Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for September, 2021

Nightbooks * Just The Right Amount Of Scary For A Thrill But Won’t Keep You Up All Night

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

A young boy named Alex becomes the prisoner of a witch to avoid certain death, he convinces her to let him tell her a scary story every night. Upon meeting the witch’s servant, Yazmin, the two must use their wits to escape her apartment, a magical labyrinth filled with various dangers, before the witch kills them both. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Nightbooks is very entertaining, but has some slow moments. It’s perfect for people who love a scary movie, but may regret watching it at night (like me!). It has the just right amount of scary moments to give you a thrill, but also doesn’t keep you up at night.” See her full review below.

Nightbooks
Katherine S, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Nightbooks is very entertaining, but has some slow moments. It’s perfect for people who love a scary movie, but may regret watching it at night (like me!). It has the just right amount of scary moments to give you a thrill, but also doesn’t keep you up at night.

Nightbooks follows the story of a boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) who loves to write scary stories. While trying to find the boiler room in his apartment complex, he is lured into a witch’s (Krysten Ritter) house, who steals children. He meets Yasmin, who is also stuck there. Can they make it out before they face certain doom? Watch the movie to find out.

This filmis based on the book by the same title, so fans of the book should love the movie. The set has so much attention to detail and the costume design, especially for Natacha the witch, is immaculate because all of her outfits perfectly express her personality. The special effects, specifically for the monsters, are so realistic that it gave me chills. My favorite character is Lenore the “sometimes” invisible cat because she has such a mind of her own.

The message is to never lose hope and always be yourself. Just because people think you are different doesn’t mean that you are bad. There is some bad language and some scary parts that young kids find scary.

I give Nightbooks 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. This movie releases September 15, 2021 on Netflix.

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Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty * Totally Engaging; Makes Us Want To See More

Monday, September 13th, 2021

Continuing the dramatic tale of survival revolving around three families of meerkats who are descendants of the legendary meerkat matriarch, Flower. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Dominic D. comments, The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.” See his full review below.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty (2021)

By Dominic D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

Many of us live in areas where Mother Nature brings a variety of seasons which exposes us to a wide array of ecosystems. Because we’re used to this variety, we have become incredibly curious about areas of the globe whose ecosystems are perhaps not as vast; one area in particular is the desert. With its harshly hot and dry climate, we know that anything able to withstand such brutal weather has to be an amazing creature and that’s one reason we have completely fallen for the South African meerkat.  The documentary series Meerkat Manor has entertained us for over 15 years and has brought the wondrous secrets of the Kalahari Desert right into our homes. The latest series, Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty, is totally engaging and makes us want to see more of our favorite mongooses.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty follows three families of the most charismatic desert mammals and showcases their family dynamics. In the spotlight of this series is Swift, the granddaughter of the original Meerkat Manor Whisker family matriarch, Flower. We’ve waited 12 years to catch up on what the Whiskers, Hakuna Mata and Ubuntu families have been up to and there are many surprises within this series as some things have changed. The new series continues to show us just how difficult life in the desert can be, yet with the perfect family dynamics and role assignments, animals can overcome these challenges. Just like in our own lives, people compete for space, food, and other resources, the meerkat families are no different. These episodes highlight that, despite the fact that the meerkats share a common bloodline, individual survival and the survival of their family is their main concern.

There are a lot of great things about this series, but my favorite part is the character led story telling by narrator Bill Nighy. The series humanizes the meerkats and gives each their own entertaining personalities. There are heroes, villains, babysitters, a Romeo and Juliet pair, and so much more. These personalities are hilarious and interesting to watch. The cinematography is also fantastic with its capturing of some of the most harsh weather conditions on Earth. I especially enjoyed the scenes where the camera was placed deep within the meerkat burrows. Meerkat Manor:  Rise of the Dynasty is a captivating series about the natural world and I appreciate its educational value.   

The message of this series is about teamwork.  Of course, family, culture and perseverance are worth  mentioning here also; however, if this species didn’t have a system of working together, they could not thrive within their harsh ecosystem. Each meerkat has a specific role to support its family. They work cohesively in a variety of ways to assure the success of their family. Whether their role is one filled with drama or with entertainment, one thing is for certain – these desert dwellers are sure to tug at your heartstrings.

