if I was part of their actual families. The actors in the movie are cast perfectly. Two of the strongest performances are by Adan Canto who plays Jorge, a hopeless romantic whose struggles go from joyful bliss to devastating sorrow. Radha Mitchell plays Leslie, a very strong woman who demonstrates what the power of love can do. It's a difficult role and she nails it. My favorite character is Chris because he is a corny, awkward, lovable college-boy, who reminds me so much of my own college-age brothers.

The main messages are the importance of human connection, the power of love and how life is both "awesome and fantastic." There is some bad language in the film and it promotes safety in a big way.

I give 2 Hearts 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will enjoy it, too. This movie releases in theaters on October 16, 2020.

By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 10-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY
EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY - DISNEY+
Series: FEATURE, AGES 9 - 18
Description - This updated adaptation of the classic fairytale tells the story of Danielle (Drew Barrymore), a vibrant young woman who is forced into servitude after the death of her father. Danielle's stepmother Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston) is a heartless woman who forces Danielle to do the cooking and cleaning, while she tries to marry off her own two daughters. But Danielle's life takes a wonderful turn when she meets the charming Prince Henry (Dougray Scott).
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The exceptionally entertaining film Ever After: A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Barrymore, is filled with drama, romance and comedy! The best part is definitely its intriguing plot, which is based on the Cinderella story. I thoroughly enjoy following Danielle (Drew Barrymore) throughout her adventures. The cast is full of strong actors and the costumes are beautifully detailed.

We are introduced to the story by an elderly woman who meets with a couple of men, because they seem to have unknowingly written a book about something that she knows actually happened. They call her 'Cinderella,' but the woman knows her as Danielle. The dusty pages of the book open and we are brought into the bright, colorful world of a young girl. That world soon becomes dark and evil when her father dies and she is taken in by the Baroness Rodmilla (Angelica Huston) as a servant. She struggles under the weight of understanding her heart and rebelling against Rodmilla.

The most noticeable element in this production is the story. Compared to the original Cinderella stories, this is far better, taking an amazing twist off the traditional plot. While keeping the same ideas of romance and being treated unfairly, we see more realistic events in this film. The acting performances almost equal the incredible plot. Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston's performances are outstanding, but Megan Dodds (Marguerite), Melanie Lynskey (Jacqueline) and Anna Maguire (young Danielle) are also unforgettable. These actresses make the difference between a good movie and a great movie. Also woven throughout the story are breath-taking costumes. At many points, I just stared at the screen in awe. One example is when Danielle dresses up near the beginning of the film with the help of Gustave (Lee Ingleby). She wears a pressed gown with white lace and some nice shoes. The truly mind-blowing detail is her hair. Bravo to her hairstylists! Not only in this scene, but throughout the entire film, her hair always seems to be perfectly styled. When she is serving Rodmilla and her daughters, she has her hair down, but it is still pretty. Once she goes into the village as a courtier, her hair is braided, styled and commonly topped with an accessory that always matches. Without these fantastic attention to detail, this film would not be what it is.

The message becomes clearer as the film develops - work hard, always stay positive and treat others fairly. Danielle goes through a period of grieving, but then she slowly starts to realize that she must move on, even when it means working hard to feed and serve her stepmother and stepsisters as they insult her. She stays positive all the time, which is very important for her apparent destiny to come true. The sympathy we feel for Danielle when her stepmother is cruel to her can all be traced back to treating others fairly. This is the most important message in this film.

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is one of the best films I have watched. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults. You can find it on Disney+ and other streaming services now so look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ALL STAR
KEY TO CHRISTMAS, THE

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KEY TO CHRISTMAS, THE
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KEY TO CHRISTMAS, THE - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-12
Description - When a disgruntled elf sees her chance to take over the North Pole, she uses a magical machine to turn time backwards on Jolly Old Santa Claus and he begins getting younger-- and fast! With Mrs. Claus captured and in candy cane jail, it's up to a loyal elf, a little girl with a magical key, and the now-teenage Santa to turn forward the hands of time and save the future of Christmas.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Key to Christmas is a well put together and silly movie that will attract young viewers. The constant action really kept my attention. There are no moments of boredom and it has a good message.

Santa gets frazzled because of all the mistakes made by the head elf, Winnie. He fires her and she becomes angry and vengeful and comes up with an evil idea of turning the clock back, locking up Santa and sending him backward in time. Once he is a teenager, he comes up with ideas to try and get the other key back from Kirra.

The sets and costumes of the movie are very basic, but creative. The exciting story drew attention away from that. The soundtrack is exciting and really sets the tone. The plot is very predictable, but exciting and captivating, nonetheless. The characters' progressions are done well and individual to each.

The message of this film is to not lose hope and, if you are good, good things will happen and kindness prevails!

I give The Key to Christmas 4 out of 5 stars. Because of the level of anger and yelling I recommend The Key to Christmas for ages 5 to18, plus adults. This film is available on digital and DVD October 17, 2020. Look for it. Reviewed by Melissa M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - I love Christmas movies, and this is the season of when all the good holiday movies come out. The Key To Christmas is a good example. The actors are great and the storyline is really inspirational. If you like Christmas you will definitely like this movie. This really shows the true magic of Christmas and how people can change.

The storyline is about an elf named Winey (Samriddhi Singh) who is always getting into trouble with Santa and she does not like Christmas. Winey decides to revisit the past in a time machine and ruin Christmas forever. She messes with time and, guess what? Santa stops growing and stays a teenager! While he is a teenager he is always giving up so he cannot help the other elves. As time goes by, Santa gets younger instead of older and Winey and her elf friend ruin Christmas, or they try to.

This film has great acting. The actors have amazing energy and are fun to watch. The costumes are superb. The sets are terrific. For example, the Christmas factory set is so pretty with toys everywhere and Christmas decorations on everything. There is a cool time machine in Santa's office and tons of other great things. This film is so enjoyable movie to watch from start to finish.

The message in this film is to think before you act, because you can get hurt or get other people hurt. You could even get in trouble.

I rate The Key To Christmas 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18. You can find it online and on DVD October 17, 2020.

By Sara Lea G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10.

There's just something magical about the holiday season and the movie The Key to Christmas! In this film a disgruntled elf sees her opportunity to displace Santa Claus by "gifting" him with youth. Holy Nutcracker Santa takes a forced holiday and the mayhem that ensues is sure to entertain your family.

The Key to Christmas opens with traditional holiday scenes, delightfully accompanied by the magical work of music composer Thomas Beckman which really sets the holiday mood. A girl, Kirra (Camryn Macdonald), surprises Santa (Scott Osborne) as he delivers gifts and he mistakenly gives her a special gift which obviously was not meant for her. Santa promises to fix Christmas. Meanwhile back at the North Pole, there's a rebellion which complicates things as Mrs. Clause is placed in Candy Cane Jail. It's up to our favorite elf Lovey (Katherine Alpen) and Kirra to find the key that Santa left behind.

I love the perfectly cast Katherine Alpen in her goofy and adorable role as Lovey. The other heroine, Kirra, played by Camryn Macdonald really steals the show. Her facial expressions and emotions really come through as her character struggles to believe in the wonder and magic of Santa Claus and Christmas. Without giving anything away, the scenes searching for the lost key and Kirra's disbelief are really timely and funny. Jason Mills is the Director, Executive Producer, Cameraman, Editor, Set Designer and Writer, among other roles. It's safe to say this is a Jason Mills' film. It's a special story as the cast races to save the future of Christmas.

The message of this film is to never stop believing in the magic of Christmas and the goodness of others. Do you believe? You may have to rise above your doubts and fears to overcome challenges, believe in yourself and the righteousness of your cause to prevail.

I rate The Key to Christmas 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8, plus adult family members. The Key to Christmas is available on Digital and DVD October 17, 2020. Look for it.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHRISTMAS WITH A CROWN

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CHRISTMAS WITH A CROWN - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Cassie and Nicolas are from different worlds. All Cassie wants is to revive her town's Holiday Winter Festival, a tribute to her mother, who created the event many years before. Hope strikes when she meets a mysterious visitor, Nicolas, who has an interest in holiday tradition. But Nicolas has a secret: He's a Prince. It's going to take a Christmas miracle of Royal proportions to save the day.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Christmas with a Crown will warm your heart. The story captures love, the importance of family and tradition all in one holiday package.

The story follows Cassie heading back to her hometown for the holidays when she learns that the Christmas festival, her late mother's passion project, is no more. She quickly gets to work to recreate the event in her mother's memory and to help raise funds for the struggling library. She meets Nicolas, an out of town stranger who helps her plan the event. As they grow closer and Christmas grows near, Nicolas works up the courage to tell her his royal secret.

Cassie (Lisa Durupt) and Nicolas' (Marcus Rosner) love story takes the focus, with settings and scenes of the film fading into the background. Arthur (Michael Lazarovitch) plays a strong supporting role with a nice touch of amusement. Walt (John Treleaven) and Melinda (Diana-Marie Stolz) support Cassie on her journey towards the event and give off vibes that a little love might be bringing them closers as well.

Christmas with a Crown showcases the importance of family and tradition, especially during the holidays. The initial meeting of the main characters shows a bit of rudeness, but that quickly dissipates and the remainder of the Christmas with a Crown features only the positive message of family, teamwork, working towards a common goal, and tradition.

I give Christmas with a Crown 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. It is available December 1, 2020 on Digital and DVD.

By Angela G., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Christmas with a Crown is a lighthearted Christmas fairy tale. When their two worlds collide in a small town during the Christmas season, Cassie and Nicolas must work together to make their dreams come true. It is a story about love, the importance of family and the true meaning of Christmas.

This holiday film is about a woman named Cassie (Lisa Durupt) who returns to her hometown to visit her dad (John Treleaven). When she learns her community's, beloved library is in danger of closing forever, she decides to take on the Holiday Winter Festival that her mom used to do each year to raise enough money to save the library. She meets a stranger named Nicolas (Marcus Rosner) who decides to help her take on the challenge of getting the festival ready in time for Christmas. As they work through their own personal problems time is ticking on the deadlines for their decisions. Little does she know he is keeping a royally big secret.

One of my favorite scenes is when Cassie and Nicolas are ice-skating together. The rink setting is beautiful when the light hits the snow which creates a soft glow and forms a romantic mood. The skating rink is decorated with trees and lights that fit the mood of the Christmas season. I also enjoy the way the characters interact with each other. Cassie and Nicolas's relationship creates an interesting storyline. Their roller coaster relationship keeps it intriguing. Cassie's relationship with her dad is also heartwarming and touching. It really reflects the importance of family that the movie tries to stress. I like how the film has a surprising twist that involves how the two main characters families are intertwined.

The message embedded in this film is that people should follow their hearts. A lot of times, following your heart may not be easy, but it can be worthwhile in the long run. Both Cassie and Nicolas are facing difficult decisions. Just like these characters, ordinary people often face decisions where they are being pulled in different directions by other people and must decide for themselves what is right for them.

I give Christmas with a Crown 4 out of 5 stars. It is somewhat predictable, but it has interesting twists that keep it entertaining. I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. Adults who enjoy Christmas movies will enjoy it as well. The movie will be available December, 2020 on digital and DVD.

By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Christmas With A Crown is full of Christmas spirit. The cast and sets are amazing and it really put me in the Christmas mood.

The story follows Cassie, a woman living in New York, who decides to spend Christmas in her hometown, Winderville, and an undercover prince, Nick, who wants to find out about the 'winter festival,' a tradition, created by Cassie's late mother, celebrated on Christmas Day. When it looks like the town's library is on the verge of closing, Nick and Cassie might just have to join forces to bring it back. How will Nick's mother react? Will they save the library? Watch Christmas With A Crown to find out.

The cast and sets are great. The actors are all amazing and play their characters to a high and realistic standard. Lisa Durupt stars as Cassie and, although she has been in many films and TV shows, this is one of her first starring roles, and she performs amazingly well. Marcus Rosner (Once Upon A Time and Arrow) joins her as the undercover prince, Nick. He plays his part to a very high standard considering he had to play his role in both an English and American dialect, switching regularly between both. The sets are my favorite, especially the ice skating rink where Nick and Cassie share their thoughts about their homes, families and Christmas traditions. My favorite part of the film is when Arthur, the prince's right-hand man, finds out Nick is pretending to be a 'commoner' in Winderville. His reaction is priceless. The Christmas music in the background made me want to get up and dance. It really makes me wish it was Christmas today.

The message of the film is that two is better than one and that you shouldn't hide away the truth from the people that care about you.

I give Christmas With A Crown 4 out of 5 stars. It is enjoyable but quite predictable. I recommend it for ages 6 to12, plus adults. This film is available on Digital and DVD December 1, 2020. Look for it.

Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Christmas with a Crown is sure to be a holiday classic! With romance, conflict, comedy and some nutmeg, this film leaves us wanting more. It's the perfect film to get you into the Christmas spirit.

When Cassie (Lisa Durupt) returns home for the holidays and finds out the local library is in danger of shutting down, she carries out a plan for a Christmas festival as a fundraiser. She meets and falls for tourist Nicolas (Marcus Rosner), who is hiding his true identity of being a prince. They work together to get the festival ready in a short amount of time, with the help of the town.

The film really brings meaning to Christmas. Cassie follows in her mother's footsteps of hosting the yearly Christmas festival, remembering how "Christmas starts with us." Nicolas really learns the importance of family and the holidays, how Christmas is a feeling, not a place. His butler really steals the film! Arthur (Michael Lazarovitch) has the perfect timing with his snarky comments. How he reacts to this town which is completely different than what he's used to. His bewilderment is awesome. The funniest scenes are Arthur and Nicolas talking, with Nicolas switching accents, from Veronian to American. Their friendship is strong, and develops from master and servant to best friends. Along with a great romance between protagonists, there's a great friendship to watch as well.

The phrase "Christmas starts with us" is repeated throughout the movie, which is the message of the film. Nicolas learns from Cassie that Christmas traditions are the ones you make, along with the memories. There are no audience warnings for this film.

I give Christmas with a Crown 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It is available December 1, 2020 on Digital and DVD.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
BENNET SONG HOLIDAY, A

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BENNET SONG HOLIDAY, A - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-12
Description - Mrs. Song is expecting a baby to add to their diverse roster of 14 adopted children and the family will team up to stop a developer who wants to close down the community center. Love, teamwork, and holiday magic are sure to save the day!
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - A Bennet Song Holiday is a family-friendly movie that revolves around friends and family. The movie also touches on good moral values that you should imbibe as a teenager.