I give Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18. Adults, especially animal lovers and nature enthusiasts, will also love this series. Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty is available now on BBC American and AMC+. Episodes 7 and 8 are coming out on September 4 and September 9, 2021. 

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Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. * Perfect Modern Teen Role Model Shown In A Positive And Truthful Light

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

Set in modern-day Hawai‘i, Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. – a coming-of-age dramedy inspired by the hit medical series Doogie Howser, M.D. – follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, a 16-year-old prodigy juggling a budding medical career and life as a teenager. With the support of her caring — and comical — ‘ohana (family) and friends, Lahela is determined to make the most of her teenage years and forge her own path. Guiding Lahela is her career-driven mother Dr. Clara Hannon who’s also her supervisor at the hospital, her doting father Benny who helps keep her connected to what matters most, her free-spirited older brother Kai, her gregarious younger brother Brian Patrick, her best friend Steph, her surfer crush Walter and her fellow hospital colleagues, Dr. Lee, Charles and Noelani.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ashleigh C. comments, “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.  is a show that our generation so desperately needs. It exemplifies the life of a modern teenager in a positive and truthful light while being totally binge-able.” See her full review below.

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. 
By Ashleigh Clyde, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17 

https://youtu.be/E11M2_OMkk4

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.  is a show that our generation so desperately needs. It exemplifies the life of a modern teenager in a positive and truthful light while being totally binge-able. 

Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. is a Disney Plus Original Series inspired by the 1989 TV series Doogie Howser. It follows Lahela “Doogie” Kamealoha, a medical prodigy who is only 16 years old. With her life as a doctor and a teenager she struggles to keep up with both lifestyles.  

The main character, Lahela (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) is a great character that exhumes girl power. From the show before this she is a modern take on old practices. Plus, she is a person of color and a female who is breaking unforeseen barriers at an early age. Apart from Lahela, Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng) is one of my favorites. His jokes and comedic timing are always funny. Oftentimes, Disney comedies are very predictable and rarely contain great jokes; however, the humor in this show has modern references that create a wonderful watching experience. Same with the costumes in this show; the wardrobe throughout for Lahela are age appropriate and wearable. The show is based in Hawaii, so the sets at the hospital, the beach and the Kamealoha home are all beautiful with bright, vibrant colors accompanied with the soothing sounds of the ocean. My favorite part of this show is how it reflects the modernity of teenagers throughout the years. Many shows today portray teenagers in an inappropriate and unrealistic light. But this show makes it comfortable for a 17-year-old girl, like me, to be proud to be a teenager. 

The message of this show is that it may seem like the world is on your shoulders, but the family around you has plenty of shoulders to help with the weight. This film promotes positive social behavior. 

I give Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. This show starts streaming exclusively on Disney+ September 8, 2021, with new episodes every Wednesday. 

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9/11: Inside The President’s War Room * A Remarkably Detailed Documentary About 9/11 Attacks

Saturday, September 4th, 2021

9/11 from the President’s perspective, with exclusive access to information from the one’s that had to take decisions during the World Trade Center’s attack. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st  century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room was created.” See his full review below.

9/11: Inside The President’s War Room

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

In 2021, we will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the greatest American tragedies of the 21st  century, the September 11 attacks. To help educate the public about exactly how this horrific event unfolded, the remarkably detailed documentary 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room was created.

Going minute by minute, hour by hour, 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room offers two narratives, following the president’s actions, thoughts, and movements, and the developing situation in New York City. 

President George W. Bush was interviewed for this film and his impeccable memory of the day and skilled delivery make the documentary even more unique. His impassioned vow to bring Al-Qaeda to justice, his struggle to keep his anger in check, and his helplessness as he was flown around the country to avoid a rumored attack on Air Force One show exactly how novel this crisis was. The film includes high-quality archival footage and the perspectives of individuals like Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ted Olson, as well as the president and vice president’s chief of staff. I’ve never seen a more thoroughly researched and impeccably pieced-together documentary. The many perspectives from all these individuals contribute to a strong narrative that captures you from minute one. Each interview is compelling and the editing cuts between medium shots of the individuals and archival footage, creating an immersive and truly “in the room” experience. The background music complements the film’s somber tone. 

9/11: Inside The President’s War Room is a portrait of resilience, tact, patience and leadership.  There is some  mild profanity in the film as well as some footage of the Twin Towers collapsing with screams in the background.

I give 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. 9/11: Inside The President’s War Room is available now on Apple TV+ . 

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