This story is about a family with 14 adopted kids work together to stop a developer that wants to close down the community center and how they work together, aided by a little holiday magic to overcome the situation.

The film is a bit slow paced, but I like that it shows the importance of moral values and gives examples of how kids can take responsible actions, help each other and give back to their community. The story is a bit predictable and sometimes jumps through the scenes without much context. It takes about 30 minutes to completely understand what is going on in the film. Kids may need patience to sit through the first half hour. The screenplay just doesn't quite weave a captivating story. It does show how kids can patiently work through things and how to take responsible steps to help everyone around you. My favorite part is the acting. You can see that the actors (Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haskins, Calhoun Koenig, Bruce Xavier and more) put in a lot of effort throughout the movie.

It also touches on the topic of racism when an elderly businessman or a couple treats some Asian Americans poorly. We see how the individual tries to tackle the problem with a smile and without retaliation. I was somewhat dissatisfied that it touches on these sensitive topics yet does not address how to deal with the problems or why it is necessary to curb such behavior.

This film definitely uses the right vocabulary for its target audience. And, the music enhances the theme of the film, which really gets to kids.

The message of the film is: Take care of your family and friends and act responsibly.

I give A Bennet Song Holiday 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Laxmi D., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - A Bennet Song Holiday is an inspirational movie! It is inspirational because it shows how a few kids can make a difference and it includes a character that is deaf. Also it shows how kids and teens work together to save something and that is meaningful. This movie is very fun and touching.

The story is about a mother and father and their 14 adopted children, plus one uncle who team up to stop a developer from closing down the community center.

There is a group of all girls that shows some real girl power, which is pretty cool. Also, they have a program where they teach ASL (American Sign Language). It's necessary to so that because the uncle who lives with them is deaf. Another cool thing is that the teens actually teach the various subjects such as sign language and music. My favorite part of this film is when the kids have a fundraiser and they made a song about the theme, which is quite catchy. The only thing lacking in this film is the performances of the actors. They don't seem to really embody their characters, for the most part. However, I still liked the film.

The message of this film is that when you get knocked down, get back up and keep trying. This family loves making a difference in other people's lives.

I give A Bennet Song Holiday 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults.

Reviewed by Saniyarain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
Juror Recommended Age: 8-12 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.99 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
FARMER AND THE BELLE, THE: SAVING SANTALAND

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FARMER AND THE BELLE, THE: SAVING SANTALAND - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - Sparks fly between a famous model and a farmer with a young daughter, when she visits her childhood home. The town is in danger of losing their beloved Santaland festival, but miracles can happen with a little love, family, and faith.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland has a positive message in a unique story.

When Belle was a little girl her grandma tried to instill good values into her, giving her a bracelet to remind her of what is important in life. On the other hand, her mother wanted her to focus more on her beauty to become a NYC model. As an adult, when her world starts falling apart, Belle goes back to spend the holiday in a small town that is home to Santaland to try and find her grandma's bracelet she lost there years before. Instead she finds childhood pen pal, Josh who she starts to fall in love with. Belle helps save his Santaland while realizing beauty is much more than skin deep.

The production is well done although at times the storyline seems a bit farfetched even though it is inspired by a true story. Belle Winters is played by Jenn Gotzon and Josh is played by Jim Chandler.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland shows that beauty is not what is on the outside, it is on the inside and is shown in the things you do. Your value is not based on appearances or the number of social media follows. True love is found when you respect and use your gifts to serve others.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It will be release on digital and DVD on November 17, 2020.

Reviewed by Angela G., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a charming, modern Christmas love story. It reinvents the whole true meaning of Christmas and what is truly important. It definitely left me with the Christmas spirit, the belief that true love is possible, and that miracles can happen.

The movie begins when a grandmother gives a young girl, Belle, a charm bracelet with charms that are engraved with inspirational words. One day, she wears the bracelet when she visits her pen pal Josh's farm. While she's there, an incident causes her to become upset and leave. She later realizes she has lost her beloved charm bracelet. Years later, Belle (Jenn Gotzon Chandler) is a successful model who is getting older and worries that her beauty is fading. She remembers the charm bracelet with encouraging words and decides to return to the farm to look for it. She wants to read the words and hopes that it will make her feel beautiful again. She goes back and Josh is still on the farm with his young daughter. She learns that Santaland festival is in danger of closing down forever. Josh (Jim Chandler) and his daughter, Adele (Adele Chandler), try to help her find what she is looking for.

There are several scenes that I found heartwarming and many that are exciting. There are even some surprises. One of my favorite scenes is the one at the Santa Games at the Santaland festival. There is a lot of action and it is hilarious. This makes it very enjoyable for viewers. Jenn Gotzon Chandler really connects with her character, Belle and shows great emotions; she really puts herself into her character's shoes.

This movie leaves viewers with a beautiful message. It shows that true beauty is not about a person's outside appearance. It is what is on the inside that really counts. Looks will fade but beauty on the inside never does. Being kind and giving is what makes a person truly beautiful. This film also teaches the power of forgiveness and how it can lead to happiness.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18. Many adults that like holiday movies will also find this film very enjoyable. This film will be available November 17, 2020 by Vision Films. By Carlee S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

I like The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland because it's a cute romantic story. I love romantic stories because they typically have a happy ending. Who doesn't love a feel-good ending? The acting isn't as strong as the storyline, but I still enjoyed it.

The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland is about two pen pals, Belle (Livi Birch) and Josh (Benji Russell), who are really good friends. They both think about becoming farmers when they grow up. However, after they go to the Santaland festival where Josh tells Belle to take photos by the pigs, Belle falls in the mud, loses her bracelet and changes her mind about becoming a farmer. As they grow up, Belle (Jenn Gotzon) becomes a very famous model, while Josh (Jim E. Chandler) is a farmer who has a daughter named Adele (Adele Chandler). They are completely opposite of each other. Belle is selfish, but Josh is nice and kind. They meet again because Belle wants to find her lost bracelet. While Belle is focused on finding the bracelet, Josh is trying to save Santaland. Even though they have different goals and values, they end up helping each other and find out that miracles can truly happen.

The camera angles in this film make you think you are in the room with the characters, so you feel like you are part of the story. The music, especially that by John Schneider, is upbeat and very danceable. I love the inclusion of animals in the film. When the characters go to Santaland, there are pigs, cows, chickens, goats and horses. They are all fun to see, since I don't see many of these animals where I live. My favorite part of the film is when Belle plays the role of a donkey in a nativity play because it is super funny.

The message of the film is that you should be nice to everyone and avoid being selfish. If you are rude to people, most people won't like you. It is important to treat others the way you want to be treated, and to know what is important in life. When Josh, Adele and Belle decorate a Christmas tree together, Belle realizes the importance and the true meaning of Christmas.

I give The Farmer And The Belle: Saving Santaland 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 13. This film is available November 17, 2020.

By Cadence G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is an inspirational story with a combination of Christmas, romance, comedy, sadness and family. I like this film because of those elements and because some parts of this movie are based on real life events.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is about two children who are pen pals named Belle (Livi Birch) and Josh (Benji Russell). Josh lives on a farm named Santaland. Every Christmas, Josh's family opens the farm to the people in town to amuse them with games and music. One Christmas, Belle visited Josh at his farm. Belle shows Josh a beautiful bracelet her grandma gave her with multiple charms which has different messages on each charm. Then Belle sits on a pigpen fence and accidently falls inside the muddy pigpen. The children laugh at her, which hurt's Belle's feelings, so Belle's grandma takes her back home. Belle's mom tells Belle she is beautiful no matter if the children made fun of her because she was covered in mud. She told Belle she was going to be a famous model, then Belle realizes that the bracelet her grandma gave her was missing, that she left it at the farm. Belle had stopped going to Santaland to see Josh and her lost connection, until she feels the need to go back to find her bracelet. That's when miracles start to happen.

The film is very high quality the music and songs are appealing and add a lot to the scenes and storyline. I love the set, which is mostly the farm and the farmhouse. The cast, including the children, are all talented actors. Singer and actor John Schneider and singer Beckah Shaeare part of the cast.

The moral of The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is that true beauty comes from inside of us not from our looks. Is very important to know that having a beautiful heart is much better and more beautiful than how we look or how we dress. Beauty is to help people and make them happy like Belle helped Josh with Santaland. This film's extraordinary message will bring families together, especially around Christmas time.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland movie 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to ages 5 to 18, plus adults will enjoy this magnificent film with their children and family as well. The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is coming to select streaming services on November 17, 2020. It is a "must-see" movie!

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

When I saw the movie trailer for The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland, I was hooked! I had to see this movie because I love Christmas and farm animals. The trailer certainly does its job-- I'll tell you that!

The Farmer and The Belle is a Christmas love story between a famous model named Belle (Livi Birch), and a kind farmer named Josh (Benji Russell) who is raising a young daughter named Adele (Adele Chandler). His small town is in danger of losing a longtime tradition called "Santaland Festival" and is hoping a for a miracle to save it. I relate mostly to the character of Adele. She seems happy and comfortable on the farm amongst her animal friends. The supporting characters also include Belle's trusted stylist, Cassidy (Natasha Bure.) There are also musical cameos, and special guests like John Schneider and syndicated radio host, Delilah.

This film is produced by the two lead actors who wanted to make a film based on their own life.

The style is fun, light and warm which makes it the perfect holiday movie! There is a good lesson wrapped inside the story; it doesn't matter if you are beautiful on the outside. It only matters if you are beautiful on the inside.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a good movie but incredibly dense. There is a lot going on. The message is a bit repetitive, and it feels a little long. But, overall it's a solid movie which was enjoyable to watch.

I give The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland 3 out of 5 stars. This film is perfect for ages 8 to 18 and adults would like it too. The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland debuts November 2020, just in time for you to make it a Christmas favorite!

By Izzy C., KID FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a very fascinating movie! I really adore it. Especially how remarkable Belle Winters (Jenn Gotzen) plays her role throughout the entire movie; what an extraordinary actress!

The storyline is about two friends that get disconnected, Belle (Jenn Gotzen) wants to be a model when she is older and Josh (Jim E. Chandler) wants to be a farmer. Belle is given a special bracelet by her grandma wish inspirational quotes. One day while reflecting on memories from the bracelet that she lost when she was young, Belle decides that she wants to return to her hometown to search for it. Once returning home she realizes the real reason why her and Josh got disconnected over the years.

The main character Belle (Jenn Gotzen) is my favorite, because she is a model. When she goes back to Santaland to look for her bracelet she doesn't act like she is better than anyone else. She is very humble and carries herself professionally. The music really drives the movie, I enjoyed how the words of the music matched some of the movie clips. I was also surprised by how abrupt the change of scenes are. Additionally I noted that, over the years, nothing changed in terms of the house, farm or the small town.

The message of the film is to not be so quick to give up on a friendship without knowing a person's back story.

The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a beautiful movie. I recommend it for ages 13 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. It will be release on digital and DVD on November 17, 2020.

By Deena H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
WAR WITH GRANDPA

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WAR WITH GRANDPA - 101 STUDIOS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 8-18
Description - Sixth-grader Peter (Oakes Fegley) is pretty much your average kid-he likes gaming, hanging with his friends and his beloved pair of Air Jordans. But when his recently widowed grandfather Ed (Robert De Niro) moves in with Peter's family, the boy is forced to give up his most prized possession of all, his bedroom. Unwilling to let such an injustice stand, Peter devises a series of increasingly elaborate pranks to drive out the interloper, but Grandpa Ed won't go without a fight. Soon, the friendly combatants are engaged in an all-out war with side-splitting consequences.

Based on the award-winning book by Robert Kimmel Smith, The War with Grandpa is a hilarious family comedy featuring an all-star supporting cast: Christopher Walken, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, Laura Marano and Jane Seymour.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - Just when you think you've seen it all, 2020 brings you Robert De Niro flying a drone into Uma Thurman's head in The War with Grandpa. The fantastic film with an all-star cast is sure to become a family favorite! While the story is familiar, familiar fan-favorite actors make it worth the watch.

Tim Hill directs this timeless tale of the importance of family. Robert De Niro plays a set-in-his ways grandfather to Peter, played by Oakes Fegley. When daughter Sally (Uma Thurman) insists her father move in with the family, Ed (Robert De Niro) is hesitant. Peter, once optimistic about the time he can spend with his elder, is quickly startled by the news that his beloved grandfather will be stealing his room. Now, a war ensues as both struggle to realize the good that has come out of this inevitable situation.

I love the cast of this film with Laura Marano as Mia, Oakes Fegley as Peter and scene-stealer Poppy Gagnon as Jennifer - the three children of Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle. Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour and Christopher Walken play friends of Ed that get involved in the prank war. The script includes jokes for the kids and also some fun references for adult viewers. My favorite scenes are those between De Niro and Gagnon, as their granddaughter-grandfather relationship is absolutely adorable!

The message of The War with Grandpa is about the importance of family. While Peter learns this lesson from his grandfather, Ed learns it as well. You should know that there are a few instances for parents to look out for, including nudity references and some language. While there is some minor violence, it isn't anything to make the film unsuitable for children. After all, it is rated PG.

I give The War with Grandpa 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 15, while also being enjoyable for adults. The War with Grandpa opened in theaters October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Erin M.
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Grab your popcorn and sit down for a wild ride because we are talking about the new hit family movie, The War with Grandpa! The War with Grandpa shows off unexpected pranks and comedic scenes, and also displays fantastic character development and a hilarious plot. The film provides an amazing cast you just can't get enough of, and many life lessons/morals presented in unconventional ways. This movie is silly in all the right kinds of ways; however, some dialogue seems a little too immature and completely unnecessary.

The movie starts off by introducing the Decker family, a somewhat crazy family with a daughter who wants to see her boyfriend, a little girl who wants to celebrate Christmas in September, and a middle school boy named Peter (Oakes Fegley) who loves his shoes! When their Grandpa (Robert De Niro) starts to not be able to care for himself, he is forced to move in with his family. There is one problem-- he has to take Peter's room, and Peter is not happy about it. Peter thinks there is only one solution to get his room back.... WAR! Peter and his Grandpa start the ultimate prank battle. You will never see the end coming!

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was confused. I have such a high standard for Robert De Niro because of all the amazing movies he is in, like Taxi Driver and The Irishman. I initially thought The War with Grandpa would waste talent like his, but I was very wrong. Robert De Niro in this film is outstanding, and it was a breath of fresh air from all the extremely serious movies he has done before. Roe Baker did an outstanding job casting everyone in this movie.

The War with Grandpa really does provide many lessons and morals in unconventional ways. Under all the pranks and silly jokes, this film teaches you that even when you don't want to give up something up you love, think about who it could help if you did. The War with Grandpa is rated PG, for some rude humor and mild language.

As Peter declared war on his Grandpa, I declare a rating for The War with Grandpa of 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend The War with Grandpa for ages 8 to 12. You can find The War with Grandpa in theaters on October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Jude A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The War with Grandpa is the perfect film for the whole family! It is funny, has great actors and delivers a feel-good message to all of us.

This movie is about a boy named Peter (Oakes Fegley) who is your average sixth grader. But, that all changes when his Grandpa Ed (Robert De Niro) moves in with his family. Neither Grandpa Ed nor Peter like the new living arrangement, because grandpa loses some of his independence and Peter loses his bedroom. A secret "prank war" ensues as Grandpa Ed and Peter try to outdo each other until someone gives up.

This film is based on the best-selling book, The War with Grandpa, by Robert Kimmel Smith. Thanks to Tre Peart, the executive producer, this movie was made. When Tre was in the third grade, he came across the book and suggested to his parents that they should make a movie about it. And here it is! The script is hysterical and takes many lines directly from the book. Also, the amazing cast includes Robert De Niro (Grandpa Ed), who plays a terrific, immature, but loving father and grandfather. Uma Thurman plays a stern, but wonderfully caring mother (Sally), and Oakes Fegley plays Peter, an excellent prankster protagonist. The supporting cast consists of terrific A-list talent including Rob Riggle, playing a "cool dad." Christopher Walken and Cheech Marin team up with Grandpa Ed to make him even more immature. My favorite part of the movie is all the creative ways Peter and Grandpa Ed find to prank each other, and sometimes other members of the family (sorry Sally).

The messages of the movie are about the importance of communication within a family and respecting your elders. Also - trampoline dodgeball solves everything.

I give The War with Grandpa 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 13. Adults will also enjoy this movie. This movie is scheduled to come out in theaters on October 9, 2020.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

I just love The War With Grandpa with all the great actors like Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman and others that take it to another level of comedy. I thought this would be a good comedy, but it turned out to be even funnier than I thought it would be. At times like these, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need more movies like this that are enjoyable, funny and interesting.

The storyline is about a war between Peter (Oakes Fegley) and his grandpa (Robert De Niro). Peter and his grandpa had a really close friendship, but it is tested when grandpa moves into Peter's bedroom. Peter is forced out of his comfy bedroom into the attic, which gives Peter enough of a reason to start a prank war with grandpa. Their pranks are so funny; they had me laughing at the edge of my seat. And the fun part is that Peter's parents had absolutely no idea this war was going on. I can't even get started on Peter's little sister, Jenny (Poppy Gagnon) who is so sweet. She is always so nice to her grandpa. You could say that Jenny is the "Queen of Christmas" because she always wears Christmas shirts and her whole side of the room looks like a Christmas factory.

This film is absolutely amazing. It is definitely a fun family film. Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Rob Riggle make up an impressive cast. The camera work is wonderful and I love the settings.

The primary message of this film is that fighting is never the answer to anything, because you can get yourself hurt or hurt other people. Another massage to not be so attached to your things and learn to share, especially with your grandpa.

I rate this film 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters October 9, 2020 so look for it. Reviewed by Sara G., KIDS FIRST!, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 8-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CHILDREN OF THE SEA
CHILDREN OF THE SEA - GKIDS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 10-15
Description - CHILDREN OF THE SEA is the latest feature from Japan's STUDIO4�C (known for Tekkonkinkreet, MFKZ, Mind Game, Animatrix, Batman: Gotham Knight, and others), and is directed by Ayumu Watanabe, with a score by award-winning composer and longtime Studio Ghibli collaborator Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro). CHILDREN OF THE SEA is adapted from the manga of the same name by author Daisuke Igarashi, which won the Excellence Prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival. When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea as she does. Ruka's dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the oceans' fish.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Full of intense imagination and interesting concepts, Children of the Sea is sure to captivate its audience. This Japanese fantasy film offers its viewers a tremendous amount of excitement and appreciation for nature. It's full of exploration and great artistic design. Some of the film's themes are difficult to connect with, yet the Children of the Sea keeps its viewers engaged and curious with its amazing animation.

The film is about a young, somewhat troubled teen named Ruka, who finds herself challenged by the relationships of her peers and her mother. During troubling times, Ruka is drawn to the local aquarium where her dad works -- a place she visited often and found comfort in as a child. Many mysteries of the ocean confuse Ruka over the years but when she meets Umi and Sora, two brothers believed to be raised by dugongs, marine mammals, their knowledge of the ocean seems to shed light on those mysteries. After Ruka spends her summer with Umi and Sora, she discovers that she, too, has this supernatural connection to the sea.

A big "thumbs up" to the animation department in this film for bringing the mystic ocean and its creatures to life! Children of the Sea kept us glued to the screen with its combination of animated drama, fantasy, and mystery, from scene to scene. The detailed and colorful environments of the sea, is by far my favorite part of the film. Although the story is challenging at times to follow, this film is a visual masterpiece.

Children of the Sea contains some deep concepts, and its message is difficult to understand. Mysterious ocean sounds that seem to trigger a global migration of sharks and whales in this film may be the film's best message. These sounds, which are part of the ocean's mystery, could affect the future of all life on Earth. Everything that surrounds us is connected, and we must find balance within the greater universe. Man and nature must live in harmony.

I give Children of the Sea 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Children of the Sea may be more appreciated by adult nature lovers who could better appreciate its message and in-depth concepts. This film can be seen on blue-ray, DVD, and digital streaming.

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


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
SKY DOG

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SKY DOG
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SKY DOG - VISION FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 12-18
Description - After a high school senior working on his pilot's license rescues a dog named Oreo, he finds out his mom is a CIA agent who's been captured. He teams up with Oreo and a new friend to find his mother and uncover double agents inside the CIA.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - see youth comments
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - An enthralling watch, Sky Dog will capture kids' hearts and surely become a fixture feature film in many households. The high production quality, intriguing script and fast-paced action all make for a pleasant viewing experience. In a crowded segment of action/spy films, Sky Dog undoubtedly stands out.

Sky Dog follows the life of Colt Lifestone, a high school senior who has his heart set on getting his pilot's license. After a fateful revelation regarding Colt's mom's job and news of her kidnapping, Lifestone finds himself uprooted from all he knew to be normal, in a new home, new school and with two mysterious guardians. Colt teams up with his new friend Alice to find out what's really going on... and solve some mysteries in the process.

Both the characters of Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen) and Alice Jones (Vickie Lynn Smith), the protagonists of the film, come across as confident and strong. However, Knudsen's shaky or robotic delivery can jerk the reader out of the magic of the story at times. There are many other actors involved in the "above-the-line" element of Sky Dog, and I especially enjoyed the performances of Mimi Sagadin (as Sheila Porter) and Rocco Guirlanda (as Agent Dewitt Porter). They sold their antagonistic roles to me and stirred up emotions in my heart, a difficult feat for many films. Sagadin, specifically, truly commits to her character--her performance seems to me to be the most genuine of all. Now to other talent on the film. Daniel Knudsen and Tim Kaiser directed Sky Dog; Mark Knudsen wrote the script and Kristina Kaylen led the production effort. All of these individuals show exceptional talent, but one member of the production crew shines above all: Samuel Joshua, the mind behind the film's original music score. The musical score would have to be my favorite part of the film. A mix of simple tunes, orchestral pieces and regal John Barry (James Bond films)-esque trumpet fanfares -- the music of Sky Dog adds much to the film and makes the viewing experience that much more enjoyable.

The message of Sky Dog is twofold: always do the right thing, no matter what it takes, and recognize the heroes around us. In terms of an advisory, parents should be aware that Porter mistreats Colt at two or three points in the film. Also, Colt and Alice steal a plane and defy the rules. There are also thematic elements in Sky Dog, such as kidnapping and weapons, that would not be advisable for young children.

I give the film Sky Dog 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for kids aged 12 to 18. Adults may enjoy the movie as well. Sky Dog is coming to you, online and on DVD October 20, 2020!

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

Sky Dog is a very exciting movie and I enjoyed it. This movie keeps you curious about what will happen next. Also, there is a turn of events that keeps you very engaged throughout. Lastly, there is a hero in this movie and everyone loves a hero. This film has all the components to make an absorbing and delightful movie.

This film is about a teenager named Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen), who is just a normal teenager until he discovers that his mom (Jeannine Thompson) is a CIA agent and is in danger. Colt is determined to rescue her with the help of a friend and a small dog.

The mood of this movie is hopeful and suspenseful. This is really a film that teenagers will enjoy. Written by Mark. A Knudsen, this film has an interesting storyline that is filled with emotional, action filled scenes. For example, when the CIA goes on a mission the audience follows along. This part is very intriguing as we watch the mission unfold. The most exhilarating part of the film is the ending, when Colt faces the bad guys. This is when the pieces of the puzzle come together and give the film its final touch. The camerawork is great, especially all the various camera angles. Daniel Knudsen, who plays Josh, is a well-known actor and film director. Daniel Knudsen's acting is very natural, but there is lack of emotion. For instance, when he finds out that his mom is in danger, he doesn't show much concern about it. Moreover, Oreo (Rosie Berryer), is Colt's dog. Oreo is loyal, smart and plays a big part in helping Colt and his friend. In this film, the mom's acting is very expressive. You can really see the emotion in her face and that's what makes her a great actor.

The messages of this film address determination and teamwork. Colt is not one to give up and this really helps him become a hero. The saying "two heads are better than one" is proven in this film. When you work together with others, it is more likely that the outcome will be great.

I give Sky Dog 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Adults will like it as well. You can find this film on Digital and DVD October 20, 2020.

Reviewed by Ginebra Q., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Sky Dog is a great suspenseful movie that lots of kids, especially those that like planes, will like. The film is also fun to watch.

The movie is about a teenage boy who wants to become a pilot and then, rescues a dog named Oreo. When Colt Lifestone (Daniel Knudsen) figures out that his stepdad (Tim Kaiser) and mom (Jeannine Thompson) are CIA agents his life is turned upside down. In one part of the movie, Colt tries to convince his protectors that he might have figured out a way to get back his mom, but do they listen or not?

I like the scene when Colt's teacher talks about what true heroes are and how to be one. The character that I like the most is Alice Jones (Vickie Lynn Smith). She is a good friend and is mostly with Colt when he needs her. She is not an ordinary friend. She always believes in him and what he says. My favorite part of the movie is when Alice and Colt work together to find his mom. They have to deal with some dangerous people but they do not let anything stop them. They work together and come up with smart ideas such as putting a bad guy to sleep by sneaking some sleeping pills to his drink. They then end up getting away with their ideas and go on to find Colt's mom.

The message of the film is that you can be a hero without any special powers.

I give Sky-Dog 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 10. You can find Sky-Dog on October 20, 2020 on digital and DVD.

Reviewed by SaniyaRain F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12
Juror Recommended Age: 12-18 Suggested Retail Price: $ 19.95 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CANDY PLANET

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CANDY PLANET
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CANDY PLANET - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURE, AGES 5-8
Description - Getaway for an awesome summer vacation with Rainy and her mom on a faraway rainforest planet made entirely of Candy. When Rainy's mother is accidentally turned into a living-Candy -- it will be up to Rainy to save her mom from a world of outrageous characters in the sweetest places... Candy Planet.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - I enjoy the vibrant color scheme of the animated film, Candy Planet. There is a copious amount of neon and bright colors. It visually appealing to me, so I assume it will also be appealing for children. Sometimes there are unnecessary scenes that slow down the pace of the high energy adventure. For example, when the film cross-cuts between the adventure and the residents of candy planet, I know it is necessary to show both places, but it seems as if the candy planet scenes are there to add runtime rather than give the viewer information.

The storyline is about a mysterious robot appearing and zapping Rainie's mother, Eileen, into a piece of candy. Rainie and her friends follow the robot to discover it is trying to take Eileen back to the candy planet. Along the way, Rainie and her friends discover the truth about candy planet's existence and during their adventure, they learn the meaning of friendship.

I like how the viewer is omniscient while the characters are more restricted in their knowledge of the candy planet's ruler, Gordon's true intentions. This technique may reduce the surprise of the "big reveal," but the viewer still experiences tension while the characters discover Gordon's motive. The film starts in the middle of things, which makes the viewer intrigued instantly. Besides the extra added fluff, which can be easily looked over, it's still a good storyline. Everything gets explained thoroughly.

This film is animated and doesn't employ an array of varied camera angles. With the action scenes, of course we receive some medium and close-ups that connect us with specific characters emotions, but other than that the camerawork is fairly simple. The costumes that Rainie's friends wear are ornate and correlate with her friends being from an otherworldly jungle, hence their skin is blue. I like the various different planets and how each one has a specific theme. One is frozen; one has attacking candies which resemble Venus flytraps; one is a molten lava planet. Each planet also presents a different obstacle the characters need to overcome.

The music and sound effects work well. Both appropriately connect to the scenes in which they are paired. The music in the dance scene that Rainie and Gordon share is upbeat; each time they step on a button it beeps to the beat. Fun fact, the character that voices Rainie, Cherami Leigh, is an adult and not a child. Leigh's range in voice-acting is great. The key influencers are the editors and the storyboard creators. With animation, production process is a little wonky due to editors starting towards the beginning of the process rather than the end. Creating storyboards for any film is tedious, but especially with animation, because if someone decides to cut a single second out of the original storyboard, the creators have ultimately wasted time when it is cut. The same idea applies if something is added later.

This is small, but having the main character as a young girl and not a young boy can potentially inspire young girls to lead and embark on their own heroic journeys. One of the simpler messages is of friendship. Working together with people that care for one another, through the good and bad moments, results in a stronger and more loving friendship. An implicit message of this film is karma. Whether that be good or bad, like Gordon reluctantly becoming a piece of food, which he turned people into for years, unwillingly. A positive example of karma is when Rainie's mother explains to her that since she has a kind heart, she'll attract kind people in her life. What you put out in the world, positive or negative affects you, so you might as well make it a positive. One other message is that you can't subdue your emotions or bad experiences. The more you suppress them the bigger it explodes in the end. If Gordon communicated with his brother about how he genuinely felt, Rainie and her friends would have never endured his wrath.

There are a couple of fights, but they are more like tackling between the antagonist and the other characters. There is no graphic violence. My favorite part is the ending because Gordon receives karma. He's turned into a piece of food, which is what he was doing to other people for years. A lot of the characters in this film are voiced by actors with a long list of prior work such as Cam Clarke, Robbie Daymond and Dorothy Elias-Fahn.

I give Candy Planet 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it ages 3 to 10. It is a cute, adventurous film and it actually presents important messages.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Candy Planet is an interesting animated movie that younger kids will definitely find entertaining. It is somewhat predictable and some of the characters are kind of strange. The dubbing is very good and lines up pretty well with the animation.

The storyline is about a young girl, Rainie and her mom who go to a magical jungle for a vacation. They find a mysterious present outside their door and discover it is a magical camera that turns people into candy! Rainie's mom turns into a living chocolate bar, and to save her, Rainie and her friends fly to her rescue and get dragged to Candy Planet. There they meet Gordon who is not who he seems. Find out what else happens when you watch Candy Planet.

This movie is aimed at a younger audience, because the humor is basic and the storyline is simple. Even though it is somewhat predictable, it is an original idea, and I appreciate that. The movie's dialogue was initially in Chinese, so it is dubbed in English and it syncs up better than I expected. The animation is well produced. It looks similar to other animated movies, but has a uniqueness of its own. The characters are not very well-developed. There is little background on the characters and you have to guess what their relationships are. Speaking of characters, my favorite is Powderpup, the candy dog that they meet along the way. He is adorably cute.

The primary messages are about friendship and teamwork. Even though this movie is aimed at showing the importance of friendship, Rainie does make rude remarks towards her friends.

I give Candy Planet 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. It is available now on Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms.

Reviewed by Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Candy Planet is a 3D animated movie with a unique story. It has great animation and lots of bright colors throughout. It is a fun movie with lots of emotion. Due to the short run time of the movie (75 minutes.), it seems very fast paced, but that doesn't stop it from being a good film. I also really like the villain of the movie.

The storyline is about a girl named Rainie (Cherami Leigh) and her friends getting transported to a world inhabited by candy people after her mom gets turned into a candy. Rainie and her friends have to go through tests to turn her mom back into a human. The villain of the movie, Gordon (Todd Haberkorn), is the leader of the candy planet and tries to get Rainie to lose her friends and her belief in friendship. The only complaint I have with this movie is that it's never explained how Rainie became friends with the blue jungle people. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the story.

The voice actors in the film are very good, especially Cherami Leigh who plays Rainie. She gives a fantastic performance, which is probably due to her extensive voice acting experience. I also really liked Robbie Daymond's performance. The voice actors are the best part of the movie as they really stand out. The animation is excellent as well; I really like all the colors in the movie. They make the movie feel more fun and playful. I also really like movies that are 3D animated. My favorite scene is when they're running on different planets, trying to get to the test.

The main theme of the movie is about friendship and how important it is. Throughout the movie, Rainie is tempted by Gordon that she doesn't need her friends and that they slow her down. Although friendship is a strong theme in a lot of animated movies, I think Candy Planet utilizea that theme particularly well. The film doesn't have anything that parents would worry about except a couple of fight scenes, which aren't too bad.

I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 10. You can find Candy Planet now on iTunes, Amazon digital, Google Play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Candy Planet is an animated film that is perfect for younger kids who like a good adventure about friendship.

The storyline follows a girl named Rainie (Cherami Leigh), on vacation with her mother, when a camera comes along and turns her mom (Dorothy Fahn) into a candy and takes her to a planet made entirely of candy. Of course, Rainie and her friends have to save her and due to a slight error in judgment, Rainie ends up having to save her friends along with her mom.

My favorite part of the movie is the beginning when some cute animals are turned into doughnuts and taken to the candy planet. The animals are super cute and act funny. I enjoyed the way Cherami Leigh voices Rainie, because she really takes on her character and her vocal expressions relay her emotions perfectly. The part of the film that sticks with me most is how all the voice actors convey emotion solely through their voices. The way Dorothy Fahn plays Rainie's mother, you can hear the concern for her daughter. There are a few other actors in this movie that stand out to me. For example, Robbie Daymon, as Blue, changes his voice throughout and makes his character come to life. This movie is in 3D animation, which is very well made. The characters are clear and the background doesn't overshadow the characters. The sound effects sound real and make it sound like the cameras are taking pictures. With all the action taking place, the sound effects are important to enhance the story. It is very well paced and keeps the viewer wanting to know how the characters will solve the next problem they face. The music is suspenseful throughout, which adds intrigue to the story development. The colors are all bright and happy, reflecting the candy and making it intriguing to younger viewers. My eyes were drawn all over the place because it is all so bright and exciting.

The message of the film is about trusting your friends and working with them to complete a task. If you don't trust your friends they will stop trusting you.

I recommend Candy Planet for ages 4 to 7 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. You can find it now on Google Play movies, Prime video, Hulu and Netflix.
Juror Recommended Age: 5-8 Suggested Retail Price: $ 9.99 Media:


KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
CAMP ARROWHEAD

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CAMP ARROWHEAD
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CAMP ARROWHEAD - SAMUEL GOLDWYN FILMS
Series: FEATURES, AGES 7-16
Description - 19-year-old Sophie Walker attends a summer camp to help her get over the loss of her mother. She attends as a worker and is initially made fun of by some rich girls at the camp. But when the rich girls realize they need another girl for the archery team, they invite Sophie to join. Meanwhile, Sophie has met a mysterious man in the forest named Percy who claims to be an archery coach. Sophie gets Percy the job as team coach and Percy proceeds to turn the girls into lethal archers. Along the way, Percy also helps Sophie come to terms with the loss of her mother - in an unexpected and magical way.
KIDS FIRST!® Adult Jurors say - From an adult's perspective, I feel Camp Arrowhead tries to tackle a lot of themes including death of a parent, disabilities, religion, sport competitions, a mystery, and more. Maybe children watching wouldn't recognize that, but the film tries to tackle a lot of ideas in a short amount of time, so some ideas don't seem as fleshed out as others. The excellent camerawork makes it much easier to get through.

The story follows Sophie, a teen whose mother has recently passed, who discovers that her father needs to go out of town for work. Not wanting to be sent to her younger cousin's house for her summer vacation, she reluctantly goes to Camp Arrowhead with her friend April to work at the camp that caters to rich teens. Throughout the film Sophie encounters various other characters that influence her and teach her lifelong lessons.

The camerawork is very well done. The lighting always looks great and is never too dark nor too bright; almost every shot looks perfectly balanced. I enjoy the superimposing image of Sophie's face dissolving into the image of the car driving to Camp Arrowhead. This happens at the beginning of the film so it insinuates to the viewer that there is going to be a significant connection between the two. I also like shallow focus shot when Percy sings and Devin's mother is behind her in the shadows and is out of focus. She is in contrast with Devin who is in focus and not in the shadows. It represents how Devin's mother is always lurking behind her and watching her every move to try and control her life. The sets and locations are very relatable and believable. The camp location encapsulates a typical teen camp location that I have seen in many other films. Finding a good location for shooting in the woods is typically hard, but the woods in this film looks great and realistic. The music relates well to each scene. The score used for emotional scenes evokes somberness and the music used for uplifting montages matches the action.

Percy is the character who influences the rest of the cast in certain ways they need to change. For example, Percy helps Tyler realize his strength and how smart he really is. Percy is very all-knowing and guides these characters into their respective changes. The other key influencer is most likely the editor. The editing is seamless and there aren't any awkward cuts. It flows well.

The message, as clich� as it sounds, is about how love, compassion and understanding conquers all. This has a religious theme, that comes in quite unexpectedly. I don't mind it, but feel as if it should have been addressed earlier in the film because it seems to come out of left field. As it is, it is just very abrupt. You should know that there is a death of a parent mentioned, but it is not in any way graphic. There are some typical camp shenanigans throughout the film, but it is just some petty pranks.

What this film reinforces is the idea of understanding others' struggles. We truly do not know what others are going through, such as Devin dealing with her over-controlling mother. As soon as Sophie treated Devin with respect, she experienced a very different side of her. An interesting part is when Sophie's phone message finally is sent to her deceased mom despite saying "undelivered" for months. Utilizing her phone to concretely present the abstract idea of her "sending the message of love" to her deceased mother is clever.

I give Camp Arrowhead 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 9 to 13. I love the cinematography and editing; the production values are great, but the storyline is a bit all over the place.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer
KIDS FIRST!® Kid Jurors say - Camp Arrowhead is a heartwarming film with an inspiring message. It is a story about overcoming tragedy and never losing hope. When you have friends and you work together, sometimes miracles happen. It is a fast-paced film with lots of laughter and adventure.

The storyline is about 19-year-old Sophie Walker (Tori Keeth) who recently lost her mother and volunteers at a summer camp to avoid staying with her cousins. A kind and mysterious man named Percy (Donnie William) gives her and her friend archery lessons and they both become ace archers. The camp bully, Devin Dupree (Chloe Lukasiak), really wants to win the archery competition and she is determined to win the competition no matter what. Along the way, Sophie comes to terms with her loss, in an unexpected and magical way.

One of my favorite parts of the film is the talent show scene. The songs are beautifully written and performed. Sophie sings a heartfelt song that touches everyone dearly. The emotions she expresses and the lyrics of the song really pull you in and grab your attention. Percy sings an upbeat song that leaves everyone feeling good and lifts the mood. Other characters also give talented performances. Chloe Lukasiak portrays her role as the bully in a believable way. Jennifer Aquino who plays Candace and Carter Southern who plays Tyler also bring their characters to life. The campground setting is perfect for the film. The natural setting, the camp buildings and the archery equipment really makes it all seem very real. I really enjoyed watching the characters develop and grow while they at camp.

The messages in this film are about forgiveness and love always prevail. Forgiveness allows peace and love and leaves viewers with hope.

I give Camp Arrowhead 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend this movie to ages 7 to 16, plus adults. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, Google play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

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

I really enjoyed this fun and adventurous movie! Camp Arrowhead is set in an authentic American summer camp. The actors all give genuine and believable performances. The film delivers a positive emotional message and feel-good factor.

This story follows 19-year-old Sophie (Tori Keeth), whose mother has recently passed away and she hasn't been the same since. She joins her best friend, April (Joy Regullano), to work at Camp Arrowhead as her father thinks it would be a good idea for her to work through her grief. She wanders into the wood and meets an unusual old man who might just offer the help she needs and, when the archery team require some new recruits, Sophie and April are up for the task. They join the archery team and learn about the importance of family, friendship and teamwork.

The production is very professionally made and the cast are incredible. Chloe Lukasiak (Dance Moms) plays her performance as the stuck-up, posh and snobby brat, Devon Dupree, especially well. Tori Keeth (Henry Danger) takes on the lead role as the heart broken Sophie Walker, with great emotion and feeling. Donnie Williams plays the role of Percy, a character who is mysterious and helpful in a warm and friendly manner. The supporting cast are great and each plays their role to a high standard, adding to the overall performance. The set is very realistic and in keeping with the storyline. I especially love the cabins. They look so warm and cozy. The music helps set the scenes whilst not distracting from the movie, and the character performances. My favorite part is towards the end of the film when Percy leaves a surprise gift, that leads Sophie to a very special place. I don't want to spoil it for you all, so can't say any more than that.

The message of the film is of uplifting friendship, and that time helps to heal emotional pain. We watch the girls struggle through a social divide, initially clashing, then put their differences aside and forming a bond through teamwork. It also teaches us the importance of forgiveness, no matter what you've done.

I give Camp Arrowhead 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 15, plus adults. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, google play, Vudu , and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Katie F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Camp Arrowhead is a family-friendly film filled with laughs, drama and the hope that you have an open-mind.

With Sophie's dad going away for work all summer long, she decides to work at Camp Arrowhead with her close friend for the summer. Camp life has its challenges, especially since Sophie's mom died just a few months ago. With the help of new friends and a mysterious older man named Percy, Sophie learns the art of competitive archery and the gift of being able to communicate with her mom.

I enjoyed this movie because the plot is unpredictable and has a happy ending. Directors Timothy Armstrong and Fernando De La Cruz created a movie that generates a range of emotions. The magical theme was a surprise and includes some plot twists. Actor Donnie Williams' performance as Percy makes the magical character believable, while at the same time creating a well-loved movie character. Tori Keeth, who plays Sophie, creates a character that you hope will be able to find happiness. With the strong supporting cast you find yourself rooting for multiple people. The cinematographer, Ferguson Sauve-Rogan supports the film's message by creating authentic settings that carry the magical and realistic theme throughout the movie.

A common theme of the movie is to believe in yourself and have faith. Many of the characters in the movie confront and overcome difficult obstacles. Although the movie promotes many positive messages, some subtle racial inequity exists. Most likely this is not what the producers wanted, but it provides a good opportunity to bring awareness to discrimination in films and creates the chance to have an open and honest conversation about racism.

I rate Camp Arrowhead 4.5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14. You can watch Camp Arrowhead now on iTunes, Amazon digital, Google Play, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Calee N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Camp Arrowhead is a new feature film aimed at tween girls about friendship and loss that reminds me of a Disney Channel movie, but falls short. I wanted to like this film, but the pacing feels slow and the writing is awkward. The movie also solves all of its characters' problems too easily.

The storyline is about a 19-year-old girl, Sophie Walker (Tori Keeth), whose mother died a few months ago. She is angry at herself because she argued with her mom before she died and Sophie never had a chance to make up. Her friend is going work at Camp Arrowhead and invites Sophie to join her. At camp she ends up making friends with the rich mean girl campers, finds romance with the camp director's grandson who is in a wheelchair, and makes peace with her mom's death with help from a special friend.

The sets and locations are realistic. The costumes quickly identify teen girls at a summer camp. There are some special effects at the end, but they are not very high tech. My favorite character is Sophie's friend April (Joy Regullano), who is very upbeat and nice to everyone. The other lead character is Devin (Chloe Lukasiak), who is a stereotypical mean rich girl who is under lots of pressure to win at archery from her mean mom. She changes after she invites Sophie and April to join the archery team and they become friends. The movie has a strong moral message that is delivered through an older character, Percy, whom we later learn is not what he first appears to be. My favorite part of the film is the montage where Percy teaches the girls archery.

The message in this film is that kindness and forgiveness (especially of yourself) will make everything better. It feels religious by using symbols such as a cross and angel and talking about heaven. The message is positive. I just don't like that everyone's problems are solved so easily at the end. Most of the negative behavior such as revenge and cheating is handled when characters apologize or have consequences like getting disqualified.

I give this movie 2 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 through 14. This film is available now on digital channels including iTunes, Amazon digital, google play, Vudu, and FandangoNow.

Reviewed by Sammi B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
Juror Recommended Age: 7-16 Suggested Retail Price: $ Media:



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